Genesis G7c Loudspeakers 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers
Written by Andre Marc   
Monday, 06 January 2014

Genesis Advanced Technologies has roots that go back to 1991, when famed speaker designer Arnie Nudell founded Genesis Technologies. He developed a unique and groundbreaking circular ribbon tweeter, and launched the Genesis One model. Genesis continued to produce highly acclaimed speakers for years and in 2003, Gary Leonard Koh, the current owner and chief designer, established himself as a force to be reckoned with, producing even more technically advanced models, building on past successes.

Current Genesis models have impressed me at audio shows, and I have been waiting for a time when schedules allowed for a review of one of Koh’s designs. The Genesis line is varied and includes the amazing and very expensive G1.2 flagship model, the G2.2, the G5-series, the G6-series, the more affordable G7 series, home theater products, and a number of subwoofers.

Genesis also makes a reference amplifier, and designs and markets cables under the Absolute Fidelity moniker. You could say that Genesis offers complete system solutions outside of source components, though I understand a music server may be on the way. Genesis products are designed and manufactured at their facility in Seattle, and enjoy a healthy dealer network and distributors around the world. See the interview with Gary L. Koh of Genesis at the conclusion of this review.

The Genesis product for this review is the $6000 G7c stand mount. In the above image, it is flanked by the smaller, two-way G7p, and the floorstanding G7f. The "c" designation, by the way, stands for "convertible", as the G7c can be turned on its side to perform as a very high end center channel speaker. The review sample was shipped in immaculate high gloss titanium finish.

There is a lot of technology in the G7c. It uses the famous Genesis circular ribbon tweeter. There is also a rear tweeter that can be switched on or off depending on room boundaries. The main, front-firing tweeter can be attenuated with a back panel dial. There are two sets of binding posts, one main input, and one for pass-through. Two 5.5" midrange/bass drivers flank the 1" tweeter above and below.

The bass performance has been highly engineered, and a toggle switch lets you choose a setting for use with or without subwoofer. According to Genesis, "to achieve the delicacy, speed, transparency, and bass response of the larger Genesis 3-way systems with a separate midrange and woofer in a 2-way system, we developed the world’s first solid-titanium cone mid-woofer. Instead of using a reflex port to tune the bass to achieve a lower frequency response, we do it electrically in the crossover, and it is switchable. The G7c uses an LR-tuning network to optimize bass response down to below 50Hz from a small cabinet. This allows the G7c to deliver better bass when driven by more capable amplifiers. With entry-level amplifiers, the bass contour could be turned off so as not to over-stress the electronics."


Set Up & Listening

The set up included my 26" Sound Anchors stands, Transparent speaker cable, with the Rogue Sphinx 100w and the McIntosh MA6600 200w integrated amps driving the speakers. Sources included an Oppo BDP-105 SACD player and DAC, and a Musical Fidelity A90 DAC (review forthcoming). The G7c’s immediately allowed me to hear any changes made to the system, no matter how seemingly insignificant. This included speaker cable, power cord swaps, and more. I ended up with a little less toe-in than I usually employ, roughly ten degrees. I also kept the tweeter at the neutral position, and kept the rear tweeter engaged. The speakers were supplied with magnetic grilles, which I left off during listening sessions.

Genesis G7cOk, so there is tons of technology in the G7c, it is beautifully made, and is customizable. So how does it sound? In a word: remarkable. The speakers came in with decent hours on them, having done show duty at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, but I gave them a few more days to open up. But even out of the box they sang beautifully.

I have had dozens of stand-mounted monitors come through my listening systems, but none have offered this much resolution, immaculate imaging, and precision as the G7c. Other speakers have been more forgiving, and matched the G7c for coherence, but none have allowed me to peer into to a recording as deeply.

Listening to the remaster of the classic debut, self-titled album by the British band Barclay James Harvest, was thrilling. This somewhat forgotten masterpiece from 1970 was beautifully remastered and reveals layers of orchestration, pastoral, psychedelic touches, and great songs. Another classic collection, the Simple Songs Of Freedom compilation of some rare Tim Hardin recordings, was spellbinding. This is yet another excellent remaster that presented Hardin’s masterful performances in a new light, and the G7c just stepped aside and presented the music with no editing, omissions, or additions to this listener’s ears.

