The ADAM S3H dual-woofer, 3-way midfield monitor sets new standards for technical innovation and sound
Since ADAM Audio had its introduction in 1999, their innovative folder ribbon design took the pro audio world by storm, and that storm has yet to let up—it’s called the S-series. In particular the S3H, a powerful, highly accurate near- or midfield monitor with a sweet spot for days, that not only makes long listening sessions a pleasure, but also highly productive. The monitor of choice for many of the world’s top studios, producers, and mix engineers, ADAM took on the task of improving the S3A and its award-winning technologies to provide audio professionals with an even more effective mix tool—but ADAM did just that with the S-ART ribbon tweeter, dome/cone hybrid (DCH™) midrange driver, proprietary high-frequency waveguide, and Extended Linear Excursion (ELE) woofer. Proving that you can fix what isn’t broken, the S3H exceeds previous designs with stunning sound quality, accuracy, and spatial detail. If you’re competing in the big leagues of music and post-production, you need the ADAM S3H reference monitor on your mix team.
ADAM S3H reference monitor in one take:
- Handmade, precision S-ART tweeter
- Proprietary high-frequency propagation system (HPS) waveguide
- 4″ Dome / Cone Hybrid (Carbon Composite)
- 2 x 7″ Extended Linear Excursion (ELE) woofer (Hexacone)
- Cumulative amplifier power RMS: 1350W
- Frequency response: 30Hz-50kHz
- Maximum SPL per pair at 1m: ≥126dB
- AES3 digital inputs, USB port, rear-panel OLED display for settings, dual-function push-button rotary control, and various expansion options
S-ART tweeter, handmade in Berlin and manufactured to the tightest tolerances in ADAM Audio’s history
The S-ART treble driver is the evolution of ADAM’s renowned X-ART folded ribbon tweeter. The S-ART tweeter is typified by its precise transient response and ability to reproduce the subtlest high-frequency detail free of distortion with greater in-band realism and dynamics. When combined with ADAM’s high-frequency propagation waveguide, which surrounds the tweeter, the result is a present, yet non-fatiguing sound, with a dramatic sense of depth. In addition, the tweeter’s flat response out to 50kHz is responsible for significantly improved phase coherency in the audible spectrum, as opposed to designs band-limited to 20kHz, which can show significant phase shift at 10kHz.
High-frequency propagation system (HPS) waveguides
When you’re mixing, it’s not always possible to stay in the sweet spot, particularly if you’re working at a large-format console or control surface. As such, the off-axis response of the treble driver is crucial. To maintain extreme accuracy off-axis, the tweeter is surrounded by ADAM Audio’s high-frequency propagation system (HPS), which are waveguides milled from blocks of solid aluminum, designed with the latest computer modeling techniques. The HPS waveguides direct the dispersion of the tweeter with an even consistency across a wide horizontal field, yet tightly focused vertically.
The HPS waveguide on the S-ART tweeter minimizes reflections from horizontal surfaces, ensures imaging remains constant, and creates a wide, well-controlled, stable sweet spot, even at high output levels. This ensures that teams of mixers can work in the S3H’s sweet spot simultaneously in large control rooms.
Custom-built Extended Linear Excursion (ELE) bass drivers
If you’re going to improve the performance of tweeters and midrange drivers, it follows that woofers have to be addressed as well. Enter ADAM’s Extended Linear Excursion (ELE) bass drivers, a custom design created to be used in conjunction with the S-series cabinet and bass reflex system. With enough low-end response to bring about an Extinction Level Event, ELE guarantees extremely accurate, high-resolution reproduction at high sound pressure levels. ELE achieves this by the precise relationship between its low weight, optimized inner damping, and highly rigid honeycomb cone, all acting in conjunction with a basket developed to eliminate unwanted resonance and distortion.
