Genelec, a company known for its superb monitors, now offers a finely engineered system for surround monitoring. Its 1029.LSE PowerPak includes five 1029A active mini monitors and one 7060A active subwoofer with 5.1 or 6.1 bass management. Applications include closefield monitoring in pro and project studios, remote trucks, broadcast control rooms, and multimedia.
Product PointsApplications: Studio, post production, broadcast
Key Features: Five monitors; one subwoofer; onboard amplifiers; included bass management functions
Price: $4,200 for the complete system; individually each 1029A is $545 and the 7060A sub is $1,775
Contact: Genelec at 508-652-0900, Web Site.
+ Smooth and very wide-range
+ Tight, full bass
+ Amazing detail and sharp imaging
+ Solid construction
+ Very low distortion
– Slightly forward midrange and slightly “clinical” sound
The Score; An excellent, compact surround monitoring system.
Each 1029A monitor cabinet is rock-solid cast aluminum, finished in grainy black. Drivers include a ported 5-inch bass driver (6 dB down at 65 Hz) and a 3/4-inch metal dome tweeter. Genelec’s Directivity Control Waveguide around the tweeter is said to provide uniform directivity and perfect phase and delay uniformity at crossover. Both drivers are protected by a perforated metal grille and are magnetically shielded. Conveniently located on the front of the cabinet are the amplifier power switch, power LED and volume control.
On the back are the amplifier heat sink, various mounting brackets, a voltage selector switch, an IEC power connector, an XLR input connector and a 1/4-inch input connector. Both audio connectors accept balanced or unbalanced signals. Deeply recessed in the back panel is a four-position DIP switch that adjusts the unit’s frequency response: flat, bass and treble tilt and bass rolloff. These settings adapt the speaker to any environment.
According to Genelec, the integral power amp provides 40W for the woofer and 40W for the tweeter at <0.08% THD. Amplifier noise is 90 dB below full output. Maximum peak SPL is claimed to be 110 dB at 1 meter. Subsonic and ultrasonic filters are included. Each 1029A measures 9-3/4 inches (H) x 5-5/16 inches (W) x 7-1/2 inches (D) and weighs 12.5 lb.
The 7060A subwoofer is a piece of work! Its bass reflex cabinet is called a Laminar Spiral Enclosure (LSE). It is made of sheet metal rolled into a spiral and mounted between two thick MDF panels on the front and rear of the sub. The result is a long reflex tube packed into a small space. This construction is said to offer excellent laminar flow and minimal turbulence. A slotted grille covers the 10-inch magnetically shielded woofer cone. Two carrying handles complete the package. Weighing 59 pounds, the 7060A measures 21 inches (H) x 18 inches (W) x 18 (D).
Built into the sub is a power amplifier that produces 120W short-term power at <0.05% THD. Also included are driver-protection circuits and bass management crossover filters for 5.1, 6.1, or stereo systems. Frequency response is rated ± 3 dB from 29 Hz to 85 Hz (or 120 Hz for the LFE channel), and maximum SPL is claimed to be 108 dB (short-term sine wave).
On the power amp panel are several XLR connectors: LFE in/sum in, sum out, front left in/out, front center in/out, front right in/out, rear left in/out, rear center in/out, and rear right in/out. These connectors handle balanced or unbalanced signals. A 1/4-inch jack accepts a bypass switch that lets you hear just the satellites without any bass filtering.
A Mode LED on the panel turns from green to yellow if clipping occurs, and glows red if the protection circuit has activated. If this LED is hard to see at a distance, you can connect the optional remote LED Kit to an RJ11 jack in the sub panel.
As for controls, a level control adjusts input sensitivity and a DIP switch adjusts rolloff and phase. Another DIP switch provides these options: select 85 Hz or 120 Hz bandwidth for the LFE channel, redirect LFE channel signal above 85 Hz to center channel, switch subwoofer to sum-in mode, set LFE sensitivity to 0 dB or 10 dB, and turn the 85 Hz test tone on or off. This tone is used to match the phase between the sub and satellites by measurement or by listening. Also on the panel are a mains voltage selector, IEC power inlet and on/off switch.
Genelec’s clearly written manual covers the system components, installation, placement, mounting, wiring, setting the tone controls, setting phase and levels, maintenance and safety. The manual goes into great detail on speaker placement for the satellites and sub, then explains how to set the subwoofer phase and level to correctly match its sound to that of the satellites. Genelec thoughtfully included a sheet with speaker placement angles, and even a measuring tape to help the user place each speaker equidistant from the listening position.
I recommend reading the setup guide before attempting to wire the system. The effort spent in correct setup will pay off in improved sound.
Connections are straightforward. Run the signals from your multichannel monitor source to the corresponding 7060A inputs, then connect the outputs to the 1029A satellites. When the delivery medium will be DVD-A, use the extra rear input instead of “LFE IN” because DVD-A has no LFE channel.
(Genelec responds: Technically Bruce is correct, but we have discovered that some DTS DVDs that have both the DTS tracks as well as the same mixes on the DVD-A tracks do use the LFE channel on both formats. There is no consideration for the +10 dB on the DVD-A tracks, thus when using the MLP analog outputs on the DVD-A player, the +10 dB must be switched in on the subwoofer. This can be a very confusing point for even the most informed listener.)
I placed the 1029A satellites on stands behind my console and around me, toed in. The sub was on the floor, even with the front speakers and about two feet from the wall. In my control room the satellites sounded most natural with a little bass shelving. I adjusted the sub level and phase by ear until it sounded balanced with the satellites. Here are my impressions of the Genelec system reproducing some musical instruments:
Bass: Very deep and tight. Clean. Certain high bass notes seem to be weak. Perhaps this could be fixed by more careful sub placement and phase adjustment.
Piano: Clear, well defined, not tubby. Slightly edgy or metallic in the midrange.
Drums and kick drum: Very good impact.
Cymbals and percussion: Smooth, with extended high frequencies.
Acoustic guitar: Clear, natural, palpable.
Sax: Mostly natural but seems to lack body or warmth. This could be fixed by resetting the tone controls.
Electric guitar: Lots of edge or “bite.” Not puffy in the lower mids.
Strings, brass and woodwinds: Slightly forward, hard or metallic.
The stereo imaging was razor sharp and depth was well reproduced. These are finely detailed speakers which reveal the microstructure of transients and reverberation. Listening fatigue was low, but I was a bit annoyed at the forward, slightly hard-edged sound. At least this characteristic tends to prevent the user from creating harsh mixes. In fact, mixes done on the Genelec system translated well to other speakers.
The Genelec PowerPak system response is very wide range and flat except for a slight-but-audible midrange emphasis between 1,000 and 5,000 Hz. System distortion is extremely low and transient response is exceptional. The frequency response can be adapted to any environment. What’s more, the system can be set up in a variety of configurations.
Genelec’s superbly engineered PowerPak – five 1029As and a 7060A subwoofer – is an excellent, compact surround monitoring system.
NHT Pro A20 monitors; Sony PCM-R300 DAT recorder; Philips CD 910 compact disc player; Goldline TEF-20 sound analyzer; Crown CM-150 measurement microphone.