|GenevaSound L Stereo System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Monday, 27 July 2009|
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But that hasn't stopped the folks at Geneva Sound Systems (www.genevalab.com ) from taking on such challenges. The company has embraced a simplicity-over-gadgets philosophy, giving consumers high-powered all-one-one audio systems designed for CD, iPod and FM radio playback, at an attractive price.
The GenevaSound Systems comes in three sizes/models: M (medium), L (large) and XL (extra large). The M and L models have four 25-watt speakers, each in its own sealed chamber. The XL features a 6X100 watt setup and two 8-inch subwoofers. The units are available in three colors: black, red and white. I received Geneva's L model, in its newest finish, a cabinet fashioned from American walnut and an optional chrome stand to mount the unit.
Out Of The Box:
I was struck immediately by the unit's heft and build quality. The Walnut GenevaSound L (MSRP: $1,199) tips the scales at a hearty 38 pounds, yet comes packaged in a compact cabinet that stands about an inch shy of 1 foot and measures just 17.6 inches across and 15 inches deep. Geneva's George Emerson told me: “There are hundreds of hand-made steps in the process of the cabinet-making,” and it shows. One of my biggest peeves with so many audio products is the lack of finish choice. Usually, it's black or black. I'm happy to have a real wood option.
Without sounding glib, the most difficult part of setup was just getting the nearly 40-pound beast out of the box. Do that without wrenching your back and you'll soon be good to go. The Geneva is packaged carefully: double-boxed and held in place with sturdy Styrofoam padding. The cabinet is then wrapped in a soft-fiber cloth to prevent damage to the finish. My sample arrived in perfect condition. An accessories box contains the remote control and battery, operating manual and sound check CD, power cord, FM antenna and adapter, iPod dock adapters, MP3 player cable and line-in cable.
The designers at Geneva have put a lot of thought into the product. Knowing that iPods have become the de facto digital player of choice for so many, the Geneva has built-in integration, with included dock adapters for seven different iPod models, and is also compatible with adapters that come with iPod video and nano units. There's no need for additional wires or connectors. Simply open the iPod “door” on the cabinet's top, place the matching adapter into the iPod universal dock, set the player on its adapter and you're connected. Ipods can be controlled with the system remote or via keys adjacent to the universal dock. The dock also acts as a charger, keeping iPod batteries powered.
A slim slot on the cabinet's top – just behind the iPod door - is for CD playback. Simply insert a CD into the opening, with the label side facing the cabinet's front, and the disc drops into the slot ready for play. The remote allows users to scan disc contents, move forward or back and pause. CDs can be removed via the remote's eject button or by pressing the eject key in front of the universal dock. The disc will rise about ¾ of the way and remain stationary so there's no risk of your favorite CDs flopping off the cabinet and onto the floor. The Geneva reads standard Redbook CDs as well as CD-Rs and CD-RWs coded with MP3s. Each CD I tested played flawlessly.
Connecting an auxiliary device such as a computer, MP3 player, VCR, DVD player, TV or even a turntable, can be accomplished quickly through the line-in ports on the cabinet's bottom. Any such devices, however, must be controlled by their own remotes.
The Geneva's remote is self-explanatory, with each button clearly marked in white ink. Six bottom buttons are playfully labeled “P-R-E-S-E-T,” and are designed to, yes, hold six preset FM stations in memory. The Geneva is FM (only – no AM) ready and comes with an external antenna that connects on the cabinet bottom. If you want the antenna out of sight, it can be folded or snaked into the stand tube. For high-power local stations, this worked fine; however, I found that reception was bettered overall by leaving the antenna out. Doing so also makes it easy to move the wire for fine tuning.
An easy-to-read red LED light on the unit's upper right clearly displays the current function and volume setting. If you're playing a CD, the LED indicates “CD” and track number. Pressing the volume button brings that setting (from 0 to 100) to the front; the same holds true for the bass and treble buttons. When adjustments are complete, the light reverts back to the default display.