ADAM A8X Powered Monitor Review

Jul 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Bobby Frasier



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The ADAM A8X features a 150-watt amp for the woofer and a 50W amp for the ribbon tweeter.

The ADAM A8X features a 150-watt amp for the woofer and a 50W amp for the ribbon tweeter.

ADAM speakers have been employed in pro audio applications for more than 10 years, having grown and evolved out of Dr. Oskar Heil’s highly original concepts—namely, the Air Motion Transformer, aka the ribbon tweeter. Since then, ADAM has become a pre-eminent supplier of this technology to the pro audio (and now home audio) world. I have been most-impressed with the higher-priced models, most significantly the now discontinued S3A and S2.5A. The A8X brings this technology into a more affordable arena.

The heart and soul of an ADAM-designed speaker is its tweeter. This technology, known as X-ART, or eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology, is explained on the ADAM Website: “The X-ART membrane consists of a pleated diaphragm in which the folds compress or expand according to the audio signal applied to them. The result is that air is drawn in and squeezed out, like the bellows of an accordion.” All of the technical indications point to a more efficient and accurate reproduction of the upper frequencies. These motors do sound different than conventional dome tweeters or horn-based transducers and “take some getting used to.”

The A8X is a two-way, front-ported design comprising an 8.5-inch carbon/Rohacell/glass-fiber woofer and a 56mm X-ART tweeter (equivalent to a 2-inch conventional diaphragm). The woofer gets 150W RMS, with the ribbon receiving 50W RMS from the onboard amplifiers. The conventional woofer reproduces all information below the crossover frequency of 2.3 kHz, with the tweeter extending the upper range out to 50 kHz—most impressive. This transducer definitely represents the “air” in your recordings. Its front-loaded, dual-port design significantly extends the LF response down to 38 Hz. The woofers have a good thump; right out of the box, I noted how “fast” they sounded with kick drums and percussive-style bass guitar. This is no doubt attributed to the woofer cone’s lightweight design.

Rear panel inputs are balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA. Both are active so you’ll need to use one or the other; there is no switch to select XLR or RCA. The back panel also offers EQ and tweeter gain controls. The high shelf is set at ±6 dB @ 5 kHz, while the low shelf is ±6 dB @ 300 Hz. The tweeter gain is ±4 dB so there should be enough control for fine-tuning your listening position. The front panel also offers an input-sensitivity potentiometer that has a variance of ∞ to +14 dB.

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