Genesis 6.1 5.1-channel speaker system

The history of high-end audio and video is littered with companies who made fine products but failed. Kloss Audio/Video, California Audio Labs, and Dunlavy Audio are but a few of the illustrious firms that did not survive. Genesis almost joined these ranks. Founded in 1991 by Arnie Nudell, Paul McGowan, and Mark Shifter, Genesis quickly made its mark with outstanding speakers and digital electronics. Yet in December 2001, Genesis closed its doors.

But not for long. On August 1, 2002, Genesis Advanced Technologies acquired Genesis' remaining assets, inventory, and intellectual property. This new firm bears an uncanny similarity to the original Genesis, primarily because Arnie Nudell is once more designing their products. A 5.1 surround-sound speaker system represents Genesis' first dedicated multichannel music and home theater product.

Creative Technology
Videophiles may be less familiar than longtime audiophiles with Arnie Nudell's previous creations. He was responsible for the Infinity IRS, the flagship of the Infinity line in the 1970's and '80s and the first speaker to use Electro Magnetic Induction Tweeter (EMIT) drivers, originally patented by Daniel Von Recklinghousen, chief engineer for H.H. Scott. Scott never produced any products using this revolutionary ribbon tweeter, and the patent eventually ended up in Infinity's hands.

The IRS featured a vertical line array of tweeters and midrange drivers mounted in a 7.5-foot-tall cabinet wired to a separate, equally impressive woofer column with six 12-inch woofers controlled by dedicated servo amplifiers. The IRS was a dipole configuration, generating sound energy to the rear as well as to the front. Dipole design and servo-controlled woofers are also found in Nudell's latest creation, the Genesis 6.1 series.

The 136-pound, floorstanding Genesis 6.1 speaker has two 1-inch planar ribbon tweeters, a 5-inch titanium-cone midrange, two 6.5-inch aluminum-cone midbass drivers, and two 12-inch woofers. The proprietary circular tweeters, one facing forward, the other to the rear, use a membrane of photo-etched Kapton only 0.0005 inch thick. Because of its special physical properties, which include a radiating structure with less mass than the air in front of it, the Genesis tweeter is capable of producing frequencies up to 36kHz. The output level of the front tweeter can be adjusted +/-1dB.

The G6.1's single 5-inch midrange driver cone is made of pure titanium. This strong, light metal permits excellent transient response and minimal harmonic coloration. Two 61/2-inch aluminum drivers handle the lower-midrange and upper-bass frequencies. Specially designed to handle extremely large power transients, these drivers feature large but well-shielded magnets and ultra-light cones.

The G6.1's tweeters and midrange drivers are affixed to a uniquely shaped cabinet featuring a 2-inch-thick front baffle, curved sides, rigid internal bracing, and a 5° backtilt for precise phase alignment. The rear of the cabinet is open to form a three-sided box. Sporting its own removable grille, this backless cabinet allows the midrange and midbass couplers to operate in dipole modes, and the rear-firing tweeter to operate without sonic restrictions. The judicious use of Dacron filler behind the front-firing midrange and midbass drivers reduces their output from the rear of the cabinet by 3–4dB, and makes it possible to place the G6.1 closer to a wall than a more conventional free-air dipole design.

In essence, the Genesis 6.1 is a 3-way speaker married to an active subwoofer. The two ribbed-aluminum 12-inch woofers sit below the rest of the speaker in their own sealed cabinet, one firing to each side. They are wired in phase with one another and mounted in balanced, diametrically opposed positions to reduce physical distortion and intra-cabinet resonances. A high-speed servo circuit controls the woofers by monitoring their physical motion, comparing the actual cone movement to the original input signal, and correcting for any nonlinearity. Instead of a conventional power amplifier, the Genesis 6.1 uses a discrete class-D, 500W MOSFET digital switching amp capable of more than 1000W peak output. This amp is physically smaller and generates far less heat than a typical class-A/B amplifier, making it ideal for placement inside a speaker cabinet.

The Genesis 6.1c center-channel speaker shares many similarities with the G6.1: the same circular ribbon tweeters front and rear, and the same midrange, lower-midrange, and upper-bass drivers and level-adjustment controls. However, the enclosure has a different shape, an On/Off switch for the rear tweeter, and it lacks the built-in active woofer. Instead of the G6.1's open back, the G6.1c has a sealed cabinet. The front tweeter and midrange driver are mounted together on a circular Corian platform that can be rotated 90°, so the speaker can be positioned horizontally or vertically. The G6.1c's shape also allows it to be placed atop a Genesis S4/8 servo subwoofer, forming a unit that sounds similar to the floorstanding G6.1.

The G6.1sr rear/side speaker works as either a dipole or monopole. Unlike many switchable speakers, the G6.1sr doesn't merely turn on and off its front- and side-firing drivers, but changes the crossover circuit that controls the drivers' levels and phase characteristics. Having two complete crossovers inside adds to the speaker's cost, but this makes it possible for Genesis to produce a rear/side speaker that more closely mimics the harmonic and dynamic levels of their front and center models. The G6.1sr also includes special throughput connectors so you can tether it to a Genesis S2/12t subwoofer to create a full-range speaker system. This feature makes the Genesis 6.1sr system optimal for discrete multichannel SACD and DVD-Audio music discs, providing full-range sound in the surrounds.

Genesis sent two different subwoofers with their G6.1 surround system for this review. The S4/8 can be used under the G6.1c center-channel or placed anywhere in the room. It has four 8-inch drivers with ribbed aluminum cones. As in the floorstanding G6.1, the S4/8's woofers are placed on opposing sides and wired in phase, so their movements neutralize cabinet resonances. They also use a servo system to monitor and correct any nonlinear speaker movements, and an efficient 500W, class-D discrete MOSFET switching amplifier reduces heat and wasted energy.

The S2/12t sub has an irregular hexagon cabinet shape with two 12-inch woofers mounted at an angle of 90° to each other. This shape makes it easy to place an S2/12 in a corner. The woofers, servo, and amplifier are the same as in the G6.1, but instead of placing the drivers directly opposite each other as in the G6.1, the S2/12t's unique cabinet shape helps reduce internal resonances and distortion to create a subwoofer that is said to have less than 1% distortion throughout its operating range (though the output level is not specified).

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