Geneva Model M review

The Geneva Model M sets a new benchmark for a one box iPod/iPhone system Tested at £550

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Geneva Lab Model M, a 2011 Product of the Year, is a simple, musical choice and remains extremely capable


  • +

    Superb sound quality

  • +

    excellent build and finish

  • +

    line input and FM radio


  • -

    No wireless support out of the box

  • -

    remote control is limited

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The Geneva Model M, our 2011 Award-winning £500+ premium iPod dock speaker system, didn't get where it is today by following the herd.

There's no standard wireless connectivity (the most notable absence), no apps, no multiroom functionality. It doesn't look anything special.

Even the name eschews any attempt to grab the attention, preferring simply to state the size of the dock compared with the other products in the range (which, as you can see below, now spans from XS to XL).

Geneva Lab Sound System family

Geneva Lab Sound System family

Not for Geneva a wealth of features and functions: there's an FM radio and a 3.5mm input round the back, but that's your lot. Instead the Model M was designed to be all about brilliant sound, which seemed no more than a pipe dream when iPods and docks exploded on to the market.

Geneva Lab Model M iPod dock speaker system

Geneva Lab Model M iPod dock speaker system

To achieve that, the designers built the Model M around two seperate speakers, each using a 25mm tweeter and a 10cm mid/bass unit tuned with a front-venting reflex port, and driven actively using four channels of Class D amplification.

The claim is a frequency response going all the way down to 47Hz, which is going some for an iPod dock speaker system of this kind.

But that was then and this is now. The premium iPod speaker dock business is a competitive battleground. And the goalposts have moved.

No nonsense style, refined sound

It may not set your pulse racing, but we still like the Model M's no-nonsense style.

There's a reason most speakers, which is all this essentially is, are the shape they are, so it's no great surprise to find an iPod dock looking similar.

The attention to build quality and general machining clearly befit a premium product. The controls on top of the unit (pictured left) are understated but work well, while special praise is deserved for the remote control.

It's a satisfyingly big but slender slab of remote, which gives you full functionality.

Sonically, this remains a class above most iPod speaker docks on the market, as it should do for the money.

SBTRKT’s Wildfire sounds sparse and airy, with drums that hit hard but stop and start as they should and vocals that are clear and natural.

Bass notes have power but don't slow the music down: Clock Opera's Belongings is given plenty of heft but kept in control, and it's worth pointing out that the Model M appreciates the extra fidelity found in higher quality, uncompressed files.

But now there’s fresh and fierce competition, and the lack of integrated wireless streaming – to achieve this you're going to need an external wireless solution – is a problem.

To get the Geneva wireless you're going to need something like the Audio Pro WF100, at £150 – not ideal when this is already one of the most expensive units of its kind.

What’s more, it won’t fill a room or start a party as adeptly as its new peers, which offer more weight and greater scale.

Still, for the audio purist who wants a simple dock that will deliver a refined, musical sound, the Model M remains a fine choice.

See all our dock systems Best Buy

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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