What is the benefit of active studio monitors vs. passive ones?

Generally, active studio monitors are equipped with an internal amplifier and signal processing (filtering, EQ-ing) whereas passive monitors rely on an external, additional device. Active studio monitors allow a low-loss transmission of electric signals from a sound source (PC, interface) to their input connectors maintaining linear characteristics.

How long does it take to burn-in my ADAM Audio speakers?

Loudspeakers include movable parts. Therefore, they need a certain ‘burn-in time’ for a full excursion and adaption of these parts. After this burn-in time, the speakers reach their full acoustic potential. A ‘normal’ burn-in takes around 24 hours. To burn-in your speakers, it is advisable to feed them with music signals of a broad frequency spectrum and different volumes for a certain period of time.

What crossover frequency would you recommend for the subwoofer?

Generally, it’s hard to tell what settings of a subwoofer to choose. The impact of the specific room (dimensions, symmetry, furniture, etc.) plays quite a huge role. After having chosen the position of the subwoofer, it is advisable to try, try, try…

How do I setup my studio monitors?

Please make sure that there are no obstacles in the way from the studio monitors to your ears. You should be able to see the speakers completely. For the security of your speakers as well as for acoustic reasons, it is important that they sit firmly on a solid surface.

The acoustic center of your monitor, which is usually just below the tweeter, should be pointing at your ears. In case you need to position the speakers in a significant lower or higher position, the studio monitors should be angled accordingly. A standard value for the height of the listener’s ears is 1,20 m above ground.

If the studio monitors are going to be used for stereo applications, the optimum listening position is at the top of an imaginary equilateral triangle with the two speakers to be placed at the other two points of this triangle. The speakers should be aligned with the listener’s position.

Speaker positioning for multi-channel purposes is ideally based on a circle with speakers placed at 0° (Center), 30° (Front Right), 110° (Rear Right), 250° (rear Left), 330° (Front Left), with the listener being the circle’s center (5.1 surround setup). This ITU recommended configuration may vary depending on the purpose of the control room (music or film). However, it is highly recommended to create a symmetrical listening position with the front side and surround speakers pointing at the listener’s ears.

How and where do I position my subwoofer?

It is common knowledge that low frequencies (below about 100 Hz) are non-directional, meaning they can hardly be located by the listener. It is, however, a common misunderstanding that therefore the placement of a subwoofer does not matter. It does matter.

Due to the fact that every room (geometry, furniture, etc.) is unique, the following descriptions intend to be a first introduction to the subject. The aim is to assist you tackling the most frequent problems with subwoofers and room acoustics, notably interference and standing waves.

1. Distance to satellites:  In most set ups it is advisable to place the subwoofer not too far from the satellites to minimize the chance of interferences. Interference means the superposition of two or more waves resulting in an attenuation/cancellation or enhancement of the specific frequency/frequencies. Furthermore, big reflection faces in close range of the subwoofer should be avoided if possible (for example, guitar cabinets, partition walls, racks).

2. Walls/Distance to walls: Generally, every wall in relative close distance to the subwoofer enhances its sound pressure by about 6 dB. For instance, placing the subwoofer in a corner of a room will make it about 18 dB louder. It is likely that this will result in an impairment of the precision of the musical reproduction. Another problem related to the geometrics of the room concerns the so called ‘standing waves’. These are sound waves being reciprocated between reflecting objects, so they ‘stand’ (don’t seem to move) in between these objects. The speaker continues to produce new waves that combines its force with the first wave(s): a vicious circle that results in local imbalances of the particular frequencies.

3. Give it a try! The most important tool for finding the best position for your subwoofer are your ears. There are two rather easy ways: You can determine your listening spot first and then compare the sound of the subwoofer at different positions. Another option is to place the subwoofer at the listening position and then move around. Wherever the sound is the best the subwoofer should be positioned.

What is the function of the phase switch?

With the Phase Switch you can alter the phase of the subwoofer relative to the satellites. That means to change the polarity of the bass unit.

Why would you do that?

The woofers of your studio monitors and subwoofer work in-phase at lower frequencies. Within the crossover bandwidth (meaning the range of frequencies that both the subwoofer and the studio monitors produce), cancellation can occur if the subwoofer is not positioned in line with the studio monitors and / or even asymmetrically. Depending on the distance between woofer and satellites, either 0° or 180° may be the better position.

Again, the best way to find the appropriate settings for your system is to try what position sounds better.