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Adam A3X vs Eve SC204 - First hand experience Studio Monitors
Old 11th October 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Adam A3X vs Eve SC204 - First hand experience

So, after reading all the good stuff about ADAMs in about every review i've found, i finally decided to get myself the A3Xs. Even without ever hearing any of the ADAMs live, i was convinced that these are the monitors that i want to use. So, I was quite open minded about them to say the least. I did get the A3X because it was repeatedly stated that, even despite their small form, they can provide most of the things that ADAM is all about. That was a nice opportunity to get an idea what everyone is talking about.

At first, of course, i was quite impressed by the excessive amount of details that they revealed to me right from the start, but there was also something else that prevented me from actually enjoying them that i couldn't quite put my finger on. I didn't think about that too much and said to myself that they probably need their time to get burnt in properly or to get my ears used to them or something like that. So i just used them trying not to be too critical.

Then, after a few days i began to adjust the tweeter level, as that's the only tweaking possibility that it's got, and that surely eased the sound to a certain degree, but it didn't really change my working experience with the sound as such.

You know, there was just no moment where i could enjoy the sound itself. It never happened. I always had the feeling that i had to tweak the monitors in one way or another. So i started to stuff the ports with foam, and that eased my experience even further. But now they started to sound boxy, and that's certainly not what i want to hear. Especially when it's the only tweaking possibility left.

So, i wasn't sure why, but i just couldn't really work with them. I tried everything. Moving them around in the room, changing their position, tweaking them as much as possible, eqing the source input, but nothing really got me to enjoy them for what they are.

You know, i wanted them. I love the level of detail that they have to offer, and i love the reputation that they, Adam, have gained in the last few years. I read all the reviews about the A3X, A5X, A7X and A8X, and there was no doubt that Adam it had to be. So it did, but what can i say, i just couldn't enjoy them.

The A3X are very revealing, but at the same time they are really boomy. Due to the front ports, and maybe the small architecture it sounds like they're pumping constantly. You know, the kind of sound when you're watching a football game and the commentator got a really deep, bassy voice. That's exactly how the A3X sounded all the time. A constant bass pressure, but not the subtle deep kind that you'll mostly feel (and enjoy) in your stomach. It was more of that overstraining kind of frequency that really get's through your ears really quickly. I can't explain it any better, but maybe you know what i mean.

Sure, it definitely had to do with room issues of some sort, but regardless where i moved them, it didn't work out at all. I don't really know why, but i think the front ports could have played a huge part there, but then again i'm no expert on the subject.

I would like to say something about the highs as well, but i'm not sure what. They're certainly impressive in their own right, but i'm uncertain whether that's good or useful thing for me. I know i enjoyed to work with them a lot more after i turned them down by -4dbs, and that's not really the first thing that i want to do with my monitors. I wouldn't say they were harsh as they were, but they didn't really invite me to work with them either. So, i guess they were just a little off for my ears at that time or something like that. But that wasn't really my problem anyway. Not the deciding one at least.

It mainly was the "boominess", if i might call it that way, that really got on my nerves quite quickly. There was always that feeling that i had to change something about the sound to really enjoy it, and that was regardless of what i was hearing. And that's a huge problem for creative work of any kind. I was never able to get deep in the sound itself, because there always was this kind of barrier that i couldn't get past. And that killed the workflow on a very profound level, every time. Call me oversensitive or whatever, but for me it's all about the sound. If i can't enjoy it, i can't work with it. The burn-in process (over 20 days) did change the sound over the time, and let it just be my perception, but not enough to really get used to it.

So what can i say. I wanted them, i got them, i used them, and it just didn't worked out. Maybe it has to do with A3X themselves, being the smallest of the ADAM speakers, or with my room or with my ears at the time or something like that. Maybe the A5X or especially the A7X play in a completely different league and i wouldn't have experienced anything like that at all, but after the A3X i just didn't want to invest much more time in tools that maybe just won't work for me at this point. You know, i just want to work on sound, not on tools

So i sent them back and got the EVE SC204 instead. And what can i say, they're exactly what i needed. I actually got them mainly for the extended EQing possibilities, hoping that they would be everything that i wanted the ADAM A3X to be, but more tweakable, but in reality they are completely different.

The SC204 are incredibly smooth and restrained, but in all the good and right ways. Even without tweaking them in any way they present such a gentle picture/soundstage, that it's just a pure joy to use them. There's no stand-out frequency, no boominess, no harshness, just a total clear sound that let's you forget the speakers almost immediately. And isn't that the most important thing at all? The bass is completely tight and accurate, there's no "breath" or whatever you might call it that blurrs the deeper regions in deceptive ways, like you hear it from most ported systems.

I felt instantly invited to work with them because they delivered me exactly what i wanted to hear. No barriers, no uncertainties, no issues. Just me and the sound.

