Adding a 3-way monitor setup to your studio is ideal for medium to larger spaces. The increased dispersion and greater definition between frequencies can be critical for accurate mixing. In this review, we check out the ADAM Audio A8H, a reasonably priced 3-way monitor with excellent sound quality.
ADAM Audio A8H
The ADAM Audio A8H is a 3-way monitor with extensive features to ensure optimal performance in your studio. Below are the quick pros and cons, but read on for a more thorough look at this impressive monitor.
ADAM Audio doesn’t pull any punches with the fantastic A8H, which is the largest and most refined option in the popular and reasonably priced A Series. Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing I noticed with the ADAM Audio A8H is the exceptional clarity on offer. This studio monitor delights in the finer details to give you a revealing insight into your latest production.
The accuracy is another highlight with a near ruler-flat consistency across the frequency response. While you can become accustomed to a monitor’s quirks and understand how to adjust accordingly to any dips and bumps, there is nothing quite like working with a monitor that is ultra-flat. Knowing your mixes will translate as you intend without any second-guessing is liberating.
The low-frequency response from the A8H is substantial thanks to the 8-inch woofer. The front-facing bass reflex system ensures low port noise and reliably punchy and warm bass output that is highly accurate.
The A8H offers excellent clarity and detail.
The 3.5-inch mid-frequency driver maintains excellent neutrality with a flat, controlled output ideal for working in this critical range. Whether you are assessing vocals or the subtleties of instrumental compositions, the A8H gives you access to an uncolored response so you can make confident mixing decisions.
Few would be able to argue that the A8H doesn’t offer excellent lows and mids, but the X-ART tweeter is perhaps where some people might diverge. X-ART tweeters provide exceptional clarity and high-frequency detail, but they can seem a little bright for some. I’ll admit I fall into this camp, but I appreciate that everyone has a different preference in this department.
As a 3-way studio monitor, the A8H offers excellent dispersion for midrange listening applications, but even within a closer listening position, the directivity is wonderfully accurate in both horizontal and vertical orientations.
If you are already a fan of X-ART tweeters, the A8H is an excellent choice with exceptionally tight performance. And even to my sensitive ears, I could appreciate the clarity on offer. But if you prefer traditional cone tweeters, the A8H might not be the right choice for your needs.
There is a high level of attention to detail in the ADAM Audio A8H. This is a precision-designed and engineered 3-way monitor from one of the most respected brands in the industry.
The cabinet offers bevelling to reduce diffraction, and the walls are thicker than a standard studio monitor to help tame vibrations. The finish is clean, with a high-quality vinyl wrap across the MDF cabinet and a painted MDF front panel.
High-quality materials and a long warranty inspire confidence.
The drivers are equally excellent, with clean and precise integration into the cabinet. The X-ART tweeter is handmade in Germany and is the pinnacle of ADAM Audio’s tweeter research and development.
The cabinet rear features excellent buttons and a level knob with perfect execution. Likewise, the connection points are secure and dependable. With an extended 5-year manufacturer warranty (with product registration), this is a studio monitor you can rely on.
Digging into the specifications of the ADAM Audio A8H also highlights some interesting details.
The tri-amped configuration features a powerful and efficient Class D 250 W amplifier for the low-frequency driver. But ADAM Audio has opted for Class A/B amplifiers for the midrange and high-frequency drivers. A 70 W amplifier for the 3.5-inch midrange driver and a 20 W amplifier for the X-ART Tweeter.
Tri-amped design with plenty of power.
The woofer and midrange driver offers a multi-layer mineral material that is lightweight yet rigid for accurate performance. Each driver also features peak and thermo limiters and amplifier thermo limiters to ensure longevity and protection for your investment.
The frequency response is 34Hz-41kHz (-3dB) or 31Hz-45kHz (-6dB), highlighting how far the X-ART tweeter can reach in the top end. Also, as discussed in the sound quality section, the response is tight and accurate.
A maximum peak SPL of 105dB also ensures ample headroom. It eliminates the need to place the unit under pressure to achieve desired volume levels. Distortion is also not an issue with the A8H.
The ADAM Audio A8H offers extensive tuning controls to ensure you can adapt the monitor to your studio space.
Let’s start with the onboard controls on the rear panel. Here you’ll have access to a series of controls you can set using the large buttons.
The first is Bass control with +2, 0, -2, and -4dB options. A quick and straightforward way to adjust low-frequency output. Next is a Desk option for handling reflections with a 0, -2, and -4dB option.
Plenty of options to sculpt the sound to suit your studio.
Presence control with +1, 0, and -1dB selections supports this. Finally, the Treble button allows you to adjust the high-frequency output with +1.5, 0, and -1.5dB options. A great way to tame the top end if you find it a bit sharp.
But the options don’t end there with a Voicing select button. Here you’ll have access to Pure for a clean flat setting, UNR (Uniform Natural Response), an ADAM Audio custom response curve, which is excellent for casual listening. The final choice is Ext, unlocking the extra functionality available with the A Control app and Sonarworks.
This is where the ADAM Audio A8H increases its flexibility and convenience. You can download the A Control app and access remote DSP Control via an ethernet connection. This is excellent for making adjustments from your listening position without the need to keep running back and forth to change settings.
