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Distortion/rattle on Adam a77x

thewas

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I wonder how one would best go about measuring this. I suppose point a mic at the tweeter, fire up REW and record a sine in the affected frequency range (say 440 Hz, but just try a few values). The spectrum should be showing a whole slew of high-frequency components, similar to crossover distortion.
As @KSTR is quoted above:
As ususal, these distortion issues are not showing up so clearly in simple swept/stepped sine measurement. You have to use 2-tone or full IMD to see that and get closer to what is actually heard.
 
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fmessier6

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UPDATE:

I returned the Adams after providing video and audio proof of this distortion, and got a refund.

Now I have a store credit of €1600 for a new pair of speakers, but I'm willing to go up to €2500 as long as I don't have to pair a sub.

If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears! I write film music and contemporary classical, but I also love to listen to music for pleasure and.. I love bass!
I built my entire 9-year career on a pair of HS8, so I'm serene to admit that I know very little about studio monitors, but I would love to improve my setup and get something better.

What I'm thinking:

1) Genelec 8040, almost the same price as the Adams, very well reviewed by my colleagues, but they look very tiny!
And I can actually afford to spend more, so maybe their slightly more expensive models?
2) Dynaudio BM15, also well reviewed by my colleagues
3) Quested S7R Mk3 - price is ok, but they look tiny?

Outside my price range
4) Neumann KH310, one of the top choices among film music composers

Considerably outside my price range
5) Quested v2108 - The monitors used by Hans Zimmer / Harry-Gregson Williams and the whole Remote Control crew.
 

dfuller

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1) Genelec 8040
I'm not a huge fan, but they're good.

2) Dynaudio BM15
Skip them. Not good.

3) Quested S7R Mk3 - price is ok, but they look tiny?
That's because they are relatively small - the midwoofer is 6.5". That's not a bad thing, going bigger than that sans waveguide gets real interesting. Not much low end, but if you have a subwoofer that's okay.


I would add the Focal Solo6 Be to your list to compare.
 
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fmessier6

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Thank you. Some options in my price range, considering Thomann EU.

I'm (sadly) omitting the Quested v2108, at €2500 each they are out of my price range. Until yesterday Thomann had B-stocks for €2000, but they're gone.

KRK Rokit RP10-3 G4€444 (single unit)
Focal Solo 6 Be red burr ash€959 (single unit)
Quested S7R Mk3 Active€1111 (single unit)
Genelec 8340 APM€1199 (single unit)
Genelec 8050 BPM€1369 (single unit)
Neumann KH 310€1848 (single unit)
 

YSC

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KH 310 seems will be the best for full range, but getting a pair seems quite a bit over budget.

8050 should do reasonably well also with the dip switches and speaker placement being proper, but if you can go with GLM, I personally would say go for 8340 with the GLM, nothing champs a well setup pair in room to kill off the excessive room modes
 

witwald

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I recently bought a pair of Adam A77x and there is an unmistakable midrange distortion/rattle on pretty much every solo piano piece I listen to or mix, even with virtual instruments such as NI's The Grandeur. Sometimes is subtle, sometimes is absolutely unacceptable. ...

I contacted Adam, and I attached their response at the bottom of my post.
"We are aware of the described behavior, which we classify as a part of the speakers’ characteristics, and not a faulty behavior."
The sound that I heard indicates that your Adam A77X loudspeakers are not of merchantable quality, and so you are probably entitled to a full refund of the purchase price. At a price per pair of AUD$3,499, that seems to be a very poor response from Adam Audio.
 

KSTR

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HEDD Type20 ...eats KH310 for breakfast wrt bass/level/imaging/timbre/resolution, IHMO... but I'm obviously severely biased here, having been involved with its initial development (Mk1). Mk2 has Digital Inputs and the Phase Linearizer on-board (Mk1 need the free DAW plugin), never heard it but it is not expected to be too much different.
 
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fmessier6

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Thank you! Would you consider the Quested V2108 inferior to the HEDD Type20 or KH310?

These are the current prices (single speaker - Thomann.com):

Quested V2108€2555
HEDD Type20€2000
KH310 A€1848

HEDD Type20 ...eats KH310 for breakfast wrt bass/level/imaging/timbre/resolution, IHMO... but I'm obviously severely biased here, having been involved with its initial development (Mk1). Mk2 has Digital Inputs and the Phase Linearizer on-board (Mk1 need the free DAW plugin), never heard it but it is not expected to be too much different.

Thank you! :)
 

dfuller

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HEDD Type20 ...eats KH310 for breakfast wrt bass/level/imaging/timbre/resolution, IHMO... but I'm obviously severely biased here, having been involved with its initial development (Mk1). Mk2 has Digital Inputs and the Phase Linearizer on-board (Mk1 need the free DAW plugin), never heard it but it is not expected to be too much different.
I've been telling people that if they're after the AMT sound (as much as that's a thing) the Type 20s are about as good as it gets. I personally prefer the sound of the 310s, but it's entirely a taste thing at that level of performance...
 

