REVIEW: ADAM Audio T7V vs. AX7 studio monitors
[update: one of my readers pointed out that it is actually A7X not AX7! So I’ve updated the body text but not the headline, so not to disrupt the Google indexing :-P]
I had been eyeing ADAM Audio speakers for a while now, but still holding off until I got more impressions from others, knowledge about the competition and generally waiting until I saved up enough money! Let's face it, ADAM speakers are not the cheapest out there. I had been considering the AX range, which are considered crossover of high end home studio recordings and pro audio. But to pay €1098 for a pair of A7X, €778 for a pair of the 5-inch A5X or a whopping €518 for a pair of the smallest of the range, A3X was enough to make (an aspiring music producer in the making like) me feel sick!
Buy ADAM T7V from Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/intl/adam_t7v.htm?partner_id=81398
Buy ADAM A7X from Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/intl/adam_a7x.htm?partner_id=81398
The first time I went to Bax Shop in Amsterdam to check studio monitors, there was a DJ who gave me a tip to buy the ADAM Audio speakers. I don't know who he was, but I definitely kept it in mind. I listened to all speakers and the AX range were definitely the ones that stood out to me in terms of amount and smoothness of the detail, however there was something really off-putting about the bass of the A5X. It was boomy and I predicted that I would fatigue after some time of listening.
So I left it and a couple months later I returned to Bax to listen again with a fresh ear and new impressions. Since the last time, I had spoken to several other musicians and producers and more often than not, ADAM speakers had a good reputation. This time they had the new T series on showcase, which is the entry-level affordable consumer speaker to compete with the likes of Yamaha HS series, JBL LSR305, KRK RP series to name a few.
Anyway, with my heart set on one of the ADAM AX series, I decided anyway to do a blind test and listen to all the speakers in the room and rank them. To my surprise, I actually discarded the A5X! WHAT! Incredible. So when the shop assistant came by, I asked him to check the boost settings on the back because I remembered from last time that I felt something was off with the bass. He checked the right monitor and indeed, it was boosted in the bass, and in the treble! WOW, I was so proud of my own ears and glad that I could now make a more honest comparison.
In the end, it all came down to the ADAM AX and T. They both had such an honest and detailed sound, rich and never harsh. Some of the competitors were harsh in the treble (Yamaha HS), or overall muffled (KRK), or just not as exciting (Focal Alpha, HEDD).
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN T7V and A7X
The most obvious being the sound quality.. of course AX being cleaner, and more detailed in every way (stereo image and frequency response) than the T.
AX has stereo link.
AX has the bass port at the front (not back like on the T), along with the volume control.
AX has High/Low Shelf options (boost and attenuate) and T has High/Low Pass Filter, so no boost.
Price. A pair of 2 x T7Vs is already 150 Euros cheaper than 1 x A7X. No more needs to be said.
Besides that (and I won't go into technical specs, as you can compare on the ADAM Audio website), there are few differences. I think for the price/quality is absolutely unbeatable, and for that reason alone, I went for the T7V.
After taking them home, I listened to some CDs and the sound was brilliant! The bass was really rich and I was glad to finally have some nice woofers in the house, rather than bass-less desktop computer speakers! (TIP: listen to CDs or vinyls when possible! Even Premium Spotify streaming will not give you the listening pleasure in good speakers)
I only have 3 concerns about the T7V and they are as follows:
1. On the back there is a dB level control but there is no groove on the pot at 0 dB so you don't know can't know if you're exactly on 0 and no stereo link so you can't be sure if both speakers are the same level.
2. I heard some popping sounds from the speakers, which decreased when I bought new RCA cables, but I have a feeling it is the dirty electricity in my apartment. I need to verify it another time using new XLR cables and in another place! [update: the popping noise stopped when using a good audio interface and XLR cables in another location. HOWEVER, now with a good studio set up, I noticed some white noise from the speakers. So the speakers are not completely quiet! It is not noticeable when listening to audio, but if you’re sitting in silence with the monitors on, you can hear it. To try to reduce it, I set the gain on the back of the speakers to North-West (or at 10 O’clock) which is below 0dB and use the gain on my audio interface, which doesn’t increase the noise at all even on the highest setting.]
3. The woofer cone is not made with very very much attention as you can see the sloppy glueing. Not a deal breaker, I'm just being picky. (see photos below)
In summary, go for the A7X if you have the money! If money is no issue, T7V is absolutely the best entry-level near-field studio monitors on the market.
[As a side note, for a higher price bracket, the Focal Alpha 65 and HEDD Type 05 came a close second and third in the blind test after the A7X, for their detailed and flat frequency response, but I felt that compared to the ADAM speakers they were slightly 'dull'. Not a bad thing, but I think I would like to be inspired when making music and if I don't feel warm listening to even my favourite songs, then something is wrong.]
I paid €395 for a pair of T7Vs at Bax Shop.
Buy ADAM T7V from Thomann 1 x €199: https://www.thomann.de/intl/adam_t7v.htm?partner_id=81398
Buy ADAM A7X from Thomann 1 x €549: https://www.thomann.de/intl/adam_a7x.htm?partner_id=81398
Check out all Active Near-field Monitors at Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/intl/active_nearfield_monitors.html?partner_id=81398
Official ADAM Audio website: https://www.adam-audio.com/en/
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