Genelecs For Home Cinema?

Operandi

Active Member
I have used a Meridian/Mackie 626/624 system very successfully for the last six years but an impending move to another house has forced me to look for smaller speakers.

I've sold the 586 and Mackies and am starting again from scratch. I'm even considering a lifestyle system (Monitor Audio Apex).

The thing is, I keep getting drawn to the Genelec 8020Bs. I generally prefer the Genelecs to the Mackies but I am concerned about the listening distances as Genelec state that their optimal zone only extends to 2 metres, which is fine for near field monitoring, of course.

Has anyone used 8020's for home cinema? As I would be about 4 metres away from the LCRs would their near field designs be a problem?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Had them as surrounds and surround backs some years ago. I had 8040's as fronts at the time and whilst they were very good I ended up switching back to M&K's as I missed their dynamics. I think you'll find the 8020's a bit lacking sitting 4m away.
 

Operandi

Active Member
Thanks for your thoughts, Jase

I am concerned that the 8020s have not got the headroom @ 20w + 20w, particularly with a longer listening distance.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
I think the 8020's are better suited as a desktop PC setup or surrounds that you're sitting very close to. I connected mine up to my PC to test out and they sounded great for music sat about 2-3ft away.

I do remember thinking I'd blown them up watching Superman Returns when there's a planet exploding near the start of the film. They seemed to struggle with that at -10db. At the time they were about 6ft away.
 

Operandi

Active Member
Thinking about it, I demo'd the 8020's from about 3 feet at Digital Village and they did sound good but your point about fearing blowing them at -10db is concerning.

More powerful models would be too large so its looking like the Genelecs are not the right solution.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
How about some PMC DB1i's? They're relatively small. The original DB1's were crackers when powered by a decent amp so the newer versions should be good.
 

Operandi

Active Member
How about some PMC DB1i's? They're relatively small. The original DB1's were crackers when powered by a decent amp so the newer versions should be good.

Yes, that is a very good suggestion. I've heard the PMC Twenty.21s which are really excellent, but pricey for a 5.1 system. I want to try and hear some DB1i's as there are some good deals around at the moment.

I also want to dem Mackie 624 Mk2's as they seem more living room friendly and should have a similar sound to my previous Mackie based system.

I appreciate your advice, Jase :thumbsup:
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
No worries. At least shopping for speakers is quite enjoyable, even if it does tempt us to spend more than we should...lol.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Having owned a set of Genelec 8020Bs (amongst other Genelecs!), I really don't think they would be suitable, particularly for the listening distances. Without a doubt, you need to go bigger and honestly, @ 4m I think you're looking at 8040/HT206s minimum, but ideally 8050/HT208Bs.

If you have a Digital Village near you, you should be able to listen to the Mackies and equivalent Genelecs side by side with on-the-fly switching. This is what set me on the Genelec road above other actives, as they were by far the cleanest, dynamic and detailed of what I listened to (close to perfection for me).

Do you have the option (or desire) to hide any speakers in cabinets in your listening room? If so then game on, if not then your only options are to look at in-walls, Genelec Aiw26s (HT208B equivalent), or even something like PMC Wafers.

Again I've owned both of those and I like PMC, but it's more of a "hi-fi" sound. Coming from the Mackies that you've owned previously and my own experience of PMC, I would imagine you'll be disappointed by anything other than the Twenty series (this part is speculation, but I wouldn't go back to the + or i series now I've got used to good actives again). They look rather nice too, but I guess it down come down to what your priorities and preferences are :)
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
I think the 8020's are better suited as a desktop PC setup or surrounds that you're sitting very close to. I connected mine up to my PC to test out and they sounded great for music sat about 2-3ft away.

This is spot on imho.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Thinking about it Operandi, the more I think about your requirements the more "in-walls" appear to make sense. From those big Mackies on the end of a Meridian to MA Apex....you'll regret it for sure.
 

Operandi

Active Member
From those big Mackies on the end of a Meridian to MA Apex....you'll regret it for sure.

Wise words Smurfin. Thanks for your thoughts.

I had a long and detailed demo of the Apex system on the end of a Yamaha 3010, this week. I invested the time to give them a really good try because I wanted them to work for me. Their size and design are very living room/wife friendly, as they should be, of course.

BUT even though they are pretty good for a lifestyle system (though an expensive one), I had three big problems with them:

1) Sub/sat integration. The retailer had placed the Apex sub near to the sofa which provided good integration when I sat back in the seat, but I lost the bass when I leaned forward. I think they had not placed the sub correctly for optimal integration, so I kind of forgave the Apex's for that, though I have never had any problems with sub/sat integration with the Mackies and the Servo 15. I just plonked that beast towards the front of the room and let it do its job without thinking about it.

