was about ten or twelve years ago in the bar of the Alexis Park
Resort —home of the high-end exhibits at Las Vegas
Consumer Electronics Show — that I met Arnie Nudel, the
founder of Genesis Audio. I had reviewed a pair of his loudspeakers
and thought this might be a good chance to introduce myself.
Our meeting was a short one as Nudel was sitting with a group
of his cronies and I didn’t wish to intrude. Years later,
I met Gary Koh, the new chief at Genesis, at another show — this
time in Montreal. We talked a bit about audio and didn’t
touch base again until a couple of years later, when we agreed
to do a product evaluation. Shortly afterwards, I received
the rather impressive Genesis 5.3 speakers for an initial audition.
It took but a few bars of music to get my interest, attention
and curiosity into high gear, especially since I had three
great amplifiers in-house at the time.
The loudspeakers size doesn’t necessarily indicate their
tremendous weight of 145 pounds (each) as their dimensions
harmonize pleasingly with the structure. Each enclosure is
46 inches high with a footprint of 13.25 (W) by 23.25 (D) inches.
The loudspeakers construction and configuration greatly contribute
to their ability to recreate a solid environment for the drivers.
The G5.3’s construction and configuration greatly contribute
to their ability to recreate a solid soundstage. The enclosures
are made up of two parts —one for the three woofers and
mid-bass couplers a pyramidal one for the midrange driver and
the two tweeters. I had the high gloss titanium finish, though
black and silver is also available. All in all, the speakers
are not overwhelming the appearance of a normal-size living
room, but, at the same time, they will get people’s attention
for their immaculate finish.
The 5.3s were set up in my listening studio and I lived with
them for over three months. I am making a point which was
made by Stereophile founder J. Gordon Holt who said that,
in order to get an evaluation right, one has to discover
the parts that are correct (accurate) as well as those that
are wrong (inaccurate). To do this correctly, Holt stated,
one must live with the sound long enough to discover and
reveal all performance – related elements — and
this takes time. Well, I took my time all right — and
I began by connecting the speakers to the Bryston 7B SST
Squared power amplifiers with which I am intimately familiar.
For the next week or so, I used this system configuration
to acquaint myself with the sound and further break (or burn)
in the Genesis. Two preamplifiers — the Wyetech Labs
Ruby as well as the preamp section of the Magnum integrated
amp (also reviewed among these pages) was used to handle
my source components — an Esoteric DAC an Elite transport
and a Magnum tuner.
Throughout the first week, I listened to some of my favourite
jazz and classical music CDs and noticed that the top frequencies
handled by the ribbon tweeters always began to sound smoother
and more musical after about 30 minutes of operating the system
at relatively high volumes. I should say here that I like to
listen to orchestral music at concert hall levels — around
88dB in my listening room. For most people that came to listen
with me, the volume was too high, but not for this listener.
One of my old CD — a JVC issue of Beethoven’s 5th
recorded in 1954 with Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony — provided
the ultimate workout for the system. The third movement has
pianissimo passages followed by full orchestral fortissimos,
which can and will get very loud. This CD is a musical education
and an audio lover’s model for a superbly produced recording.
It allows the listener to hear all instruments and locate their
positions among the orchestra. I used this disc with all amplifiers
I had connected to the Genesis, because it burdened and challenged,
not only the loudspeakers, but also the electronics driving
them, including, of course, the built-in bass amplifier used
in this design. I soon noticed that the overall sound improved
steadily the longer I played back the music. Some of my initial
thoughts were “great bass and great highs, clear midrange
but somewhat pinched on occasion”. After about one hour
of listening, I thought the system still offered great bass
and great highs, but the midrange had become markedly smoother,
more transparent and open. I switched to the Wyetech Lab Ruby
amplifiers with the same Magnum preamplifier in the system
and had identical results but more obvious. The all-round sound
of this system combination had more transparent quality and
strikingly clearer midrange (as it should be with a pair of
20k amps). The Rubys exposed more of the aforementioned pinch,
but, again, the condition disappeared in about 40 minutes.