Sonarworks is a great way to optimize the performance of your A8H monitor.
Finally, the ADAM Audio A8H offers integration with Sonarworks SoundID Reference. Sonarworks is an additional purchase but for precise room calibration; it’s a worthwhile investment. Run the relevant tests, and Sonarworks will provide a tailored profile directly loaded onto the monitor. No need for VSTs or external software applications.
Between all three of these options, you’ll have ample control over the output and complete flexibility to adapt to the subtleties ad nuances of your studio space.
The ADAM Audio A8H offers a refined and sleek appearance with just enough flair to set it apart from other 3-way monitors.
On the surface, it follows a similar pattern of a large woofer on one side with a midrange driver and tweeter on the other. But the extra flair offered by the X-ART tweeter lends it a unique appearance.
The A8H is available in right and left configurations.
Coupled with some angular edges that, while they might be primarily for diffraction purposes, also give the monitor a sleek and modern edge.
The X-ART tweeter also offers flexibility in directivity. Switching it from its standard vertical position to a horizontal one is quick and easy. This can be especially helpful if you deal with a lot of reflective surfaces.
3-way monitors tend to be quite large, considering there are three drivers to deal with. The A8H is no exception, especially when you factor in that it has to accommodate an 8-inch woofer.
The A8H is a large 3-way monitor.
As for weight, it clocks in at 30 lbs. (13.61 kg), which is pretty standard for 3-way monitors that feature an 8-inch woofer. As always, ensure your stands can accommodate the weight to prevent potential issues.
The ADAM Audio A8H offers a refined selection of connection options. At the rear are an XLR balanced Audio IN option and an unbalanced RCA connection point. Switching between the two is simple via the onboard Input Select button.
The ethernet port adds remote control capabilities.
The only other connection on this monitor is the Ethernet port for Remote Control applications. Keep in mind that no cables beyond the power cable come in the box, so be sure to have some high-quality cables on hand so you can get set up straight away.
Setting up a medium to large-sized studio space is costly, especially when you need to add 3-way midrange monitors. Finding affordable monitors in this space is challenging, but compared to other options, the A8H from ADAM Audio is well-priced and within reach.
It is still a fair chunk of money that you’ll need to hand over, but a matching left and right pair of these are far more affordable compared to some other options on the market. If you are working within a strict budget and want more money to spend on other studio gear, the A8H is a solid option. High-quality without a burdensome price tag.
The A Series from ADAM Audio has proven to be a popular and well-respected choice for studio monitors. Multiple positive reviews from customers and industry professionals have cemented it as a reasonably priced yet highly capable studio monitor series.
Ideal Positioning For Your 3-Way Monitor
Unlike near-field monitors, most 3-way monitors are midfield monitors that need to be set up at a reasonable distance for optimum performance. The wider dispersion and heavier throw length make 3-way monitors too in your face for near-field placement.
To attain optimum sound, it is best to have your midfield monitor at a distance of between 5 and 10 feet (1.5 to 3 meters). As with other monitors, having these at ear level is ideal, so you may need to invest in some appropriate stands.
Mid-field monitors are best for medium to large-sized studios.
While distance and positioning are crucial, you may also need to explore room treatment options due to the broader dispersion and greater chance of reflections and standing waves.
Monitors with good tuning flexibility, like the A8H, can alleviate some issues, especially when you factor in external software like Sonarworks, but following fundamental placement and positioning principles is always an essential first step.
As with any sizable purchase, I strongly recommend you investigate the full range of options available to ensure you get the right monitor for your needs. Below I’ve hand-picked a few other notable 3-way monitors worth considering.
Genelec 8331 Review
The Genelec 8331 offers an ingenious design that manages to pack in a 3-way driver setup into a compact form factor. Perfect for smaller spaces where the A8H might be too overbearing.
- A sensational sound profile that is dynamic, accurate, and exceptionally neutral.
- Super compact form factor without sacrificing premium sound quality.
- Substantially more expensive than the A8H.
Neumann KH 310 Review
The KH 310 from Neumann is an excellent choice if you prefer a traditional dome tweeter. Flawless sound quality and rock-solid construction make it a worthwhile investment.
- Exceptional sound quality with high accuracy and plenty of power.
- Excellent dispersion and soundstage with incredible spatial positioning.
- Like other 3-way options, these are not budget-friendly.
Neumann KH 310
HEDD Type 20 MK2 Review
The HEDD Type 20 MK2 is another superb 3-way monitor worth exploring thanks to a combination of excellent sound, versatile features, and premium build quality.
- Highly revealing sonic profile that is ideally suited for analytical listening.
- It offers the option to close the bass port and use it like a sealed monitor.
- Much like the A8H, the AMT tweeter is a bit sharp and bright.
HEDD Type 20 MK2
Should You Buy?
It’s not very often that a lower-priced option can give more expensive choices a real run for their money, but that is precisely what the A8H achieves. This is a comprehensive and powerful 3-way monitor with a very enticing price point.
It is an excellent addition to a professional studio setup with fantastic build quality and exceptionally detailed sonic performance. Add to this the vast range of tuning flexibility, and the result is a 3-way studio monitor that punches well above its price point—another excellent addition to the popular A series from ADAM Audio.
ADAM Audio A8H