Adam’s F-Series hits a price point below the successful AX-Series, but can it still do the business? Huw Price is all ears…
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Adam’s new F-Series comprises a pair of two-way ported nearfield monitors, the F5 and F7 (we reviewed the bigger F7 in Issue 120, March 2013, and it scored a very respectable 9/10), plus a dedicated subwoofer designated the SubF.
We’re informed that the F-Series “is designed in the tradition of the legendary Adam professional monitors. The aim is to focus on the essence of Adam speakers at a new, lower price point”.
Retailing for around £155 each, the F5 makes the ambition to own a set of Adam monitors a more realistic prospect for project studio owners. Measuring 290 x 185 x 230mm (HWD) they’re compact enough for smaller environments yet at 6.8kg they’re reassuringly weighty. Other suggested applications include desktops, mobile facilities, post-production edit bays and connection to MP3 players and gaming consoles.
Adam speakers wouldn’t be Adams without the company’s signature X-ART tweeter aka Air Motion Transformer. It is slightly smaller than the X-ART tweeter used in the AX series, and described as “the next step in this continuous evolution in tweeter design”. A 5-inch woofer made from carbon and paper and a 25mm voice coil handle the lows.
Input connections can be made via an XLR/TRS socket or an RCA. Power switching is located on the rear panel but the F5 automatically switches to standby mode after a short period of inactivity and switches back to operating mode when it receives an incoming audio signal.
Setup can be horizontal or vertical and the rear panels have M6 screw threads for wall/stand-mounting. Controls are fairly minimal, with plus or minus 6dB adjustment at 5kHz and 300Hz. There’s a centre-detented Level control (-∞ to +6dB) plus a high-pass filter switch set at 80Hz that should be activated when the F5s are being used in conjunction with a subwoofer.
Despite the fact that Adam is trumpeting the affordability of these monitors, their appearance is so consistent with many of Adam’s other monitors that you can’t tell their price point just by looking. Of course this is a good thing, but the crucial test is whether you can tell by listening.
The answer to that has to be ‘not really’. Having become very familiar with Adam monitors over the last few years we tend to expect a relatively bright tonal characteristic with impressive clarity and sharply defined imaging. So we’re pleased to report that the F5s fully lived up to expectations.
The frequency content is there, remaining strong down to around the 50Hz mark, but the rhythmic integrity of fast, low-frequency parts does become a bit lost. Even so, given its very competitive price point, the F5 is a remarkable and accomplished monitor.
+ Very transparent sound
+ Excellent imaging
+ No port-chuffing
+ Auto standby mode
+ No bass hype
– Slightly slow low bass response
– Power switches at rear
– Not magnetically shielded
Adam looks and Adam sound quality at an entry-level price. We expect the F5 will be a big success.