Adam A7x pro monitors review, an audiophile's review.

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by nishan99, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. nishan99

    nishan99 Almost "Made"

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    I don't usually do reviews unless I see a need for them. And Those Adams definitely need one.

    All the reviews I see out there are from the deaf pro people which they can tell you nothing about how they actually sound except that they're neutral (and mostly they are).

    They have a lot of tone controls so discussing the treble and bass balance is kinda meaningless. So my review is mainly about the other technical stuff.

    The setup: normal PC > Spotify premium > EQ APO manual room bass correction > DAC section (using its volume control) of the monoprice THX desktop SE out > speakers 2ft away from the front wall, 6ft from the side walls, 4.5ft from each other and listening 7 feet away > toed in till the tweeters beaming to my shoulders > the room has decent treatments. All the speakers tone controls were at 0 (default) and I applied 2dB bass shelf below 150hz beside the room bass corrections.

    I tried listening to them closer than 7ft but the tweeters were too intense.

    I don't own speakers in that price range so idk how they stack up, my reference is my other high end headphones so my judgments can be harsh and unfair in some areas.
    • The bass after EQ is slightly warm (~1dB) and is really tight with decent punch and resolution. The attacks are little soft tho, percussive instruments are not that great.
    • They go flat to 50hz in my room and then super sharp roll off after that.
    • The mids are neutral albeit with slight lean nature.
    • The highs are very detailed and neutral except the air region seems exaggerated slightly. The attacks are very soft and fake sounding. The decay is exaggerated maybe?.
    • Macro dynamics are breath taking with the tweeters! but kinda poor with the woofer...
    • The presentation is forward, it means the soundtage depth can start 1 foot from your face on the most forward tracks and sounds, the tweeters' range sounds. But most of the time the sound is within 1 foot radius from the speakers.
    • The soundstage width is limited between the speakers, the height is fair for their size, the depth is crazy!, it's like 8ft of layering!.
    • The imaging is meh. Honestly. I tried multiple speakers and listening positions and it's meh at best and garbage without sharp toe in. It's blurry and lacks borders definition.
    And that's not the biggest problem here, the biggest problem is the incoherent overall presentation. The tweeters call a lot of attention to themselves and have far superior resolution and dynamics to the woofers but with worse timbre.
    That's most evident with the midrange.

    Idk if they're suited for pro use, I am not a pro. But for the home stereo listening I can't recommend them. They're really incoherent.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2020
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  2. yunie_

    yunie_ Acquaintance

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    Appreciate the review. Was actually demoing them out at a pro shop but find them to be worse off them their smaller a5x
     
  3. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    Definitely a surprise given that they're sold as Nearfield monitors.
     
  4. nishan99

    nishan99 Almost "Made"

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    Not really. That's actually what I would expect from a pro monitors, to be 'in your face' and a work to listen to.
    I know a lot of audiophiles who would like this presentation, I just don't like it.
    So it's a preference thing and not necessarily a fault of the Adams.
     
  5. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Pro stuff can be as wildly different between brands as consumer stuff while all claiming neutrality. But there are some safer bets when it comes to driver selection like soft dome tweeters, class ab amps etc. Good on you for trying it for yourself in your own environment.
     
  6. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    @nishan99 , interesting review, comparing studio monitors to headphones makes a lot of sense
    There is already a thread where a number of nearfield speakers and monitors have been discussed and reviewed, including A7X. I got them roughly a months ago and my impressions are here
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...audiophile-listening.1466/page-83#post-301684

    Just a couple of points:
    The listening position, and toe in, may be the reason why my impression of sound stage and imaging is very different.

    Those monitors have very little, if any, off axis dispersion. Monitors 6 feet apart, 12 inches from the back wall, my listening position is 6 feet from each monitor, with twitters pointing directly at my ears.
    The sound stage is clearly behind the monitors, not forward as you described, it is wide, and the imaging is very exact.

    Agree that it is difficult to forget where the twitters are, it helps to set the twitter controls at -2dB - -4dB.
    I am also using separate left and right EQ settings on RME ADI-2 DAC.

    EDIT: Forgot about two important things: adjusting gain to your DAC using simple calibration procedure, and if you can use balanced inputs. Gain matching can really change how they sound.
    If you could not listen from less than 7 ft because the witter was too hot, it may have a lot to do with calibration, and adjusting the twitter separate gain control.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
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  7. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    • The pros all have much better setups than you do and are listening to higher quality files. Bashing the ones whose business can afford 1500 dollar speakers positioned as the manufacturer intends will do you no good. You can find very good impressions of Adams from pros dating back to the early 2000s. Most of the pros with bad, wtf impressions are newbs with no money, a Focusrite, and shit from guitar center or are actually hard of hearing.

