AF’s Weblog

March 26, 2012

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 Review

To read the full detailed article see:  KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 Review

KRK —the brand with the yellow cones— took everyone by surprise at Musimesse 2011 when they announced the coming of a new three-way monitor with a 10″ woofer for about $500. The weight-to-price ratio is unbeatable for a monitor speaker, but what about the specs?

A December afternoon in the AudioFanzine office:

– Knock, knock, knock.

– Who’s there?

– I’m the delivery boy.

– Good, we were waiting for you. Please put the package in the kitchen, next to the stove.

– Isn’t that a bit awkward?

– Why, if I may ask? A fridge is usually placed in the kitchen!

– I think you’re mistaken, this is not a fridge, but the KRK Rokit 10-3 speakers!

– Oh! When I saw the size of the package, I thought you were delivering the fridge. Do you want a drink?

– I’d love one. I sweat a lot and it’s very hot in your office, I feel so dizzy…

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3

Sorry, we have to interrupt the story here and go back to the new KRK speakers. The Rokit 10-3 are huge! Considering their 46.3 lbs, we had to double-check if our monitor stands could withstand the load. It measures 21.2″ 12.7″ x 14.3″, and you can setup the speakers horizontally or vertically depending on your room. The speakers have the typical KRK look with two yellow-cone speakers — 4″ aramid-glass composite midrange and 10″ aramid-glass composite woofer. The monitor also features a soft-dome tweeter and a back-lit logo that indicates the speaker is on. The monitor has the exact same design as the other Rokit speakers, which constitute the budget series in KRK’s product range. In fact, in spite of the three-way design, the 10-3 are very affordable: $500! Few manufacturers offer three-way systems in this price category and we hail KRK’s initiative.

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3

The rear panel offers no surprises: you get a pair of shelf filters to adjust both high and low-frequency ranges (+/-2dB @ 300Hz and -2/+1dB @ 5kHz). The speakers also feature a sub-filter (30Hz) and a volume control (-30/+6dB). The bass port is placed on the rear panel, which is a good thing, even if the manufacturer recommends to place the speakers at least 3 ft away from the nearest wall. The connections are comprehensive enough: balanced XLR and 1/4″ jacks plus an unbalanced RCA input. Unfortunately, the power switch is placed on the rear panel, as is generally the case with most budget monitor speakers.

The 10-3 are real three-way active monitors with three class AB amps: 80 watts for the woofer, 2×30 watts for both the midrange and the tweeter. The crossover frequencies are set to 350Hz and 3.5kHz.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

Three-way studio speakers with a 10″ woofer for $500 — very rare! This KRKs are designed for people who want a speaker reaching low frequencies down to 30Hz and have enough space in their home studio to set them up properly. Faultless look and sturdiness: the manufacturer has proven its skills in the past. We like the comprehensive connectivity and the rotatable tweeter/midrange baffle that allows you to set up the speakers either horizontally or vertically. As for sound, we were surprised by the low-frequency response, which we expected to be more emphasized due to the 10″ woofer. In fact, the response stays flat and authentic. The only disadvantage is the uneven high-frequency range including an attenuation at 3.5kHz and a boost at 6kHz. However, you can partly solve the problem with the high-shelf filter on the rear panel. For $500, the KRK Rokit 10-3 are definitely an appealing product. Just make sure your monitor stands can withstand such a load and watch out for backaches when you set them up!

Advantages: 
  • Price considering it’s a three-way speaker…
  • … Actually reaching down to 30 Hz
  • Manufacturing quality and sturdiness
  • XLR, 1/4″ jack and RCA input connectors
  • Can be used as near-fields
  • Horizontal and vertical setup
Drawbacks:
  • 3.5kHz attenuation and 6kHz boost
  • Very heavy and bulky
  • On/off switch on the rear side

To read the full detailed article see:  KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 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

August 12, 2011

U2 360°: Redefining Stadium Sound

Filed under: Live Sound — Tags: , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 9:30 am

Grand, colossal, gargantuan… Mammoth, immense, monumental… Promethean, towering, or just plain walloping huge – get out the thesaurus for more adjectives to adequately describe the size and scope of U2’s current 360° tour, an outsized extravaganza that continues to demolish records.

