A large collection of frequently asked questions and answers are available below. They are available and sorted under a number of Answers Categories.
Use and Installation
Are Genelec systems suitable for installation in rooms with very high humidity and temperature (IP65 requirements)?
Genelec products are designed to be used indoors and in spaces that have controlled temperature and humidity. In hot and tropical countries, broadcasting stations, radio, TV and recording studios usually have air conditioning systems to keep such environmental factors under control. It is not recommended, for example, to use Genelec products in an environment where the ambient temperature is above 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). More details on the environmental requirements are available from the Genelec factory on request.
Can I use two or more monitors close to each other (like in a PA system) or is it better to just use one large monitor on each channel?
Always use one monitor for each channel. PA systems use multiple parallel drivers to increase maximum SPL or coverage area. However, this technique typically results in coloration of the audio due to interference from adjacent sound sources.
The big disadvantage of most PA systems is that they do not have a smooth power response. This is not an acceptable situation for studio monitoring intended for hearing very accurately small details in the audio signal.
The exception to this rule is with subwoofers. There are advantages in positioning them close to each other and the audio quality is not compromised at very low frequencies. So, in conclusion:
- Use only one monitor for each reproduction channel for an accurate frequency response
- To gain SPL, move the listening position closer to the monitors or use a larger model in the Genelec range
Do I need to leave space behind the monitor for cooling?
We recommend you leave about 50 mm (2 in) space behind the monitor. If the monitor is installed in a recess, ensure that there is sufficient air circulation behind the monitor to keep the amplifier cool.
How can I mount my speaker system on a stand, onto a wall or ceiling?
A wide range of mounting accessories is available from Genelec, from floor and table stands, ceiling and wall mounts, flush-mounting and rack-mounting kits to wall mountings.
For a complete overview of our current offering, please visit our Accessories page.
How do I know which Genelec model to choose for my application?
The Genelec range has a speaker model for every application.
As you move through the range from a physically small product to larger ones the following benefits are typically gained:
- Increasing maximum sound output level
- Decreasing low frequency cut-off
- Directivity control extends down to lower frequencies
You can be sure that the entire Genelec range offers unparalleled consistency of sound quality across all of its models.
In which countries can I use my speaker, what are standard mains voltages?
Certain Genelec speakers and subwoofers offer a wide mains voltage input range and can be used anywhere in the world with the suitable local main cable. These products use standardized mains connectors on the products, so the needed mains cable can always be obtained locally if the product is moved to another country.
Certain Genelec products support fixed mains voltage, only.
Check the printing close to the Genelec product main input to determine the mains voltage and mains frequency the product works with. If fixed mains voltage products are used in countries having a different mains voltage, a suitable external step-up or step-down transformer must be used. Consult your local electrician regarding these transformers. The power handling capacity of the external transformer must meet or exceed the power consumption printed on the Genelec product.
What active speaker models do you recommend for listening to classical music, rock or jazz?
All Genelec models are designed to have neutral sound character so they can be used for monitoring and listening to any type of music. If you monitor/listen to music with high bass output SPL's containing low frequencies then physically small systems may be applicable for near field listening only, close to the monitor, and may not be able to output the lowest frequencies due to a higher system cut-off frequency. In this case we recommend a larger system for increased maximum SPL and a deeper LF cut-off frequency or adding a subwoofer.
What are the basic checks to do to make sure I have a good quality installation for accurate monitoring of my music?
Here is a basic checklist of things that you should do to ensure that you have a good environment for accurate monitoring. There are links to other answers that will give more details if you are unsure what to do.
Basic Monitor Positioning Checks:
- Ensure that the monitors are all placed at the correct orientation relative to the listening position; for standard stereo the left and right monitors should be at 30 degree angle relative to the main listening direction, at the listening location
- For products that do not support Smart Monitoring (products that are not SAM products) measure the distance to the side walls and the wall behind the monitors and ensure that the distances agree to within 1 cm (0.4") at least for any stereo pairs in your system (for example, the left-right stereo pair in the front). Do this for the front and also rear left/right pairs in a multichannel system
- The materials and construction of the walls close to the left-right stereo pairs should be similar for most accurate sound image reproduction
- Ensure the furniture and equipment in the room has left/right symmetry
- Clear the space between you and the monitors from all unnecessary equipment, e.g. computer screens and equipment
- Use pink noise and a sound level meter to check that all monitors are reproducing the same input at the same sound levels
- Use a measuring tape to check that the monitor distances to the listening position are the same. Listen or measure to ensure that all of the monitors have similar frequency response at the listening location. Use tone controls or GLM AutoCal in SAM products to obtain a flat frequency response at the listening location
- Ideally the frequency responses should agree in a ±2.5 dB window or better. If this is not the case, often room acoustics or monitor positioning are the reason for the problem
- If you experience a lack of bass level at the listening position try to reduce, or increase the distances to the walls from the monitors to eliminate acoustic low frequency cancellations due to wall reflections
- Use pink noise to check that all monitoring levels are equal. Also if the tone of noise is different, use measurement tools to determine why the frequency responses are not similar. A pink noise sound track is available under our Audio Test Signals section.
- Use a very familiar recording, for example male speech by preferably someone you know, to evaluate tonal naturalness. If you notice that the tonal balance is not natural then measure the frequency responses from all monitors to identify reasons for coloration. With SAM systems, re-run the GLM AutoCal calibration.
- Use a sinusoidal sweep to see that the frequency response from the subwoofer and the subwoofer+monitor combination has equal sound output across the audio range. If the level variation is large, move the subwoofer or adjust controls to give a flat frequency extension down to the subwoofer low frequency cut-off
- If there are reduction in sound level (frequency response notches) in the frequency response consider moving the subwoofer, monitors, or adjusting the subwoofer phase alignment settings
What is Genelec's goal when designing an active studio monitor?
Our design philosophy is:
- Studio monitors must produce uncoloured and neutral audio, thereby delivering the sound track content unmodified to the listener
- The monitor or subwoofer must add nothing in the signal, neither should it remove anything from it
- The monitors and subwoofers are adaptable to different rooms and installation locations, can compensate and eliminate room influence to audio quality, are reliable and are able to handle the heavy work load required in professional audio applications
As with any other engineering solution in the physical real world there are design trade-offs. The design of a professional studio monitor balances the following parameters:
- Cabinet size is minimized
- Low frequency cut-off is set to as low as possible, to enable the system reproduce also low bass frequencies
- Maximum sound pressure level output is maximized
- Sensitivity is set to the appropriate professional range while the idle channel noise is kept inaudible
- Distortion is minimized
Note that sound quality is not a matter open for discussion - it must never be compromised.
Acoustic and Measurements
How do I acoustically treat my room so that I get the best from my studio monitors?
This is a very large subject area covering room geometry, reverberation time, sound reflection and refraction, material properties, etc. We will just give a checklist of the most important features that a listening room should have:
- Ensure that the reverberation time is low and approximately constant with frequency
- Primary sources of reflection should be treated so that reflected levels are at least 10 dB down from the direct sound pressure level at least during the first 15 ms after the arrival of the direct sound at the listening location
- The front wall should be a hard and smooth if monitors are flush-mounted The front wall can be absorptive if monitors are free-standing
Once the room has been acoustically treated the studio monitors can be installed:
- Position the monitors according to the standard orientations (angles) from the listening position
- Position monitors at equal physical distance from the listening position, or use GLM AutoCal to electronically compensate for differences in monitor distances
- Position the monitors so that there are no cancellation effects from the side walls and the wall behind the monitor
- Turn the monitors towards the listening position horizontally and vertically
- Set the room compensation controls as suggested in the Operating Manual/Quick Setup Guide or use GLM AutoCal to compensate for the room acoustics in the case of SAM (Smart Active Monitoring) systems
How do I set the room response calibration controls (I am getting too much bass)?
