Genelec’s Will Eggleston provides a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the S360 SAM studio monitor, as the company aimed to address music and performance trends, immersive audio for post-production, fixed installations and home theater with as small a product as possible.

This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Pro Sound News. Innovations is a monthly column in which different pro audio manufacturers are invited to discuss the thought process behind creating their products of note.

In its 40-year history, Genelec has taken many electroacoustic challenges and solved them by developing impressive monitoring innovations. The first such solutions would include the room response controls found on the very first product offering, the S30, in 1978. These controls allowed the audio engineer to best match the loudspeakers’ performance to different placements in different sized rooms. 

A few years later, in 1983, the 1022A incorporated the first released iteration of the Genelec Directivity Control Waveguide. The DCW, as we call it, improves the directivity of frequencies through the crossover regions and provides controlled dispersion, minimizing early reflections for neutral on- and off-axis frequency response (a result that has come to be known as a “wide sweet spot”). 

Other more recent key innovations include the 7000 Series Laminar Spiral subwoofer designs, 8000 Series Minimum Diffraction Enclosures, “The Ones” coaxial products with Acoustically Concealed Woofers (ACW), and our line of Smart Active Monitors with Genelec Loudspeaker Management (GLM) technology.

Genelec is constantly reviewing its portfolio and comparing it to market trends and needs, resulting in market-driven products such as the new S360A. In creating this model, we looked at music and performance trends—as well as immersive audio for post-production, fixed installations and home theater—and could see a real need to add a product that could address all those applications and yet be as small as possible. R&D’s focus was on three major design considerations: optimizing SPL with a compact size, delivering great overall performance and maximizing installation options.

Although the S360A is a unique product in our portfolio, truth be told, we had a general idea to start with: a sort of high-SPL version of our ever-popular 1032 (10-inch woofer/two-way). We knew we wanted this new product to be much more than that, but size-wise, it was a good starting point.

Related: Genelec Celebrates 10 Years of Its SAM Concept and Family of Products, April 19, 2016

The result is a 10-inch two-way, but beyond that broad stroke, the S360 is a much different sort of two-way monitor: one designed for a wide variety of demanding, high-SPL audio playback requirements.

Enclosure

The enclosure of the S360 is made of heavily braced MDF painted in a durable black finish. The S360 is also available in satin white. The edges of the enclosure are noticeably rounded to help eliminate edge diffraction. The compact size of the S360—its external dimensions are 21 inches high, 14 inches wide and 14 inches deep—falls somewhere between the Genelec 1032 and 1237. The complete monitor weighs 66 pounds. There are sets of 10 mm threaded insets on the sides, top and bottom to facilitate numerous mounting options for ceiling, wall, truss installations and floor stands.

At the bottom of the enclosure is a clever Iso-Plate that decouples the enclosure from any surface it may be resting on. The Iso-Plate works on the same principle as the 8000 Series Iso-Pod.

Related: Review: Genelec 1032C Studio Monitors, by Russ Long, Sep. 18, 2018

One can note the absence of visible ports on the front baffle. In order to gain as much real estate as possible for the waveguide and improve the efficiency of the low-frequency response, Genelec’s Laminar Integrated Ports (LIP) are designed downward, firing along the sides of the enclosure. This design decision gives the S360 the best of both of these acoustic attributes, while providing turbulence-free installation behind a perforated picture screen.

Genelec S360 SAM Studio Monitor - horizontal

Genelec S360 SAM Studio Monitor

Drivers/Acoustics

In order to meet the needs of SPL (128 dB peak per pair), low distortion and Genelec’s proven performance reliability, the thinking evolved to the S360 incorporating a 1.7-inch high-compression tweeter married to a newly designed extended directivity waveguide. This extended waveguide gives us a clear advantage in projecting short or long distances with neutral on- and off-axis frequency response. The woofer is a custom-designed 10-inch minimal distortion unit based on our Master Series offerings, with the enclosure tuned to 39 Hz.

Electronics

The S360A incorporates numerous electronic innovations. Amplification is provided via Genelec-designed Class-D modules supplying 250W for the woofer and 100W for the high-compression tweeter, with the appropriate protection circuitry to protect both the amps and drivers. The S360A is also part of our range of active monitors employing the Smart Active Monitoring and GLM technologies, alongside 20 other models of subwoofers, two-ways and three-ways. The integration of GLM means total system control, automated room calibration, time-of-flight, level matching, SPL calibration, adjustable bass management filtering and much more. Another impressive innovation incorporated into the S360 is linear phase response filtering and constant Group delay from 20 kHz down to 100 Hz. Both analog and AES digital inputs are supported, as well as a full complement of standalone dip switches if GLM cannot be used. The rear-mounted amp module is removable and can be installed into electronics racks with our optional remote amp kit.

Related: Genelec Unveils High-SPL Smart Active Monitors, Aug. 7, 2018

Final Result

The S360 is a member of our Master Series of active main monitors. It is the first two-way in our range that incorporates a high-compression tweeter. It’s designed for anyone who requires a traditional-looking two-way monitor capable of high SPL but doesn’t have the space or the budget for the Genelec 1237. The S360’s fusion of high SPL, long throw dispersion and clarity, and compact size makes it perfect for demanding film, post- and music production, including live-play monitoring and music club installations. In combination with a subwoofer like the Genelec 7380 or 7382, the S360 satisfies the demands of immersive cinema mixing, EDM playback and mixing, and premium home theaters. When I received the first prototypes, I was told to take them for a brutal test run and drive them into the red for as long as I wanted. I can conclude that the S360 is seemingly indestructible, while at the same time providing uncompromised studio-quality sound. The S360 decibel-to-dollars intersection is indeed an innovative sweet spot when configuring high-SPL, high-quality monitor systems.

Will Eggleston is technical marketing director for Genelec USA.

Genelec • www.genelec.com

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