GEAR & TECH
Genelec M Series M030
If you’re a musician – which is the customer Genelec envisions for its new Music Creation Series – the M030 is probably built more like your engineer’s speakers than your current monitors, writes Strother Bullins.
To my eyes, Genelecs seem to be used by more professional studios and engineers than any other recognisable studio monitor. That means something to me, especially in an industry where they’re not the top seller. Fellow musicians will empathise here, as I haven’t owned the brand of most of my favourite engineers or studios before, either, though I can consider it now. Genelec has approached its new M Series in an admirably attractive way for artist-level end users.
Starting with unique aesthetics and physicality, the M030 – and bigger sibling M040 – features cabinetry that is not only green but also saves in manufacturing over the long term, based on Genelec’s manufacturing details for the M Series, which is a benefit ultimately passed onto both the customer and our Earth’s ecological future. The company’s trademarked Natural Composite Enclosure (NCE) material is made of wood fibre and recyclable material, which Genelec reports is 50 percent wood fibre, 50 percent polymer/ recycled materials, and doesn’t require a lot of handling during manufacturing, which is done in Finland.
Genelec provides additional value in the M Series, such as efficient, cooler running (“90 percent more efficient”) Class D amps, paired with a core set of response-shaping controls (sans the expansive and expensive DSP of the 8200 line). The aluminium housing of a flagship Genelec line – imaginably more durable to a studio-hopping pro and offering a certain aesthetic – isn’t something a M Series customer will pay for. Now, they don’t have to with the styling of the M Series moulded enclosures.
Here are Genelec’s own provided specs: the M030 biamplified active monitor utilises a 5in woofer and 0.75in metal dome tweeter, powered by 50W and 30W amplifiers respectively. The free-field frequency response is 58Hz to 21kHz (+/-3dB), while peak SPL is 102dB at one metre. The M030 measures 10.75in H x 7.5in W x 7.5in D and weighs 8.8lbs.
The M040 biamplified active monitor employs a 6.5in woofer with a 1in metal dome tweeter, powered by 80W and 50W amplifiers respectively. The free-field frequency response is 48Hz to 21kHz (+/-3dB), while peak SPL is 107dB at one meter. The M040 measures 13.25in H x 9.25in W x 9in D and weighs 15.4lbs.
I used the M030s for hours most days for two months, sitting both on my studio desk and in a variety of different locations, applying the corner and desktop EQ settings when appropriate, with no sub. I’ve given them a full range of input too, from iPod and MacBook headphone outs to high-quality balanced analogue summing of tracks I’ve recorded and am intimately familiar with. I felt very comfortable with these monitors, growing more fond of them all the time.
Whether recording and mixing, or editing, composing and writing, these small boxes offer all the creative appeal needed for music creation. I listened to them for enjoyment, with a range of carefully produced material, from early Beatles to Yeezus. I started with common rock references such as AC/DC’s Shoot To Thrill at 90dB; the bottom end is controlled, tight, powerful, and real. From there up, it’s what I recall hearing in Genelec nearfields (they definitely resemble their 8000 kin). In general, detail in reverb tails and the snare drum buzz that I almost forgot was there. Basically, whatever is in the mix I felt I was hearing more than usual.
Genelec’s new bass port design – the trademarked Laminar Integrated Port (actually integrated into the cabinet mould and utilising its legs and the gap between them) – works well; I was surprised that I didn’t long for a subwoofer using a speaker this size. The design is beautifully modern European to its core. In our musician = IKEA world this appealing design goes a long way.
I’ve never used DSP monitors beyond the audition and review period. Primarily as a self-recording musician, I never felt compelled to spring for the feature, though I’m always try to spend a bit extra on getting sufficient response tailoring and a more powerful monitor for the money. With the M030, Genelec includes a substantial 80W of Class D amplification – a more powerful Genelec than I could have afforded before. In that way, this particular model fits my bill, as I get the attributes I most appreciate and can more comfortably afford.
These M030 monitors look good and feel substantial – with notably tight cabinets – and the switches feel high- quality and sure. The material allows the M030 to be a Genelec with its trademark neutral character. I expect the cabinet material alone will be a topic discussed in some circles as these speakers burgeon in the marketplace.
If these monitors set new trends, and I expect they will, the Music Creation Series mentality will influence more use of eco-friendly composite materials, if not even the development of similarly designed (and looking) cabinetry in our industry. Further, I appreciate the effort of Genelec to provide, for lack of a better phrase, a “stripped down Gennie” Series for the guys in the band that do know what “the good monitors” sound like.
Strother Bullins is the Editor of Pro Audio Review
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