AF’s Weblog

August 27, 2012

Dynaudio DBM50 Review

To read the full detailed article see:  Dynaudio DBM50 Review

The Danish manufacturer which has been very quiet these last years has decided to come back and take front stage with a new speaker model from the BM Series. The DBM50’s most unique characteristic is that it has an angled front baffle and it was designed to sit on a desk. Is it a good idea?

Dynaudio DBM50Dynaudio DBM50The BM5A and BM6A are still reference models when it comes to near-field studio monitors, so Dynaudio wasn’t very active in this market segment the last couple of years; meanwhile competitors were frequently renewing their product ranges. That’s why we were very pleased to get a new product from the Danish manufacturer whose know-how and skills are tried-and-true.

There’s not much to say about the overall look of the product, since they look very similar to the BM MKII: dark finish, with a typical Dynaudio woofer and the round gray plate around the tweeter.Surprise, surprise: the DBM50 distinguishes itself from Dynaudio’s product range — and also from similar products — with an original design based on the fact that most home-studio owners place their speakers on their desks, next to their computer, without any speaker stands. Dynaudio’s front-panel angled design allows to direct both transducers towards the ears of the user, which is crucial for monitor positioning. For standard speakers cabinets, some foam manufacturers offer tilting mats that also reduce resonances. By the way, we recommend all home-studio owners to buy such accessories: even though they can’t quite match the performance of a speaker stand, they are easier to set up and less expensive. For people who want to use the DBM50 on speaker stands, do notice that you can place them horizontally.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

Dynaudio DBM50The new Dynaudio offer several advantages and they are naturally angled to distinguish themselves from competitors on a fully saturated market. The idea is quite good for home-studio owners who want to put their speakers directly on their desk! We also like the look, the manufacturing quality and the sleep mode making up for the inconvenient rear power switch. It’s a pity that no remote control is included, all the more considering that the speakers have no volume control… The sound is well-balanced for a speaker sold for about $600. As usual, the response is contoured around the crossover frequency (1.5 kHz), the low-frequency reproduction is quite good and not overemphasized (unlike the ADAM A7X); however, some users might find that the high-end should be a bit more present. Luckily, the EQ settings allow you to adjust the frequency response if needed. A top monitor without a doubt.

Advantages:
  • Practical angled front-plate design
  • Good overall sound balance
  • Comprehensive EQ
  • Look and manufacturing quality
  • Sleep mode

Drawbacks:

  • No volume control and optional remote control
  • Slightly contoured frequency response (around crossover frequency)
  • High-end slightly weak with flat EQ settings

To read the full detailed article see:  Dynaudio DBM50 Review

September 12, 2011

Mackie MR8 mk2 Review

Three years ago, we reviewed the Mackie MR8 — the affordable version of the famous HR824 — and we were quite taken by them… The launch of an mk2 version is the perfect opportunity for us to see and hear what has changed…

Mackie MR8 mk2

Mackie’s speaker range is very simple and includes only two families: the higher-end HR series and the more affordable MR series. Each of the two families includes two products: a speaker with 8″ woofer and another smaller model (with 5″ or 6″ woofer). After having revised the HR series by adding “mk2″ to their name, Mackie decided to give the MR series a face-lift. We just couldn’t wait to unpack the MR8 mk2.

New Looks

Mackie MR8 mk2

First of all, the looks of the speakers are totally new and very nice. Not that the former speaker was ugly but the mk2 has a thinner and more modern design. A good point. As for weight and dimensions, the mk2 is 500 g heavier (27.56 lb.) but slightly less deep than the former model (instead of 13.78″ it is 12.99″ deep, which is still quite a lot). The height is still the same (15.75″) while the width decreased slightly (10.9″ instead of 11.81″). The MR8 mk2 is still rather bulky, especially compared to our M-Audio DSM2, also equipped with an 8″ woofer.

After unpacking, we also noticed that the transducers are new: 8″ woofer with hyperbolic cone and silk-dome tweeter with neodymium driver. Each transducer is amplified by a class AB amplifier — 100 watts for the woofer and 50 watts for the tweeter. The 24dB/octave crossover is fixed at 3 kHz.