2) Harsh high frequencies. This was the killer for me. I found the Apex speakers very fatiguing as their high frequencies were hard and harsh for both music and movies. We watched the airport scene in Transformers where the helicopter changes into a Transformer, at -10db, and I could almost feel my ears bleed on the one hand and there was no slam to the explosions on the other.

I had to turn a music DVD off in the end, as my ears were becoming fatigued.

3) Loss of detail. I found myself missing details that I had previously taken for granted. Keyboard riffs behind a guitar solo had almost vanished. Brass stabs sounded more recessed. Seperation of sounds in a movie wasn't there, creating more a wall of sound rather than layers of detail.

So you are right - they are not for me.

The Romford Digital Village is not far from me, so I might venture down there this afternoon to give some Genelecs and 624 Mk 2s a good try.
 

Member 518284

Distinguished Member
try to get a demo of MK 950`s or even S150`s if its detail and dynamics your are wanting.

no problem with 4m distance either

you may have rang me actually about this so maybe its pointless me going over it all again ;)

Allan @ Ideal AV
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
I was using Blue Sky ProDesk speakers in a surround system and they sounded excellent to me, at a listening distance of about 3m - 4m (I moved the couch forward sometimes, hence the variation in distance). They are desktop/nearfield monitors but I don't see why their tonal balance should change much being an extra meter or two further away. So I don't see why other nearfield monitors wouldn't work also. As always though, the age-old advice is always 'try before you buy' :)
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
The whole "nearfield" thing is full of misconceptions in the consumer arena imho. A typical nearfield monitor will have a 6" driver, and that is similar to most domestic standmounts. Mostly these will be suitable for normal living room listening distances, however Genelecs have the waveguide and beyond certain distances you lose the benefit - that said, "losing" the benefit simply makes them like most other domestic speakers which generally don't use waveguides.

I have to say though, Genelec 8020s or the Bluesky ProDesk at 4m? I wouldn't recommend it.

Operandi, did you manage to get to Digital Village?
 

Operandi

Active Member
Operandi, did you manage to get to Digital Village?

I didn't in the end, sadly, as family matters got in the way. I also thought that Saturday afternoon wasn't the best time for some critical AB testing! I'll try and get there mid week asap.

I did have a good chat with Allan at Ideal AV, though, to catch up on the world of M&K. I've always liked M&K speakers and Allan certainly knows his stuff. I had four SS150's in a 7.1 system at one time - wish I'd kept them now. The trouble is getting to hear the 950's and 150's for a dem.

Genelecs have the waveguide and beyond certain distances you lose the benefit

Yep, that is my thought about the Genelecs and is why I want to test them to hear how/if the high frequencies change over distance. I don't know much (anything) about their waveguides, but presumably it focuses the HF for short distance critical listening.

Thanks for your comments about the Blueskies, Doomlord_Uk. I never had distance issues with the Mackies either, though they have more powerful amps than the measly 20+20W amps in the Genelec 8020's.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Yep, that is my thought about the Genelecs and is why I want to test them to hear how/if the high frequencies change over distance. I don't know much (anything) about their waveguides, but presumably it focuses the HF for short distance critical listening.

AFAIK that's correct :) The top end is sublime on the Genelecs - not recessed and not exaggerated - but it's really the midrange where they are strongest. That's just a personal opinion though, and alot comes down to personal preference :)

I would certainly recommend going down the active route anyway, but then I would :thumbsup:
 

NaTT

Active Member
FWIW.
I tried my 8020Bs in place of my B&W 805S (then amped by an Audiolab 8000P each), in albeit a smallish living room.
Boy, they went loud and sounded immense. I left that "experiment" running for a few weeks (I couldn't bare the B&Ws :thumbsdow) and with the B&Ws still there, people thought it was them still attached!
In short, I've been nothing short of amazed by these baby gens.

But to be fair, despite this testimony, I have them on my PC desk now and 3 HT208Bs (kindly) sold to me by Smurfin, in the living room.
 

Operandi

Active Member
But to be fair, despite this testimony, I have them on my PC desk now and 3 HT208Bs (kindly) sold to me by Smurfin, in the living room.

Awesome system you have there - thanks for your thoughts.

I'm seriously considering the 8040s and agree with everybody who has posted here that the 8020's won't cut it in my room.

BTW why didn't you use Genelecs for your surrounds? Was it the problem of getting mains power to them?
 

