Genelec SE DSP Monitoring System

The SE system is an ideal solution for small to mid-sized production rooms in need of precise surround monitoring.
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Since originating in Finland in 1978, Genelec has continued to provide necessary tools for precise studio monitoring. A few years ago they set the standard for sophisticated intelligent and automated room-correction processing with their DSP powered monitor series. Genelec continues this tradition with the Genelec SE (Small Environment) DSP System. The system, which includes Genelec's AutoCal self-calibration system and GLM.SE (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager for Small Environments) software, is a complete surround-monitoring package that provides a way to accurately implement intelligent and automated room-correction processing into a small-room system.

Features

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The heart of the Genelec SE DSP System is the 10-inch SE7261A DSP subwoofer. The SE7261A has been specifically designed to work with the GLM.SE software for a completely network-controllable system. The 59-pound subwoofer measures 20 and 1/4-inches high by 18 and 3/16 inches wide by 14 and 15/16 inches deep. Built around a single 10-inch driver powered by a 120-watt amp, the box has a 19 – 100 Hz (+/- 3 dB) free field frequency response. The sub's eight-channel, digital-only input is via four AES3 inputs (single wire/dual channel only), capable of 24-bit, 192 kHz resolution. The systems processed signal is passed to the 8130As in daisy-chained pairs. In addition to the digital control provided by the GLM.SE software, the subwoofer level (variable from 0 to -18 dB), bass roll-off (0 to -14 dB in 2 dB/steps), and phase adjustment (0 to 270 degree in 90 degree steps @ 85 Hz) can all be adjusted manually, if used in the stand-alone manual mode.

The SE7261A mates with anywhere between two and eight 8130A loudspeakers to create the desired monitoring configuration. The 8130A is an upgraded version of the popular 8030A box that includes 192 kHz/24-bit digital inputs as well as analog inputs. One of the unique elements about this system is that all of the DSP processing is contained in the subwoofer rather than in the satellite boxes. This reduces the overall system cost and resolves space restrictions because of the limited size of the 8130A boxes.

The 12.3-pound 8130A has an aluminum enclosure and is 11 1/4-inch high by 7 and 7/16-inch wide by 7 and 1/16-inch deep. The Iso-Pod mounting system makes the speaker just shy of 12-inches high. The two-way speaker crosses over at 3 kHz and is powered by a pair of 40-watt amplifiers. It includes a five-inch magnetically shielded bass driver and a 3/4-inch metal dome, magnetically-shielded tweeter. This gives the cabinet a 58 Hz - 20 kHz (± 2 dB) frequency response and a 108 dB SPL (@ 1 meter with music program) acoustic output.

The SE system in place at RingSide Creative in Oak Park, Michigan AutoCal provides fast, easy, and consistent acoustic self-calibration for the SE system. Using the included acoustic measurement microphone, AutoCal utilizes the soundcard contained in the Network Interface Device to measure all loudspeakers in the system; it also provides EQ for main monitor outputs and subwoofer, plus delays timing and level sensitivity for all main speakers. This results in a monitoring system that is optimized for the specific room where the system is setup. If a user wants to adjust the settings, AutoCal gives an accurate graphical display of the measured response, filter compensation, and the resulting system response for each loudspeaker, giving full manual control over the calculated settings.

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AutoCal is controlled through the GLE.SE GUI. The GLM.SE software provides flexible sound management. It is essentially a loudspeaker control networking system that allows all of the system parameters of the SE7261A sub and 8130A monitors to be conveniently and efficiently controlled. This includes main screen volume, solos, mutes, and bass bypass. Additionally, settings can be saved for any frequently used audio configuration such as multi-channel reference systems or subwoofer-assisted stereo.

AutoCal calculates the system's optimization based on the selected subwoofer crossover frequency, as well as EQ, level and delay compensation values. This information is automatically processed into each individual output to the 8130As, insuring that all channels reach the listener's ears in proper balance at the same time. Each channel also has two notch filters that provide compensation for any acoustic anomalies unique to the listening space.

