- Jan 23, 2020
So I suppose one way of describing my objective here is this: I still do not find that the Genelec 8351B produce the same level of immersive soundstage that the Salon2’s did. Everything else about them is fantastic, but they do not immerse in the same way.
I know there are differing opinions on what dispersion pattern is ideal, but it seems that the Genelec’s sound best for electronic, hard rock, pop style music, while the Salon2’s I found better than anything else I’ve heard for orchestral, acoustic, soft rock, vocal, etc. music. I also heard the F328be and really liked them as well, as a really nice middle ground between the Genelec and Salon2’s directivity characteristics to my ears (which could be wrong, I suppose).
I cannot say that I know for sure what causes this difference, but one hypothesis is that the Salon2’s have a wider beam. It may also have something to do with bass directivity or consistency through the room (since a tower of woofers probably helps smooth out room modes), but I don’t know.
So my objective now is to determine what sound system I pursue next towards that wide, spacious, enveloping, immersive soundstage effect. I know I like the Salon2’s and also the F328Be. But I am also interested in exploring something new. However it’s of course hard to do this without fully understanding what actually creates that spacious enveloping sound effect.
Regarding the previously mentioned idea of setting up a 4.1 surround setup of Genelec’s, after giving this a lot of thought, I’m actually quite sure this will never quite compare to wide beam stereo speakers, and this can be demonstrated quite simply: Suppose we have a 4.1 setup of medium beam width, and a 2.1 setup of extremely wide beam width. Now imagine you are sitting in exactly the perfect center position in the room. Suppose in this case the 4.1 setup sounds at least as good as the wide beam 2.1 setup. But now consider there is a large couch along the rear wall. Varying the listener position along this couch, with the wide beam stereo setup, each position still hears the same relatively spacious sound. However with the surround setup, there is the awkward situation of someone in the rear left seating position having the rear left surround blaring in their ear, messing up the soundstage entirely, and likewise for the rear right seat.
Are the Salon2s not still an option? Based on your preference of wider dispersion, I would really look at them.
How do the Salon2s compare in terms of dispersion width to the F328Be(which you preferred). I'm currently wrestling with this question for my main guest room. Maybe @napilopez can show a similar comparison to what he did with the off axis of the Salon2/M2 for the Salon2/F328be?
Pros and cons (based on your preferences so far) of the options on my mind would be:
1. Bass consistency: If you're worried about bass consistency, the W371 blows all the other options out of the water. It has the largest number of woofers(4) spread out over the largest vertical space(2 10" woofers and 2 8" woofers spread over 55+ inches), and it has 5 different options based on what works best for your room. The Genelec webinar made it very clear how neutral the bass can be with those options.
It also has low frequency directivity control down to 50Hz, which has been shown to correlate with higher subjective scores. Second best here would be the 8C(imo). It only has 2 woofers, but I think the intelligent way it uses them is more beneficial (for bass consistency) than having an extra one (328Be).
2. Dispersion width. This may be the most important factor(given you preferred the Salon2 over the 8351b. I'm not sure how the F328Be compares to the Salon2, but it seems that Salon2 > F328Be > 8351 + W371 = 8C > KH420
3. Output. This is a tough one. I really don't know how to rank it. Best guess would be W371A + 8351b >= KH420 >= F328Be >= Salon2 > 8C. Being a single bookshelf, this is where the 8C really struggles. However, Erin's review shows that it's capable of 105dB full range at 4m, which seems pretty loud. 8361 + W371 would definitely have the most output(120dBish).
4. Low frequency directivity control. Shown to correlate with listener preference(paper linked above). W371 > 8C >>>> everything else.
5. Price. This is where the W371 kinda falls apart imo(it's overpriced). I kinda view the 8C as being a miniture(less output and less sophisticated) version of the W371, for about 1/3 the price. In terms of price, what can you get the F328Be for? Given the 35hz extension, you probably need to add subs for full range. For 2.0 listening, I'd most likely go for the 8C, KH420 or Salon2. All three of those give you full range sound for around $10,000(I've seen used Salon2s for that).