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HT feedback.

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

So I have now used my Genelec setup (with the Ones - 8341 for fronts, 8331 for centre and surrounds, a 7350SAM subwoofer and, recently, added a 9301A for bass management) and I would like to talk about what I like, what I don't like and what I would like to see improved.

If you are wondering about my choice of speakers - I have a fairly small room in a block of flats. Big bass wouldn't do it for me. The full 5.1 8331 setup would have been perfect  but I needed a speaker with both analogic and digital inputs because my initial plan was to run my HT through my pre / pro (NAD17) so the mutlichannel signal would be delivered as balanced analogic while for stereo I was going to use one of the many headless solutions (Moon Mind, Auralic Aries etc) outputting a digital AES signal to the digital input of the speakers. As 8341 were the smallest coaxials to accept both analogic and digital inputs, I had to get them as front speakers. 

In this scenario all went well. I could either use SAM or the Audyssey room correction (soon to be replaced with Dirac on NAD), I would keep the speakers at max volume and control them with the pre/pro, the bass management was handled by the sub, which would take my 5 analogic inputs and extract the low end from all.   

Stereo was also handled well, with an AES / EBU cable from Auralic to the sub, sub to my right front speakers, another AES cable from this speaker to the left. 

But, while very usable, this path was far from ideal with HT. The audio signal would travel through an HDMI cable to the receiver. Inside the receiver it would be resampled to 24/48, passed through the internal processor, then converted to analogic, then fed to the Genelec's which would convert it to digital again, process it, convert it to analogic. 

I wanted an all digital solution and, while I was planning to raise money for a DataSat or a Trinnov, I heard about a mod for the cheaper Oppo bluray player, the 203, which would replace the DAC board with a digital board outputting mutlichannel AES  PCM signal on 4 pairs of outputs. As Oppo was now Roon compatible I could use one player, 203, for both stereo and multichannel duty, keep the signal path digital, unprocessed, from disc to speaker, simplify my setup and save some money in the process. A no brainer really! 

The card arrived and I am pleased to say it worked great. But this is where my problems started with my Genelec setup. 

With AES inputs there is no bass management unless you get the new 9301A which I did. But the new 9301A can't go in standby / wake up via SAM. If you try it goes offline permanently and only unplugging and plugging it back to the mains will bring it back to life. That is one. 

Two. Volume control, or lack of. I could, in theory, make use of Oppo's volume control but this is not ideal because it is not bit perfect. I would much prefer to do it in the speaker, except I can't. There is no compatible remote control, I can only use the black knob connected to the SAM unit connected to the computer. If my computer goes to sleep so does my volume control. 

Three. Because of the 9301A problem I can't power cycle the sysytem. What I am left with is ISS but with this the lights on the speakers blink read continuously and there is no obvious way of disabling them. There are DIP switches on the speakers for disabling the lights but (please correct me if I'm wrong), they don't seem to do anything while the speakers are connected to the SAM hardware, which is needed for volume control. 

Four. As I now use one digital source for both stereo and multichannel output, I created two SAM profiles. One for stereo, with only the two front 9341 active, together with the 9301A and subwoofer in stereo mode, and one for multichannel with all speakers included, subwoofer in multichannel mode boosted by 10dB. I can of course only make the switch using the SAM interface but, even so, I would expect that only the speakers in use should be powered in stereo use. This is not the case. In stereo mode I have the two active speakers with green lights and the others light up with orange lights. 

Five. SAM in the cloud is still hit and miss, particularly with multi-point calibration. I have tried a multi-point calibration in the past and ended up with a weird digital sound coming out of only one or two speakers. Now, with the all digital setup, I have experienced the same problem. Maybe SAM works differently and my understanding of how this works is wrong. But coming from Dirac, Audyssey etc I would expect to plug everything, move the mike around, get several reading as per the diagram, hit optimise, get the desired result. For my system this workflow doesn't work or, should I say, it works but you don't want to hear the result!  

So, while Genelec play well with an analogic multichannel setup, I am really struggling with digital multichannel, in a home environment and, while I admit that I am in a minority with this setup, I think some improvements are in order.

