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Guys who have used ADAM S3A's & S3X-H's. Studio Monitors
Old 29th November 2010
  #31
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Spikes's Avatar
 

I`m using s3a in vertical position too!
I tested them in any possible position about few month and vertical is the most suitable for them in my room. But who knows maybe s3x-h don`t have this option.
I think it`s time to ask ADAMs engineers.
Old 29th November 2010
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Dog_Chao_Chao's Avatar
 

I recently got the s4x. Upgraded from p33a. Big difference. I find them great sounding but Im getting a hard time to get use to them. Like for example the s4x handles so well big bottom low end that you think its ok and you let those bass and kicks untouched. Then you try to hear it in your car stereo... ...too much bass. Same goes with the highs...this time the other way around. I like them for detail and stereo stage image. But they spit so much highs, or should I say, they are so quick responding in that area that it makes you think that you have a lot of high end already...you do not. I always have to check bass and vocals on my other monitors...kind of cheap hi-fi monitors Im use to. I see my self trusting them more! Crazy I know. Anybody attenuates the high gain on adams? I do. 4 dbs! And I find them a bit fatiguing...
Old 29th November 2010
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog_Chao_Chao View Post
I recently got the s4x. Upgraded from p33a. Big difference. I find them great sounding but Im getting a hard time to get use to them. Like for example the s4x handles so well big bottom low end that you think its ok and you let those bass and kicks untouched. Then you try to hear it in your car stereo... ...too much bass. Same goes with the highs...this time the other way around. I like them for detail and stereo stage image. But they spit so much highs, or should I say, they are so quick responding in that area that it makes you think that you have a lot of high end already...you do not. I always have to check bass and vocals on my other monitors...kind of cheap hi-fi monitors Im use to. I see my self trusting them more! Crazy I know. Anybody attenuates the high gain on adams? I do. 4 dbs! And I find them a bit fatiguing...
If you're going 4db down you definitely need to treat your room or adjust your speaker position. From what you're saying it sounds like you have a lack of bass in your listening position -when speakers are too trebly it's usually a bass issue. Try moving them around a bit since maybe they are in a bad acoustic place -inches count. Also try adjusting your listening position left-right, up-down -whatever works.
Old 29th November 2010
  #34
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
In two different rooms so far I've preferred my S3A's vertical. The presentation in the horizontal orientation sounds more smeared to me because the drivers are distributed over such a wide area. I'm probably in the minority with this. Maybe it's the way my ears are shaped
If you'll excuse the long-windedness, here's a review I wrote a few years ago:

First Impressions
Every engineer has struggled with translating what one hears during the many phases of recording production to what the end listener hears on any given playback device. I have owned and/or used the majority of popular monitors over the years, so given the initial very positive reception ADAM received when the speakers arrived in America, I was excited to try them out.

The S3As are a 'quasi' three-way design featuring separate amps for each driver. The speakers are not a true 3 way design, nor are they a typical 2 way system, either. The second of the subs is lowpass filtered at 150Hz to improve low frequency response. There have also been a couple of revisions to the amplifiers over the lifetime of the product. The initial version of these monitors contained three 100 watt amps. These versions, while much lauded for their accuracy, suffered from a slight lack of headroom and available output volume. Consequently, some users were boosting input gain to squeeze a little more volume out of the speakers, resulting in some clipping distortion issues. ADAM subsequently redesigned the amps to offer a more robust 150 watt per driver output rating. These are the versions reviewed. Recently, ADAM implemented another change in their amps, and the current product features switching-type amplifiers. Output wattage has also been increased to 250 watts per driver, peak.

Having seen several ads for the speakers, I was surprised to find them much smaller than the pictures would lead one to believe. Despite their compact size, they feel quite solid and are of considerable heft. Upon initial playback, I immediately noticed that the speaker's imaging is deep and wide with excellent front-to-back depth. Low-level detail is clearly and concisely resolved. While not being quite capable of putting out massive dB levels, the ADAMs can get louder than most users will ever need. Additionally, all ribbon based designs exhibit greatly extended high frequency response (over more traditional designs). I'll not elaborate on the theory that any frequency content beyond our actual hearing ability is beneficial. However, I will offer this: It has been my experience that all ribbon based tweeters do in fact respond to transient information substantially faster than traditional designs, and consequently these speakers sound much more realistic or natural. Recordings are reproduced with much sharper, more lifelike transients than a dome tweeter is capable of reproducing. In fact, ribbon designs can scare you. They can fool you into thinking that something is in the room with you. I was eager to hear them on my current 'nightmare' mixing project.

