Genelec G One & F One Desktop Speaker System
Aside from writing about lots of lovely gadgets for this and various other websites, this writer’s first love is making and performing music with our band Red Box. Well we’ve just finished mixing our new album ‘Chase the Setting Sun’ with the esteemed Clint Murphy using his large pair of Genelec 8050B Studio Monitors. As a lover of music (and sometime audio critic), I was blown away as much by the their presence, attack and massive soundstage as I was by their warmth and lush cosiness.
Genelec is one of the most esteemed brands in studio land – in fact it would be easier to count the studios that don’t use them. So, I naturally immediately found myself on the Genelec website and what did I see? A whole range of both studio and consumer monitors in a wide range of sizes, that’s what. Being a big fan of small, high-quality desktop speakers that don’t take up any room, I alighted on the G One model and called in a pair to review. The nice marketing man at Genelec (a longstanding and highly regarded Finnish audio company) suggested I tried them with the matching F One subwoofer and who was I to disagree?
But first a little digression… For some unfathomable reason, the audio industry continues to separate domestic audio from studio audio. This confuses me since surely any listener would wish to choose a speaker of the same style as the producer produced the music on? Professionals will tell you that domestic hi-fi speakers produce a slightly different sound spectrum than studio monitors; home hi-fi is usually a bit warmer and silkier. But to me that’s a bit like viewing a Picasso painting from behind some smoked glass. Surely you’d want to hear an album in the same way its makers did?
Anyway, I now have two little G Ones sitting in front of me while I listen to our album mixes and I am simply staggered at how articulate and warm they sound. They’re only 195mm tall but the detail and bottom end coming out of them is exemplary, especially when attached to the F One subwoofer. Our new music sounds exactly the same as it did on those bigger Genelecs in the studio; really, these titchy beauties (available in matt black or matt Apple white) are just such a pleasure to listen to. I’m hearing parts I’d forgotten we recorded and, despite their diminutive size, they go really loud without showing any sign of distortion. Stage presence, detail and attack are all present and correct. The top end and mid range are as smooth as silk and so easy on the ear. To say I’m impressed is a massive understatement. I’ve since been told that the G Ones are pretty much the same as the studio-spec 8010A monitor and that doesn’t surprise me.
Set up is very easy and for extra pizzazz I’m running them through an Apogee DAC. The bass level coming from the F One sub, meanwhile, is controlled via a volume knob underneath, which isn’t the easiest place for access. I tried these marvellous speakers without the sub too and, while they obviously suffer a bit in the bass department, they still produced more than enough bottom end oomph to justify having them installed on their lonesome. The subwoofer also comes with a remote control for adjusting the volume when the main channels are routed through the sub crossovers; alternatively, just use your computer's volume control. It has to be said that there is a quiet hum coming out of the G Ones at all times but you only ever hear it when the room is silent. This is a common ground loop issue that happens when different audio components are plugged into different electricity sockets. You can usually rectify any humming or buzzing by plugging all the hi-fi components into a single power bar.
These speakers are not cheap, mind; around £550 for the two main satellites. Add the F One subwoofer (around €590) and you’re looking at around £1,070 for the full trio. Personally I think they’re worth every penny and, if you love your music, you will too.
The Genelec G Ones are readily available on eBay. Alternatively, you might consider opting for the 8010A studio monitors instead, which look and sound pretty much identical and are just as sonically fulfilling (the 8010A is one of the most popular home studio monitoring systems on the market). Whether you choose the G One or 8010As, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed because right now I can’t think of a better sounding pair of desktop/computer speakers for any money. And don’t forget that Genelec also produces four other ‘G’ sizes up to the G Five at 452mm tall. For more information, check out the Genelec website at www.genelec.com.