I've no idea whether the rear port is actually playing a huge role here or what exactly does, but they're sounding phenomenal. Not in an in-your-face kind of way, but in a much more subtle, much more important way. I guess you have to experience it to fully understand it. But that's certainly true for every quality product.

So, i'm not trying to claim that these are the best monitors that money can buy, but compared to the A3X this is like day and night. And for now, that's all my ears need to hear
Old 11th October 2013
  #2
I think you're spot on regarding the A3X's boominess...
My brother has a pair and i always get confused when i hear them, the boominess makes the mids muddy, then the highs are too predominant also..
Basically it's the opposite of what a studio monitor should sound like...

My HS50M's frustrate me a bit because the lows are so thin that it kills my vibe sometimes.

The A5X, A7X etc... sound more balanced compared to the A3X for sure.

I had a quick listen to the Eve SC208's and i loved their sound :-)
Old 12th October 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeKBoT View Post
I think you're spot on regarding the A3X's boominess...
My brother has a pair and i always get confused when i hear them, the boominess makes the mids muddy, then the highs are too predominant also.
Yeah exactly. They're impressive at first, but you also notice that they're off in a way. Something's not sitting right. They actually confused me as well until i figured it out a bit.

I've read about a slightly hyped bass, but, to me, that is an understatement. I wonder why no review mentioned anything about the boominess, because it actually made them unusable for me. Maybe they're just really prone to room acoustics?

How much more balanced are the A7X then?
Old 12th October 2013
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geron View Post
Yeah exactly. They're impressive at first, but you also notice that they're off in a way. Something's not sitting right. They actually confused me as well until i figured it out a bit.

I've read about a slightly hyped bass, but, to me, that is an understatement. I wonder why no review mentioned anything about the boominess, because it actually made them unusable for me. Maybe they're just really prone to room acoustics?

How much more balanced are the A7X then?
I thought it was my brothers room as he has no treatment but i tried them in my studio and i heard the same issues.... Maybe a sub would remove the boominess and clear up the mids but that is an expensive solution.

The A7X's are well balanced overall, that's why they are loved around these parts. The tweeters in the AX range are all quite bright but you can always tone them down a bit.
Old 12th October 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geron View Post
Yeah exactly. They're impressive at first, but you also notice that they're off in a way. Something's not sitting right. They actually confused me as well until i figured it out a bit.

I've read about a slightly hyped bass, but, to me, that is an understatement. I wonder why no review mentioned anything about the boominess, because it actually made them unusable for me. Maybe they're just really prone to room acoustics?

How much more balanced are the A7X then?
A3X is not really that great, more mobile thing with the SC204 being a better monitor.

A5X & A7X completely different beats though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeKBoT View Post
The A7X's are well balanced overall, that's why they are loved around these parts. The tweeters in the AX range are all quite bright but you can always tone them down a bit.

The brightness in the tweeter is usually due to rooms or lack of burn in, but still personal as to how someone wants them.
Old 13th October 2013
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

So, i guess there aren't that many EVE owners yet (or the A3X for that matter)?
Old 13th October 2013
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomox View Post

The brightness in the tweeter is usually due to rooms or lack of burn in, but still personal as to how someone wants them.
that's true :-)
i guess what i meant with bright is that the Adam tweeter by default has a bit more presence/thickness compared to other brands, it's like it occupies more space in the frequency spectrum.... maybe it's extra colour or harmonic distortion but that tweeter definitely gives something extra..

EVE Audio is still a new company but i haven't heard one complain about how they sound, only positive stuff...
Old 16th October 2013
  #8
Here for the gear
 
ELFA_Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeKBoT View Post
EVE Audio is still a new company but i haven't heard one complain about how they sound, only positive stuff...
I'm yet to read a bad review either.

Welcome to the EVE family
Old 17th October 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
DirkP's Avatar
 

Isn't Eve an Adam spinoff, founded by former Adam-Engineers?
What kind of puzzled me about their speakers is that they're using a dsp, but only have xlr and rca inputs. This means you are obliged to let your signal pass 2 times D/A conversion. This doesn't make sense to me. If at least they would have a digital in.

Dirk
Old 17th October 2013
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
Isn't Eve an Adam spinoff, founded by former Adam-Engineers?
What kind of puzzled me about their speakers is that they're using a dsp, but only have xlr and rca inputs. This means you are obliged to let your signal pass 2 times D/A conversion. This doesn't make sense to me. If at least they would have a digital in.

Dirk
Yeah, i've wondered that myself, but i'm sure there's a reason for it. I might actually write them a mail about, it certainly is an interesting question.

And it's actually the former ADAM CEO, from what i've read.

Schöne Grüße aus Berlin
Old 17th October 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Man, just set them up in a proper stereo position. What an excellent experience!
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