On the Rear Panel Nothing’s New

Mackie MR8 mk2

While the front panel of the speakers changed radically compared to the former version, the rear panel is very similar to the previous one, providing the same settings and connections. You get three inputs: unbalanced RCA, balanced 1/4″ TRS jacks, and balanced XLR, which is very comprehensive and rare on speakers in this price range. You’ll also find the same disadvantage as on the former series: the volume setting is placed on the rear panel and must be adjusted with a small Phillips screw driver, which is a pity because there are more practical solutions. The same applies to the power switch that is also located on the rear panel an will force some home-studio owners to make dangerous movements or buy an adapter equipped with a switch. The rear panel also hosts the bass reflex port, which will increase considerably the amount of low-frequencies when the MR8 mk2 is placed against a wall or, even worse, in a corner of the room. Moreover, the two available filters won’t allow you to attenuate the low-frequency content, but only to amplify it by 2 or 4 dB (shelving filter @ 100 Hz)! As a consequence, we recommend you to place the speaker far from the wall, otherwise you’ll get an overemphasized low-frequency range and won’t be able to work properly… Another shelving filter @ 5 kHz allows you to boost/cut slightly the high-frequency range (+/-2 dB). As a summary, the rear panel is rather comprehensive for a speaker in this price range.

But let’s listen to the speaker! We compared the MR8 mk2 with another 8″ monitor speaker that is very popular on AudioFanzine: the M-Audio DSM2. Let me remind you that the latter is twice as expensive. We placed the speakers in the middle of the room, at least seven feet away from the walls, to avoid the effect of acoustic amplification of the low-frequency range.

Now let’s have a listen…

Conclusion

The MR8 are back with great new looks and new transducers while keeping a very attractive price (about $500/pair). The comparison with our DSM2 places the MR8 mk2 as a reference product in this price range. The sound is precise and well-balanced, the output power is more than enough and the connectivity is comprehensive. We just miss the lack of a low-cut facility. Moreover, since the bass reflex port is placed on the rear panel, the user must place the speaker carefully — otherwise the low-frequency response could be overemphasized without having the possibility of solving the problem directly on the speaker. In all other aspects, the MR8 mk2 is a great deal if you have a large room and $500 on your bank account.

Advantages:

  • Great new design
  • Price
  • Sound balance
  • Output power
  • Three inputs: RCA, 1/4″ jacks, XLR

Drawbacks:

  • Power switch on the rear panel
  • Bass reflex port on the rear panel
  • Impossible to attenuate low frequencies

To read the full article see: mackie MR8 mk2 Review

February 1, 2011

ADAM A3X Review

An ADAM speaker for under $300? Yes, what used to be a dream is now reality thanks to the small A3X equipped with a 4.5″ woofer and the German manufacturer’s famous ribbon tweeter. Does it have everything a big speaker has?

With the launch of the new AX Series, which replaced the previous budget A Series, ADAM extended its range adding two new speaker sizes: the big A8X with an 8.5″ woofer (tested by MattKorma) and the small A3X we want to review today. Considering the very affordable price of the speaker (less than $300 on the street) the question arises of whether the A3X is worthy of its family or not. Let’s have a closer look…

ADAM A3X

We were surprised by the size of the speaker when we unpacked it. With its extremely compact dimensions (10″ x 6″ x 7.5″), the A3X can find a place in every home studio. However, it’s slightly bigger than another speaker we tested not so long ago, the Focal CMS 40. On the other hand, it is a bit lighter, which will be an advantage for mobile home studio owners with fragile shoulders. Its design is no surprise, the speaker looks like all its bigger brothers: anthracite finish, two bass reflex ports, woofer without protection grill, and the famous X-ART ribbon tweeter. It’s the ADAM mini-me! The manufacturing quality is flawless and the speaker seems quite rugged. However, you’ll have to protect the woofer during transportation because it has no protection grill. For the lows it uses a 4.5″ carbon fiber woofer, unlike the A5/7/8X that use carbon/Rohacell/glass fiber low-frequency drivers. On the other hand, the ribbon tweeter seems to be exactly the same as the high-frequency drivers used on the other speakers in the series, which is very good news!

