- Written by Brian Alvarez
- Published on 19 September 2012
Design of the Adam Audio ARTist 6 Active Speakers
It seems odd that the first aspect of the ARTist series I took notice of had to do with the nearly indestructible packaging. In the age of online shopping I can't stress enough how important it is to have packaging that can survive the rigors of shipping. All too often larger speakers suffer significant damage during transit. The packaging on the ARTist 6 was dented and bruised but the well engineered internal foam was fine and the speakers were never in peril. Have no fear in ordering these speakers from an online retailer.
The ARTist 6 is a petite tower using one X-ART tweeter with a dedicated 35 watt amplifier. Dual 4.5" (as stated by ADAM Audio, actual dimensions are smaller, closer to 3") mid-range/bass drivers each with a dedicated 35 watt amplifier. The 4.5" drivers are dual ported on the rear of the cabinet.
Crossover functions are carried out by active circuits before the amplification using line level signals. Each amplifier is fed only the signal range appropriate for the speaker driver being powered. This has several advantages including only needing to primarily swing voltage without much amperage to overcome passive components like inductors, yielding higher volumes than 35 watts would suggest.
Active designs tend to have better crossover performance over a wider volume range as passive crossovers tend to drift as the voice coil heats up and changes impedance. Also because of the short signal path by having the amplifiers in such close proximity to the drivers, active designs tend to be more dynamic and better controlled than most passive designs.
The ARTist 6 come fully assembled with a small plinth (already attached) in either a glossy black or as supplied a stunning gloss white finish. All inputs and controls are on the back panel. These include RCA and XLR inputs, master gain control, bass and treble controls plus an overall tweeter level dial.
Active speakers tend to have low shelf and high shelf controls to tailor bass and treble levels once placed. The ARTist series are no exception. The very nature of being active means the filters tend to be more accurate than passive controls and in the case of the ARTist series these settings are fixed and don't use variable controls which are difficult to match and often inaccurate. The high shelf EQ is fixed to 5khz and has a +/-6db control in what appear to be 1.5db steps (there are 4 settings in each direction).
The low shelf EQ has the same range and is set to 300hz. Both are very useful in compensating for minor room issues such as being too close or too far from a wall or having a reflective surface near the tweeter. Even in what seems like a symmetrical room there are often subtle differences. It's astonishing how much imaging improves with minor adjustments to the EQ settings.
The ARTist 6H is essentially the same speaker as the ARTist 6 with the differences being a smaller cabinet designed for LCR use. All drivers and amplifiers are identical to the ARTist 6. For this review the 6H was used as a center channel between a pair of 6 towers. The ports for the 4.5" drivers are at the rear of the cabinet as well.
The ARTist 5 was used for surround duties, the speakers themselves are also very suitable for desktop and near field use and have an integral DAC as well. For the purpose of this review they were exclusively used as surround speakers mounted above and slightly behind my listening position. The ARTist 5 uses a larger single driver, specified as 5.5" by ADAM and measuring closer to 5.25" with a more powerful 50 watt amp. The tweeter appears to be the same unit used in the 6 and 6H but with a more powerful 50 watt amplifier as well. EQ and gain controls are the same while inputs include the addition of 3.5mm stereo and USB.