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Genesis I60 Integrated 60 Watt per Channel Stereo Tube Amplifier

Part I

February, 2007

Jason Victor Serinus

 


Specifications:

 

Rated Power Output: 60 watts x 2
MFR: 20Hz to 30kHz
THD: < 2.0% at Rated Power
S/N ratio: > 90 dB

Inputs: CD, Tape, Aux, Tuner
Input Sensitivity: 380 mV
Input Impedance: 250k Ohms
Output Impedance: 4 Ohms, 8 Ohms
Outputs: Five-Way Binding Posts; 4 Ohm and
   8 Ohm Taps
Dimensions: 7.25" H x 17" x 15" D
Weight: 60 Pounds
Finish Options: High Gloss Automotive Black
MSRP: $3,495 USA

 

Genesis Loudspeakers

Introduction

Talk about synchronicity. Last spring, right after my Jadis DA-7 Luxe amplifier had been shipped to Southern California for repairs, I received an e-mail from Genesis touting a glowing review of their M60 monoblocks.

Realizing that the M60s offered a potential solution to my month sans Jadis, I requested a pair for review. Understanding my situation, Carolyn Koh of Genesis responded by shipping out the M60s with extraordinary speed.

I greatly enjoyed listening to the Genesis monoblocks, which I paired with the Theta Gen. VIII DAC/preamp. However, while their sound was considerably fuller and richer than the Monarchy monoblocks I have reviewed in these pages, I could not get the bass out of them that I desired.

This left me in the uncomfortable situation of giving a mixed review to a product from a company that most graciously came to my aid in the nick of time.

Happily, I learned that the problems were not with the amps, but with system compatibility.

Lessons in Load and Impedance

In early December, 2006, while speaking with Genesis head Gary Koh about the genesis of the monoblocks he helped perfect, I let slip that I had some reservations about their bass extension. Once I explained that I was pairing them with the Talon Khorus X Mk. III, Gary suggested that their isobarically loaded woofers will present a challenge to lower-powered tube amps. Thus, I could not fairly evaluate his amps.

Gary and I both acknowledged that my particular Talons were not an appropriate match for the M60s. (I subsequently discovered that while the just-released VTL 450W auto-bias monoblocks can easily drive the Talons and absolutely control their bass, my 100W Jadis cannot. I am currently on the lookout for new speakers, and am planning to sell the most upgraded and best-functioning pair of Talon Khorus X Mk. IIIs on the planet). My reference system is shown below.

When I told Gary that I had plugged his amps into my upgraded ExactPower EP15A power regenerator, he explained that this was yet another mismatch. It turns out that my upgraded ExactPower's extremely low output impedance - less than 0.5 ohms - is way too low to allow Genesis amps to function optimally. Gary explained that he recommends his amps be plugged directly into the wall, and that he designed the power supplies to perform at their best when operated in that manner. Gary also assured me that the ExactPower would work well with my other components (transport, DAC, VCR, tuner).

Rather than throwing in the towel, Gary and I looked at the smaller upstairs system. While the system does not have a preamplifier, it has the excellent Von Schweikert VR-4jr. speakers and a host of fine cabling. We thus decided to pair his virtually identical-sounding Genesis I60 integrated amp, which does not need a separate preamp, with the VR-4jr. speakers in our upstairs system. This obviated the need for a stand-alone preamp, which I do not have on hand at this time.

New amp - New Environment

The upstairs system, located in my spouse's office, is very much "real world." There is no acoustic room treatment to speak of, no dedicated circuit, not even an audiophile grade outlet in the wall. The so-called rack is a $69 particle-board special from a defunct hi-fi store, the amp and ExactPower stand a little $79 oak table that I also bought on sale. Only Ganymede ball-bearing supports offered vibration control.

Note as well that the set-up includes several audiophile no-nos. There's a ridiculously antiquated, monaural TV sitting right between the speakers. (Gaze upon it in the accompanying photo if you dare). Adding insult to injury, it's in the same plane as the speakers and higher than their tweeters, further compromising the soundstage. Hey, we don't even have cable.

Given that the hideously metallic-sounding, first generation Sony CD player in the upstairs system is an audiophile embarrassment, I prevailed upon Herb Cygan, a long-time member of BAAS (the Bay Area Audiophile Society) to loan me Alex Peychev's (http://www.aplhifi.com) excellent, heavily modified Philips 1000 Universal Player.

For the Genesis I60 review, speaker cables and interconnects were a combination of Nordost Tyr (review forthcoming) and Nordost Valhalla. Power cables were Nordost Valhalla, unquestionably the finest power cables I've ever auditioned in my system, which I borrowed from the reference system. I used the modified ExactPower EP15A to regenerate power to the Philips 1000, and plugged the Genesis I60 directly into the wall. Since I'm accustomed to clarity afforded by Shakti Stones, a few of those were thrown into the mix, as was, on occasion, the Marigo Signature 3-D Mat v. 2.

Von Schweikert counsels to place his VR-4jr. speakers far apart. In our situation, that's impossible. I can't move the left speaker farther to the left without totally blocking part of it by plants and desk, and can't move the right speaker farther to the right without blocking the closet door. I can't even move the speakers more than a few feet forward from the wall without putting them on the carpet, which would make the room non-functional and our dog very upset. Hence, save for the expensive Nordost cabling, which I purposely used to provide sound similar to that produced by my reference system, the setup approximates that of a mid-level priced audiophile system situated in an average, untreated room ruled over by a spouse who cares about space and neatness.

Click Here to Go to Part II.

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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