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Adam A5X Review (Powered Studio Monitor)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Adam A5X powered speaker. It was kindly sent to me by a member for review and costs US $499 each.

Despite its small size, the A5X is quite heavy:

Adam A5X Review speaker Powered Studio Monitor.jpg


The back of it got warm so I am assuming it uses class AB amplification or at least a linear power supply.

Nice to have volume control in the front. This in addition to gain control and typical shelving filters on the back:

Adam A5X Review speaker Powered Studio Monitor back panel.jpg


"Stereo Link" allows one unit to control the volume of the other. All testing was performed with the switches in the default position as you see. The front input control though was set lower so that 0 dBu input produced 86 dBSPL @ 1 meter.

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.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of around 1%.

Testing temperature was around 65 degrees F.

Reference axis for measurements was the center of the tweeter (by eye).

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Adam A5X Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Adam A5X Frequency Response Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


The eye ignores all the good and instantly jumps to the sharp dip at 1.1 kHz. What is the cause? Front port cancellation:

Adam A5X driver Frequency Response Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


The port resonance stands out so clearly in the waterfall/CSD plot:

Adam A5X Measurements Waterfall CSD Powered Studio Monitor.png


The rest of the response looks good though including early window and predicted in-room (far field) response:

Adam A5X early window Frequency Response Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


Adam A5X predicted in-room Frequency Response Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


Distortion is kept very much under control at 86 dBSPL, likely due to high pass filter to keep it from playing lower than it should:

Adam A5X THD distortion Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


Adam A5X percentage distortion Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


There is decent directivity control:

Adam A5X Horizontal Beamwidth Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


Adam A5X Horizontal Directivity Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


Vertically you have a bit more breathing room than typical two-way non-coaxial designs:

Adam A5X Vertical Directivity Measurement Powered Studio Monitor.png


Adam A5X Listening Tests
I plugged them into my workstation system and with them pointed to my ear on a 5 inch high stand the sound was excellent. I felt no need for any EQ. I cranked up the volume as high as I could and the sound stayed completely clean. I could feel the breath from the ports on my cheek including the smell of the electronics inside! :) There is no deep bass there so my tracks with such played very faintly in that department. I rather have it this way than have the speaker get massively distorted. A subwoofer is mandatory then if you desire anything that would give physical sensation.

I put my ear next to the tweeter but could not hear any hiss. This is well above average.

Conclusions
The Adam A5X is competently designed. Objective measurements show only one flaw caused by the front port resonating out of phase and causing a cancellation. This is narrow though so unlikely to get hit with a lot of music. I certainly did not feel it as an issue in the selection of tracks I played.

Overall, the Adam A5X is a very good speaker and I am going to put it on my recommendation list. $1000 is a lot of money though for a speaker that doesn't handle deep bass so think about that relative to its competitors.

Edit: video review just posted:


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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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dfuller

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This is surprising as hell. I've hated these every time I've tried them, they have a very obvious scooped sound which doesn't show up here.
 

MZKM

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We've seen that cancellation now with a few front ported 2 way speakers. JBL 7 series is the other example that comes to mind. Is there a way to fix this without going 3 way(JBL seems to like 2 way) or going rear ported(how JBL 3 series fixes it)?
Better designed ports. I could tell just by the image of them that they would be problematic. A good port needs to be computer modeled for geometry but also material and texture (dimpled, riffled, etc.) should be looked at.
 
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Helicopter

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Thanks Amir. Here we have one assembled in Germany. I was curious how it would compare to the China assembled TV5, and now I have your impressions.
 

wwenze

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Why would a port even be doing cancellation at a frequency that's like 3 to 4 octaves higher than the port tuning frequency. Ok, I get why it happens, but not why we allow it to continue.

Is it possible to stuff a certain kind of damping material or certain port design that shuts out higher frequencies but let the lower frequencies through? Like the fluff of some animals' ears.
 

