The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
just bought Adam A7x...they seem too quiet!!!?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
just bought Adam A7x...they seem too quiet!!!?

hi guys
I haven been using for year quite ****ty ESI nEar 05 monitors.
now I have done what I thought was a massive upgrade and got myself some Adam Ax7...
volume wise they are actually quieter in my room! how is this possible?
even with both pairs at full volume the ESI sound slightly louder when measured.
all things stay the same: using a MOTU 828es at -40db in both cases.
listening to music and playing piano with Kontakt... same volume settings...no changes.
how can this be? the ESI are LF 40W and HF 30W - they should be obliterated by the Adam.... sound quality is obviously amazing but I expected WAY more volume from the Adams

can someone help me understand
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

For a given set level on a speaker's set volume, the physical loudness will only be as high as the input signal is.
ADAM speakers have an input designed for a "professional" signal level of +4 dBu, which means that speakers designed for "semi-pro" levels such as your ESI speakers (-10 dBV) are designed for a signal about 12 dB quieter (there's some maths involved here). This is less than half as loud, and that means that if you set both pairs at unity level, the ESI will be louder.

This means very little.

A speaker's rated power is about how loud can the speaker physically go before distorting. And you get to that by turning up the output on the MOTU until that starts happening. If you do that, you'll realise the ADAMS will go far louder before distorting than the cheaper ESIs will.

Why do you think your MOTU is at –40 dB? That's stupidly low. That's because it's outputting a pro-level signal and the ESI can't handle that unless you turn it right down.

TL;DR: Imagine the ADAM has an attenuator on the input in order to cope with "grown-up" signal levels. That means it will be quieter... until you bring up the signal from the MOTU.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
For a given set level on a speaker's set volume, the physical loudness will only be as high as the input signal is.
ADAM speakers have an input designed for a "professional" signal level of +4 dBu, which means that speakers designed for "semi-pro" levels such as your ESI speakers (-10 dBV) are designed for a signal about 12 dB quieter (there's some maths involved here). This is less than half as loud, and that means that if you set both pairs at unity level, the ESI will be louder.

This means very little.

A speaker's rated power is about how loud can the speaker physically go before distorting. And you get to that by turning up the output on the MOTU until that starts happening. If you do that, you'll realise the ADAMS will go far louder before distorting than the cheaper ESIs will.

Why do you think your MOTU is at –40 dB? That's stupidly low. That's because it's outputting a pro-level signal and the ESI can't handle that unless you turn it right down.

TL;DR: Imagine the ADAM has an attenuator on the input in order to cope with "grown-up" signal levels. That means it will be quieter... until you bring up the signal from the MOTU.
thanks for the great post and for your time. makes a lot of sense.
not quite sure why -40 is "stupidly" low/...it's just a setting that sounded ok in my room... I didn't realise there was a normal output setting... what should it be to hit the sweet spot? -20? -15?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post

Why do you think your MOTU is at –40 dB? That's stupidly low. That's because it's outputting a pro-level signal and the ESI can't handle that unless you turn it right down.
actually I have been setting the ESI volume all the way up...
but the second part you say suggests that if I go to -30 or -20 the ESI would start to distort, even if I lowered their own volume?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
thanks for the great post and for your time. makes a lot of sense.
not quite sure why -40 is "stupidly" low/...it's just a setting that sounded ok in my room... I didn't realise there was a normal output setting... what should it be to hit the sweet spot? -20? -15?
–40 is a very low level. It's literally 1/100 of the maximum voltage the MOTU interface can output. It's a bit like setting your computer video player software to 1% brightness. You might be able to compensate for it with an incredibly powerful, bright screen, but you might get visual artifacts, and it might still not be bright enough. This is not correct operation.

The ideal operating levels for outputs are usually in the –20 to 0 dB range, although this wildly varies with the quality of the converters. I actually set my output on my interface at –6 (this is half the maximum voltage, alhough you don't really need to know that), and then set the volume of the speakers as loud as I'll ever need them. On my ADAMs this is about –16.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
but the second part you say suggests that if I go to -30 or -20 the ESI would start to distort, even if I lowered their own volume?
I don't know when it will start to distort. It will start to distort when you start sending a signal that's too loud for the input of the ESI's power amp, or when the physical cones start to distort. My point is that the maximum physical loudness (or SPL) of the ADAMs will be higher, no matter what the input gain is set at when you get there.

