ADAM Audio T7V Monitor Measurements & Conclusion
The ADAM Audio T7V speaker was measured in free-air at a height of 7.5 feet at a 1-meter distance from the microphone, and the measurements were gated at an 11-millisecond delay. In this time window, some resolution is lost below 250 Hz and accuracy is completely lost below 110 Hz. Measurements have been smoothed at a 1/12 octave resolution.
The above graph shows the direct-axis frequency response and other curves that describe the speaker’s amplitude response in a number of ways. For more information about the meaning of these curves, please refer to our article Understanding Loudspeaker Measurements Part 1. The response here isn’t perfect but it isn’t bad either. The chief problem is that there is a slight imbalance in the overall response that occurs in the upper midrange, at around 1.5kHz. It is as if there is a slight shelf filter that bumps up the response from that point upwards by about 2dB on average. The T7V would have a relatively flat on-axis were it not for that discontinuity. I didn’t notice this imbalance in my listening, although I did feel that the speaker did have a crisp and detailed quality. A response like this accentuates the upper harmonics of voices and instruments but doesn’t put emphasis on any single narrow range since it is all elevated. The problem is that a studio monitor should not be accentuating anything. The good news is that there is good correlation between the on-axis response and off-axis responses which we can see in the smooth directivity indexes, so there doesn’t seem to be any directivity errors, and this speaker could be reliably equalized since its reflected sound should be a good match for its direct sound.
The above graphs depict the speaker’s lateral responses out to 90 degrees in five-degree increments. More information about how to interpret these graphs can be read in this article: Understanding Loudspeaker Review Measurements Part II. If one takes the time to look closely, one thing that can be seen on the above graphs is that the elevated upper ranges do get flattened out with respect to the lower range at off-axis angles. In fact, the responses from twenty to thirty degrees fall within a relatively tight window. The thirty-degree angle holds the response tight within about a +/-1.5dB window from 200Hz to 18kHz. The most accurate response occurs within this angle range, and those who want the least coloration in the sound should have the speaker angled so they are listening to the speakers at a twenty to thirty-degree angle. The waveguide looks to be doing a good job of maintaining uniform directivity over the tweeter’s bandwidth.
The above polar map graphs show the same information that the preceding graphs do but depict it in a way that can offer new insight regarding these speakers’ behavior. Instead of using individual raised lines to illustrate amplitude, these polar maps use color to portray amplitude, and this allows the use of a purely angle/frequency axis perspective. The advantage of these graphs is they can let us see broader trends of the speaker’s behavior more easily. For more information about the meaning of these graphs, we again refer the reader to Understanding Loudspeaker Review Measurements Part II.
As we have seen before, the directivity is pretty well controlled for the most part. The tweeter does begin to beam a bit, but that doesn’t occur until around 10kHz so isn’t likely to be of much audible consequence. If we track the horizontal traces at twenty degrees and thirty degrees, we see pretty much just a solid hue of red indicating a response without much deviation. Again, that seems to be the most neutral angle of this speaker’s output. That kind of listening angle can typically be achieved by having the speakers facing straight ahead in parallel rather than having them face the listener directly. Perhaps ADAM Audio assumed that the user would give them that kind of placement and designed them accordingly? The only problem with that theory is that ADAM clearly states in the user manual that the speakers should be aimed directly at the listener.
The above graph shows the T7V’s response behavior along its vertical axis where zero degrees is directly in front of the tweeter, negative degree values are below the tweeter, and positive degree values are above the tweeter. In this graph, we can see that the best responses occur on-axis and ten degrees below. Above and below that range, crossover cancellation starts putting holes in the response, which is typical of two-way designs like this. Still, that is a relatively narrow vertical angle to be listening in. These speakers sound best where the tweeter is level with your ears or slightly above your ears.
The above graphs show the T7V’s low-frequency responses that I captured using groundplane measurements (where the speaker and microphone are on the ground in a wide-open area). This graph depicts the low-frequency responses of each of the ‘LF’ switch positions, with the purple curve representing the ‘+2dB’ position, the blue curve representing the ‘0dB’ position, and the yellow curve representing the ‘-2dB’ position. One thing that we see here is that the lower bass does get a bit of a bump even in the ‘0dB’ position. The most neutral setting seems to be the ‘-2dB’ position. I did most of my listening with the speaker set at ‘0dB,’ and now I know why the bass seemed so strong. The T7V’s look to have a solid response down to 50Hz. With boundary loading, these speakers could get a very usable response below that even, well into the 40s. That is a very respectable bass extension given the size of these monitors.
