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Musical Director Dan Richards Touts Adam Audio A7X Studio Monitors

FOH Staff • News • June 29, 2020

LOS ANGELES – Guitarist and musical director Dan Richards recently acquired his first pair of A7X studio monitors from Adam Audio.

More details from Adam Audio (www.adam-audio.com):

The success of Braunton, England-born guitarist and musical director Dan Richards reads like a poster about why musicians move to the big city. After earning a master’s degree from the prestigious London College of Music, he led bands on cruise ships for a time, then set sail for a five-year tenure onstage with blockbusting boy band, One Direction. Nowadays, he serves as musical director for such rising stars as Anna Clendening, Loren Gray, and Emma Zander, and very recently acquired what he calls his first pair of “truly transparent” studio monitors: the A7X from ADAM Audio.

“I decided to buy ADAM monitors because I’ve been transitioning into studio-based songwriting and production,” says Richards. “I love touring, but there comes a time when you don’t want to be on the road constantly, not to mention the coronavirus’ impact on live shows. I was familiar with ADAM monitors because the guy I used to share a studio with had a pair of T7Vs, and I’ve also used the A77X in various studios where I have worked. I always thought they sounded great, and now that I have my own pair, I’m even more impressed.”

The A7X woofer is made of a proprietary material that makes for extremely low moving mass and therefore nimble transient response. Richards details how this translates into what he hears: “The mids and low mids have this extra clarity that frankly, I really haven’t heard before,” he observes. “That’s an important range because it’s often where you’ll find loads of sonic garbage you want to scoop out, in order to achieve a more open, bigger image. I can do that much more quickly and confidently than I ever have.”

Part of Richards’ job as a musical director for stadium-filling acts was to ensure that the massive P.A. systems weren’t reproducing unwanted low frequencies that would detract from the audience’s experience. “You want to make sure that beyond the thumping bass people expect to hear, there’s nothing intrusive down there,” he says. “I’m honestly shocked at how clearly the A7Xs reveal that range, even when I’m not using a subwoofer. With the bass ports they go down to almost 40Hz.”

For Richards, that bass definition reduces his professional stress. “Often I’m working on a band’s program material from home,” he explains. “If I’m unaware of some bogus frequency in the sub-bass through low-mid range, I might get to rehearsal and have to make a bunch of adjustments while the band is there waiting. That’s a music director’s nightmare. But I trust the A7X and know they’re going to be a huge time saver for future tour work.”

Thanks to ADAM’s award-winning X-ART folded ribbon tweeter design, Richards is just as pleased with the A7Xs’ performance at the treble end of the spectrum. “The highs are nice and airy,” he notes, “but without that grainy quality you often hear from compression drivers. With the ADAM monitors, the sound is smooth and doesn’t wear out my ears.”

The A7Xs have also helped Richards to optimize his home studio. “I had been using the Sonarworks calibration software to wring out my room,” he recalls. “Yet I always got a lot of crap around 150Hz reflecting off my workstation desk, no matter what I did. But the ADAMs really let me hear what was going on, and in conjunction with the software, I was finally able to get things right. The A7Xs sound just perfect. There’s just this very solid clarity about them across the board, which makes mixing easier.”

Richards does bring up an occupational hazard that comes with that clarity. “I figured I’d get to know the ADAMs by listening to my old mixes on them,” he says. “Now, I’m feeling the need to make all these tweaks to material that’s already been approved. It’s so surprising what you hear through really good monitors. So, new ADAM users be warned — you’ll be tempted remix all your stuff!”

Bang for buck was the clincher for Richards, and he’s quick to point out that the A7X and AX-series in general offer plenty: “Most musicians, even full-time professionals like me, don’t necessarily have an extra five or ten grand to throw at monitors. With the A7Xs, you’re talking real high-end speaker performance at a non-crazy price. The build quality is excellent, too. I’d recommend these to anyone as an investment in real monitors with no qualms whatsoever.”

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