Genelec monitors are calibrated flat in anechoic free field conditions. When the monitor is placed in a room close to walls or other boundaries, the low frequency output of the monitor increases. To achieve a flat low frequency response an adjustment of typically -4 dB on the bass tilt control is used. Genelec also provides a bass roll-off control to compensate for any remaining excessive LF energy around the low cut-off frequency.
Genelec GLM AutoCal can implement a more precise compensation after measuring the acoustic effects produced by the monitor’s installation location.
Differences in room reverberation time and listening distance can lead to changes being required in the treble region so treble tilt is fitted to most of the models in the Genelec range.
In three-way monitors and large main systems there are additional driver controls for the bass level, mid level and treble level which enable very fine adjustment of the frequency response so that the monitors can be placed in many different listening environments, whilst still achieving a consistent and neutral sound reproduction.
The best way to set the room response controls of a Genelec monitor is by taking an acoustical measurement at the listening location, using a measurement system for those products that offer local controls (DIP switches) on the monitor or subwoofer, or by using GLM AutoCal for the SAM (Smart Active Monitoring) products.
How to flush-mount large studio monitors and how should the wall be constructed?
Ideally the wall for flush-mounting limits the radiation from the monitor to the front hemisphere only.
Flush mounting studio monitors into a wall offers also other important advantages such as eliminating unwanted secondary sound radiation from the monitor cabinet's edges and nearly idealizing the radiation space. The result is minimization of diffraction effects, improved transient response and imaging.
Low frequencies are radiated omni-directionally (equally to all directions). The underlying principle of wall construction is that the larger the wall mass, the less energy transmission there will be through the wall. Therefore the wall should ideally be made of heavy materials, such as bricks or concrete. Any volume behind the wall should be filled with acoustically absorbing material, such as rockwool.
The materials you can use to make the monitor wall are:
This is the best material as it is the heaviest and stiffest. Unfortunately it is not always possible to build concrete walls into existing rooms. No acoustic treatment (rockwool) is needed behind a concrete wall if the wall is air tight. The surface can be finished with wood, soft cloth, etc.
- Bricks (breeze blocks or normal bricks)
This is also a very good material as it is heavy and can produce very stiff walls. A brick wall is easier to build. No acoustic treatment (rockwool) is needed behind a brick wall if the construction is air tight. The surface can be finished with wood, soft cloth, etc.
- Gypsum Board
Two to three layers of gypsum board are needed to increase the wall mass and to lower the wall resonant frequency sufficiently. It is possible to insert other materials, such as sand bags, wood and lead sheets, between the layers to add mass. It is better to put sound absorbing material, such as rockwool, behind the wall as some sound energy may leak through the wall into the enclosed volume due to the relatively low wall mass. These walls are typically constructed using steel frames. Use of wooden frames usually does not result in equally good wall characteristics.
Wooden walls are not recommended as these are typically not lossy and stiff enough and the unit mass of a wooden wall remains rather low. It is good to put some sound absorbing material, such as rockwool, into the cavity volume or the volume behind the wall due to the relatively high chance of sound energy transmission due to the low wall mass. When the wall is used for flush mounting the monitors, they should be mounted on a separate heavy stand built into the wall: a brick foot under the monitor stand is also a good idea to reduce sound energy transmission.
An important issue is to make sure the enclosures are installed exactly flush with the front wall without leaving any gaps or edges between the enclosre and the room wall.
Flush-mounting the monitors into the wall
To reduce structural vibrations due to mechanical conduction of the vibrational energy, the monitors should be mounted on rubber pads so that a resonant frequency of 2–8 Hz can only result. This de-couples the monitors mechanically from the wall and avoids structural vibration transmission.
For some monitors Genelec offers wall mount kits. The kit can be built into the wall and allows the monitor to be installed later as well as removed for servicing. The kits have been designed so that they ensure correct low frequency radiation while providing the acoustical benefits of flush mounting.
I am not getting enough bass, do I have a backwall cancellation?
The wall behind the monitor
A critical factor in the bass response of a monitor in a room is the distance of nearby walls (or boundaries) from the monitor. If a monitor is positioned freely standing in the room, the wall behind the monitor may have a strong effect on the output of low frequencies. The wall will reflect the low frequency energy radiated by the monitor.
This energy will be reflected and sums with the sound radiated by the monitor. See diagram below.
When the reflected sound is out of phase with the original sound, it destructively interferes with the direct sound, causing the sound level to go down, and causing a notch in the bass response of the monitor. This notch can cause a significant reduction in the bass output. For example, if a monitor is placed so that the front of it is 86 cm (34") from the wall behind it, the first cancellation frequency will be at approximately 100 Hz.
Consider the example above. The reflection off the wall behind the monitor causes the notch at 100 Hz. The comb filtering ripple between 1 and 2 kHz is caused by the acoustic reflection from the mixing desk surface. The tolerance of this monitor's anechoic frequency response is ± 2.5 dB. Any deviation larger than that range is an effect of placing the monitor into the room!
The first and best cure for the ‘wall behind the monitor’ cancellation dips is to flush-mount the monitors in a hard wall – also called ‘infinite baffle mounting’ or ‘flush-mounting’ - totally eliminating backwall reflection.
The second best cure is to placing the monitor very close to the wall. The distances below 20 cm (8") from the wall yield the monitor response unaltered (the cancellation dips are at or above 430 Hz). The resulting low frequency boost can be compensated with room compensation adjustments.
Finally, the third cure is to move the monitor very far away from the wall. Then the cancellation frequency goes down. But the direct-to-reflected level ratio also becomes very favourable, and the reflections from walls loose significance as the direct audio from the monitor to the listener dominates.
Placing the free-standing monitor in the room
To avoid cancellation of audio because of the sound reflecting back from the wall behind the monitor, follow the placement guideline below. This reflection happens at relative low woofer frequencies only. Avoiding the cancellation is important because the reflected sound can reduce the woofer output causing the monitor low frequency output to appear to be too low. To avoid the cancellation, push the monitor close enough to the wall. Typically the distance of the monitor front to the wall should be less than 0.6 meters. This ensures that the low frequency output is not reduced. The monitor needs a minimum clearance of 0.05 m to the wall to ensure full output from the rear bass reflex port.
Distances recommendation: from a single wall to the front baffle of free-standing monitors.
Frequency domain notches and distances from the single wall behind a free-standing monitor and its front baffle.
There are some different ways to solve these reflection problems:
- Select a room shape that will direct the reflections away from the listening position.
- Ensure that the back wall behind the listening position (the rear wall) is more than 3 m (9.8 ft) away from the listening position to avoid low frequency cancellation at the listening position. This problem often exists in rooms less than 5 m (16.4 ft) in length.
- Add absorbing to reduce the level of the reflected sound.
