ADAM Audio S2V by Dowsed
Adam Audio – S2V
Speaker Type: Nearfield Monitors
Manufacturer: Adam Audio
Price: £1500 per speaker
Website: Adam Audio
Adam Audio has a long-standing history with studio monitoring and now under new management, I was excited to see what was in store for the third generation of S series monitors. I have been sent the 2-way S2V monitors for review.
I initially thought that I had been sent the S3H as it arrived on a pallet. Once I got through a mass of cellophane wrapping I got to a more reasonably sized pair of boxes. The speakers themselves are beautiful, smoothed corners and a 21st century design without seeming too futuristic had me purring. Just by looking at them you could also tell that there were some design improvements but hadn’t lost the signatures, which Adam became known for (like the ribbon folded tweeters).
The best part about receiving new speakers is the fact that you have to burn them in (meaning play music through them for several hours to let the speakers loosen up). It also happened to be the one hot day that we have per year here in England and thus had developed the perfect excuse for a round of golf. Upon my return (somewhat angered at losing), I heard the speakers playing as I entered the studio. The high end was accurate, well-defined, crisp but not fatiguing, the bottom end had gravitas without being overbearing. Once in the studio properly I started to play music of all sorts of genres at varying volume levels, I was impressed these speakers sounded much bigger than their size and the overall quality of the stereo-imaging was much better than I had expected and they also had the sort of mid-range weight I expect from three way speakers. The S2V are definitely a step up from all previous ranges of Adam speaker, the off-axis response is way more solid, the tweeter itself seems the most “smooth” whilst simultaneously having the best transient response. I also thought that the low-end response from the bass reflex port was the best I’ve heard on any Adam Speaker, I found the AX and A77X to be a little bit much for my taste, the S3X was much closer but the S2V is closer still. If pushed I would still say that I have a strong preference for closed designs.
I normally take a little time to get to know speakers before doing important work on them. However, with the S2V I felt immediately comfortable and I continued to spend the rest of the day mastering an album on them. After finishing and comparing my work across my other speakers and other environments I was impressed with how the work translated, although they were ever so slightly bass light. To test the S2Vs a little further I decided to try to clear up some of this low end using the in-built DSP EQ facilities, which would hopefully lead to better translating work. I realized that the speakers were set to Pure mode, I quickly tried the next preset UNR mode, this seemed to make the sound more “hi-fi” and “scooped”, I quickly consulted the manual and found that the Pure preset is the flat response that the Adams are set with by default and the UNR mode stands for “Uniform Natural Response” other than that what was going on behind the hood is unknown. I then tried to set my own EQ response; whilst this is easy enough to do it was a pain to do from behind the speakers because I had to run back and forth to the listening position. However, after reading the manual further I realised that the ability to tweak the EQ whilst in the listening will be possible with the S2V via the USB port on the rear of the speakers you just need to download an app to control it. At this stage it is unclear whether this app is available yet as I couldn’t find it on the site but as these monitors are brand new it might appear over the coming weeks.
Sound Quality (5/5)
The sound quality on this range of speakers is undoubtedly Adams best yet and I was a big fan of the previous generation of S series speaker. Whilst I generally prefer enclosed speakers, the ports on the S2V aren’t at all the “ringy mess” I’ve encountered with many bass reflex designs.
Ease of use (4/5)
The initial set up of the speaker was very simple. Using the OLED display and rotary encoder is a little fiddly, especially when you are in a tight space behind the speakers. That said when Adam launch the app for the usb slot on the back of the monitors it should become incredibly simple to
The DSP control is fantastic and I can’t wait to see the developments with the app.
Bang for buck (4/5)
There is no doubt that the S2V is for the top-end of the market but there is enough quality and expandability to warrant the price tag.