We’ve tested out all types of monitors over the years from budget, entry-level options to money-is-no-limit offerings, but what’s most important from any of these systems is that the sound can be trusted and you can get the best mix possible from them. We’ve also seen producers now using their bedrooms and spare rooms as their studios and with it comes a new approach to monitoring. For many, long gone are the days of rocking up to a professional studio space and having a monitoring system that rivals a club install — instead, DJs and producers tend to use smaller monitors or even headphones to work on their tracks and as a result we’ve seen a lot of manufacturers focusing on nearfield speakers that’ll offer a full sonic experience suitable for mixing under these environments.
ADAM Audio’s S2V active monitor is one such speaker that’s perfect for this new modern approach to production. It’s a small(ish) 7-inch nearfield speaker with a big sound and unbelievably accurate, detailed sound delivery. We’ve always been big fans of ADAM Audio monitors from their AX series to their entry- level F range, so when we had the opportunity to test out their S2V — part of their new flagship S series range — we jumped at the chance to see what they were all about.
Before we look at the technology that goes into the S2V, we want to jump straight in on the sound stage. In short, the S2V sound brilliant — they deliver such a picturesque sound that is balanced and neutral without being flat or harsh, especially in the top-end — as some critics would suggest — with speakers utilising ribbon tweeter technology. We were instantly shocked at the detail that the S2V deliver. To say these speakers are smooth is an understatement. The accuracy of the sound field was impressive; we could pick out and hear minute details that were previously lost on other monitors. The bass spectrum is rounded and wholesome yet tight and punchy, the mids are defined and equally as balanced as the bass, with the highs having a crisp but not brittle sound to them.
All the sonic characteristics of the speakers held their own space in the frequency range. We also noticed that these speakers were easy on the ears during long studio sessions, and listening fatigue was virtually nil. If we ever thought we were losing our perspective, we just turned them down to ultra-low levels but found the accuracy and detail at even these low levels was equally impressive, revealing even more about the mix. One thing to mention about the accuracy — if the mix is wrong the speakers won’t hide it from you, which is what’s needed in a quality studio monitor.
Going to the extreme and playing them at loud levels offers up a sound that would be expected on much larger speakers. But even at this level there was no depravation in the sound, no break up on the top end, harsh mids being pushed through or overbearing bass. Once again, the speakers performed with a balanced frequency range. Throughout all our testing stages the stereo field was another thing that caught our ear, and it goes back to those words we keep using: accuracy and detail. The stereo positioning of sounds was impressive, pin-point so. Another thing to note is that the speakers worked well in the test environment we were using, not being too overbearing or delivering a sound too big for the room. ADAM have marketed the S2Vs for small to medium rooms and without a doubt we would say they’re perfect for these environments.
The S2Vs incorporate all kinds of modern technology to aid in making sure these speakers deliver the optimum sound, from the cool-looking slanted corners and front-mounted bass reflex system to the in-built DSPs for fine-tuning the speakers to your room or user needs. All these innovations are there for a reason, with the curved finish ensuring that edge-diffraction artefacts are minimised. OK, these nearfields are not the cheapest on the market but what you get is a professional monitoring system that will make your mixes sound so much better. Simply put, you’re getting what you pay for and then some.
AT A GLANCE
ADAM AUDIO’S S Series
BUILD QUALITY 10
EASE OF USE 9.8
VALUE FOR MONEY 9.8
SOUND QUALITY 10
An amazing speaker that offers up excellent sound quality.
DSP control at the back can be tricky to dial in and listen to at the same time.
Simply put, one of the best monitors we have ever listened to.
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