Formula for calculating cancellation frequencies
Quarter wavelength cancellation frequency
fc = c / 4dx
fc is the cancellation notch centre frequency c is the speed of sound in air at 20°C at sea level = 344m/s
dx is the distance from the front of monitor to the wall behind it
Minimum distance of the monitor to the wall
dmin =1.4 c / 4 f-3dB
dmin is the minimum distance from the front of the monitor to the wall behind it
c is the speed of sound in air at 20°C at sea level = 344 m/s
f-3dB is the -3 dB low cut-off frequency of the monitor
Half wavelength cancellation frequency
fc = c / 2(dreflect-ddirect)
fc is the cancellation notch centre frequency
c is the speed of sound in air at 20°C at sea level = 344 m/s
dreflect is the distance of monitor to the listening position via the reflecting surface
ddirect is the direct path distance from the monitor to the listening position
Small studio monitors are often placed either horizontally or vertically on the mixing console meter-bridge. Which orientation is better?
- Placing monitors on the meter bridge can cause the mixing desk to vibrate. This can affect the sound quality.
- To reduce mechanical coupling to the mixing desk, several Genelec monitors are equipped with a Genelec Iso-Pod™ rubber foot.
- A better mounting method is to place the monitors on stands behind the mixing desk sufficiently high so that the bass driver is not obscured.
- Mounting monitors vertically increases the distance and angle of the off-axis reflection from the console surface. This reduces sound coloration caused by the desk reflection (usually between 1–2 kHz).
- Below is a real world example. Monitor positioned horizontally on the meter bridge of a large mixing desk (red line) shows comb filtering at 1 kHz and extends up to 7 kHz.
- The monitor was re-measured in vertical orientation (green line). The frequency response is flatter.
- Positioning monitors horizontally causes a notch at the crossover when moving to the side. Positioning the monitor vertically removes this problem.
The imaging on my monitors is poor (room symmetry) - Why?
The room into which you place your studio monitors should always be symmetrical to achieve the best imaging.
- Differences in the direct and reflected sound paths from each monitor will result in different frequency responses at the listening position. This can cause the image to shift slightly to the left or right at different frequencies resulting in poor imaging.
- Symmetry applies also to the equipment in the room (which will affect midrange imaging).
Below is an example where the room was symmetrical but the equipment placed in it was not. The room had almost no absorption so the reflections were strong.
Figure 1: It can be seen that the left and right monitors 'see' different rooms due to the equipment positioning, therefore the left and right frequency responses at the listening position will be different.
This is shown by the red and green lines in the graph below:
Figure 2: The effect of the asymmetrical equipment positioning can be seen on the blue line which represents the difference between the left and right frequency responses. Any deviation from the centre line (0 dB on the right axis scale) means that the phantom image will shift depending on which monitor is louder. The imaging in this room could be considered to be poor.
What measuring techniques do you recommend?
There are a variety of measuring techniques that are available today but some are more suited for measurements in recording studios and other relatively small room environments than others.
Summarized below are most of the commonly available techniques and some tips to ensure that you can make a reliable measurement with the tools that you have available:
1/3rd Octave real time analyser (RTA)
Pink noise is played through the monitor and a typically in 1/3 octave bands, a graphical output waveform is displayed. The sound field in the room should become stable before conclusions are drawn about the measurement. This is a quick measurement technique suitable for subwoofer to monitor level balancing.
Spot frequency using sine wave and a sound level meter
A sine wave signal generator is used to drive the monitor and the sound level is measured using a sound level meter. This method measures the steady state conditions in the room which emphasizes the room resonances. This method is suitable for low frequency room resonance evaluation in highly damped rooms.
Warble tone spot frequency
This techniques is similar to the previous one, but uses a tone that has been slightly modulated to cover a wider frequency range.
Swept sine wave
The traditional swept sine wave measurement measures the instantaneous sound level while the sine frequency is sweeping though the audio band. This method is problematic as there are uncertainties in the settling time of the room response and the effects of possible system non-linearity (distortion) are not detectable.
Time Delay Spectrometry (TDS)
A sine sweep is used as the signal. A tracking filter minimizes noise in the measurement and selects a certain extent of the room response duration for the measurement. This is analogous to time windowing an impulse response. This method can suffer from a loss of accuracy at low frequencies (due to the tight 'time windowing') and the response is smoothed depending on the sweep speed and filter width.
FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) analysis based methods
Using FFT on an impulse measurement
This method measures the impulse response directly and then analyses the frequency response using Fourier analysis on a recorded impulse. Impulses are generated mechanically or electronically. This method suffers from very poor signal to noise ratio in the measurement, and is therefore often impractical or inaccurate.
Using noise (or even music!)
This method uses a wide band statistically stationary random signal (noise) and continuous Fourier analysis. A large number of FFTs are averaged to calculate the frequency response. This method is very low and unreliable at low frequencies. Noise can be replaced with any wideband signal, but this does not improve the performance of the measurement method.
Maximum Length Sequence and FFT (MLS)
A maximum length sequence is a pseudorandom signal having noise-like spectral content, i.e. energy across the whole audio band, but with very high signal level as the method of generating the signal ensures that a high energy level is obtained at most audio frequencies during each measurement cycle. Using an MLS sequence and FFT analysis achieves much better signal-to-noise than using just noise, and taking a reliable measurement becomes fast. Using the MLS method only works for linear systems, and does not produce accurate results when the distortion is high.
Using a variable speed sine sweep and FFT
The sine sweep response can be FFT analysed to calculate estimates of the impulse response and frequency response. The speed of the sinusoidal can be adjusted during the sweep. This can adjust the energy density of the measurement signal, and allows higher energy density to be used where more signal-to-noise ratio is needed, for example at low frequencies. Using the FFT methods can also enable exclusion of the harmonic distortions, improving the quality of the measurement. Using the swept sine with exponentially increasing speed and FFT is considered the method to produce the best signal-to-noise of all methods at the moment. This method is also available widely in general purpose acoustical measurement tools in the Internet.
What should be the target response of a monitoring system at the listening position?
The role of a monitoring system is to reproduce sound without adding or taking anything away from the original input signal. Modern recording systems have a flat electronic frequency response. To accurately monitor what is recorded on the hard drive or tape machine, the monitoring system also has a flat response at the listening position.
Secondly, onto the often quoted "final mix translation" issue, one can observe that domestic and car audio systems are generally improving over time and having better, i.e. flatter, frequency response. As a general note, a good mix should sound good on any system.
One exception to this rule is the X-Curve used in the movie industry. Movie theatre replay systems are installed in very large rooms (e.g. a movie theatre for 200-800 people) and the frequency response across the audience area is never flat. The Dubbing Stage must replicate this response so that the mix translates precisely to the Movie Theatre. Note that the soundtracks for the release of movies on DVD's are re-mixed on flat response monitoring systems for reproduction in domestic environments.
What types of damping materials are used inside Genelec monitor and subwoofer products? Are the materials safe to use?
Genelec products use various damping materials such as glass fiber wool, linen fiber wool and polyester fiber based material (PES). The table below provides detailed listing of our models and the type of damping material used.
During operation, the air moving in and out of the monitor loudspeaker or subwoofer bass reflex openings does not emit significant amounts of fiber particle dust.
