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  • Writer's pictureKeith Cooper

Loudspeakers:- work or pleasure?

This week I spent a fascinating few hours with Charlie who writes, mixes, and masters music for a living.

Charlie is a classically trained pianist but he preferred creating to performing and he is a closet gearhead so writing/mixing/mastering was the natural outcome.

He invited me to bring over the Dutch&Dutch 8Cs so he could compare them to the other five sets of monitors that he uses for work, Charlie explained that each set ranging from the tiniest, cheapest clock radio type, through the ubiquitous Yammy Ns-10s, his Amphion 'Two18s' right up to his main speakers Genelec 8351a's and sub all had a distinct purpose in the creative process.

For example he would use the Ns-10s to check the level of the vocals, each set of speakers provides a different 'optic' to look through, he even uses a set of cheap IEMs as one of the checks of the final mix.

As you can see space is at a premium, Charlie wanted to directly compare the Genelecs which are his main speaker with the 8cs, the bridge wasn't wide enough for both 8351s and 8Cs so we ( Charlie really) created a 'line array' angling the Genelecs down, to approximate his usual listening position.

The 8Cs were also somewhat compromised by having the Amphions packed tightly against them, for the 8Cs cardioid to form effectively the speaker ideally needs around 30cm of free space around it.

Ideally the 8Cs could have been placed on stands behind the desk but there just wasn't enough space.

I was extremely impressed with Charlie's Grace M905, with its controller it allows him to switch instantly between speakers, their is no pause whatsoever in the music, straight from one to another and level matched for volume too, it makes my loudspeaker switching in Roon seem a bit prehistoric.

The Genelecs use their GLM measurement/calibration software which is extremely convenient, press of a button to measure, calibration carried out on one of Genelec's servers somewhere in the cloud and then stored in each loudspeaker.

We used REW with the 8Cs, the 8Cs are integrated with REW, you measure, REW creates the filters and they are sent directly to each 8C.

Initially for me sitting off-axis it was difficult to discern major differences between speakers as Charlie switch between Amphion, Genelec and Dutch&Dutch, gradually the differences did become more apparent,as I mentioned I was sitting off-axis and not strictly in the calibrated zone so any opinions are hardly definitive.

I thought the Amphions were 'unremarkable ' Charlie said that was exactly why he used them!

The main difference I heard between the Genelecs and the 8Cs was one of tonality, Charlie thought the Genelecs sounded 'brittle' compared to the 8Cs and they did, also the bass was slightly ill-defined with a definite overhang from my listening position.

I have had the chance to listen to Genelecs at some length, we took a pair of their 8351Bs in part-exchange relatively recently, here that pair also sounded a little thin, the Ki Three has a similar in comparison tonality.

I suppose depending upon what you are used to the Genelec/Kiis can sound either 'precise/accurate/revealing' or slightly lacking body.

I believe this is due to the Genelec/Kii 'target' curve being a little horizontally flatter than the 8Cs, (the 8Cs out of the box have a little more bass and a little less treble).

This can be adjusted of course, reducing the Genelecs/Kiis treble and increasing the bass response even by a relatively small amount 1-1,5dB brings them together in terms of tonality.

I just want to thank Charlie for expressing interest in the 8Cs, inviting me around and having the patience to explain his process.

Charlie is very nice but not as nice as his cats.

Dutch&Dutch 8C cat approved.

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