Geneva AeroSphère Large

Score

Pros

  • Distinctive design
  • Punchy, room-filling bass and lucid detail
  • User-friendly app design

Cons

  • Narrow imaging
  • Expensive
  • Need third-party app for DLNA playback

Key Features

  • Review Price: £649.00
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with apt-X
  • AirPlay, DLNA and Spotify Connect support
  • 2 x 4in woofers, 2 x 1in tweeters, up-firing 6in subwoofer
  • Three position settings
  • Red, white and black fabric finishes

What is the Geneva AeroSphère Large?

AeroSphère Large is a

wireless multiroom music system blessed with a striking spherical

design. This is a speaker designed to make a splash, eschewing the

angles and straight lines of most wireless systems for something

altogether more daring.

But it certainly isn’t a case of style

over substance. The Swiss brand has packed its audio orb full of

high-end components and processing, all primed to deliver hi-fi stereo

sound. Alongside Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, DLNA and Spotify Connect

ensure all your wireless sources are catered for.

The swanky styling and extensive features are reflected in the hefty price, but if it sounds half as good as Geneva’s Model Cinema soundbase it’s sure to be money well spent.

Geneva AeroSphere Large

Geneva AeroSphère Large – Design and Connections

AeroSphère’s

bold design is as likely to appeal to interior decorators as music

lovers, looking more like an ornament than a speaker. Measuring 405mm

wide, the polymer dome is finished in a choice of red, black or white

fabric that feels similar to snooker table baize.

Geneva AeroSphere Large

The

speaker sits on a steel base with a Geneva logo on the front that glows

different colours to denote the unit’s status: green for AirPlay/DLNA;

blue for Bluetooth; and pink for line input. Around the rear of the base

are two buttons, power and setup, plus a 3.5mm mini-jack input.
Geneva AeroSphere Large
The

fabric and steel combo is stunning, but it reaches jaw-drop status when

placed on the optional floorstand (£149). Fashioned from brushed

aluminium, it features a large round base with a central pole that slots

into a hole on the bottom of the AeroSphère (which also houses the

power input). It raises the unit to 788mm high and hides the power cord,

ensuring a clean, minimal appearance.

If you don’t opt for the

stand then there are four small rubber feet in the box for tabletop

placement. If it’s too large for your desired location then the

AeroSphère Small might be more suitable.

Geneva AeroSphère Large – Features

The

AeroSphère Large boasts a full house of wireless connectivity,

including Apple AirPlay, DLNA, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth apt-X. You

can access Spotify, TuneIn radio, Wimp and Deezer directly through the

AeroSphère smartphone app (which I’ll come to in Operation), but to

access music on networked devices you have to download a third-party

DLNA player – Geneva recommends the BubbleUPnP app, which I used for my test.

Geneva AeroSphere Large

Inside

the domed cabinet are two 4-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters and an

up-firing 6-inch subwoofer, arranged within three separate acoustic

chambers. The drivers are individually powered by class-D digital

amplifiers, which have been optimised using proprietary digital signal

processing. The up-firing subwoofer is designed to offer consistent

bass, no matter where you place it.
Geneva AeroSphere Large
With

Geneva’s optional AeroSphère Base (£449) added to your network, you can

play music on up to four AeroSphère Larges in a multiroom system. Base

features a built-in CD player, FM/DAB/DAB+ radio and another line input,

all of which can be beamed to the AeroSphère via Wi-Fi.

Geneva AeroSphère Large – Operation

Setting

up the AeroSphère is ostensibly easy – just download the app and follow

the instructions – but my experience was initially beset by small

annoyances. The remote wasn’t working and I couldn’t get the fiddly

battery compartment open. In addition, the app took ages to find my

speaker and kept losing the connection.

Geneva AeroSphere Large   Geneva AeroSphere Large

But

when it’s working, operation is easy. Credit for that goes to the

AeroSphère smartphone app and its thoroughly modern but user-friendly

design. The sparse homepage uses large black and red lettering against a

crisp white backdrop, with a volume slider at the bottom and connected

AeroSphères displayed in red. You can select a source from the list at

the top.  

