There used to be a significant difference between speakers made for hi-fi listening and those designed for producing and mixing music. But the lines between creative and consumer listening have blurred in recent years. Some music makers have grown tired of cold and hard studio monitors, while some hi-fi enthusiasts are similarly frustrated by models with over-sweet, flattering frequency responses. Among those to have recognized that one speaker might cater to a range of possible users is Adam, whose A series studio monitor is popular amongst a range of pro and semi-pro producers. Adam considers its new F Range, featuring the F7s and the smaller F5s, to be perfect for music producers and listeners alike, as well as those looking for home cinema surround sound solutions and even dedicated gamers. With the latter two applications in mind, the F range includes its own dedicated sub unit, the SubF (available separately), from which the F7 or F5s can act as satellites.
The rear panel of the F7 reflects its multi-purpose use, with a balanced XLR input alongside a balanced/unbalanced TRS input and an unbalanced RCA connector. As well as the gain dial (from minus infinity to +6 dB), two EQ controls are provided, with plus-or-minus 6 dB of shelf control above 5 kHz and below 300 Hz. Additionally, if you're intending to use the F7s with the SubF, a switch to enable high-pass filtering at 80 Hz is provided. Otherwise, the frequency response extends from 44 Hz to 50 kHz, and twin A/B amplifiers are employed to drive the woofer and tweeter respectively.
In use, the F7s are impressive, offering a much closer sound to their A series big brothers than their price might suggest. As the tweeter is born of the same design as the A series, you'd expect this area of the frequency range to offer a broadly comparable sound. However, I was equally impressed by the bass end, which offers reliable solidity. While the low mid-range extension isn't quite as detailed as you'd expect to hear on a more expensive pair of monitors, there's little here that will hold back your mixes or that disappoints when listening for pleasure. The stereo imaging is impressive and detailed, too, and there's also more front-to-back depth in the sonic picture than I had anticipated. The sound overall is very controlled while still providing plenty of personality, with an open, warm and encouraging tone that nevertheless avoids over-sweetness or flattery. These monitors strike a good balance.
Of course, if your budget extends beyond the price of the F7s and you're keen on the Adam sound, there are sonic benefits to selecting the more expensive A7X, which offers even more detailed imaging and increased transparency across the mid-range. However, the differences are more subtle than you might expect, and it would certainly be fair to say that the F7 sounds more expensive than its price tag confirms. If you're in the market for a mid-priced pair of monitors, you should definitely give these some serious consideration.