Okay.. my 2 cents, for what they´re worth.
I knew the Adam A7
and the HS80M
pretty well from two friends´ studios. They both have advantages, and - provided you place them well in your room - you should get a good translation on both of them. Then I auditioned the A7x
vs. the HS80M
in an auditioning room over at my music store, and was able to hear them side by side in the same room, and switching between them in a millisecond. What I found was that the HS80M
lacked precision. Listening to a triphop mix on them revealed a very muddy bass sound from the HS80M
, I even had a hard time making out the actual notes played in the bass lines, and this got worse in parts where there were low kick sounds working together with the bass lines. On the A7x
the bass was a lot more accurate. I'd call the bass out of them tight, yet warm. In the higher frequencies the HS80m's sounded less clean to me than the A7x's as well.
I purchased the A7x's based on my findings in the store, and I now have them here at home, in a temporary setup until my new pc arrives. At first they gave almost too much bass, when they were standing loose on a small wooden table. Like I said this setup is temporary, so for now I put them on a pair of towels still folded and packed in plastic. That cured some of the bass problems immediately.
The statement earlier in this thread that they don't provide a good "3d" experience, I find to be hogwash. Sitting in the right place in front of my monitors, it is like they don't exist anymore, and the sound is flowing from between them and further to the sides, effectively surrounding me in sound. Lead vocals seem to be coming from straight in front of me, and not from the speakers at all. in contrast the bands and/or orchestra's seem to be in a wide arc around me, far beyond the width the speakers are apart on my table.
I have done this in my friend's studio with the HS80M's and they don't provide that experience. I like them very much, and yes their "dull" sound might invite you to put more work in your mix to make it sound less dull. They are truly a pair of tools, and they do that job reasonably well, and spectacularly well for the price. However, I do find listening to them for a couple of hours fatiguing. It's like you have to "squint" your ears to get to the bottom of a sound, and the sound from them is on the harsh side for me. This might have an impact on how long you feel comfortable while mixing.
I have found the last three days that once I start listening to the Adam A7x's, I have a hard time stopping. Wether I play acoustic stuff on them, or wild electronic stuff, or heavy metal and grunge, everything just comes out so clear, and I can even hear stuff that the producers of these records wouldn't want me to hear, like the slight digital distortions from early 90's digital effects processors, low resolution samples, or less-than-bang-on drum hits. My own mixes don't hold up too well, a lot of the mistakes I made have become crystal clear, and I'll need to start reworking every track as soon as my new pc arrives.
The bottom line is, I just got the Adam A7x's so don't expect an unbiased opinion from me. They are such an improvement over my earlier speakers, that I'm slightly drunk from the experience of finally hearing what I'm doing. Having said that, the HS80M's were my second choice, and I would have bought them, if I hadn't auditioned them in the store right next to the A7x's. They work great in my friend's studio, and I never had a complaint about his setup. But when compared to the A7x's in a fair shootout, they can't compete. The Adams are twice as expensive as the Yamahas so this shouldn't be a surprise.
I even spent an evening trying to convince myself to be less picky, buy the Yamahas, and spend the 500 euros on something else I really needed, like spending more on a vocal microphone, or an audio interface with more inputs. But I simply couldn't. Monitors are the backbone of your studio, you have to have something there that absolutely works for you, and I knew the Yamahas weren't as good as the Adams.
1. I have also listened to the Adam A5x
monitors (and compared them to the HS50m´s) and found them to be much less desirable. They sounded boxy, the bass was missing in action, and the high end wasn´t quite as precise. The competition between HS50M´s and A5x´s would be a lot closer as a result. I´d even prefer the HS80M´s over the A5x´s, because they provide more bass, and perform equally "well" in the higher frequency range)
2. This is all my opinion, I'm not dissing anyone's choice for the HS80M's over the A7x's. I don't like them as much, and in this post, it might come over as if the HS80M's are hopeless, wich they are not. They are the best monitors I have heard in their price range by a country mile. The decision to buy the Adams was personal, because they are what I liked. Someone else may have a different opinion, and I won't say I'm more right than they are. Ideally, listen to both options before making your decision.