Reviews

Strother Bullins Reviews Adam Audio A7X Studio Monitor

All-around great-value studio monitor 1/04/2016 8:00 AM Eastern

About $400 more than Adam Audio’s comparably sized, budget-priced F-Series model, the F7, the A7X is one of the best all around reference-grade powered studio monitors I’ve discovered on the market, at any price. At $749 street each, the A7X is firmly within the mid-level powered two-way landscape, yet offers a uniquely detailed performance thanks to several key features. Adam’s X-Art proprietary folded ribbon tweeter technology (approximating the size of a comparable 2in. dome tweeter found in most standard studio monitors, yet providing up to a reported 50kHz frequency response); the robust carbon fiber, Rohacell, and glass fiber 7in. woofer reaching down to 42Hz; dual 2in. front ports; and a dual powered design, featuring a 50W continuous Class A/B amp for highs and efficient 100W continuous Class D amp for lows.

Unlike the F-Series (assembled in China), the AX-Series is designed and built in Berlin, Germany; the enclosure’s high-quality standards are both physically and aurally obvious as premium pots, switches, and I/O are first-class. Among those are the super-handy front panel on/off switch with accompanying green LED and input sensitivity knob (infinity to +14dB, notched in the middle at 0dB of gain).

Thoughtful high-and low-shelf EQs reside on the A7X’s back panel (actually, on the entire AX Series except for the smallest model, the A3X)—high shelf is at 5kHz, low is at 300Hz, both +/- 6dB adjustable. Adjacent to the EQ is a tweeter level adjustment (+/- 4dB). Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs are provided.

Sitting atop Primacoustic’s Recoil Stabilizers and paired with Adam’s truly awesome Sub10 Mk2 ($1,499 street)—a compact 200W continuous powered subwoofer packed with features—this A7X monitoring rig was consistently musical to my ears, yet seemed to fully reveal all qualities of individual sources within most every mix I played back during my review period. Most importantly, my AX’ed mixes translated to secondary playback systems like no other I’ve used within recent memory. Perhaps I’m better than I used to be; perhaps the Adam AX-Series is better than other studio monitors I’ve used. Perhaps both are correct.

To me, buying studio monitors just isn’t as sexy as microphones, outboard, and mixers; it’s really hard for me to get that excited about black boxes that, at best, add absolutely nothing to the sonic equation. That said, my most favorite listening experiences ever—countless playbacks at Masterfonics’ The Tracking Room, for one example—were definitely sexy. Not only did I enjoy revisiting my most played reference material during this review period, those I worked with on various recording projects (mostly) loved hearing the playbacks of precisely what was captured.

Nearly $3K for this particular AX-Series rig (including the Sub10 Mk2) may make you wince, as it did me, but I’d challenge you to find a better performing system for the money or even a better way to immediately improve the quality of your output.

Strother Bullins is a Technology Editor for NewBay Media’s AV/Pro Audio Group, active musician, recordist and small venue sound reinforcement wrangler. sbullins@nbmedia.com

PRODUCT SUMMARY

COMPANY: Adam Audio | adam-audio.com
PROS: Accurate, transparent, and pleasing sound; high-quality German manufacturing; unique, non-fatiguing X-ART ribbon tweeter technology
CONS: More expensive than many comparable-sized powered monitors
PRICE (STREET): $749 each

SPECIFICATIONS

A7X

SYSTEM TYPE: Two-way active studio monitor
FREQUENCY RANGE: 42Hz-50kHz
CROSSOVER FREQUENCY: 2.5kHz
DIMENSIONS (HXWXD): 13.5”x 8”x11”
WEIGHT: 20.3lbs.
ANALOG INPUTS: Balanced XLR and Unbalanced RCA
TWEETER GAIN: +/- 4dB
HIGH SHELF EQ > 5KHZ: +/- 6dB
LOW SHELF EQ < 300HZ: +/- 6dB
MAX. PEAK ACOUSTIC OUTPUT (IN 1 METER PER PAIR): >/= 114dB
TWEETER: X-ART proprietary ribbon, 2in. equivalent size
WOOFER: Carbon/Rohacell/Glass Fiber 7in.
AMPLIFIERS: 2, 100W and 50W (continuous) for woofer and tweeter, respectively

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