Apr 18

INTRODUCTION

I haven’t done any Studio Monitor reviews and I was interested to see that a surprising amount of people were recommending Adam A7X Studio Monitors, in fact it is hard to find a bad word about them and the readers of Sound On Sound magazine have voted them the best studio monitors of 2011 and 2012. Adam Professional Audio is a German company, based in Berlin with distributors all over the world. The UK base is in London – Adam Audio UK Ltd. They already had a very successful product the A7 and last year they decided to upgrade their A-range. I haven’t heard an A7 so I cannot compare the two but I do know that you do not get prestigious awards from Sound On Sound two years in succession unless you have something very special.

ADAM A7X MONITORS  – A TREAT RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX

As you remove the solid heavy speaker from its excellent supportive and protective packaging and unwrap it, immediately you feel that you would be proud to have something looking this good in your studio. I admit looks are not everything but it is most certainly a good starting point. Looking at it from the front, (apart from its sexy black satin finish), you have the X-Art Tweeter (apparently the ‘X’ stands for ‘extended frequency response’ and ART is accelerating ribbon technology), a newly designed 7” midwoofer and a control panel between two bass ports housing an On and Off switch and a Volume control. In my opinion that is the best place for them, in easy reach and sight.

ADAM A7X MONNITOR CONNECTIONS

The connections at the back are basically in three sections, inputs, controls and power. The input section has an unbalanced RCA input and a balanced XLR. The controls are for the tweeter level and high and low shelf ?lters and are finely adjusted with a screwdriver. The power section has a power input and a voltage selector.

ADAM A7X AMPS, DRIVERS FREQUENCIES AND SUBS

There are two built-in amplifiers and in relation to their previous model the Adam A7 they have now doubled the output power. You get a 50 Watts Class A/B amplifier to drive that lovely X-ART tweeter and a 100W PWM amplifier for that outstanding 7 inch mid and bass frequency woofer. Both of these amplifiers can handle peak levels 50 % above their nominal rating. As I said earlier a lot has been upgraded and that also includes the new redesigned drivers.

The incredible feature here is their X-ART tweeter. It is a folded-ribbon tweeter design but the ribbon membrane is not flat it is corrugated. Adam tells us that the X-ART principle is the ability to move the air in a 4:1 ratio and increase the acoustically effective area of the diaphragm by a factor of more than 2.5 times. This gives you a higher dynamic output with extremely wide dispersion, an greater efficient cooling and frequencies up to 50kHz. When you think about the fact that the average human can only hear frequencies up to 20 kHz, this is well above the normal hearing range. This headroom provides for a much more detailed sound. I may be wrong but I think my understanding of this is that if you played a sound which had frequencies of say 25 kHz and you played it through speakers that could only handle frequencies up to 20 kHz, then regardless of your hearing capabilities, this would not play the whole sound. The makeup of the sound and harmonic content would be different to when it is played on a set of Adam A7Xs which are able to take that frequency with ease and play the whole sound despite the fact that you don’t hear anything above 20 kHz. Right or wrong, I am sure this will make for an interesting debate down the pub.

The low frequency goes down as far as 42 Hz which again is amazing for a speaker this size. We are able to hear frequencies as low as 20 Hz so this is where the discussion takes on the form of whether a subwoofer is needed. However, there is a pleasing warmth about the low end and bass drums sound tight and punchy. The fact that these monitors separate the frequencies extremely well, meant that anything I played did not sound muddy in anyway, in fact it was the opposite.

As a nearfield monitor, and the range that these speakers cover, I think in some setups you could get away with not having a subwoofer with A7X, but personally I probably would still have one. I think once you’ve had a subwoofer you would not want to be without one. I set these up with my sub and the whole truly powerful package sounded awesome. Don’t get me wrong the A7Xs have a great low frequency sound and if you have a small home studio, they will sound great without a Sub.

If you want to adjust the low frequencies, in the Control panel at the rear of the monitor, there’s a shelving filter that operates below 300Hz. As all rooms are different, you can adjust this to your personal taste to compensate for the decisions you make on positioning your monitors in your room. You need a screwdriver to adjust the settings here. I did not like this at first but this form of adjustment means that you can carry out the task more precisely. To adjust the high end there is a volume adjustment which has a range of -2dB to +2dB coupled with a shelving filter for frequencies above 5kHz. Both of these shelving filters have a range of -6dB to +6dB.