The PES wool as material does not emit dust. The linen wool and glass fiber wool can emit a minimum amounts of dust during very high sound level operation. This fiber dust is not hazardous to health.
|SAM Studio Monitors||Damping material type:|
|SAM Studio Subwoofers|
|8000 Series Studio Monitors|
|1000 Series Studio Monitors|
|M Series Studio Monitors|
|7000 Series Studio Subwoofers|
|G Series Active Speakers||Damping material type:|
|F Series Active Subwoofers|
|Home Theater Speaker Series|
|Home Theater Subwoofer Series|
|4000 Series Installation Speakers||Damping material type:|
|Architectural Speaker Series|
Electronics and Cabling
Are Genelec speakers damaged when the red light flashes or is on for a long period?
The speaker’s LED becomes red if the input stage is overloaded, the amplifiers overload or the driver protection activates.
No damage occurs in this situation. The protection circuitry protects the speaker very well from accidental overloading. However, when the red light is on, the audio signal has been modified to protect the monitor. Because of this, the speaker should not be operated so that the red light is turning on.
Can I use normal balanced analogue microphone cable to interconnect my SAM Systems and their AES/EBU digital audio input?
Analogue and digital AES/EBU cables both have the same XLR connectors. However the cable constructions differ:
Cable specified for AES/EBU has the characteristic impedance of 110 ohms and wide frequency range needed for carrying the AES/EBU digital waveforms. The AES/EBU frequency range typically starts from about 0.5 MHz and extends to about 30 MHz for the standard rate AES/EBU. This is very different from the standard analogue signal frequency range. The analogue audio frequency range is typically less than 100 kHz. Different cable materials and construction are needed for the two cable types even if both, in principle, contain a twisted pair of wires.
If you use a standard microphone cable to carry AES/EBU digital signal, you may experience unexpected problems such as quality problems in the received audio, or devices not receiving the signal properly. Problems typically gets worse with longer cable runs. It is recommended to avoid using a microphone cable and instead to use a high quality cable specified for the AES/EBU digital audio signal.
How do I connect more than one monitor to a single output?
It is important that all connections are balanced. Note: do not connect the XLR chassis to XLR pin 1, as this will compromise the RF immunity of the monitor's electronics. A typical line output can drive up to 10 Genelec monitors and subwoofers. However, this must be checked case-by-case.
How do I control the volume of Genelec analogue speakers?
There are many ways to control the volume of Genelec speakers. Some of the ways we recommend are:
- "Monitor" or "main L/R" output buss level control of your mixing desk
- monitor volume controllers
- audio work station monitor outputs
- power amplifier output with a passive (resistive) level attenuator
How does the input sensitivity work on Genelec speakers?
Input sensitivity can be controlled with a combination of a rotary controller and level range switches on the products. The sensitivity on SAM (Smart Active Monitoring) products can be set more precisely using the GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager) software and a computer.
The nominal analogue input sensitivity in Genelec studio monitors is -6 dBu which produces 100 dB SPL audio output at 1 meter in an anechoic room.
The nominal digital input sensitivity is set so that a 0 dB FS digital input produces a theoretical 130 dB SPL sound level at 1 meter in an anechoic room.
The actual maximum SPL depends on the product capabilities and may be lower than 130 dB SPL.
How long can my speakers be on without powering them off?
As long as you want to. The idle rating for all Genelec models is very low and there is no reason to turn the speakers off every time. The ISS (Intelligent Signal Sensing) is available on most Genelec products. The ISS system puts the products in a very low power consumption sleep stage, typically consuming less than 0.5 W of power.
How to best use digital audio sources and optimise dynamic range?
If digital-to-analogue conversion is a limiting factor to convey the quality of fully digital system into high quality studio monitors, Genelec products have a dynamic range capability that is larger than the dynamic range available from any DA converter today. But in any system, any digital audio signal will finally be turned into an analogue signal to be reproduced.
For an analogue signal, there is a practical minimum and a maximum value. The low limit is the noise level in the audio system; the high limit is the distortion or clipping level of the system. In some analogue systems there is no significant distortion before the clipping occurs. In others, there is a slow increase in distortion that limits the useful signal magnitude.
The digital signal is represented by numbers. Usually the signal is represented with fixed point numbers. This means that we cannot represent fractions of values. Therefore, there is a very distinct minimum value to a signal, as well as a distinct maximum value. It is not possible to have any values outside of these ranges.
The dynamic range is the range of useful values of the signal representation. For an analogue signal, it is determined by the noise level and the distortion or clipping. For a digital signal it is determined by the largest and the smallest value of the signal we can represent.
Let’s take a practical example. A typical two-way active speaker by Genelec has an input referred noise level of 3 uVrms in the most sensitive 3-5 kHz region. The maximum input signal is 1 Vrms. This is determined by the clipping limit in the Genelec speaker, not by distortion limitations, as the Genelec products have been designed to provide maximum performance with digital sources. The dynamic range of this speaker becomes a comfortable 130 dB. This is enough to render the noise generated inside the loudspeakers amplifiers inaudible in all normal listening situations. The speaker can accept a signal that has a peak value of 1.4 V.
A digital studio may process audio with 24 bit resolution. As both positive and negative voltages need to be represented, only 23 bits can be used to represent the signal value. The smallest value is represented with one bit. If we use one bit we can represent two values (0 and 1). If we use two bits, we can represent four values (0, 1, 2 and 3). If we use 23 bits, we can represent 8388608 values. Therefore, we can process the signal with 138 dB digital dynamic range.
The problems really begin when we want to move from digits to voltages. This is done using the digital-to-analogue converter (DA converter). As the DA converter represents an interface between the digital and analogue worlds, it is plagued with both the problems of digital signal processing as well as difficulties of analogue signal processing.
The DA converter has an analogue noise level. This sets one limit to the lowest signal that can be usefully generated with a particular DA converter.
As we make the signal smaller, we use less and less bits. This is called digital attenuation (see Figure 1). When we represent a very small signal with only few bits, we can only represent few possible signal values. This is called quantization. As we quantize to a small number of bits we are making a rather gross approximation. This approximation produces distortion. And this distortion is very disturbing, if it happens to fall to such voltages where we can still hear the signal. High quality digital audio systems take special measures to reduce the audible effects of quantization.
We can never emphasize enough the central importance of the monitoring DA converters -- after all they are the main instruments you will use to decide on the quality of your audio material. As a rule, the DA converter should be of the highest quality because the problems in it will be reflected to everything.
Figure 1. The effect of digital attenuation.
Matching the dynamic ranges
To make most of our equipment, we would like to match the digital and the analogue dynamic ranges in the best possible way. We should match the maximum voltage that the DA converter can generate with the maximum voltage the active speaker can accept.
To do this we should first check what is the maximum voltage produced by the DA converter when it is driven with a full scale signal -- at this point the digital input is said to be 0 dBfs. Use a 1000 Hz digital sinus signal to make this check. Such a signal is readily available on most test signal CD records. Turn off your monitor speakers, play the test CD and measure the peak value of the voltage present at the input to the monitor speakers using a precision voltage meter or a high quality multimeter. Let’s say that this voltage on some digital mixing console happens to be +18 dBm, or 6.2 V.
