How does the input sensitivity work on GENELEC monitors?

The monitors can be divided into different groups for the answer to this question. Just select the section below that applies to your monitor model. In all cases the input sensitivity can normally be left at the factory default setting of "-6 dBu" (CAL position). Reasons for altering the input sensitivity are:

  • The volume control is too "aggressive"
  • You need to calibrate the volume control to a specific acoustic level in the room.

The input sensitivities of the GENELEC range of monitors should be sufficient for all applications especially when balanced line cables are used. If there is insufficient acoustic output level then the output of the preceding device should be checked and optimized. This output should generally be driven as high as possible prior to the onset of signal distortion so that any low level audible noise created in the cabling and source output is minimized. In all installations please check that the cabling is correctly wired and, where possible, use balanced lines to minimize induced noise and signal distortion. Even greater losses (and even tonal change) are possible if the negative connection has been left floating.

Select the monitor type that you have:
Two Way Monitors 8020B, 8030A, 8130A, 8040A, 8050A, 1032A
discontinued: 1029A, 1030A, 1031A
Three Way Monitors 1037C, 1038B, 1038BC
discontinued: S30D
Main Monitors 1034B, 1034BC, 1039A, 1035B, 1036A
Subwoofers 7050A, 7050B, 7060B, 7070A, 7071A, 7073A
Digital systems 8130A,
discontinued: S30D, 2020A, 2029B

Two Way Monitors

The monitors in this group are:

8020B, 8030A, 8130A, 8040A, 8050A, 1032A - also for discontinued 1029A, 1030A, 1031A

For maximum input sensitivity on these models the trimmer should be set to the CAL position, "-6 dBu". This will give an output of 100 dB SPL at 1m when a -6 dBu signal is presented to the balanced input. The minimum sensitivity available is +6 dBu to give 100 dB SPL at 1m.

The monitor requiring the highest input voltage in this range is the 1032A as it is the loudest one:




Note that the 8020B, 8030A, 8130A and 1029A do not have an input trimmer but have a front panel volume control instead. When this is set to maximum (fully clockwise) the input sensitivity is -6 dBu = 100 dB at 1m.


Three Way Monitors

The monitors in this group are:

1037C, 1038B, 1038BC (S30D- discontinued)

The input sensitivity is the same as for the bi-amplified systems as detailed above.

The monitor requiring the highest input voltage in this range is the 1038B/BC as it is the loudest one:





Main Monitors

The monitors in this group are:

1034B, 1034BC, 1039A, 1035B and 1036A

The input sensitivity of the 1034B, 1034BC and 1039A is the same as for the Three Way Monitors as detailed above.

The 1035B and 1036A models have a higher input sensitivity than other models in the range so that the maximum SPL output can be achieved even on mixing desks with low output levels. There is also an input attenuation switch that is factory set to 0 dB ('on' position) therefore, if required, an additional 10 dB of input sensitivity is available. The maximum input sensitivity is obtained when the input level trimmer is turned fully clockwise AND the input attenuation switch is set to 'on' position. With the input sensitivity controls set this way the acoustic output of each monitor is 107 dB SPL for an input level of -20 dBu. Note that this makes the 1035B and 1036A, 21 dB more sensitive than the other monitors in the GENELEC range when the sensitivities are set to the CAL position. However, the input sensitivity can also be set so that it matches the other monitors in the GENELEC range by setting the input attenuation switch off and turning the trimmer anti-clockwise to read +5 dBu.

Trimmer fully clockwise and input attenuation switch on:




Trimmer fully clockwise on and input attenuation switch off:




Subwoofers

These can be divided into three groups:
  • 7050A

    The stereo 7050A has an input sensitivity that is matched to the 8020B, 8030A, 8130A (for 1029A using 1/4" jack socket outputs) output levels. The stereo 7050A subwoofer should only ever be used with a pair of these monitors and with both input connections made. If 1029A's connected to a 7050A are changed to 8030A's, the input sensitivity on the subwoofer should be decreased by 8 dB to maintain the same sound balance.

  • 7050B, 7060B, 7070A and 7071A

    These subwoofers all have the same input sensitivity: -6 dBu = 100 dB SPL@1m. Their input sensitivity adjustment range is variable from +12 to -6 dBu. This allows them to be easily matched to the other monitors in the GENELEC range

  • 7073A

    This model has the same input sensitivity: -6 dBu = 100 dB SPL@1m. However, its input sensitivity adjustment range is variable from +6 to -12 dBu.

Digital systems

These can be divided into two groups:

  • 2029A and 2029B- discontinued

    The digital input sensitivity is such that a full-scale digital signal will drive the monitor to its maximum output level, 106 dB SPL @ 1m when the volume pot is set to maximum. The monitor volume control is performed in the analogue domain so that there is no loss of digital signal resolution when playing the monitor quietly.

  • 8130Aand (S30D - discontinued)

    The digital input sensitivity is such that a full-scale digital signal will drive the monitor to its maximum output level; for the S30D = 111 dB SPL @ 1m and for the 8130A = 100 dB SPL @ 1m when the input sensitivity controls are set to maximum, i.e. digital level control switches are set to OFF and for the 8130A its volume control turned fully clockwise, for the S30D its level control trimmer set to 0dB (fully clockwise).

    This may be too loud for some applications so an attenuation of 10 dB, 20 dB or 30 dB can be applied to the digital signal using the digital level control switches. This allows the digital signal to be driven loud at the source output and the monitor played quietly with no loss of digital signal resolution, i.e. all the bits can still be used to represent the signal but the monitor plays quietly. The S30D level control trimmer allows an additional 0 to -12  dB of continuously variable attenuation to ensure that any output level between 112 dB and 70 dB can be set for a full scale digital input.

    The digital level control switches on both models do not affect the analogue input sensitivity. However, the level control trimmer and volume control change the output level of the monitors by adjusting the analogue input sensitivity in the same way as described in the bi- and tri-amplified systems section. The level control can therefore be used to adjust the output level of the monitor. The analogue input sensitivity is the same as the other bi- and tri-amplified systems so that the digital systems are fully compatible with other monitors in the GENELEC range when they are set to the calibration position.

The calibration position is:

  • S30D: level control trimmer set to maximum, 0dB, and all tone controls set to OFF. With these settings the maximum input sensitivity of -6 dBu = 100 dB SPL @ 1m.
  • 8130A: volume control turned fully clockwise, a maximum input sensitivity of -6 dBu = 100 dB SPL @ 1m.

For the S30D, when the analogue input signal is -6 dBu then the following table can be used to find the dB SPL output level at 1m:




Alternatively, there is another way round to look at this...

To get an SPL output level of 100 dB, the analogue input signal level required is: