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Articles July-August 2023

The Accidental Lighting Designer New!

Lloyd Albuquerque, in a conversation with PALM Magazine, reveals his foray and plans as the go-to "light guy" in the pro lighting industry. read more

Articles July-August 2023

The Future Of AV Is Virtual New!

This year's AV-ICN Expo introduced visitors to a reality that is equally virtual and tangible through a walkthrough with VR headsets. read more

Articles July-August 2023

Epson Captures Big Screen Mapping Projector's Demand at AV-ICN Expo New!

Yoshino San shared Epson's strategy, purpose, and exhibit display theme at AV-ICN expo with Chopra San. read more

Articles July-August 2023

Post Show Review: 11th PALM Sound and Light Awards New!

PALM Sound & Light Awards honoured deserving individuals and companies from the pro sound and lighting industry in its 11th edition. read more

Articles July-August 2023

AV-ICN Expo's AV Architect of the Year New!

In a dramatic moment at the 11th PALM Sound & Light Awards, Founder Anil Chopra announced Kelvin Ashby-King the 'AV Architect of the Year' 2023. read more

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11 Questions with Ilpo Martikainen | Genelec

Ilpo Martikainen, Founder and Chairman of Genelec takes out time from his busy schedule to answer 11 Questions on studio monitors, including Genelec monitors, his engagement in the Indian market and more.

Founder and Chairman of Genelec, Ilpo Martikainen

1. What is the highlight of your career of almost four decades?

There are several highlights in different areas. From a personal perspective, the absolute highlight is my family, children and grandchildren. From a products point of view, 1988-1992 was a very intensive period when we designed and introduced the large monitors 1035A, 1034A,1033A, and also 1031A, 1032A, 1037A and 1038A. For a small group of people it was a huge achievement. Other important highlights include the development of 8000 series’ first three products from 2002-2004, and also the development of the coaxial driver in 2009 and products around it. From a business perspective, I am happy to see that new people in the company are continuing the strong development of both - the products and the business of the company, and the next generation growing into the family business.

2. Why did you decide to quit the sound reinforcement business?

Indeed we did sound reinforcement contracting from 1979 to 1989 and also developed products for that area. However, the contracting business, or systems integration as it is now called, was very different from manufacturing and we had to choose what we want to be. We decided to be a manufacturer with a factory and own products and own brand.

3. How do you balance your roles as a renowned inventor and a businessman? Being an inventor, is it important to give priority to design over financial gains or vice-versa?

A very interesting question. I see no inherent conflict between these aspects. Inventing something is both a necessity and fun, and the business aspect is also a necessity not only to continue inventing, but importantly, to serve the customers. We are an engineering-minded company and want to solve problems to make our customer’s life easier. In every price category the design and financial aspects have to be in balance so that the user is delighted about his/her purchase, and hence we do not sacrifice the total quality for money, so to speak. We also want to serve the community we are living in, by employing people and paying taxes for the common good.

4. Which of the Genelec series of studio monitors is your favorite and why?

There is no single favorite; essentially all products are my favorites! If I have to point some products as favorites, they relate to some performance aspect, which we have been able to achieve. From 80’s I would mention 1022A, which is the manifestation of controlled and constant directivity and minimization of diffraction, and these are both clearly audible and measureable: very uniform and smooth frequency response both on and off-axis, and excellent imaging. For 1035A we extended the waveguide design and developed our own midrange driver, which is continuously in production. 1031A is a favorite for both- exemplary rapid product development and excellent performance, and so it became the mother of all modern two-way monitors, leading it to TEC Hall of Fame. 8000 series continues on the road paved by 1022A, minimizing diffraction with curved shapes, and now the coaxial models are my favorites as they again are an audible improvement.

5. Your definition of a “good design” in studio monitors?

The monitor shall tell the truth about the signal being reproduced, and the monitor shall be both highly reliable and serviceable for a long time. The reliability and serviceability issues are relatively straightforward engineering issues but the first aspect is complicated. We tend to think it means an acoustical replica of the electrical signal at the listening position, and this is how we design our products. This approach has very extensive consequences. Reliability, serviceability and long lifetime also support our aims regarding environmental aspects.

6. Mix and mastering engineers may require a flat and accurate frequency response in their monitors, whereas artists prefer some color to their sound. Have Genelec products been able to balance these two needs?

Again an interesting question. Our approach is absolute neutrality and we do not add “coloration features” to the products. However, from the very beginning, our products have had the room response controls, and currently the AutoCal, which, in addition to adapting the response to the room conditions, also can be used to tailor the response for personal preferences. Especially with AutoCal the creation of this kind of personal profiles is easy as they can be saved and recalled, and easily returned to flat response for comparison.

7. What is the most common monitoring mistake people make either in terms of position or process?

I think the most common problems relate to positioning the monitors in the room and forgetting to adjust the response for that position. We often see monitors, which are not aimed properly, or are not symmetrical, or are hidden behind computer screens or some other stuff, or are just on the table without any raiser, and/or are un-calibrated. These are elementary issues, which are very easy to resolve, and which improve performance and make an engineer’s work much easier. As for the monitoring process, I think, too high listening levels might be the most common problem. We all have the last pair of ears in use and we should be very careful with them.

8. The main feature that has made the 8351A an award winning product?

There are several important features, first being its total performance and especially its directivity and imaging. Another is how the product looks, as people see there still can be new inventions based solely on performance reasons.

9. Your perception of the global market for pro-audio products and how does India fit into this global scenario?

The entire pro audio market is globally a niche market and monitors form a very slim slice. There is some healthy global growth in many pro audio segments. India is a very interesting and important market. The rapid economic growth increases the income and gradually more and more people will find they have something to say with the music language. This will gradually reflect in the pro audio business too.

10. Tell us a little bit about your engagement with the Indian market and have you enjoyed it?

We have Indian customers from late 80’s and we have had our own local person in India for a long time serving our customers. India is definitely one of the growth areas for us. It is not an easy market, though, but then, is there an easy market anywhere?

11. Your opinion about Indian sound engineers?

Indian sound engineers who I have met are very profess-ional and know what they want. I think professional people are very alike everywhere once they have learned the requirements of the job. Every country has its cultural heritage, which naturally shows especially in the music, architecture and art. I feel extremely lucky to be in this business where I have been able to see so many fine artists, sound engineers and musicians from different cultural backgrounds, and learn so much from them. On a deep level, all humans are very alike; we have similar needs, hopes and fears in life and very similar things make us happy whether we are from India, Japan, Americas or Europe or anywhere in the world. My country represents 0.07% of the world population and from that perspective it is so interesting to see the great variety of ways we live our human life.


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