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Need adivce on what to choose between KEF X300A or Adam Artist 3 or Adam Artist 5

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am planning to buy a speaker set for my desktop to play with my computer. I have came across the reviews of KEF X300A and Adam Artist 3. At the moment, I don't know which one to choose. So if you some advice please share with me.

These are the prices I can get at my local audio outlets:

  • A pair of KEF X300A (USD 825)
  • A pair of Adam Artist 3 (USD 943)
  • A pair of Adam Artist 5 (USD 1257)

The price is converted from local currency to USD.

Which one would you choose and why?

post #2 of 22

The ADAMs. I was so impressed with my A5X I bought another pair of A3X to use at a different location.

 

The AnX range is similar to the Artist range except the design is more functional and they don't have the direct USB input.

 

Quite a difference in price as well. Audiophiles are expected to pay more than musicians and engineers.

 

So your best plan of action would be to buy something from the ADAM AX or F ranges and spend what you save on a dedicated multichannel audio interface. That's what active nearfields are designed to run from. It'll be more versatile too and allow for future expansion.

 

Here is an example of what I mean. There are loads of alternatives.

 

http://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i4/specifications

 

KEF have been a good consumer electronics company in their time but in this market they are playing catch up with the pro grade guys who have been doing this for much longer. ADAM have been tremendously successful in this market and the price/performance they offer has become a legend.

 

 

post #3 of 22

I keep doing this, but i agree with RD (above) completely.  Also consider KRK actives if on a budget as there are some total bargains atm on the 2nd gen RP series following the launch of the 3rd gen.  A pair of KRK RP6 and a focusrite audio interface should come within your budget. 

 

Do more research, you thinking is correct but I think atm you are missing the bullseye...

 

For reference I use a Roland Quad Capture as interface with ADAM A7's.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great advice, both. The problem is I'm a total noob when it comes to these audio devices. I have so far only owned victor and song hifi systems.

So, let's say, if I want to use a pair of A3X and a sub, I just need to buy Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 and connect the speakers and sub to it and to my computer, is that right?

Sorry for the stupid question. frown.gif
post #5 of 22

Yes the audio interface will connect to your pC via USB, from there you will connect to your monitors, you will likely be using RCA cables which you can probably pick up from the same place you buy the other gear.  I would assume everything you buy will will come with perfectly good set-up instructions :D  If you get stuck there are always people here to help.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
That's cool Tablix. Thanks again for the help. But it seems I have more questions. My local authorized dealer does not carry AnX series. But they do have Adam F5. How do you think about F5? Would it be a comparable alternative to 3X or 5X?
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

KEF have been a good consumer electronics company in their time but in this market they are playing catch up with the pro grade guys who have been doing this for much longer. ADAM have been tremendously successful in this market and the price/performance they offer has become a legend.

Have you actually heard the Kefs, or is this just a pro audio/Adam fan bias? I'm not saying the Kefs are better or worse, because I haven't heard them and don't know. But I have noticed you tend to push the pro audio gear as if it's always better, which is not true.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Talking about pro audio, how about KEF LS50?

post #9 of 22

KEF gear is not stocked at all in the audio outlets I use in the UK, so I could not attempt to compare.  I will only buy what I have heard with my own ears, so I may have a very narrow choice when making my own buying decisions.  I bought my A7x's about 2 year so long before the F series was released.  

 

In my experience using pro audio gear is not always the best choice as having a neutral DAC and accurate and precise monitors it can make bad recordings sound really bad.  If you have low quality mp3 rips or bad recordings then you WILL know about it, however if you are actually recording music or have all your music recorded in lossless format you will get a complete listening experience.

 

Using more "audiophile" gear you are asking for DAC's that are not always neutral then pushing it through amps and speakers that also flavour the sound.

 

AUDITION, is the key.  Find a store you can visit in person, phone them in advance to let them know you are coming and you budget.  Ask them for recomendations and ask to try everything in your budget.  Factor in this SERVICE into the price difference from online retailers.  

