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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

Cars-N-Cans

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All Adam´s front baffles are MDF, not plastic. They do use a plastic, regular tube for theire back ported cheaper speakers tough. That said I agree with you that there got to be a reason and it's not necessarily pure performance. Marketing for one. Adam stated that it's the only one in the line that have this problem. They probably want the little guy to look like a AxV speaker.
I can see why they want the ports in the front now. Oof what a mess with all that goop holding it onto the rear plate. This is the inside of their T7V. I think it has some form of a lock nut, but all that snot…

1661295868893.jpeg
 

G|force

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DanTheMan

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Thanx for the reply/graphs, @ManTheDan,
I am thinking a much-flatter FR trumps few-dB higher SPL, w/such a simple fix AND w/o relying on EQ.
I am also thinking 'stuffing' trumps 'eq'...
How could Adam brain ear-trust not have noticed (and/or overlooked) that notch/dip?
Has active equalization really become the drug-of-choice for what ever ails a speaker and/or its designer?
I’m always a fan of building it best in the first place instead of trying to fix it with EQ. ADAM certainly has the skills to do that, and I don’t think speakers this price should have this issue especially when they knew about it so long ago. I bought the A3X when a local store was having a clearance sale and they were 50% off without hearing them. I heard the A5X and liked them better than any other monitor their size including Neumann (which was a close call to be honest) and decided to build a surround sound system off of them. When I got home and measured them and saw the issue, I just stuffed the ports and it was gone. You definitely lose a few dB in the low end stuffing the ports, but I always cross them over anyway. In truth, they sound good enough to rebuild the box and port them more properly or just leave the ports out all together. WhenI saw that they made identical speakers with updated waveguides and rear ports, I decided I had to have them. Those 2 improvements are well worth whatever expense. I was fortunate to find those ARTist 5 on a 40% off sale and bought 3. They are great: gloss finish, magnetic grills, updated waveguides and rear ports. On the grand scheme of things most people would say it’s minor, but for a nerd like me, it’s everything. After I get moved into my new house, I’m building a headphones lab, a workshop, a new home theater/mixing room, and I should build the new ADAM enclosures. They’ll be my new computer audio set up and keyboard monitors.
 

digicidal

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I can see why they want the ports in the front now. Oof what a mess with all that goop holding it onto the rear plate. This is the inside of their T7V. I think it has some form of a lock nut, but all that snot…
I'm fine with a mess of goop if it measures slightly better and costs quite a bit less (provided your listening levels are more what I'm comfortable with at least). I'll just refrain from taking them apart so I can pretend it's not there. ;)
 

Cars-N-Cans

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I'm fine with a mess of goop if it measures slightly better and costs quite a bit less (provided your listening levels are more what I'm comfortable with at least). I'll just refrain from taking them apart so I can pretend it's not there. ;)
Id think it was a bit tacky if I saw it in my own set but I'm sure it works ok. I think the poor soul in China who has to wield the caulk gun filled with snot was more likely an issue. Looks like a bit of a haphazard mess to apply all the different glues to hold the plumbing together, and makes assembly more time consuming. Also the rear plates of the more upscale models look to be quite busy, esp. if they happen to be using a linear supply to keep the noise down. Here's the A7X:
fbc5acefd775feebc4823c465a94c4d9.jpg


When you take the overall cost and space constraints into consideration it starts to make sense why they went to the front. Still, it would be nice to see an oval port neatly integrated into, say, a plastic support frame of the amp so we can have it "both ways." These seem to measure nice and be relatively cheap so it would be good if they could find a solution that works across the different models.
 

Cars-N-Cans

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I'm fine with a mess of goop if it measures slightly better and costs quite a bit less (provided your listening levels are more what I'm comfortable with at least). I'll just refrain from taking them apart so I can pretend it's not there. ;)
Come to think of it the whole thing is kind of odd since they could dispense with all the glue and what not just by making it one assembly or molding that is simply held in with screws to the rear with a foam gasket. But, not my monkey, nor my circus so they probably had their reasons for wanting to go that way. Maybe cheaper overall to just glob it together from individual sections. Still its always sort of interesting to see how companies go about making things.
 

SMAC88

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Bass may be omni (actually sub bass are, it's easy to localise a sub if it's crossed over above 80 Hz or so), but in this case, Amir measured a 1kHz peak coming out of the port. There is no reason to think this resonance would not be present on a back port, and that this 1K would not be reflected from hard surfaces behind the speakers and change the In room response. Or what am I missing? I am not a speaker designer myself but generally speaking I think it's a truth that putting a speaker close to a hard surface, back ported or not, change the frequency response, no? How come having higher output directed at a hard surface wouldn't matter? Seriously asking.
You're right about it, I tested in my room and I could easily localize a 60hz bass, maybe down the 40hzish start to be difficult. Definitely a 1Khz is going to bounce from whatever surface. I'm in the middle of soundproofing my room and after various testing I notice that changing the speaker position (front or rear ported T5V vs A7V) affects their frequency response, I personally tested from 10cm to 60cm with steps of 10cm, and every measurement taken was different, (considering also the proximity to the desk while moving the speaker forward to the desk).

