|Genesis G7c Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Monday, 06 January 2014|
Page 4 of 4
An interview with Gary L. Koh, chief designer of Genesis Loudspeakers
Can you tell our readers about some of the unique design principles used throughout the Genesis loudspeaker line?
Gary L. Koh: I've always strived for what I call 'Absolute Fidelity' - and with this, I mean not just being accurate with just the sound of the music, but reproducing the musical event and performance, with all the nuances, emotion, ambiance and the PRaT. I know that many don't believe in PRaT, but when you are at a performance of a jazz band, and all the musicians are 'in the pocket', the audience absolutely knows it and can feel it.
To achieve this, besides the usual measurement tools, I have a few recordings provided to me by my recording engineer friends. I was there either in the studio or during the performance, and these are straight, unmastered recordings. So, the feeling is there, may be the balance might be wrong, but when I have it right I know it.
Technically, we've built on the legacy that dates all the way back to the Infinity Servo-Statik One (Infinity is now a division of Harman and we are not associated with them in any way), through the original Genesis Technologies, and now Genesis Advanced Technologies. The servo-controlled bass system has evolved since 1968, and the ribbon tweeter has evolved since 1978. The G7c's you reviewed does not have the bass, but it does have the latest version of the Genesis Ring-Radiator Ribbon Tweeter (or the R3T).
It is not a 1" round radiator, it is a ring-radiator. Which means that dispersion is wide and uniform all the way up to 40kHz. In comparison, most normal 1" dome tweeters will start to beam above about 13kHz. This is because the vibrating ring is only about 1/4" wide - which translates to a point source that is 1/4" in diameter. The other famous ring-radiator is the fabulously expensive ScanSpeak Revelator. That has the same nice, wide dispersion characteristics as my tweeter.
The other unique design principle is that all Genesis loudspeakers are designed as dipoles. The tweeter on the back of the G7c is not for "increased ambiance". It is driven out of phase to the tweeter in the front. With the rear signal in opposite phase to the front signal, the sound cancels to the side. This makes the speaker easier to place in the room. The larger Genesis loudspeakers are dipole down to the mid-bass frequencies. The 7-series are dipole only in the high frequencies.
This dipole radiation pattern improves pinpoint imaging by reducing sidewall reflections. It doesn't create artificial "air" around the soundstage like bipole or omni-radiators. I like accuracy, remember? I have NEVER been to a live performance that has the imaging of some "clamp your head in a vice" type loudspeakers that many audiophiles like. Since I can't design loudspeakers for everybody, I design loudspeakers to what I think 'live' sounds like, and hope that there are other like-minded music lovers who will buy my speakers.
To help make Genesis loudspeakers as room friendly as possible, all my designs feature some form of control over the sound the speaker makes. The room is the largest influence on what your system sounds like. As I can't control the room you are going to put my speakers in, I let you do some tailoring of the sound the speaker makes.
On the G7c, you have a tweeter control and a bass contour switch. If you have a bright room with lots of hard reflecting surfaces, you can turn the tweeter down. If your room is draped with lots of curtains, soft furnishings, etc. you can turn the tweeter up. The bass contour is a passive "bass boost". Instead of using a port to increase bass performance, I use a trick in the crossover to do it. There is an impedance penalty, but most modern audiophile amps can easily drive 2 ohms, and I'm sure you'll agree that it does sound much better if you don't have a sub.
With the larger speakers, you always have a bass gain control. Because of the room height node, I provide an adjustable low-pass crossover in the range 70Hz to 135Hz. This will cover rooms with ceiling heights from about 8ft to 16ft. Together with the bass gain control, it will help compensate for some room bass problems.
The most important design feature that I absolutely must achieve is that I design Genesis loudspeakers for music lovers with friends and families who enjoy music together. None of my designs have a tilt-shift mechanism to tune it to the ear of a single seated listener. They are designed to sound fabulous to at least a couple on a loveseat.
A side effect of this is that since the speakers do not beam and cast a 'wall of sound' - they do not cast a sonic shadow when someone walks in front of it. So, someone standing between you and one loudspeaker does not cause a collapse of the soundstage. When you are at a concert and someone walks past between you and the stage, he may block your view, but not the sound. That is the difference between light and sound. If the speaker is designed not to beam into your ear, someone standing between you and the speaker won't block the sound waves either.
The G7c is very impressively made. Can you tell us a bit about the manufacturing process for the 7 series?
Gary L. Koh: Genesis products are assembled in Seattle, WA. Some components necessarily come from overseas, but every piece is extensively tested and measured before they are used. For example, all transducers are tested and measured and matched before use. Crossovers are built and tested for precise adherence to the designed specification. We even stuff our own thru-hole PCBs ourselves.
In the case of the G7c, the cabinet is imported. That was the only way to keep the finish quality at the top and the price down. The difference is that we hire our own production and quality manager overseas to ensure consistency of quality and timely delivery.
Most of the larger products are entirely manufactured in Washington State. I like to build somewhere I can drive to easily.
Lastly, can you tell us about any upcoming Genesis products, or product updates?
Gary L. Koh: I think what's unique about Genesis is that our products have a long life-span.... and we keep them updated and upgradeable as far as possible. We even re-manufactured parts for speakers manufactured all the way back to 1991. For example, the big titanium dome midrange used in the IM8300, Genesis III, Genesis V, etc. has the unfortunate distinction of attracting elbows. (*crunch* oops! sh*t!) Because there were so many requests for replacements, we made enough to hopefully last for a very long time. These speakers are already nearly 20 years old!!
The Genesis tweeter can be replaced by the R3T for lower distortion and even better sound. We've upgraded the servo-bass plate amplifier for the G500, G501 and APM-1. And the external servo-bass amplifier for the Genesis Dragon can be used for old G1's and G1.1's.
At CES we are launching a whole slew of products. From a G-Source to a new G-Force loudspeaker. For years, I've demo'ed with a music server. Then when people asked me how to build one, I've published the recipe and updated it, and even conducted build-your-own workshops. Unfortunately, there are customers who can't or don't want to build their own, and they have been dissatisfied with what's available. I get bugged so much that I decided to make one that they can buy that will be a plug-n-play black box.
Then, I have a new loudspeaker that will come in above the Genesis 5.3, but below the Genesis 2 Jr. An announcement for this will be coming soon.
The Genesis series of Reference Amplifiers have been widely acclaimed as some of the most transparent available with no sonic signature of their own. I made some improvements and updates and they are now even better. That will also be announced at CES.