Review: Genelec The Ones 8341A

What is it?

Smart Active Monitors that self-adjust according to your room and now deliver an in-depth acoustic report about that room.

What’s great?

The sound is already fabulous before the technology does its work – and that tech is seamless and easy – but now your room can sound as good.

What’s not?

Monitors with this number of acronyms are never going to be cheap, but actually the price has come down.

The bottom line:

Genelec continues to develop these top range monitors, adding software updates to GLM that make them seem future-proof. They sound fantastic, and with the full range of technology deployed can sound even better, in any room. And now you can even get help to sort that room out too.


Genelec’s 8341A monitors are three-way, compact monitors with a distinctive coaxial design. As part of the company’s The One Series (they are the second smallest of four models) they are packed with pretty much every piece of technology – and acronym – that Genelec has come up with in decades of monitor design. And while they are Smart Active Monitors (SAM) that will adjust their response to your room, they also include a new feature that delivers an acoustic ‘GRADE’ report on that room. Genelec thinks (correctly) that sorting your root-cause acoustic issues can always be a worthwhile exercise, and this new service certainly allows you to identify such issues. Before that, though, let’s see why these are called ‘The Ones’.

The Ones for you?

We explain the SAM system in more detail in our feature about monitor technology (in issue 7), but essentially it employs Genelec’s GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager software, now at v4.2.2), and a measuring microphone connected to a network connector. You play a selection of frequency bursts into the microphone from the speakers and the monitors then adjust their frequency response to tailor to your room according to the results they get back. They are essentially making sure you hear a true version of your mix, even though your room might be countering that by being acoustically awful. It’s a system that Genelec has made famous and similar setups are now employed by the likes of IK Multimedia and KRK. But The Ones have a lot more…

The 8341s have Genelec’s famous coaxial design, where the tweeter sits between a set of dual woofers that essentially act as a single unit, and this helps widen the sweet spot. This dual woofer setup also delivers a bigger bass response than monitors of this size should as it is effectively spread over a wider area. Genelec’s Directivity Control Waveguide helps give broader imaging, and other features like the smoother edges help reduce secondary reflections and flatten the overall frequency response.

Now it’s important to say at this point – before we start looking at even more tech built into the 8341s – that these design elements already deliver the goods, especially when you consider the size. The bass is tight, non flabby nor over-egged but has a power that you really don’t expect. The frequency response is wide (38Hz – 37kHz) and flat (±1.5dB at 45Hz-20kHz), so you are already getting great sounding speakers before any of the other advances have had their say.

The sweet spot is especially broad – one of Genelec’s big aims with these speakers. We’re not sure how much that would benefit smaller rooms, as space might be an issue, negating the availability of a wide sweet spot to physically sit within. But there’s enough power to get these monitors working well in larger rooms too, and certainly generate a wide enough image so that more than one person can enjoy the results.

As we saw with our speaker technology feature, the SAM and GLM systems work a treat, and shouldn’t really be so simple to use bearing in mind the years of development that must have gone into them. But they do work and identified some serious (and seriously embarrassing) issues in our room. Which brings us to the newer GLM GRADE Report – part of the latest GLM 4.2 upgrade – which can identify these issue and remove some of that ‘studio-barrassment’.

Your GRADE Report in detail

You generate a GRADE Report after running the AutoCal feature which is part of the GLM software. It’s simply a matter of clicking an option and asking for it, although the report is not so simple – it’s a truly in-depth summary of how bad (or let’s be positive: well!) your room is impacting your mixes. You get to see the frequency response and how your speakers are having to do to adapt to it with the Peaks Of Compensation. The report details reflection times and reverberation times, all based on your room size, which you do need to enter up front. It’s fascinating stuff, although the most interesting part for us was still discovering the main room peaks and troughs the speakers were compensating for, something we already got with previous versions of GLM.

Obviously it’s a great idea to sort out the cause of any acoustic issues you have, but there may be people who are so happy with the auto-calibration that these speakers provide (and their general sound) that the GRADE Report is an extra they might just not act on, and simply let the speakers do their thing. However you could easily give this detailed 30-page PDF to any acoustic specialist and they would sort your room out… for a fee (or of course you could give it a go yourself). Either way it’s the icing on the cake of some of the best speakers you can buy.

Price: $3095 (each) £2399 (each)

Welcome to issue 7 of Audio Media International