AF’s Weblog

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

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