Inside the speaker cabinet you’ll find two 25-watt (RMS) A/B amplifiers. The speaker is not magnetically shielded so watch out if you still use an old CRT monitor.

The power switch is on the front panel (way more practical than on the rear), as well as the volume control. You can link the volume control of the two speakers so that you can set the volume of both with only one control. Very useful.

On the rear panel you have a balanced XLR input plus an unbalanced RCA input. No 1/4″ TRS jacks… The settings allow you to adjust the gain of the tweeter (-/+4dB) and nothing more. The A3X provides no additional acoustic adjustment possibilities, which would come in very handy. The very low price of the speaker has an impact on some details, like this one: don’t expect miracles! The crossover frequency is set at 2.8 kHz and the input accepts signal levels up to +14dB (input sensitivity).

Now, let’s listen to it…

Conclusion

Owning a pair of ADAMs for less than $600 is now possible and, trust us, the small A3X are surprising. The low-frequency response is very powerful, considering their size, and the X-ART tweeter produces a very detailed sound. The German manufacturer seems to not have compromised the manufacturing quality when lowering the price. Plus, the speakers have some very practical details like the front power switch and the stereo link function. We can express our reservations about the accuracy of the low-frequency range, which is a bit imprecise, and the weak mid range (compared to the high-frequencies). Moreover, the lack of real acoustic correction options doesn’t allow the user to compensate these disadvantages. With a very attractive value for money, we strongly recommend these speakers to all home studio owners and music fans who want high-quality equipment but have a limited budget. Just take the few flaws of the A3X into account to avoid unpleasant surprises when mixing. Nevertheless, the ADAM A3X is without a doubt the best compact speaker in this price range.

Advantages:

  • Value for money
  • X-ART tweeter
  • Detailed high-frequency response
  • Powerful low-frequency response
  • Construction quality
  • Stereo link

Drawbacks:

  • Almost no acoustic correction possible
  • A bit of masking in the low end, and the mids are a bit weak

To read the full detailed article see:  Adam A3X Review

January 26, 2011

Cables: The Most Important Piece of Gear

Filed under: Hardware, Speakers — Tags: , , , , — audiofanzine @ 11:23 am

No matter how much caffeine you’ve consumed today, you’re not as wired as your studio – or your stage rig. But how much do you really think about those little spaghetti-like critters that form the central nervous system of your musical world?

Wire is an actual electronic component, and it can affect your sound – so let’s investigate ways to make your wires work harder for you.

Speaker Cables

With non-powered speakers that are fed from a power amp, the use of proper cables (never use instrument cords!) can make an audible sonic improvement. This is because amplifiers and speakers are very low-impedance devices, so even the slightest resistance between the two makes it more difficult to transfer power efficiently. Because reproducing bass frequencies at high volume require lots of power, cable problems generally manifest themselves as reduced or “thin” bass.

Planet Waves SpeakOn

Fig. 1: SpeakOn connectors lock into place for a firm connection, and minimize arcing if removed under load.

There are plenty of companies that make speaker cables, but in addition to the wire itself, the connectors are important. A corroded connection, or one that doesn’t make good contact, can affect the sound. Locking SpeakOn connectors (Fig. 1) are an industry standard, but banana connectors are inexpensive and reliable; screw terminals are also good if your cables have bare wire ends.

1/4″ phone plugs are also common for speaker wires, but with standard plugs, there are fewer points of contact with the jack compared to SpeakOn or banana connectors. However, there are phone plugs that have additional compression springs to provide better contact (Fig. 2).

As to the wire itself, the smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire-and the thicker the wire, the lower the resistance. 16 gauge wire is used for a lot of systems, but for long cable runs or high power, 12 gauge is a better (albeit more expensive) option.

If you’re arguing with your budget and big-bucks speaker cables are out of the question, there’s a somewhat messy but low-cost workaround: Run several wires designed for high current (e.g., AC “zip” cords) in parallel, with an equal number of cables for the hot and ground connections, to lower the overall resistance. For example, if you run two zip cords in parallel, you’ve cut the resistance in half and four zip cords in parallel cut the resistance by 75%. With the decreased resistance, you may hear a difference (the infamous “tighter bass”) if the cable runs are fairly long, or if you play at loud volume with a lot of bass. Zip cords are available at local hardware stores.

