For applications centered around computers, such as a producer approving mixes from his office or an engineer mixing on a laptop, typical studio monitors are not always practical or effective, though quality playback remains crucial. Genelec has addressed the needs of this class of professional listener with a no-compromise system designed specifically for computer interface and desktop monitoring. The diminutive 6010A loudspeaker follows the form and function of Genelec's 8000 series in a sub-compact format. When married with the companion 5040A subwoofer, the result is a full bandwidth, full fidelity system for stereo and surround monitoring, tailored to the application.
The 6010A loudspeakers stand a bit over 7 1/2" high with a 4 3/4" width and 4 1/2" depth, weighing in at just over 3 lbs. The housing is cast aluminum (available in white, silver or dark gray) in the now familiar Genelec Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE) with their Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW). The twoway system features a 3" woofer and 3/4" metal dome tweeter with internal biamplification rated at 12 W for each component. Free field frequency response is rated at 74 Hz to 18 kHz (+/- 2.5 dB). A stereo pair is rated to produce 102 dB SPL peak output (half space @ 1m, with music program).
The 5040A is a down-firing cast aluminum dome subwoofer that stands just under 10" with a 12" diameter and weighing just under 14 lbs. A 40 W internal amp drives a 6 1/2" woofer. Frequency response is rated at 35 Hz to 85 Hz (LFE channel to 120Hz) with a 98 dB SPL (half space @ 1m with short term sine waves).
The 6010As can be used without the 5040A, fed directly from the unbalanced stereo mini-jack output typical to computer outputs and iPods, the preamp outputs of a receiver and so on (input to the 6010As is via RCA jacks). The performance is, as one would expect, light years beyond those of typical computer speakers.
The additional capabilities of the 5040A are what make this combination of speakers a true system, well beyond the obvious LF extension. The sub incorporates a full bass management system for up to 5.1 surround (including LFE input). A stereo mini jack and an RCA pair accommodate front-channel input (both can be used simultaneously). All other inputs and outputs utilize RCA jacks save for one additional 1/8" mini jack for the delightful wired volume control supplied with the 5040A—also in a die-cast housing shaped exactly like the 5040A in miniature. Also included are LF phase control in 90-degree steps and sub level control. Both the 6010As and the 5040A incorporate dip-switch controls for LF control—roll-off on the 5040A; "bass tilt" shelving filters and a 200 Hz centered 4 dB filter to compensate for desktop reflections in the 6010A.
Setup of the 6010As and 5040A is a snap, even without Genelec's quick setup guide. For optimum performance, however, it's hoped the user will at least follow the simple steps outlined to calibrate the sub phase and adjust the various dip-switch settings for a given installation. I both followed the guidelines and rang out the system with a Sencore SP495 Audio Consultant test set. Aside from a minor level tweak to the sub volume when aided by measurement, I got my best performance with the settings in the positions Genelec recommends in the setup guide—hardly surprising, these guys are pros.
I've reviewed a num er of different Genelec 8000 models since the line's inception finding markedly consistent performance — the significant differences between models of the analog-only branch of the line being the LF extension. That consistency holds true with the 6010As—clarity, transient performance, imaging and balance are all excellent. The 5040A is a solid-performing subwoofer, perhaps not quite, as expected, in the class of Genelec's superlative 7000 series, but smoothly and seamlessly extending the low end of the 6010As. I listened to reference material on the system over an extended period with no fatigue and great satisfaction, be the source a computer, iPod or the line out of my Benchmark DAC1.
Described by Genelec as a "first step" into professional monitoring for fixed installation, home, studio, and portable use, the 6010A/5040A system has the quality necessary to be considered in many applications a logical final step to improve desktop and small environment monitoring in both form and function.
Frank Wells, formerly a radio broadcast and recording studio technician, is the editor of Pro Sound News and the editorial director of Pro Audio Review.