AnalogSteph

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The KH310A has several things going for it:
* Among the lowest noise level of any monitor out there (16.5 dB(A) @ 10 cm, S&R; spec is 20)
* That superb 3" midrange dome driver (the thing can hit around 115 dB SPL in the 50 Hz to 2 kHz region and manages a THD of around -60 dB at 95 dB SPL, which is insane and terrain only reached by Purifi-level cone drivers)
* No port, hence no port noise or resonances (place close to or inside a wall to make up for reduced bass level handling, which isn't bad either way and still at least on par with the HS8)
* It actually is readily available and not sold out right now, unlike e.g. the HEDD (being traditional all-analog tech with no need for ADCs and DACs does have its advantages sometimes, like right now - if the chip shortage were to get so bad that you can't find decent opamps any more we'd have much bigger problems)
* Comprehensive manufacturer specs and measurements

As one of the few real negatives, it's not exactly a power miser... 24 W idle a piece is what you get when you stuff a bunch of high-power AB power amps into one of these.
As @KSTR is quoted above:
Swept / stepped sine and only looking at low-order harmonics probably not, but I'd be suprised if it doesn't show up quite clearly in the FFT spectrum for a single frequency test as a whole trail of high-order harmonics.
 
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fmessier6

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Thank you so much for the analysis. The more I read about these, the more I am convinced to purchase them.

This might be a silly question, but given the same size of their woofer to my HS8 (8'') the main difference in bass presence and strength is measured in W, correct? So 210 W for the Neumann vs 70 or so for the HS8, or are there other factors to consider?

So many colleagues recommended me the Neumann KH 310, but I haven't found a single person that used the Quested V2108, my second choice at the moment mainly for the fact that they are used by Hans Zimmer, Harry-Gregson Williams and the guys at Remote Control.

But they are so expensive! €2500 each vs 1800 for the Neumann.
 

JRS

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The KH310A has several things going for it:
* Among the lowest noise level of any monitor out there (16.5 dB(A) @ 10 cm, S&R; spec is 20)
* That superb 3" midrange dome driver (the thing can hit around 115 dB SPL in the 50 Hz to 2 kHz region and manages a THD of around -60 dB at 95 dB SPL, which is insane and terrain only reached by Purifi-level cone drivers)
.
OT, but who makes the midrange? I have a project needing something like that. Wish the ATC's were still being sold.
 

dfuller

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OT, but who makes the midrange? I have a project needing something like that. Wish the ATC's were still being sold.
Custom made for them by Peerless, IIRC.

As for "Domes Other Than ATC": Bliesma M74S-6 and Volt VM752. Bliesma can go a hair lower, both are good.
 

AnalogSteph

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This might be a silly question, but given the same size of their woofer to my HS8 (8'') the main difference in bass presence and strength is measured in W, correct? So 210 W for the Neumann vs 70 or so for the HS8, or are there other factors to consider?
Well, there are.

First of all, you are assuming that both drivers have the same sensitivity, which is not necessarily the case although they aren't likely to be awfully different (likely 88-90 dB / W / m). 3 dB = factor of 2 in power.

More importantly, required driver excursion goes up with 1/f², so eventually you're always excursion-limited in the bass. Again, Xlin may vary. Bass reflex designs will provide extra support in a small frequency range by the Helmholtz resonator.

Here's HS8 max level handling according to S&R:
https://www.soundandrecording.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Yamaha-HS6-Max-SPL.jpg

The bump at ~80 Hz is likely to be BR related. From about 100 Hz up, things appear to be limited by electrical nonlinearity on part of the driver rather than amplifier power, otherwise 3% and 10% THD graphs would be much closer together. 101 dB SPL only equates to 25 W even if we are assuming a low 87 dB / W / m.

Here's level handling for the KH310A, note 1% and 3% THD rather than 3% and 10% above:
neumann_kh310_max_spl_510_2.gif

I'd say this guy is primarily excursion-limited throughout the entire bass driver's frequency range (XO is at 650 Hz). Also note how 3% levels are in the mid-100s here rather than the high 90s in the entire mid / upper bass and low midrange, so things are generally looking a fair bit better than for the HS8. The midrange dome appears to be power-limited throughout almost its entire range (a bit of excursion limiting at the bottom) but still is the loudest of the bunch. The tweeter seems to be electrical nonlinearity limited, the drop in its range is likely to follow both a reduction in efficiency (waveguided tweeters usually gain a fair bit on the low end) and increasing influence of driver inductance.