We immediately see a problem. The speaker can only accept a 1.4 volt signal. The DA converter is supplying 6.2 volts. We lose 4.8 volts of the useful signal range. This will result in two things. Firstly, the noise level in the digital system appears to be higher than expected because we are mismatching the digital system dynamic range with the analogue system dynamic range at the DA converter. Secondly, the audio signal will clip at signal levels exceeding the 1.4 volt limit.
To correct the clipping the audio engineer may take down the digital output level pot (Figure 2). This is not wise. The required attenuation in our example would be 13 dB. The noise voltage at the DA converter does not change, so it appears that the noise level is left some 13 dB higher than it should be. We have lost a total of 26 dB of the useful dynamic range because the output voltage range of the DA converter does not fall on the input voltage range of the monitor loudspeaker. We are operating with only about 74 dB of effective dynamic range, and the expensive digital console operates with the quality of a 13-bit system. We have lost 11 of the 24 bit resolution. This is clearly unacceptable!
Figure 2. Wrong gain matching in digital domain.
The right match
The output voltage range of the digital mixing console should be matched with the active monitor speaker dynamic range by using analogue attenuation or gain padding between the mixing console and the active monitor (see Figure 3).
If the output voltage is too high, then we will use a voltage divider network to reduce the input voltage to the active monitor speaker. This also reduces the bottom noise voltage of the DA converter simultaneously, maintaining the maximum dynamic range.
In practice several attenuations may be needed to optimize the DA converter dynamic range for all listening situations. There may be different settings for low and high output levels. Such an analogue gain adjustments should actually reside inside a mixing console as a part of the monitoring output DA converter.
Figure 3. Correct gain matching with analogue attenuator.
If the gain needs to be increased, we have an exceptional situation. First check that you have not missed any gain adjustment, set the output gain to maximum, and re-measure. If you are still reading smaller values than needed to obtain maximum output from the monitor speakers, then we need a very high quality gain stage. The noise level in this gain stage should be lower than the noise level of the DA converter and the monitor speaker. As this is extremely unlikely, please recheck again that you have not missed some adjustment in the DA converter.
I have a stereo unbalanced output - 1/4" TRS Stereo Jack - on my equipment. How do I connect my monitors?
Use the wiring shown below. It is important that all of the connections are made otherwise there could be a loss of input signal level (e.g. XLR pin 3 left floating) or induced hum (e.g. chassis ground and audio ground connected together) due to ground loops.
Note: do not connect the XLR chassis to XLR pin 1, as this will compromise the RF immunity of the monitor's electronics.
I have balanced outputs - XLR or 1/4" TRS Stereo Jack - on my equipment. How do I connect my monitors?
Use the wiring conventions shown below. The 2-core method is preferred over the 1-core method as it gives increased noise immunity and less signal distortion. It is important that all of the connections are made otherwise there could be a loss of input signal level (e.g. XLR pin 3 left floating) or induced hum (e.g. chassis ground and audio ground connected together) due to ground loops. Note: do not connect the XLR chassis to XLR pin 1, as this will compromise the RF immunity of the monitor's electronics.
I have no preamp outputs on my equipment. Can I connect my monitors to the speaker outputs of my power amplifier?
Yes and No. Do not connect the monitors directly to a power amplifier output, as the monitor's input stage will be damaged. Use the simple attenuator design shown below. Be sure to make all of the connections shown to minimize noise interference. The 2-core method is preferred over the 1-core method as it gives increased noise immunity and less signal distortion. It is important that all of the connections are made otherwise there could be a loss of input signal level (e.g. XLR pin 3 left floating) or induced hum (e.g. chassis ground and audio ground connected together) due to ground loops. Note: do not connect the XLR chassis to XLR pin 1, as this will compromise the RF immunity of the monitor's electronics.
- Do not use this method on bridged amplifier designs as your amplifier may be damaged.
- Speaker wires should be used between the amplifier and the attenuator.
- Screened (shielded) wires should be used from the attenuator to the monitor input.
- One attenuator is required per monitor channel
I have unbalanced outputs - RCA or 1/4" Mono Jack - on my equipment. How do I connect my monitors?
Use the wiring conventions shown below. The 2-core method is preferred over the 1-core method as it gives increased noise immunity and less signal distortion. It is important that all of the connections are made otherwise there could be a loss of input signal level (e.g. XLR pin 3 left floating) or induced hum (e.g. chassis ground and audio ground connected together) due to ground loops. Note: do not connect the XLR chassis to XLR pin 1, as this will compromise the RF immunity of the monitor's electronics.
Is it normal that my analogue monitor red LED first light up for few seconds during power on?
This behaviour at power on is normal. The monitor red LED can be triggered by the protection circuits, an amplifier clipping condition or the amplifier thermal shutdown. During start-up it is most likely to be triggered by the amplifier clipping. The clipping is detected as a difference in amplifier input and output waveforms.
What does the overload protection circuitry do, how does it work?
The overload protection drops the level in the monitor or subwoofer to prevent overloading. Protection modifies the audio signal to protect the products. Monitors and subwoofers should not be operated so that the protection is continuously active (red light showing).
What sort of cable should I use for digital connections?
|Characteristic impedance:||110 Ohm|
|Cable type:||Twisted pair cable intended for AES-EBU digital audio transmission|
|Connectors:||XLR (male) - XLR (female)|
|Maximum cable length:||Determined by cable losses, maximum 100 meters (330 ft)|
Which models in the Genelec range are magnetically shielded?
Most Genelec products have drivers with reduced external stray magnetic field and are magnetically shielded. The external magnetic field varies slightly between product types.
How do I align the levels of a multichannel system (using pink noise as a test signal)?
The main goal in the alignment of a multichannel system is to set the subwoofer output level the same as the sound output level of the main monitor system. The LFE output of the mixing desk or decoder should be connected to the LFE input on the subwoofer.
The LFE input has the same sensitivity as all other signal inputs unless the ‘LFE +10 dB’ DIP switch is ON. The switch is used when there is no +10 dB gain in the LFE channel output. The switch is set to 0 dB when there is already a +10 dB additional gain in the LFE channel output.
What Reference Level to use?
To ensure repeatable results in the finished product, the SMPTE (Society of Motion Pictures and Television) has set standard monitoring levels for cinema post-production work. The SMPTE reference level at the listening position is 85 dB SPL, on C weighted/slow scale. The input signal to the monitors is -20 dB FS (rms) full bandwidth pink noise. The SMPTE RP200 uses an electrical reference level of -18 dB FS.
For music mixes, there are no standardized levels. The level that the engineer chooses is arbitrary and based on personal taste, as is the level chosen by the end user. The level is typically 75 dB SPL for television audio work and 75-95 dB SPL for music production work.
Manual Calibration of the Level and Frequency Response
Monitors are first calibrated to have flat response at the listening position. This is achieved by doing the following:
- Calibrate the monitor frequency responses using an acoustical measuring system with the subwoofer bypassed or disconnected.
- Then connect the Genelec subwoofer and adjust the subwoofer level, bass roll-off and phase so that the measured combined frequency response of the subwoofer and the monitor extends flat to the LF cut-off of the subwoofer, paying special attention to the subwoofer to monitor crossover point.
