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The G7.1p is a far more treble-centric speaker than I normally embrace. It has a more prominent and extended treble than most speakers I covet and which are usually on the sweeter, subdued and more polite side of things. But none of this describes what I hear from the G7.1p - as not to prepare you for a bad thing. What sets the G7.1p apart is the apparatus by which it produces treble - the circular ribbon tweeter, which is pretty spectacular in any class of speaker but particularly for one in this sector. Is the G7.1p treble forward? Not really. But its does stand out a little in direct comparison to other speakers. Keep in mind that a bright speaker isn't bright because of a forward tweeter but because its upper midrange is elevated. That's not the case here. The G7.1p isn't bright. Instead we're talking about a tweeter which, particularly at the beginning, seems to draw a little more attention because its presentation is very different. I don't generally gravitate toward more reticent trebles just because I have a problem with air and treble detail. It's because at loud volumes, they can become hard, brittle and fatiguing. Often, they can make faulty recordings difficult to endure, exacerbating their flaws. But none of these negatives apply to the G7.1p, which is astonishingly extended and insightful yet somehow forgiving. It never gets hard, grainy or edgy during normal use.

In fact, it's extraordinarily well behaved. Even the excellent Usher Be-718 speaker with its highly touted Beryllium tweeter couldn't match the articulation of the G7.1p through the treble. High percussion is smooth, extremely detailed and superbly lucid. Try anything with brushed or riveted cymbals for instance. Rather than a splash of white noise, you hear the initial strike of the stick followed by the body and tonal signature of the brass accompanied by superb insight into the tuning of the cymbal followed by its slow shimmering decay. The highest reaches of guitars absolutely shine, particularly 12-strings which are phenomenally rendered with full-bodied tone and liquid articulation. The truth is, while I'm usually pleased with a speaker whose treble presentation I find unremarkable in terms of plusses and minuses, the G7.1p only impresses in the right ways. As beautifully expressive as that is, if I found the speaker fatiguing I couldn't be positive about it at all. The benefit just wouldn't be worth the cost. As is, there were precious few recordings too bright and hashy for the G7.1p. Even problematic recordings like Haircut One Hundred's Pelican West [ARCD 8330] didn't become un-listenable or notably harsh. Their treble which is already bleached of body and tone became just a little more obviously so.

In terms of most the criteria used to judge midrange performance, the G7.1p is as good as any of its competition. Its lack of coloration is exemplary. It's as communicative as most I've heard at multiples its price, rendering voices cleanly and naturally. I've already commented on the upper reaches of the 12-string guitar but the rest of the instrument is rendered with equal aplomb, which is to say that it comes across beautifully with just the appropriate wooden warmth punctuated by that beautiful steely ring of the strings. The very worst thing I can say about the entire speaker is that image density -- that feeling that you can almost reach out and touch the performers in front of you -- is slightly less convincing than some. These just don't carve out as solid an image as the best in the class. This was something I only noticed at the beginning of a listening session, having just switched over from some of the other speakers in the house. Importantly, it only took a few moments to acclimate to the G7.1p and from then on out, this was never a concern. By how much did they miss the mark? Not by much. If I had to quantify, I'd say by only a few percentage points.

Where the G7.1p excelled was in terms of the space and depth produced. No speaker I've ever used in this room could produce the same degree of perceived depth as these do. More than any other speaker, these melt the front wall away and leave behind an easily perceptible hall with endlessly graduated layers of depth. In terms of stage width, image height, perceived scale and image specificity in my modest sized room, the G7.1ps are champions. I've not heard better. I suspect that the slight loss of image solidity may be the trade-off incurred by the rear-mounted tweeter which injects a little more space-defining treble energy into the reverberant field. In any case, the trade-off is so slight and is offset so greatly by everything else the speaker does so right that it's an extremely easy trade to make.

Bass performance was surprising. Though my review pair seemed to have been around the block a few times, when I first fired them up I was a little disappointed. Even speakers that have been fully broken in can get stiff from non-use and they sometimes need a little time to limber up again. Over the course of the next few days, I cheated and ran the G7.1p with the Genesis G-928 subs and had some fun (more on this later).

Then one day I was a little distracted by a contractor doing some work in the adjacent room - and by the fact that I was doing some writing at the computer from my listening chair. As I worked, I thought the system was sounding awfully good but I was of the opinion that I should turn up the subwoofers just a little bit for some more punch. But as I was in the middle of everything, I never did get up to make that adjustment. It just didn't seem worth the effort. What I was hearing was plenty satisfying. At one point the intruder - er, contractor actually came into the room for a brief listen. He seemed impressed that all that sound was coming from the two little speakers. I considered warning him that they were indeed running with the aid of the subwoofers but I decided not to as I feared that this could lead to a lengthy explanation I was too busy to make.

The next morning I came downstairs for some serious listening evaluations of the G7.1p, which meant turning off the subs. I approached the Bryston 10B active crossover to adjust the high-pass filter from 80Hz to 40Hz (which would put the filter below the response of the speakers) and to mute the subwoofers. I
discovered that at some point previous to yesterday's listening session, I'd already done it all. The listening I'd done yesterday, all of it, had been sans subwoofers after all! The speakers had been running full range, the subs completely muted. I was impressed. I'd listened to Thomas Dolby's Aliens At My Buick [EMI CDP 4-48075-2], some piano (Dave Grusin's The Gershwin Connection [GRD 2005]) and Stevie Ray Vaughn's In Step [Epic 65874], to name a few. I was also listening at fairly loud levels which allowed the little Genesis mid/woofers to get up a head of steam.

With an F3 of 52Hz, there had to be bass information during the course of the listening sessions I wasn't getting via the G7.1p. But I'll be damned if it was noticeable or bothersome without my critical listening cap. As I said, it occurred to me a couple of times during the session that I could tweak up the level on the subs just a little bit for more punch but at no time during the day did I have the impression that anything was truly missing.

Still, as compared to the other monitors I've been using, the G7.1p isn't the punchiest. There are other speakers which produce deeper and fuller bass. But I was just happy to realize that, competition aside, the G7.1p could produce very satisfying bass on its own without having to make apologies. As I said before, this is a fairly treble-centric speaker. What that means is that inasmuch as its midrange is as good as any of its competition, its bass may lag slightly in terms of power and punch while its treble more than makes up for it - for the right kind of listener.

My job as reviewer is to report on a product and help it find an audience. With the possible exception of those thinking to add a subwoofer now or later, the G7.1p will most appeal to those who prioritize midrange articulation and a glorious treble and are willing to forgo the last iota of bass punch and power. But that doesn't mean that the G7.1p isn't for those who love their bass.

If you already own a sub but want to upgrade to a better speaker, you can do a hell of a lot worse than a pair of G7.1p no matter your budget. Now you've got your cake and can eat it too. If you're on a budget and looking to buy your system in increments, try a pair of the G7.1ps now with an eye to picking up a good subwoofer in the future. That's how the smart money will play it. Seriously. Sacrifice a little bass for the best midrange and treble you can afford and get your bass later. That's how you go about building up to a really good system.