Smaller studio spaces are among the most demanding environments for monitors. Developing an effective small monitor also comes with various challenges. In this review, we check out the A4V from ADAM Audio. A competent and feature-rich small monitor that tackles these challenges head-on.
ADAM Audio A4V
The ADAM Audio A4V delivers excellent sound quality while providing you with a suite of tools to help tackle the most common issues you would encounter in a smaller studio space. But as with every small monitor, it isn’t flawless.
Small monitors come with inherent limitations, but the ADAM Audio A4V does an admirable job of overcoming these issues and sets itself as a highly viable option for near-field monitoring.
The ADAM Audio A4V offers impressive performance in a compact form. The key to any monitor aimed at professionals and enthusiasts is accuracy and balance, and the A4V hit the nail on the head in this area.
Let’s start with the low end. As expected from a 4-inch monitor, the bass response does struggle past a certain point. You can’t expect a woofer this size to do too much heavy lifting. If you need an enhanced bass extension, you’ll need to jump up in size significantly or pair this monitor with a subwoofer.
But for a 4-inch monitor, the A4V delivers better-than-expected bass response. It’s accurate and precise, with enough punch to give you a sense of dimensionality and depth. The dual front-facing bass ports assist in this area, but they also introduce some cancellation which will require some tuning; thankfully, the A4V gives you ample tools to handle this, but more on that later in the review.
The A4V offers excellent sound quality for studio work and casual listening.
As for the mid-range, the delivery is on par with other studio monitors in this price bracket and size. It’s defined and relatively trouble-free, with only a few dips and peaks. Accuracy is quite tight, with a pleasant and full sound delivery that will allow you to make informed decisions in this critical range.
The high-frequency response is the most contentious part of the range. X-ART tweeters are renowned for exceptional clarity and precision, which is the case here. Details are front and center with high clarity.
For some, it might be too forward and detract from the rest of the range. But some slight tweaking can tame the top end to your preference. The delivery from the X-ART tweeter can also come across as a little bright and, to some, potentially brittle. Where you fall on the spectrum will come down to personal taste.
Directivity is relatively consistent with smooth horizontal dispersion. Vertically it is on par with other two-way monitors, so expect a minor flub here and there. The ability to rotate the tweeter does grant you some flexibility to alter directivity, which is a bonus.
For a monitor this size, the A4V puts in an outstanding showing. It’s clear and lively, with enough accuracy up its sleeve for serious studio work. If you have a smaller studio space, these are worth considering.
The ADAM Audio A4V also scores top marks in this category. It’s a robust and dependable monitor with close attention to detail throughout.
The cabinet features a familiar vinyl-wrapped MDF construction prevalent in many modern monitors. It’s tough and durable and adds a reasonable amount of heft and security without feeling cumbersome.
Solid construction with a long five-year factory warranty.
With its unique angular design, the front baffle is also MDF with a painted finish. The monitor does an admirable job of resisting scuffs and scratches, but as with all vinyl-wrapped cabinets, keep it within the recommended temperature range of -10 to 40 degrees Celsius (-14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit) to ensure longevity.
The quality of the components is also exceptional, with a multi-layer mineral fiber woofer and an X-ART (Accelerated Ribbon Tweeter). No complaints here. High-quality and durable components.
The rear panel also sports close attention to detail with satisfying buttons and secure connection points. Supporting this is a lengthy 5-year warranty for maximum peace of mind.
The ADAM Audio A4V offers a comprehensive list of specifications illustrating its potential and highlighting how effective and efficient this little monitor is.
The frequency response is impressive, with an extension down to 58Hz and a blistering high top end of 41kHz at -3dB. This monitor thrives in the top end thanks to the X-ART tweeter but equally hits low enough for day-to-day applications.
The A4V is a powerful and capable studio monitor.
The power configuration consists of a bi-amped setup with a total power output of 130 Watts. The split here is also interesting, with a 110 Watt PWN amplifier for the 4-inch low-frequency driver and a Class A/B amplifier of just 20 Watts for the high-frequency driver.
It highlights how efficient the tweeter is. It produces crystal-clear highs without requiring a lot of power. Supporting and protecting the drivers are independent peak and thermo limiters along with amp limiters.
