Geneva’s new multi-room Wifi enabled streaming active speaker systems come in two different sizes. The ‘SMALL’ £349 and the ‘LARGE’ £649. Each of Geneva’s streaming speakers will work with a range of computer based operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS along with app control from any Android or iOS handheld devices to stream network based music over DLNA, Airplay or Bluetooth, offering complete flexibility of control, choice and function.

Each wireless active speaker system has the ability to also stream music via Spotify Connect, Deezer, Internet Radio etc or Airplay’d via your favourite third party applications.

On the rear of Aero there is a 3.5mm input jack for direct stereo connection to MP3 players, phones, tablets and the like and there is also a ‘BASE’ £449 module which when attached will include DAB/DAB+/FM Radio and CD, along with a further 3.5mm input jack to enable Aero to become a complete all-in-one music centre, which in multi-room setups offers all the conventionality of a standard separates system with the added benefits of sharing your music throughout the home with family members or for a more intimate and personal listen.
areospherelblack_b

Aero’s design is unique and adventurous, on first inspection the mind wanders, coming up with analogies of its form and shape – a microphone head, pin cushion, mushroom or pom-poms sprang to mind. The speaker is covered completely with acoustic cloth (red, white or black), which could be a bit of a lure to the family cat and a dust trap. I’d suggest a vacuum attachment which sports a soft bristle head to give it a quick clean from time to time, I would have liked to see a nice cotton cover included with elasticated mouth to pop over Aero when not in use for protection (maybe some cool retro coloured ones would be interesting?). Although if the cloth was to be damaged a new one can be ordered from Geneva for under £20, which is great value. This also allows the end user to change the colour of the speaker if desired and maybe some time in the future Geneva will release a pallet of colours to suit any home decor.

Easy control of AeroSphere is achieved from the iOS app , Android app, or locally from the included aluminium remote control. A range of LED indicator lights varying in colours mark the AeroSperes status and source selection.

Geneva’s proprietary ‘Embracing Sound’ DSP technology is generated to give the listener an encapsulating ‘Hifi’ quality sound, produced by its multi speaker array. Two 1″ tweeters, two 4″ mid bass drivers and an upward firing 6″ subwoofer complete the Aero’s driver configuration.
The drivers are housed in individual acoustic chambers within Aero and individually amplified allowing for Geneva’s DSP feature to come into full effect, with control of the speakers parameters via the app for tonal balance and room placement. Whether freestanding on the matching floor stand, on a table top, or in a corner Aero has adjustable parameters to achieve the best possible sound integration.

SETUP

There is a dedicated stand to use with the AeroSpheres, I wasn’t provided with one for the review, but I already had the perfect spot for which the unit would sit if owned by myself, which was on my sideboard.

In its seated position there are five small rubber feet which the speaker sits on. The power cord routes in a small channel on the underside and its connector is nicely concealed, leaving the trailing lead to run neatly behind the furniture or through the stand. A rear power button and wifi connect button sit either side of the 3.5mm input jack and with the way the sphere curves into its base each are very easily accessible.

Connecting up the AeroSphere to my network was an absolute cinch and within a minute or so I was listening to an incredibly full and rich sound which filled my room with a noticeably sub sonic bass response that more or less floored me and I sat upright in amazement wondering ‘how on earth am I getting this rolling expansive bass from a 15 inch ball of understated physical weight and bling on top of my sideboard’.

The AeroSpheres does come supplied with a standard remote control and Geneva’s is just so well made. A sleek, elegant fully featured and simple to use all aluminium affair with little weight and good separation between buttons. What I like so much about it is that each mode is clearly stated, a button stating ‘AirPlay’ a button saying ‘DLNA’ and so forth.

When I initially read the press release my immediate concerns came from the indicator lights behind the Geneva badge on the Aero. It was stated in a paragraph that this mode will have the badge glowing green, this input would appear pink and that input blue. ‘I have to remember all these colours to work out which input I’m using?’. No, thank goodness, the clearly labelled remote takes that hassle out of the equation and the apps for both Android and iOS have source selection clearly defined, leaving the user to simply enjoy the coloured lighting instead….even the pink?!

Connecting via iOS is an absolute breeze, Android has a couple more steps but followed step by step allows for easy control and setup of the unit on the home network.

Streaming from various services including DLNA on the local network makes listening to music easily accessible to everyone in the home and once a playlist is selected the physical remote control can be used to skip and pause tracks, as well as volume adjustments, allowing for the users phone or tablet to become free for other duties if desired.

THE SOUND

I’ve heard many AirPlay setups and many have been good and really good in fact but from a single unit I’ve never heard such bass. I did tweak things a little to achieve a tighter response, not that it was loose… it was just for personal preference. So, I’m sat there listening away to various genres  through Spotify on my iPad and I thought ‘I wonder how resonant the Aero is?’ I had the levels quite high at the time, placed my hand in various places around the sphere and cabinet vibrations were extremely low.