Another option for those on a budget is to buy a coil of cable and the needed connectors, then assemble your own cables. You won’t save huge amounts of money, but it will be enough to make your wallet happy.

Planet Waves Jack


Fig. 2: This Planet Waves 1/4″ phone plug has eight compression springs on the shank, providing increased contact with the jack and also holding it more firmly in place to prevent accidental removal.

Gold-Plated Connectors: Hype or Not?

Monster Cable jacks plaqués or

Fig 3: Cables and connectors are surrounded by hype and questionable  claims, but gold-plating the ends of connectors does make a difference.

You’ve probably seen cables advertised with gold connectors (Fig. 3) and wondered if it was just hype, or really made a difference. Well, gold is indeed one of the best metals for electrical interconnection, because it is relatively malleable. As a result it will “squish” into place and fill in gaps better than other metals. This provides better contact, which improves the sound quality. (Extreme cases of bad contact produce scratchy noises, but even slight corrosion can do anything from add distortion to reduce levels.)

Unfortunately gold isn’t cheap, so you pay a premium for gold-plated connectors. But there is a pretty decent workaround: Contact enhancement chemicals, such as Caig DeoxIT, can restore and improve contact connections with non-gold-plated connectors. I’ve known studio owners who swear their sound improves if they spray their patch bay connectors every 6-12 months with DeoxIT.

Now let’s take a close look…

Multi-Conductor Cables: Caution!

Multiconductor cables can be quite delicate, as I first learned when working with SCSI cables. When you’re trying to fit so many conductors inside a single jacket, each conductor has to be pretty thin, and therefore is fairly weak.

Frequent plugging and unplugging of multiconductor cables shortens their lives much faster than an equivalent amount of stress with audio cables. Bending, twisting, or setting weighty objects on a multiconductor cable can also ruin it in short order, as can letting its weight pull on the part of the cable attached to the connector. For best results, once you wire up a multiconductor cable, make sure it’s well-supported, then leave it there.

Last Word

Well, that’s enough wire talk for now. The whole saying about a chain being only as good as its weakest link also refers to the wires that link your gear together; hopefully the above tips will strengthen some of the weaker links in your setup.

To read the full detailed article see:  All About Wires

December 13, 2010

Focal CMS 40 Review

Filed under: Monitors, Speakers — Tags: , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 1:07 pm

These monitor speakers ought to be of interest to mobile home studio owners or people who have a very small room to play or mix music. Following the Focal CMS 65 and CMS 50, the CMS 40 is even smaller but not less appealing…

We all know Focal for their top-range speakers with undeniable qualities but, unfortunately, not affordable to everyone. That’s why the manufacturer decided to launch a more affordable series a couple of years ago. It included two models, the CMS 65 and the CMS 50 equipped with 6.5″ and 5″ woofers respectively. A subwoofer is also available for brown noise fans. Both models received a warm response from users, so now Focal decided to launch an even smaller and less expensive speaker that benefits from all the qualities of its big brothers. Did they succeed?

Small but Powerful

Focal CMS 40

When we were unpacking the speakers, the first thing that surprised us was the very compact size of the CMS 40: 9.39″ x 6.14″ x 6.10″ and about 12 lb. In other words, these speakers are very small and can be easily transported — which is good news, particularly considering they provide the same high manufacturing quality as their big brothers. On the other hand, they are also quite heavy — the price to pay for good quality manufacturing, I guess… You get the same reinforced and damped aluminum housing, black powdered paint and protection grills for both drivers: a 4″ woofer made out of a polyglass membrane and an aluminum/magnesium reversed-dome tweeter. Once you comfortably set up the speakers, you can remove the protection grills and fix the tweeter phase plugs. According to the manufacturer, this improves their response. Since Focal is generous with accessories, you’ll also find a decoupling table stand and four rubber feet in the box, as well as two height-adjustable spikes to tilt the speakers forward or backward, or even to the sides! It’s important to mention that all CMS are magnetically shielded so you can easily place them next to a cathode screen monitor.

Regarding speaker position, Focal advises the user to keep at least 1.3 ft from the CMS 40. The rear-panel fixing points allow you to mount them on a wall or any other support. The rear vertical connections allow you to mount the speaker directly against the wall, which is acoustically possible since the bass reflex housing is front ported. A very good feature for home studio owners who work in a “closet.” You can use the CMS vertically, horizontally or upside down in order to keep the tweeters at the same height as your ears.

In short, the small CMS is adaptable to almost any environment — a great asset. The manufacturer states that this speaker is not very sensible to the critical acoustic environments of non-optimized rooms!

Settings and Features

Focal CMS 40

Let’s start with some good points: the power on/off switch and the volume control (-66 dB to 0 dB) are conveniently placed on the front panel, where you also have power and clip LEDs. On the rear panel you’ll find a balanced XLR input (10 kOhm), an unbalanced RCA input (47 kOhm) and the power socket. You can set the input level to +4dBu, -10dBV or 0dB.

Adjusting the speakers’ response is very simple with two filters: a low shelve (0 Hz – 450 Hz) with -/+2 dB amplification/attenuation and a high shelve (4.5 kHz -20 kHz). The frequency response stated by the manufacturer is 60 Hz to 28 kHz (-/+3 dB). Two integrated amps of 25 watts each (one per transducer) deliver 97 dB as maximum SPL level (@ 1 m).

Unlike the CMS 50 and CMS 65, the CMS 40 has no real low-cut filter so you’ll have to set the cutoff directly on the subwoofer (the CMS Sub for instance!) at approx. 60 Hz. However, we tested the monitors without a subwoofer since we had already tested it with the CMS 50 earlier this year.

Let’s listen to the sound…

Conclusion

Focal introduces a very surprising compact speaker to extend their CMS range, whose previous models were very appealing. The CMS 40 is no exception with its irreproachable manufacturing quality, plentiful accessories and remarkably well-balanced sound. Considering its 4″ woofer, the CMS 40 delivers a clear and dry low-end and very present and analytic mids. The high-frequency response is also good, just like the CMS 65 and CMS 50. We noticed that the sound is less hollow than with other speakers and that the CMS 40 sound more linear than the ADAM A3X, even if the frequency response of the ADAMs is wider in the low and high ends of the spectrum.

The CMS 40 do a very good job when mixing and they reveal details you could miss with other speakers. We had no surprises listening to our mixes through other speaker systems, which is a very good point. Moreover, the CMS 40 has a wide sweet spot and can be used in a room with poor acoustic properties. At $800/pair, this monitor speakers are highly recommended for mobile home studio owners or people working in a very small room who want to buy a well-built and faithful speaker pair.

Advantages:

  • Well balanced sound
  • Accurate mids
  • Limited but precise low frequency response
  • Sturdiness and manufacturing quality
  • Adjustable spikes, removable grills and decoupling table stand
  • Very compact size
  • Affordable price
  • On/off switch and volume control on the front panel

Drawbacks:

  • Quite heavy
  • No 1/4″ jack input

To read the full detailed article see:  Focal CMS 40 Review

 

November 10, 2010

Speakers, Amps & Impedance Feature Article

Filed under: Speakers — Tags: , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 10:39 am

Considering that speaker/amp connections, impedance, the different combinations, and incorrect wiring are a recurring source of confusion for audio heads and musicians, we decided to try to clear things up a little.

We will try to explain the most common cases and you’ll have the possibility to post your specific questions in the forums.

The two most common notions that we will use here are impedance (stated in Ohms, Ω, and which has a value from 2 to 8 or even 16 in most cases) and output power (stated in Watts, W, with a value ranging from 1 to 1,000 or even more, since some bass amps produce over 1,200 watts of power!). Following, we will briefly refer to the efficiency of a speaker, which is stated in decibels (dB) in most manufacturer spec sheets, and shouldn’t be confused with the output power stated in the same unity; don’t worry, we will explain you why.

An Ohm Story

So, we will focus on impedance and power, both for speakers and amps, and explain how to combine them for the best results and to avoid any problems. The output power delivered by an amp, regardless of whether it’s a tube or solid-state amp, is given for a certain impedance. If you fail to follow the indications given you could damage your amplifier more or less seriously, which will surely be detrimental to your wallet. Besides this tutorial, you should read the product manual of your amp first to know how to connect the system the best way.