The only difference would be, if you have a back ported speaker with a 1Khz resonance, you can treat the wall behind the speaker with acoustic panels to absorb that resonance, with a front ported you can't cos that resonance is going to hit you straight in the face, so some dumping around the port is required, What I don't understand is why Adam didn't spend more time to fix that "issue", could easily release the A4V later on if they were running out of time, instead of planning a MK2...
 

Recluse-Animator

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Don't understand why they didn't get rid of the dip when they new it was there from the A5X.
It's not rocket science and as this is the only one with it they clearly know how to make decent speakers.

And I don't understand their pricing.
The A series is suppose to be better than the T series, but I don't see it in the measurements.
Sure the A series has DSP, but why would you get this one instead of for example a pair of T7V / T8V which would be cheaper.

Then again I'm a sick unemployed shit so what do I know...
 

PeteL

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You're right about it, I tested in my room and I could easily localize a 60hz bass, maybe down the 40hzish start to be difficult. Definitely a 1Khz is going to bounce from whatever surface. I'm in the middle of soundproofing my room and after various testing I notice that changing the speaker position (front or rear ported T5V vs A7V) affects their frequency response, I personally tested from 10cm to 60cm with steps of 10cm, and every measurement taken was different, (considering also the proximity to the desk while moving the speaker forward to the desk).

The only difference would be, if you have a back ported speaker with a 1Khz resonance, you can treat the wall behind the speaker with acoustic panels to absorb that resonance, with a front ported you can't cos that resonance is going to hit you straight in the face, so some dumping around the port is required, What I don't understand is why Adam didn't spend more time to fix that "issue", could easily release the A4V later on if they were running out of time, instead of planning a MK2...
I think the main rationale is not so much that you have it in your face but that it interact with the main driver more directly and at a higher amplitude. In this case it's problematic, but then again I find generalisations like "Front ports are a bad thing" to be too simplistic. Some don't have resonances, It is not impossible to fix internally. I also find reasoning like "as long as the port have a bit of a gap to breathe like 1 inches or so, it's all good", to be a bit overly simplistic too, I'd be happy to learn how so if someone would take the time to explain this rationale, reflected sound rarely (but in some case yes) is desirable and I don't see how higher SPL hitting a wall has no importance, but again I don't pretend to know everything. Bottom line, the distance to the wall will always have an impact in the result at eardrum. It's well documented. The question is do some designs are more affected by this or not, and do back ported speakers are more affected by this or not. Some manufacturers seem to think so, me I am not sure but am interested in all subjects audio related. I do know enough tough to say that in audio design things are rarely all black or white and that it's a game of compromises.
 
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tomtoo

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I think the main rationale is not so much that you have it in your face but that it interact with the main driver more directly and at a higher amplitude. In this case it's problematic, but then again I find generalisations like "Front ports are a bad thing" to be too simplistic. Some don't have resonances, It is not impossible to fix internally. I also find reasoning like "as long as the port have a bit of a gap to breathe like 1 inches or so, it's all good", to be a bit overly simplistic too, I'd be happy to learn how so if someone would take the time to explain this rationale, reflected sound rarely (but in some case yes) is desirable and I don't see how higher SPL hitting a wall has no importance, but again I don't pretend to know everything. Bottom line, the distance to the wall will always have an impact in the result at eardrum. It's well documented. The question is do some designed are more affected by this or not, and do back ported speakers are more affected by this or not. Some manufacturers seem to think so, me I am not sure but am interested in all subjects audio related.

Front ports can work great. They just need a littel bit more love than ADAM did gave them.



Than the B5 shines. ;)
 