Alternative Level Calibration Methods
If acoustic measurement system is not available for aligning the system then follow the guidelines that can be found in the operating manual for adjusting the frequency response:
Level Calibration using a 1/3 Octave Real Time Analyser, Broadband Pink Noise and an SPL Meter
Connect the Genelec 5.1 system and play broadband pink noise signal (20 Hz – 20 kHz) through the subwoofer and one of the monitors, for example the centre channel monitor. Adjust the acoustic settings in the subwoofer and monitors so that the level in each band on the RTA analyser reads the same value. Then, set the output level of each channel to give the same acoustical level at the listening position.
Level Calibration using Filtered Pink Noise and an SPL Meter
You need to have filtered pink noise to calibrate the levels of the subwoofer and the main channels. You can use a copy of the TMH Corporation 'Multichannel Studio Test Tape' that includes the various test signals required.
- Pink noise filtered to a passband 500 Hz to 2 kHz is used for adjusting the monitor levels
- Filtered pink noise from 20 Hz to 80 Hz is used for calibrating the subwoofer level. Note: If the standard recorded level of filtered pink noises is -18 dBFSrms for SMPTE RP200's (-20 dBFSrms for SMPTE) and then the absolute level calibration can be made so that the sound level meter reads a level 2 dB lower than specified for broadband pink noise. This is because there is less energy due to band limiting of the band-pass noise.
- Connect to monitors and play the 500 Hz to 2 kHz filtered pink noise. Set the SPL Meter to C-weighting and slow reading. Adjust each main channel individually to have the same SPL level at the listening position.
- Play 20 to 80 Hz filtered pink noise through the subwoofer. The correct adjustment gives a reading 3dB lower than the one for the monitors because the C weighting lowers the reading in the SPL meter at those frequencies. If there is no HP filter in the SPL meter then the reading should be the same as for the monitors.
How do I connect the 7050B subwoofer to my 8020C's in a 5.1 surround system?
The 7050B subwoofer has balanced XLR IN/OUT connector pairs for five main channels and a dedicated LFE input connector for the LFE channel. Connect the signal cables from your source to the female XLR "IN" connectors on the lower connector row. Next connect XLR cables from the corresponding "OUT" male XLR connectors on the upper row to the input connectors of each 8020C monitor.
Turn the volume control knob on all 8020C’s monitors fully clockwise and switch the "Bass Roll-off" dip switch (switch 2) on all 8020C’s to "ON". This switch actuates an 85 Hz high-pass filter on the 8020C’s matching them to the main channel low-pass filter of the 7050B.
Alternatively you can connect to the 7050B a stereo pair of 8020C monitors by routing the signal cables from the source to the input connectors of the main monitors and an another pair of cables from the main monitors' output connectors to the "IN" connectors on the 7050B. In this configuration the volume controls on the main monitors affect the playback level of the 7050B too. The "Bass Roll-off" switch on the main monitors must also be switched to "ON" (switch 2).
How do I wire-up and configure a surround sound system?
We recommend running the audio signal cables first to the subwoofer(s) and from there to the monitors. When the subwoofer has less outputs than the number of subwoofers, the usual choice is to run the front monitors via the subwoofer and the rear/side monitors directly. Then, the subwoofer will only aid the front monitors in low frequency reproduction.
When the Smart Active Monitoring (SAM) uses distributed bass management the audio signals can be routed in any order to subwoofers and monitors. The bass management settings will be accomplished in the Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM) software during the setup. The important aspect is that the same audio signal must run to the monitors and subwoofers for all the monitors that need subwoofer support.
How does the subwoofer +10 dB LFE level function work?
The LFE channel is usually recorded 10 dB lower than the main channels so that there is 10 dB of extra level (headroom) available.
Most processors automatically add 10 dB to the LFE channel to restore the level in the LFE channel. The subwoofer sensitivity must be the same as the sensitivity in the main monitors. Then, the LFE channel level selection is set to ‘0 dB’ gain setting in the subwoofer.
The monitors should have a flat frequency response for accurate monitoring. This is achieved by calibrating the main channel frequency responses as described in the FAQ: How do I align the levels of a 5.1 system (using pink noise as a test signal)?
The block diagram below shows the whole production chain:
Some medium format mixing consoles and many smaller consoles do not have the facility to apply the +10 dB gain to the LFE. To overcome this limitation Genelec subwoofers provide a +10 dB LFE gain selection.
How does the subwoofer test tone work?
Subwoofers can output a tone at the crossover to enable testing of the proper phase setting in the subwoofer.
Phase adjustment is done after subwoofers and monitors have been placed in the room. The phase adjustments depends on the physical location in the control room.
I am designing a new studio, what monitoring system is appropriate?
Monitor selection is based on few fundamental requirements
- What is the listening distance?
- Should a subwoofer being used or not?
A larger listening distance requires a larger maximum sound output capacity in the monitoring product. A larger listening distance also requires a better directivity control so that the acoustic influence of the room remains low. Genelec publishes a selection guide in its Monitor Setup Guide to enable this evaluation.
If a subwoofer is not used, the low frequency cut-off and the room acoustic influences the monitors and determines how low frequencies are reproduced. Monitors usually work the hardest close to the low corner frequency, so the maximum sound level will also affect the choice. If a subwoofer is used, the subwoofer extends the low frequency cut-off and takes on the workload at low frequencies, so the monitors only have to work down to the crossover frequency of the monitor-subwoofer system.
What is Bass Management?
Bass Management means that a subwoofer is used in the reproduction of the low frequencies in all the audio channels instead of the monitors. Bass Management enables easier installation of monitors in the listening room as the acoustical problems in the room can be managed more efficiently.
What is the LFE (.1) Channel?
LFE stands for Low Frequency Effects. It is an additional audio channel in a mix, not needed by the main audio, but adding the possibility for a higher output level for low frequency effects. These are typically related to explosions, and low frequency rumbles. The LFE channel bandwidth is usually band limited to 150 Hz by the reproduction system.
Where do I place my monitors in a surround sound installation?
The audio presentation is only created correctly if the monitor orientation (angle) is correct. The monitor locations are usually specified as angles relative to the listener facing forward.
For stereo and conventional multichannel systems the monitors are assumed to be at the listener’s ear height. If the monitor height is higher or lower, sound perception will change and this will affect the sound image.
3D or immersive sound reproduction systems also use monitors at multiple layers at various heights or above the listener. Then also the vertical orientation angle must be considered and should be correct.
Vertically all the monitors should be at the same height, however, if there is a viewing screen or window in the way, the centre channel can be raised by up to 7° - this is allowed due psychoacoustic limitations in the ability of humans to resolve vertical directions. Lowering the centre channel is not preferred as the negative effects of the floor reflection are increased. The monitors' acoustical axis should be placed at ear height or the monitors can be raised slightly to help reduce floor reflection effects and to give a less obstructed path from the monitor to the listening position. Remember to angle them down so that they still point towards the listening position.
The acoustical axis should be angled horizontally and vertically towards the listening position for the best flatness of the frequency response.
All of the monitors are positioned at the same distance from the listening position, i.e. the monitors should be placed in a circle with the listening position at the centre of the circle. The Smart Active Monitoring (SAM) products contain an electronic delay to enable accurate distance alignment even in cases where the monitors cannot be located physically at the same distance from the listening position.
The distances from the monitors should be aligned precisely. The timing difference between the two monitors in a stereo system should be smaller than 0.1ms. Sound travels in air 340m/s, so in 0.1ms sound travels 34mm.
