AF’s Weblog

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

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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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