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Genelec powered by Crestron Takes Pride of Place in London apartment

Canaletto is a 31-storey residential tower sitting at the crossroads of the London districts of Islington, City, Shoreditch and Clerkenwell.

Offering waterside living with some of the capital’s trendiest boroughs a stroll away, the developers claim its among the most desirable locations in the city.

Canaletto (named after the Venetian landscape artist) was designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio and features a striking curved steel and glass façade, which makes a unique statement on London’s skyline. Each apartment has its own distinct style and feel and this apartment decided to add some automation and AV touches of their own.

The apartment is owned by a couple of successful tech entrepreneurs and features a Nordic interior designed by Clerkenwell-based interior architect and design practice, Johnson Naylor. The city-facing open plan living space offers spectacular views of London, which can also be enjoyed from the flat’s balcony.

In the living area, the owners have created a 7.0 sound system with three Genelec 8351s in the front, and four ceiling-mounted Genelec 8340s at the rear of the viewing area offering discrete side and rear channels for 7.0 playback or diverged sounds for 5.0. The speakers compliment an 85-inch 4K TV, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch, Titan X Pascal gaming PC, and a 4K Apple TV.

The owner of the property explains, “The project started when we decided to buy an apartment from the yet-to-be-built Canaletto tower. The goal of the project was to create a home where we can enjoy movies, videogames and music as close to reference quality as possible – conscious that acoustics at a residential space are inherently worse than in a studio.

“From a technical and auditory point of view, we appreciate the clarity and flat response of Genelec loudspeakers, which deliver faithful and accurate sound reproduction. However, we appreciate even more the fact that many of our favourite film, video game and music producers use Genelec’s themselves to create the content that we consume. It makes the whole experience feel even more authentic.”

The owner explains, “As soon as we had purchased the flat, we engaged with London Media Rooms, a Crestron specialist, to specify the system. The audio and video equipment was specified by us (speaker types, audio sources, DACs etc.) while the rest of the system and network was specified by London Media Rooms.”

Music is of special importance to the owner, so careful attention was paid to the living room system which posed a particular challenge due to the large amount of reflective glass surfaces. To counter this, the Genelec 8351s and 8340s were calibrated using Genelec Loudspeaker Manager software, which helps to minimise intrusive artefacts resulting from hard surfaces.

Andy Bensley from Source Distribution who was responsible for calibrating the system, explains that GLM was a crucial element in ensuring that the system worked with the space and not against it.

“Due to the glass and exposed surfaces, the ability to tailor the HF response of the system allowed the reproduction to be detailed without being overly bright,” he noted. “Coupled with GLM’s ability to compensate for differing arrival times at the listening position we had the means to deliver an incredibly coherent and immersive system for the client in a challenging acoustical environment.”

Elsewhere, a total of 16 AIC25 in-ceiling speakers have been installed throughout the flat. Their sleek design integrates with Johnson Naylor’s minimalist Nordic interior design of the flat, while still delivering a precise Genelec sound. All speakers are part of the Crestron home network and connected to a Mirage MMS-2A audio server for Tidal Master audio.

Everything is controlled via iPhones and iPads, with the ability to switch individual rooms on and off, change sources on mobile devices, and select songs at will. In the master bathroom and snug, the speakers are also used to play back Apple TV audio.

“The Genelec AIC25 in-ceiling solution offered excellent sound quality in a discreet design package which works extremely well throughout the apartment and integrates very well with the Crestron home network,” remarks the owner.

“Furthermore, the amplifier modules slotted very easily into the Crestron AV rack in the utility room, making for a neat and efficient solution all round. Our AV system is actually quite complex and sophisticated, but it’s the exquisite Genelec sound reproduction that really brings it to life and enables us to experience our favourite music, movies and video games just as the creators intended.”

The main display for the dwelling is a 85 inch Sony 4K HDR TV (KD85XD8505BU). As competitive online gaming is something the owners enjoy, the TV was chosen for its low input latency and high quality 4K HRD image. It’s slim profile complemented the minimal design of the flat also.

As for the control system, the owner explains, “The building came with a Crestron system as default, however we upgraded the system to 4K. Crestron allowed us to get video, music, access control, heating, lighting and curtain control all onto a single iPad app, which was customised to our needs.

Although there was plenty of budget for the project, the owners still wanted to make use of what they see as high-value components. The owners feel the Genelec speakers offer better clarity and a better frequency response than many other, significantly more expensive speakers. Similarly, the Schiit Yggdrasil DACs used perform at a level usually often heard at much higher price points.


Kit list

 3 x Genelec 8351As

4 x Genelec 8340As

16 x Genelec AIC25

Crestron Control System

Mirage MMS-2A audio server

PS4 Pro

Xbox One X

Nintendo Switch

Titan X Pascal gaming PC

4K Apple TV

85in Sony 4K HDR TV (KD85XD8505BU)

Schiit Yggdrasil DACs

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