Hands On: Adam Audio ARTist 5 Active Monitor
Adam Audio's ARTist 5 active monitor incorporates RCA, XLR and USB connections to facilitate its use in a residential, computer-based audio system, and in applications in the pro audio market.
March 09, 2012 by Robert Archer

The second song was a song I wrote and it’s a 1980s-influenced song that uses a lot of the chords I ravaged from players such as Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen. On this song I used a Gibson Les Paul and a Jet City JCA20H head, a Marshall 1912 cabinet and a TC Electronic Dark Matter distortion pedal.

Blewitt engineered and produced both songs, with the goal to maintain the live feel of the Flamenco jam he and Maggio created. During the recording and mixing of the Flamenco piece the track was virtually left unchanged other than adding a touch of compression and reverb, which we were able to clearly hear through the resolution capabilities of the ARTist 5s.

My track was much more involved due to the use of multitracking (we recorded takes for the left and right channels of the mix). The song showed how nicely the speakers can be used as a pro tool. We employed the ARTist 5s to help with mic positioning, which included the placement of a Shure sm57 on the Marshall cabinet, as well as an MXL condenser mic used for room ambiance. With the ARTist 5s we listened for mic phase issues and changes in tonality and room ambiance.

Getting into the mixing, we were able to dive and fine-tune the EQ and compression used on the drums and bass to help flesh those instruments out of the mix, and to set tonality so the drums sounded like authentic 1980s-era drums. We also used the speakers for other things like adjusting the amount of flange (a modulation effect) used on the chorus section of the song.

Final Thoughts
Overall for computer audio and recording, I think Adam has seriously stepped up and delivered a product that is reasonably priced and much better than its previous prosumer products. The ARTist A5 provides nice octave-to-octave balance to deliver a focused and detailed image that in a near-field listening environment will fill a seating area with dynamic, uncolored sound. Throw in its variety of connection options, attractive finishes and front-mounted power and volume controls, and the ARTist 5 adds up to a killer product.

Song Notes and Free Music Downloads
To listen to a lossless copy of the songs, click on the song titles.

The Campy 80s Song was recorded with a Gibson Les Paul run through a Jet City JCA20H head connected to a Marshall 1912 cabinet and the amp was overdriven with a TC Electronic Dark Matter distortion pedal. We placed a Shure sm57 microphone on the Marshall cabinet and a MXL condenser microphone a few feet away for ambiance.

The song is in the key of G (a syncopated alternating pattern of G/A, G7, and the chorus is an Eddie Van Halen E, Esus4, D, Dsus4, C, Csus4 type of progression). The song was produced and engineered by Blewitt who also played bass and added the first guitar solo before the breakdown on the song. Blewitt recorded directly into the Apple Logic software using plugins for the bass and his Ibanez guitar. When listening to this song listen to the slap echo on the snare drum, the tonal differences between the Ibanez and Gibson guitars and the amount of bottom end the bass line takes up.

Flamenco Jam is actually a demo that we decided not to re-record because of the spontaneity of the track. The song alternates between Am and E7 and it was recorded by placing MXL condenser microphones just off the sound holes of each guitar (Maggio plays a Takamine nylon string acoustic and Blewitt plays a Taylor 314ce acoustic).

The fun thing about this song and the reason why we kept the track is that the song wasn’t rehearsed. It was a first take jam. Maggio and Blewitt admit they didn’t play it perfectly, but their energy and playing skills made a song a keeper. When listening to the song notice the tonality difference of the nylon-stringed guitar in the right channel and the steel-string guitar in the left channel.

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Robert Archer - Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.

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