It has always been difficult to measure where the audio enthusiast's needs end and professional requirements begin and the line is getting ever more blurry. In September we reviewed the Genelec 6010A speaker system, its entry level model and the only one it actively pushes to consumers. Its performance was astonishing and very well priced, but what about those audiophiles keen to take another step up the Genelec ladder?
The answer is the Genelec 8020B, another bi-amplified 'active' speaker positioned directly above the Genelec 6010A but with substantial improvements across the board in terms of power, frequency and bass response. It also pairs specifically with the Genelec 7050B, a completely different sub with virtually twice the output of the 5040A used with the Genelec 6010A. Yes as single step-ups go, the specification jump from the 6010A to the Genelec 8020B is about as big as they come and one which again throws into the spotlight the question of where the overlap between enthusiasts and professionals breaks down.
Interestingly for a predominantly professional company Genelec has a strong emphasis on unified design and as such the Genelec 8020B is like a larger Russian doll of its smaller sibling. This means the same Adipose-esque design with rounded corners, rubberised feet, super tough die-cast aluminium construction and choice of matt white or black finishes are used. That said there is no mistaking the two as given the size and weight leap from the 6010A's tiny 195 x 121 x 114mm and 1.4Kg to the Genelec 8010B's still relatively compact 242 x 151 x 142mm and 3.7Kg.
Meanwhile the difference in the optional sub is even greater with the circular marshmallow-inspired design of the 5040A giving way to the more industrial, rectangular look of the 7050B. Here the size and weight differences are even more apparent with the 5040A measuring a living room friendly 251 x 305mm and weighing 6.5Kg while the 7050 is a hefty 410 x 350 x 319mm and whopping 18Kg. Again for so-called 'prosumers' it is worth bearing in mind this is the smallest step up Genelec offers from the entry level 6010A in a range which extends to concert rigs.
In the speaker world it is often proclaimed that size matters, so does it translate here? The answer is: by the bucket load. In terms of raw specifications, the Genelec 8020B doesn't actually produce vastly louder audio than the 6010A, increasing just 2dB to 95dB per speaker – a still window-shaking level. Where the improvements come, however, are in the projection of that sound through significantly bolstered bass (20W vs 12W) and treble (20W vs 12W) drivers as well as a wider frequency range of 65Hz - 21kHz opposed to 73Hz - 21kHz.
For the listener the end result is noticeable primarily at distance with sumptuous lows, mids and highs that would fill even the largest of residential home spaces and in a 2.0 configuration the 8020B will satisfy all the needs of most audiophiles. Add in the 7050B and the 8020B transforms into a rumbling, snarling beast with the sub offering a further 100dB via a 70W, 8-inch active driver with super-wide 25 - 120Hz frequency response.