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Phase progresses by 90° from 0 to 270 degree and the owner’s manual offers tips whilst the English home page netted an 85Hz test tone to help during this process. To keep things simple for the review, I parked the sub smack between the satellites and merely played with its output level.  One advantage of such sub/sat systems are these exact tuning/voicing and setup options. Once I had everything to personal satisfaction, the Genelec threesome put out so much pressure and depth in the bass that a comparable €2.400 amp/passive speaker combo would be hard-pressed to duplicate it. Even on matters of max SPL the Syno 30+ team convinced. In my context attainable levels were raised to a degree one definitely shouldn’t invoke regularly if one’s hearing is treasured. It’s plainly party ready and should be considered approaching full-range coverage.

My issue with subs in general is that depending on room position there’ll be cancellation and additive response effects outside the sweet spot which makes phase integration between satellites and sub less than optional. That said I can live with that. I don’t have a need for an excessively broad and tonally immaculate sweet spot but other listeners could differ. There was a second small thing which at least I had to get used to. Bass delivery of the Syno 30+ set was stable and defined if not bone dry but I did somehow cue into down-low shove originating from the middle. Mind you, I couldn’t make out the sub position directly. But energy distribution in the room is different with true stereo bass which makes for a more homogenous integration of bass versus everything else. To confirm this I had the next-bigger 8040A model on hand.

Whilst the 40 makes ten more Hertz than the 30, the sub itself hits 27Hz and thus goes even lower. These figures made perfect sense in my room. In a direct A/B between the speakers one wouldn’t immediately bet on more extension for the bigger ones but more pressurization and relaxation in the bass feel definitely were on target. And the 8040A also allowed higher general levels, hoisting the white flag of surrender rather later. Once the 30 got leashed to the 5051A sub, those levels increased once more—something I’d now only occasionally need—and with bass brutalizers of Massive Attack, Nik Bärtsch or Burnt Friedman sort on heavy rotation, it was clear how this combo added another octave below the Syno 40.

Back to mono vs. stereo bass, the difference did factor and no, I didn’t have the subwoofer dialled too high and timing was fine. Even so the 40 played it bouncier, quicker and freer down low than the sub/sat combo which, while going lower, louder and meaner, packed its punch in more compact fashion in the center of the stereo panorama where the frequency blend with the 40 was better. But this distinction wasn’t essential or specific to Genelec. It’s simply a subtlety that's apparently intrinsic to a single sub solution which should be mentioned.

After this focus on bass between Syno 30+ and Syno 40 sets, I removed the sub from the equation and listened to the monitors on their own for a bit longer. The basic sonic differences were obvious and expected. The bigger box goes louder in general and lower with more shove in the bass which adds macrodynamic fortitude. But the midband balance was different too. The 40 played it a bit more sonorous, the 30 lighter. Depending on taste one might call one more ‘mature and natural’, the other ‘more filigreed and open’. I’d not judge either way since it’s a personal reaction. And you really have to listen to these Genelecs in the first place if you’re in the market for active boxes in this price range or you’ll miss something essential and mandatory!