The Maximum Peal SPL is 100dB at 1 meter. Of course, you can’t expect to hit this level consistently, but at standard mixing levels between 80dB and 90dB, the A4V doesn’t struggle. Distortion is minimal and will not interfere with your mixing session.
The ADAM Audio A4V sets itself apart from the competition in this area. It offers a comprehensive range of tuning options to sculpt the sound and adapt it to your studio space.
The primary set of features at the monitor’s rear offer ample control. Four buttons give you access to Bass, Desk, Presence, and Treble for room adaptation.
The Bass setting cycles from +2dB, 0dB, -2dB, and -4dB. Enough flexibility to deal with the most common bass resonance issues. The Desk setting offers 0dB, -2dB, and -4dB. You can utilize this to address reflections depending on the size of your desktop.
Comprehensive tuning options to sculpt the output.
The Presence setting offers +1dB, 0dB, and -1dB. It doesn’t make a huge impact, but the -1dB setting is especially helpful for tiny studio spaces. Finally, the Treble option offers +1.5dB, 0dB, and -1.5dB. I have a hard time imagining the need for a treble boost, but the -1.5dB is an excellent option to tame the top end if you find it a little bright.
Further control is available via the Voicing button. The Pure setting retains an accurate and authentic response for critical listening. The UNR (Uniform Natural Response) is ideal for casual listening with a more lively and colored profile. The final Ext option will override the onboard settings with external adaptation.
These settings are comprehensive, but the Ext option offers even deeper customization. The ADAM Audio A control software app gives you remote control and has many options to tweak the input. Whether through the onboard settings or via advanced equalization choices, if you love to tweak output, you’ll love the control available here.
The ADAM Audio A Control software allows you to remotely tune your monitors.
Completing the flexibility is deep integration with Sonarworks SoundID Reference. This third-party application can measure your room dynamics and suggest an appropriate EQ filter set that you can import into the ADAM Audio App. But this functionality does come with an added cost, as you’ll need to purchase the plug-in and measurement microphone separately.
While the ADAM Audio A4V might not be perfect out of the box, the amount of options to tweak the output is staggering and can help bring the monitor to near-perfect status in any studio space. An invaluable tool for smaller studio spaces.
The ADAM Audio A4V is an attractive and professional-looking monitor with enough character and flair to set it apart from competitors.
The unique flair is the X-ART tweeter, with its distinct yellow flair. Not only is it eye-catching it is also rotatable, which opens up horizontal placement as an option. You’ll enjoy a broad 120 degrees horizontal and 70 degrees vertical dispersion in its base placement—a wide and generous sweet spot.
The angular front baffle also gives the monitor a distinct edge. The other notable design element is the bass reflex system which features two ports. This helps with bass delivery, and the forward-facing nature of the ports does lend itself well to smaller spaces where you’ll likely have these tucked up against a wall.
The A4V comfortably blends into a professional studio setting.
But with that placement, there are also some issues with cancellation due to the sheer force at play. It is a common thread throughout ADAM Audio monitors and something I hope to see them address in future designs.
Don’t be mistaken; the issues are minor, but I’ve seen more effective front-facing ports that do not interfere with output consistency. The differences will be negligible for most people, and you can smooth things out with some EQing.
The ADAM Audio A4V also offers four threaded inserts on the monitor’s base to support mounting. These support the ubiquitous M8 threaded rods for easy integration with most studio mounting hardware.
There is also a tiny Status LED at the top of the X-ART tweeter that offers a range of indicator colors to provide critical information. It’s small and discreet so it won’t be distracting in darker environments.
The ADAM Audio A4V is a compact studio monitor ideal for smaller spaces. The smaller the studio, the greater the need to focus on conserving space, so a 4-inch monitor like this is an ideal candidate.
The A4V is an excellent choice for small studio spaces.
The ADAM Audio comes in at 12.81 lbs. (5.8 kg) with a solid MDF cabinet. This is a reasonable balance between durability, heft, and weight. It’s easy to move about but is also very stable on stands or isolation pads.
The ADAM Audio A4V offers two analog input options. A primary balanced XLR connection along with an unbalanced RCA connection point. An Input Select button allows you to cycle between the two with a handy indicator to show which one is currently in use.
