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Genelec versus Neumann

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Genelec versus Neumann

Postby robindch » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:06 pm

So, I have a music room which is 9.5 meters by 4.5 meters with a pitched ceiling, so a quick back of the envelope calculation shows there's around 160 cubic meters of space to fill. There are walls on three sides of the room and a sliding window into the garden at one of the 4.5m ends. The organ is down the other end of the room and the player can look out over the console and out through the sliding door. As the room's in use for other things (boo!), the front speakers will need to go into the corners of the room - two larger ones either side of the sliding door, and I suppose two smaller ones behind the organ.

After some poking around, the following two speaker configurations suggested themselves:

1. A Genelec system - a 7360 subwoofer (300W) and a linked 2 x Genelec 8040 (2-way, 90W + 90W) out front, and 2 x Genelec 8030 (2-way, 50W + 50W) behind. Or 4 x Genelec 8040, two in front and two behind.

2. A Neumann system - KH-805 200W subwoofer, then two KH-310's in front (3-way, 150W, 70W + 70W) and two KH-120's behind (2-way, 50W + 50W).

These are coming in around the 6,000/7,000 euro mark.

Firstly, I imagine either of these specs will fill the room more than adequately. But what might the difference in sound quality be like? Is it likely to be noticeable? Are there any obvious mistakes in this?

Thoughts in general, please!
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Re: Genelec versus Neumann

Postby magnaton » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:25 am

It might help if you told us which sample sets you are considering. Since you list rear speakers, I assume you are considering surround sound sets.

I'd start with searching this forum on "Neumann", "Genelec", "Studio Monitors", and "Multchannel". Given the reputation of both these firms, either one should work for you. Here are a few observations:
- The respective subwoofers for these systems are designed for a studio application to compliment the active stereo pair. For pipe organ play back and for your room dimensions, I'd consider something more powerful like a sub from SVS Audio or Rhythmik Audio that can reach 16Hz.
- The samples used for surround sound are reflective (less detailed) in nature as they add ambience. I wouldn't use that high caliber of an active monitor for this purpose. Consider a passive set or less expensive active studio monitor.
- Since you have a large space and want to actually fill it with organ music, I'd lower your brand of studio monitors which will yield more of them for the same 6K euro budget. In other words, you'll have broader sound and increased harmonic definition with more (not so high end) monitors than with a smaller count of very expensive monitors.
- Finally having all active monitors the same make and model to be used for the front and or diffused pipe ranks (i.e. not surround ranks) will provide greater flexibility for changing your routing designs so you desire.

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Re: Genelec versus Neumann

Postby robindch » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:51 pm

Hi Danny + thanks for your reply.

For sample sets, I'm looking at the larger ones, as the console will have four manuals, and the Windows box will be high-spec (fast, 64-96Gb memory) so there should not be a problem running them adequately.

I take your point about increasing the number of monitors (and possibly decreasing the cost/quality) to provide a fuller sound. I was working Gert van Ginkel's list of configurations, and my first post above was based upon his configuration 3(b). However, you're suggesting that it's better to run with 4(a), which is what Gert is suggesting too. I'll check this configuration out and see what the price comes in at for various speaker sets - do you think it would be reasonable to run with, say, four Genelec 8040's out front and two out back?

Of the subs available from SVS Audio + Rhythmik Audio, and based upon the reviews I've read, the best seems to be the SVS-PC-2000 (16Hz). Will check the forum here for comments on this sub and see what shows up. The Genelec 7360 and Neumann KH-805 subwoofers don't go down to 16Hz which the SVS reaches.

Would you expect any problems running the SVS-PC-2000 together with six Genelecs? I'm imagining that regardless of the manufacturer, that there might be some unusual beat or cancellation or other effects, depending on how the sound is routed - possibly therefore requiring crossover frequencies to be configured.
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Re: Genelec versus Neumann

Postby magnaton » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:11 am

Hello again:

With active monitors and a powered sub(s) you can add as many channels as you want. The only limitation here is the number of outputs on your audio interface unit. You seem to be sold on Genelec monitors, I see they just introduced a new "M" series. Check out the M040 which has very similar specs but half the price of its 8040 counterpart!

From your post you'd like to purchase 6 identical active monitors. This is fine however I predict that in the future you will want to enlist your surround sound active monitors into the main (front) pipe speaking duty and settle for a lesser pair to act as surround sound.

The SVS PC-2000 sub has phase controls and an adjustable low-pass filter knob to prevent any frequency collisions with the main speakers. Both the 8040 and new M040 Genelecs bottom out at 48Hz (at -2db) and have a bass roll off or EQ knob (nice). The SVS PC-2000 has a bypass setting starting at 50Hz so between these two products you should be fine.

