Update 8 Jan 2011 – The remote stopped working on my unit over the new years break. One email to the Australian Distributor and without question, they’ve shipped me a new remote to my nearest retailer (on request) and are fault finding the old one. Very happy with that!
Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Thankfully I can now include myself in those! The Geneva is definitely a stereo for those who know what they want. Designed to please furniture and stereo aficionados alike, it’s pretty impressive in both respects.
Let’s look at the stereo aspects first. In this particular unit (Geneva L – middle of the range), you get a 100 watt stereo with two tweeters and two woofers in the one unit. Now Geneva tell you in their brochureware that you get a much better stereo sound with all the speakers in one unit. Without a graphic EQ though, I had one punk song that you couldn’t hear the vocal track at all the way Geneva have setup the mix. The guitars and percussion sounded amazing though! In short, most stuff sounds amazing. Even daggy old MP3s of very poor quality sound surprisingly good. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ve been missing on your old stereo. One moot point though, it’s audio quality is almost wasted on crappy MP3s. Put a CD in and the difference is night and day.
The build quality is fantastic. I could stare at the back of this unit for hours (sad as that is) because there’s no plastic and it’s so well thought out and it’s like a Sherman tank! The attention to detail extends to the polishing cloth and cool little cloth bag for all the accessories you get. Unwrapping this thing is a real Christmas day experience: each individual unit neatly boxed and labeled!
This particular unit comes with the iPod dock. It’s not fully compatible with the iPhone, but I’m yet to see one that is. One nice feature is that it asks you if you want to go into flight mode when you dock, so calls won’t interrupt your music – sometimes. I’m still working out the nuances of it. It also has a traditional line in jack so you can play non Jailbreak iPhone 5 iPod MP3 players through the unit.
Furniture nerds will totally appreciate the a piano quality lacquered finish, or the option of a natural walnut finish. I went the red. The heavy unpolished aluminum stand, a $300 AUD option, looks fantastic. This stand also lets you run the cables through it to hide all those garish wires. One thing’s for certain, this is not a ‘bright, shiny object’. It won’t look obsolete like last year’s Nokia phone when the next one comes out. It’s designed to be appreciated. The remote too has been designed to look good and be minimal yet totally usable. No flashing lights or any bullshit.
Despite the strengths, the is one undeniable issue with the Geneva: for such a small unit it’s bloody expensive. Having said that, if you want a unit that looks this good that doesn’t have six or seven separate speakers and sounds fantastic all the time, it’s probably quite cheap. I suspect to get something that sounds better than this would be a lot closer to $10K than the $2K this one costs. This is definitely not a mass produced stereo with a mass produced sound. Your friends will never understand but who cares. It’s a fantastic unit without being that’s not too nerdy and definitely not too bling. If you appreciate the finer things, just get one!
EDIT: drummers will love the sound of this unit. It’s really well suited to hi-hats and cymbal type sounds. Has to be heard to be believed.