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It takes cubic displacement to properly reproduce bass notes. We've seen tiny one-note wonders that some find acceptable in home theater installations but few if any seem capable of nuanced musical reproduction. Some manufacturers produce small subs but the smart ones don't try to duck the laws of physics to squeeze 20Hz out of them. I've got a pair of little 8-inch Velodyne SPL 800 subs that are tiny and powerful and actually musical. But they don't break the 30Hz barrier. For that larger seems mandatory. Still, at 17" by 16.5" by 15.75", the G-928s aren't huge. They're actually fairly friendly domestically though at once incredibly solid. At 84.5 lbs each, they're dense and heavy. They're the first subwoofers I recall being completely inert while playing. Place your hand on them while playing and they're almost completely free of vibration. The bulk of what you do feel will be what is being transmitted from the floor back into the sub. The extremely solid enclosure clad of 1-inch MDF is partially responsible but so is the driver configuration. The two opposing 12-inch ribbed aluminum woofers powered by a single 500-watt servo controlled amplifier work in bipolar fashion and see to it that all mechanical forces are countered by an equal and opposite reaction. This is one subwoofer that won't go walking across your floor. Genesis specifies a frequency response of 20Hz to 120Hz with a tolerance of +/-1dB. Most speaker and subwoofer manufactures specify a tolerance of +/-3dB. Such specifications mean that a subwoofer could be reproducing 20Hz but it could be down 6dB from reference at that point. Not only is the Genesis extremely solid down to 20Hz, it has lots of usable output down to 16Hz.

The notion of a servo-controlled subwoofer seems to be controversial. Basically, the system involves the use of an accelerometer placed near the voice coil of the driver. It collects and reports back to the servo controller what exactly the woofer is doing. The servo compares the accelerometer data to the original signal and looks for discrepancies. If any are found, the servo sends a correction signal to the amplifier to null the discrepancies. In theory there would seem to be a time lag involved and some have suggested that servo-controlled subwoofers sound slow and sluggish on principle. I suspect such criticisms are levied by those without the knowledge to properly integrate a subwoofer - or by manufacturers without the wherewithal to manufacture a proper servo. I've been sub-woofing for 20 years and never experienced anything of the sort.

The G-928s come nicely finished in your choice of Crown Rosewood, High Gloss Piano Black or a satin-finished figured Maple all at the same price. I was sent one each in Rosewood and Maple and they're as handsome as they are solid. You've already read Gary Koh's thoughts on connecting them up to a system but they have other options as well. One very cool feature is that you can actually connect the G-928 to two different systems with two different purposes at once. If like me you have a two-channel system coexisting with a multi-channel setup in the same room, you can connect the G-928 to both. It has low-level inputs for an LFE output from a home theater processor as well as high and low-level stereo inputs to take the signal from your speakers, power amp or preamp (as previously discussed). Both the mono LFE inputs and stereo inputs have independent gain controls. You can exaggerate the output for your movie soundtracks all you wish but when two-channel music time comes around, there's no need to readjust the realistic level on the G-928. I suppose if one multi-channel system is all you have, you could use both inputs within one system. You could use the straight stereo signal to augment your left and right speakers, then connect the LFE input to your theater processor. When listening to straight two-channel music with the surround-sound decoder disengaged, you should be square. The one thing you won't find is what I'd have a difficult time imagining people using anyway. Some subwoofers allow for speaker level inputs to then also provide speaker level outputs to loop back to the main speakers with a high-pass filter built into the loop. Remember that when the speaker level inputs are used, Genesis advocates their subs as going at the end of the chain. To their way of thinking, there's no reason to pass the signal through the sub and back to the speakers.

All of this would be for naught of course if these subwoofers weren't up to the task. The Genesis Advanced Technologies G-928 subwoofers were indeed up to the task. I'd been using them for weeks with the Acoustic Zen Adagio Jr. loudspeakers and the results were... astounding. I'd already ascertained that one of the G-928s was all I really needed in my room but I was determined to see how far I could take a pair of them along with the performance of my own reference speakers.

Both of the G-929 subwoofers received had already made the reviewers rounds and were fully broken in. The first order of business was to integrate them with the Acoustic Zen Adagio Jr. loudspeakers. Despite Gary Koh's insistence that the best integration would be via speaker level inputs and thin speaker wire, I wasn't sure I had the appropriate type of wire in the house. Ever accommodating, Koh was happy to offer a pair. I accepted. As I awaited delivery, I did my best to integrate the two G-929s using low level preamp connections. I connected the preamp inputs on the G-928s to the preamp outputs on my Bel Canto Pre2p preamp and in no time at all and despite the fact that the Adagios have a very full bass character on their own, I had the subs and speakers singing together. I was most pleased with myself and what I was hearing. Bass was even and detailed. The transition between subwoofer and speakers seemed subjectively seamless and best of all, at no time did the subs draw attention.

A few days later, I received the wires from Koh. I disconnected the preamp from the subwoofer and removed the long interconnects from the system. As per Koh's directions, I connected one end of each speaker wire to the main speakers' binding posts, thereby tapping a high-level signal right off the speakers themselves, past the main amp and the main speaker cable. I then connected the other ends to the speaker level inputs on the subs. As pleased as I was with my earlier job, Koh was right. Using the speaker wire scheme was better, not hugely so but noticeably and appreciably. While I had been pleased with both the level and quality of bass as well as its fleet-footed sense of timing, there was no question that timing had improved and the overall presentation gained in rhythmic snap. The bass was slightly more succinct and seemed a little bit more 'at one' with the speakers' output - more coherent overall. I also noticed that music recorded in real acoustic venues often exhibited very low levels of bass reverberations I'd never heard before. The bass started and stopped on a dime, which reduced sonic smear and uncovered details down in the basement that had been obscured before.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I found myself digging through bass-rich CDs I hadn't listened to in years and reveled in what the G-928s were bringing to the party. I remarked in my Mark & Daniel Apollo II review how I'd been hearing bass so sharply defined and focused in time that music I'd heard many times before came across with startling authority. And I do mean, quite literally, startling authority. The overture from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom Of The Opera" from The Very Best Of Eric Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops [Telarc CD-80401] starts with a clap of thunder -- several in fact -- that had me recoil in my chair. I was able to replicate the sharp crack of thunder I'd achieved with the big Mark & Daniel speakers but the G-928s produced more bottom-end weight and punch still than those big speakers managed. Pink Floyd's The Wall [Columbia C2K 36183] is great fun whenever I get something that excels at bass. Sure, there are helicopters and other sound effects but this recording captures Waters' bass lines superbly as it does Nick Mason's drums. It's all a real kick to hear on a truly full-range system. The Acoustic Zen/Genesis G-928s combo didn't disappoint. Such a combination of deep bass power and dexterity was often nothing short of thrilling.