USING THE ADAM A7X MONITORS

I carried out a few tests first by connecting a Roland GAIA which really has the sonic range. Everything sounded superb with lots of detail, very crisp and clear high frequencies as well as handling whatever sub-frequencies I tried. The low end really sounds natural, it did not distort at all during my testing despite some of the strange and extreme editing I was putting the GAIA through. I have to say though it was in the mid-range that I thought that the A7Xs excelled. This is just what you want from a nearfield monitor, the mids were very accurate and revealing in my opinion, as I ran an arpeggiated sweeping filtered sound that auto-panned, I could clearly hear all the small nuances as if they were in a space of their own, everything separated giving you an almost three-dimensional experience.

Vocals seemed a good idea for testing next, so I played some familiar CDs and also some recently recorded vocals on Sonar X1. With the CDs I really noticed the punch, the crack of the snare beats and warmth of the bass and bass drum. The vocals cut through clearly with a lot of space and I have to admit on some of my favourite tracks, I started to hear some things I am sure I had not heard before. Perhaps it was the fact that there is no colouring on these monitors and they sound very different (as they should) from a Hi-Fi speaker. I am also sure that the extended frequency range of the X-Art tweeter was really making the difference. Also everything seemed wider in my opinion.

The DAW test was certainly the ultimate test to find how they would affect what I hear, especially from a mixing point of view and vocals are always the most important and the most difficult to mix. Although I would really have liked more time to test this, I was very aware of what I said earlier about how things seemed to be in their own space. Also the Adam speakers are not very forgiving and highlighted areas in my existing mix that needed work as well as highlighting some vocal performance weaknesses. I feel sure also that they will assist in my decision making of where I place tracks / instruments in the stereo field.

A7X SPECIFICATIONS

These are the main specifications:-

MID-WOOFER – 7? Carbon/Rohacell/Glass Fiber Cone with a 1.5? voice coil
TWEETER – 4? X-ART
BUILT-IN PWM AMPLIFIER MID-WOOFER – 100W RMS / 150W Music
BUILT-IN A/B AMPLIFIER TWEETER – 50 W RMS / 75 W Music
FREQUENCY RESPONSE – 42 Hz – 50 kHz
LONG TERM OUTPUT – >=106 dB
MAX. PEAK – >=114 dB
CROSSOVER FREQUENCIES – 2500 Hz
INPUT IMPEDANCE – 30 KOhm
WEIGHT – 20.3 lb (9,2 kg)
INPUT CONNECTORS – Analog: XLR / RCA
MAGNETICALLY SHIELDED – No
HEIGHT, WIDTH AND DEPTH -13.5? (337 mm) x 8? (201 mm) x 11? (280 mm)
WARRANTY – 5 Years

SUMMARY

At the end of the day, choosing a set of monitors is a very personal thing. I think that the best environment to test monitors is in your own studio because this is where you do your listening and a great deal of it. Your ears will know instantly if a familiar track sounds more detailed as a result of the monitors you have just installed. Unfortunately, you cannot easily do this and have say five pairs of different monitors on loan to test. Therefore, you have to make do with; hearing them in a store (where you could hear some comparisons), research on-line and to some extent trust the professionals with their recommendations. With the Adam A7X monitors, as I said at the start, you do not get SOS awards lightly so you could go out and buy these with confidence. Whether you would prefer for example a pair of Genelic 8030As is simply personal choice. I found that I loved the A7X monitors the minute I took them out of the box, they are very accurate and have a flat response and a lovely detailed sound and they will not break the bank but should provide you with an accurate mix. At the end of the day that is what you want – isn’t it?

There is only one place to buy these monitors and that is by clicking this Orange Banner:-

Absolute Music

One Response

  1. DAVE WINSTONE Says:

    Hello there,
    Thanks for your sensible review.
    We have several good monitors.
    Adam A7X is our favourite.
    Why? well, most good monitors will tell you the truth,
    A7X sure does, but in way you can live with hours on end.

    Dave.
    Enterprise Sound Engineering

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