Product Review

Genesis I60 Integrated 60 Watt per Channel Stereo Tube Amplifier

Part II

February, 2007

Jason Victor Serinus


History and Design of the Genesis I60 and M60

Gary Leonard Koh, Managing Director of Genesis, first met the owner of China's Melody many years ago, just as he was starting to build amplifiers in China. Those amps, sporting (using the term loosely) an industrial grey, hammered metal finish, sounded to Gary as though they had a lot of promise.

Years later, Gary managed to get hold of one of Melody's 45 watt amps to use at CES 2003. Unfortunately, it did not have enough power to adequately drive the Genesis loudspeakers.

Aware that many long-time audiophiles are under the impression that only a megawatt, megabuck amplifier can drive Genesis speakers, Gary set out to prove otherwise. When he next headed to China to work with cabinet manufacturers, he began working with Melody to develop a monoblock that would complement the Genesis loudspeaker line. The results, the M60 60-watt Genesis M60 monoblocks and I60 60-watt integrated amp, boast a high-gloss black finish that matches Genesis speakers with a similar finish.

For power tubes, both the I60 and M60s use two KT-88s per channel. The I60 uses one 12AX7 per channel as the main voltage gain stage, and two 6SN7s (military spec 6N8P to be exact) per channel as the driver stage. The M60's tube complement is exactly the same, except that it uses a slightly lower gain tube, the 6SL7. All tubes are manufactured by Melody expressly for Genesis; the most recent batches carry the Genesis label. Manufactured in the same factory that makes tubes for the Chinese Air Force, the tubes are double evacuated.

"Nothing about the Genesis monoblocks is standard," says Gary. "They sound nothing like the $2500 Melody monoblocks that are available online. If these amps were made here, they would probably retail for close to $20,000.

"We buy solid-core copper and stranded silver wiring from Japan. Depending upon which part of the circuit the wire is in, sometimes copper sounds better, and sometimes silver. Neither will do for the entire amplifier. And instead of normal wiring, I use a solid strand of copper with a sheath of cotton around it to create an air dielectric. When you talk about the voltages inside a tube amplifier, an air dielectric is the best for high voltage cables, including speaker wires. It would be very expensive to do in the U.S.A."

Among the amps' other features are some custom-made, military-spec paper-in oil capacitors with aluminum cans; a hand-built discrete resistor ladder potentiometer used as a volume control that features tantalum-film resistors; low-noise gold plated military spec ceramic tube sockets I wish I had them in my Jadis, they're so good and point-to-point wiring rather than a printed circuit board. Very little feedback is used "just enough to make the amp unconditionally stable." The output transformers are custom designed with the output tubes in mind, and hand-wound with a core of grain-oriented silicon steel.

All Genesis amps are burned-in and biased before shipment. What's especially great is that the company claims that 95% of maximum sonic quality is reached within 5 minutes of turn-on, and that complete warm-up takes less than 10 minutes. One can safely play music after a warm-up period of one minute.

The amp has four inputs: CD, Tape, Tuner, and Aux. There are two sets of five-way binding post outputs, one for 4 ohm, and other for 8 ohm. The 4 ohm tap is specifically tuned for Genesis loudspeakers.

Gary claims that when M60s are used with expensive Wilson or Kharma speakers, both of which present low impedance loads in the bass, the bass sounds fabulous. "I've got a customer who uses them to run his $75,000 pair of Kharma speakers because of the absolutely iron grip they have on the bass," he says. Others who use them on Wilsons are equally satisfied, finding the sub-$4000 Genesis amps superior to megabuck models from other companies." While I do not have the ability to verify such claims, I can say that the I60 produces impressive bass from the VR-4jrs.

Click Here to Go to Part III.

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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