NoOneNew

Active Member
FWIW.
I tried my 8020Bs in place of my B&W 805S (then amped by an Audiolab 8000P each), in albeit a smallish living room.
Boy, they went loud and sounded immense. I left that "experiment" running for a few weeks (I couldn't bare the B&Ws :thumbsdow) and with the B&Ws still there, people thought it was them still attached!
In short, I've been nothing short of amazed by these baby gens.

But to be fair, despite this testimony, I have them on my PC desk now and 3 HT208Bs (kindly) sold to me by Smurfin, in the living room.
The 8020B were better than 805s? Really?:confused:
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
BTW why didn't you use Genelecs for your surrounds? Was it the problem of getting mains power to them?

I can't comment for Natt, but my dedicated room will have 4 x Genelecs for surrounds, but for the living room I still run M&K column surrounds (best non-monopole surrounds I've heard even after many years).

Genelecs up front with M&K/MK surrounds (SS150s or columns) is a potent combination imho :)
 

NaTT

Active Member
Operandi, flattery will get you everywhere... the reason I haven't considered Genelec for the rears is that my surrounds speaker cables are chased in under plaster and coming out up high with the speakers pointing down. The Monitors are are pretty good and they're white as are the rear walls and even with 4 of them, they're not too noticeable.
I've not yet cared so much about having speakers in the triple figures cost range doing "effects". Maybe one day (will have to keep an eye in Smurfin's classified's).
Even with the ADA I prefer stereo (direct) for music.

"The 8020B were better than 805s? Really?" YES. YMMV, but even the bass! I was stunned. Kept re-cabling and doing back to backs on different kinds of music and even high volumes. Couldn't work out how they were doing it.
Eventually gave up and left them there.

They didn't "look" suited to the living room IMO and I wanted them in the office with my NU Force DAC where I get to do a fair bit of stereo listening. So I went on the lookout for some meatier Gennies, that really aren't pushed at all to fill my room.

The moral is, small spec Genelec can be driven hard and produce great performances. It's a brave man, including those who tried them, that stops believing this and all they've read on forums over the years...
 

Member 518284

Distinguished Member
I did have a good chat with Allan at Ideal AV, though, to catch up on the world of MK. I've always liked MK speakers and Allan certainly knows his stuff. I had four SS150's in a 7.1 system at one time - wish I'd kept them now. The trouble is getting to hear the 950's and 150's for a dem.

and you`d be very welcome my friend

thats for the comments as well, much appreciated

if you heard the 150`s driven with a good amp I doubt you go for the 950`s, they are close but as Matt says the 150`s are smoother at the top end and never seem troubled.

anyway this is a gennie thread so i`ll shut up

Allan
 

Operandi

Active Member
I've not yet cared so much about having speakers in the triple figures cost range doing "effects". Maybe one day (will have to keep an eye in Smurfin's classified's).

Actually I've noticed a lot of the latest films have much more going on in the surrounds. The BD Harry Potters' for example, so the investment is starting to become more worthwhile IMO.

"The 8020B were better than 805s? Really?" YES. YMMV, but even the bass! I was stunned. Kept re-cabling and doing back to backs on different kinds of music and even high volumes. Couldn't work out how they were doing it. Eventually gave up and left them there.

I did something similar - swapped out 805's and Chord amps for Mackie actives costing about £450 each. I bought a Servo 15 from Smurfin. Is there any gear he hasn't tried :) That was that for the next 8 years.

So many people fall for the hype around consumer gear and leave the real bargains and great sound quality to the few who've seen the light with studio actives and amps.

I am still tempted with the Mackie 624 Mk11s at the princely sum of £300 each (4 years warranty from DV), but they will be like putting on a pair of old shoes, whereas I have an opportunity to try something different.

I also think the Genies are better than the Mackies, and there are a few other great sounding monitors out there (Event Opals, Focal CMS 65's) too.

Another quick question.

How is your HT208 centre orientated? Is it horizontal, and if so, is the dispersion OK?

Cheers
 

NaTT

Active Member
I've got mine upright, tilted slightly up to the listening position, because it's lower than the L/R, below the screen. Fits great in one of these:

BLOK CLASSIX 3000 AV TV Cabinet Audiovisual Furniture BLOK Direct

with the HT208Bs on stands next to it.

Smurfin had it (the centre) on its side. But the tweeter unit in this model can be twisted in the casing so it's the same orientation as your left and right. So you really don't lose out having it so. Clever!

Now I'm wishing I had AIW26s. Same spec as the HT208Bs but would fit in a 2by4 false wall, nice!
 

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