Geneva Lab Model L

This is the story of sensual and intimate soundwaves bathed with a heavenly beat. With one click, unleashes the radiant and provocative sounds of an entrancing tune. These are just some of the ways that I can describe what I hear when I’m in the same room as this GenevaLab speaker system. I thought I knew what good sound was. I was wrong. I’ve been wrong my entire life, up until the very point that I switched on the Model L and experienced what true sound is really like. The kind of sound that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

The last few weeks have been musical bliss with the £799 Model L speaker system from Swiss-made GenevaLab. Whilst most will run a mile when they see that price tag for a speaker system, including myself, when you spend some time listening to the sound quality, you’ll be fighting to stop yourself from taking a second mortgage out just to buy one. Make no mistake about it, this speaker system really is that good, in fact it’s the best I’ve ever heard and that includes some of the most well known names in the industry.

The entire range of GenevaLab speakers are contained in an all-in-one enclosure for simplicity and fuss-free setting up. Hardcore audiophiles may frown upon this as it can limit the range of the sound since the tweeters are in a fixed space and dimension. Fear not, the boffins in Switzerland have engineered this one box solution to deliver true stereo sound in a 120-degree sound stage, eliminating the need for multi-speakers to be perfectly positioned.

Built in to the Model L is an iPod docking station that remains hidden underneath a hinged panel and a slot-loading CD player just behind it. Getting started is quick and easy, simply dock the iPod and hit play. On the unit itself, you have button controls for volume, eject and mode for choosing between the iPod, CD or radio.

The entire design is a rectangular wooden cabinet finished with a glossy coating in black, white or red. The effect is simple yet elegant and screams quality. The entire front is dominated by the speaker grille with a slight circular bump in the centre. In the top right corner there are red LED lights for displaying information such as the mode you’re in and volume levels for audio, bass and treble. The underneath hides away all the cabling, so the parts you can see are mostly a seamless glossy box.

The remote control is where you’ll find most of the functionality, leaving the main system clutter-free. Although it’s quite chunky, the buttons are well sized and easy to identify, a large departure from the slim-line credit card styled remotes that typically come with iPod speaker systems.

Out of the box, the Model L comes with four rubber feet to sit on a flat surface, however the optional stand is well worth the extra, especially if you’ve already invested that amount of money on the speaker. Without the stand, the system itself is heavy enough to make you not want to move it around very often. Include the stand and you end up with a back-breaking weight.

Supplied with the speaker system is an audio test CD for demonstrating the different frequencies and stereo effects that this speaker can achieve. Whilst this may not reflect real world performance with your own musical listening tastes, it did provide a taster for what this speaker is capable of. I especially enjoyed the part that created a stereo effect using car and helicopter sound effects. With my own carefully selected playlist of classical tracks from Andrea Bocelli to hip-hop beats from Ne-Yo, I was able to put this speaker through a range of different music tracks to test its ability in being able to handle different genres of music.

The Model L GenevaLab easily handles high tones as well as low frequencies without breaking in to a sweat. For those that like a thumping bass tone, you won’t be disappointed. Since the Model L focuses on natural sounding audio, you won’t get a ground-shaking beat, but what does come out is quality audio that delivers a beautifully crafted bass beat to any genre of music.

Whilst the most benefit can be gained from playing high quality 192kbps audio tracks, the GenevaLab speaker truly excels at everything within my music collection, including Snow Patrol and Nickelback and even movies.

GenevaLab claims that the optimal positioning for this speaker is within the 120-degree stage and firing as close to head-height as possible. Fortunately, I was provided with the optional metal stand, which allowed it to sit at perfect height when sat down on the couch or on the bed. If you stick with these rules you get truly awesome sound, but not to worry if you’re not. A good speaker system should be able to deliver quality sound no matter where you are in the room, within reason. So I tested the audio quality by sitting and standing in different positions within the room. Whilst a difference can be heard from being sat in direct line of sight, the sound is just as crisp and clear at various angles and positions.

The unequivocal conclusion to my review of the GenevaLab Model L, is that this is not only the best sound iPod speaker dock I’ve ever heard, it’s the best sounding speaker system I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to period. Providing you’ve got the cash and the room for such a system, the GenevaLab Model L is a worthy contender in the world of premium audio. For the best in-class audio that make sounds jump out at you, look no further than the Model L GenevaLab speaker system.

2008-09-17 Onwah Tsang

4 comments - why not add yours

  • jpsoraire says:

    This looks like the perfect combination of design and technology put together to create what looks like a beast of a system. It looks pretty big in the picture you have docked with the iPod Nano but it looks like they do a smaller (and even larger) model on the web-site you link to.

    Posted on 17th September 2008
  • modaman says:

    Thanks for the review! Sounds like you enjoyed it (no pun intended!)

    Posted on 17th September 2008
  • mrd says:

    The ports are on the underneath? Do you have a picture of the bottom of the unit?

    Posted on 17th September 2008
  • oni says:

    @mrd: Check out the link at the top of the review for all of the product shots I took. I usually take more than I need and leave them all on Flickr for people to browse. You should find a shot of the underneath there.

    Posted on 17th September 2008

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