 

Its sometimes worth paying a 5-10% premium to get first hand service and the ability to walk away that day with the very goods you auditioned.

 

I love my local store, but I get a far better standard of service and range of goods by spending $20 on fuel and making a day trip.  

post #10 of 22
Quote:
If I want to use a pair of A3X and a sub, I just need to buy Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 and connect the speakers and sub to it and to my computer, is that right?

 

That's correct KC but I'm glad of your question. It allows me to expand on what I have previously written and hopefully help others. In the last few weeks I have answered several queries from HF members uncertain how to best integrate active monitors and subs into their existing systems. I could have done the same with many more.

 

In recent years many audiophiles have begun to see great benefits in using active desktop loudspeaker systems similar to those used by audio professionals for decades.  It's been a noticeable trend in an otherwise moribund market. Some of these smart buyers have not yet fully realised that such monitors were originally designed to be used with a mixer. Which these days almost always means a pro grade multichannel audio interface. Individually active monitors and audio interfaces are great but combined they are brilliant. Like Strawberries and Cream or Fish and Chips. Made for one another. In heaven.

 

Partly this is because you can control gain on all inputs and outputs, inc headphones, with a handy physical  knob. Partly it's because you can use balanced inputs and outputs thus gaining 6dB and guaranteed immunity to interference and ground loops. Partly it's down to  the quality and range of the included mixing, routing, EQ and effects suites. Software is a major part of most pro audio suppliers business so they employ skilled programmers as a matter of course.

 

Mostly though it's due to the incredible flexibility and expandability. The audio interface becomes  the control centre of your entire audio system. Weaving all your diverse components into one cohesive whole. It connects anything and verything together. Seamlessly and with total user control at all times.

 

I'll try to explain using the example of a MOTU Ultralite. It's a unit I know well. There are many excellent alternatives. 500 Euros in EU or 550 Dollars in US.

 

http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/ultralite-mk3

 

It will I/O to digital via USB 2.0, Firewire or S/PDIF. 8 analogue inputs including 2 microphone preamps and Hi Z instrument jacks. All balanced if required. 10 analogue outputs. All balanced if required.  Plus headphone out. 14 bus (7 stereo) mixer with trim, 7 band parametric EQ, Reverb and 2 compressors available on all inputs, outputs and mixes.

 

Now you might say 'Ron that's fantastic but I don't need 10 ins and 14 outs'. Except you do. You just haven't realised yet.

 

It changes all the time but right now I've got the following inputs more or less permanently connected. Turntables and mixer, for vinyl. Receiver, mainly for radio. A HD Bluetooth receiver, mainly for guest 'phones and laptops. A desktop condenser microphone, for talking. Guitar pickup. Return from recorder. Output Mains to desktop speakers/sub, 1-2 > Amp for Big Speakers used for parties, 3-4 into the kitchen, S/PDIF/7-8 to recorder. One stereo pair going spare atm. 8 analogue outs is a good number because you could drive a 7.1 system. I don't have a MIDI instrument but a control surface would be cool at some point. Headphones can monitor any or all channels. Useful for cueing.

 

All this can operate at the same time. Radio to the kitchen, Music on the speakers, Speech on the mic. Cueing on headphones. Record TV, Backup data. Record anything with the push of a button. An incredibly versatile switching system. All controlled by front panel knobs if need be. It's even portable.

 

Audio quality? Clean and transparent. Pristine. When I first got it I was surprised to find I couldn't distinguish between direct and A/D > D/A routed signals. So I looped the output back to an input 4 times. D > A > D > A > D > A > D > A. Still couldn't tell which was which. Nether could anyone else I tested it on. Someone posted an example on the Internet of a file looped 30x and asked people to ABX them. No one could afaik.