Another thing worth noting: The woofer amp only has to take care of the frequency range up to ~650 Hz, rather than up to 2 kHz in the Yamaha. With separate amplifiers and drivers, the potential for IM distortion is much reduced, and combined level handling increases.
So many colleagues recommended me the Neumann KH 310, but I haven't found a single person that used the Quested V2108, my second choice at the moment mainly for the fact that they are used by Hans Zimmer, Harry-Gregson Williams and the guys at Remote Control.
SOS review of this model

Looks like a more traditional design but still good. 2-way with 8" long-throw woofer + 28 mm tweeter (no waveguide to speak of), crossed over at a low 1.4 kHz, so clearly they were aiming for fairly wide dispersion. I can't imagine the tweeter is entirely happy on the low end of its range, that's the tradeoff for better dispersion. Amplifier power 200 + 200 W, notably with current driving, so driver distortion is likely to be low whenever not excursion-limited. Still, it's only a 2-way that doesn't believe in waveguides, so some compromises are inevitable. I would assume higher bass level handling than in the Neumann, being a BR.

I would say both would be a step up from the HS8 (clearly not bad speakers to begin with but the much lower price obviously has to show somewhere). The Quested would only be my #2 though, and the higher price is not helping matters. Presumably KH310s are being made in substantially higher numbers than the more boutique V2108s... economy of scale and all.

The only area where KH310s potentially need some help is the bass, particularly deep bass <80 Hz (which can be sorted out by wall-mounting and/or adding a sub or two), other than that users have generally noted that these will go very loud cleanly.
 

trl

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You need to use REW, for a better understanding of the issue. Please check https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...om-measurement-tutorial-for-dummies-part-1.4/ and https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...om-measurement-tutorial-for-dummies-part-2.5/ for more details.

Your mic is not perfect for use for REW measurements, but given that we mostly care about THD across mid-band it should work just fine:
nt5_freq.jpg

Image grabbed from https://www.acclaim-music.com/
With a 440 Hz 0dB audio signal you should get to at most 80dB SPL, to not damage your hearing during this test; try using DecibelX or similar phone app to check the volume level, prior to this test. However, a pair of headphones might be needed to cover your ears and protect them for the sinewaves from REW.

Your Komplete Audio 2 has a max. output level of +12 dBU which means 3.08 VRMS while Adam-A77x has a max. input sensitivity of +14 dBU which means 3.88 VRMS, so the distortions may not be caused by a mismatch between the output level of your audio interface and the speakers.

So let's see what REW has to say here, because this is the most common way of dealing with distortions and freq. response of the speakers. Looking forward for your measurements!
 
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fmessier6

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I would say both would be a step up from the HS8 (clearly not bad speakers to begin with but the much lower price obviously has to show somewhere).
Thank you for your analysis and for answering my question. I would have kept the HS8 indefinitely if I didn't find their bass response underwhelming.

As soon as I plugged in the Adam a77x, I was truly shocked because I was hearing bass for the first time after seven years with the HS8.

Since I'm not planning to add a subwoofer anytime soon, I would like to purchase a couple of speakers that can provide a solid bass response. So far my best option is the KH310. I was intrigued by Genelec's 8040 but I'm afraid they won't be able to stand on their own without the use of a sub. But feel free to contradict me.

and the higher price is not helping matters

We're looking at more than €2500 per speaker at the moment.
 

dasdoing

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HS series is mid-range heavy. Never understood why they are so popular in home-studio circles. OK, mid-range focus can make sense for balancing a mix (if you know how it should sound), but imo this is more of a goal you should think of with a second pair of monitors, not the primary
 
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fmessier6

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HS series is mid-range heavy. Never understood why they are so popular in home-studio circles. OK, mid-range focus can make sense for balancing a mix (if you know how it should sound), but imo this is more of a goal you should think of with a second pair of monitors, not the primary

Those were the only monitor I could afford back then, they were pretty popular as the best option for the €550 price range for the couple, and definitely an improvement over the entry level KRK's I was using in 2008, that sounded like garbage...

How I was able to write an entire album with those KRKs is still a mystery. Boomy sound, too much bass with a confused delivery... it would have been better to sell them and buy a nice pair of headphones.

Then I started working on the HS8s and I was really happy (finally a decent speaker!), but when I took my mixes to my friends' studios, the low end was all over the place. It didn't take much time to realize that the bass response of the HS8 was simply not enough to properly work on a low end that translated well. Even if I play techno or dance music or bass heavy music, and crank the volume at 10, it's still not enough.

When I tried the Adams, I actually found the bass response to be a little eccessive (they have a 7'' woofer IIRC) and the sound too colored. And well, the digeridoo-type of distortion when you play anything with a piano.

I'll give myself a few weeks and then I'll pull the plug and buy a new set of monitors.

The 8040 are the only speakers in my price range, but I'm afraid their bass response will be underwhelming as well, so I think I'll step up and get the Neumann KH310, the only problem is that they're more than double price of a single 8040.
For slightly less (€ 1.590 per speaker) there are also the Focal Twin 6 Be, and going down a little more, the Genelec 8050 BPM for € 1.369 each.

I didn't know that choosing the right speaker would be so hard :D
 
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