My B3 recording with Jimmy Smith revealed the full-bodied sound
and the very soul of the organ. Pianos are part of my listening
test and I use three recording regularly. One is a recording
of the Heath Brothers accompanied by a Baldwin Grand; one is
a Gene Harris CD featuring a Steinway Grand; and the third
one is Oscar Peterson’s Boesendorfer Imperial Grand.
The pianos have distinct sonic signatures and a great sound
system should convey their personality. With the Genesis 5.3s
in the system, each piano sounded as authentic as one would
hear in a live environment. This showed again that the G5.3s
can dig up harmonics where they count and in doing so, do not
add or subtract to the information. To do this well indicates
that the loudspeakers offer a high degree of sonic neutrality — the
main ingredient responsible to hear the instruments’ tone.
With trumpets and cornets that perform in the upper midrange
and lower high regions, the G5.3s didn’t render the smoothness
they achieved in the very highs and low and sounded a bit more
severe — not unpleasant, but not quite right. Nevertheless,
many of my audiophile friends and I thought that the all-round
sonic presentation was excellent. In my listening room, the
loudspeakers were arranged to fire diagonally into the room
(a corner arrangement that actually works very well. However,
I recommend the company setup instructions, which I consider
to be an excellent guide for achieving the best performance.
It is difficult to summarize the Genesis 5.3’s outstanding
performance elements with one short and sweet statement, as
there are many good points to consider. The most important
ones include the speakers’ wide dynamic range capacity
and their ability to handle the softest and the loudest musical
passages in an effortless, natural manner. Bass isn’t
just a noteworthy extension into the bottom 25Hz region, it
is handled with resolution, body and plenty of harmonic composition,
without a hint of coloration when the gain and crossover points
have been are adjusted correctly. The important midrange region — where
subtle musical detail is hidden among the digits (or grooves) — offers
the listener a clear perspective and a refined level of musical
textures from about 160Hz all the way to 1300Hz (the upper
middle frequencies). Just above this range, the Genesis may
occasionally pinch a violin’s highs, but this doesn’t
occur with properly produced (engineered) recordings — unfortunately
there aren’t enough of them.
Highs, adjustable along with the midrange, on the speakers’ rear,
are crystal clear, but it will take about 30 to 60 minutes
of operation before they develop the most important element — smoothness
and refinement. Play these loudspeakers for one hour and hear
as they improve, and come to life with harmonics that may make
you forget that you are listening to a pair of electronically
Although I was auditioning and evaluating the performance of
the loudspeakers for about three or four months, the time
I spent with them after that was to enjoy listening to some
of my treasured CDs. I have excellent recordings of jazz,
blues and classical music and, though I know almost every
note of the music, the Genesis brought out a number of new
dimensions. My recordings of baroque works and string quartets
clearly showed that the G5.3s are capable to reproduce the
instruments’ tonal characteristics, and allowed me
to distinguish an Amati from a Stradivarius string instrument,
for example. Large orchestral music presented a wide variety
of challenges for the G5.3s, but the Genesis handled the
material with such ease that it was difficult not to believe
that I was sitting in a concert hall. Every instrument had
its own breathing space and focused location on the soundstage — and
this made it quite clear how the orchestras were arranged.
First violins — stage left, second violins — centre
left, violas — centre right, cellos and basses — stage
right, woodwinds — centre second row, percussions — way
back across the stage. In other words, the 5.3s set up a
grand soundstage with realistically depicted dimension, space
and focus. All instruments had their little breathing space
and with great recordings, I felt that I was at a live concert.
The JVC Beethoven recording placed me in the front row and
centre of the stage and almost completely faded the location
of left and right speaker. My recordings of jazz trios, quartets
and bands never sounded anything but realistic and natural.
