‘A huge step forward’: Genelec R&D director Aki Mäkivirta talks GLM 4 upgrade

Genelec R&D director, Aki Mäkivirta, has spoken to Audio Media International about the company’s brand new GLM  4 software upgrade, describing it as “a huge step forward”.

The new GLM 4 upgrade offer users of Genelec’s Smart Active Monitors Mac Catalina compatibility, a new interface and a raft of new features. Based on decades of research data, GLM 4 integrates with the intelligent DSP hardware within each Smart Active Monitor, allowing each monitor and subwoofer to be networked, configured and calibrated for the user’s acoustic environment. The GLM reference microphone kit allows the user’s room acoustics to be analysed, with GLM’s AutoCal feature automatically optimising each monitor and subwoofer for level, distance delay, subwoofer crossover phase and room response equalisation. 

Here, we speak to Mäkivirta about the development of the new upgrade and what it has to offer users…

When did work on the upgrade begin?
The development work for GLM 4 has been ongoing since Apple announced that OS X will only support 64-bit executables in the future. That was the original technical motivation to renew, but at the same time, we wanted a significant evolution in the way users could interact with GLM too. We realise how important GLM has become to the way audio professionals manage their workflow, so we wanted a new paradigm that would improve the way GLM allows them to use our Smart Active Monitoring systems. All of these rolled into one meant that we have been working very hard to deliver the new concept, and we’re pleased that this has finally launched. 

What are the main benefits for users?
GLM enables the user to completely optimise their Genelec monitors for the acoustic environment they’re working in, so that they can produce accurate mixes that translate reliably to other rooms and systems. We like to call it ‘creating a truthful sonic reference’. This has always had huge benefits, but even more so in the current climate of remote working, where the creative process is often taking place in a space not originally designed for recording and mixing. 

The way GLM works is by using a reference microphone, which allows the user’s room acoustics to be accurately analysed, after which GLM’s AutoCal feature optimises each monitor and subwoofer for level, distance delay, subwoofer crossover phase and room response equalisation. Then once GLM has optimised the monitoring system for the room, it then offers the user very sophisticated monitor control features, giving precise control of listening level and allowing them to switch between monitors and playback formats.

GLM 4 uses the Genelec Cloud computing service to calculate the AutoCal calibration, offering important benefits in enabling the newest calibration algorithms to always be used. The number of calibration microphone positions in the room is now unlimited, and this enables even more precise calibration for all kinds of working environments and applications. 

Finally, GLM 3 Setup files can be imported into GLM 4, so your favourite setup and monitoring room calibration will move very smoothly to the new GLM 4 environment. 

What are some of the new features this upgrade brings to GLM software?
As well as offering compatibility with Mac Catalina, the new user interface is a huge step forward in terms of aesthetics, useability and ease of navigation. Users can easily resize pages, and take advantage of both light and dark colour themes. GLM 4 installs with English as the default language but now enables the user to select Chinese, Finnish, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish languages.

For those with immersive monitoring systems, we’ve added dedicated setup and control functions, and we also offer excellent compatibility with the increasing number of audio monitoring standards in international mastering, broadcast, OTT and film.

Are there any particular applications that will benefit from this upgrade?
Anyone who relies on total accuracy from their monitoring system will benefit significantly, to be honest. That could be our traditional users in music, film and broadcast, right through to those working in game audio, education and research. One of the great strengths of GLM is its scalability – so while you may be working in stereo right now, it will expand and grow naturally with you should you decide to embrace more complex formats such as immersive audio in the future.

GLM 4 was created in conjunction with industrial designer Harri Koskinen. What can you tell us about that collaboration?
We’ve been working with Harri for 20 years now, and he’s had a huge influence on the aesthetics of most of our products during that period. We meet regularly with him to review the technical challenges ahead, and he’s intimately involved in creating new concepts and in developing industrial design solutions. His team were instrumental in creating the new GLM 4 user interface, and being able to work with creative talents of his calibre is very inspirational to our technical R&D team.