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Why does everybody hate Genelec 1031As? Studio Monitors
Old 1st September 2007
Gear Addict
mahler007's Avatar

Why does everybody hate Genelec 1031As?

Hi Slutz,
In my relatively brief tenure on GS, I have come across several posts where the Genelec 1031s have been bashed fairly unmercilessly. Just curious what you guys are hearing (or not hearing) that is driving you crazy. Also, is it specific kinds of music, or generally all kinds across the board?

I have owned and used 1031s for the past 3 years or so, and have not had the opportunity to work on a whole lot of other monitors, except for Event 20/20s and some Dynaudio BM5As (which seem to be the "golden boy" choice these days for home nearfield use). They are all totally different- the bass on the 20/20s seems exaggerated. The Dynaudios sound a bit boxy to me. My Genelecs seem to be right and true on the bottom end and throughout the low-mids; it's in the upper end of the spectrum that I find that I have to be careful. That being said, I have done some mixes on them that translated effortlessly and others that have been excruciating.

But isn't this true for any monitor? Overall, my experience with the Genelecs, limited as it may be, has been this... It takes some time to get to know them. When mixing, I tend to monitor through my Genelecs, some Kef bookshelf speakers, AKG 240 headphones (which make pretty much anything sound artificially good), a Philips "Micro-Theatre" home stereo, and last but not least, my iPod... I find that the Genelecs get me about 80-85% there, and after that, it's finding the best compromise between all these different sources.

To be completely honest, I actually find that my iPod tends to be the most revealing of all. Maybe it's the crappy converters and cheap headphones, but details that tend to be covered on all my other systems stick out on the pod. I guess it is sort of my own version of the NS10s...

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts- if for no other reason, so that I can keep them in mind when working on my Genelecs...

Old 1st September 2007
Lives for gear
gainstages's Avatar
people are quick to bash them, but they are fine speakers. the main complaint is that the high end in particular isn't "honest". most everything sounds a little more pretty and smooth in the high end than it really is. that's all. if you know what you are working with, and can make them translate to the real world, then keep them. if you need honesty in the high end, might want to find something else eventually.
Old 1st September 2007
I enjoyed mine for about 7 years.. then changed brands..
Old 1st September 2007
Registered User
Rick Sutton's Avatar

Been using them for over ten years and am very happy. The only speakers that I've heard that have tempted me to change are the Focal's with the dual woofers, but I'm so used to the Genies that it will be a while before I move to something else.
Old 1st September 2007
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huub's Avatar
was always content with all genelecs, but then we had a chance to compare a couple of monitors for a week or so, and man! The genelecs sounded soooo middy and thin compared to other speakers, we chose adam s3a in the end, and i'm really really happy with em, the genelecs gave me a headache after a couple of hours of listening, the adams for sure not!

I'm building a little post studio now, with our new pyramix system, and stuff we had laying around, which sadly include genelec monitoring (1031 for center and surrounds) I find it really hard to mix on the genelecs after being used to the adams. They sound harsh and aggressive to me.

That being said... Mixes made on genelecs do translate fairly well I think..

Old 1st September 2007
Gear Guru
henryrobinett's Avatar
I had a very hard time getting them to translate. Everything sounded good on them. I was also fighting the room at the time. I was in a control room where we had 4 different monitors set up and because the room sucked, we had to rotate through all 4 to get an idea. I finally learned them. But I found it so much better using other monitors. Even my little NHTPros translated better, in the same room even.
Old 1st September 2007
Gear Guru
drBill's Avatar
If you get used to a speaker, you can mix on pretty much anything....but why? I find the Genelec's too hyped in the highs for my personal tastes, but that can work for me on film mixes where I don't want a lot of high end stuff poking out. I always end up rolling off more highs than I would on a different speaker. For a record mix they're a disaster for me.
Old 2nd September 2007
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firby's Avatar

I love Genelec 1031As. I have not heard Adams and whatever newer speakers or even the 8040s and that ilk. Here I have 20/20s. I am waiting for the right pair of Genelec 1031As coming up at the right time and they are so mine.

Those speakers are vibey as hell.

Still buzzing from using them back in 2002.
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear
Isn't the problem of overly aggressive/present highs something that could be tamed with the EQ toggles on the back of the speakers?
Old 2nd September 2007
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huub's Avatar
Even with tweeking the eq switches they keep sounding agressive to me..
Old 2nd September 2007
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chymer's Avatar

It took me a little to get used to them, like all speakers, and I really love mine. They are hyped but they are so damn vibey like the other guy said.
Some guys like vibe , others feel like they are being lied to.
Personally, being a songwriter first and engineer second, I love the vibe they give me and they are aggressive but I love it becasue I do rock pop music.