I especially liked the B3 organ recordings that revealed
the many tonal shades, the instrument (and its musicians)
The best sound was achieved with Wyetech Lab amps driving the
G5.3s. This was closely followed by the Bryston 7B Squared
amps and followed, again very closely, by the Magnum amp. Here,
however, I have to tell you about the cables I used for the
auditioning session. Though I tried three different mid-priced
brands, nothing came close to the performance of XLO’s
new Purple Reign speaker cables and interconnects I had in-house
for an evaluation. Got mega-bucks, try these cables, although
the Genesis 5.3s will sound impressive with all premium cables
(Genesis also makes their own cables).
The G5.3s belong to the rare breed of loudspeakers that utilize
modern design and technology to provide a natural listening
experience without emphasizing the sound system.
There is a lot more info as well as a detailed set-up guide
on-line at www.genesisloudspeakers.com — check
it out, it’s
more informative than I care to publish as my prime objective
here is to explain how this technology relates to the end-result — the
||Genesis Advanced Technologies
|$23,500.00 / pair (US)
The Genesis ribbon tweeters (there are two of them in the top
portion of the enclosure) are unique one-inch circular planar
ribbon designs that look very much like any regular tweeters.
However, they are made from an extremely thin Kapton membrane
with a photo-etched aluminum “voice coil”, only
0.0005 inch thick. The ribbons’ radiating structure is
said to have less mass than the air they are moving (up front).
The ribbons frequency response is quoted as way beyond 36k
Hz, which approaches the super tweeter range and is an important
attribute to reveal and appreciate the all-important harmonics.
The G5.3s use two of these ribbons in each enclosure, whereby
one fires in front and the other — wired to a separate
section of the crossover out of phase to the front tweeter — fires
to the rear, resulting in a dipolar arrangement. Consequently,
the sound waves from the front and back of the speakers cancel
out as they radiate from the sides of the speakers (likely
the reason why the G5.3s focus on the sound-stage is, well,
out of the speaker, if not out of this world).
The midrange drivers are in-house designs and feature proprietary
4.5inch titanium coned transducers. Titanium is one of the
lightest and stiffest materials known and contributes to the
design of this low mass cone driver.
Each driver is housed in a chamber open to the back, thereby
resulting in a quasi dipole configuration
And then there are the Genesis Mid-Bass Couplers, so named
because they provide a “sound bridge” between the
midrange and the bass section. The G5’s design incorporates
two 6.5inch aluminum cone mid-bass couplers — one front
and one rear firing, thus also operating in a dipole mode.
The drivers are light and stiff, have extremely low coloration
and react very quickly to the musical signal.
Three drivers in each cabinet, operating in an acoustic suspension
environment and powered by a hefty 500 watt Class D amplifier,
handle the Genesis 5.3s’ bass. The built-in amps power
the woofers between an adjustable 16Hz and 120Hz range. They
were designed and carefully tuned to produce low frequencies
and, like many “switching” amps, they perform superbly
in the bass regions.
The three woofers work in phase to manage the airflow into
the listening environment. Thoughtful engineering assured that
the surface area of the three cones and the loudspeaker enclosure
work together harmoniously to produce bass output that descends
evenly to below the human hearing limits.
The Genesis’ bass amplification system also boasts servo-controlled
circuit, which is likely responsible for the loudspeakers’ ability
to communicate speed and transients along with everything bass.
In a nutshell, the servo-circuit detects the acceleration of
the woofers, and if they are not moving fast enough increases
the power; if they are decelerating, and they do not slow down
fast enough the circuit applies the brakes (negative amplification).
The specifications quote the frequency response from 18Hz
to 36kHz, +/- 3dB; rear tweeter (+/- 1.5db); Midrange (+/-
1.5 dB). The controls include low-pass, bass gain, LFE gain.
Inputs include speaker level and line level (RCA & XLR).
LFE line level (RCA & XLR). Outputs: LFE Buffered daisy
chain (RCA &XLR); nominal impedance is 4 ohms; sensitivity
is 90dB 1 watt 1 meter; power rating is 500 watts (each).