Yes, Geneva is the second most populated city in Switzerland, but it is also the brand name of a Switzerland-based, critically acclaimed sound system company. Beyond a speaker, Geneva systems are works of art. They give new meaning to "simple without sacrificing style" – and more importantly, they produce room-filling sound.
Recently, I had the opportunity to experience the Model M Wireless speaker (pictured above). This unit retails for $599.95. Yes, the price is steep, but you’re getting more than a speaker, you’re getting a good-looking all-in-one system. There are six models in the Geneva line, from the XS at $199 to the XXL that retails for $3,499. I’m all for a company doing one thing and doing it very well. I also appreciate the simple way they name their models, as could anyone who has ever had to deal with TV model numbers.
The box the unit arrives in is bright glossy red, and if you don’t think packing matters, go purchase an Apple product. From the start you feel you’re opening a quality unit. While disassembling the box you’ll quickly notice the hearty remote and thick-gauge cables. The remote has your normal power and volume controls, but also buttons to quickly adjust both bass and treble, and Geneva does this without clutter. The "beefy" cables give you the satisfaction that this unit was built to last and that this company is serious about sound.
Upon pulling out my speaker I found four feet to install (no tools needed). Once the unit was plugged in I noticed that the LED screen on the front of the unit allowed me to see what input I was on. The LED display will indicate the speaker's volume level and radio station. That’s right folks: this unit has a built in tuner (and even a supplied antenna) to allow the listener to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned radio. (If you really want to know how I feel about the radio, see ‘Why I think Terrestrial Radio is Dying’)
Sure, I may not personally be a fan of the radio, but my father is, and so are many others. This unit would be an excellent gift for any baby-boomer for that exact reason.
The knob-turning sound (or what I’ll call a "tink") gives you the feedback you desire when changing stations, volume, or input. It’s a happy sound, not an annoying one. This may not seem important to some, but shows that each detail of the unit was thoughtfully designed. Another great feature that you won’t see on any system like this is an alarm clock.
Want to play music from your phone wirelessly? The unit's built-in Bluetooth A2DP allows for streaming from equipped smartphones, tables, and PCs. As with most Bluetooth, set up was very simple and very consistent.
Audio quality of the unit was respectable with solid bass and appropriate mid-range. Unable to leave my phone behind, I found myself playing music via Bluetooth. I sampled the speaker with Florence + The Machine’s ‘Shake it Out,’ and then Kat Edmonson’s "Lucky." Vocals were clear and concise and sound reproduction was quite suitable for a speaker for the size.
On the outside, a piano black, red, or walnut real wood cabinet will ensure the unit fits into any space. Internally a fully discrete stereo system of tweeter/woofer pairs is individually chambered and riven by no fewer than four class A/B amplifiers.
Geneva has found its sandbox in which to play in. It may not change our world on the custom AV side, but knowing about these high-end audio products can fill a void for a consumer. Maybe they have a whole-house system at home, but are looking for a stunning audio piece for the office. And, as we all know, good audio changes everything.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.