The system supports three modes of operation: Stand Alone, GLM.SE Computer Assisted, and Stand Alone Stored Settings. This gives the user a wide variety of monitoring and adjustment possibilities. In the Stand Alone mode, the standard room response controls and sensitivity adjustments can be toggled with the dip switches on the subwoofer. In the GLM.SE Computer Assisted mode, the subwoofer's DIP-switches are ignored and GLM provides muting, solo, bypass and volume control functions. If the computer is removed, the system will operate in Stand Alone Stored Settings mode relying on the acoustic parameters stored in the SE7261A subwoofer.

In Use

My review system was the Genelec DSP SE PowerPak 5.1 system, which consists of the SE7261A DSP subwoofer and five of the 8130A loudspeakers. Genelec also included the AD9200A 8-channel 192 kHz/24-bit A/D converter. This 1U sonically neutral box provides eight channels of analog input via DB25 (TASCAM pin out) and four AES3 output on male XLRs. This made it simple to get analog source material into the SE system.

After getting signal into the sub, daisy-chained single AES3 runs are made to the front and rear satellite pairs with a third line running to the center channel. Dipswitch settings on the 8130A determine the appropriate signal for each speaker from the AES 2-channel data stream.

The GLM software was easy to install. It took me a bit longer to get my computer to talk to the SE system but this turned out to be a computer setting — nothing to do with the software. During the review period, the GLM software was only available for Windows XP. [According to Genelec, availability of Mac OS version software will be early 2009. — Ed.] A single CAT5 cable connection from the SE7261A connects the SE System to the small network interface box that is connected to the computer via USB. Fast Facts Applications
Studio, broadcast, postproduction

Key Features
Genelec DSP SE PowerPak 5.1 system — SE7261A DSP subwoofer and five 8130A loudspeakers; AD9200A 8-channel 192 kHz/24-bit A/D converter with eight channels of analog input via DB25 (TASCAM pin out) and four AES3 output on male XLRs (for analog input); AES3 connectivity; GLM software

Price
$9,795 (list for 5.1 system)

Contact
Genelec USA | 508-652-0900 | www.genelecusa.com

After getting the software installed and everything in place, I launched the GLM.SE software, which did a great job walking me through the necessary steps to identify each of the attached satellite speakers and confirm that all of the wiring was correct. I placed the reference microphone at my listening position, connected it to the network interface, sat back and watched the system self-calibrate. The system allows measurements to be taken from various points in the room, making it easy to have a preset for monitoring in the mix position as well as at the producers desk, etc.

Next it was time to listen. I unfortunately wasn't able to schedule time to do a surround mix on the SE System, but I did do a lot of listening — to both projects I mixed in surround and projects I didn't; I was impressed with what I heard. The Beatles Love album sounded utterly fantastic (It's probably my favorite surround mix ever), as did Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I listened to David Crowder Band's Remedy Club Tour Edition, which I actually mixed in a surround room with five Genelec 1031s, and I was extremely pleased with the way the mix translated onto a smaller system in a smaller room.

The Genelec system provides a unified panorama across the sound stage, allowing every sound source to occupy its own distinctive acoustic space. I found the subwoofer to be quite musical as well, providing a solid foundation for the entire system. Given the small size of the 8130A's, I was impressed by their low-frequency extension and by how well they blended with the subwoofer. I was able to accurately hear bass-guitar notes with seamless continuity across the low frequency musical spectrum.

I viewed The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to see how a motion picture would translate on the system in my small room and, again, was impressed. The thundering bottom end was reminiscent of a fantastic-sounding theater while continually providing excellent articulation. The sonic power of the system's internal amps is surprisingly good. The entire system performs accurately at volume levels louder than its rated specs would suggest, pushing my listening room to relatively high sound-pressure levels while maintaining accurate reproduction of the bass transients.

Summary

The Genelec SE system is an ideal solution for small to mid-sized production rooms in need of precise surround monitoring. The system is affordable, sonically accurate and with AutoCal, the automated self-calibration algorithm, the entire system is a breeze to get up and running.

Russ Long, a Nashville-based producer/engineer, owns The Carport recording studio. He is a regular contributor to Pro Audio Review. Visit him online at www.russlong.ws.