Time delay formula
tdelay = (dmax - dmon) / c
- tdelay is the time delay needed to ensure that the monitor sound arrives at the same time as the others
- dmax is the maximum distance of any of the monitors to the listening position
- dmon is the distance of the closer monitor to the listening position
- c is the speed of sound in air at 20°C at sea level = 344m/s
The centre channel monitor is 2.12m from the listening position. The left and right monitors are both 2.46m from the listening position. The time delay required on the centre channel is:
tdelay = (2.46 - 2.12) / 344 = 988µs (so set the delay unit to 1ms)
Where is the best place to position the subwoofer in a room?
The best location for a subwoofer can be determined by trial and measurements using the appropriate acoustical measuring tools. When measuring a subwoofer system you are looking for a smooth extension of the frequency response from the main monitor low frequency cut-off (85 Hz when using the internal subwoofer bass management crossover) down to the subwoofer low frequency cut-off point.
The subwoofer typically is placed slightly offset from the centre of the front wall. This gives the following benefits:
- Increased acoustical loading from the front wall and floor improves the sound output in the subwoofer
- No acoustic cancellations because of the front wall and the floor
- Typically a relatively flat low frequency response in the subwoofer
If the sound is still not quite right then try the following:
- Move the subwoofer slightly further away from the room’s centre line. This modifies the way the subwoofer interacts with the room.
- Add a second subwoofer, located at some distance from the first subwoofer
- If there are two subwoofers try moving them to the front corners or to the side walls as this sometimes helps with problematic rear wall reflections.
Some additional things to consider:
- Subwoofers can be flush-mounted; the cabinet takes up less space in the room. No changes in the low frequency radiation load will occur.
- Subwoofer driver can face the wall. A subwoofer can be placed with its side along the wall. Make sure there is enough space at the reflex port opening (at least 50 mm). Subwoofers are not directional.
- Do not place the subwoofer front baffle (driver) more than 0.60 meters from the nearest wall. This avoids acoustic cancellations in the subwoofer output.
Other tricks to try:
- Place the subwoofer first at the listening position. Move the measuring microphone to different possible subwoofer positions (typically along the walls) to see which position gives the flattest response. Then, move the subwoofer to this position. This is called using the reciprocity principle of acoustics. It is easier to move a small microphone around than a heavy subwoofer!
Which subwoofers do you recommend for use with which monitors?
For all current Genelec products, please refer to our online Speaker Selection Tool.
For older discontinued subwoofers please see below.
- When using the digital inputs the 2029A and 2029B cannot be used with the 1092A and 1094A analogue crossover filters so the subwoofer is only for use with the LFE channel.
- The 1034B, 1039A, 1035B and 1036A are all full range main monitoring systems. They will be no acoustic benefit from the use of separate subwoofer systems.
- Subwoofers can also be used on the rear channels too although it is not shown here. Just select the appropriate model of the rear subwoofer from the 'stereo system' column.
- If space or finances are limited then the rear channel models type can be compromised slightly by selecting the next sized model down in the Genelec range. For example, use a 1031A instead of a 1032A.
When two subwoofers are positioned close to one another mutual coupling is the fortunate by-product. This is due to the long wavelengths, associated with low frequencies, causing constructive superimposition. For mutual coupling the subwoofers must be place within ½ a wavelength of one another (85 Hz upper crossover frequency ½ wavelength is approx. 2m).
Are there any advantages if I use SAM Systems with an analogue mixing console?
In the case of SAM Systems, GLM AutoCal, the GLM control network and its user interface work with both analogue and AES/EBU digital input signals.
Can I connect SAM Systems to an Ethernet network and control them from another room?
No, do not connect the control network to an Ethernet signal. Even if SAM control network uses CAT cabling the data in the cables is not Ethernet data.
Can I install the GLM software on another computer?
The GLM Loudspeaker Manager Package comes with a site license. You are free to install GLM to as many computers as you need.
Can I mix Analogue 8000 Series with the SAM Systems?
The analogue input sensitivity of Analogue and SAM Series monitors is the same. However, SAM systems exhibit a slightly larger latency (< 5 ms), therefore Analogue and SAM monitors should not be mixed in a stereo pair.
Can I upgrade my SAM monitor or subwoofer?
No. It is not feasible to upgrade old products. The main reason is the differences in internal mechanics and component designs.
Can I use a 7000 Series subwoofer with SAM monitors?
Yes, when an analogue signal source is used. The analogue signal first goes to the 7000A Series subwoofer and then onwards to the analogue inputs of the SAM monitors.
Can I use any microphone and pre-amplifier with SAM Systems?
The 8300A Calibration Microphone works with the GLM Network Interface. The microphone has been calibrated during manufactured by Genelec, and the data used by AutoCal to compensate for the microphone off-axis response. No other microphone will work accurately in this system, which is why the 8300A Calibration Microphone is included in the GLM User Kit Package.
Can I use S/P-DIF instead of AES/EBU digital audio?
The SAM Systems digital inputs have be designed for AES/EBU signals. S/P-DIF and AES 3-id signals may be used but the cable length from the audio source to the monitor must be short, preferably less than 2 meters, and the use of an impedance converter is recommended. The impedance converter allows the 75-ohm S/P-DIF source to work properly with a 110-ohm AES/EBU receiver.
Can I use SAM Subwoofers with 8000 Series monitors?
The 8000 Series monitors have an analogue input. The 7200 Series SAM subwoofers have AES/EBU digital outputs only. However, other 7300 Series SAM subwoofers have analogue inputs and outputs and can be used also with analogue monitors.
Can I use standard CAT5, CAT5e, or CAT6 Ethernet cable with SAM products?
Yes. The GLM network uses standard Ethernet cables to connect together all the loudspeakers and subwoofers on the network. The data rate used in the GLM Control network is low by Ethernet standards and is therefore an easy signal to transmit reliably.
Can I use the GLM 1.0 Network Interface Device and software with 8300 and 7300 Series SAM products?
No. All latest SAM products must be used together with the GLM 2.0 User Kit and this includes the 8300 Network Adapter and the 8300A measurement microphone.
Do I need all cables sent with SAM systems connected at all times?
No. The only cables that must be connected are the signal cables and mains power cables.
The USB cable, GLM Network Interface and the network cables only needs to be connected if the monitoring system is being run in Network Control mode with the GLM
The Genelec Calibration Microphone and measurement signal cable only needs to be connected when GLM AutoCal is being run.
Do SAM Systems sound the same as the Analogue products?
The differences are in the steepness of the crossover filters and the slightly tighter on-axis response. When using the GLM control network and AutoCal, the monitor can be integrated into the room with greater precision and the differences may be significant.
How do I connect a 7200 Series SAM subwoofer to an analogue source?
The way to connect an analogue source to a 7200 SAM subwoofer is to use an eight-channel analogue-to-digital AES/EBU (AD) converter.
How do I make settings for different positions in the room and switch between them?
AutoCal can be performed for different locations in the room, for example engineer’s position and producer’s position, and the settings stored in individual System Setup files which may be instantaneously recalled.
GLM 2.0 also contains the monitor group definitions. In one System Setup File you can now define and calibrate several listening positions, calibrations, and input types as groups.
How good are the AD and DA converters in SAM Systems?