Bass alone obviously doesn’t make up the total of what you or I would expect from £649 of our hard earned cash, so how do the rest of the frequencies perform? Not too shabby, not too shabby at all…

Moving about the room completing a few chores while I allowed the speaker to warm up I very quickly became drawn to the display of spaciousness which emanated from the area of the room which the Aero Large was located, rather than a distinctive point of interaction with the music.black_large

Now I’m doing the okey kokey shuffle about the room searching out voids and areas of overload and again was very pleased, the only point where I wasn’t a fan of the sound was when stood directly over the speaker –  as the Aero has an upward firing subwoofer standing over it allows for the sub to dominate and muddy the sound. Fantastic! as I cannot see anyone hankering over the unit when in use.

Listening to some Ed Sheeran I was presented with a lightly rich vocal that was clear and natural, matching Sheeran’s tonality very well indeed. Guitar strings were acute on their leading edges and full into the note, and on some of the less mainstream tracks recording venues actually cued their acoustic into playback, which I didn’t expect.

This is all attributed to the Aero’s great soundstaging and there’s no denying that the AeroSphere Large gives an actual soundstage – singer upfront, band left, right and rear and with synthesised music the room boundaries are touched nicely with the expansiveness of Geneva’s DSP integration.

Through listening to a range of female artists especially and some violin music, what really stood out to me was how well the higher frequencies were balanced and projected and never at any stage of my listening tests did I experience any upper mid lower treble glare or hardness. The speaker doesn’t give a bright, overly-detailed, hard sound at all and is very coherent.

From what Geneva say in their blurb I’m led to believe that the AeroSphere Large isn’t simply a powered speaker, it’s a fully active speaker. But what difference does this make?  A powered speaker system will have a stereo amplifier, connected to a speaker with a passive crossover, much like computer desktop speakers, the amplifier is only required to be in one of the speakers and the other speaker remains passive. A fully active setup will have in many cases a digital crossover feeding the separate frequencies to each amplifier (one per driver) and this will give a more defined and controlled sound as well as allowing for superior DSP control and manipulation of the response.

The combination of all these parts allows for a fantastically controlled coherent speaker system which has true air in the top end, midrange transparency and a bass response that you can really feel, driving the music with all the body and presence it deserves. Just because the AeroSphere is a lifestyle type product it doesn’t mean that it cannot be put in the ‘audiophile’ bracket.

In fact what actually is a ‘lifestyle’ product these days? Long gone are the days of all-in-one Bose or B&O systems dominating an area of the market which fulfilled the needs of those who wanted quality sound from a straight forward one box solution. Today the all-in-one system has grown, evolved and its features expanded – it’s now achievable to get high quality sound with a range of features that makes the previous technology ever so more primitive and with so many companies now producing systems utilising streaming I feel the term ‘lifestyle’ has taken on a whole new meaning. Today’s lifestyle systems don’t just allow the music lover to enjoy their favourite CD or Radio Station, today’s lifestyle system is more utilitarian and integrates a whole range of everyday gadgets and gizmos to make for a complete and integrated experience for the entire family to enjoy. It’s no longer a lifestyle choice, it’s a revolution in audio that is fast becoming the norm and a sure fire way to get young audiophiles really interested in high quality playback of their digital music utilising phones, tablets and the Internet to enrich the experience and the AeroSphere certainly bridges the gap between what can be achieved in this market and the audiophile world of Hifi.

CONCLUSION

With it’s striking looks, ease of use and feature rich applications, integrating a Geneva AeroSphere into the home is an easy and stress-free experience.

With the range of music available to stream from Spotify alone the Aero is a terrific companion for everyday listening and party nights with friends, but with the options to stream network based music, phone or tablet based music, iTunes, Internet radio, Airplay and other streaming services, the AeroSphere is complete. With the addition of ‘AeroBase’ the options of CD/DAB/DAB+/FM make this a fully fledged home music centre, hell you can even add a turntable and phonostage or Bluray with the stereo input on the Sphere and Base.

Fair enough, It won’t do the ironing, brush your teeth or change a flat tyre, but what I can say for sure is the Geneva AeroSphere is here to stay and the biggest problem I can see is families fighting over who gets to choose the next song to stream.

Build Quality – 8.3/10RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW
Sound Quality – 8.5/10
Value For Money – 8.4/10
Overall – 8.4/10

Price at time of review – £649

Recommended for its feature rich options and rich expansive, detailed and coherent room filling sound. 

Dan Worth

You must be logged in to leave a reply.

Real Time Web Analytics