Genelec, a manufacturer of active monitoring technologies, has completed a new demonstration facility at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Natick, Mass., where visitors can experience the full range of Genelec professional audio products in configurations from stereo through immersive 9.1.6.
The new Genelec Experience Center—the first in the United States—joins existing Genelec demonstration facilities in the U.K., Germany, China and India.
This latest Experience Center is a total rebuild of a former surround sound demo studio designed in-house in 2004, with Will Eggleston, Genelec Inc. U.S. Marketing Director, providing the acoustical design. Earlier this year, Eggleston called on world-renowned studio architect and designer Francis Manzella,president and principal designer at Francis Manzella Design Ltd., to create a new aesthetic and acoustical treatments for the renovated space, which serves as a mix room, a theater and a research and test center for new software and other products.
Unfortunately, Manzella did not see the opening of Genelec’s new U.S. experience center.
“Sadly, we lost Fran the day before we broke ground,” says Paul Stewart, senior technical sales manager, Genelec Inc., who devised the room’s wiring scheme.
“It was tragic losing such a talented and great guy, but I have to say that we really did consider him every step of the way as we worked on the finishing touches to this room and kept his spirit in it.”
According to Genelec, working on the project during the COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of hurdles that needed to be overcome before the company could open the new space.
“Once we received the plans from Fran in April, the next challenge was finding a contractor that we could work with during the coronavirus pandemic that was familiar with working on his projects,” comments Stewart.
“Fran had suggested that we reach out to Ken Capton at Solar 2 Studios in Michigan. The results speak for themselves. They did a fantastic job.”
The new space is configured to handle formats from stereo through surround to immersive 9.1.6 through a range of Genelec’s Smart Active Monitors (SAM).
Genelec emphasizes the installed speakers demonstrate the range of its product line, which offers solutions suitable for any size of critical listening space. Three 8351Bs are installed for L-C-R (left/center/right), four 8341As support the left and right side and rear channels and six more 8341As are located overhead for the front, mid and rear height channels. A 7370 subwoofer handles low-end extension for the overhead speakers, while a 7380 sub supports the LFE channel and manages extension of the center, side and rear channels. Two W371A Smart Active Woofer Systems are located left and right and are paired with the main left and right 8351B monitors.
“Immersive content is obviously on the rise. Our customer base needs instruction and guidance on going beyond stereo or 5.1, and we need to be able to work with the same tools our customers are using,” asserts Stewart.
“So the main purpose for this studio, first and foremost, is as a place for people to experience what an immersive room feels like.”
In addition to the broad range of hardware, Genelec’s software technology is also available for demonstration in the new room.
The room is wired with multiple AES/EBU and IP runs to every speaker position. “If we were to use our new PoE speakers at every location, we could run a separate, independent 9.1.6 system in the room over IP. We also have an Avid Pro Tools system, so it’s a pretty flexible room,” he says.
“This will be a venue for also creating in-house content, including webinars, and for software and hardware testing,” adds Eggleston.
“Once COVID-19 is under control, we look forward to welcoming professionals in all aspects of audio to use the space to experience our products, and even mix here in an exceptional immersive environment.”