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And I primarily used the analog input. I found the difference to digital-direct so small as to recommend nixing an analog preamp altogether if you don’t run analog sources. That said, I distrust the volume control of my Squeezebox Touch and was plainly too lazy to skip over to the computer each time I wanted to adjust output in the GLM software. Because my usual Octave HP300 tube preamp comes with remote, that’s what I used. (Those who wonder how one connects a Squeezebox to an AES/EBU input, use a coax cable with XLR adaptor. It ain’t pretty and has nothing to do with symmetry but works swell and sounds top shelf). Now that context is established, what did the fat Finnish eggs sound like?

Like nothing at all. Sorry, you’ll have read this elsewhere before. Overuse has plucked this chicken bald but I couldn’t think of anything else. Taking more time I’d say full-range, tonally neutral to wiry, very low distortion and so detailed that certain pleasure seekers could balk. Genelec’s 8260 is a tool, not a pastel painter. With the abbreviated version behind us, let’s move onto details. Full-range first. Though perhaps not surprising, treble was utterly limitless and a perfectly linear progression. Being used to passive speakers, my jaw hit the floor relative to the depths plumbed in the other direction. I had to remind myself that active speakers, size for size, usually reveal an added bass octave and here the F3 was 26Hz. Even so minor shock value remained to create some initial eye/ear discrepancy which had me momentarily uncertain whether even my new very big Dynamikks Monitor 8.12 at thrice or four times the cubic volume had been bass bested. This demanded an immediate A/B, Dynamikks fired up with Electrocompaniet monos. Phew, I was in the clear. But, my hard-hung 12-incher loaded into an 80-liter refrigerator enclosure didn’t go any lower either. Differences in the sub bass lay elsewhere.

Take "Recoil" from Nils Petter Molvaer’s Baboon Moon. Where the Genelec placed each individual bass-drum kick cleanly at the far back of the room and what must be overdriven e-bass sounded ultimately structured and dry, the Electrocompaniet/Dynamikks combo applied more substance and might. The drum set moved forward and though discrete beats weren’t as sharply outlined, they had that easeful elastic gestalt which the Genelec’s factual-correct reading lacked. Whilst the bass run got a tad softer or at least not as shockingly sculpted as over the Finns, it did sound a bit fatter and less bony.
This impression traveled to Pivot’s "O Soundtrack of my heart" from the eponymous album where the lower registers of the Genelecs felt comparatively more ascetic, individual drum attacks harder and more sudden than over the twice-priced rig. Relatedly the stage grew more generous over the Dynamikks whilst the Genelec cast it more compact, with individual performers more sharply outlined. This latter quality was irrespective of frequency and thus true also for the bass.

The upshot was that in this price class I’m unfamiliar with any amp/speaker combo that would exhibit more subterranean reach nor bass that’s faster or more articulate. Dynaudio’s Focus 340 bass driven from a powerful grippy amp at roughly the same combo price will seem equally quick and dry but despite no longer having the Danish boxes on hand, I doubt that they delivered more bass detail. More likely the opposite. Relative to ‘juiciness’, DSP becomes the variable. With passive speakers one would experiment with front-wall distance and listening position, electronically one’s aim is far steadier and results are far quicker. If one means to adjust at all. The above findings were according to settings Genelec’s AutoCal measurements deemed ‘right’.

Across the entire mid/treble bands I detected no response squiggles for spot-on neutrality. Lloyd Cole’s voice from Broken Record’s "Flipside" was treated as tacitly real as the loose/casual whisper of Lisa Germano on "Crackin’ Water" by OP8’s Slush. Both songs had me respond positively to the clean-as-a-whistle crystalline treble, be it the gentle cymbal ticks which open "Flipside" or the glockenspiel of "Crackin’ Water". Leading edges were cleanly rendered and driven by proper energy yet free from artefacts. Sustains tracked lengthily and visibly.
Very high resolution thus seemed central to the 8260 regardless of frequency. Depending on DSP setting, the bass was perfectly dry and articulate into the abyss; vocal microdynamics weren’t throttled back which could be thrilling; and timbre changes on strings or woodwinds became easily noted. The speaker seemed highly transparent and one suspects that the enclosure doesn’t participate in the mix. Music becomes raw data exchange. With quality recordings that’s inspired. With lesser fare there’s no amiable soft focus, only abject honesty. And that’s why the 8260 exists in the first place – as a studio tool rather than good-natured home entertainer.