Adam is not the newest brand of audio equipment. The company was founded 20 years ago in 1999 and in their relatively short existence, they have created some exceptional audio products. Their Studio Monitors and the “AX” series within has been met with critical acclaim by audio engineers all over the world. The A8x is no exception.
Adam was originally an acronym, standing for Advanced Dynamic Audio Monitors, so it is fair to say that speakers are their specialty although the brand has also moved into headphones and other areas of audio gear. They’re based in Germany, which is certainly the European capital of music equipment manufacturing, and their products are designed and made in Berlin
In this Adam A8x review, we’re looking at the features of this nearfield monitor which is certainly not on the cheap end of the market. Does it live up to the expectation of the rest of the Ax range? Is there any benefit of buying this over the A7x? Is the price worth it, and is value for money on offer with the A8x?
Power and Clarity
The A8x is the most powerful product in the Ax range. Though it is marketed mainly as a nearfield monitor, it can also be used as a midfield monitor. The power comes from an 8.5 inch midwoofer, combined with an X-Art tweeter. The midwoofer is where the clear and powerful bass this monitor is known for comes into play. The response in this area makes it great for listening to music but isn’t the flattest in terms of frequency response.
The X-Art tweeter also brings crisp, responsive and clear high-end, perfect for mixing and producing and accurately getting the high frequency ‘shine’ on your tracks.
This is an active studio monitor which is a good solution for home studios, for instance. The 200W RMS is pretty impressive and means you can really crank the monitors. Even at high volumes, the low-end doesn’t lose any of its accuracy, though some of the mids can disappear a little
To say something is built with German precision’ or ‘German efficiency’ is a bit of a cliche, but there really is no other way to describe it. The A8x is very well made, and the electronics are very unlikely to fail or cause any issues. Solid casing is acoustically unobtrusive and there are very few instances of the A8x speakers developing buzz over time from loose connections, for instance.
The confidence the manufacturers have in the build quality is shown by the fact they offer an excellent 5-year warranty should anything go wrong with the A8x monitors.
Amp. power of up to 300W is one of the key benefits of the A8x speakers. They are loud, and if you’re in an environment where you want this extra bit of oomph they can be really useful.
Further control of the sound comes with tweeter gain giving you plus or minus 4dB to mess around with, there are also shelf filters if you wish to use them on the rear panel.
The frequency crossover of the cones is set at 2.3 kHz. As some other reviewers have said, this could just mean that the midwoofer is being asked to reproduce too much in terms of lows and mids and doesn’t quite reproduce the mids as well as the A7x.
The inputs are XLR and RCA, which are fairly common, and good for studio producers and DJs alike. Some other modern speakers include jack inputs both ⅛ inch and ¼ inch, but this is not something on offer with the A8x.
As with a lot of speakers to hit the market in recent years, the controls are at the front, which means no fiddling around getting to the back of the speakers to turn them on or off.
A7x vs A8x
It is worth comparing the A8x to the flagship model, the A7x. Besides a little more power, there are some subtle differences between the two speakers at the top end of the Adam range. The A7x is very popular in a lot of recording studios and home studios, and is known for having a very flat response, making it a good option for mixing a lot of genres of music and for creating a level mix that will sound good on a lot of listening environments.
The A8x has a lot of power and clarity in the low end. For some of the genres of music with more bass, this can make the mix sound fantastic. However, as always, it is important to listen in multiple settings and getting a reference from other speakers to ensure that you aren’t making mistakes in the mix due to this low-end boost. This has been a criticism often leveled at Beats products such as their headphones.
Conclusion – Are the A8x Monitors Worth the Investment?
There is no getting around the fact that these monitors are expensive. They’re mainly designed to suit a high-end audio market and are good for recording studio engineers, DJ’s and anyone who needs to pay close attention to detail with audio. As we’ve already briefly alluded to, the mid-range is the only area which stops this from getting full marks as a speaker. Some vocals and key piano melodies can sink in the mix a little. For producing, this means it doesn’t have the flattest response.
That said, for accurate highs and powerful low end, wrapped in a high-quality speaker which is built to last, the A8x is hard to find fault with. Producers who like a lot of control in their bass frequencies will find this a joy to work with, just make sure you are using another set of speakers for reference, too.