We are going to take a look at the Adam T5Vs from ADAM Audio, who if you don’t already know, are easily one of the top names in Pro Audio. The T-Series is their most affordable lineup, and it claims to offer the ‘Adam DNA’ with its U-ART tweeters, and other similar technologies found on their higher end monitors.
NOTE: This is one of the videos that doesn’t really translate well on text, so I’d highly recommend that you watch the YouTube video instead of reading this article if possible.
The unboxing experience is very simple, because all you get is a power cable, a quick start guide, and the monitor itself.
If you have a mature taste in aesthetics, you will really like how simple they look. These really have a timeless design, and the minimalistic front, the diagonal cutouts, combined with the intricate look of these tweeters really give these monitors a very professional look.
They are a little deeper than a typical 5 inch monitor, as they almost form a square on the side with their height and their depth being equal.
We have a 5 inch polypropylene woofer on front with this classic design and a brushed finish, and then we have the HPS waveguide for wide horizontal dispersion of sound, containing the Accelerated Ribbon Technology Tweeter, which Adam says is a refinement of an Air Motion Transformer Tweeter.
So this tweeter is very different from a conventional dome tweeter, and you can watch this video, where ADAM explain how they are using space grade materials, and are hand folding them. These go up to 25 KHz which is quite beyond the human hearing, but the important thing I want you to remember is that they push out air 4 times faster than a regular tweeter while having a much larger surface area, because I think that explains the different sound character that I was able to hear in the high end.
At back, you have the power input with the switch, the unbalanced RCA input, so you can connect it directly to your DAC or even a PC, and then you have XLR Balanced in, so you can use it with a balanced connection with something like an audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 in my case). You also have a switch which you have to use to switch between these inputs.
Then you have the volume knob at the rear of the speaker, but you can also directly control it using your computer, your audio interface, or a dedicated monitor controller.
These are rear ported, so you may find that they sound too bassy if you keep them near a wall, so we have High and Low Frequency adjustments at back, so you can decrease or increase the high or low frequency response by 2 decibels and balance the bass.
You also have the power LED at back, and we can also see how specific they are about being from Berlin, Germany (They have their complete address mentioned at back of the speaker).
These are powered monitors, so they come with Class D amplifiers built in (50w for woofer and 20w for tweeter), and I am not going to turn this article into an amplifier class comparison, but between the two popular amplifier types, Class A/B and Class D, the Class D amplifiers are much more efficient, as they don’t have to have a power stage that’s completely on load, so they generate little to no heat when they are idle.
So it didn’t matter whether these speakers were playing music for hours, or if they were idle, they were only 2 to 3 degrees higher than the room temperature, which is a really nice quality to have, as it not only saves you a lot of power in the long run, but should also improve the longevity of these speakers.
There also isn’t any issue with hissing on these speakers, so if you move your ear really close to the speakers and touch it to the drivers, you will hear some hiss, but even from 6 or 8 inches away, the hiss is completely inaudible.
I was expecting them to sound great after researching on them, and they do sound absolutely amazing, these are studio monitors, which means that they are designed to sound flat, and they do sound neutral.
This is the sound signature that they have on their website, and you can see that it is close to a flat frequency response.
But they do have a sound characteristic that is a little difficult to describe in words, because the U-ART tweeter sounds different than conventional dome tweeters.
I mentioned that this tweeter pushes out air 4 times faster a dome tweeter, and it also has a much larger surface area, and you can actually feel that in practice.
The sound feels very ‘non-pointy’ (watch video linked above for hand gestures describing the sound character). So instead of getting drowned in the power of lower frequencies, the high end has an energy that’s as great as the bass, and hearing all this, you might think that it may sound ‘harsh’, but that’s the crazy part about them, it doesn’t sound ‘harsh’ or fatiguing, but the high end sounds ‘big’, and it takes all the information from the audio and presents it in front of you.
I wouldn’t call them ‘bright’, because ‘bright’ sounds different (‘bright’ sounds pointy, these don’t), instead I will call them ‘energetic’, and ‘full’ in the high frequency range, with a really ‘complete’ extension.
They are of course very detailed too, and the transient response is really great so even if you have lots of instruments playing, it gets resolved really well and you can hear all of them, and when people are singing in chorus, you can differentiate between individual singers.
Master of Puppets by Metallica is a track that sounds a little harsh in the high end of most of my audio gear, but it didn’t sound like that on these speakers, and the details unfolded very well and vocals also sounded great.
So the highs aren’t harsh, but if you listen to a track that isn’t mastered well, it may not sound good, because these are designed to be very revealing of the music, so if there’s a cymbal that’s mixed with levels that are too high, you are going to hear that. Even when I watch YouTube videos, I can hear the background noise in some videos, so if you are going to do any kind of noise removal, these tweeters will also prove to be very useful, and this has also been helping me a lot in editing these videos, and I don’t need to reach to my headphones when I want to hear all the details while editing like me breathing in on the microphone, or the small mouth movements.
