Jouni Puhakka shares the story of his 35-year-old Genelec 1022s
We recently caught up with classical music fan and Genelec user, Jouni Puhakka, to discuss his experience of our built-to-last loudspeakers and to hear the story of his vintage pair of 1022s, which have powered his family's sonic entertainment for the last 35 years.
Can you tell us how these Genelec 1022s came to be in your family?
My father bought them for his 50th birthday in 1987 from a Kruunuradio shop in Helsinki. He listened to the loudspeakers in the shop and that was enough for him to make his mind up and buy them on the spot.
What did your father want to use the loudspeakers for?
My father told me that his decision to get Genelecs was strongly influenced by me. I was already playing the piano and listening to classical music at that point, and we both agreed that we wanted to experience music in the best possible way. I remember we heard that Finland's national radio, YLE, was using Genelecs in their studio, and we thought “if they're good enough for YLE, they'll be great for us.”
The 1022 model's unique visual design also attracted our attention. Over the years, when people noticed them in my father's home, they became a common topic for discussion. At first, my mother felt they wouldn't fit in with our home, but my father soon got his way. Mother began to appreciate the fantastic listening experience the loudspeakers provided, allowing her to enjoy music much more than before.
During my childhood, there was a lot of playing and listening to music in our family; it was a common hobby for each of us. For my father, listening to music was an important way to relax, away from his busy entrepreneurial work. He had very little free time, so when he got the chance to listen to music, he really wanted to get the most from it.
How did it feel when your father gave you his 1022s?
I'm extremely happy that my father decided to hand them down to me. He's elderly now and spends most of his time at his holiday cabin, so the loudspeakers had spent a few years sitting almost unused at his home - he didn't have much chance to listen to them anymore. I must say that in many ways I feel like these are just on loan to me until they're passed down again to the next generation.
What's your take on the importance of long-life products?
Responsibility is important to me, and the serviceability and longevity of products is integral to my values. I feel that just by taking these 35-year-old speakers into use I’ve demonstrated that I value high quality, maintainable products that give many years of service. I believe that people will become more and more responsible and critical consumers in the future, questioning and rejecting disposable culture. We live in a time where we need to weigh up all these issues and think wholistically about the world and sustainability.
Sometimes the purchase price of responsibly made products is higher, yet we should try not to pay too much attention to price and instead think more about the long-term benefits of these products. Minimalism appears to be a growing trend, and I for one, appreciate it. For example, if I had young children today, I probably wouldn't buy them as many toys as I used to do for my now grown-up offspring. So, I believe that disposable culture is thoroughly on the way out, however, it’s unfortunate that change often happens slowly.
Can you tell us about your experience with Genelec's Service Team?
It was last year that I contacted Genelec's Sales Manager and was told that the company provides servicing for all their loudspeakers, even for the oldest models. The call was very pleasant and positive. I was told that I could send the loudspeakers to Genelec's factory in Iisalmi, allowing their engineers to check them and make repairs. That way, I could enjoy using them as much as possible.
Genelec even arranged to collect my 1022s from home. Once they were serviced and ready for pick-up, I travelled to Iisalmi to visit Genelec’s factory. Meeting the factory team was a very memorable experience. Notably, I met Genelec CEO Siamäk Naghian, who admired my loudspeakers and congratulated me on how well our family had looked after them. He also wished me many more years of rewarding listening. To top it all off, I got to listen to immersive audio in the factory's listening room.
In addition to my loudspeakers, I also received a copy of Genelec's 2018 celebratory 40th anniversary book. As soon as I got home, I installed the 1022s and started reading the book. As I read it, I recognised a common thread between myself, Genelec's corporate culture and its personnel. I'm an entrepreneur with a family business of around 30 years, and through my work, I've seen many different companies. In my opinion, Genelec is a great example of nurturing and utilising shared values and a common purpose. When I left the factory, I had a five-hour drive home with plenty of time to call my friends. I was excited to tell them all about my visit, and the next morning I was still thinking about it warmly.
Can you describe what it's like to listen to your 1022s?
After my long drive home, it took me only fifteen minutes to get the loudspeakers up and running. The sound was immaculate, balanced, distinctive and natural - a pure joy. I've discovered a whole new audio-visual experience by connecting them to my television, and I listen to a lot of orchestral music, often featuring soloists. These 1022s offer an exceptional listening experience that I've never found anywhere else, apart from when I heard them at my father's house. Right now, I listen to everything in stereo, but perhaps one day I'll upgrade my system to a multi-channel setup.
These loudspeakers work very nicely at low volume levels, assuming there's no distracting sounds around! I particularly like the look of them, even if they're not a perfect fit for our interior design, that doesn’t worry me! Genelec's anniversary book taught me that this model was the first to feature the rounded design that many Genelecs have today. I feel like Genelec has a wonderful and unique story, which is one of the finest in the history of Finnish business. The company has done a great job, and it’s only recently that I've realised how international its influence has become.
The first song I listened to after having my 1022s serviced was by Finnish acapella group Club for Five, whom I also chose to put on in Genelec's factory listening room. Straight after, I played one of Sierra Nadine's orchestral arias and I knew the sound of these was spot on - I'm going to enjoy my loudspeakers again tonight!