Genesis Technologies 500 loudspeaker Page 3
Although it took weeks to titrate the position and controls just right, there was no doubt about these speakers right out of the box and arbitrarily plunked down. As with the EOS, the Genesis 500 sounded musical at first turn-on, with an honest midrange and a wide frequency response. For a while, it seemed as though the 500 was a bit laid-back in its presentation, but that was due to a number of external factors. First, most of the initial listening was done with the Sim Moon W-5 amp, which also has a laid-back character. Second, even after switching to the Bryston 7B-ST, and finally to the Sonic Frontiers Power-2, I found the tiny increase in midrange gain useful. Finally, my ears and brain were still adapting from their long experience with the Apogee Duettas, which throw the soundstage, especially with distant listening positions.
The bottom line, though, was that the more I listened, the more right the 500 sounded. I have no idea how loud it will play, since a desire to preserve my hearing prevented me from approaching the speaker's limits. Audacious level auditions were devoid of highlighting or imbalance. From the very opening of Matthus' Holofernes (Berlin Classics BC 2072-2), I was transported to the Leipzig Gewandhaus, complete with its distinct ambience and responsive audience, for a gripping dramatic experience. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau declaimed from the podium, Kurt Masur's orchestra fired away, and, despite the generous reverberation, vocal and instrumental attacks were conveyed clearly and palpably. At low levels, as with Cerha's eerie Baal Gesänge on the same disc, the Genesis 500s communicated with their characteristic equanimity.
Bass response was full and extended with any power amp because the built-in G-SAT amp tightly controls bass performance. The 500 reproduced everything with great definition, right down to the very bottom. I was impressed with the drums in the Glory soundtrack (Classic DAD1008); they had weight, impact, and a specific location in space, and provided pedal points for the harmony. I dragged out all the bass torture discs, including Béla Fleck's Cosmic Hippo (Warner Bros. 26562-2), and was so impressed with the integration and resolution of the music that I paid less attention to the sound.
On these and other recordings, the Genesis 500 was as uncolored and satisfying a bass reproducer as I have yet experienced at home. Just listen to the plucked bass on Holly Cole's demo disc for Canadian loudspeaker manufacturer Energy (DPRO-313). Other speakers may have had more impact or vibrated the furniture, but none was more revealing of bottom-end detail. Moreover, there was no bass when there should not have been, and this attests to the lack of excess resonance in the 500's design and construction. I could, when I really tried, overdrive the 500's woofers into making ugly sounds by turning up the preamp volume and the Gain control a bit too far. With a responsible adjustment, though, even the huge Telarc bass drums were fine at any bearable listening level.
Midrange accuracy was surprisingly good. I say "surprisingly" because Genesis uses a complex of drivers and networks to span this critical range, and I associate such accuracy and integration with single wide-range drivers like the Quad ESL-63. No details of the crossover arrangements were provided, but the low (85Hz) and mid (300Hz) crossovers were completely inaudible when trimmed. In addition, the midrange was singularly pure and grainless. Male and female voices sounded arrestingly natural, as was piano.
On Grand Duos (Klavier KCD 11094), a new release of Schubert and Loewe works for piano four-hands, the instrument was cleanly and resonantly presented, with no discontinuities across the spectrum. Without doubt, HF was extended, and at least as detailed and low in distortion as the midrange. Almost all the time, these elements were well integrated, helping to create a wide, seamless spectral response. Remarkably, the 500 seemed to be one of the few speakers that could do this at very low listening levels. One does not buy speakers like these just for background music, but they require no assistance from loudness contouring to do it well.
Spatial representation was superb, with the added frisson that the 500s could create rather startling vertical effects on some choral recordings. This was amply demonstrated by the Glory soundtrack, the wordless lamentations of the Harlem Boys Choir floating above the orchestra. Instruments and voices were positioned between and slightly beyond the enclosures in the frontal plane, and layered back from that plane into the simulated recording space. Interestingly, all the sounds had rather more height than I have previously experienced, and nothing seemed to emanate from lower than the level of the midrange driver. The effect was of sitting in orchestra seats rather than up in the mezzanine, and large ensembles were definitely tiered in depth and in height. When listening to the second of David Chesky's Three Psalms for String Orchestra (Chesky CHDVD181), I could see the passionately Blochian solo cello, rosin and all, right between the speakers, while the string orchestra was arrayed in exquisite detail beyond and above. Technology brings rapture!