Adam Audio P11A monitors
Berlin-based monitor company Adam have been making inroads into the UK market for a while now. But, with only a couple of exceptions, their monitors tend to cost an arm and a leg.
Beyond the high prices, another thing that unites the whole Adam range is the folded ribbon tweeter design. You'll find it across the board, from their compact ANF10 and Artist models right up to their larger stuff (which includes a mid-range ribbon driver as well).
As a mid-sized nearfield, the P11A falls into the more affordable end of Adam's range, but still comes in at just over £1,100. Quite a sum of money for a nearfield monitor.
As should be obvious from the name, the P11A is an active design and at 10-kilos apiece, it clearly sports some hefty amplification. Indeed, the twin amplifiers deliver 100 watts each (with 150 watts RMS). That's twice what you'll get from the slightly cheaper Artist model.
Like many modern-day active monitors, the onboard amplification makes the P11As pretty deep. Thankfully though, these monitors doesn't have a heat sink sticking out of the back, which helps add to an overall sense of sleekness and tidiness.
All the controls, including input gain and the power switch, are round the back. This enforces the slick impression these monitors give when you're sat in front of them, but could be inconvenient in some situations.
In addition to a general input level, there's also a high gain trim (+/-4dB) for the tweeter amplifier, and two 'Room EQ' trim pots give you 6dB either way at 150Hz and 6kHz. Finally, there's an XLR input socket (though unfortunately no jack or phono options).
Although the flexibility of on-board EQ is very useful, setting up a new pair of monitors can still be a fiddly process, especially if you have to keep diving round the back to make changes. Strangely, apart from trimming back the input levels, with the P11As we felt no need to move from the flat settings. However, to explore the monitors further we did so anyway – and found there was plenty on offer.
As shelf-mounted nearfields go, there's ample girth in the bottom end, but it's the top-end that's most surprising. It's bright – to the point where you might be inclined to trim it back. There's actually no need to do so though, because the P11As' high-end is in no way tiring to listen to.
The accuracy is pretty impressive, and we found that the imaging allowed us to hear stereo positioning very easily.
Overall, there's a sense that specific frequencies are simple to pick out, and the P11As do a good job of deconstructing the elements of the track. When we tried giving them a proper loud blast, the P11As happily complied.
The P11As sound amazing. We could happily listen to them all day, which is what you're looking for from good monitors. That said, they're not overly flattering and they seem capable of revealing plenty of hidden detail. Given the many cheaper options, it may seem a lot to spend on monitors, but these will definitely earn their keep.
Amazing sound. Slick looks. Serious amplification – 150 watts RMS. Useful on-board EQ trims. Accurate stereo imaging. Highs are bright but don't tire the ears.
High price. Heavy. Controls at back are difficult to access.
Adam's ribbon tweeter helps the P11A deliver a silky performance, but at a price.