Part insect, part spacecraft, part cathedral…

As of June this year, the tour surpassed The Rolling Stones in terms of tickets sold, eclipsing the Voodoo Lounge tour’s 6.3 million landmark with over 7 million sold. By April just past, 360° had grossed more than $700 million, making it the highest-grossing concert tour ever. And so on. Pass the thesaurus…

Launched in 2009 in support of the album No Line on the Horizon, the tour has been years in the making. Incubating various ideas for epic in-the-round staging with the band and other crew members over the course of a career with U2 that began in earnest back in 1982, show designer Willie Williams finally gave life to a unified vision near the end of 2006’s Vertigo tour in a series of sketches.

Paying homage to the Theme Building at LAX, the central structure within these early blueprints is what has come to be known as “The Claw,” a mass of four-legged, 170-foot-tall alien steel appearing ideally suited for a starring role in the next Hollywood remake of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

“The Claw” is at the heart of the U2 360° tour
production, supporting huge line arrays as well as
lighting and video. (All photos by Steve Jennings)

Serving as a grid for all of the major production elements, The Claw is used to suspend both the PA and a video screen designed by Mark Fisher in collaboration with Chuck Hoberman and Frederic Opsomer.

 

Fabricated by Opsomer’s Belgium-based company Innovative Designs, the screen was purchased by XL Video and then rented to the tour. Comprising hexagonal segments that allow it to open and spread apart during the show, the expanding screen is 500,000 pixels large, and uses 320,000 fasteners, 150,000 machined pieces, and 30,000 cables to tie everything together.

 

Rated to safely hold 200 tons, The Claw is double the size of the stadium set used by The Stones on their A Bigger Bang tour. And if one of these leviathans isn’t enough for your backyard standing next to the children’s playset, consider that the design was built in triplicate to facilitate leapfrogging, a logistical strategy requiring 120 trucks.

Setting Sonic Goals

Bono (using Beta 58 element on Shure wireless) and his
mates performing, all outfitted with Future Sonics in-ear
monitors working with Sennheiser G2 wireless systems.

U2 360° will also go down in history as a milepost marking a 30-year collaboration between U2, sound reinforcement provider Clair, and Joe O’Herlihy, U2’s sound designer and front of house engineer.

 

“The 360 concept was indeed first considered very seriously by the band at the end of the Vertigo Tour at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium in 2006,” O’Herlihy relates, his navel-length, graying beard giving him the countenance of a Russian novelist, or maybe a Civil War veteran.

 

“There had, however, been various other in-the-round plans discussed since Joshua Tree days,” he continues. “Once the idea was presented as a goal for the next tour, I was charged with developing, planning, and implementing an audio design that would clearly set new industry standards, all while maintaining what U2 and their fans had come to expect: Sonic quality, high dynamic range, and crystal-clear stadium sound.”

 

Working with show designer Williams, plus Fisher and Jeremy Lloyd from the production architectural firm Stufish, O’Herlihy additionally relied upon the talents of an R&D team and engineers from Clair to establish the criteria and structural elements required of the build in 2008.

 

Veteran rock ‘n’ roll soundman Joe O’Herlihy (left) and system
tech Jo Ravitz at the DiGiCo SD7 heading up the monstrous rig.

Up until this time, U2 had historically relied upon Clair S4 PA to meet the needs of all its outdoor stadium shows.

“But with the goals of the 360° system in mind, the S4 system wouldn’t apply this time around,” O’Herlihy says with a hint of melancholy like that usually reserved for bidding farewell to an old friend.