I think they are great speakers, but I think its essential that you have a second pair like NS-10s or auratones to check the midrange closer......I think the 1031s are bit scooped, or its just that the high end is aggressive that the mids can get confusing......but I trust them, my mixes translate ok and the problems I have wen mixing are common amongst most mixers on all types of speakers, in other words my mixing issues are not due to my speakers.....but I tell you, its easy to blame your speakers when its really your inexperience letting you down.

If "YOU" dig them, then go with it.
Old 2nd September 2007
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themaidsroom's Avatar

they have nothing to do with sound outside the 1031a's - they don't translate

be well

- jack
Old 2nd September 2007
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seb37000's Avatar

I use them every day, my mix's alway's translat very well, like all monitor's its important to know them. What I love about them is the details you can hear and the depth that they have. I use them with ns 10's, when I hear my mix sound good on the ns 10's and they sound fantastique on the 1031's then I know I'm done.
Old 2nd September 2007
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James Lehmann's Avatar

There was a time where it seemed every studio I visited was toting a pair of 1031's! I sure got used to hearing my voice on those puppies over and over again!

My $0.02 is that the Gennies (and I'd apply this to the 1032's as well) were too flattering and had a tendency to make everything sound 'produced', bordering on un-natural - like a finished commercial package before it had actually been finished!

It was always a relief to get back into my own studio and hear what my voice really sounds like on my PMC's!
Old 2nd September 2007
Gear Maniac

I have experience with 1029a, 1030a, 1031a, 1032a.

1030a are by far the best to me from above mentioned. I still use them for small monitors (which I use 90% of the time) and they translate great.

I really really did not like 1032a. I find they have a big hole somewhere in the lower mids/high bass.

1031a are so-so to me. Halfway between those two extremes.

I was working in a studio where they had 1029a. They had much "smaller" sound than 1030a and I really do not know why would someone buy them except for "one more system to check mix". You can use any speakers for that...
Old 2nd September 2007
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Jamz's Avatar
I don't hate the 1031s or Genelecs for that matter.
For me...speakers are somewhat dependent on the design and dimensions of the room they're sitting in. Genelecs have always translated well for me in varying rooms.

I own a pair of 1030s with a 7060 sub. No complaints. Also believe the bigger they get the better they sound. I've worked on 1031s with no problem and I really enjoyed the years I worked on 1032s. Till this moment 1032s are a consideration in my next purchase.
Owning Westlakes powered by Brystons, NS-10s, Avantones, KRK 9000s, KRK V4s, Event 20/20s and a boom box...I continue to appreciate Genelecs.
That being said I'm also open to newer designs such as the Adam S3As or possibly the Focal Twin 6 Be.
Old 2nd September 2007
Gear Addict
mahler007's Avatar

You know, it's kind of funny that people mention the highs being "hyped." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but in my experience I have also determined that the highs are where I need to be careful. They do indeed always tend to sound "good."

One interesting side to this, though- at least in my case... I have found that in order for my mixes to translate relatively well, I've had to raise the treble tilt on the back of the monitors. I forget exactly what it is, but I think it's a +2db shelf at 4KHz.

Prior to doing this, I found that my mixes would always be super hyped in the high end when I played them back on other systems- as if I were overdoing it in mixing to compensate for something that wasn't there. Once I raised the tilt, everything was fine.

This originally really concerned me, as I thought that my room might be the culprit. I did 1Hz incremental sine tone and pink noise tests and determined that while my room has some bumps at 50, 120, and 260Hz, the highs are relatively flat. Anyway, I flipped the switch and haven't looked back since, really...

I have to agree that the highs take some time to learn how to navigate- I'd be at a loss without other playback/monitor systems...
Old 2nd September 2007
Registered User
Rick Sutton's Avatar

I agree with the 1031/ns10 combo being very useful. Also 1031s are very sensitive as to how they are placed over a console. We found that they sound more even in the lower mids when placed several inches behind the console instead of directly over the meter bridge.
Old 2nd September 2007
Gear Guru
u b k's Avatar

Originally Posted by chymer View Post
...the problems I have wen mixing are common amongst most mixers on all types of speakers, in other words my mixing issues are not due to my speakers...

your conclusion doesn't follow from your premise. the fact that most mixers experience similar problems may be down to the fact that most mixers use speakers with similar shortcomings.

personally, i believe that to be the case.

Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear
Bounce's Avatar
We've got a pair with the Genlec sub and they sound large but yeah, I kinda hate 'em as well! They're definitely bright on the top. I've got 3 or 4 db rolled off in the back and they're still bright. My main nearfields are the Truth Audio Ta-1P's (not behringer, okay?). The genelec's are cool for volume and sparkle for the clients but I'm not ready to mix on them. My truths are MUCH smoother. I think the Gene's are useful to have a more smiley faced big home stereo vibe in the studio, maybe. My 2 cents. We've had the Gene's in for about a year now (one of the other engineers here brought them in as a 3rd pair).
Old 2nd September 2007
Gear Guru
RoundBadge's Avatar
Listen to a pair of Barefoot micro mains side by side with the Gennies..
Watch the movie "Tommy" ..the scene where he regains his eyesight..heh
Old 2nd September 2007
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obostic's Avatar

Once I got mines calibrated to the room, they sound just as ****ty as NS10s and translate pretty well also.thumbsup
Old 3rd September 2007
I happily dumped my NS-10's for 1031's in 1996 & haven't changed them since. Mixes translate well, no "fatigue" to speak of, they've adjusted to the sub woofer I dropped in a few years ago... The least troublesome part of my system by far. Pick the speakers that appeal to you & stick w/them- maybe buy a 2nd pair in case they stop making them.

Best- Brad
Old 3rd September 2007
Lives for gear
mu6gr8's Avatar
1031s are fine

I purchased a pair of 1031s about ten years ago after being unable to find a rental pair in Boston of all places. At the time, I was working in so many locations that it was important to have a consistent speaker/amp combination. I preferred the sound of Meyer HD-1s, but my rock clientele didn't understand the Meyers--the guitars were heard but not felt--so I went with the Genelecs.

Over the years, they have served me well. Usually I set them with flat EQ, depending on the room. On a meter bridge, I prefer them with landscape orientation; on stands, vertical sounds better. (Rotate the tweeter so that you can read Genelec, OVL & ON on the same plane as the horizon. Apparently that's the way they're designed for optimum HF dispersion.)

Simply stated, the Genelecs function for me as extended NS-10s with better imaging. For rock, the trick was to sit the vocal up front on the Yamahas (with a good amp) and tucked into the track on the Genelecs. I mixed so many records with that combo, and never had a problem with the high and mid frequencies. The biggest mystery to me with the Genelecs is what's really happening in the low end, but it's close enough to be easily tightened up at mastering.

For the past few years, I've been mixing on Focal SM8s. Yet I still listen to 1031s for awhile every day, and I have no desire to retire them. Plus, they're very reliable, and I really enjoy tracking and overdubbing with them. They are pro monitors, so if you like them, you should be fine working with them, despite the opinions of their detractors.
Old 3rd September 2007

I like mine a lot. I do not mix much on them much but for checking recorded tracks i find them very useful. They are so transient fast that i find that my mixes have to be very wet on them and still show up drier on other speakers, you hear the whole tail.+ they play loud, have a known name, impress clients (at least muy demo bands and sound nice even to not so nice recordings.. and hold their value well to. /Toby
Old 3rd September 2007
Blast9's Avatar
Originally Posted by obostic View Post
Once I got mines calibrated to the room, they sound just as ****ty as NS10s and translate pretty well also.thumbsup
Classic! heh

In my recent experience, more ****ty. I have to say they do sound harsh to me at higher volumes... Perhaps the amp is under-powered?
Old 28th March 2013
I love my Genelec 1031A's... got them for free when my uncle passed away and sent them to genelec 2 years ago and got them refurbished. You just have to know their weakness.... They sound too good, they can even handle sounds that make regular speakers distort. So I just recently (last week) bought some yamaha hs50m's for B reference to compensate. Very happy.

I think someday I might get some Focal Twins to replace the Genelec's at my console but I'll always hang onto them if not just for listening to music. I've never heard more amazing speakers, even if inaccurate.
Old 12th October 2015
Lives for gear

My $0.02 is that the Gennies (and I'd apply this to the 1032's as well) were too flattering and had a tendency to make everything sound 'produced', bordering on un-natural - like a finished commercial package before it had actually been finished!
couldn't agree more you fart on a snare drum and it would sound amazing
Old 13th October 2015
I have always enjoyed tracking on 1031s, haven't ever mixed on them though and I do notice perceptual differences when I get the tracks back to my place.
Old 11th May 2016
Gear Addict
at4033's Avatar

I just had to chime in...

I owned a pair of 1031As back in the 90s, and sold them for all of the reasons cited above.

I'm currently checking out Neumann KH 120 and Eve SC305 and an upgrade/supplement to my Dynaudio BM5 (MK1).

To my considerable surprise, mixes done on the Genelecs hold up really well on all these monitors (as well as 3 sets of headphones).

Kinda makes me wish I had kept them.
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