Few years ago I moved from my home country and I put a little bit apart my passion for loudspeakers, having an unstable life it is no easy to drag your beloved self constructed 50 Kg loudspeakers around in other countries. So my brother is enjoying them with my pleasure but I miss my beloved big boxes so good sounding!
So in order to comfort myself a little bit, I bought a pair of creative T20 for my laptop with a desktop amplifier. Well the gear did the trick, I could still listen to my music (tons of Acoustic, Jazz and classic) when I was a bit tired of having good headphones on my head (I have always been considered good sounding headphones a valid alternative to full range loudspeakers).
The thing is that those creatives simply can't stand to a high signal and one can forget about dynamics and get into distortion nightmares, without talking about tonal issues etc (but that's more subtle).
Anyway I was sick of those toys, so I gave them to my girlfriend so she could have used them for some little party and her lady Gaga's music (ahhhhhh brrrr lady Gaga :) ).
So I started to think: "What I need is two good sounding self amplified little monitors, very compact, very portable, but serious things, designed in a proper way, I will drop the idea of <60Hz frequency for obvious incompatible size and 'neighbours' reasons, but I'll look for steady, durable, loud and tonally balanced with contained distortion, monitors". Well not an easy task nowadays. After an extensive research catching up with the latest models from the always green principal monitors brands,
I ended up with Genelec and Audioengine, other noticeable brands didn't offer anything in small size, apart some Big ones with very poor products. I am thinking about B&W, what a delusion, the company that conceived and built the best sounding loudspeakers in the world, producing expensive crappy/low quality speakers with tons of DPS, helping them to overcome the design problems. Yes I am talking about the overheated/overestimated, stilish and fancyful MM1s for "Ipoders"...blahhh.
Anyway my two choices were the audioengine A2 and the Genelec 8020A or B. The first, very compact, with plenty of very good reviews from a very respected company, the second a bit too big and too heavy but from a company that really really knows its job, GENELEC, with capital letters. Yes at the beginning I even didn't consider the 6010As, when I saw them in the few and poor reviews I just laughed at their size, thinking about how could ever be possible that those little things could sound some decent music. Well I was wrong, I went to a local shop and I tried them out...wow was just love at the first sight and at the first hearing obviously.
The build quality is astonishing! Full metal cabinet (aluminium) the shape is simply beautiful with all those curves, exactly like its big brothers, with technical features matched with esthetically pleasing shapes, the white coulour and the cute look would satisfy even the most demanding wives and girlfriends!!
Ok nice but the sound? Wow that's the good part! This stuff is serious stuff, I mean the engineers that designed it in Finland (everything made and designed in Finland) know their job, this is a porperly designed mini monitor with a very good tonal balance (what you hear is a violin not a bow stroking a squared box) obviously with a flat response if you follow their indications and settings (controls behind the speakers). Mini but plenty plenty loud (neighbours already complained :) ) and without distortion even at the highest levels. If properly positioned the sound stage that these little deliver it is ridiculously granitic, so good and surgical that even 10X more expensive speakers cannot deliver. Jazz and acoustical music well recorded is simply fantastic, I swear that I never could hear the features of various percussions, I mean all the subtelties of the surface when it's hit by the percussionist, very very nice sensation for your ears. This amount of details is also due to the magic of the "near field" listening, but the little ones are designed perfectly for this purpose, that said for massive sinphony orchestra music there are obviously limitations due to the size, but, guys for all the rest they just don't fail, and the music for orchestra is a challenge for all type of loudspeakers anyway (even the very expensive ones) and you really have to spend a lot to cope with this music.
With my great pleasure I discovered that in a desktop configuration one can get even greater results (in terms of soundstage and details) if the speaker are not in front of the wall but towards the listener in the middle of the desk. This stuff is designed for "near field" listening, which means that they sound good when you listen to them from a short distance, particularly the little ones sound amazing a that distance, but also with a still satisfactory "room" distance listening. Also there are no problems at all when they are positioned close to the wall, with the genelec settings behind the speaker, the amount of accentuated frequency caused by the near wall can be reduced easily. As I said people at Genelec know what they do, few companies are so skilled and experienced like them, Focal and KS are maybe at the same level.
Lastly if you have got available space get the genelec matched subwoofer, and if you have more space and money get the big brothers, not the 8020As but directly the 30s or even 40s they are amazing monitors.
P.S. if you wait you can also get very good deals on ebay for the 8020As which also sound amazing, a lot more rarely you can get 6010as.
here the link to the genele website:
I might add some pictures in the next days
Edited by impermanente - 1/10/12 at 4:22am