First of all, it has been said before, with the increasing complexity of a home theatre, with multiple devices - disc players, streamers, set top boxes, gaming consoles, TVs etc - one has to use a programmable universal remote to keep the various boxes under control. I would expect Genelec to have a solution to integrate with such universal controls. I don't need crazy control, just the ability to power on / off, switch inputs / profiles, control volume. This is a huge omission in my book and a missed opportunity to attract more home users to Genelec. Consoles, computer software, black knobs might work well in a home studio but they don't belong in a lounge.     

Two: LED's are sometimes useful for troubleshooting, setting up etc but, again, I don't want green lights, red blinking lights, orange lights or any other lights while I watch a film. If I need SAM to control the speakers, I should have the ability to control the LED lights with SAM or get the speaker to honour my light switch selection, with or without SAM.

Three: power management. I think much can be done here to improve usability, at least in a home environment. I would like the ability to power off the system from SAM, 9301A included. I would like to be able to only power on the speakers in use with a prticular profile. So, say, if I use my stereo profile requiring left, right, sub and 9301A, I would like to see the centre and surround speakers off. If ISS is activated I would like to have no blinking red lights in my lounge. Rather go from off to solid green, with the ability to disable them altogether. 

I can probably think of a few more things but these are the most frustrating problems for me at the moment. I would really appreciate if your engineers would look at my suggestions because I would like to believe that they (mostly) make sense.    

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

Another thing that isn't working properly: ISS. I set it to 10 minutes and would expect the system to go to sleep after 10 minutes. It doesn't. As long as the computer to which the SAM unit is connected is active, the system stays active. Once the computer goes to sleep, the speakers go to sleep. If the computer wakes up from standby, the speakers come out of standby. So if my iMAC wakes up randomly during the night (to check for updates etc) the speakers follow suit and the red lights start to blink in my lounge. 

My understanding was that ISS provides power management independent from the computer. Am I wrong and is this the normal behaviour for the speakers? So while the computer is active the ISS settings will be ignored? 

 

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

So the only way I can see this working in a digital home setup, with the current firmware, is as follows:  system disconnected from computer to honour the ISS settings and the LED off settings. WIth this of course I lose the ability to control the volume and change groups so will have to always use multichannel, even with stereo music, and use my Oppo to control the volume while the speakers are set to a slightly higher volume than I would normally use so with Oppo, although the volume control is not bit perfect, I can do fine adjustments with a remote control compatible with my universal remote control.  

In this scenario the volume control with a remote control would work, I should be able to get rid of the LED lights, the system should go to sleep after 10 minutes.

I would however lose the ability to use an optimised stereo setup calibrated with the sub in stereo mode and no 10dB bass boost, the volume control is not bit perfect, I can't power off the system when not in use. Quite the compromise! 

I will test this weekend to see if it works and how it works, at least as a proof of concept, and I will report back. But I have to say I would not be a happy bunny because the multichannel setup doesn't sound as good as stereo for stereo music. 

I was also thinking you could add some target curves to your calibration, like a Fletcher Munson curve for low-level listening. Dirac, Audyssey equalise to such a curve by default. Again, I know you are delivering the goods for the pro user but even the pro user mixes for boom boxes, Sonos and iphones and less so for audiophile setups nowadays.  

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts
Your computer sends a signal to the SAMs everytime it comes out of standby etc, thats why they "wake up" from the ISS mode.
gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

 

Obviously but why? The power management includes several options:

1. power on speakers when opening SAM / powering off speakers when closing SAM  - I have not activated this option

2. sending wake up all / shut down all which is what I used  before 9301A; as explained above this doesn't work with 9301A because once 9301A is powered off with SAM it doesn't come back online unless I power cycle it from the mains (bug, intentional? - some feedback from the team would be appreciated). This digital interface with the current firmware can only be used with ISS so I can no longer use the 1st and 2nd management options. In my opinion this is a bug and I hope it will be corrected in a future firmware. 

