It's well known that most of the posts of a user forum concern difficulties, issues, unresolved questions that a user can experience.
So today I decided to write a post which emphasises on the qualities of Genelec products in particular the SAM compact Studio monitors (8330 and 8340).
I own or known in the past many models of studio monitors (Yamaha, PSI Audio, Dynaudio, K&H, PMC and Neumann) for home-studio works and music listening. Some of them were inherently as performant as or better (a few of them) than Genelec monitors but none of them were as efficient as Genelec SAM monitors to reproduce in a listening room the sound, the mix, the recordings or whatever related to sound engineering, reproduction and music listening.
Even a heavily treated room is subject to effect of standing waves which are more or less predictable in frequencies subject to the nature of the acoustic treatment. So integrate room measured response and correction as an integral part of the problem of the monitor conception is the best answer that a manufacturer can provide to design efficient tools for sound.
To be more precise, with SAM loudspeakers, it is the first time that the placement of the speakers in respect to the rear wall and desktop effect are not a real problem.
The room calibration is able to provide the best frequency response at the listening position, taking perfectly into account in the same time of the the bass boost of a nearby walls of the speakers and the modes room.
Who would want to buy a speakers with these kind of specifications: 40 Hz - 20 kHz +/- 20 dB ?
The room calibration of the speakers is able to provide a flatter frequency response than any speakers even the best if they are not calibrated for the room. The calibration provides an accurate appreciation of high low and low medium frequency ranges corresponding to the fundamental frequencies of the human voice and many instruments. The frequency responses of microphones, microphone proximity effects, equalisations that are subject to be mask by acoustic room artefacts are accurately evaluated. The tones of the human voice are accurately reproduced and are not alternated by room acoustic effects which could be incorrectly attributed to the recording.
Really convinced in this domain by the Genelec speakers, I made a video that emphasis the quality of human voices reproduction by the 8340 studio monitors:
I know that it is possible to find solutions which permit room compensation but none of these solutions are easier to set and cheaper than Genelec management.
The calibration and the alignment of the subwoofer is so effective that is the first time for me that I can experiment bass with impact, high pressure level, high damping in small room. It’s impossible to feel that the sound is produced by two speakers and one subwoofer instead of full range speakers of the same bandwidth.
With a frequency response which is less subject to frequency notch boosts in the low frequencies, the sound stage is more accurately reproduced in particular for localisation of instruments which produces low frequencies. The "surrounding effects" of the room modes are definitively gone.
Concerning group delay, the distorsion of the phase which is non desirable temporal effect (of any kind of filters) has to be taken into account. Looking at the Genelec measurements (Group delays are published, congrats Genelec) for the SAM 8330, 8340 monitors (8350 even better), it seems that these monitors perform very well in this domain. The localisation of instruments that produces low frequencies are not more moved back farther in the sound stage than any other monitors which take into account of this problem (PSI-Audio and Neumann published measurements).
However sound human perception is firstly concerned by irregularities in frequency response. The correction of the distorsion of the phase ideally has to be treated if at least the temporal alterations (see waterfall of speakers in a the room) of the acoustic signal by the room are taken into account.
I own before monitors which correct phase distorsions by analogic circuits (allpath filters not DSP) but whatever the quality of correction, the room effects were definitively there. The monitors can be extremely performant, they were performing not better than the room !
To finish, I admit that the material of the loudspeakers (alluminium for the tweeter and polypropylene for the cone of the woofer) were a question for me.
I read many times some complaints about the treble of the Genelec monitors.
Do the mechanical properties of the material have a sound signature which can be heard ?
Now, I am sure that if one can admit that the material produce sound signature, this one is nearly negligible in comparison with room acoustic effects.
The low frequencies of a double bass made with wood will sound more woody with a room calibration of the speaker even with polypropylene cone than with treated paper (or other high grade material) cones of a speakers listened without room compensation.
The treble of the Genelec are smooth and well described if the recordings are like this. If recordings are agressive, they are reproduced as they are which is usefuf. The possibility to use sound character profiler in the GLM brings us the flexibility to modify the tone frequency of the speaker to adapt the speaker to the tone character of the listening room.
To conclude the SAM compact series are extremely well engineered systems which serves the sound for professional purpose or for audiophile listening. Congratulations to Genelec !