The AD and DA provide sufficient dynamic range so as not to be a limiting factor in the sound quality of the system. Correct use of dither and gain staging ensure that noise and audible distortions have been minimized.
How to upgrade the GLM software?
Software updates and upgrades will be clearly announced on the Genelec web site.
I am used to a high level of bass in the monitoring so can I have it?
The goal of a monitoring system is to faithfully convert the electrical signal presented to its inputs to sound pressure at the listening position. It should add nothing to the sound nor take anything away. AutoCal equalizes the response of the system to be as flat as possible thereby trying to get as close to the goal as possible.
If your target response is not the flat magnitude response, the acoustical settings in the GLM setup can be adjusted as required. You can always do this manually.
Is network termination required on the control network?
Termination is recommended if the total control network length is longer than 100 meters (330 ft). Termination is done by running a CAT5/CAT6 cable from the last vacant GLM control network connector back to the termination connector (labelled 'Terminator') on the GLM 2.0 Network Adapter device.
If a termination is not done for very long cables, some of the products may not appear on the network or receive all commands. If this happens, use a termination.
If the total network cabling exceeds 300 m (1000 ft), please contact your local Genelec distributor to find a specific network and termination solution.
Is there any software that conflicts with the GLM software?
Extensive testing has been done to ensure the GLM software does not conflict with any other software.
My SAM system is not working, what should I do?
There are a number of ways you can try to get your system working again:
- Read the System Operating Manual or the contact-sensitive help in the GLM software
- Read more of these FAQ’s
- Contact the DSP Product Specialist at your distributor
If there is a bug in the software, please report it so it can be replicated.
What about the phase shift from the filters?
Well-treated listening rooms and good quality monitors can be considered to be minimum-phase systems (small energy storage due to resonances). In a minimum-phase system the magnitude response and phase response are linked. Any change in the magnitude response affects the phase response and vice versa. Generally, the object of equalization is to flatten the magnitude response. This has the side-effect of improving the linearity of the phase response. Listening rooms introduce phase shifts and corresponding changes to the magnitude response, so the filters used to equalize a monitor in a room can improve the total system phase response.
What are the advantages of SAM Systems compared with Analogue ones?
If digital outputs are available at the source, the signal remains in the digital domain until after all the processing in the subwoofer or monitor is complete. The signal is finally converted to analogue just before the power amplifiers. This ensures that the best gain staging is used to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio, dynamic range and overall filter quality in the signal processing.
- AutoCal ensures that the Acoustical Settings in the monitors and subwoofers are optimally set for a large variety of acoustic conditions. This enhances consistency of reproduction both within and across facilities.
- All aspects of an acoustic system of multiple monitors such as response flatness, time of flight, subwoofer crossover phase, and level alignment are fully automated and optimized.
- Wizards ensure a pain-free and thorough setup together with extensive system documentation
- EQ stages in each monitor and subwoofer.
- System compensation delays for use with video displays.
- System Setup files for saving and recalling all settings.
- Genelec SAM systems support all standard AES/EBU formats of digital audio.
- The SAM Series will accept sampling rates ranging from 32 kHz to 192 kHz.
- SAM Series also accepts analog signals and perform with all the features and benefits.
- The Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM) is a computer program that provides control of all monitors on the network.
- Up to 30 monitors and subwoofer can be defined and controlled via standard CAT cabling.
- Functions and settings are stored in System Setup files or directly into each monitor.
- AutoCal is an automated algorithm that runs within GLM using a calibrated Genelec measurement microphone (included).
- Correctly sets levels, distance delays, phase (for subwoofers) and room response equalization.
- SinglePoint and MultiPoint microphone locations for one, two or three-person mixing environments.
- Interactive Response Editor provides visual readout of measured and corrected response curves.
What are the differences between 82xx and 83xx Series SAM products?
There are several improvements in the new 83xx products. The capability to adapt to the room acoustics has been improved greatly, and, for example, 8320 and 8330 products provide four to five times higher number of tools for room response compensation compared to the 82xx products. The delay alignment capability has been expanded from about 80 ms to about 200 ms in 83xx. 83xx have been time-equalized internally to have a constant input-to-output delay above 400 Hz. 83xx products can level align by 60 dB.
All 83xx and 73xx products support distributed bass management, enabling the audio signal to be passed unmodified from the source and through the subwoofer into the monitors. 73xx subwoofers support a multichannel analogue audio signal and stereo AES/EBU digital audio signal.
What determines the calibration used? Do the switches sum with the internal settings?
Monitors and subwoofers are under network control when there is an operating GLM Network connected to them. Then, the System Setup file loaded into GLM apply. If the settings have been stored inside monitors and subwoofers, they are used when a switch is set to select “Stored Settings”. The switches on a monitor or subwoofer have effect when one this switches is set to select “Manual Control”.
What do I gain if I choose SAM instead of Analogue monitoring?
The Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM) Package provides all necessary components to establish connectivity to SAM monitors. Complete network system setup and control of up to 30 monitors and subwoofer is possible via a standard CAT5 or CAT6 cabling.
The GLM includes simple to use step-by-step setup wizards to ensure a pain-free and thorough installation, access to extensive Acoustical Settings in each monitor, and System Setup files for saving and recalling of all settings.
As an essential part of the GLM software, GLM AutoCal is a fully automated acoustical calibration tool for a single room multi-monitor system which combines decades of acoustic research along with our proprietary DSP and network control. The AutoCal system produces monitor-generated test signals recorded by a calibration microphone to determine correct acoustical alignments for every monitor and subwoofer on the GLM control network.
What is the delay (latency) through SAM monitors?
The latency (delay) of analogue monitors depends on the frequency. The latency is usually of no significance. It starts increasing towards the low frequencies, notably close to the low corner frequency. All analogue monitors, both passive and active, exhibit this behaviour.
In SAM monitors the latency for a digital AES/EBU input, the delay is 3.75 – 4.5 ms, depending on the sample rate (shorter delay for higher sample rate). The delay in the analogue input is fixed to about 4 ms.
What is the network for?
The GLM Control Network allows for communication, control and monitoring (telemetry) with the monitors and subwoofers.
When should I run GLM AutoCal?
AutoCal can be run at any time; however, there is little reason to repeat the process unless:
- The monitors have been moved
- The listening position has changed
- There is a change in the acoustic conditions – equipment moved, acoustic treatments applied, walls moved, etc.
- You wish to calibrate for another listening position
- You wish the verify that the system is still working correctly
Where does the volume control happen in SAM Systems?
Genelec SAM monitors and subwoofers implement the volume control as a part of the DSP processing. Decreasing the value makes the audio sample values smaller. This is done using proper dithering and with sufficient dynamic range so that there is no increase of distortion or noise at any setting of the volume control. Because of this, using an analogue volume control cannot bring any further benefit.
The command to set the volume to a certain level is created in the computer user interface software GLM and mediated into all monitors and subwoofer using the Genelec GLM control network. No audio data travels on the control network.
Who makes the SAM measurement microphone?
The GLM Calibration Microphone has been designed by Genelec for use with GLM AutoCal and is manufactured and calibrated by Genelec in Finland.
Who should I contact if I run into troubles with SAM setup?
Each country has a distributor with a SAM Product Specialist who has been trained by Genelec. Contact details are available under Where to Buy.