 

So that's why I would recommend active multimedia monitors and an interface rather than direct USB atm. It will not cost you much, if any, more money and it's far, far more versatile. You might not think you need multichannel audio right now but once you have access to it you will soon wonder how you ever managed without.

 

ed spl :(


Edited by RonaldDumsfeld - 9/11/13 at 9:34am
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by KrakenChaos View Post

Talking about pro audio, how about KEF LS50?

What kind of music do you listen to? You might enjoy spending a little less on your speakers and adding a sub into the mix for your budget. smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi Cel4145, my type of music is usually instrumental, orchestra, enigma, all kinds of blues, flamenco, contemporary, ambient, and occasionally pop and rock, and Hollywood movies. biggrin.gif
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
RD, thanks for the thourough explanation. It will take sometime for me to digest all these new things.
post #14 of 22
I find for non-bass heavy music, I can be fine without a subwoofer if the speakers go down pretty low, say 50hz. That's me personally, but for EDM and other bass heavy genres, I like a sub. However, for movies, a sub can be a big plus. There's a lot of low bass content in the 20hz to 30hz range from special effects. Any good HT setup will have a decent sub. Just ask on audio/video forums where they discuss how to put together an HT setup.

The problem with those KEF X300A that you were looking at is that they do not have any kind of auxiliary output for using a sub. That means you wouldn't be able to use the USB DAC. So, I wonder whether they are a good value in that circumstance since you are paying for that feature. Of course if you listened to them and really liked them, then better to get what sounds good to you and you have heard. That's better than buying blind based on Internet recommendations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

Some of these smart buyers have not yet fully realised that such monitors were originally designed to be used with a mixer. . . .

Meanwhile, I must not be a "smart buyer" like RonaldDumsfeld. wink.gif

I still find that passive speakers and home audio equipment can also offer an excellent value. Both in the home audio and pro audio market, there is good and bad stuff. Gotta find the good stuff smily_headphones1.gif I like my speakers for what they and my amp cost more than pro audio speakers costing a couple of hundred dollars more that I have heard. It really depends on your listening tastes. Kef is acknowledge to make excellent speakers and they have an excellent reputation. You might like the LS50 or KEF X300A better than the Adam A5X. Or the other way around.

And you don't need a fancy mixer with powered speakers and a sub. Just need a sub that has line in/line out pass through, and you can run your audio to your sub, and then from the sub to the speakers. Then control the sound with your PC volume control (multimedia keyboard works very well for this). In fact, Adam, that has been previously mentioned, and Genelec--considered even a better pro audio brand--each have this capability in their subs along with high pass filters so that you can set a higher crossover point. So obviously some pro audio professionals are using this capability.

Unless you are into recording, you can easily connect multiple items up using an AVR and run passive speakers, too, if that's what you want. A good AVR will have active bass management and room correction software with a mic to automagically EQ the speakers and sub to smooth the frequency response. However, if you don't need that kind of capability to plug a bunch of stuff up, I wouldn't worry it. A straight DAC will work very well. The ODAC, for example, measures extremely well. It doesn't flavor the sound and is considered a great buy at it's price point.

So there are a lot of options that are available to you--and it's not quite as clear cut that one is better than the other as some might hype. Best thing to do first is figure out whether or not you want a sub. Then decide on the budget for the sub and speakers, and I would recommend some kind of DAC given the speaker price range you are already considering. But better not to put a fortune into the DAC. You'll get better SQ for your money with putting your budget toward speakers. Then, as Tablix suggested, you are best off to go listen to speakers. Find the speakers you want, and then you can figure out the sub solution that will integrate with them and fit your budget.
Edited by cel4145 - 9/11/13 at 7:40pm
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks again cel4145. That's really helpful. For the near future, I won't be able to add on more speakers. So just the 2 monitors and a sub is already perfect for me. I just phone some distributors and they have M-Audio and Eve Audio monitors also. Are they comparable to KEF or Adam?

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