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February 2013
Enjoy the Music.com Special 20/20 Award
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
ADAM Audio A7X Powered Monitor Speaker
A paltry $699 gets you magnificently extended highs, great mids and precise bass all within a small self-amplified PnP package.
Review By Steven R. Rochlin

 

ADAM Audio A7X Powered Monitor Speaker  My love affair with the ADAM Audio speakers began during a trip to the Munich High-End show about 7 years ago. One look at their speakers and you know there is something very exceptional happening here. Cutting right to the chase within the very beginning of my ADAM Audio A5 powered monitor review I wrote, "The ADAM A5 is not an audiophile loudspeaker. Now before you died-in-the-wool audiophile-types stop reading, in perhaps a massive error of quick judgment, the ADAM A5 recording studio monitor is so good that every audiophile should go right out and hear these amazing units". Sure that was a bold statement back in 2008, yet the A5 had remained my reference for the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and small monitor verification. This is normal as mastering engineers use not just their large floorstanding reference speakers, they also switch to small desktop monitors to verify the sound ‘scales’ well to smaller systems. So what does a true studio-quality powered reference monitor have to do with audiophiles?

Hmm, that last sentence is a bit, well, brave perhaps. It brings up connotations of audiophiles wanting Sound X with single-ended tube amplifications and nice bottle of red wine whereas sound engineers want Sound Y and a big mastering desk with both physical knobs and touch screen at their fingertips. Fortunately for us music lovers, today the chasm between these two are now virtually nonexistent if one so chooses. And this is where the ADAM A7X powered monitor comes into play.

During the RMAF about two years ago I was chatting with fellow reviewer extraordinaire Steven Stone about my love for the ADAM Audio A5 speakers. He said to try the ADAM 7 series as they really are wonderful. Well, that was around two years ago and recently my much-loved ADAM A5s kinda, well, you see it was kinda like this.... The speakers took a nosedive off the platform they sit upon and went bang onto the floor. Long story short, I bumped the main table quite hard and, thus, the platform wobbled and you guessed it, the speakers went flying! To my astonishment they still work, but it did make me realize, ummm, didn’t Steven Stone tell me the 7 series are better than these now beat up old A5s? Hey, give us reviewers any excuse to upgrade and....  C’mon, admit it. You’d be thinking the same thing too if you were me.

My fiancé, soon to be wife on Valentine’s Day, said "Well Steven, those speakers are a bit precariously balanced on that platform". She then continued by saying "You know you wanted new speakers" and then kissed me followed by a big smile and giggle. Yes dear, you’re right dear, anything you say dear. Hey, can I pick ‘em or what!?!?!?

 

ADAM Audio A7X Amplified Monitors
ADAM Audio A7X RearLet's look at the technical details of these jewels shall we. (Said in my best New Jersey voice) Hey, yous got your 7" all fancy carbon/Rohacell/glass fiber driver for mids and bass ova here, and we got da sexy X-ART with 4 inch diaphragm tweeter ova there. Power is everything yous know, so ADAM Audio gives you 100 W for just the 7-inch’a and 50 W for the sexy yellow tweeter. Of course you know us Wise Guys want more than just power, we want control too. So look here, ADAM Audio gave us three adjustment knobs and stuff to tailor the sound. You know, so it sounds good and stuff like that. Oh, and for you pros guys, on da back is both RCA jack for your normal, but us special Wise Guys use the XLR balanced input cuz we are professionals in dis.

Eh hem, getting back to my serious ‘audiophile voice’, the long story short here is that your $699 get truly high quality components. So what about that new, upgraded X-ART tweeter you ask. According to the company, "The changes made to the A5X and the A7X are not simply developments but a fundamental revision of the A-Series. ADAM Audio took all aspects of the performance of the original A-Series and overhauled and improved them. One of the main improvements is… the X-ART tweeter, now replaces the ART tweeter in the new AX versions. The X-ART tweeter features an even higher efficiency and maximum sound pressure level as well as a frequency response up to 50 kHz. All woofers and amplifiers have also been reengineered from scratch, featuring larger voice-coils and amps with twice the power for higher linear excursions and more output. Last but not least, the cabinets have been redesigned; all models sport two bass reflex ports." On the front lower plate of the speaker is a simple On/Off power switch rocker and volume adjustment knob. Of course there is more, yet their website is highly detailed and no use in wasting more of your time on the finer technical aspects here. My fave Kimber Kable Select all silver RCA cables were used from the FrankenDAC to the A7X. And before someone points out the obvious, yes the cables are nearly the same price as the speakers. The ADAM Audio speakers deserve these cables, yet am sure lower cost copper cables would work too, though perhaps not as well as these all-silver Kimber Kable gems.

