The S Series is ADAM Audio’s new flagship reference monitoring range, comprising five models of increasing size: S2V, S3H & S3V and the S5H & S5V (H denotes a speaker designed optimally for horizontal use, V the vertical version). The range is the combination of many years of advanced in-house engineering innovation at ADAM and the latest computer aided design techniques, and does not employ off-the-shelf loudspeaker technology.
Innovations created specifically for the S Series include: completely new woofers and mid-range drivers, newly designed waveguides for the S Series tweeter (and the mid-range driver on the S5 models), and a new DSP engine which provides crossover optimization, voicing options and expansion potential.
The result of all this technical effort is a set of loudspeakers with an accurate frequency response and wide, consistent dispersion, offering enhanced detail in the bass and mid-frequencies, and high overall performance. The range operates over wider frequency ranges compared to previous ADAM Audio designs – so there’s more bass extension and critical mid-range information, with a raised overall maximum output level but reduced distortion. The S Series also offers forward-looking digital connectivity alongside its analog connections.
Looking at the changes included in the S Series in more detail, the redesign of the bass driver has included the creation, entirely from scratch, of: a new low-mass but highly rigid honeycomb driver cone, a highly efficient, self-cooling linear magnet assembly, a low-loss speaker surround, linear suspension and damping systems, a vented symmetrical voice coil and a new driver chassis/basket.
These innovations allow the driver to handle more extreme excursions in a linear fashion without experiencing cone breakup, while the ventilation-orientated design minimizes power compression. Even the bass reflex tubes and ports have been completely redesigned.
Taken together, all of these changes make for a more accurate LF driver that can produce higher SPLs, with reduced distortion, and permit listeners to work with raw, uncompressed audio at higher levels for longer without suffering fatigue.
ELE™ BASS DRIVER
The S Series ELE™ bass driver (short for Extended Linear Excursion) is a custom design created especially for and in parallel with the S Series cabinet and bass-reflex system. Realized by an ingenious combination of human engineering skill and the latest computer modeling techniques, it guarantees accurate audio reproduction at an extremely high resolution thanks to the precision-designed relationship between its low weight, optimized inner damping and highly rigid honeycomb cone, in conjunction with a basket which has been developed to eliminate unwanted resonance and distortion. The result is a bass driver that offers audio professionals a clarity and transparency hitherto unexperienced in low-frequency audio reproduction, operating with great precision even at high sound pressure levels.
Another notable feature of the ELE™ driver is its mechanical suspension, which operates optimally even over large excursions in either direction, allowing bass frequencies to be reproduced without distortion at high SPLs. Low-frequency energy is not limited as it is on similar systems, and the dynamics of the original audio are preserved in full. ‘Softer’, less highly tensioned driver suspensions may allow uncontrolled displacement at high SPLs. The highly tensioned linear S Series suspension system, by contrast, dampens the movements of the membrane at high output levels in a controlled manner and returns it to its rest position. The suspension is extremely robust and ensures distortion-free reproduction across the entire audible frequency spectrum.
The newly created long-throw speaker surround was also carefully engineered to be considerably more resilient than competing modern designs. This greatly increases the maximum possible excursion of the driver membrane, improving dynamic range and reducing distortion.
Finally, the loudspeaker basket is anodized by means of a specially optimized process during manufacture: the material’s black finish absorbs heat and provides another means by which the driver is kept cool.
SMA™ – SYMMETRICAL MAGNET ASSEMBLY
The newly developed magnet assembly in the bass driver, which ADAM Audio has named the SMA™ (Symmetrical Magnet Assembly), extends the maximum possible excursion of the electromagnetic voice coil by a factor of three compared to previous designs. The greatly extended travel ensures that the membrane operates in linear fashion over a relatively large distance, displaces a greater volume of air, and is capable of higher maximum output. The design allows the driver to accurately reproduce low-frequency signals without distortion, even when called upon to produce extremely large excursions. An ingenious built-in ventilation system also prevents warming of the large, custom-designed voice coils, and thus reduces the effects of power compression below the threshold of audibility. As voice coils warm, their ohmic resistance changes, damping and dynamic range are reduced, operational parameters change, and low frequencies are no longer reproduced cleanly. These unwanted effects are avoided in ADAM Audio’s new design.
