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Adam A4V Monitor Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 25 10.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 137 55.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 82 33.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 1.6%

  • Total voters
    248

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Adam A4V studio monitor (active DSP speaker). I purchased it new for US $500.
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Review.jpg

The look is standard ADAM Audio which is not bad. The build seems rather solid but with very sharp corners past the front face. Back panel shows clearly UI for changing things:

Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker back panel Review.jpg


The momentary switches are easier to manipulate than competing dip switches. There are three "voicing" options. Pure which is anechoic/flat response. UHR which is Adam's own target and "Ext" which is custom. You program that using Ethernet port. I tried to do that only to find out the software won't be ready until next month. :(

Level of tweeter hiss is very low and not a concern for me anyway.

Here are the specifications:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker CSD Waterfall Audio Specifications.png


Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Likewise listening tests comply with the latest research into proper evaluation of speakers calling for mono, instead of stereo listening:


Documentation is not clear about reference axis. By experimentation, I arrived at a point between the borders of midwoofer and tweeter.

Adam A4V Measurements
It is not often that we start with a clear aberration in frequency response:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Frequency Response  Audio Measurements.png


That disturbs an otherwise good response with a bit of treble boost. The cause of the dip appears to be interference coming out of the front port:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Driver Port Frequency Response  Audio Measurements.png


We can visualize this using our 3-D speaker dispersion at the offending 1 kHz and points before and after:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker 3-D Directivity Baloon Response Audio Measurements.png


You can see how at 1 kHz the bottom is extended indicating energy coming from the port, causing a cancellation at our reference axis (red arrow).

This naturally translates into both early reflections and predicted in-room response:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Early Window Frequency Response  Audio Measurements.png



Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Predicted in-room Frequency Response  Audio Measu...png


Power handling was excellent at 86 dBSPL. But I could hear and we can see distortions at 96 dBSPL:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker THD Distortion Response  Audio Measurements.png


Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker THD Distortion Relative Audio Measurements.png


The larger tweeter (than typical cone ones) starts to "beam" (narrow its response) above 8 kHz or so:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Horizontal Beam Width Audio Measurements.png

Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Horizontal Directivity Audio Measurements.png


Vertically we have our usual mess with 2-way speakers with a bit more thrown in for good measure:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Vertical Directivity Audio Measurements.png


Our CSD/waterfall measurement tells us what we already know as far as resonances:

Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker CSD Waterfall Audio Measurements.png


Finally here is the step response for fans of this measurement:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Step Response Audio Measurements.png


ADAM A4V Listening Tests and Equalization
First impression was positive and it was not until I listened more/applied EQ that I appreciated the extra brightness. So I applied three filters:
Adam Audio A4V Studio Monitor Active Speaker Roon Player Parametric EQ Equalization.png


The first two are quite narrow so audibility impact is very small (or imagined). I thought that filling that 1 kHz trough made the sound a bit less bright. The biggest difference naturally came from the broad filter #2. That needs to be adjusted to taste. Without it, the sound appears to be "higher resolution/detailed" but with female vocals it, I did not care about the way it exaggerated some sounds.

Dynamics/power capability was excellent. I could listen quite loud and most of the time not hear any distortion. When there was some, it was grittiness that set in quite gently. Considering that I listen to only one speaker, you should be in very good situation using them in desktop application (how I tested it).

Conclusions
Adam manages to make a 4 inch speaker sound good. Not always an easy task as far as power handling. There is an unfortunate cancellation due to front facing ports. Wish they were in the back. Or some fill material to dampen it. Fortunately audibility impact is almost non-existent due to its narrowness. Default voicing is a bit bright both in measurements and my listening tests. Possible that if you placed it higher up, it would not be so.

Power is optimized quite well to produce what it can well, and filter out what it cannot (deep bass). Nicely done.

Overall, I am going to recommend the Adam A4V monitor speaker.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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  • Adam A4V Frequency Response.zip
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dfuller

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Well, it seems as though Adam is still incapable of designing ports that don't have crazy pipe resonances. That's unfortunate. On the upshot, the midwoofer looks quite well behaved.
 