Now let's make something clear. If SAM is open on your computer, you send "Shut down all", you leave SAM open, your computer goes in standby and then wakes up, the speakers do not power on automatically but if you manage them with ISS if the computer wakes up, the speakers wake up. So SAM overrides the ISS settings but doesn't override the power on / off settings so the behaviour is inconsistent.  

3. ISS which can be set to a certain length of time. My understanding of this is that the speakers should go in standby until and unless they receive an audio signal, however SAM itself on the computer seems to wake them up, overriding the ISS settings. And I don't quite understant the logic here.  

 

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts

The only explanation I have is that the speakers get somekind of a signal or handshake when the computer comes out of standby,  probably because of the RME?PCI card(wich card do you have?) . Theres no settings to manage this ? Have you tried the different ISS sensitivity settings, if it would help?

Ofc the GLM or SAM network wakes up when you startup the GLM software, overriding the ISS settings yes. This is normal.

I always power up the speakers by starting up the GLM software first, then the altitude 32. If I dont do this then my rooms breaker goes off  1/3 of the times. (I have 16x SAMs)

Havent used the 9301A so I cant help you with that one. Hope youll get things figured out though!

"Its a beautiful tale, and today is a beautiful day without any bugs" Yea right xD

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

You are right, if I close GLM3 on my MAC the speakers go in standby as they should and don't wake up with the computer. 

But I still have no remote way of changing volume, switching between groups and I still don't understand why, when using two out of five speakers in a group, the other three are on instead of off. The status light is orange rather than green but if I get close I can hear the background noise so they are certainly on. 

Still no solution for 9301 so I can't power off the system with SAM, otherwise I have to pull the plug from the mains to get it back online which is very annoying. Genelec, I hope you are working on a fix for this. 

I don't use a sound card but a modded Oppo 203 Blu-ray player. The VanityHD card bypasses the DAC and outputs multichannel AES/EBU  PCM on stereo pairs - L + R, LS + RS, C+S. 

 

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts

Ah ok, the card is in the OPPO, then ISS will only be activated after you shut off the OPPO and vice versa deactivated when you start the OPPO up.

ISS is also deactivated ofc when you start up the GLM software on your computer and again vice verca you have to have the GLM software shut down if you want ISS to be activated

And when you are using the stereo layup with GLM, the other monitors leds are orange because they are not in the group or layup but they do get a signal because they are all connected to the 9301.

I have heard though that some people have had troubles with ISS using some DACs or digital preamps, that theres always some signal going to the monitors even if the amp is in standby. (little bit offtopic maybe)

Have you tested the remote controls for the GLM2 box, either the 9101AM or the 9310AM  for controlling the volume?

https://www.genelec.com/studio-monitors/outboard-products/9101a-wireless-volume-controller

https://www.genelec.com/studio-monitors/outboard-products/9310a-volume-controller

 

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

It would make more sense to me to be able to

- power up only the speakers in use within a group

-power down the whole system, 9301 included

-have some sort of volume / group switch control independent from a computer

 

I have both the volume control knob and the wireless controller but they are reliant on the GLM software and card which has to be always connected to a working computer (please correct me if I'm wrong). So if my Mac goes to sleep while I watch a movie (and it does, I wouldn't want another bright screen in the room while I watch something)  my volume controller stops working. Also, as the volume controllers can not select a group, switching between a stereo / multichannel group requires constant fiddling with a computer. No solution is offered to automate a HT / stereo setup.    

With consumer electronics you connect everything together, create your profiles, run your calibrations and then use something like a Logitech Harmony (or more advanced solutions like Crestron) to automate an activity. So for instance if you want to play music the remote controller would automatically power up your music source, preamp, amp, set them to the desired inputs / outputs and control their volume. A stereo profile would not power up your TV, your blu-ray player or your multichannel speakers.

By contrast Genelec has no solution for automating an activity. I can program a remote control as far as powering up a TV and music / video source. Then I have to go to my computer to activate the desired speaker profile (say stereo, which will power up my surrounds / centre channel anyway, even if they are not in the group) and then I have to control their volume with a second remote controller, which will only work until my Mac goes in standby.     