 

“In-the-round, the application clearly called for a line source array system. The new Clair i-5 technology ultimately stepped-up as the timely and perfect solution that we needed to accommodate the off-center, 360-degree stadium configuration.”

The audio design team received their first real chance to test its plan in early 2009 in Toronto.

 

Setting up the i-5/i-5B-based rig at Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), the system was put through its paces over the course of rigorous testing that verified sonic calculations and phase references, established low-end time alignment, and confirmed strategies developed to maintain full 360-degree coverage, all while covering the audience with a blanket of even, uniform sound and high SPL, as well as the dynamic range and quality the band is known for in large outdoor spaces.

Now let’s take a deeper look…

Many Parts


CJ Eiriksson manages monitoring for bassist Adam
Clayton, drummer Larry Mullen Jr., and an offstage
keyboard player with an Avid D-Show.

As within the industry itself, mainstream media have remained upbeat in their coverage of the tour. Rolling Stone magazine maintained that the production was a cross between the Zoo TV and Elevation tours, and added that the design elements, despite their looming presence, remained transparent from the band’s perspective onstage.

 

In describing the staging, The New York Times dubbed it “part insect, part spacecraft, part cathedral,” and noted that the band was more visible than on earlier tours. The Washington Post called the show an “orgy of light and sound.” The latter should be taken as a compliment, especially by O’Herlihy.

 

“A project of this scale would probably not have been attempted 10, or even five years ago,” he concludes. “But thanks to lighter weight, low-profile loudspeaker cabinets and digital mixing consoles, even shows of this magnitude can be set up, run, and loaded-out in a timely manner. Technology has caught up to the concept. Now it’s just all in a day’s work, 48 hours a day, eight days a week…”

To read the full detailed article see:  U2 Redefining Stadium Sound

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

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

 

September 14, 2010

Adam A8X Active Monitor Review

It has become a yearly tradition for the German manufacturer ADAM AUDIO to launch a brand new product for the Musikmesse trade show in Frankfurt (Germany). Trade shows are meant for that, aren’t they? This year was no exception for the trendy loudspeaker manufacturer. The proof is the new active studio monitor speaker A8X that complements the already comprehensive AX range.

A Brief Reminder

If case you don’t know (or you haven’t read our previous ADAM S3X-H Review), ADAM AUDIO has earned itself a solid reputation in the professional loudspeaker market over the years, thanks to its active studio monitors with ribbon tweeters. This technology — developed and patented by the German manufacturer under the name ART (Active Ribbon Technology) — allowed for the development of several speaker ranges, including the famous “S Series” that became very successful very quickly.

Adam A8X

In 2006, the manufacturer introduced a new series that included two compact and affordable active monitor speakers: the A5 and A7. Conceived for very diverse situations, from studio and home studio mixing to small multimedia applications, these speakers have been praised by sound engineers, musicians and producers all over the world. Actually, as soon as they hit the stores, both compact monitor speakers received excellent comments from the specialized press and almost every professional. It was due to the fact that this new product range created a new market segment that combined professional manufacturing and performance with compact dimensions and a very attractive price.

Last year, ADAM AUDIO presented an evolution of its ART technology — the X-ART technology, which still includes folded ribbons as high-frequency transducers. This tweeter development brings new improvements in terms of frequency response and output level. Just like the SX series, the tweeters included in the X series provide a frequency response up to 50 kHz (@ -3 dB) and a level increase of 4 dB compared with the old ART technology tweeters.

Considering the frequency range of the human ear, you’ll probably think this extended frequency response is only a marketing gimmick to sell more based on a technical feat. However, in practice it provides the speaker with a much more linear phase response over the audible frequency range, since it offsets phase errors to the limits of the loudspeaker’s frequency response…

Obviously, ADAM AUDIO upgraded this year its famous A5 and A7 models to the X series, which resulted in the A5X and A7X models. Both models are in the exact same market segment as their predecessors in terms of dimensions and price. However, in order to cover an even wider application range, ADAM AUDIO decided to offer two new loudspeaker models called A3X and A8X. While the A3X is an entry-level model, the goal of the A8X is to open the midfield monitor speaker market to the AX series.

