ADAM Audio S3A by andrplx
ADAM S3A monitors
When I reached 40 my old JBL 4208 monitors reached their retirement age (at least from my studio ? ) so I started looking for a new pair of monitors that would upgrade my setup of the 4208 and a beefy if gentle Luxman amp.
I was very interested in ADAMs line and wanted to get a loudspeaker that wouldn’t need a separate subwoofer, one that could integrate as best as possible the whole range from a good and real 40Hz upwards, so as to avoid all phase traps you can fall into with separate subs.
I looked at my wallet, looked at ADAMs line and chose the P33 as my target.
The P line has since disappeared, but was a sort of mid-level active line and the P33 was the S3A’s younger brother. The S3A being the professional speaker that took the market by storm with the revolutionary A.R.T. tweeter.
The local ADAM agent set up a visit to a local hip studio that had a pair in their professionally designed control room and I was about to sign the check, when one morning I read an interview with Sir George Martin and at some point he mentioned that since his 60s he had noticed a clear decrease in his hearing, especially the highs of course.
Suddenly it dawned on me that being 40 I would only have another 20 years of reasonable hearing before me, and had been studying and trying to become good at all the steps of recording and mixing music for the last 20.
So I figured that if I was going to buy new monitors, they had to be the very best I could afford.
So I moved my aim over to the more professional S3As and eventually managed to gather the resources and buy a pair.
The first time I plugged my new pair of S3As at my semi-pro studio, I knew I had made at least a good decision. Listening to a series of recently finished mixes originally made with the 4208s, I was absolutely amazed (and scared!) with the ADAMs ‘version’ of those.
Through the S3As it was very easy to identify the specific ‘sonic signature’ of each mix and in some cases the dramatic differences between them.
The scary part was the fact that this was recent work all for the same album and had sounded pretty much consistent in overall ‘sonic colour’ through the JBL monitors.
The ADAM S3As showed without a hint of diplomacy, that a certain song was too midrangey, another lacked serious bass, or yet another one’s treble region wasn’t ‘gluing’.
Even scarier was to understand that this was not a question of more or less bass or treble in the reproduction through a specific loudspeaker, this was about the sonic ‘character’, the overall ‘timbre’ of the mix. This was about quality in absolute terms.
Of course, the ADAMs have their personality, most attributable and generally attributed to the A.R.T. tweeter.
Its speed, resolution and extension translate to my ears as excellent ‘Ferrari’ transient response, detailed reproduction and clear highs.
You do have to live with them to start to get to grips with their high-end, because it tends to sound quite ‘lively’, but this doesn’t mean untruthfull or over-hyped in any way, and after comparing them systematically with different professional systems I’ve come to trust its consistency.
Now, I just have to get three more of them and an ADAM sub to make the most detailed, ‘earthquaking 5.1 system for my sound design work.