Jake Bugg’s Rick Rubin produced sophomore album, Shangrli La, sounded punchy, direct, with tons of drive. Rubin has brought more of a modern edge, with his typical stripped down production, in comparison to Bugg’s self-titled debut album. Bugg’s voice is very nicely recorded, as is his road-tested backing band. The G7c brought the whole thing to life in the listening room, and very much reminded me of how Bugg sounded live when I saw him this past October.  

The speakers were wonderful with romantic orchestral pieces from Villa Lobos, Ravel, and others. Listening to a stack of RCA Living Stereo SACDs was a thrill. The G7c was immaculate on the dynamic swings offered by Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition and Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The speakers also nailed the string textures on my favorite classical piece, Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade.



The G7c also handled jazz with great finesse, as I cycled through recordings by Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Archie Shepp, and Sonny Rollins. I also listened to quite a bit of rare, live, unreleased material from these artists, and was very pleased with the way the speakers handled the rhythmic complexity and how it revealed the distinct attributes of each venue. Horns, pianos, drums, and bass were tonally correct and were not lacking in body. Spatial relationships, between instruments, were also excellent.

With drivers made of advanced materials and cabinet construction as inert as the G7c, one can be forgiven for expecting an analytical sound, but this was not the case! The G7c straddles the line perfectly between a “just the facts ma’am” highly transparent sound, and an engaging, musical presentation that drew this listener in closer to the performances.

One of the things I really liked about the G7c is the fact it sounded just as engaging at whisper quiet volumes, as well as at near realistic levels. During the review period, I found myself often listening to the system very quietly for up to half an hour before bedtime, and being quite pleased at how the coherent the music sounded.

The G7c ultimately reveals itself to be an ultra low distortion speaker that is amplifier-friendly, with super articulate and tight bass, and silky, extended highs. The cabinet is engineered to offer virtually non-existent coloration, and the proof is in the clean, wide open soundstage and midrange purity. If one can find any fault with the G7c, it won’t be with the sonics or build quality. Perhaps there are more attractive speakers on the market, but that is in the eye of the beholder.

Genesis G7c

Conclusion

The Genesis G7c is the first product I have heard in my own system from the Seattle-based company, and it makes me want to hear more. At $6000 they are not entry level, and there are many speakers at this price range to choose from. But I would venture to guess few offer the wide-open, transparent, low distortion, effortless presentation the G7c does. The company’s legacy is second to none, and they service generations old Genesis products in the field.
 
The G7c is also very versatile with its adjustable tweeter, optional rear tweeter, bass response, and placement as a stand mounted two-channel monitor or a center channel speaker. The way it is built, it too should last generations. I highly recommend an audition of the Genesis G7c. I can’t imagine listeners who prize uncolored and accurate reproduction of recordings, without listener fatigue, not be being taken by the G7c.

Specifications



Genesis G7c

Frequency Response: 50Hz to 40kHz ± 3dB
Sensitivity: 87 dB 1 watt 1 meter
Input Impedance: 6 ohms (nominal)
HF Transducers: Two Genesis 1" circular ribbons (front and read)
Mid-Woofer Transducer: Two Genesis 5.5" titanium cone
Controls: Front Tweeter Level (+/-1.0dB), Rear Tweeter Defeat
Inputs: Speaker level 5-way binding posts
Outputs: Speaker throughput with 5-way binding posts
Dimensions: H 23 3/4" x W 7 3/4" x D 11" (603mm x W 200mm x D 278mm)
Weight: 30lbs (13.6kg)

Review System 1


CD Transport: Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player
Server: Marantz NA-11S1
DAC: Bryston BDA-1, SIM Neo 308D
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Rogue ST 100
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner,Salamander rack

Review System 2


CD Player: Onkyo C7000R
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to, Oppo BDP-105
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity A90m
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600, Rogue Sphinx
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, KEF LS50
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS



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.

Cheers
Gary





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