In Use
Prior to receiving the S3As, I was working out of a horrible little 12X10X8' control room with rather massive acoustical problems. I had invested considerable expense into a myriad of acoustical treatments and had tried half-a-dozen or so various reference monitors. Still, nothing was translating with any degree of predictability. The room had some severe room nodes resulting in extreme boosts and nulls. At that point, I was burning 10 to 20 (or more) versions of every single mix just to arrive at a reasonably 'acceptable' final mix. Not a very favorable situation to say the least. I had reached a point where I absolutely couldn't trust anything I heard in that control room. Forget tweaking tones, I was having massive issues just getting relative balances correct. I was miserable. Around that time, I happened to speak to an engineer friend who had recently started using S3As, exclusively. During the course of our conversation, I mentioned my difficulties completing mixes for a current album project, and also that I was only halfway done with the record, but I was already on my second spindle of CDs; He laughed and asked me: "Why don't you just buy the ADAMs and be done with it?"

So, the ADAMs became my last ditch effort to try and get that room useable for mixing.

The ADAMs replaced the speakers I had previously been using, so I just placed them horizontally on my existing speaker stands. I threw up some previous mixes to see how the ADAMs would respond. Suddenly, I was able to hear some problems in what had previously been 'best' versions of my laborious earlier mixes. Encouraged, I tried a few quick test mixes and Eureka! The test mixes actually resembled what I was hearing back in the control room! Balances were spot on. I could even attempt a little sonic 'sweetening' with some modicum of confidence. In fact, the only area I had any difficulty with whatsoever (regarding their tonal characteristics), was in acclimating myself to their low end response, which tends to be very tight and punchy, and perhaps even a bit lean (at least relative to the monitors they replaced). I've not verified their stated response (-3dB @ 32hz according to the manufacturer) but I can state that if you are used to a big, flabby, booming low end, you will need to adjust to their response in that particular area. You could always add matching subs for more prodigious amounts of low end, if required. Personally speaking, the ADAMs were a revelation to me, and offered a big improvement in both speed and quality of output in my little mix room.

Shortly thereafter, I moved into a new studio. The new control room was much, much larger, and had been constructed (from the ground up) as a properly designed acoustic environment. A vast improvement over my last setup, to say the least. I initially placed the S3As in the same orientation I had used in the previous room (horizontal, in the nearfield) and ran some test mixes. Upon checking these tests, I noticed that my mixes were coming out a tad heavy around the 120Hz range, so I dialed up a 3dB boost on the front panel 160Hz bass control, and tried a few more quick balances. These mixes translated much better, with a much more accurate low frequency content. Further room analysis confirmed my suspicions; There was a big dip centered at 120Hz right at my mix position. While I was initially pleased with this setup, after a few months in the room, I began to notice that the ADAMs didn't seem to have quite the same extended frequency response I had previously become accustomed to. They just sounded a little flat, for lack of a better description. So, I began to experiment with moving the speakers around the room, inch by inch and also reorienting them. After much experimentation, I wound up with the speakers placed vertically and in more of a midfield setup. Imaging and front-to-back depth seemed to really open up in this placement. I did a few more mixes and proceeded to check these on other playback systems, both in the studio and at several other locations. As always, there were no surprises when I took these mixes anywhere.

As my familiarity and confidence with the monitors (and the new room) grew, I began to further experiment with placement tweaks of the S3As. Eventually, I began to perceive some of the more subtle differences in details, based on both their placement and their orientation. While the stereo imaging and depth was increased in the vertical orientation, this placement slightly reduced the inherent 'punchiness' and the overall midrange detail. Conversely, when placed horizontally the S3As were very punchy, extremely detailed in the midrange, but slightly less extended on the top and bottom extremes. To simplify my observations further: Vertical placement seemed to result in more of a "smiley-faced, hi-fi consumer-curve" type reproduction. Horizontal orientation produced a somewhat flatter but punchier sound, with a more detailed midrange.

Of course, not being content to leave well enough alone, I then attempted to rectify and reproduce the respective pros and cons of either orientation, via the front panel controls. With the speakers placed vertically, I boosted the midrange control attempting to bring back the loss of midrange punch I perceived. I also tried to extend frequency response with the speakers placed horizontally by boosting both the high and low room eqs. In the end, neither proved optimal. I returned the speakers to a far(ish) nearfield, horizontal placement, and returned all the front panel controls to flat. Over time, I had grown to prefer the improved midrange detail and punch, over the wider imaging and extended frequency responses in the vertical placement.

As we all like to hear things differently, one could certainly use these characteristics to tailor the S3As towards ones own personal listening preferences, as well as tailoring them to any given environment's acoustics.