The above graph exhibits the changes that can be made to the response using the ‘HF’ switch on the amp plate with the blue curve representing the ‘+2dB’ position, the red curve representing the ‘0dB’ position, and the green curve representing the ‘-2dB’ position. The most neutral sound happens with the T7V set to ‘0dB.’ If you want a bit more of an aggressive sound, set it to ‘+2dB,’ but if you want the treble to be a bit more laid back, use the ‘-2dB’ setting.
Before bringing this review to a close, I will briefly go over the strengths and weaknesses of the product under review, and, as usual, I will start with the weaknesses. The only real flaw in the ADAM Audio T7V is that it is not as fully tonally balanced as one would expect in a studio monitor. There is a slight elevation in the response from about 1.5kHz and above, and while that wouldn’t be terribly significant for recreational listening, that response couldn’t help but impact the sound mix for content creation which is what these are made for. Anyone who uses these monitors to create a sound mix may find that their recording will sound slightly recessed on a neutral sound system. One workaround for this is to listen at about a 25-degree angle instead of an on-axis angle. Another slight aberration is that the low-end is not neutral either, and the elevated bass is going to impact the mix as well. The good news is that can be easily alleviated by setting the ‘LF’ switch to ‘-2dB,’ but the problem here is one would naturally assume that the ‘0dB’ setting yields a neutral response, and that is not the case. If you mixed content with the ‘LF’ switch at ‘0dB’ or especially ‘+2dB,’ you may find your mix sounding a bit thin on bass in other sound systems.
I thought the T7V monitors presented a nice sound, but those looking for accuracy above all may want to look elsewhere. That isn’t to say they are wildly inaccurate, which they are not. I think these could be used for production, and that the produced content could sound good, but it would be a somewhat imperfect reproduction of the source signal, especially without careful set up and knowledge of this speaker’s behavior. It’s not easy to make a speaker with an extremely flat response, especially at this price point, but we have seen some similarly priced monitors achieve a more neutral tonal balance than what the T7Vs managed, at least on-axis.
For those who don’t need absolute accuracy, there is a lot in the T7V’s favor. As I mentioned, they do sound very good, and their imaging abilities are superb. The sound that they produce is detailed without being harsh. Their bass abilities constantly surprised me given their size. They do have a slight background noise from the amplifier, but I have heard worse in many other active monitors. The T7V monitors have a nicely controlled off-axis response that has good correlation to their on-axis response, so acoustic reflections will not be problematic with this speaker, and they don’t require anything special in terms of acoustic treatments for an optimal sound. Their directivity also allows them to be predictably equalized.
Aside from their sound, the T7Vs look very nice as far as studio monitors go, and I think they could easily be used in a living room or some other domestic setting where there is some aesthetic bar that must be cleared. Another advantage they have is that their Class-D amps ensure that the vast majority of the electricity going to them gets turned into sound and is quite a bit more efficient than Class-AB amps.
In the end, I liked the T7V speakers. Anyone looking for powered speakers that look nice and don’t cost a fortune should give them a try. A simple stereo pair of T7Vs in a room where space is at a premium would far outperform any soundbar or Bluetooth speaker. They would work great on a desktop PC system where there is no room for a subwoofer on account of their substantial bass performance. The T7Vs can give you a good, detailed sound with plenty of bass from a nice-looking cabinet and do not cost a fortune.
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor
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shadyJ, post: 1426895, member: 20472You take all the fun out of teasing you guys!
(Review will go live a bit later, this is just a placeholder post for the thread.)
In the world of studio gear, ADAM Audio is chiefly known for the folded ribbon AMT tweeter studio monitors. Their speakers were always a bit more costly than entry-level monitors from other well-known manufacturers like Yamaha, JBL, and Mackie. Years ago before I knew more about speaker design and technology, I assumed that since they were more expensive they must be better. I have since learned over the years and in my time as a loudspeaker reviewer that price doesnt always correlate to sound quality. Even so, after all these years, I am still a bit excited to finally have an ADAM Audio monitor pair in my hands for review. In for review today, we have the T7V, a two-way near-field monitor with a 7 woofer and 1.9" AMT waveguide tweeter that retails for $500/pair. What separates these from ADAMs higher-end models is fewer features and less powerful amplification. However, the fundamental sound quality should be largely intact, minus some dynamic range. Now, lets dive in to see what ADAM has brought into this price range…
READ: ADAM Audio T7V Powered Monitor Review