The A4V offers both balanced and unbalanced connection options.
For most studio situations, these two connections will be ample, but it would have been great to have access to a TRS point. Not many monitors offer all three, but it is still worth highlighting.
The only other notable connection option is the RJ45 Ethernet port for remote control via the ADAM Audio A Control application and for firmware updates.
This is a pro-grade monitor, so as expected, there are no consumer-orientated connections like Bluetooth, headphones, or AUX.
This is one area where I am a little torn. This is not a cheap monitor, especially for a 4-inch model, and it firmly places itself in a price category with some strong competition.
If you are an existing ADAM Audio fan and enjoy the sound profile of the X-ART tweeter, this is an excellent choice. But for others, I can see the potential that some alternatives might be better suited.
That is not to say that it doesn’t offer good value. This is a robust and dependable monitor with an extensive feature set. The detailed tuning flexibility alone will be enough to sway people. But if you don’t have a desire for maximum control, there are cheaper options that are equally enticing.
The vast majority of reviews for the ADAM Audio A4V are extremely positive, with people highlighting the impeccable detail and crisp top end. Critic reviews are also very favorable, praising the tight frequency response and high build quality. If you like buying positively reviewed products, the ADAM Audio A4V is a firm candidate.
Dealing With Problematic Rooms
Small studio spaces are amongst the most challenging sonic environments. The proximity to walls increases the chances of standing waves and resonance issues.
Many professionals or enthusiasts might establish their studios in their own homes, which often results in smaller spaces. Sometimes, it might be a section of a room that can make it even more difficult.
In these situations, it might not always be possible to properly treat a room, especially if it is a shared space. My wife would not appreciate me ruining her meticulously crafted room decor with panels and bass traps!
Sonarworks room correcting technology can help resolve acoustic issues.
This is where the technology available with the A4V comes into its own. The partnership with Sonarworks is fantastic and a perfect companion to this small studio monitor. You can overcome the sonic issues of your space without having to invest in room treatment.
While a properly treated room is always preferable, I love that there is an alternative that can go a long way in tackling some of the most pressing issues. We all deserve the best possible sound from our monitors. This technology makes it far more accessible and user-friendly than ever before.
There is much to like regarding the ADAM Audio A4V, but as previously mentioned, several enticing alternatives are available. Below we take a quick look at some of these options.
Genelec 8010A Review
If you are looking for something even more compact than the A4V, the 3-inch Genelec 8010A should be on your radar. This monitor features an extraordinary sound profile perfect for serious studio work.
- Supreme accuracy and neutrality for accurate mixing.
- Excellent build quality, and it comes with an Iso-Pod.
- The tuning switches are small and not as user-friendly as the A4V.
IK Multimedia ILoud MTM Review
Another slimline monitor worth considering is the iLoud MTM. Its discreet profile is ideal for smaller desks where space is at a premium. It also comes with room correction technology without added expense.
- Well-balanced sound profile that is neutral enough for studio work.
- High build quality and included ARC microphone. Excellent value for money.
- The bass response isn’t as rich and defined as the A4V.
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM
Neumann KH 120 Review
Neumann is another company with an illustrious history in the audio scene. The KH 120 is a finely engineered monitor with exceptional performance and front-facing bass ports that are more refined than the A4V.
- An accurate and detailed sound profile makes it an ideal choice for analytical listening.
- The larger 5.25-inch woofer delivers satisfying low-end performance.
- It has a high price point that might be too much for some.
Neumann KH 120
Should You Buy?
I started this review by covering the difficulties that smaller monitors face and the challenges of dealing with smaller spaces. And if it isn’t apparent already, the ADAM Audio A4V tackles these challenges easily. This is a high-quality monitor with an extensive list of positives.
The robust and durable build quality combines effortlessly with intelligent design. A powerful output that is clear and accurate with an ultra-defined top end. But what sets this monitor apart is the depth of tuning flexibility. It has its issues but nothing that the keen-eared professional can tackle via the range of tuning options. If you like complete control and have a small space, the ADAM Audio A4V is an easy recommendation.
ADAM Audio A4V