Review: Genelec 8020B Monitors and 7050B Sub

I have started listening to my entire iTunes library again, rediscovering sounds on another level! Continue reading

Tue 22 Jan 2013

Stefan Stanciu

Genelec have a solid reputation when it comes to reference monitoring.  Its fair to say we had high expectations.  Our only experience with them had been the baby 6010A monitors which we have installed in our OB Van.  The 6010A are very small units however their performance is anything but small!  In fact we had to reduce the low frequency output (done via dip switches on the rear) as the bass was very loud.

The 8020B are the next step up and feature two built-in amplifiers for even better response.  Other differences include the use of a balanced XLR connector for input and the front location of the volume control.  Genelec has a reputation of reproducing the sound exactly as it is recorded.  This means that all those poorly mixed recordings we did in the past sound very poor indeed.  Its easy to pick out a singer’s mistakes!  However, when things are mixed well and performed well, the results are outstanding.  This is as expected from a good reference monitor.  All the more reason to strive for higher quality!

The first thing I noticed when unboxing these is the weight by comparison to its compact size.  Each unit weighs 3.4kg and the casing is die-cast aluminium.  Certainly the most rugged and robust compact monitor I’ve ever come across!  There is this instant feeling of high build quality, feels as though they are built in Germany!  Genelec are of course built in Finland and I give it top marks for build quality and design.

Switching them on is a silent process, no popping noises here (Apogee take note!) and the front facing green LED unobtrusively informs you they are on.  We have ours arranged in a 5.1 configuration.  I’ve found that setting the front volume control to the middle (0dB) position gives a good natural level when signal is fed from the Apogee Quartet.  Although the woofers are a mere 4″ in diameter, they can produce a fair amount of bass due to the ported enclosure.  Genelec do advise to dampen the lower frequencies (via dip switches on rear) if the speaker is within close proximity to a wall.

Sound is pure, clean and free from any distortion.  We achieved excellent acoustic reproduction even when driven to high levels, we could not get these monitors to distort.  If the 8020B monitors sound this good one can only wonder what the top end Genelec monitors sound like!  Anyone have some 1039A’s they’re willing to lend us?

The subwoofer we have with this system is the Genelec 7050B which is the smallest sub Genelec do in this class.  Small however is not what I’d call it!  The unit weighs a whopping 18kg and features a single 8″ woofer. Together with the 8020B monitors, this monitoring7050B_3_right_view_206_270_100 system is capable of a flat frequency response from 25Hz to 20kHz.

Designed to be used in surround applications, the 7050B has 5 inputs and outputs via balanced XLR connections as well as a dedicated LFE input.  There are various modes of operation and the manual goes into considerable depth explaining the physics of low frequency sound using terms such as ‘asymmetrical spatial imaging’.  Needless to say I had to read a few of the paragraphs several times before fully grasping all the physics involved.  While daunting, setting the system up properly ensures the best possible results.

In conclusion, I have started listening to my entire iTunes library again, rediscovering sounds on another level!  You really will struggle to get a better monitoring system for the money. I’m eager to record more and more events in 5.1 and being able to share that experience with our audience.  Great bit of kit!