Adam audio comes from the pro side of this sport. The design of its powered and passive loudspeakers reflect a solid nod in the direction of everyman studio monitors, but also so does the pricing.
The demo that Adam had on display in their 6th floor room of the Musician’s Gear Expo was somewhat unconventional by audiophile terms in that it offered a distinct A/B comparison of a fairly deep selection of the product line.
The 6 channel switch you see above was connected to a Emotiva 7 channel XPA amplifier and then fed into the loudspeakers. As it often is with direct comparisons, the live in-touch experience has its benefits and drawbacks. The yen/yang of the operation is that if one speaker sounds better, than the previous entry by default now has a inadvertent degradation of quality/value by comparison. It is also quite difficult to pinpoint the source of direct observations given excessive outside variables, some known and some not. In the case of this demonstration, some of the loudspeakers were actively powered, while some were powered by the Emotiva, a factoid that was unknown to me until after the demo was over. In either case the product line sounded very good overall, and major kudos to Adam for having the stones to give it a whirl.
The innermost towers in the leading photo are the Pencil MK3 active ($3,500) and produced great extension upward with surprising transparency and air. The next loudspeakers outward are Adam’s flagship offering in a passive arrangement ($7k, $10k active). The extra “X-Art” mid driver brought a little more vocal texture to the scene but not a whole lot more definition to my ears, but again, we were also switching up amplification between the two. From what I observed the Pencil in active mode with its internal A/B class amplification was quite a stunner, and a significant value considering the only item you need to get rocking is a balanced feed from a pre amp (no SE connection).
But that was all before we landed on the outer most regions. The modular GTC 55 seen above runs a mere $800 and produced the fullest sound of the demo. The 55 is modular in the sense that you can arrange the given drivers in any order within the tower, you can not change up the overall inventory of drivers. This comes in handy for custom placements and arranging the tweeter square to optimal heights and alignments. Its a bit of a pro move, but one that could easily see benefit to anyone with a bespoke need. The arrangement is available in bigger towers (of which the 55 is the smallest) with a different driver inventory available in each. I was very glad that I stopped by the room, it was one of the more pleasurable demonstrations I had that weekend. The track selection was dynamic and unique from the rest of the room experiences and turned out to be one of my favorite surprises from the show.