While Genelec is comitted to green and renewable and blah blah blah, it powers up five active speakers when I only want to use two, it forces me to use ISS instead of shutting down the system because 9301 only supports ISS, and expects me to run a computer 24/7 alongside the system because otherwise the volume controllers don't work.  

Most of these quirks are design choices and can easily be recitfied with a GLM card that can run independently from a computer, can be controlled by, say, a Logitech Harmony Hub, and can make a group selection, control volume, power up / down the system (or put it in standby or ISS or whatever I, the buyer, desires).  

Again, I am not a professional and I understand that I am not Genelec's target user. But if they want a slice of this market as well I think they need to put more effort into streamlining the home user experience. 

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts

Yea it would be nice for sure with more options with the ISS and the volume control.

I would recommend you to just have one GLM layup. No need to have one for stereo use and another for multichannel.(if the listening position is the same)

Store the settings in the Genelecs via GLM, now you can disconnect the GLM adapter from the laptop and connect it to a USB wall charger and have it powered up this way, now the volume control wont go to sleep with the laptop. Sure, you cant manage anything in GLM this way but everything should be setuped already. Then when you want everything to go to sleep you just shut the inputs off, I guess 9301 included..

 

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

It makes sense and I suppose it's the best option under the circumstances but it's a compromise. I want profiles because in a HT setup I want more bite from the sub (so typically I use the +10dB option and fine tune the volume from the preamp) while in a stereo setup I want it to be sonically invisible (so I disable the bass boost). Also I am toying with the idea of buying an MQA capable DAC and use the analogic inputs of my 8341 as well and in this scenario I would need to switch between digital HT (with a bass boost) and analogic stereo (without). 

 

Speaking of MQA, I would like to point out the elephant in the room: streaming which is gaining momentum. Nowadays almost everyone is using some flavour of streaming, be it Spotify, Apple, Tidal and so on. And then there is Roon.

 

Looking at a consumer alternative, for instance LS50 Wireless, also an active speaker with a coaxial design, incorporated DAC etc for half the price, I see wireless, a bluetooth remote control that works directly with the speakers and covers all the basics (on / off, input switching, volume control), an app that makes the whole process of setting up easy and Roon / streaming compatibility. Now while the LS50 doesn't touch my 8341 for sound quality (although it doesn't sound bad at all and for the money I see it as an excellent budget alternative), it covers all the needs of a home user and then some. The only thing that doesn't work ATM is some sort of home cinema integration. 

 

I think Genelec should have a good look at LS50 because I anticipate a 8341 with the LS50 smarts would be a big hit with home users who could then add subs, surround speakers and so on. It doesn't take much to turn a 8341 into a LS50 wireless, all it takes is a consumer oriented GLM box with some sort of streaming on board, ideally Roon compatible. There is nothing wrong with the speaker, the potential is there, but what is required is a rethinking of the control hardware / software because, as it is now, it is a tough sell for the home user. A 5.1 analogic setup requires some 15 - 20 cables, a GLM card attached to a working computer, a volume controller, a stereo source, a video source, constant interaction with a computer, no automation etc.    

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts

You got some nice ideas for sure. We can only hope.. :)

Dont you use the LFE +10db from the sub? Or do you want +10db from the sub in multichannel material also without the LFE channel.

Mixing analog & digital inputs would be an option, not ideal though.

You should see the cables in my room.. Ridiculous amount :D

 

1038, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Master Posts: 340 Join Date: 4/6/09 Recent Posts
gurux:

It makes sense and I suppose it's the best option under the circumstances but it's a compromise. I want profiles because in a HT setup I want more bite from the sub (so typically I use the +10dB option and fine tune the volume from the preamp) while in a stereo setup I want it to be sonically invisible (so I disable the bass boost). Also I am toying with the idea of buying an MQA capable DAC and use the analogic inputs of my 8341 as well and in this scenario I would need to switch between digital HT (with a bass boost) and analogic stereo (without).

