Geneva’s globe on a pole might look like designer furniture, but it also aims to cut the sonic mustard. HFC takes a listen
Being un-square is good, and being a single unit that’s a doddle to accommodate – whether on a sideboard or, as here, it’s dedicated £149 single-column stand – takes us back to the days of mono when having to find the room for two loudspeakers was an inconvenience yet to come. Not that the AeroSphère Large is mono, of course. It isn’t even stereo in the conventional sense. As you might well imagine, pulling a quart-sized soundstage out of a pint-sized pot requires a degree of trickery and psycho acoustic manipulation. Geneva calls its sonic shtick “embracing sound”, a proprietary application of DSP designed to give a broad, deep, three-dimensional soundfield that comfortably defies the physical boundaries of a slightly flattened orb measuring just 40cm between its equatorial extremities, with good results over a wide listening area rather than a specific sweet spot.
So although the ASL isn’t omni-directional, neither do you have to sit directly in front of it. Beneath the almost huggable exterior is a rather more angular forward-facing structure that houses two 25mm tweeters, two 102mm mid/bass drivers and an upward-firing 152mm subwoofer. These are configured within three separate acoustic chambers and powered by individual, DSP-optimised Class D amplifiers that permit some in-room fine tuning via the app that can be downloaded from the Geneva website. There’s also an aluminium remote (not shown) taking care of the core functions but, for full control, it’s handy to have both. The three DSP positioning options are free standing, single boundary and corner.
The ASL boasts multi-source wi-fi capability and support for AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth aptX. Using DLNA or AirPlay, additional AeroSphères (there’s also a baby Small model) can be added to form a multi-room network.
If you’re used to two-speaker stereo, a little adjustment is required. The good news is, your brain and DSP will do it for you. Initially, and especially if you’ve just been listening to a conventional setup, everything will seem a little bunched towards the middle. But, after 15 minutes or so, you’ll be amazed at how it has all relaxed and spread out again. Close your eyes and you could be in the company of two perfectly sighted speakers, items with fine imaging abilities at that. Moreover, it doesn’t really matter where you put the ASL or where you sit; that appealing sense of air and depth stays put and the imaging remains encouragingly stable. Yes, you can astound family and friends with this, but more importantly it’s all very musical and, by the standards of most wireless speakers, hugely enjoyable.
Two more surprises. One, the AeroSphère Large will go very loud indeed without feeling uncomfortably stretched. Driving a big room to party levels isn’t a problem. And two, the upward-firing subwoofer is capable of generating prodigious bass power and extension with impressive control, again pretty much irrespective of placement. Tonal balance tilts a little towards the lush, which works a treat with female vocals – Claire Martin’s Too Darn Hot on the Linn label sounds simply gorgeous – but can occasionally give deep male voices, such as Robbie Robertson’s on Somewhere Down The Crazy River, a little too much visible chest hair. That said, while the ASL’s presentation might not be the last word in neutrality or fine detail, it captures the bigger musical picture well spatially, and does so with an easy sense of flow and dynamic freedom that’s always engaging.
Too many multi-room wireless ‘speaker solutions’ sound a bit overblown and processed. The AeroSphère doesn’t get away entirely scot-free but gives such an expansive, three-dimensional soundstage and prosecutes its musical message with such muscular conviction that it’s easy to forgive the mild tonal aberrations. DV
PRODUCT: Geneva AeroSphère Large
TYPE: Wireless loudspeaker
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD): 405 x 405 x 320mm
● 2x 25mm tweeters
● 2x 102mm mid/bass drivers
● 1x 152mm subwoofer
● Wi-fi; AirPlay; DLNA; Bluetooth aptX
DISTRIBUTOR: Sound Design Distribution
TELEPHONE: 0843 5236344
To read full review click here
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