|Genesis Technologies APM-1 and 700 Speakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Kim Wilson|
|Saturday, 01 May 1999|
The APM-1 loudspeaker from Genesis Technologies strikes the perfect balance between beauty and performance with its unaffected and true-to-life sonic qualities. The exquisite 11 inch wide cherry front baffle, houses two 6.5 inch metal cone mid-bass couplers, a 5.5 inch titanium coned midrange driver and two 1 inch planar ribbon tweeters. Occupying space within the same enclosure is a 500-watt amplifier that drives the single 15 inch metal cone side-firing woofer.
The ribbon tweeters are hand crafted using a super thin laminated membrane of aluminum and Kapton, measuring only .0005 of an inch thick. The ribbons are placed inside the speaker enclosure in a dipole design, producing sound from both the front and rear with one driver out of phase with the other. Mid-bass couplers are used as a sound bridge between the midrange driver and the subwoofer. The woofer is servo controlled and driven by the Genesis GSAT power amplifier, achieving low frequency response down to 20Hz at -4dB. The impedance is rated at 4 ohms and the speaker is very efficient with a 90 dB sensitivity rating, allowing them to be driven by either high-powered amplifiers or A/V Receivers.
The Genesis 700 loudspeaker incorporates its two 6.5 inch metal cone mid-bass couplers and two 1 inch planar ribbon tweeters in a similar dipole configuration as the APM-1's. As the 700's were designed to perform equally well with music or video sources, a rear panel switch is provided to toggle between two bass contour settings, one optimized for music, the other for movies (video). As the 700's were only used for 5.1 sources in my system, I left the switch mostly in the 'video' position. The 700 is capable of attaining a frequency response from 48 Hz all the way out to a supersonic 36 kHz. The low-mass metal cones used in both models provide maximum stability with super quick response, allowing the speakers to handle material with a ultra-wide dynamic range commonly found in movie soundtracks.
The two APM-1's were placed approximately 6 feet from each other and the back of the subwoofer enclosure was about 6 inches from the wall. This allowed the rear facing tweeter to be almost 2 feet from the back wall, resulting in greater depth and imaging.
On the rear panel there are controls to adjust the volume of the tweeter and midrange drivers. The Gain control regulates the volume of the woofer amplifier and the Low Pass filter sets the woofers crossover frequency with a range from 71 Hz to 138 Hz. I found the recommended setting of 95 Hz to work perfectly, requiring very little tweaking. The connection between your power amplifier and the APM-1's automatically provides a signal to feed the GSAT amplifier. It's also possible to feed a signal to the GSAT amplifier via the LFE (low frequency effects) output on an A/V processor. An input switch on the back panel makes it possible to use the dedicated LFE signal on movies with a 5.1 soundtrack or the APM-1's low-pass crossover for music playback.
The APM-1's were my main speakers and the three 700 loudspeakers were used for the center and surround. Since the 700's are video shielded, I was able to place one of them horizontally on top of my TV and the other two went in the rear of the room on perfectly matched Sound Anchor speaker stands.
Listening to two channel music sources was an absolute delight as the APM-1's produce a totally natural and musical soundstage, though the extraordinary height, width, and depth of the soundstage never appears too big for the source material. In the title track from Yes' recent CD, Open your Eyes (Beyond Music), the detail and imaging of the layered vocals are broad and engaging. None of the layers are masked sonically or spatially, resulting in astonishing presence. Solo instruments and vocals seem to be suspended in mid-air, creating a convincing and non-processed three-dimensional effect. "Prologue" from Dave Grusin's West Side Story (N2K Encoded Music) has the feel of a live concert with a fat, resonant horn section and tight, thundering drums. These speakers are so transparent, they will just disappear, which is quite a feat given their girth.
The APM-1's exhibit a remarkable spectral balance, with quick, precise transient response. In "Rattle and Burn" from Jesse Cooks Vertigo (Narada), his acoustic guitar is rich, deep, and full-bodied with breath-taking articulation. Vocals pop and seem to float above the instrumental bed. The strength and purity in Celine Dion's vocals are palpable in "My Heart Will Go On" from the Titanic soundtrack (Sony Music).
With the APM-1 and 700 combination, 5.1 sources are energetic and perfectly timbre matched, preventing any irregularity's in the front to rear tonal balance. The DVD Music Breakthrough (Delos) is a sampler encoded in Dolby Digital, where each track transports you to a different environment since each recording approximates the acoustics of the concert hall where it was recorded. The track with Mossorgsky's "Baba Yaga" and "The Great Gate of Kiev" from Pictures at an Exhibition demonstrates extraordinary depth and spaciousness. Tympani hits seem to amazingly bounce off the back wall, horns project forward into the room as strings resonate well beyond the width of the speaker's boundaries. On "The Chain" from Fleetwood Mac's The Dance (Warner Reprise), various cymbal crashes, tambourine rattles, guitar riffs and numerous percussive instruments almost seem to dance around the listener in this unique 5.1 mix for DVD.
At Bond's bombastic best, the Tomorrow Never Dies (MGM) DVD recreates the clarity and forcefulness commonly associated with the best film sound tracks. Track 15 titled Beamer Screamer, has Bond controlling his BMW 750 via a remote as he hides in the back seat from the barrage of bullets and mortars. This scene encircles the listener, demonstrating exceptional separation and detail. Chapter 20 features a motorcycle versus helicopter chase through the streets of Saigon. The music in the surrounds is far from subtle; it is powerful and pounding. The LFE information in the helicopter's Doppler effect is pulsating with gut-thumping force.
The subtle whine of the engines and the authentic creaking of the submarine's hull puts you right on the bridge of the U.S.S. Alabama in the DTS-encoded Laserdisc Crimson Tide (Hollywood Pictures). Watching movies with the Genesis speaker system is utterly engaging due to the near field monitoring effect. The intensity of the sound is dazzling, with unsurpassed dynamics and startling microdynamics.
No matter how great I find a product, there always seems to be a downside and, unfortunately, the APM -1's most obvious downside can be a real make it or break it for some homeowners. Weighing in at a hefty 240 pounds a piece, and requiring a room that will accommodate two speakers that are almost 65 inches high and 25 inches deep, the size of the APM- 1's can be prohibitive. Since audio is my passion, I'm not concerned that the speakers have taken over my modest 12 x 14-foot home theater, but for the 'speaker-sensitive,' the APM-1's could be considered overkill. A potential solution that would still provide you with comparable performance, would be investing in five 700's including a Genesis 900 Subwoofer System. This system saves a few dollars and takes up considerably less floor space.
The APM-1's are $9,500 for the pair and the 700's are $1,500 a piece for a black enclosure and $1,750 a piece for a rosewood enclosure. This isn't the cheapest speaker system you can purchase, but it may likely be the most satisfying. No matter the source material, the Genesis system performed magnificently. Few speaker systems can deliver the subtlety, delicacy and spatial characteristics of an acoustic guitar just as easily as it can recreate the power and force of an intense underwater battle.
I wanted to play everything in my library, to hear all the details and musical nuances I'd missed with other loudspeakers. If you have the physical space and the budget, the Genesis APM-1 and 700 combination is a worthy contender for any high end home theater.