From now on, we will use the term “amp” for “power amplifier.” In most cases a so-called “amplifier head” combines a preamplification stage (gain, EQ, compression, FX loop, one or more channels, etc.) and a power amplification stage (including the volume control and a presence parameter on some tube amps). Thus, when we speak of tube or solid-state amps, the term applies to the power stage. The fact that a preamp stage features tubes has no consequence on the behavior of a solid-state power amplification stage.

On the other hand, a combo amplifier system includes an amplifier head (preamp + power amp) plus a speaker — all within the same cabinet. But from an electronics point of view, each element has to be considered separately. The internal speaker of a combo has its own impedance and has the same electronic behavior as an external speaker cabinet. Everything that we state here applies to an amplifier head with one or two external speaker cabinets, or to a combo — an amplifier head with a speaker plus an eventual additional speaker cabinet.

We address guitar and bass players from the point of view of a musician. P.A. amplifiers work under the same theoretical basis, but they show a specific behavior. To answer your specific questions about P.A. systems, please refer to the P.A. forum.

Faithful to our “from musicians to musicians” philosophy, we will simplify everything, which will result in electronics specialists thinking our descriptions are inexact. Our goal is to explain to you how to connect your gear, and although it is always nice to understand how it works it is not necessary to know every single detail!

Let’s start with some easy theory: what is impedance?

An Ohm Story

The impedance of a speaker is the “electrical resistance” to the flow of current for a given frequency. The symbol for impedance is “Z.” The higher the impedance, the more the speaker opposes the current being delivered, and the less it develops output power for a given initial power. The resistance of an 8-ohm speaker is two times higher than that of a 4-ohm speaker. In other words, a 4-ohm speaker will let more current pass through the circuitry than an 8-ohm speaker. The lower the impedance, the more the load increases for the amp feeding it, up to the point where it could short circuit.

The impedance of an amp refers to the resistance it can handle (or it expects to experience) when a speaker is connected. In fact, the electronic circuit is conceived to work with a given impedance, which is often very low according to its construction (about tenfold less than the speaker’s), making output stages very vulnerable to excessively high loads. That’s why manufacturers state the impedance the amp can support in the user’s manual. If the resistance is too low or too high the amp could suffer damages.

Serial, parallel…

In electronics there are two ways to wire a circuit: in series and in parallel. A serial connection means that the components are wired successively in the circuit like in a string of pearls (or like stomp boxes connected one after another). A parallel connection means that the circuits is divided in several branches that feed different elements and are later on brought together again.

An Ohm Story

In the case of an amp with speaker cabinets, most connections between the amplifier head and the speaker cabinets are made in parallel. For example, the great majority of bass amplifier head manufacturers offer amps with two parallel outputs. The signal is common in the beginning, but it is divided among the two connectors, it goes through one or several speakers, and comes back (via the same cable) into the amp where it meets again with the ground/earth. The same applies to the great majority of guitar amps with two parallel outputs.

It might happen that inside the speaker cabinet some speakers have a serial wiring (i.e. they are directly connected to each other) while the others have a parallel wiring… But then again, if you already open or wire the speakers of a cabinet, you don’t need this tutorial!

Except in some rare cases (for example if you have to connect together a lot of speakers or you have weird speaker cabinets), guitar players will usually find only parallel connections, and will have to connect the amp output directly to the speaker.

 

Some speaker cabinets provide pass-through outputs that allow you to chain several speaker cabinets without coming back to the amp. Although such wiring is electrically correct, it’s better to avoid them in practice. To avoid any potential problems, don’t leave room for doubt (“which connector should I use to link my two speaker cabinets?”). Regarding such pass-through outputs on speaker cabinets, some manufacturers choose parallel wiring while the others use serial wiring. In short, it’s a headache. Use such connectors only if you know exactly what you’re doing!

