Genelec is one of the most trusted studio monitor brands in the industry. Its lineup of monitors is among the best, and the 8000 series, in particular, has become a go-to option for professionals. This review looks at the smallest monitor in the series, the 8010A.
The Genelec 8010A is a near-perfect studio monitor for smaller studio spaces thanks to its impeccable sound and slim profile. But this compact studio monitor might not be for everyone.
The Genelec 8010A is a spectacular 3-inch monitor from a pure sound quality perspective. But it also isn’t without a few drawbacks. Below we take a detailed look at what this tiny monitor offers.
Genelec has cemented its reputation for monitors that offer outstanding audio quality, and the tiny 8010A is another perfect example. Serious studio work demands accuracy, and finding a small monitor up to the task is challenging. But the Genelec 8010A ticks all the right boxes in this difficult category.
The 8010A features a 3-inch woofer which does an exceptional job and produces a punchy low-frequency response. It is flat and accurate, which might seem a little anemic for some but ideal for accurate mixing decision-making.
For casual listening, it still provides a satisfying depth of bass without resorting to over-emphasis. But as it moves into sub-bass regions, the monitor struggles. If you do need deeper low-frequency extension, you’ll need to pair these monitors with an appropriate subwoofer. In this case, the 7040A is the ideal companion.
The mid-range is sublime, with exceptional tonal clarity and delivery. It’s rich and full of character without a hint of mush. Stereo imaging is exceptional and intricate details are easy to spot. This level of transparency also highlights any issues within your mix, allowing you to work faster and with high confidence that your mixes will translate accordingly.
The top-end also does not disappoint with fantastic precision, making any studio task a joy. It does lean a little bright but not to the point of causing any fatigue. It’s crisp and clear and full of exposing details.
It’s hard to put into words how remarkable these small monitors are. 3-inch monitors have no right to be this good, but Genelec has delivered in almost every way. Yes, it does struggle with sub-bass, but there is no 3-inch monitor on the market that can deliver good sub-bass. It’s an inherent constraint due to the small woofer size.
For a small studio setting, no monitor compares. If you want impeccable clarity, precision, and tight frequency response, the 8010A is the best choice.
Another hallmark of Genelec is the high build quality of its monitors. The 8010A is a rugged and reliable monitor with the highest attention to detail. And to be fair, I wouldn’t expect any less at this price point.
The show’s star is the die-cast aluminum Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE). It provides a rock-solid casing and helps deliver outstanding sound quality thanks to the curved edges that prevent unwanted diffraction issues.
The tough enclosure ensures the 8010A will last you for years.
Further protection is available thanks to the grilles that cover both the woofer and the tweeter. If you have young children around, you’ll already know the anxiety exposed drivers can cause. This extra protection is a welcome sight and can help prevent errant fingers from causing damage.
The component quality is also superb. Highly efficient Class D amplifiers for the drivers and superior internal protection circuitry to handle sudden peaks. It also comes with an extended two-year warranty for added peace of mind.
The Genelec 8010A is an investment but one that will pay dividends. It’s an exceptionally built monitor that will last you for years.
The Genelec 8010A features a frequency response of 74Hz-20kHz (±2.5dB) with a crossover frequency of 3000Hz. More importantly, the response hugs the ideal line exceptionally well and ensures accurate delivery.
Each driver has its own Class D amplifier.
The 8010A employs a bi-amped design with a 25W Class D amplifier for the 3-inch woofer and another 25W Class D amplifier for the high-frequency driver. Class D amps feature across the 3, 4, and 5-inch variations in the 8000 series before switching to an AB setup for the larger 6 and 8-inch models.
For a small monitor, the 8010A also pumps out a lot of volume with a peak SPL of 105 dB and a short-term max SPL of 96 dB. The long-term max SPL is 91 dB. This is more than enough to fill a small studio with high-quality sound. These are nearfield monitors, so the ideal spot is around 3-6 feet (1-2 meters) away.
Tuning flexibility is critical for optimal performance. Especially for a smaller studio environment where reflections and standing waves can be problematic. The 8010A offers a range of options to help deal with some of the more common issues you might encounter.
At the rear is a series of switches to activate various options. These switches are within a recessed section which helps keep the back clear with no protrusions. But this also results in making them hard to access and fiddly. I would have preferred a larger panel and larger switches, but it is a case of set and forget, so it isn’t a dealbreaker.
Whilst effective, the tuning switches are hard to reach.
The options available include a -10 dB Sensitivity switch and a Desktop Control switch to deal with bass boost from any horizontal surface like a table. Two further Bass Tilt options are available with -2dB and -4dB settings. These assist with dealing with issues associated with wall and corner placement. Genelec includes a handy table within the manual to help guide you in the right direction if you are unfamiliar with room acoustic issues.
Between the various options available, you should be able to adapt to your studio space comfortably. As always, I recommend exploring further treatments like bass traps, diffusion, and absorption panels if you have unwanted sound issues within your small studio.
The Genelec 8010A features a combination of both technical expertise and aesthetics in design. This small monitor focuses on ensuring optimum audio quality, and much of the design reflects this goal.
