If you had the chance to get an inside look at a loudspeaker company like ADAM Audio, what would you want to see?
If you didn’t have to be “politically correct“ and truly got to go behind the scenes, what would you want to know?
Yesterday, I got the chance to do just that.
And since I don’t have any affiliation with the company, or was there any ulterior motive for my visit, I was able to be upfront, curious and as nosy as I wanted to be.
What an opportunity!
Quick back story: I met ADAM Audio’s international sales rep Rick Grossmann at an acoustics seminar a couple of months ago. He was there purely out of personal interest. And I always like to check in with what my peers are doing, see if I can learn something new.
Over lunch we quickly hit it off. When I told him what I was doing with Acoustics Insider, he invited me over to see the company headquarters here in Berlin, and give me a personal tour.
So yesterday, I packed my things and headed out to Adlershof, tech-central of Berlin city.
Of course I got the obligatory chance to listen to the range of ADAM speakers in their demo room, including the new SP-5 headphones (sounds great! I’ll leave the reviewing to someone else).
And I got a very interesting tour of the new production space. Including their measurement facilities, assembly, quality control (one speaker cabinet was just sawn in half. Yup, they’re made from very heavy duty MDF) and ribbon tweeter folding shop.
After folding and glueing the ribbon, the secret ingredient is added. Is it love?
Now unfortunately, the most interesting bits I can’t show you any pictures of. Company secrets and all. And tbh, if you know anything about speaker design and manufacturing, it’s pretty much what you would expect anyway!
In fact, this isn’t what stood out to me during my visit.
The Vibe Of The Place
What stood out to me, was the vibe of the place.
To start things off, it was the director of the company, Christian Hellinger, who opened the door for me.
And not because he was expecting me (he had no idea who I was or that I was coming). But because he just happened to be close by and heard me ring the doorbell. He casually showed me in, a totally understated and personal reception. I immediately felt welcome.
And I got the same relaxed but professional vibe from who ever I met throughout my visit.
Not the least from Rick, who clearly understands that the quality of a company lives from the interaction with, and respect for, its customers.
I got the vibe of a company who is currently at the top of their game.
A company who is striving to be the best they can be and really push the limit in their field.
One small but critical thing that ADAM Audio has started doing with their S series of speakers, is to publish detailed measurement data, including full directivity data and waterfall/spectrogram plots showing the ringing effect of the resonance ports.
Why is this important?
Because it shows a willingness to be honest about their products and no longer fool us, the unassuming customer! The practice of inconsistent and often misleading technical information in the professional audio industry has been going on for way too long.
Instead it says: “Hey, here’s what I’m selling, I’ve got nothing to hide! If you think it’s for you, awesome! If it isn’t, that’s fine too, no worries.“
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about business, its that in essence, it’s a relationship between humans, just like a friendship or a partnership. Just that in this case it’s about the exchange of value. But like with any relationship, honesty pays off! (pun intended)
I applaud ADAM for it, as it’s exactly in line with what I am trying to do with Acoustics Insider, and what I experienced during my visit.
A willingness to break with gridlocked practices and respect the integrity of your counterpart.
Trusting that they can handle the truth that professional audio is difficult and that compromises are often necessary!
And nowhere does this become more evident than the moment you walk into the demo room of one of the most highly regarded speaker manufacturers in professional audio and them unapologetically saying that, yes, they too use Sonarworks.