DanTheMan

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Every small front ported speaker that I’ve measured has had this issue with the port(s). I know the front port is popular in the “pro” audio world and I’ve heard that this is because the bass doesn’t ‘bounce’ off the front wall. In truth, real bass is omni and anything higher than that is going to be involved with SBIR anyway. Just put the ports in the back for goodness sakes.
 
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Mario Sanchez

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That is one nasty port/cabinet (probably port?) resonance. Definitely plug the port if one's got a sub to catch lower frequencies.
I suppose the KH80DSP (similarly small and front ported) had a hole in its port tube in order to supress such a resonance? It still shows up a bit though, esp. If one looks at the off axis response.
 

Rja4000

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Thanks for this review.

I understand you recommend this one for HiFi purpose.
But would you recommend them for use as monitors ?

For this purpose, couldn't the dip, even if narrow, lead to some mix mistakes in a critical frequency range ?

I guess you tested them in PURE mode ?
Any idea what UHR curve is doing ?
 
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phoenixdogfan

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I find it hard to believe a company that makes professional monitors would put one out there with a 7db hole at, of all places, 1khz, regardless of it's Q.

Btw, Amir, you show a "Q" of 11.0 to correct that dip. A typo? Also the one at 637 shows a "Q" of 7.0.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Btw, Amir, you show a "Q" of 11.0 to correct that dip. A typo? Also the one at 637 shows a "Q" of 7.0.
I initially used 11 dB of correction but that caused digital clipping. So I backed it down to 5 dB with similar effect but without the clipping.
 

YSC

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that deep cancellation null at the presence region is really a bit letdown, at this price range why can't they just get a back port and fix the annoying dip to be competative to competition
 

sweetchaos

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abdo123

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I really had higher expectations for this. The smaller drivers and custom baffle made me assume they perfected the directivity and I didn’t expect a giant ass cancelation like that.

It’s a bargain at 200$, at 500$ I don’t think it’s better than the significantly older Neumann KH80.
 

Cars-N-Cans

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Every small front ported speaker that I’ve measured has had this issue with the port(s). I know the front port is popular in the “pro” audio world and I’ve heard that this is because the bass doesn’t ‘bounce’ off the front wall. In truth, real bass is omni and anything higher than that is going to be involved with SBIR anyway. Just put the ports in the back for goodness sakes.
Its also a cost-cutting measure. The whole front baffle/cabinet with ports/woofer/tweeter and rear plate amp/electronics sections can be assembled as separate modules in production. Ports in the rear would complicate things as the PCB probably takes up most of the real estate there. Still, it does suck to have them in the front there due to all the noise they can radiate.
 

dfuller

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I really had higher expectations for this. The smaller drivers and custom baffle made me assume they perfected the directivity and I didn’t expect a giant ass cancelation like that.

It’s a bargain at 200$, at 500$ I don’t think it’s better than the significantly older Neumann KH80.
Yeah, consider me unimpressed. I know they can do better because I've seen them do better.
Every small front ported speaker that I’ve measured has had this issue with the port(s). I know the front port is popular in the “pro” audio world and I’ve heard that this is because the bass doesn’t ‘bounce’ off the front wall. In truth, real bass is omni and anything higher than that is going to be involved with SBIR anyway. Just put the ports in the back for goodness sakes.
Not every one. Neumann conspicuously has avoided it on both the KH80 and KH120.
 

Lorenzo74

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my feeling is Amir and ASR community are involuntary going to change the design of the front Baffle of ADAM audio pro monitor based on Spinorama data.
ADAM audio entry level T series has rear port not showing any cancellation and performs reasonable across the board.
Between A5V and T5V the latter seems a clear winner if we look at spinorama data only.
@amirm If you’ll be appointed ADAM’s CTO would you change AXV series port design/location?
 

abdo123

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There is nothing particularly wrong with the location or the design of the port. The response is very flat on-axis.

I think there is all sort of resonances in the cabinet that are finding their way out to the listener through the port.
 
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