You are thinking about the +10dB LFE switch incorrectly, it is an option that needs to be engaged somewhere in the replay chain, it doesn't matter where, as long as it is done only once. To increase dynamic range, the LFE channel is recorded -10dB to increase dynamic range, so the +10dB gain on the LFE channel is used to bring the volume of the LFE channel back to correct... this is only for discrete LFE channel content, it does not have any impact on any other content. It is usually engaged in the surround sound decoder for most end users... For instance if you are playing a stereo signal, switching the +10dB on and off wont make any audible difference, as there isn't any LFE channel, just 2 bass managed signals.

I don't think MQA is the elephant in the room... let's see how it pans out, if they wanted it to be a standard, they should have released the codec for free, as it looks now, they just want a piece of the pie in many stages of the music being created and played back... the marketing is almost criminal in its assertions... MQA will not allow you to hear the recording as it sounded in the studio.... all it can do is tell you it hasn't been manipulated in transmission.

Time will tell, but it has been around for a long time now and hasn't got much traction in the market... A few audiophiles are talking about it, but the mass market wouldn't have a clue about its existence...

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

Thanks for your reply. The elephant in the room was streaming, not a particular format or codec. 

At the moment I have a single digital source (a modded Oppo) for both stereo and multichannel and it is within this source that I make my adjustements - levels, crossover (50Hz) etc. Oppo doesn't make the difference between stereo and multichannel so if I apply a 10dB boost, all bass below 50Hz, which is redirected from the main speakers to LFE, is boosted and the result is an overwhelming bass. Also, as I use 9301 for bass management, all frequencies below my high pass choice, extracted from all five channels plus LFE, are summed and sent to the sub through a single bass link so, again, if I increase the sub level by 10dB, all bass below 50Hz is boosted, not just LFE, and as a result the stereo frequency response is imbalanced. 

I want a flexible system that can adapt to my needs and not the other way round, accept some sort of compromise because Genelec can't be bothered to offer a few very basic controls: power management, group  switch and volume control independently from a computer and using a universal rather than a proprietary format, which is incompatible with all universal remote controls / home automation solutions.   

 

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

Speaking of which I tried to work around these various issues and create a single group (5.1), accepting that, even if I play stereo music, all five speakers will be active. I tried to store the calibration, levels and ISS settings in the speaker memory and do without the GLM card altogether. 

But the system doesn't work as I expected so I would like to know, in this scenario - GLM card disconnected and powered off, calibration stored on the speakers, ISS, fixed volume - how should I set the dip switches. Stored on or off? Also ISS on or off? And is it possible to use the stored GLM calibration and disable the LED lights on the speakers at the same time? Because so far I have had no success with disabling the lights and I would find it quite stupid to only be able to disable the lights if I don't use the GLM calibration. I certainly don't want bright green lights when I watch TV, yellow lights, red blinking lights etc. 

So how exactly do I use the speakers without the GLM card, after calibrating and storing the settings / volumes, how should the dip switches be set, how can I disable the lights while using either the GLM unit or the GLM settings stored on the speakers? I read the manual several times but I find it quite ambiguous. 

Many thanks

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts

Dip switches: Stored ON, ISS ON.

Dont know about the leds, some newer models have dip switches for turning them off, atleast the 8331 & 8341. Dont know about the rest.

Calibrate, store from the GLM software ( under Setup: Store Startup Level) either at current or max. Then enable ISS from Setup also. Now you should be able to disconnect the GLM adapter from your computer, notice that you cant control volume anymore via glm but if you connect the glm adapter to a usb charger it's possible.

gurux, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Youngling Posts: 19 Join Date: 12/1/17 Recent Posts

This is exactly what I thought and how I set up the switches but, although the speakers wake up from standby when a source is playing, I get no sound. As soon as I reconnect the GLM card to a computer the sound is back. 

Also the LED switches have no effect. So I wonder why are they there in the first place if they don't work?  

manutal, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: HT feedback.

Jedi Knight Posts: 180 Join Date: 4/25/14 Recent Posts
I have had the same experience with the stored function, sometimes I shutdown the software and then in a while no sound, have to restart the software to get sound again. Havent found or heard a solution for this. Would be nice to get some feedback from Genelec for this problem, I have asked on other forums but no answers. Im not sure but it feels like it happens to multichannel layups in the digital domain (maybe?) There would be more fuss if it would happen to everyone with a stereo setup.