If you mix sound professionally, then even if you don’t use these as your main monitors, you will definitely benefit from something like this that would make you hear what they make you hear in your audio. Once you ‘understand’ these monitors, you can really use them as a very powerful tool to analyze and mix your tracks.
I listened to a lot of Linkin Park and Trivium on these, and drums and electric guitars on these sound extremely good and realistic, in one segment, the guitars were on full blast, overpowering everything, but I could still hear a cymbal when the drummer hit it, and some of the 300 Dollar earphones and headphones have been as detailed, but they just don’t have enough space for the instruments to breathe, so I really liked this presentation of the sound.
All the instruments sound very lifelike on these, because it feels like the instruments aren’t being restrained from expressing themselves in the high frequencies, and you can really feel the texture of their sound, so pianos sound great, organ sounds AMAZING on these, and classical and orchestral music unfolds in a very musically exciting way.
There’s a live version of In The End in which the crowd sings one of the parts in chorus, and you can feel that the guitar is where the speakers are, and then you can actually feel the distance between the crowd singing and the microphone recording them, and even though the guitars are playing very loudly, you can also hear the crowd properly, and that just sounds so 3 dimensional. So the stereo imaging is also really great, and you can hear instruments moving independently in 3D space.
With others speakers I listened to, the instruments mixed at lower levels would be present in the 3D space, but you would have to focus on listening to them to feel like you can hear them properly, But with the T5Vs, those instruments are present very clearly, without getting overpowered by other instruments, and you don’t need to focus on listening to them to notice them, because they will be present and easily discernible, even when you aren’t trying to focus on any part of music in particular.
The vocals were also on point for me, and they sounded natural while still having that fullness in the upper mid-range frequencies so that was very enjoyable, But in tracks where vocals are very processed or compressed, you do hear that processing, but that’s what these are supposed to do, so I don’t have an issue there.
Coming to the bass, I found it to be very neutral, but just because it’s accurate doesn’t mean that it’s boring, and it does give you a punch when you need it, and they do give that grand image of really big drums whenever you’re listening to something dramatic. The bass frequencies also have good separation, and it extends quite low for a 5 inch monitor, so one of the tracks in my collection (Look what you made me do by Taylor Swift) has a very strong and very low frequency bass-line, and it has a completely filled signal below 70 Hz. This track was presented very accurately on these speakers, and the bass was still loud and extended enough to be at the correct levels even at frequencies this low, so that is really great, and if you’re using it for casual listening, you can also increase it by 2 decibels with the LF adjustment.
All of this was in my non treated room with some foam traps, and they are going to sound even better if you have some room treatment.
I didn’t feel the need to add a subwoofer for my casual listening, but if you work with very low frequencies, or if you want to add that low end for watching movies or for music, Adam also makes a matching Subwoofer, which you can use with these, and that will also improve the sound from these woofers, as they won’t have to handle the frequencies below the subwoofer crossover point.
I also tested these in the living room with my TV, and they can work well there because the high end reaches you very well making the dialogues very clear, but because these are rear ported, you will have to place them correctly, otherwise you may get too much bass, which could be something that you may like for movies, but the placement and the shape of your room are going to be very important if you want to use these for non nearfield use.
When it comes to audio gear, things get to a point of diminishing returns quickly, but these scale really well with their price point. So for example, the Mackie CR5s, which cost around 200-250 Dollars are also good for their price point and I recommend them too, but now when you spend double on a pair of Adam T5Vs, you are getting a very proportionate improvement in the sound quality, so even though they are not cheap, they are a very good value at their price point of 400 US Dollars.
Adam Tweeter Explanation Video: https://youtu.be/i394gmZSOuo
⭐ Music Recommendations:
1. Master of Puppets – Metallica: https://youtu.be/xnKhsTXoKCI
2. Toccata and Fugue – Bach: https://youtu.be/Nnuq9PXbywA
3. Track with Great Female Vocals: https://youtu.be/z65MTQQjgjg
4. Like Light to The Flies – Trivium: https://youtu.be/6yUYyxBjw0k
5. Anoushka Shankar’s Sitar: https://youtu.be/8CnhcGpmH9Y?t=290
6. Digital Love (Daft Punk) Pomplamoose Music Cover: https://youtu.be/xy98W3a26gs
7. Linkin Park – In The End (Live): [couldn’t find the exact version I was talking about online, it’s in the ‘Living Things (Deluxe Edition)’ Album, there are other versions, but this one is the best IMO and what I was talking about.]
⭐ Adam T10S Subwoofer: https://amzn.to/2qYhOCM