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Genelec, founded in 1978 by Ilpo Martikainen and based in Iisalmi, Finland, is a manufacturer of active loudspeaker systems especially for professional studio recording, mixing and mastering applications as well as in broadcast and movie production. In 2002, Genelec introduced a range of home cinema loudspeakers.
1.1 Early history,
1.2 International business,
2 Genelec today,
3 Current Product Line,
5 External links,
Genelec was originally founded to meet the needs of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. YLE was building a new radio house in Pasila. Juhani Borenius, who worked for YLE as a sound engineer, asked his friends at a postgraduate acoustics seminar if they could make an active monitoring speaker. First Ilpo Martikainen and Topi Partanen asked what it was and two weeks later they had the first sample. The prototype was far from perfect but promising enough to raise some serious interest. In 1978, after two years of a bit more thorough research and development work, the first speaker, the S30, was ready and the company for manufacturing it was founded. The company moved immediately from Helsinki to Iisalmi, in the center of Finland. Savo is the area where Topi and Ilpo had spent their childhood. Iisalmi was chosen. The first facilities were in Satamakatu, 300m2 in the basement of an apartment building. Ilpo lived in the same building.
The first order went to RAI in Italy, the second to YLE in Finland. There were four people working in the company at the time and so YLE's order for 340 pieces gave work for one year. It also gave one year's time to explore other options to keep the company running. Opportunity knocked and they started doing sound reinforcement contracting.
At its best, sound reinforcement contracting was half of the business. Genelec Oy installed many drama theatres in Finland (among others the National Theatre, city theatres of Rovaniemi and Kuopio, etc.), the congress hall of the new cardiologic hospital in Moscow, the Moscow Circus and even two recording vans for YLE. The last contract job was Tampere Hall and the last audio system supplied went to the Royal Opera in Madrid.
The decision to quit the sound reinforcement business in 1989 was crucial for the future of Genelec Oy. From a financial point of view there was no need to put an end to the contracting. Still, the company decided it wanted to be known as a manufacturer.
There was high demand for Genelec speakers from the beginning and the production quantities were growing every year, as was the number of employees. Already in 1981 Genelec Oy delivered active monitors to ZDF's new control rooms in Mainz. The facilities in Satamakatu were far too small and in 1981 the company was placed in many different locations. The company searched for either a new factory or a lot where one could be built. In 1983, the town pointed a lot next to lake Porovesi in Luuniemi. There have been four expansions since then. In addition to production area the last expansion includes more premises for training and quality listening.
Exporting the speakers started at the beginning and its share has grown over the years. In 1980 it was 20%, in 1984 80% and on the 1990s it peaked to 95% but has settled to around 90% in 2000's. The first export countries were Italy, the Nordic countries, Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Great Britain. Cooperation with Otaritec Corp. in Japan started in 1986. In 1993 Genelec Oy had distributors in 45 countries and nowadays there are sales in more than 70 countries. At the same time as the export trade has been growing, the degree of domestic added value of the products has remained around 80%. A breakthrough for Genelec was the 77th AES convention in Hamburg in 1985. The 1022A was introduced and it was a nice success. At that time Genelec Oy was the only manufacturer in the world who had a whole family of speakers: Biamp 1019A mini monitor, broadcasting monitors S30 and 1022A and music monitors 1024B and 1025A. By 1985 Genelec was producing 12 speaker models. Sound reinforcement and passive Hi-Fi speakers were also manufactured for domestic market. The passive Biway 1050A and Triway 1051A were in production in 1980-1982 and the production of the small 1049A began in 1988. Production of passive Hi-Fi speakers has been discontinued long ago.
The 1990s was a time for establishing the position as the leading manufacturer of active monitoring speakers. New products were designed, the brightest pearl perhaps being the 1031A in 1991, which nowadays is regarded to be the most important product of the 90's in the pro audio business. The 1031A was followed by 1030A, 1032A, 1029A, 1037A and 1038A, and subwoofers 1091A, 1092A and 1094A. The marketing was reformed completely, and family enterprise Genelec Oy was the leading manufacturer of active speakers.
In 2010 there are over 50 active loudspeaker models in production and numerous modifications and versions of them for different applications and geographic areas with software products for acoustic calibration as well. After finishing sound reinforcement contracting Genelec Oy concentrated solely on active speakers and so it finally became what it is known for: the active monitoring company. The change in the company's line of business also started a process in its working practices.
The first years of 21st century have also presented challenges. Products have their life span and even good products need renewals. Good examples are designing of the new, patented LSE-series of subwoofers and replacing most of the 2-way series with a new, improved 8000 Series. The 8000 Series comprises 4 models (8020B, 8030A, 8040A and 8050A 2-way Active Loudspeakers), some of which are clearly smaller than their predecessors. Adding to the series are the smallest 6010A 2-way loudspeaker and its supporting 5040A Active Subwoofer, introduced in 2008. Also digital signal processing and software control are present in new products, and their role is growing. The 8200 DSP series adds 3 more products to the line (8240A, 8250A 2-way and 8260A 3-way Active Loudspeakers) with ability to automatically adapt their performance to any acoustical conditions with AutoCal calibration through the GLM Software.
Genelec must not be confused with Genlec, an engineering maintenance business in Australia.
Current Product Line:
7000 and 7200 Series Subwoofers,
5040 Series Subwoofers,
F Series Subwoofers,
Home Theater Products,
Commercial Installation Products