    You’ll never fix the disconnect. You can get better AMT monitors like hedd or The less flat GoldenEar but you need Soft domes crossed over to a normal paper or plastic woofer.

    You’re too far back too. AMT tweeters have a very small sweet spot. You won’t be able to stay in if not using them as nearfields. Get them off that awful THX preamp and feed them a real balanced line level signal. Don’t use Spotify at all. You don’t have any low level details and depth in mp3 codecs. You also lose all micro dynamics and real depth. They the Adams aren’t flat but are good enough to destroy lossy codecs and streaming services. They are the best thing in your setup if you can get past the disconnect between woofer and tweeter and the peculiar timbre of Adam’s woofers and tweeters.

    also the air is raised distortion. Very good AMTs like Adam X art tweeter still have much greater distortion than soft domes but are voiced to sound airy or a bit dull. They have detail and some reactivity but the air shelf is distortion like the air shelf of many mic preamps. They can make raw multi tracks sound like mixed stems, which of course they really don’t. Compression drivers can do similar things.

    PS to thread lurkers: the cheap Adams, cheaper than A7X, suck balls. Subway mystery meat balls.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  8. nishan99

    nishan99 Almost "Made"

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    @wormcycle I always thoughts about lowering the tweeters gain but I never did because they sound neutral at 0dB, I will try it and I hope the presentation will become more coherent. Thanks!.

    Will better AMT tweeters have at least normal (not soft) attacks?. Because I am thinking to skip the whole technology as I don't have the luxury to audition most of what I buy : (.

    Wait, isn't setting farther back actually widens the sweet spot?. That what I know and what actually correlates to my experience. At 7 ft away I have about a foot and half horizontally. Vertically still sucks tho :S.


    Anyone looking for the Adams I highly advice you to audition them first to see if you're sensitive to their coherency issue and the AMT timbre.
     
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  9. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Not from the AMTs I've heard. You need domes or compression drivers to get upper mid smack.
     
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  10. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    There are some small changes I made recently that helped to tame a bit the intensity of the tweeter, and generally improved the sound stage.

    I set the tweeter control to 0, before it was -3bB on the left -2dB on the right, and set the high shelf on the monitors (>5000Hz) to -3 dB.

    The tweeters are pointing maybe 12" behind my head. What it did is made the sound stage more natural, the center point is more prominent, cannot find the better word, but I think that it is just that it nut made the position of the twitters less obvious.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Did you dial in the HF shelf, LF shelf, and overall tweeter level? Play with toe in for imaging. If too much air, reduce HF shelf. If too forward, reduce tweeter level. Play with moving them back toward the wall and cutting LF shelf or the opposite.

    Best yet, get cheap mic and run RTA and EQ accordingly at listening position to something that looks like this. Don't go crazy 1/3 or 1/6 RTA should be good. Surgical EQ is for poopyheads.
    15345-e9ab64aa960cd27c507cdb75cee125f4.jpg

    All pro monitors have these kinds of settings and they absolutely must be used to get optimal results. They know what you have at your place may be different from what they have at their place. The A7X are higher end, and as such, the will be expected to be used in treated environments.

    Still AMTs sound like AMTs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  12. nishan99

    nishan99 Almost "Made"

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    ^
    Thank you all for the suggestions!.

    Just to be clear, the coherency issue is not because the speakers are bright. As I stated in the review, They are neutral with slight lean nature and slightly boosted air region.

    I believe it's because the tweeters are more dynamic (micro/macro) than the woofer. During dynamic swings, only the tweeters that can keep up, hence calling attention to themselves. Plus their odd timbre (soft attacks and long decays) is not helping either.

    Anyhow, I played with the controls on the back and reduced the tweeter level and HF shelf by one step and increased the LF shelf by one step too and disable my LF shelf EQ but still applying the manual bass room correction (it's just -4.5dB at 63hz).

    The results are noticeably better cohesion but with slight dark tilt. You still can tell it's an AMT over there but I really like this smoother setting overall. Thanks again!.
     
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yeah.

    Accordion tweeters <> Cone woofer
    Accordion tweeters <> Soft dome tweeter or good compression driver.

    You are basically fecked in terms of a seamless handoff and "more normal" timbre. It’s not the end of the world, and the Adams do have their strengths. There’s a reason why there are so many of them in the biz. I’d use them in a heartbeat; and there is a lot that I wouldn’t use.
     
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