Furthermore, I have since moved to yet another studio. In my new room, the speakers are currently placed in the nearfield and vertically oriented!

There is another factor that I'd like to point out, here. Anyone even considering spending this amount of money on any such high resolution monitor speakers should first make absolutely sure that as many of their acoustic-based room problems have been sorted out, as well as possible. All rooms suffer from acoustical problems, and no speaker, no matter how excellent, can overcome terrible acoustics. It has long been my opinion that any money spent on improving room acoustics is perhaps the single best investment one can make, and with the greatest returns in terms of improving the relative quality of work.

This is the section of the review where I'll depart from the norm and deliver a bit of a personal rant: In my opinion, studio monitors are a highly misunderstood, often misjudged breed of equipment. I often hear of users auditioning prospective monitors in stores, of them listening to a variety of recordings to gain perspective on their characteristics followed by subsequent descriptions of their various impressions based on such listening sessions. Pshaw, I say to you... Much "Dancing about Architecture" to reference the late Frank Zappa.

It is my opinion, that how any reference monitor reproduces any given recording in any environment, is of little to no consequence and practically no value. There are many fine reproduction systems available for casual use and enjoyment. I personally own and enjoy several. My one and only concern with any studio monitor can be summed up in a very easy to understand mission statement: How does the work I do in my own environment translate to every other playback medium? After all, we don't purchase studio monitors for our personal listening enjoyment. We purchase them to aid in our each and every production decision. All eight gazillion, eight billion and eighty-eight million of them... At the end of the day, I really don't care if I've particularly enjoyed listening to the monitors during the process; All I care about is: Has my every decision (based upon what I've heard from my most important tool, my REFERENCE monitors) led me to make the correct decisions, or have they influenced me to make incorrect decisions? Have they told me what I needed to know, or have they lied to me at every possible junction? Have they sugar coated the truth or have they been brutally honest, sparing no-ones' feelings?

PROS
Excellent reference monitor

CONS
Expensive

Conclusion
It is my opinion that the ADAM S3As are a brutally honest reference and will perform admirably in most any acoustic environment, from the worst to the best. If your work sounds good on these monitors, then you've done good work. Simple as that.

The ADAM S3As are the finest reference monitors I've ever used. I've given them my ultimate recommendation: I bought them... twice.
Old 29th November 2010
  #35
Here for the gear
 
Spikes's Avatar
 

It was very interesting to read. Thanks.
I have only one question to this monitors. It`s about low end.
I also have a pair of HiFi speakers in control room and with all settings to 0, they producing much more low end than adams do. Maybe its not correct question, but what kind of low end should have s3a in ideal conditions? On my mixing place a have a brilliant mids and Hi`s but in overall mix kick and base become behind all mix. I can`t feel a true punch from kick and base even on hi volumes. Before I had thoughts that I need a sub woofer, but now i have a doubts.
If you speaking about their perfect reference quality than they must have fool range of lows and without any problems. I`m using them with all settings turned to "zero". Is it make sense to boost low freq?
Old 29th November 2010
  #36
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

Love the ADAM S3X-H's but the right monitor 'rattles' at 50-60hz at even fairly low levels.... drives me crazy.

Awesome to mix on though!
Old 29th November 2010
  #37
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spikes View Post
I also have a pair of HiFi speakers in control room and with all settings to 0, they producing much more low end than adams do. Maybe its not correct question, but what kind of low end should have s3a in ideal conditions?
Ideally, they should be punchy, tight and balanced across the spectrum. My recommendation would be first, swap out the positioning of the ADAMs and the hifi speakers and see what happens. Secondly, download some analyzing s/w (if you don't already own some), shoot the room and see what the results are. You may be sitting in a low end null.

Good Luck!
Old 29th November 2010
  #38
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Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
Love the ADAM S3X-H's but the right monitor 'rattles' at 50-60hz at even fairly low levels.... drives me crazy.

