Desktop Speaker Showdown - Measurements

      Date posted: October 27, 2004

(Reprinted from the Fall 2004 Audio Ideas Guide)

      These three powered monitors were measured in our standard fashion, and all performed reasonably well, with good dispersion to 30 degrees off axis, and the required slight reticence in the midrange you need

Edifier R1900 Frequency Response

for a speaker you listen to at close quarters. I can see why Aaron was less enthusiastic about the Edifier, with its rolled-off treble and upper midrange. Though very flat through the range from 70 to 1000 Hz, it was about 7 dB down by 4 kHz, with little life above, and zilch sheen at the top.

     It also rolled off quite steeply in the bass, down close to 10 dB at 50 Hz, and off about 17 dB at 30 Hz. With such nearfield monitors as these, you expect a little table/desk reinforcement potential in the bass, but there’s not any here. Still, it’s fairly decent over the rest of the range, and for the price, is one of those “ya gets what ya pays for” products.

Swans T200A Frequency Response

     The Swans HT200 measured quite well for its price and pedigree, +/-3 dB from about 70 Hz to near 12 kHz, with a notable bump between 400 and 2000 Hz. Its bass held up to 40 Hz, with a gentler rolloff than the Edifier, allowing some deep bass response. Its directivity was well con-trolled, down about 3 dB overall at 30 o off axis, but very linear relative to on-axis response. I think Aaron enjoyed listening to this speaker pair (since he still is, on yet another film job, the next David Cronenberg flick).

     With the Genelec, we’re dealing with a whole different quality, engineering, sonic and price category. This speaker is accurate, fast, and sweet in the top end, and on a 15 o axis, +/-2 dB from about 50 Hz to 15 kHz, unusual accuracy in my experience among either pro or consumer loudspeakers. Aaron probably could have tweaked it for even better performance with the rear-panel controls, but at centre settings, it’s quite spectacu-lar for a nearfield monitor, or for any small monitor, period.

Genelec HT208 Frequency Response

     It should be for the price, but, still, excellence is worth celebrating. I live with $5000+ a pair speakers (more when you throw in the subwoofers), and what we have have from the HT 208 is a level of performance seldom seen even in this price class. In fact, many studio monitors I’ve encountered with some famous names are much inferior. It appears Genelec is joining PMC in bringing true high fidelity into the recording, mixing and mastering studios.

     I can never forget the legendarily bad Auratones that have inhabited so many studios (designed to mimic the sound of AM radio). It’s a blessing to have speakers of the Genelec HT 208’s quality and accuracy available for monitoring what we are likely to hear in future movies, CDs and DVDs. We should all be grateful to Genelec for providing a reference standard in the HT 208.

Andrew Marshall

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