Name:Geneva S Price: $299.00 Rating: Strong Recommend*
Being the winner of the 2010 I.D. International Design Magazine Consumer Products Award surely piqued our interest in this diminutive audio system (at least compared to the other larger models in the Geneva lineup). Would it sound as good as it looked? Coming from a family of higher end siblings, like the Model L at $999 and $1,199 Model XL, this $299 unit seemed almost like a bargain...
The Geneva S is one of the most stylish iPod docks available these days, blending in well into a room thanks to its minimal and pedestal design. Measuring approximately 9" wide x 7" deep by 5.5" tall, this would be the only GenevaSound system that you will be able to place on your desk or bookshelf. Included is a tiny round stand that connects it to its larger brethren, the XL systems; the speaker can be separated from the surface, or you can take it out altogether and use the built-in rubberized feet for a more low profile signature.
Look and Feel: Four colors are available: white (our choice), black, red and silver, all in high-end glossy lacquered wooden case which gives the system a premium appearance. Included in the box is an infrared remote (with matching buttons according to the color of the unit), a telescopic antenna for the FM radio, the 2 piece circular stand, dock adaptor, manual and AC cable. Provided is a AUX-IN line on the back, so you can connect your favorite media player, or even your TV via a 1/8" audio cable. One thing this unit fails at providing is support for AirPlay or even Bluetooth for music streaming, but more on that later.
There is a true sense of value when unpacking this unit. Nothing feels cheap or plasticky. High quality materials and craftmanship is all over the place here. It's a very sharp looking speaker with solid feeling and amazing sound for its size.
Sound wise, the Geneva S contains two drivers with a total of 30 watts. There's no slot CD drive like its big brothers, but we're a CD-less household, so no big loss in our book. The FM radio feature is standard and works "ok" if you still like to tune in over the airwaves; we didn't have room for full deployment of the telescopic antenna, probably explaining why the reception quality was kind of spotty.
A fine mesh metal grille gives the front of the Geneva S a pleasing front facade; painted in the same color as the case, a hidden 4 digit LED display that will reveal itself to display the time (in 24HR format only!). It's a nice touch to see the display disappears when the unit is turned off and re appears when on.
User Interface: The biggest and greatest surprises on this unit comes in regards to the user interface. On top of the unit is a capacitive control unit that lights up when pressed. When the unit is off, you can't tell there's a control panel there. The lights glow is a very Tron-esque fashion thru the translucent lacquered finish, continuing Geneva's design philosophy of "less is more". Adjusting the volume and playing with the menus is tactile nirvana: just swipe your fingers around the round controller (a la 3rd gen iPod Classic), and the system respond to your commands.
One feature sure to turn heads is the motorized dock. When the unit is off, there's a cover on top of the dock. When you select the iPod as a source, a motorized dock appears from beneath, making a 180 degree rotation in order to expose it. Hi-end Italian race cars' headlamps comes to mind with such an inventive way to hide the dock connector while not being used. One of our favorite features.
Sound Quality: The Geneva S may be small in size, but it looks like it was designed to compete with larger sound systems in regards to sound quality. We still think is no match to the B&W Zeppelin Air, just because of the built-in subwoofer included with the Zeppelin, but the Geneva S is capable of filling a medium size room without any distortion. All the way, halfway turned up loud, the sound quality remains very good, if not excellent. Very clear, crisp and dynamic (to create the effect of stereo listening). The weak part on the Geneva S is the bass and no matter how much you adjust the tune to tap the low end, the system is just not capable of providing.
Connectivity: Non-iPod sources can be connected thru the AUX-in via the 1/8" audio cable, but it's obvious this system was designed with the iPod in mind. Using the iPod integrated dock, the sound was clearest, without hissing between tracks. Again, our only complaint is the lack of AirPlay support, which could have made this the best/most affordable Airplay system out there.
But we came up with our own wireless solution, managing to fit a microscopic Bluetooth adaptor made for Sprint, plugging it into the 30 pin dock. Power is supplied by the Geneva S and pairing our device proved to be as simple as one click. After that, we enjoyed music sans wires or without the need to dock our digital audio player. Sound quality takes a bit of hit using this method, but it was totally acceptable for a non-audiophile.
The Geneva S is an extraordinary speaker system that ticks the right checkmarks: crafmanship, sex appeal/design, sound quality and "wow factor". If what you need is an unobtrusive iPod system that you can place it almost anywhere, sounds good and look pretty while doing so, the Geneva S is one we highly recommend and that we've not regretted purchasing for our own listening pleasure.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This unit was purchased by the reviewer.