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Acoustic Zen Adagio Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Monday, 01 December 2008
Article Index
Acoustic Zen Adagio Loudspeakers
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The Downside
It is hard to fault the performance of the Adagios.  They perform extremely well within their design parameters.  They will not provide the visceral impact or slam for the lowest octaves that larger speaker systems are capable of, but if that’s what is desired, one may be better served by Acoustic Zen’s larger Crescendo speaker system.  The upper end of the frequency spectrum is more pronounced than that of the majority of the so-called reference systems that feature soft dome tweeters.  I personally never found this to be a problem, especially given the tweeters’ lack of distortion, but the Adagios may be too bright for some, especially when paired with bright electronics.  I was easily able to discern changes upstream from the Adagios that would normally be masked by less revealing speakers.

From a purely logistical standpoint, I wish that the Adagio, Jr. had a front-firing port.  The rear-firing port limits where you can position the speaker.  In a small room where the speaker needs to be close to a wall, this could be a problem.  I never had any problems with the rear face of the speaker one or more feet from the wall, although it sounded best a bit farther out.

The Adagio speakers are very revealing yet musical speakers.  I found them to be only ribbon tweeter-based speakers under $10,000 that I really enjoyed.  Unless your listening habits tend towards bass-heavy music at loud volumes, these speakers deserve a close listen for anyone shopping in the $4,000 to$10,000 price range.  Their slightly restricted bass should not be a problem at all in a subwoofer-equipped multi-channel system and was only noticed in my two-channel system with the most demanding bass-heavy material.

With the foregoing caveat, the frequency extension and impact was well beyond what I expected from speaker of the Adagios’ modest size.  The Adagios excelled with the critical midrange, reproducing vocals with an amazing amount of clarity and lack of artificial coloration.  The bottom line is that these speakers combine some of the best traits of planar and dynamic speaker designs, creating extremely capable components that let the music come through and be enjoyed.

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