The carefully engineered construction makes use of materials designed to encourage heat dissipation, and also keeps unwanted air turbulence and compression out of the magnet assembly, minimizing distortion.
The SMA™ also features several other innovations developed by ADAM Audio especially for the S Series:An elongated pole piece is employed in the low-frequency driver, extending beyond the magnet assembly to widen the reach of the resulting magnetic field and also to render it symmetrical. This keeps the driver’s performance linear, and reduces distortion in the output to a minimum. The magnet assembly operates over a larger travel than other comparable low-frequency drivers, allowing the voice coil much greater scope for downward motion and preventing it from being damaged at high output levels. The pole piece is also vented to encourage ventilation and maintain constant pressure in the magnet assembly. To reduce turbulence and air noise, the venting is aerodynamically rounded.
The S2V, S3H and S3V’s parabolic pole pieces prevent unwanted modulation of the driver’s magnetic field, drastically reducing non-linear second-order distortion, while demodulation rings help the magnetic field remain symmetrical and also minimize non-linear third-order distortion.
The largest S Series models, the S5H and S5V, have an additional refinement: another magnet of opposing polarity is situated on top of the elongated pole piece to further streamline the magnetic field lines and render them symmetrical. This ensures that the movement of the voice coil remains linear and keeps distortion to a minimum, even at high listening levels.
S SERIES BASS REFLEX SYSTEM
The S Series bass reflex tubes have been aerodynamically redesigned with optimal rounding to minimize signal losses and coloration due to air friction and turbulence, especially at the front-panel ports, and incorporate additional anti-resonance technology in their port designs to keep pipe-related tonal coloration to a minimum.
The S-ART tweeter is the latest iteration of ADAM Audio’s renowned accelerated ribbon design, manufactured to much tighter tolerances, and a new custom waveguide has also been produced, milled from solid aluminum, to improve dispersion, projection and imaging, and to widen the sweet spot. The S5 models also feature custom-designed and milled waveguides on the mid-range drivers.
S-ART™ – HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER
All the models in the S Series employ the latest iteration of ADAM’s world-famous X-ART tweeter design, each handmade in Berlin as with all previous ADAM products. For the new range, the manufacturing process for each tweeter has been undertaken to an even higher standard of precision, with a more stringent post-factory testing regime – hence the new designation S-ART. The driver’s legendarily precise transient response and its ability to reproduce the finest of high-end details, free of distortion and with natural-sounding dynamics, are the cornerstones of ADAM Audio’s worldwide reputation as a leading manufacturer of indispensable audio equipment – tools that every professional should own.
The HPS (High-frequency Propagation System) waveguide was initially designed at ADAM Audio for the S-ART tweeter of the S Series range with the aid of the latest computer modeling techniques. It hones the dispersion of the speakers to an even, uniform consistency, broad in the horizontal axis but tightly focused in the vertical plane. This minimizes potentially distracting reflections from the horizontal surfaces of significant studio furniture (for example mixing consoles), ensures that imaging remains constant, and creates a large, well-controlled and stable ‘sweet spot’, even at high output levels.
The U-ART tweeter as used in the T Series is fitted to a precision waveguide with the same dispersion-control attributes as the HPS waveguide used in ADAM Audio’s flagship S Series studio monitors.
On the S5H and S5V, the DCH mid-range driver is set into an additional waveguide, the MPS (Mid-range Propagation System), which ensures that dispersion remains wide and smooth even over longer listening distances.
Milled from a solid block of aluminum, it hones the dispersion of the speakers to an even, uniform consistency, broad in the horizontal axis but tightly focused in the vertical plane. This minimizes potentially distracting reflections from the horizontal surfaces of significant studio furniture (for example mixing consoles), ensures that imaging remains constant, and creates a large, well-controlled and stable ‘sweet spot’, even at high output levels
Looking at the mid-range driver in a similarly more detailed way, the new 100 mm (4-inch) mid-range driver is a dome/cone hybrid design offering the advantages of both dome and cone designs: excellent dispersion characteristics, low distortion, high power handling and a flat response. Many of the innovations designed for the new woofer also informed the design of the mid-range driver, including its new linear magnet assembly, speaker surround, suspension and damping systems, and chassis.