And it’s good so because I have a weakness for high-end products, as you may have already noticed…

Out of the Box

Adam A8X

It will take you no time to understand the position of the A8X in the AX range considering its “impressive” dimensions: 15.5″ x 10″ x 12.5″ (H x W x D)! The overall design — which recalls the previous A series — and the black/gray finish is similar for the whole AX series and it gives the speakers a modern and rugged look. On the front side, the upper corners are slanted in order to minimize reflections on the cabinet.

The A8X weights 28.7 lb.(!), including the X-ART ribbon tweeter and a 8.5″ mid-woofer mounted in a newly developed cabinet that features two bass reflex ports to enhance the lows… While the A8X tweeter is the same transducer as in the top SX series, the woofer is slightly different. Unlike the HexaCone material used for the SX series, the AX woofers are made out of a carbon/Rohacell (structural foam)/glass fiber combination. But don’t worry about the response quality of the woofer! On the front side, right between the two bass reflex ports, you’ll find a control panel with an on/off switch and a main volume control ranging from -∞ to +14 dB. Like the older A5 and A7, the front side of the cabinet is still sleek and simple.

Adam A8X

When it comes to amplification, the A8X benefits from the same improvements as all other X models: The X-ART tweeter is driven by its own class AB amp that delivers 50 watts RMS. The very low distortion of the power amp, as well as its extended frequency response up to 300 kHz, ought to optimize the precision and performance of the tweeter. The woofer is driven by a 150-watt PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) amp. The crossover frequency is set at 2.5 kHz. The frequency response of the monitor ranges from 38 Hz to 50 kHz (at +/-3 dB) and it produces up to 112 dB SPL (120 dB peak). It can be very loud!

The rear side of the speaker hosts the connections and other settings. On the upper left corner you have balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs to connect a +4 dBu source signal (a mixer, a summing amp, a monitoring controller, etc.) or a -10 dBV signal source (CD player, etc.). Well done!

Like all ADAM monitors, the A8X also provides several valuable settings. First of all, you have trim pots that control a pair of shelving filters to adjust the frequency bands above 5 kHz and under 300 Hz (+/-6 dB). A third control adjusts the gain of the tweeter (+/-4 dB) to balance the high-frequency range against the overall volume of the speaker. Last but not least, on the rear panel is also the power outlet with a 110/230V switch.

Now let’s plug the speaker in!…

Conclusion

Upgrading the already very successful A series was no easy task for the German manufacturer. But once again, we have to acknowledge that ADAM AUDIO successfully took up the challenge with this A8X monitor — the flagship of the new AX series.

It’s true that the development of the new X-ART tweeter was the starting point of this evolution. but the improvements in the overall sound go way beyond the tweeter performance. The precision on the low-frequency range and the stereo imaging are important features that make this new series a success. The A8X is not an update of an existing product, but it features the same assets as its predecessors and siblings, and its performance is comparable to much more expensive mid-field monitors…

Announced at $899, the A8X will seduce the masses effortlessly!!

Advantages:

  • Big sounding low frequencies considering the size of the speaker
  • Accurate frequency response
  • Stereo imaging
  • Control panel
  • Price!!!!

Drawback:

  • Lack of “bite” in the mid range

To read the full detailed article see:  Adam A8X Review

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 31, 2009

Behringer – New Monitors

Filed under: Monitors — Tags: , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 7:16 am

Behringer presents their new Truth B3030A, B3031A, and 1030A, active monitors.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

August 27, 2009

Behringer – F1220A Active Floor Monitors

Behringer presents the F1220A 12-inch active floor monitor, featuring a feedback filter.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

August 26, 2009

Behringer – New Loudspeakers Eurolive B

Behringer introduces some new active loudspeakers.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

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