Proprietary Symmetrical Magnet Assembly
Like the LF ELE units on all models in the S series, the woofers feature ADAM Audio’s proprietary Symmetrical Magnet Assembly (SMA), which extends the maximum possible excursion of the electromagnetic voice coil by a factor of three, as compared to previous designs. The extended travel of the voice coil ensures linear operation, displaces a greater volume of air, and produces higher maximum output. To prevent warming of the custom voice coils, which compromises low-frequency reproduction, ADAM designed an ingenious ventilation system that reduces the effects of power compression below the threshold of audibility.
To prevent unwanted modulation of the driver’s magnetic field, the S2V, S3H and S3V’s employ parabolic pole pieces that drastically reduce non-linear second-order distortion. There are also demodulation rings that help the magnetic field remain symmetrical while minimizing non-linear third-order distortion. The S5H and S5V at the top of the range, have an additional refinement, which is another magnet of opposing polarity fitted on top of the elongated pole piece. This refinement further improved the symmetry of the magnetic field lines, thus ensuring that the movement of the voice coil remains linear, keeping distortion at a minimum, even at high volume.
Dome/Cone Hybrid (DCH) midrange driver
Designed exclusively for the S Series, the 4″ midrange driver, known by the initials, DCH, is part cone and part dome. Combining the advantages of both, it offers the clean decay and linear frequency response of a dome driver with the high-excursion advantages of a cone driver. This combination audibly increases transparency in the all-to critical midrange, with distortion-free sound at high output levels. Completely “wobble-free,” thanks to proper control of large-scale excursion, the DCH output extends an octave below competing mid-range drivers (as far as 200Hz), ensuring a clean and consistent dispersion without tonal coloration.
Along with the use of several features found in the ELE drivers, the solid construction of the DCH allows it to be positioned closer to the S-ART tweeter. As such, the pair act as a more coherent sound source throughout the critical mid and upper midrange, with wider overall dispersion and greater accuracy. Like the low-frequency driver, highly dynamic, fine detail is reproduced without coloration or filtering.
Yet another unique feature of the S series is its custom DSP, which optimizes the crossovers for linear response across the entire frequency spectrum. It provides user-adjustable equalization, as well as tuning/voicing functions to accommodate individual room characteristics. The DSP is also responsible for handles limiter-based, high-frequency driver protection, which processes signals from the AES3 digital inputs. Future updates will include various expansion options, for which firmware updates can be easily done via USB port, which also enables control of the speakers’ DSP functions via computer.
Highly efficient, ICEpower amplifiers
The low- and mid-range drivers are powered by distortion-free Class-D ICEpower amplifiers. ICEpower are a patented PWM (pulse-width modulation) amplifier made by a Danish company (Bang & Olufsen ) who specializes in high-efficiency Class D amplifiers. Remarkably 90% efficient, these amps minimize energy waste, are lighter in weight, and far more robust with a longer working life than traditional Class A/B amplifiers.
So why does ADAM use an A/B design for the S-ART tweeter? Class A/B amplifiers offer more bandwidth and certain tonal advantages when used for high-frequency reproduction by tweeters. When you factor in the S-ART’s linear response to 50kHz, it all begins to make sense.
To power the S-ART tweeter, ADAM developed a special 50W, low-noise Class A/B power amp, which is linear up to 300kHz, to drive the tweeter on the S2V, S3H and S3V. However, to accommodate the greater power requirements of the larger monitors in the S range, S5H and S5V use the very latest generation of extremely powerful Class-D ICEpower amplifiers to drive their S-ARTs.
S3H rear panel controls and I/O
In addition to a standard IEC mains connector, the S3H rear panel features traditional AES XLR analog inputs and AES3 digital Input and Thru connectors [the latter are for multi-channel arrays where multiple speakers are being driven using the same signal]. There‘s also a USB jack to facilitate internal software upgrades and the use of computer-based remote setting software, and a blank panel covering an Options slot that will hold two RJ45 connectors for future expansion options.
Give your studio the creative edge. Hear what’s actually been recorded, and mix with confidence. For more information, or to schedule a listening session, call or chat online with your Westlake Pro Sales Consultant today.
2-year warranty with optional extension to 3 years with the registration of the product
- Full repair service if required for 5 years