An introduction to Genelec’s new London demo space

We were recently given a tour of Scrub’s new HQ in central London to see what its world-leading demonstration space for the Finnish monitor brand has in store for visitors.

Situated in the Fitzrovia area of London lies a state-of-the-art demonstration facility contained within the new offices of HHB Communications’ post production reseller division Scrub.

The demo room – a combined vision designed to serve as a hub for pro-audio activities – is the world’s first global showcase of Genelec products in a controlled environment outside of its factory in Finland.

With enough space for 15 to 20 people, the facility is an ideal destination for those who wish to come and learn not only about Genelec and its speaker products, but also about modern audio technology in general.

The setup allows visitors to choose source material of virtually any format and evaluate Genelec monitors in stereo, surround and immersive audio configurations. The brilliance of the centre’s audio architecture is the ability to route any source to any destination, so visitors can choose to audition anything from a stereo pair of compact 8010A monitors to a full 11.1 immersive audio system.

“We can hit a variety of markets with this room: post guys, broadcast, music, install – it tells the whole story really,” said Howard Jones, Genelec’s recently appointed international project manager. “You can rig pretty much anything to anywhere because of the way the room has been set up. It’s very flexible and intelligent.”

The 11.1 system in question is connected to an Avid Pro Tools | S6 control surface and combines seven 8351A SAM studio monitors in left, centre, right, left side, right side, left back and right back positions, four 8330A SAM studio monitors overhead and two 7370A SAM studio subwoofers handling the low end.

Complementing the Centre’s Pro Tools | S3 control surface is a separate 5.1 configuration of five 8320A SAM studio monitors and one 7350A SAM studio subwoofer, which provides what Genelec describes as outstanding monitoring accuracy and flexibility in a smaller footprint, while the 8010A studio monitors and two 8430A audio-over-IP SAM studio monitors demonstrate both analogue and digital compact loudspeaker formats.

Scrubbing up well

John Johnson, Scrub’s chief technical officer, describes the room as ‘chalk and cheese’ compared to their previous demo space, and explains how they wanted to do something on a larger scale when the new property on Wells Street was located. “It just lent itself to having a whole floor with a proper demo space, broken up with a small-environment system which is more of a tracklay/premix room along with the main ‘hero’ suite,” explained Johnson. “As a result of this collaboration, we are also able to do presentations, training sessions and product launches, as well as distributor meetings and larger events.”

A second 5.1 system showcases Genelec’s architectural installation products and includes five AIC25 active in-ceiling speakers and one 5041A active in-wall subwoofer, while two AIW26B active in-wall speakers can be run in stereo mode or in 2.1 mode in conjunction with the 5041A. Finally, four 4030B installation speakers are positioned in the Scrub sales office to demonstrate small to mid-sized commercial installations.

“The location is natural because so much of our business is taking place here in Soho among the post-production companies, which is of course the market that Scrub serves,” remarked Genelec’s PR director, Lars-Olof Janflod. “The other motivation is the fact that we can get people in here to listen to our products before they purchase a top-of-the-range active speaker. If you’re going to buy something like this you just have to hear it in a proper environment.”

Visitors are able to choose material from a range of sources including MP3, CD, DVD, Blu-ray, PlayStation, Pro Tools, Logic, Nuendo, Spotify and Tidal – with Blu-ray, Pro Tools and Nuendo providing Dolby Atmos compatibility. The system is also compatible with Auro-3D and DTS:X, and can support low order Ambisonics and Binaural formats.

“We’re focusing more on Dolby Atmos but we’ve still got the capability of having a voice of God speaker above your head when doing a DTS:X playback,” Johnson added. “It’s about being able to demonstrate everything as best we can, as well as tying it all into the products that are popular with our customers.”

Extensive use of high-quality signal processing, audio conversion and Dante audio networking – courtesy of products from BSS, Focusrite and DAD – helps achieve the desired levels of flexibility and configurability while also reflecting the growing adoption of this type of technology in the marketplace.

Jones concludes by stating how he believes the location of the facility is ideal, and perfectly placed to suit the needs of international customers. “We’ve been talking to the Music Producers Guild about putting on events here,” he concluded. “There are some interesting discussions going on in the pro-audio community at the moment and we want them to take place here.”