 

Sensational Sound
The ADAM Audio A7X here are setup so that they are 33" from the corresponding ear, with ear level being precisely between the tweeter and woofer. As for the rear adjustments, the High Shelf remained at stock setting of 0dB, Low Shelf is about +1dB and Tweeter Level also was set to about +1dB. So for the record yes Steven Stone you were right, the A7X is better than the A5, as it naturally should be of course. You get newer technology, better cabinet design, improved drivers, etc. At the heart of it all is the further extended bass due to the use of a 7" woofer versus 5". Not that the A5's smaller 5" driver was a slouch mind you, it is just that ADAM Audio believes in accuracy versus the LS3/5’s fake bass. Thus the A7X really gives you a nice, full-sounding midbass and goes deep into the bass until about 50Hz. Instead of giving fake LS3/5 bass (read: distortion), the A7X output level ability decreases as the music’s signal go below 50 Hz. This is typical and normal driver/design speaker rolloff. Midrange is very refined, detailed, yet never fatiguing. As for the high, wow! These X-ART tweeter take the original design in the A5 to a new level! If you have not heard how great a tweeter like the X-ART can sound, you really need to wrap your ears on one ASAP. Fast, exceptionally extended, and clean, clean, clean.

Imaging you ask? Outstanding! Unlike most traditional setups, I find that angling the speakers outward (toe out) works better than toe-in. It is a personal preference and if you have nearfield monitors you really should try it and see how the soundstage really opens up tremendously. Given the proper music material, what I hear is gloriously big, deep and wide sound. Being nearfield monitors, it is that ‘reach out and touch as one immerses themselves in all its glory’ variety. Magnificent!

 

Conclusion
The ADAM Audio A7X delivers on the promise of not just highly accurate sound, it also plays music without fatigue hour after hour. The A7X have been playing here for at least 6, and upwards of 12 hours per day almost every day! In fact am listening to them right now as I type this, as they are my office speakers and thus had better be ‘all day listenable’ and produce zero aural fatigue. Am sure the outstanding X-ART tweeter has much to do with that. As I wrote earlier, if you have not done so you really owe it to yourself to hear these impressive tweeters. In Rick Jensen’s review of the ADAM Audio Columns Mk. 3 floorstanders, which uses the same tweeter, Rick says "The Columns are startlingly transparent speakers, with a speed that is unusual for a unit that is mostly dynamic – the big exception being that X-ART tweeter. They caused me to recalibrate my idea of what sounds right. I still believe that, compared to speakers costing much more, the Columns in passive form give up the last ounce of bass extension. At their price of $7000, they are a bargain due to representing a window on "truth" in reproduced sound that is usually reserved to all-out assaults on the state of the art at far higher pricing."

Same thing with the A7X yet in a small monitor instead of floorstander. Without a doubt the Adam A7X are the best powered monitors I have heard for under $1000 each. At only $699, the A7X with its impressive X-ART tweeter, specialized mid-woofer and amplification plus adjustability and balanced input are easily a real-world PnP bargain!

 

Specifications
Type: Amplified two-way studio monitor
Frequency response: 42 Hz - 50 kHz
Tweeter: X-ART with diaphragm of 4 inches
Mid-Woofer: 7" carbon/Rohacell/glass fiber cone
Built-In Amplifiers: Tweeter = 50 W / 75 W peak; Woofer 100 W / 150 W peak
Input: Analog balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA 
Front Volume Adjustment: -0 to +14 dB
Rear Control Panel
   High shelve > 5 kHz (±6 dB)
   Low shelve < 300 Hz (±6 dB)
   Tweeter gain: ±4 dB 
Crossover Frequencies: 2500 Hz
THD: 90dB/1m > 100 Hz: ≤0.5 %
Long Term Output: ≥106 dB
Maximum Peak: ≥: 114 dB
Input impedance: 30 kOhm
Weight: 20.3 lbs.
Magnetically shielded: No
Dimensions: 13.5" x 8"  x 11" (HxWxD)
Warranty: 5 Years
Price: $699 each

 

Company Information
ADAM Audio GmbH
Ederstr. 16
D-12059 Berlin
Germany

Voice: +49-30 / 86 30 097 - 0
Fax: +49-30 / 86 30 097 - 7
E-mail: Info@Adam-Audio.de
Website: www.Adam-Audio.com

United States Distributor
Roger Fortier
V.P. ADAM Audio USA

Voice: (516) 681-0690

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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