You need to let go of the assumption that "–30" is an absolute value. It's relative. Different speakers, different interfaces, different microphones, will have different values. That's why gain controls exist.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

do proper level matching between gear in the analog domain (dBu) and then use the control room output to adjust level...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
hi guys
I haven been using for year quite ****ty ESI nEar 05 monitors.
now I have done what I thought was a massive upgrade and got myself some Adam Ax7...
volume wise they are actually quieter in my room! how is this possible?
even with both pairs at full volume the ESI sound slightly louder when measured.
all things stay the same: using a MOTU 828es at -40db in both cases.
listening to music and playing piano with Kontakt... same volume settings...no changes.
how can this be? the ESI are LF 40W and HF 30W - they should be obliterated by the Adam.... sound quality is obviously amazing but I expected WAY more volume from the Adams

can someone help me understand
This is one of the times where unit matters.

“Set the motu to -40dB”. dB what? If that’s dBFS, you’re losing a massive amount of digital resolution before you’re getting to your speakers - you might as well be mixing in 16bit!

Really - set your output level flat, set your speaker gain to zero, and turn up your monitor controller. If you can’t get a decent volume range, turn down your speakers. If it’s still too loud, trim the digital output (assuming you’ve got no proper output trim on the motu).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
This is one of the times where unit matters.

“Set the motu to -40dB”. dB what? If that’s dBFS, you’re losing a massive amount of digital resolution before you’re getting to your speakers - you might as well be mixing in 16bit!

Really - set your output level flat, set your speaker gain to zero, and turn up your monitor controller. If you can’t get a decent volume range, turn down your speakers. If it’s still too loud, trim the digital output (assuming you’ve got no proper output trim on the motu).
not sure if it's dBFS but I assume it is. the MOTU manual doesn't specify the unit of measure for the meter...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
not sure if it's dBFS but I assume it is. the MOTU manual doesn't specify the unit of measure for the meter...
If it’s -ve and digital most likely! Naughty naughty Motu...

In which case trimming 40dB from your output level pre conversion isn’t the best way to maintain quality throughput!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
If it’s -ve and digital most likely! Naughty naughty Motu...

In which case trimming 40dB from your output level pre conversion isn’t the best way to maintain quality throughput!
-ve?

anyway I have written to MOTU asking...nothing back yet
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Really - set your output level flat, set your speaker gain to zero, and turn up your monitor controller. If you can’t get a decent volume range, turn down your speakers. If it’s still too loud, trim the digital output (assuming you’ve got no proper output trim on the motu).
just so I understand, "output level" is what in this context? which parameter of the 828?
"speaker gain" you mean the volume control in the actual speaker right?
the MOTU has output trim.

thanks again
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
just so I understand, "output level" is what in this context? which parameter of the 828?
"speaker gain" you mean the volume control in the actual speaker right?
the MOTU has output trim.

thanks again
Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
-ve?

anyway I have written to MOTU asking...nothing back yet
negative - standard scientific shorthand

dBFS is always -ve since 0 is "full scale" and you can't get louder than that.

But I'm not 100% sure what you're referring to - is this how loud you set the MOTU's volume control, or a digital trim inside the software?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Nut
 
pisquano's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
negative - standard scientific shorthand

dBFS is always -ve since 0 is "full scale" and you can't get louder than that.

But I'm not 100% sure what you're referring to - is this how loud you set the MOTU's volume control, or a digital trim inside the software?
I refer to the Motu's volume control. but still not sure it's measured in dBFP in the meter... it goes up to 0
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pisquano View Post
I refer to the Motu's volume control. but still not sure it's measured in dBFP in the meter... it goes up to 0
That means 0 is the maximum possible volume out of the device, with no attenuation. Whether the attenuation itself is a digital one (in which case it's dBFS) or a digitally-controlled analogue gain control (in which case it's a voltage and the digital output is already at 0 dBFS) isn't really possible to know unless MOTU tell you or you open up the device. I'd say it's not even an important consideration.

What's clear is that you shouldn't be at –40 dB. Your volume should be close to zero, or zero at the loudest you'll ever listen, and then you attenuate at the input of the speakers.

I already explained why the ESIs are louder at the same MOTU level – they're calibrated for quieter signals than the ADAMs. This doesn't mean you're more powerful.

TL;DR: Boost the volume on the MOTU, lower the gain on the ADAMs, and don't worry about anything regarding the ESIs.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump