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Genelec 8030A

Genelec 8030A

4.2 4.2 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

The 8030A has probably the best performance/price ratio of Genelec's active near field monitor speakers. Accurate, non hyped, only a bit clinical. Highlights are great stereo imaging and very detailed treble. Good bass considering the small size.


14th December 2011

Genelec 8030A by Tjad

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Genelec 8030A

After owning a pair of old Genelec 1030A active near field monitors for years, I tested Genelec 8020A, 8030A and 8040A speakers for a 5.1 surround setup. I was originally attracted to Gelelecs by their ability to reveal fine details in music (I actually found new instruments from some of my favourite albums) and the excellent stereo imaging - when listening to well made recording, it really felt like listening to live artists instead of monitoring speakers. 8000 series retain these two abilities and it was nice to discover that the new design (with aluminium casing instead of wooden, and so on) was not just for looks, but actually the sound was further improved.

The 8030A has, in my opinion, the best performance/price ratio of Genelec's active near field monitor speakers. It's noticeably better than the smaller 8020A, especially in midrange, where 8020A feels to have a bit less presence for female vocals or high male vocals. On the other hand, 8030A doesn't sound noticeably worse than the bigger 8040A. 8040A offers a bit more bass, but otherwise they're very similar.

Accurate, non hyped sound. Good recordings sound brilliant, bad recordings, well - these are unforgiving. Some might say the sound is a bit uninspiring or clinical, but I'm happy to report it's actually less clinical than it's predecessors. Great stereo imaging and very detailed treble. Good bass response for such a small sized speaker. Still, for final mixing/mastering stage you should hook it up with a sub.

Easy to recommend if you're looking for uncolored sound.

4th January 2012

Genelec 8030A by borg64

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Genelec 8030A

I've worked on the Genelec 8030s for about five years now, and I still find myself in a seemingly paradoxical love/hate relationship with these speakers.

Playing a great mix through the 8030s does indeed sound very good; mids are relaxed but detailed and the top is somewhat bright but often pleasingly "blurred" when presenting a complex soundscape. Bass response - within the limitations - isn't exactly tight, but still well presented. I've heard many describe them as generally being too pleasing or too bright, but I don't agree. Bad mixes will still sound bad, and after getting accustomed to them they make for some very good nearfields for judging overall tonality. However, and this has always been the root of my problems with the Gennies, they aren't particularly revealing. Let me try to explain.

Drums, bass and distorted guitars constitute the foundation of a very common mix scenario for me. Say I start getting the drums going, and then slip in the bass part(s), balancing everything roughly. Stuff sounds good and powerful, usually translating fairly well to the outside world. Now, I pull the guitars in there. What was until now working out so nicely suddenly turns into more of a guessing game, with every EQ change I make seemingly making very little difference before suddenly "popping out" as overkill. Add some reverbs and delays to this and you've got yourself one hard-digested mess that will reqiuire a lot of time to work your way through.

Now, I don't necessarily object to the notion that speakers should make me struggle a bit, pushing me into getting the best sound I can. But I also prefer to do the initial balancing - the main mix - quickly, and then take my time working on the details and ear candy knowing that I'm adding to a solid foundation. This, for me, is hard to achieve on the 8030s. Forget about turning everything up in its raw state and try carving the mix out from there; the Genelecs require a VERY careful methodical approach for each new added element if you're up against a busy mix project. When at its worst, I'm treading water, revisiting the main mix several times and getting nowhere fast. Eventually, the repeated over-exposure to the problematic mix causes ear fatigue, and presto! - you're descending quickly into a downward spiral. It's often hard to finally conclude: "Hey! This mix is done!" on these monitors. Well, as much as a mix is ever done. But you know what I mean.

So, what about the "love" part? Well, over the years I've grown quite familiar with them, and there are definitely rewards to reap if sticking with 'em for a while. In my opinion, the 8030s really excel when working on electronic music with synth basses and beats, the kind with sparse arrangements without too much midrangey stuff taking the focus away from the beat, and it's often enjoyable as hell to mix such tracks on these monitors as long as you make sure to check your lowest frequencies on something with a deeper bass respoonse. Just doing editing work on an already well mixed track is also a joy, when cans feel too uninspiring. They represent their tonality very evenly from quiet to loud volume levels. And there's virtually no self-noise to speak of. As a reference to the latter, my Focal Twins are noisy in comparison when my room's quiet, and I don't consider the Twins' self-noise a problem at all.

Reverb tails are also quite easily revealed; if I've been showing my 'verb busses too much love, the Genelecs will tell me I got too much faux-room happening straight up. They've taken a substantial amount of time to learn, but I can now pretty confidently tell what's wrong with a mix' balance when played through the 8030s. That said, when actually executing any corrective work, I'll switch over to the Twins or get a second and third opionion from my HD650s and ATH-M50s, or risk messing up both the bass and the mids. It's hard to describe, but again, to me there's something missing at the 'revealing' side of things when you got a full mix going.

In my book, unless the number of channels playing are few, the Genelecs aren't analytical tools. But then again, not every speaker need to be, and despite the negativity above I think these monitors are very good. I can tell when I have bass issues that require some tightening up (surprisingly well actually, for a 5" driver speaker), or when the mids are muddied up, or when there are excessive brightness issues - but there's something inherently unfocused about the way they present a soundscape's finer details, and as soon as you start adding up the tracks, mixing becomes increasingly slow and difficult. Harmonically complex sources are presented somewhat "veiled", and if adding saturation, one needs to tread very carefully as it's easy to go overboard without noticing right away. Transients are represented in a similarly uncertain fashion, and it's easy to go just a bit too crazy on compression settings. There's almost like a soft, pillowy quality about the 8030s.

To add some perspective, I haven't had much luck in finding a better speaker around this size. I once tried the 8030s out briefly against some other nearfields; the Adam A7s, Yamaha's HS80Ms, PSI Audio's Active 14Ms and one of the similarly spec'd KRK models (VXT6 maybe?). Of these, the Genelecs felt far better to me than the KRKs and the HS80Ms. The Adams sounded more than decent, but I still preferred the tonality of the 8030s right then and there - I suspect they would complement each other quite well though. The tiny PSIs made for the big surprise though, at first glance looking somewhat like toy speakers, but with an extremely detailed representation of sound (unfortunately I'm now eager to try out the bigger ones - the 17M or 21M models - in the future, if funds ever allow). Other monitors - in a similar range - I'd reckon be interesting to compare them with would be Focal's CMS series and the Neumann KH 120s, both of which I have yet to hear.

Ultimately, I guess this all goes to show how individual speaker preference is - I know that there are many fine folks out there who love and do great work on these! - but getting to the part where the overall balance of a big and complex mix sounds good is a time-consuming endeavour in my experience, if having to work only on the Gennies. It's somewhat similar to EQ'ing a whole mix on headphones; what sounds good one day might make you question your sanity the next.

When mixing solely on the Gennies in the past, I always had to do a lot of additional reference checking to get stuff into the proverbial ballpark. They have however since become an integral part of my current setup as a second pair, next to the Twins I picked up about 18 or so months ago. The Focals let me carry out the analytical bit and navigate around inside the mix, while the Genelecs serve as a broader "second opinon" pair for checking if the general balancing is going in the right direction during longer mixing sessions, presenting everything with a different overall tonality that, whilst requiring some dedication in order to properly decipher, can be a welcome change after numerous hours on the Twins. Together, they form quite a formidable combo, covering a lot of ground.

The Genelec 8030s aren't grot-boxes by any stretch of the imagination, but they are in fact serving a somewhat similar purpose quite well over here. Obviously it's not fair expecting these to compete with monitors three times their price, but as sidekicks to the Focal Twins, the love/hate relationship has tilted more towards favouring the love side.


THE GOOD

- great nearfields for judging overall tonality
- very good imaging
- pretty much no self-noise


THE BAD

- not very analytical in crowded mixes
- somewhat unfocused representation of lows and highs
- achieving properly balanced mixes takes time when you're dealing with a lot of tracks

12th January 2012

Genelec 8030A by OliverMaxMason

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Genelec 8030A

Scouring the Internet for weeks on end to find out what to do with my hard earned dollar might have been one of the most conflicting phase of my life. Every monitor speaker out there boasts so much it really isn't as simple as reading up on a few and knowing which is the set for you so went to my local music shop for a listen to the Genelec 8030's, Adam A7X's and Mackie TH15A's.

After consulting the in store tech's they pointed me straight towards the Genelec 8030's. I sat there for some time giving them everything I had, then the same with the other pairs. The first thing I noticed was the brutal honesty they boast. If you're looking for a set of true monitors to really dial in your mixes, these are the speakers for you. They're rich, full bodied and.....wait, this isn't an advert for coffee....basically the sound quality and clarity are second to none. The richness and bass response are both flawless and the design is the icing on the cake (thumbs up to the specially designed isolation pads). The only downside to making music using these speakers is that it's not always going to be an enjoyable process. Other, more coloured monitors make your mixes sound much nicer, much quicker when in reality they're wearing make-up shamefully put on by speaker companies(sorry Adam/Mackie).

I've now been using mine for around 9 months and couldn't even begin to start thinking about replacing them with something else. But then again, I'm extremely biast....so much so I couldn't even think of anything to write about the Mackies or the Adams apart from they're both really nice. Not as nice as mine though.....

I hope this has cleared up any any thoughts on whether to buy Genelec or not.

Fanks

22nd January 2013

Genelec 8030A by Gold Morgan

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Genelec 8030A

SOUND QUALITY

I have mixed on these speakers for about two weeks now, working mostly on alternative hiphop. Overall, these speakers are very accurate and pleasing to the ears.


The highs

The treble frequencies on these speakers are effing SILKY. Although nice for listening, I thought this characteristic would hurt my mixes, however they have actually retained this quality and have translated very very well on several playback systems. Many people complain that the highs are exaggerated, but I disagree...they sound flat to me


The lows

Unfortunately, bass extends to only around 58hz, however up to this frequency, these speakers are very accurate.


Conclusion: I love these speakers. They produce a great amount of detail and have a very accurate stereo field. More importantly, they translate well.

 
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