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ADM9RS or good British passive system?

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JohnBr's picture
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Hi, I joined the forum to seek some advice on a new system for the new year. I used to own a nice system a few years back but gradually lost it as we moved homes. 

I'm looking to get a good sounding system to play from my Mac and I'd like the speakers to be modest size wooden boxes (ideally with grilles) to fit in with the room. The Kef LS50s sound like a great option, but just not to my taste looks-wise!

I have been reading about the AVI ADM9RS which sound like a good option. I have also looked into more classic speakers like Harbeth, Spendor and Proac with a British amp around the 1k mark. 

So, how would the AVI compare to something like the Harbeth P3ESR/M30.1, Spendor S3/5R2, Proac D1/D2 with something like the Naim 5 or XS? I was looking at one of the mini DACs like the dragonfly or meridian as they are very compact and supposed to be good. Or, finding an amp with a DAC built in. 

I realise the AVIs are much cheaper due to less boxes, but how do they compare sound wise? I read that they lack the bass and also top end sparkle of a passive system, but do they sound better overall? I listen to a wide range of music including jazz, soul, folk, electronic. 

I plan to start some demos, but it's hard to demo them together. Any advice would be great!

Craig M.'s picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

Mine have replaced some much more costly separates and sound better to boot.

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relocated's picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

The AVI adm9 speakers provide the speakers, amps, remote controlled pre and dac + power and connecting cables for £1250 delivered in UK.

All the speakers you mention are by decent companies but you won't match the sound quality of the ADMs for any where near the price.  Your music choice would tend to suggest that the ADMs would suit you very well.  They certaily are not bass light.

Since moving to AVI myself I cannot stand listening to passive systems for very long at all and some of my friends have spent much ££££££££s and time putting their systems together.  

Good luck in your return to stereo.

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

I don't know how they compare but you do get a lot with AVI's products. Best to head over to their forum for more info and some unbiased advise ...

Alternatively, I find Belcanto's integrated an interesting option amongst amplifiers, as are cyrus with their DAC/Integrated. Either would probably make a lovely system with Harbeths or Kef's.

regards

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

You have to remember that the Naim/Spendor/Harbeth etc systems will probably outperform the AVIs, simply because their component parts are more expensive and therefore (hopefully) of better quality, so it isn't really a fair comparison.

You really should audition all your choices, preferably at a dealer so you can make a direct comparison. Also worth considering, and much cheaper, are the new Quad active speakers, as well as those from Nubert (www.nubert.de) which get wonderful reviews in Germany. They're available on a 30 day trial, and apparently Nubert pay for return postage.

More expensive, but said to be stunning, are the ATC actives, which to a large extent are the reference for acive monitors.

Another alternative rarely mentioned on this forum are the Linn speakers, such as the Majik series, which can be upgraded to active speakers.

Joined: 25 Jul 2011
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

drummerman wrote:

I don't know how they compare but you do get a lot with AVI's products. Best to head over to their forum for more info and some unbiased advise ...

Alternatively, I find Belcanto's integrated an interesting option amongst amplifiers, as are cyrus with their DAC/Integrated. Either would probably make a lovely system with Harbeths or Kef's.

regards

Unbiased advice as in the advice you get on the Linn forum, the Naim forum, or any other manufacturer's forum. I think you mean highly biased :)

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

Welcome to the forum, and happy new year.

I can't comment on the AVIs as I haven't heard them, but my advice would be as follows:

- Nobody here can tell you what you will prefer with any certainty.

- Owners of any kit will often tell you there is nothing like it.

- What constitutes VFM is very subjective.

- Don't buy "on hype" and make sure you listen for yourself.....and trust what you like.

- FWIW. I like your choice of speakers, but would include Sonus Faber, Kef R Series and Vienna Acoustics; for amps, you might also like to consider Sugden, Arcam, Musical Fidelity, Creek, Pathos and Electrocompaniet.

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steve_1979's picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

JohnBr wrote:

I realise the AVIs are much cheaper due to less boxes, but how do they compare sound wise? I read that they lack the bass and also top end sparkle of a passive system, but do they sound better overall? I listen to a wide range of music including jazz, soul, folk, electronic. 

The original ADM9 and ADM9T speakers were a bit bass light but the newer ADM9RS versions are much better in this respect. As with any small standmount speakers to get really deep bass you'll need to add a good quality subwoofer.

 

drummerman wrote:

...Best to head over to their forum for more info and some unbiased advise ...

rolling on the floor laughing

AVI make some cracking speakers though. Well worth a listen to see what you think before spending more money elsewhere.

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

Ah alrighty then, I was being a little sarcastic but its just the way they are, hey ho.

There are some very knowledgeable people over there so it does make for interesting reading if can see through the gospel and the little man himself is not half bad either.

