Approximately $400 more than ADAM Audio’s comparably sized, budget-priced F-Series model, the F7, the A7X is one of the best all-around reference-grade powered studio monitors I’ve discovered on the market, at any price. At $749 street each, the A7X is firmly within the mid-level, powered two-way landscape, yet offers a uniquely detailed performance thanks to several key features: ADAM’s XART proprietary folded ribbon tweeter technology (approximating the size of a comparable 2-inch dome tweeter found in most standard studio monitors, yet providing up to a reported 50 kHz frequency response); the robust carbon fiber, Rohacell, and glass fiber 7-inch woofer reaching down to 42 Hz; dual 2-inch front ports; and a dual-powered design, featuring a 50W continuous Class A/B amp for highs and efficient 100 W continuous Class D amp for lows.
Unlike the F-Series, which is assembled in China, the AX-Series is designed and built in Berlin, Germany. The enclosure’s high quality standards are both physically and aurally obvious as premium pots, switches and I/O are first class and the sound would surely please audiophiles and recording engineers alike. Among those are the super-handy front panel on/off switch with accompanying green LED and input sensitivity knob (infinity to +14 dB, notched in the middle at 0 dB of gain).
Thoughtful high- and low-shelf EQs reside on the A7X’s back panel (actually, on the entire AX Series except for the smallest model, the A3X)—high shelf is at 5 kHz, low is at 300 Hz, both +/- 6 dB adjustable. Adjacent to the EQ is a tweeter level adjustment (+/- 4 dB). Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs are provided. As such, the A7X proves to be reasonably flexible for a variety of production environments.
Sitting atop Primacoustic’s Recoil Stabilizers and paired with ADAM’s truly awesome (and nearly deserving of a separate review) Sub10 Mk2 ($1,499 street)—a compact 200 W continuous powered subwoofer packed with features—this A7X monitoring rig was consistently musical to my ears, yet seemed to fully reveal all qualities of individual sources within most every mix I played back during my review period. Most importantly, my AX’ed mixes translated to secondary playback systems (my car, headphones, other musicians’ home systems) like no other I’ve used within recent memory. Perhaps I’m better than I used to be; perhaps the ADAM AX-Series is better than other studio monitors I’ve used. Perhaps both are correct.
To me, buying studio monitors just isn’t as sexy as microphones, outboard and mixers; it’s really hard for me to get that excited about black boxes that, at best, add absolutely nothing to the sonic equation. That said, my most favorite listening experiences ever—countless playbacks at Masterfonics’ The Tracking Room, for one example—were definitely sexy. Not only did I enjoy revisiting my most played reference material during this review period, those I worked with on various recording projects (mostly) loved hearing the playbacks of precisely what was captured in the recording process.
Spending nearly $3k for this particular AXSeries rig (including the Sub10 Mk2) may make you wince, as it did me, but I’d challenge you to find a better-performing system for the money or even a better way to immediately improve the quality of your output.