Read more here: DCH™ Midrange Driver
DCH™ MIDRANGE DRIVER
The 100mm (4 inch) mid-range driver, newly designed by ADAM Audio’s engineering department for the S Series, is a hybrid design: part cone and part dome driver. The extremely rigid one-piece drive element combines the clean decay characteristic and linear frequency response of a dome driver with the high excursion advantages of a cone driver, audibly improving transparency in the critical mid-range and producing excellent, distortion-free reproduction at high output levels. In conjunction with the high-quality S Series suspension, which properly controls large-scale excursions, wobble is completely excluded. In addition, the DCH’s output extends down an octave further than competing mid-range drivers (as far as 200 Hz), ensuring a clean and consistent dispersion without tonal coloration.
The DCH™ is manufactured using a specially laminated carbon composite material and its domed form renders it very stable. It behaves as a piston up to 8 kHz (one and a half octaves beyond its operational frequency response), does not produce unwanted vibrations and does not deform, even at high output levels. Unwanted ringing and resonances, of the kind that obscure sonic detail and produce listening fatigue, are almost completely excluded, and reproduction remains extremely clean across the driver’s entire operational frequency range.
The robust construction of the DCH also allows it to be placed nearer to the S-ART treble driver. Together, the pair act as a more coherent sound source for the all-important mid-range information, making overall dispersion wider, more consistent and more accurate. Several features resembling those from the ELE bass driver also appear on the DCH™, suitably adapted, such as the linear magnet assembly and suspension and damping systems, vented pole piece, the heat-dissipating chassis/basket, and the large 65 mm (2.5 inch) voice coil. There are a few differences: for instance, the mid-range driver surround is manufactured from a specially formulated foam material. As with the low-frequency driver, fine, highly dynamic details are reproduced without coloration or filtering.
The newly developed, high-power DSP engine is based on the most recent generation of SHARC chips and provides perfectly tuned crossovers for enhanced frequency response, dynamic range and resolution, custom EQ for in-room optimization, and digital connectivity, along with the potential for future expansion options.
Read more here: High Performance DSP Module
HIGH PERFORMANCE DSP MODULE
The high-performance DSP engine was developed especially for the S Series and implements perfectly tuned crossovers, guaranteeing optimal frequency response, and a dynamic range greater than that offered by traditional analog crossovers, with no loss of resolution.
The DSP engine developed for the S Series provides users of all models in the range with a comprehensive array of options for in-room optimization. The intuitive OLED display allows control over overall level, two parametric shelving filters (one for the bass, the other for the highs) as well as six further fully parametric EQs with variable Q that may be assigned to boost or cut level at specific frequencies.
Five memories are also provided to store voicing presets. On most S Series models, the first two of these are supplied by ADAM and are non-editable; the first is known as ‘Pure’ and is the factory default tuning, with an extremely accurate frequency response. The second is a dynamic, natural-sounding response curve of ADAM’s own design, which is known as UNR™ (the Uniform Natural Response). The remaining three memories are available to store users’ own personal voicing presets. Only on the new S3H is the situation slightly different; as on the rest of the S Series range, the non-editable Pure and UNR settings occupy the first two presets, but only the final two are available for user presets. The third memory on the S3H is a further non-editable option designed to emulate the sound of what is possibly ADAM’s best-known monitor, the highly regarded S3A.
The DSP also offers limiter-based protection, AES3 digital inputs, and connectors for future expansion options. A USB connector allows software upgrades and facilitates connection to computer-based editing software, so that voicing adjustments or preset selection can be carried out without the need to access the rear panel of your monitors – a useful option if they are soffit-mounted.
The aesthetics of the range reflect ADAM Audio’s heritage as a manufacturer of precision tools in a country renowned for the quality of its industrial engineering – but all aspects of the design are the result of practical considerations. The thick, weighty cabinet construction minimizes unwanted vibrations and coloration, and its rounded edges reduce unwanted diffractions. Mounting points are also built in to the S2V and S3 models to allow them to be suspended.
Read more here: S-Series cabinets
S SERIES CABINETS
While the imposing, robust construction of the S Series cabinets visually evokes ADAM’s background in industrial engineering, the aesthetics are rooted in practical considerations. The cabinets are solidly constructed from thick, vibration-resistant material to reduce unwanted resonance and coloration, even at high listening levels. The design also features large-radiused rounded edges, which help to minimize unwanted edge-diffraction effects. The robust finish affords the speakers extra protection from the stresses and strains (or stains) of daily life in a recording studio.