Berlin, September 5, 2012
Now for the real glory of the Classic Column MK3: From the midrange up, the sound was marvelously transparent. Almost every disc I listened to through the ADAMs offered new revelations of detail and nuance, regardless of how familiar I was with it. It didn't matter what I played—the Column's extraordinary X-ART midrange and treble drivers never failed to impress me. Nor were their detail and clarity byproducts of a tipped-up HF range. […]
Overall, the characteristics of ADAM Audio's Classic Column MK3 include a smooth and natural spectral balance, remarkable transparency across the spectrum (and most notably from the midrange up), and tight, full, well-extended bass. It could also deliver dynamic contrasts both subtle and staggering. Its excellent soundstage, however, was quite forward, and seemed to begin in the room, right at the speakers' baffles. Indeed, it created the illusion of listening in the nearfield, even at my normal listening distance of 12'.
In appearance and footprint, the Classic Column MK3 bears some resemblance to the Aerial Acoustics 7T, which I reviewed in the March 2012 issue ($9850/pair). The 7Ts' sound is smoothly balanced and open, and they produced what was, for me, an appropriately distanced soundstage with classical recordings. The Aerial's bass seemed less full than the Column's, but the 7T was unperturbed by organ-pedal notes at high volumes. Although the Column seemed to go deeper at any reasonable volume, I could get them to misbehave if I pursued such a cruel intention. If you audition both, I don't think you'd have difficulty choosing between them—but I wouldn't presume to predict what that choice would be.
All that said, I'd choose ADAM Audio's Classic Column MK3 in a heartbeat if my listening room could accommodate more than one speaker system. Compared to the awesome spaciousness and warmth of the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Diamond, the Classic Column MK3 is a splash of cool water in the face and a kick in the butt. It gave me an alternate and entirely refreshing depiction of everything I threw at it. ADAM Audio may be a name new to the American high end, but my hat's off to them: The Column MK3 is aptly named a Classic.
Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile, August 1, 2012
You can read the full review here.