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Re: Genelec versus Neumann

Postby josq » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:25 pm

Basically there are two paradigms :

1) Optimizing the sound for the entire room, simulating the effect of having a real (small) pipe organ in your room. This approach is typical for large and/or reverberant spaces (e.g. churches). Most reverb should come from the room (which hopefully has nice acoustics), therefore (semi-)dry sample sets are to be used. You'll want to distribute the sound through many speakers; rear speakers are usually not applicable in this case.

2) Optimizing the sound for your playing/listening position at the organ bench, with the aim of faithfully reproducing the original sound of (large) famous organs including the original acoustics. This approach might be the preferred option for using Hauptwerk at home. Wet sample sets are used, therefore you'll want to minimize interference from your room acoustics. A single pair of high-quality near-field monitors is a very good (and perhaps the best) start, and rear speakers can be added for surround sound.

Compromises and hybrids between the two approaches are not uncommon: Nevertheless, you might want to optimize the positioning of your monitors, certainly if you clearly prefer the second approach. One very important aspect is maximization of the amount of direct undistorted sound, and minimizing the amount of reflected muddled sound.

If you place your front speakers all the way on the other side of the room, reflected sound will be totally dominant and the result might be quite dissatisfying. Is it an option for you to place your speakers on top of the organ console? 70-100 cm distance from your ears generally will be OK.
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Re: Genelec versus Neumann

Postby Dnsmo » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:11 pm

Hello, robindch. I'm using a pair of the Neumann speakers you mentioned, but my situation is different from yours.

Because my practice room is quite compact (2.5 by 3 meters -- roughly 8' x 10'), I'm following paradigm #2 that josq mentioned above. But with such limited space, I'm using a pair of Neumann KH 120s in front, on large wooden monitor stands aimed at my ears, and a pair of rear monitors: either KH 80s OR a pair of passive bookshelf speakers driven by a spare Hafler amp I have on hand. To that, I intend to add a sub in the corner. I currently own a subwoofer with a low reach of only 25 Hz, so something like the SVS PC-2000 might be the way to go, space and downstairs neighbors permitting.

I must say, the Neumanns are the most impressive near-field monitor in their price range I've ever encountered. I much prefer them to the Genelecs.

I love the KH 120 -- airy, open, and musical. Although it's quite a different box from the 310 -- ported two-way versus sealed three-way. Because the 310s are much more costly, I urge you to find a dealer and listen for yourself before spending that kind of money. (Or at least purchase one or both models from a vendor with a liberal return policy.)

And consider this comparison: a set of KH 120s and some decent room treatment will perform better overall than a pair of the 310s in a bad-sounding room.

Good luck with your quest.

Dennis
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Re: Genelec versus Neumann

Postby RichardW » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:31 pm

Dnsmo wrote:I love the KH 120


I'm with you!

Originally, I spent a lot of time comparing Genelecs with Neumans - not listening, just "on paper". I too have a smallish room. I started by thinking that I wanted some 8" speakers. Then I thought about surround and the rear ones would need to be smaller. I was not prepared to get different speakers for front and back.

The location of the port pushed me towards the Neumans because it meant I could place them closer to the wall. Also, I once read a review that talked about the "typical Genelec sound". I didn't want to hear the speakers I wanted to hear the organ. I never did find out if Neumans had a similar issue with a "Neuman sound"!

Four KH310s would have been far too big and too expensive. I objected to the expensive subs like the Genelecs as well. It looked like a good solution but I could not justify the price so I opted for four KH120s and a 12" sub in the corner. The KH120s do sound very nice. When I put on my headphones I used to be able to detect more detail than with my previous speakers. That no longer happens since getting the KH120s.

Buying a separate sub means you have to be careful about getting them matched to the other speakers. You need to get the volume exactly right and the filter settings on all the speakers well-aligned.

If I had gone for a straight two channel solution then two KH310s looked ideal. I know this will be contentious but to that set up a sub would add only the fundamental component of the 32' rank of the bottom octave of the pedals. You get all the other harmonics and your brain relies on the "resultant" idea to fill in anyway. It is a lot of money for such a small part of the spectrum?

Of course, my solution was to fit my budget and space. I appreciate that others will have more resources available but I think my solution is quite cost effective - for a Neuman-based solution, that is. They did not make the KH80 at the time. That would have been even more cost-effective. The sub would have had more work to do, though.


Regards,
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