Kachda

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Isn't one of the advantages of a ribbon tweeter supposed to be better horizontal dispersion ? But in this speaker the directivity is very narrow above 8khz ?
 

dfuller

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What do you mean by "scooped"? I personally see an ever so slight v curve that might explain that impression a bit.
Sonarworks took anechoic measures of an A7X and it was +6dB at the top and bottom of its range so yeah, it was a much more severe V shape. That port cancellation notch showed up too.
Better designed ports. I could tell just by the image of them that they would be problematic. A good port needs to be computer modeled for geometry but also material and texture (dimpled, riffled, etc.) should be looked at.
These also chuff like mad because of the small diameter and lack of flaring/dimpling.

Isn't one of the advantages of a ribbon tweeter supposed to be better horizontal dispersion ? But in this speaker the directivity is very narrow above 8khz ?
This is an AMT, so it doesn't strictly speaking have that advantage.
 

YSC

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It looks better than I expected especially horizontal dispersion without a proper waveguide, and the AMT tweeter behaves very well! this is actually my target before reading the 8030 review. too bad the port resonance make it a bit less than stellar. and it seems that the bass is weak even compared to their own T5V?
 

ROOSKIE

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The question is, is it worth it over the $400/pair T5V?

Also, I find the price jump in their 3rd and flagship line pretty extensive:
T5V: $400/pair
A5X: $1,000/pair
S5V: $14,000/pair

The S5V has 4” midrange and a 12” woofer; not sure why it has the “5“ model number.
The closer match in that line is $3500 a pair.
The s2v.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/S2V--adam-audio-s2v-7-inch-powered-studio-monitor

Then the 1st way is s3v for $6k a pair
Then you get to the $14k totl 3 way.

Really expensive but likely not very many customers need/want them so that $14k represents that. Can't spread the money out like with mass quantity sales.
 

temps

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The question is, is it worth it over the $400/pair T5V?

Also, I find the price jump in their 3rd and flagship line pretty extensive:
T5V: $400/pair
A5X: $1,000/pair
S5V: $14,000/pair

The S5V has 4” midrange and a 12” woofer; not sure why it has the “5“ model number.

hell no. Owned A5s for years, they were decent but not at all worth it compared to the newer, better T5V anymore. Not worth it vs. any of the other similarly priced 5" monitors either. Well and truly left in the dust at this point (imo)
 
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Spyart

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T8V for even small price seem much better and without wild notch in the region which is crucial for mixing and listening too
 

Ilkless

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The question is, is it worth it over the $400/pair T5V?

Also, I find the price jump in their 3rd and flagship line pretty extensive:
T5V: $400/pair
A5X: $1,000/pair
S5V: $14,000/pair

The S5V has 4” midrange and a 12” woofer; not sure why it has the “5“ model number.

You're looking for the S2V for same form factor. They change the numbers up for the top series.

A series is much older than the T or S. It doesn't really keep up. Waiting to see their replacement. Or that HEDD gets tested
 

thewas

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This is surprising as hell. I've hated these every time I've tried them, they have a very obvious scooped sound which doesn't show up here.
It does, their directivity is dropping between 2-6 kHz due to their too small waveguide in comparison with their newer cheaper siblings with a larger one. Luckily for Adam the small 5" model was tested, on their larger models the problem becomes even more obvious, their A series is simply long outdated compared to their newer S and T models.
 

Promit

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My main daily listening speakers are the T7V (with a sub) as the A series was way too expensive to justify. Granted we know the T series have some lift in the treble that isn't present in this speaker, but I'm also stuck wondering what exactly all that extra cash actually buys you. I've heard the A7X briefly and it was good (and "felt similar" to the T series) but I never really had a chance to get acquainted.
 

LTig

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We've seen that cancellation now with a few front ported 2 way speakers. JBL 7 series is the other example that comes to mind. Is there a way to fix this without going 3 way(JBL seems to like 2 way) or going rear ported(how JBL 3 series fixes it)?
Ask Neumann, they seem to have solved this problem.
 
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