Wheareas AVI had the domestically acceptable active market almost for themselves over the last few years since the first incarnation of the innovative ADM's (disregarding stalwarts like B&O/Meridian for a moment), there are now admittedly a few more options with probably yet more to come. If nothing else it shows what foresight the company has and how they embrace wider technology as part of an integrated home entertainment solution. No mean feat for such a small company ... albeith one with years of experience.

The new Quad actives look interesting but as chebby, I'd want a size up. Nubert, as mentioned look good too.

Nice that there are so many options and it shows that companies still take hifi serious.

regards

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EvPa's picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

altruistic.lemon wrote:

They're available on a 30 day trial, and apparently Nubert pay for return postage.

They indeed offer free return shipping as long as you are located within the European Union (which unfortunately is not my case...).

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

altruistic.lemon wrote:

You have to remember that the Naim/Spendor/Harbeth etc systems will probably outperform the AVIs, simply because their component parts are more expensive and therefore (hopefully) of better quality, so it isn't really a fair comparison.

You really should audition all your choices, preferably at a dealer so you can make a direct comparison. Also worth considering, and much cheaper, are the new Quad active speakers, as well as those from Nubert (www.nubert.de) which get wonderful reviews in Germany. They're available on a 30 day trial, and apparently Nubert pay for return postage.

More expensive, but said to be stunning, are the ATC actives, which to a large extent are the reference for acive monitors.

Another alternative rarely mentioned on this forum are the Linn speakers, such as the Majik series, which can be upgraded to active speakers.

More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better if there are more efficient ways of achieving an end result.  I'm not taking sides in this particular argument, but I think it is important not to risk spreading the misconception that if you throw money at kit it will be better (I do note your addition of 'hopefully' in parentheses).

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JohnBr's picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

Thanks for the replies. I really do need to get a demo of the various options.

Has anyone made any direct comparisons between the ADMs and similar passive systems to the aforementioned?

Also, I thought about the Nad D3020 to go with something like the Harbeth, Proac or Spendor as it's a neat, low cost unit and the speakers look to be easy to drive. 

steve_1979's picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

JohnBr wrote:

...Has anyone made any direct comparisons between the ADMs and similar passive systems to the aforementioned?...

The ADM's like many other good active speakers from companies such as Genelec, Quested or the Event Opals sound clearer than any passive speakers that I've heard.

 

The closest that I've ever heard passives sound to good actives is probably some Vienna Acoustics speakers driven by a pair of Cyrus monoblock amplifiers. Very impressive but silly money though and still not quite as good as some of the high quality active speakers availible at a lower price.

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John Duncan's picture
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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

I heard the 9.1Ts some time ago and wasn't that taken with them because I felt they lacked bass, despite their undoubted abilities elsewhere.  I understand that the later models have addressed this, which would make them an extremely competent system, particularly at the price, provided the number and types of inputs is appropriate for your needs.  I think, especially with their direct sales model, you would probably need to spend double in order to match them with conventional separates.  In that regard, I would be looking at Spendor and KEF with a nice chunky amp from Naim or Creek - I liked the NAD but I don't think it's in the same league.

I am not convinced by claims that they cannot be matched at any price (or indeed the effect of active crossovers) as, for example, I felt that the PMC DB1S-AII (a powered passive) were better in a direct comparison, albeit at almost twice the price.  Neither could I accommodate them anyway as they're a bit chunky; their gorgeous little DM5s would be much more suitable for me in this regard, though they lack the preamp functionality of their bigger brother, and would definitely need a sub I think - the omission of a sub out on these was a mistake to my mind, but I guess they are aimed at a different market.

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

John Duncan wrote:

I heard the 9.1Ts some time ago and wasn't that taken with them because I felt they lacked bass, despite their undoubted abilities elsewhere...

I thought the old ADM9.1T model was a bit bass light too. The smaller passive Neutron 5's sound like they have a bit more bass than the old ADM9.1T's (although they're not quite as 'tight' sounding).

 

Personally I wouldn't want any bookshelf speaker without adding a subwoofer. They always seem to either have too little but 'right' sounding bass or they have enough bass but it sounds overblown, boomy and out of control. IME the only way to get good quality tight sounding deep bass is with very big full range speakers or small bookshelf sized speakers partnered with a sub.

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RE: ADM9RS or good British passive system?

steve_1979 wrote:

John Duncan wrote:

I heard the 9.1Ts some time ago and wasn't that taken with them because I felt they lacked bass, despite their undoubted abilities elsewhere...

I thought the old ADM9.1T model was a bit bass light too. The smaller passive Neutron 5's sound like they have a bit more bass than the old ADM9.1T's (although they're not quite as 'tight' sounding).

 

Personally I wouldn't want any bookshelf speaker without adding a subwoofer. They always seem to either have too little but 'right' sounding bass or they have enough bass but it sounds overblown, boomy and out of control. IME the only way to get good quality tight sounding deep bass is with very big full range speakers or small bookshelf sized speakers partnered with a sub.

 

Well there are also active speakers with DSP and Bass EQ as another design option to get superb bass without needing huge cabinets, or separate subs.

 

JMac