Adam Audio T5V review: Incredible sound for a reasonable price

Adam Audio’s studio monitors are regular fixtures in dedicated music studios around the world but, while the brand is synonymous with high-end music production, it has never had a reputation for being particularly affordable. . Thanks to Adam Audio’s T Series – a trio of active studio monitors that offer a taste of the brand’s high-end magic at a reasonable price – that’s all about to change.

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Adam Audio T5V review: What you need to know

The T5Vs are the most compact and affordable active studio monitors in the Adam Audio line. These small speakers combine a 5-inch woofer and an unusual 1.9-inch ribbon tweeter with built-in Class-D amplification, balanced and unbalanced inputs suitable for professional and consumer audio devices, and a built-in equalizer to match the its to your room.

The designation of studio monitors might suggest that they are strictly for studio use, but they are much more versatile than that. The 179 x 297 x 298mm (WDH) dimensions aren’t tiny – the cabinets are a bit deeper than you’d expect given the relatively delicate front profile – but the T5V is still compact enough for use. desktop with a PC or laptop, narrow enough to squeeze on a shelf, and don’t seem out of place next to a TV for home theater tasks.

But above all, the sound quality is top-notch, no matter what caliber of device you connect them to. These are superb-sounding speakers that rival options at many times the asking price.

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Adam Audio T5V review: Price and competition

The T5V sells approx. £138 per speaker – it should be noted that, unlike hi-fi speakers, studio monitors tend to be sold individually – and while this does not make the cheapest studio monitors on the market, it does compares very favorably to its rivals.

Look further up the line and the larger, more expensive T7V (£148 each) and T8V (£196) models gain in stature, while moving to larger 7-inch and 8-inch woofers respectively. If you fancy a deeper bass extension or need more volume than the T5V can muster and can accommodate a significantly larger speaker, this may be a good option.

Our previous favorite affordable active monitors were the JBL LSR305P MkII (£125 each), but the Adam T5V outclasses the JBLs in almost every possible way. The sound quality of the T5V is significantly better balanced than the JBL LSR305P, they play louder and the design is also easier on the eyes. Unless you find the JBL LSR305P MkII for a song, the T5V is the best buy.

If you’re tempted by more traditional hi-fi splits, it’s unlikely you can match the T5V without spending a lot more money. Pair our favorite affordable passive hi-fi shelves, the Q Acoustics 3010i (£149 a pair), with a decent budget amplifier and you’ll be hard-pressed to squeeze under the T5V’s £276 asking price. Plus, you’ll have to put up with a lot less bass and a more uneven frequency response. Pound for pound, separations simply cannot compete in the sound quality stakes.

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Adam Audio T5V review: Design and setup

The all-black finish and lack of speaker grilles won’t appeal to everyone, especially not if you’re considering these speakers for living room use, but the T5V looks and feels surprisingly refined for the ‘silver. The matte black finish and chamfered front edges give the T5V the same professional, focused look as the rest of Adam Audio’s lineup, and the whole thing feels nice and solid, too.

The T5V’s cabinet houses a 5-inch woofer alongside Adam Audio’s 1.9-inch U-ART ribbon tweeter, and there are dedicated internal Class-D amplifiers for each driver, with 20W for the tweeter and 50W for the woofer. Each speaker is powered by a single IEC kettle cable.

Around the back of each speaker there is an XLR connection for balanced inputs and an RCA input for unbalanced devices. It should be noted that you cannot use the inputs simultaneously, as you have to choose between the two with a switch.

A small gain knob smoothly adjusts each speaker’s volume, and two three-way switches let you choose from -2db, 0db, and +2db settings for the low-frequency and high-frequency EQ circuits.

The only logistical issue worth mentioning, particularly if you’re considering the T5V for home use, is one that applies to the vast majority of studio monitors: the separate gain controls on the back of each top speakers are not intended for use as a volume control on a hi-fi amplifier. Instead, you set the T5V’s gain controls to a level that produces maximum acceptable volume when your laptop, PC, or other connected device has its volume set to 100%, then control the volume only through the device. connected.

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Adam Audio T5V review: Sound quality

In short, they are very, very good speakers. The bass is remarkably deep and powerful, dropping smoothly down to around 40Hz before dropping off fairly quickly, and the overall sound quality is smooth and detailed. The highs are a bit bright – and they remain so even with the high-frequency EQ control set to its -2dB position – but it’s not unpleasant to listen to. Overall, I preferred the T5V with a bit of software EQ to lower the high end a few extra dBs, but that’s not essential: the rest of the frequency range is so balanced, and the bass so extended, it doesn’t end up sounding too high.

The T5V is also significantly louder than the similarly priced JBL LSR305P MkII, meaning there’s more than enough volume to fill small to medium-sized rooms – frankly, most people won’t want that. they are stronger. For larger rooms, higher volumes and lower bass extension, pairing the T5V with a subwoofer is a good bet, as is filtering out low frequencies sent to the T5V’s modest little woofer. I experimented with an 80Hz crossover on my Yamaha AV receiver and it certainly seemed to help the T5V handle movie soundtracks much more confidently at higher volumes.

One of the reasons the T5V sounds so good is because the design uses a waveguide. This small recessed region around the tweeter helps integrate high frequencies with those of the woofer below and as a result sound reflected from walls and ceilings sounds very similar to what comes directly from the speaker. This means that the character of the sound – the balance between bass, midrange and treble – remains as cohesive and balanced as possible at the listening position.

As always, the proof is in the listening, and the T5V sounded great in every room I tried them in. The T5V still sounded great in my acoustically treated office, in a living room with echoing wooden floors, and they were happy enough. on a desk, shelf or on speaker stands too – something you can’t always take for granted with more traditionally designed hi-fi speakers.

The T5V’s design also produces a pleasingly wide sweet spot – the place where you need to sit for the best stereo imaging – so you can move around more freely before the stereo imaging completely collapses to a high- speaker or the other. Whether you’re using the T5V in a studio where you could scoot left and right, or just perched on the end of your couch, this headroom is really welcome.

I spent about a month with the T5V and it’s to their credit that I didn’t feel the need to go back to my usual system. Considering the usual system is a pair of Revel Concerta2 M16 speakers (~£799) with a chunky 250W Yamaha power amplifier and massive SVS CS-Ultra subwoofer, that’s pretty impressive in itself. The little T5V has such impressive bass extension that I was happy enough to listen without the subwoofer and the overall sound is so refined and balanced that it’s very hard to tell you’re listening to a pair of affordable active studio monitors .

At this price, there’s concern that tweeter hiss will be audible – basic Class-D internal amplifiers of this caliber of speaker often produce hiss, even when nothing is playing – but the T5Vs are harmless in this regard. You can hear a hiss once you get close to the speaker, but it’s not audible once you move a meter away, and it’s completely inaudible once the music is playing even at a low volume.

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Adam Audio T5V review: Verdict

If you think £276 a pair isn’t exactly pocket money you’re right, but the Adam Audio T5V’s value for money is off the scale: I haven’t heard of best active studio monitor for the money and they truly rival the separate hi-fi systems I’ve heard at two or three times the price.

Ultimately, the T5Vs are compact, well-designed speakers that sound great in every way. Whether you’re looking to step up your music production game or just want great quality sound for your office or living room, this is an amazing achievement at this price point.

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