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Genelec 8351B SAMs review: Redefining what’s possible

Genelec is a company that needs little introduction. One of the leading loudspeaker manufacturers for about 40 years, Genelec’s long standing dedication to innovation and sustainability has made the company a household name amongst engineers and audiophiles alike.

In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the 8351B SAMs, the sub-flagship of Genelec’s The Ones series.

Genelec 8351B Smart Active Monitor pair
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the Genelec 8351B 5.0

The 8351B SAMs are amazing monitors that truly live in a world of their own. The response is incredibly detailed, the stereo imaging is stellar, and the GLM calibration kit only furthers the versatility and performance of these monitors.

Unfortunately, this is not the most affordable setup, and the GLM kit only adds another $300 to an $8.4K expense. However, if you have the means, I can’t recommend them more.

What I like

  • Insane audio quality. Highly detailed, clear, and accurate across the whole frequency spectrum.
  • Great stereo imaging.
  • Can work well in smaller spaces with the GLM kit.

What I don’t like

  • To get the most out of them you should really consider buying the GLM kit, which makes these already pricey monitors that much pricier.
Buy Genelec 8351B at: SweetwaterVintage King

Why you should trust me

I’m a producer, composer, and audio engineer with a decade’s worth of experience in the music industry.

Brandon Schock, author and contributor at Higher Hz

I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with a diverse range of gear and monitoring setups, working with brands like Yamaha, Neumann, Genelec, and more.

My extensive familiarity with myriad recording techniques positions me to provide you with insights that bridge the gap from technical intricacies to practical applications.

So, when it comes to trusting this review, you can rely on my expertise and experience in the field.

Power and frequency response 5.0

The 8351B monitors have a frequency response of 38 Hz – 20 kHz (±1.5 dB), and a max SPL of 113 dB. They showcase a tri-amped power configuration, exhibiting a total power output of 550 watts (LF driver at 250 watts, with the MF and HF drivers noted at 150 watts each).

The design of the monitor is innovative to say the least. The bass drivers feature an oval form with a corrugated rubber roll surround, optimizing the distribution of force for the stability of the diaphragm, allowing it to maintain linearity at high excursions.

The conventional power supply of the 8351B has also been revised to a switched-mode internal supply, both making the monitor lighter in weight as well as increasing the power overall. DSP enhancements, such as phase equalization and expanded filter options, also prove to heighten its performance.

Out of the box, these monitors deliver an exceptional amount of detail and imaging, and are remarkably accurate throughout the entire audio spectrum.

That said, the size of the rear port can make placement a bit tricky in some rooms and especially smaller ones. However, if you buy the GLM calibration kit (an additional expense that I would highly recommend taking on if you want to get the most out of these monitors), the 8351B SAMs can work phenomenally in more compact spaces.

Note: SAM stands for Smart Active Monitor.

I/O and controls 5.0

All inputs, outputs, and controls are present on the rear panel of the monitor, as well as threads for wall and ceiling mounts.

Genelec 8351B front and rear view
Image: Higher Hz

From left to right are the tone DIP switches to manually attenuate the monitors to your room, the rotary level control, and the power switch.

Directly underneath these and again from left to right is, your IEC mains input, GLM network connectors (2x Ethernet), XLR digital in, XLR digital thru, and XLR analog in.

Build quality 5.0

The build here is remarkable, to say the least. The enclosure is crafted out of two aluminum die-cast components, which do a lot in terms of minimizing any resonance in the acoustic panel.

To say they’re durable would be an understatement, as the entire makeup of these monitors ensure longevity in both form and function.

The monitor is a three-way coaxial design, in which the tweeter and mid-driver are stacked, while the two bass drivers are hidden behind the directivity control waveguide, thus radiating from both the top and bottom ports.

The stacked MF driver and tweeter is a rather unique element of the design, and in essence, allow for every frequency (from 32 Hz to 43 kHz) to be kept in complete phase alignment.

Also worth noting, is that due to this design, regardless of whether the monitors are positioned upright or sideways, the dispersion remains the same.

Compared to other studio monitors

While, these Genelec SAMs are some of the best studio monitors for professional audio engineers, here are a few cheaper alternatives to consider.

Genelec 8351B vs Focal Trio6

The Focals are reasonably flat but the Genelecs are flatter. The Genelecs may not be as fun to mix on (they’re extremely critical), but they are the better choice by a long shot, at least in my opinion.

Genelec 8351B vs Neumann KH 310

It seems unfair to judge these monitors to one another (the Neumanns are roughly half the price), but it’s a comparison we get asked about a lot.

The Neumanns are quite flat in their reproduction, albeit a tad warmer-sounding compared to the Gens, and are totally valid monitors for what they are.

That said, the 8351B SAMs are far superior in terms of stereo imaging, accuracy, versatility, etc. If you can afford the 8351B along with the GLM kit to calibrate them to your space, the choice is rather obvious.

Genelec 8351B vs PMC PMC 6

Just as the Neumanns, the PMCs are much more affordable than the Gens but are outperformed by comparison. If you can afford it, the Genelecs are the obvious choice.

Read the full PMC PMC 6 review

Who are the Genelec 8351B studio monitors best suited for?

The Genelec 8351B SAMs are best suited for professional engineers looking to get the most out of their monitoring setup.

They’re exceptionally precise, and the GLM kit gives you the ability to have them calibrated perfectly to your room, allowing you to get even more out of their performance.

Buy Genelec 8351B at: SweetwaterVintage King