Genesis Technologies 500 loudspeaker Page 2
The Genesis 500 is a complex system of seven drivers covering four frequency bands. The lowest frequencies are served by three metal-coned 8" drivers, servo-controlled and powered by an in-built 500W switching power amp. Above 95Hz or so, the woofers cross over to a 6.5" aluminum-cone "midbass coupler," which in turn crosses over at 300Hz to a 5.5" titanium-cone midrange mounted in an open-back enclosure. The very top end, from 3.6kHz up, is supplied by a pair of 1"-diameter circular planar ribbons aimed fore and aft. Consequently, from 300Hz up, the Genesis 500 should behave like a dipole radiator: its titanium cone and one ribbon are aimed forward, while the back of that cone and the other ribbon provide a rear radiation in inverted polarity. Since sidewall reflections are reduced by the side cancellations of a dipole source, room placement is easier and more forgiving.
The built-in bass amplification helps minimize the power needed to drive the Genesis 500, as was demonstrated by my earlier experience in driving it with an improperly biased Bow Wazoo amplifier. The overall shape, size, and finish disguise all that technology, and ensure that the Genesis 500 will be a welcome domestic guest. Except for the ribbons, all drivers are protected from probing fingers by removable grille covers.
The 500's inner complexity is, however, apparent on the rear panel. Here one finds an IEC power-cord receptacle, a pair of binding posts for audio input to the system, an RCA jack for direct line-level input to the woofer amplifier, a switch for selecting the woofer's input source, an on/off switch, and a power-indicator LED. After power-up, the woofer amp remains on as long as there is an audio signal, and shuts down after approximately 10 minutes without signal. When a signal again appears at the inputs, the amp is automatically switched on. Genesis recommends not using the line-level input for the woofer, as that will likely create a significant gain mismatch between the woofer and the rest of the system. I tried it, and sure enough, none of my power amps matched the gain of the built-in G-SAT amp. Sure, one can adjust the gain of the built-in amp, but who needs greater setup complexity?
The rear panel also bears four adjustable controls: Tweeter, Midrange, Gain, and Low Pass. The first two allow the user to trim the relative levels of the tweeters and midrange. The Gain control sets the gain for the woofer amp, and Low Pass varies the upper limit of the woofer from approximately 71 to 130Hz, with a recommended setting of 95Hz. Note that, because it is the only driver that is completely unaffected by any control, the 95-300Hz "midbass coupler" is the reference to which the levels of the drivers are tailored. The Genesis 500 is one of the most adjustable, tuneable speakers on the market. While this may permit its placement in widely differing environments, it also presents a significant potential for misadjustment. Take Genesis' advice: Start with the suggested settings, and tweak them subtly and carefully.
Given all this flexibility, it's a pleasure to report that the accompanying manual is extremely helpful as a guide to placement and control settings. The tone of the discussion and the level of detail are well chosen and conduct the user through what might have been an intimidating process. The manual even discusses room treatment and the types of recordings to use for evaluation.
Setup is fairly easy, despite a few surprisingly bone-headed design choices that do not affect performance. For example, Genesis has chosen to print the label below each back-panel control. Each knob thus blocks the view of its label; you have to bend all the way over or crouch to the floor to see what you're doing. Each knob has only a small, uncolored notch as an indicator; this, too, is impossible to see unless brightly lit and closely viewed. Finally, there are no detents on all but one of the controls, and no fine-scale markings to permit repeatable settings. Fortunately, many of the controls have only a small range of adjustment; once you've set them, it's unlikely you'll need to see these controls again.
Following the instructions in the manual, and with some words of encouragement from the designer, Arnie Nudell, it took me a few weeks to really dial in the Genesis 500s. They stood where most speakers end up in my room: about 3' from the side walls and about 4' from the wall behind them. Toe-in was greater than usual, the speakers' axes crossing at the listening position. Control settings were close to recommended: Tweeter was left at about 2 o'clock, while Midrange began at the suggested 1 o'clock setting and stayed that way for a long time. I eventually eased it up to about 2 o'clock and kept it there. Gain for the woofer amp remained at 1 o'clock, but the Low Pass setting for the woofer cutoff was turned down to about 85Hz from the recommended 95Hz. This adjustment made a huge difference in the bass balance and eliminated all vestiges of boom.