Awesome to mix on though!
Ok, now back to the "ADAM S3X-H owners: does yours rattle?" thread. We have lots of complaining still to do!
Old 1st December 2010
  #39
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Dog_Chao_Chao's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
If you're going 4db down you definitely need to treat your room or adjust your speaker position. From what you're saying it sounds like you have a lack of bass in your listening position -when speakers are too trebly it's usually a bass issue. Try moving them around a bit since maybe they are in a bad acoustic place -inches count. Also try adjusting your listening position left-right, up-down -whatever works.
Yeah, your right. Its a bass issue. My room is treated. Twice! The thing is I cant seem to loose a stationary 100 hz. Ive done a lot treatment already. In fact, i think some of my bass issues comes from excessive acoustic treatment, or should I say, not so good one?
Anyway, Ive mesured at my listening position and I have a big dip at 100, like 4/6 dbs down! I dont know to compensate for this any better. I usually put a corrective eq when mixing. Still...
Old 2nd December 2010
  #40
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Sui_City's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog_Chao_Chao View Post
Yeah, your right. Its a bass issue. My room is treated. Twice! The thing is I cant seem to loose a stationary 100 hz. Ive done a lot treatment already. In fact, i think some of my bass issues comes from excessive acoustic treatment, or should I say, not so good one?
Anyway, Ive mesured at my listening position and I have a big dip at 100, like 4/6 dbs down! I dont know to compensate for this any better. I usually put a corrective eq when mixing. Still...
Is that 4 to 6dB?

Or 46dB?

4 to 6dB ain't all that bad.
Old 2nd December 2010
  #41
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huub's Avatar
I use the S3a daily and still loooove them..

Howeverrrr.... I used the s3xh once, and wow!... The low end is enormous and they sound just fantastic....
Old 2nd December 2010
  #42
Gear Nut
 
danharr's Avatar
 

no rattle here...

I got the S3X-H's about a month ago, and just love them. I will go over details later but just the imaging is unbelievably accurate. And while I initially thought the ribbon was "faster" than the midrange, I think now that it is just a matter of getting used to it. I was coming from a pair of Dynaudio BM15a's, which I had for ten years or so. I still think those are great speakers but the ADAM's are in a different league.

I've never had a rattle problem and I'm wondering if those that do may have more than one issue- for example, MPCist- I think (just guessing...) that your prob may be something other than port noise, since it is only affecting one speaker. Can you easily swap L and R outputs so the exact signal causing the problem in the RIGHT speaker is now feeding the LEFT? I'd try to contact ADAM for an RA#... it's a PIA, but I bet something is loose in there... That or I'd start swapping parts between the right and left speakers. I'd probably break something and blow the warranty, but hey, that's the way I roll!

I worry about the lack of adequate response from ADAM on the other thread and I'm crossing my fingers that I don't run into trouble in the future, but as of now I personally have zero complaints.

Overall these are the best speakers I've used in over thirty years of life in professional audio. I'm getting imaging like I got in Quads and other electrostats, dynamics like I was running Klipsches, and frequency response (almost) like my old Infinity RS-1s. And unlike electrostats, these speakers are very forgiving of listener position. I used to get image collapse moving my head 1/2". With the S3X-H, I can even use NO toe-in and still get great HF extension and precise image specificity. I've never had essentially zero HF rolloff with no toe-in. Just amazing. And these speakers have no real tweaky bells and whistles like aluminum cabinets, minimized tweeter diffraction, time alignment, etc... Don't know why they are so expensive when you look at them, except, hey- they just work (for me!) so I ponied up the dough.
Old 2nd December 2010
  #43
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danharr View Post
I've never had a rattle problem and I'm wondering if those that do may have more than one issue- for example, MPCist- I think (just guessing...) that your prob may be something other than port noise, since it is only affecting one speaker. Can you easily swap L and R outputs so the exact signal causing the problem in the RIGHT speaker is now feeding the LEFT?
Yep. Swapped L & R outputs and still have the same rattle in the same right side monitor.

Other than the rattle, I really dig these monitors.
Old 6th December 2010
  #44
Lives for gear
Guys who have used ADAM S3A's & S3X-H's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog_Chao_Chao

Yeah, your right. Its a bass issue. My room is treated. Twice! The thing is I cant seem to loose a stationary 100 hz. Ive done a lot treatment already. In fact, i think some of my bass issues comes from excessive acoustic treatment, or should I say, not so good one?
Anyway, Ive mesured at my listening position and I have a big dip at 100, like 4/6 dbs down! I dont know to compensate for this any better. I usually put a corrective eq when mixing. Still...
A dip ain't that bad.
A dip is easier to solute than a bump!
Do you place anything between your speakers and table? Anything that might caused a con filter? Sometime diffusers might caused unexpected dip and bump as well. So try move them around (if it's moveable) and see what happen. At the end, it can be how you place your speakers too. Try adjust the angle and the also the angle of "up and down".
Old 13th February 2015
  #45
Lives for gear
Agreed,
Ever since I used the S3A's vertically I never went back

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
In two different rooms so far I've preferred my S3A's vertical. The presentation in the horizontal orientation sounds more smeared to me because the drivers are distributed over such a wide area. I'm probably in the minority with this. Maybe it's the way my ears are shaped
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