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This review first appeared in the December 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Genelec 8620 in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Genelec - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: VPI Scout II table, SME M2 12” and VPI JMW 9T arms, Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce and
Zu Audio DL-103 cartridges, SAC Gamma Sym phonostage; Luxman D-05 SACD player; Logitech Touch,
Readynas Duo NAS, HP notebook, M2Tech Hiface, Benchmark DAC1 USB Computer & Co.
Amplification: Octave HP300 preamp with phono board; Electrocompaniet AW180 power amps; Denon PMA-2010AE integrated
Loudspeakers: Dynamikks Monitor 8.12, Thiel SCS4
Sundry accessories, cables and racks
Review component retail: €8.797 in anthracite, €9.678 in white or black

I was dumbfounded. The shipper called to announce delivery of a 110kg palette with four boxes for the following day. Didn’t I just order the Genelec 8260? Having crossed paths with this active monitor at various shows, I knew it was larger than the Syno 30/40 models we’d reviewed earlier in the summer.

But 110kg? As it turned out, German importer Audio Export was kind enough to include matching stands, then secure everything in oversized heavy-duty flight cases. It quite turned my living room into the backstage area of a small rock club.

Very handy though not standard was the rear-mounted carrying strip. This was ideal for a loaner and made its 27.5kg weight perfectly mobile. Once the 8260 sat atop theirs stands, the term ‘compact box’ became somewhat questionable. I know floorstanders that take up less room. But, these dinosaur eggs were kinda cool (I’d find white even more so but that’s purely personal).

The form factor falls right in line with the Syno 10 – 50 range of active Genelec monitors so why wasn’t this simply the Syno 60? Was 8260 supposed to sound more serious and professional? That shouldn’t be necessary when most know this Finnish company to be deeply rooted in pro. The curvature of the cast aluminium chassis primarily serves avoidance of edge diffractions and the maker’s goal of clean dispersion. Wall thickness varies but never falls below 6mm as we are assured by Nils Noden, Genelec’s product manager. Plenty of internal braces add up to a very stiff box which barely allows for any resonance he added.

Cross-cut of the coax driver | at right, the outer foam-type midrange diaphragm layer is nicely visible

Whist the 8260 does looks like a simply scaled-up Syno, there are three fundamental differences. First, unlike the five Syno two-ways, this is a three-way. Two, it includes a coaxial tweeter/midrange, a first for Genelec. Three, the active filter operates in the DSP rather than analog domain.

Tech talk. Genelec claims that particularly higher SPL make three-ways more advantageous where a discrete midrange enhances clarity and transparency particularly if such a box is capable of true sub bass at high output. Here the latter is handled by a 10-inch woofer fronted by a 150-watt power amp which clearly must add oomph below the driver’s resonant frequency since Genelec specifies 26Hz –3dB! Many passive speakers don’t make that. Twenty-six? Hot-blooded lust was rising!

Besides the usually cited advantages for a coax (lower interference, point source dispersion, potentially superior group delay) there are obviously disadvantages too. Midrange cone travel modulates tweeter output for Doppler distortion and undesirable edge disturbances from surround, basket and mounting screws aren’t uncommon. Those will cause a certain ripple effect or response irregularities as the Finns admit.

Their solution for the first problem is basic. Restrict excursion of the midrange by crossing it out sooner. Genelec does so at 490Hz to have the 10-incher handle all bass and the lower midband. Sorting out the second issue required more brains. We’ve seen similar addresses from KEF whose Uni-Q dual-concentric sports a very shallow geometry to avoid jagged transitions whilst their baskets hide behind trim rings. Genelec skins this cat differently. They’ve moved the midrange surround to the inside for a perfectly seamless transition between midrange diaphragm and box and thus also tweeter. Due to the company’s trademark wave guide, the tweeter ‘sees’ a perfectly smooth clearly defined transition which supports its homogenous dispersion. In Genelec jargon that becomes a Minimum Diffraction Coaxial driver with Directivity Control Waveguide. MDC, DCW… the above picture says more than a thousand acronyms.