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Genelec 8361A Review (Powered Monitor)

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Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Feb 13, 2016
Seattle Area
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Genelc 8361A studio monitor (powered active speaker). It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $4,995.

The 8361A looks identical to the rest of the series except massively scaled up:
Genelec 8361A Review Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.jpg

It doesn't look it but it is extremely heavy. It has a handle in the back but I could barely carry it a few steps using that before having to ask my wife for help. This is a 3-way speaker with coaxial mid and tweeter helped by dual woofers hidden behind the front massive waveguide/baffle.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the center of coaxial driver (aligned by eye). Unit was factory reset and all dip switches were in off setting. It is getting colder with the measurement room temp at 16 degrees C.

Genele 8361A Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Genelec 8361A Measurements Frequency Response Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

What beautiful results! It almost doesn't get any better than this. The only minor nit is slightly lower bass output. I have seen this in another Genelec speaker. Company's measurements don't have this. So either it is slight measurement error due to lower temp, or level is set slightly too low by Genelec due to their measurements not showing the same.

Due to excellent directivity index, early window reflections are all similar to on-axis but slightly rolled off as they should be:

Genelec 8361A Measurements Early Window Frequency Response Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Put the two together and we get predicted far-field response of:

Genelec 8361A Measurements Predicted in-room Frequency Response Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Perfection! :)

Notice how port/cabinet resonance is kept at extremely low level:
Genelec 8361A Measurements near-field driver Frequency Response Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Drilling into beam width shows the same precision and attention to bot on and off axis response:

Genelec 8361A Measurements Horizontal Beamwidth Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Genelec 8361A Measurements Horizontal directivity Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Notice how not only are the red portions of the graph smooth, but that the transition to white happens with very little chaos indicating lack of diffraction errors due to cabinet, driver edges, etc.

Same praise almost goes for vertical axis naturally:

Genelec 8361A Measurements Vertical directivity Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Modelling the full 3-D sound field at three critical frequencies shows the near perfection of this speaker/driver:

Genelec 8361A Measurements 3D Horizontal directivity Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Forward projection is so controlled and well formed.

As I was running the sweeps for distortion tests, i could detect the deep bass and super smooth response from low to high indicating absence of distortion:

Genelec 8361A Measurements THD Distortion Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Speaker simply doesn't feel the pressure of being asked to pump out this volume so I cranked it up another 10 dB:

Genelec 8361A Measurements 106 dB THD Distortion Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Now the clipping indicator was blinking and as I have seen with other Genelecs, it aims to protect the tweeter by limiting its output. Listening through my hearing protection, I thought the sound was still fine.

Waterfall shows some resonances:

Genelec 8361A Measurements CSD waterfall Response Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Impulse response is impressive in approximating the ideal:
Genelec 8361A Measurements Impulse Response Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

Assuming Klippel has measured the latency correct, we are looking at almost 5 milliseconds.

Genelec 8361A Listening Tests
While many pros buy the Genelecs for near field listening, our membership here is mostly interested in far field so that is how I tested it (pictured above). The first impression is that of clarity with slightly light tonality. I did want to see if it could benefit from some bass boost per measurements though so dialed that in:

Genelec 8361A Equalization Powered Studio Monitor Speaker.png

The increased bass performance was phenomenal. So much so that in some tracks my room mode at 105 Hz became a bit much so I dialed it down as you see. Once there, I was greeted with a level of clean and deep bass which I had never experienced with any other speaker I have tested. It was like having the most perfectly integrated subwoofer next to a very powerful and capable speaker. Dynamics knew no limit. Turn it up and it simply gets louder and louder with deep notes rocking the entire room!

With the bass boost the sound was so wonderful and fun that I did not want to stop to eat dinner and then type this review! No speaker I have tested come close to this level of performance. Yet I keep looking at a speaker that is less than half the height of my own speakers! You keep wondering where the incredible bass tones are coming from.

And it is not just the bass. Midrange and treble clarity was superb.

Do I honestly need to write this? That this is one of the most perfectly executed speakers both objectively and subjectively. No longer does a powered speaker have a limit in either deep bass or loudness. I was testing just a single one. I can just imagine a pair being able to bring the house down with perfect clarity and dynamics. $5,000 sounds like a lot of money but you are getting multiple levels of amplification and DACs for free plus in-built DSP, room EQ, etc., etc. Buy a pair for $10K and you are done with your journey as an audiophile.

It is my absolute pleasure to strongly recommend the Genelec 8361A. I killed my back (and that of my wife's) carrying it around to measure and listen to but it was all worth it. If you can afford it, run, don't walk to get them for your system!

Edit: video review also posted:

As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/


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Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Nov 30, 2018
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Major Contributor
Jan 6, 2017
So, a D'Appolito?


Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Dec 9, 2019
Very nice stuFF! Available in 3 colors. In Canada $5350.00 each and in the USA $4995.00 each. The Canadian price is surprisingly low compared to the USA price. This is picture intensive! So many features and capabilities...
Gray finish.
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Black finish.
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Active Member
Jun 8, 2019
I've heard these as well and they are absolutely phenomenal. In my opinion, they're on par or slightly better in some aspects than the best loudspeakers I've heard to date and I have heard A LOT. The 8260A is incredible as well... I will be likely be grabbing a pair of these to replace my 708s sooner than later, if not, the D&D 8c's.


Major Contributor
Dec 31, 2019
Was it a recent higher resolution in graphs or something? the mid range unevenness (I know it's really small, but hey, it's pixel peeping equivalent here) seems even higher than the 8030 and 8050?


Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Oct 25, 2019
Amazing results. If only, if only, if only... it didn’t look like

View attachment 164847
I think it's a polarizing "you either love it or hate it" situation. I personally love the way they look -- much more interesting and beautiful than boring wooden boxes. I'd say probably >80% of people who see them comment on liking their appearance, and the remaining 20% say nothing (probably hate them) :)
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