You

can adjust the bass and treble levels, while three DSP presets adjust

the audio settings for different positions – freestanding, close to a

wall or in a corner. These settings are well hidden in the setup menu,

but are worth playing around with.

You can also change the

speaker name or update the software by visiting the Geneva’s

browser-based setup page. Two AeroSphères can be used in a stereo pair,

using the app to assign the left and right channels.

The app is

easy to use, but it’s a shame you can’t access DLNA devices directly

from the AeroSphère app – switching between BubbleUPnP and AeroSphère is

a bit of a pain.

The supplied infrared remote is a suitably

stylish affair. Wafer thin and clad in a gorgeous silver finish, it

features an array of large, well-labelled rubber buttons. The AeroSphère

can be controlled with the app, but the physical remote saves you the

hassle of firing it up just to adjust volume or switch sources.

Geneva AeroSphère Large – Performance

In

action, the AeroSphère Large works well. The Geneva switches

automatically to DLNA or AirPlay sources once you start playing music –

the Geneva logo turns green to confirm. I streamed music from

smartphones and laptops on my network without any major problems, apart

from a few drop-outs when streaming via AirPlay. The Bluetooth

connection is stable and reliable.

The AeroSphère delivers

stunning sound quality. Despite its spherical shape, the Geneva’s

forward-facing drivers don’t emit omnidirectional sound like the Samsung R7, but the up-firing subwoofer ensures that the sound still fills the room.
Geneva AeroSphere Large

Its

deep, punchy bass notes give every track a solid foundation. Whether

you’re sitting down or walking around the room, the Aerosphère’s

muscular bass notes find a way to rattle your ribcage.

Play the

disco funk of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and its kick drums and bassline

are solid yet agile, while the booming beats of “Unstoppable” by Lianne

La Havas drive hard and fill the room. It’s a virtuoso performance,

exciting and full-bodied.

Geneva AeroSphere Large

AeroSphère’s smooth, precise high frequencies bring a bit of Swiss finesse to your music.

I thought the speaker’s prodigious bass output might overpower its finer

aspects, but this isn’t the case –  hi-hats, strings and guitar plucks

in “Get Lucky” cut through clearly, while Pharrell’s vocals sound clear.

There’s no hardness when you push the volume up high, further evidence

of the AeroSphère’s audiophile credentials.

AeroSphère does a

good job with lower-quality files streamed via Bluetooth, but obviously

hi-res files reveal its true audiophile colours. A 96kHz/24-bit FLAC

file of “Too In Love” by David Benoit and Jane Monheit sounds gorgeous: There’s plenty of detail in Monheit’s voice and a crisp leading edge to

the Latin-flavoured guitar.

If I’m being picky, the

AeroSphère’s soundstage could be better. Rather than creating a wide

audio space in which instruments are given room to breathe, the Geneva

comes at you like a solid wall of sound. It’s certainly cohesive and

detailed, but it lacks the “live performance” feel that audiophiles

seek.

Geneva AeroSphere Large

Should I buy the Geneva AeroSphère Large?

If

you’re the sort of buyer for whom boundary-pushing design is as

important as polished sound quality, then the Geneva AeroSphère will be

right up your alley.

Its striking spherical enclosure looks right

at home in contemporary living spaces, and makes jaws drop when placed

on the bespoke floorstand. Looks like this don’t come cheap, but the

AeroSphère more than justifies the expense.  

However, it’s the

AeroSphère’s sound quality that really seals the deal – rich in bass,

detail and dynamics, this is a system that makes music sparkle, although

some hi-fi purists might yearn for a wider, more spacious soundstage.

Geneva AeroSphère Large – Verdict

Geneva’s wireless speaker backs up its gob-smacking looks with powerful, dynamic sound quality.

Score

Latest from Trusted Reviews