DanTheMan

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I’ve got some fairly low rez measurements compared to what Amir is doing here, but there are definitely front ported speakers that don’t have significant frequency response problems. They are larger, floorstanding models intended for consumers…. It can be done, but all the small, front ported, bookshelf speakers I’ve measured have had significant issues where hearing is sensitive. If a rear port were to have the same issue, its impact would be significantly less d/t its sound power and distance from the front wall, inverse square law, and dispersion. Let alone that those frequencies are exceedingly easy to absorb and many monitoring rooms are done LEDE style. Everything is a compromise, but if money is the motivation for choosing the worse of two compromises, charge less. it’s really just that simple. Yep, any idiot could find a way to make the worst of the best situation (jamming a rear ported speaker up to a wall), and that may be possibly worse than making the best of a bad situation (placing the speaker in a normal, rational position), but they’ll both be worse than placing a well designed speaker in a normal rational position. Who knows which would be worse placing either of these hypothetical speakers against the wall. It’s anyone’s guess and it will likely be listener position dependent, but why would anyone spend any decent money on a speaker and do such a thing unless it was designed to be an on-wall speaker. I thought all of this was intuitively obvious for ASR readers. Anyway, I’ve got to be done with this calamity. This type of discussion is why I quite participating in forums for a decade. Don’t even get me started on the subwoofer thing. We haven’t advanced nearly as much as I had thought. People need to start reading books instead of the internet. Most authors on acoustics and psychoacoustics are far more credible than the people posting their beliefs online. So much has been well written and easy to understand that in a week you could learn more in a book than a lifetime on the web. You wouldn’t have to read some frustrated old curmudgeon rant about the lack of education in the youth today either LOL. Okay, I’m out of this one. Read on if you must, but your time would be better spent elsewhere unless you enjoy arguing over the hypothesis that you can screw up a better designed speaker through poor placement more than can screw up poor designed speaker through poor placement. Seems utterly fruitless, but some quality data could make it interesting at least.
 

OWC

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fyi, this is a very good example how NOT to EQ your speaker.
Anything boosting more than about 3-5dB can be very tricky.
Which will results in running the risk of either clipping the output of your DAC (or even in the digital domain), (internal) pre-amp or clipping the amplifiers.
I am not totally familiar with the amps they are using, but probably some Class-D that doesn't have an awful lot of leverage.
In this case, 1kHz is also an area with quite a lot of musical information

Thanks to psycho-acoustics, dips are luckily not nearly as harmful as peaks.
As a rule of thumb we never EQ any dips exactly for this reason and it is also bad advice as well as practice to just level everything out.
Which as described can sometimes do (a lot more) harm than good.
I don't even understand why this was recommended, since boosting such issues quite literally doesn't help much at all
(since the resonance won't ever disappear, and in some cases even get worse.)
This is particularly true for destructive interference.

It also shows that more measurements are needed than just the once provided by default.
This would easily show up in a nearfield spectral burst decay plot of the woofer as well as the BR port.
When in doubt, one could extremely easily fill the port with some material to find out were the issues are coming from.

So we don't have to guess or email manufactures.
Would be nice to see this as a standard procedure actually.

And yeah, ports in front of a speaker don't belong in a high-end design ever.
Bad design, this would have be known by their R&D department.
 
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sharock

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Which one exactly?
Since you said high-end.

 

PeteL

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In the end I’m wondering if we have not come to expect too much from these tiny boxes. It’s the smallest box for Adam In my mind when something like that is targetted at « professionals » For these companies it’s a side product, they sit on the bench of audio professionals to monitor stuf, to test stuff, but not for actual fidelity. No? I mean editing news stuff, Monitoring if you have a clean signal, even developping audio products, stuff like that. it’s very possible that Adam don’t care much about perfect reproduction on this. it already have quite a bit more bass extension as the Genelec 8010, so subjectivelyit’s already likely to be more enjoyable. I seen 8010s everywhere but never for critical listening, or mixing music and they are not cheap neither but some companies just can. Back in the days everybody was using fostex 6301 for that sort of things. We all knew they sounded like c***p but nobody cared and there was no competition. it served a purpose. I personally have a pair of Yamaha msr3s and they get tons of use for all sort of stuff, but δd never sit there and listen to music on that. Never would have purchased them for that. In reality. This is probably miles better. I find that hard to judge that on fidelity metrics alone. So small. I look at that I see a tool but not really something I would go for, even as main computer speakers, I use something bigger, but it’s all about the small footprint. for that I think some may be liking them but in the end physic is physic. Sure rear port, sure that 1k dip looks bad. But I honestly think their customer base don’t care. Personally my computer speakers are ADAM F5. the discontinued cheap ones. I like them, but this is what it is, ultra cheap computer speakers with far from optimal placement very close to the wall, no choice, and small 5 inches woofers… Of course I don’t expect the same kind of experience than my « reference » main system. I think wé´ll know more about the competence of the design for the real speakers in this serie. This is just Adam marketing team going to engineers and say guys we need a tiny one too, Gen is doing it, Yam is doing it, let’s make one and let’s not make it visually clash with the real ones.
 

dfuller

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Which one exactly?
All of them. KH80, KH120, and of course KH420 (but that's less of a concern bc the midrange unit is itself sealed and the woofer rolls off pretty steep above about 550hz).
 

pseudoid

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I don't know where else to post this semi-related question, as there is very little coverage/references on that topic, here at ASR:
In the category of studio-monitors, or desktop-, or even bookshelf-speakers; does the passive BBC LS3/5A worth (at least) an honorable mention, or as a reference, or even as a benchmark, here at ASR?
 
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