Instrument cable, speaker cable…

An instrument cable is a small-diameter wire that includes a single isolated conductor surrounded by a shield. A speaker cable includes two isolated conductors and no shield. It can be an actual risk for amps (especially tube amps) if you don’t use the proper cable: to connect a speaker, you must always use a speaker cable. If you’re not sure, don’t do anything: the conductor of an instrument cable has a very small diameter, which can lead to overheating and destruction of the conductor. As a consequence, the full power cannot be transmitted anymore, which can cause damages to the amp’s output transformer.

Now let’s dig in deeper…

Conclusion

After this brief subjective digression, let’s come back to more objective things. When you choose an amp head and matching speaker cabinets or a combo plus an additional speaker, pay attention to the output power of the amp and its output impedance, as well as to the power handling and the impedance of the speakers to be sure it’s a safe system. Afterwards, it is also crucial to pay attention to connections: a wrong wiring can damage your speakers, your amp or both. So, read the specs of the product carefully and connect the right speaker to the right amp with the right cable… and make your sound rock!

To read the full detailed article see:  An Ohm Story

May 27, 2010

ADAM S3X-H Active Monitors Review

First launched in 2009 at Musikmesse, the ADAM S3X-H is the successor of the jewel in the crown of its previous product range. But is it really an innovation or just an upgrade from the German manufacturer? R&D is back…

ADAM AUDIO has enjoyed a great reputation for a decade thanks to its active loudspeaker range making use of ART ribbon tweeters (ART stands for Accelerated Ribbon Technology, a patented technology conceived and developed by the German manufacturer). The inherent advantages this technological choice provides have been widely approved by an ever-growing user community and have also helped reinforce the singularity of the brand as the only one in this particular market to use ribbon transducers. The new X (“eXtended”) series builds on the main features of the previous product line, but brings some real improvements with itself.

ADAM S3X-H

First of all, the new X-ART tweeter is still based on a low-mass, folded ribbon; however, this new system offers an extended frequency and level response in the high end. The new tweeter actually features a higher frequency response (up to 50 kHz at -3 dB) and a higher level (+4 dB / +3 dB SPL) compared with the previous version!

New technology deserves new amplification… ADAM AUDIO developed a new, very low distortion class AB power amp for the X-ART ribbon tweeters that matches their efficiency level and allows them to make the best use of the full frequency range available.

Finally, the HexaCone woofers, based on a rigid honeycomb Nomex structure coated with two Kevlar layers, give the cone more rigidity making it more resistant to deformation. This results in a very high definition of transients and a better low frequency response. Moreover and unlike the previous model — the S3X-H (where H stands for “Horizontal” since the monitor is also available in “Vertical” format) — it features a 4″ HexaCone speaker to reproduce mid frequencies, which in turn ensures a better spectral separation. As a consequence, the manufacturer converted its 2-way flagship into a 3-way loudspeaker — which is quite rare for a “compact” monitor speaker.

With so many improvements over the previous A Series, this new monitor range promises a very interesting sound performance…

Conclusion

Once again, ADAM AUDIO distinguishes itself from other active monitor manufacturers by offering a compact, 3-way loudspeaker with outstanding accuracy and still based on its ribbon tweeter technology. Fans of the previous series — especially the S3A — might be really surprised by this evolution, considering the difference, in every aspect, between both models. The accuracy, spectral definition, stereo imaging, increased output power, and improved overall design of the S3X make it a perfectly reliable active monitor that can certainly find its place in any serious setup.

With a five year warranty and a price tag somewhere around $3,500, ADAM AUDIO has struck a decisive blow once again!

Advantages:

  • Output power!
  • Stereo imaging
  • Accurate low end
  • Overall sound definition
  • Control panel

Drawbacks:

  • Too bright with flat settings
  • Digital input card only optional

To read the full detailed review see:  Adam S3X-H Review

August 26, 2009

Behringer – New Loudspeakers Eurolive B

Behringer introduces some new active loudspeakers.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

August 24, 2009

ElectroVoice – EVH PA Speaker Cabinets

ElectroVoice introduces the new EVH Series Horn-load coaxial design product family featuring new rotatable HF waveguide.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

July 3, 2009

PSI Audio A214-M Active Monitor

PSI Audio shows us their new A214-M a “centre” speaker for surround monitoring applications featuring CPR (Compensated Phase Response) and AOI (Adaptive Output Impedance) technology that is a hallmark of the company.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

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