The curved aluminum cabinet and waveguide ensure excellent directivity while giving the monitor a soft and subtle appearance. The speckled finish also sets it apart from other monitors. The cabinet is molded in two pieces, allowing easy access to the internals for any service requirements.
The Genelec 8010A is also available in white.
The addition of the grilles and the tasteful integration of the Genelec logo and power light complete the restrained and functional look. The included Iso-Pod also suits the monitor perfectly while also serving to decouple and angle the monitor.
The Genelec 8010A is also a rear-ported monitor with a curved vent tube. This helps with heat dissipation and ensures that airspeed is kept in check to minimize chuffing. The monitor also features Intelligent Signal Sensing, which will power down the unit when no signal is detected. You can also switch this off if required via one of the rear switches.
Completing the design is a range of mounting points, allowing you to integrate this monitor as you see fit in your setup. An excellent choice for wall, ceiling, or stand mounting. Flexible, attractive, and intelligently designed from head to toe.
The main appeal of the Genelec 8010A is how small and compact it is in size. It doesn’t require much space and can squeeze into tight spaces. Granted, you need to keep some space around it to allow airflow.
The 8010A is perfect for small studios.
It’s a discreet monitor that is also an excellent choice for travel. Its tough enclosure and small footprint make it easy to pack, and at 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg), it is also exceptionally lightweight. If you want a highly capable and portable monitor, the Genelec 8010A fits the bill perfectly.
Unfortunately, this is one area where I have a few issues with the Genelec 8010A. There is just one solitary connection point at the rear of the monitor. It’s an XLR point, so if you prefer TRS or RCA, you’ll need combination cables or adapters.
The solitary XLR connection does limit your options.
The integration of the connection point could also prove an issue for some. The point sits vertically to allow for a streamlined rear point. This is great for cable management, but the distance from the point to the bottom of the unit is short. If your XLR cables have a long connector, it might strain the cable due to the vertical direction. The power supply also features the same verticality with a figure-of-8 connector.
The solitary connection is fine for a professional studio setting, but from a consumer standpoint, it lacks the bells and whistles that other options provide. You’ll need to explore more consumer-friendly choices if you want Bluetooth, AUX, or a headphone port.
The other area where the Genelec 8010A suffers is its price point. This is not a cheap monitor and requires a hefty investment. Especially as you’ll want a pair of these and potentially a subwoofer. But it is a case of getting what you pay for. This is a premium studio monitor with exceptional sound and engineering quality.
Sometimes it is better to spend more at the outset and get something that does the job right rather than continually upgrading over time and potentially spending more in the long run. So while it is expensive, it is still worth it, especially when you consider you get an Iso-Pod included.
The reviews for the Genelec 8010A highlight how much people love these compact studio monitors. Five-star reviews dominate, with only minor gripes here and there, many of which are a natural result of the smaller woofer. Genelec is a beloved brand, and the pint-sized 8010A is equally adored.
A History of Excellence
The studio monitor market features a treasure trove of highly respected brands, but Genelec is among the most revered. Founded in 1978, this Finnish company has continued to push the boundaries of what studio monitors can be.
The 8010A continues Genelec’s tradition of producing quality studio gear.
They have received countless awards throughout the years and are a mainstay for many professional studios. The close attention to detail and constant drive to innovate sets them apart, and I am excited to see what future innovations they’ll bring to the table.
I’m not one to gush about a brand. At the end of the day, it is just a business, and blind brand loyalty can often lead to companies resting on their laurels. But Genelec is an exception. The passion and focus of the team shine through in their products, and with such an illustrious history, it’s hard not to be a fan.
So the takeaway from all this is that sometimes it is worth spending more and supporting a company with your interests firmly in mind.
The studio monitor market offers a broad range of choices, and while the Genelec 8010A is superb, it might not be right for your needs. Below are a few alternatives that might be better suited.
IK Multimedia ILoud MTM Review
The iLoud MTM from IK Multimedia is another compact studio monitor worth considering. While not as refined as the 8010A, it does offer some unique features.
- Neutral frequency response for accurate mixing and mastering.
- Simply room correction with the included calibration microphone.
- Doesn’t perform well at higher volume levels.
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM
Neumann KH 80 Review
Legendary microphone manufacturer Neumann also has a series of studio monitors available. This compact 4-inch monitor is another fantastic monitor for small spaces.
- Accurate sound profile with a rich and detailed midrange.
- Front-facing ports make placing closer to walls easier.
- A costly monitor, even when compared to the already pricey 8010A.
Neumann KH 80
PreSonus Eris Studio 5 Review
If you don’t want to spend too much on your setup, the Eris Studio 5 is an affordable entry-level choice. While it is cheaper, it still maintains a high level of both build and sound quality.
- Dynamic sound profile but is not as flat as the 8010A.
- Three connection options for maximum flexibility out of the box.
- Large and bulky compared to the 8010A.
PreSonus Eris Studio 5
Should You Buy?
The amount of superlatives I could throw at the 8010A is staggering. It’s a sensational monitor with a sound profile perfectly suited to a professional setting. A reliable response that ensures you will be at your most productive. No guesswork, just full faith that the decisions you are making are the correct ones.
It isn’t perfect, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice for a small studio space. And if you do find it a little underwhelming, the larger models are also worth exploring.