For practising at home, DJs tend to fall into one of two camps, often depending on how much money they have and how long they’ve been DJing. The “dabblers” often have their controller or laptop plugged into whatever speakers are handy (gaming speakers, boom box, home cinema speakers), while the more serious pride themselves on having long-saved-for specialist studio monitor speakers.
Somewhere in the middle, though, are DJs who maybe have limited space and limited funds; DJs who still want something decent to DJ through, but who are not looking for studio monitor quality. It’s those people who the new Reloop ADM-5 Active DJ Monitor Speakers will appeal to.
First impressions and setting up
The speakers are medium-sized and reasonably heavy (about 5kg each). They appear to be made of wood and I assume that will be chipboard, although the spec doesn’t say. They are back and boxy, with an attractive high gloss piano-style finish on the front, and stick-on textured black veneer elsewhere, which on the pre-production model was not 100% perfectly finished, but which Reloop assures us is fine on the shop units.
Highs were clear and clean, and the bass was warm, at the expense maybe of some punchiness.
The 5.25″ (13.5cm) bass drivers and the 1″ (2.5cm) tweeters are exposed by design, and the speakers are ported (ie they have a hole in the back for the bass). On the rear of the active speaker are volume, bass and treble controls, plus a power input, jack for a sub-woofer, RCA-in sockets, and an on/off switch; both speakers have metal screw-down terminals for running a connecting wire between them. The manufacturer claims 30W RMS power output.
These are close-field monitors, which means they’re designed to be set up pointing at the listener with the tweeters at head level, in a rough triangle, with the listener’s head being the third point of the triangle and the speakers the other two. Typically they’d sit on a desk, with the listener sat in front of them, gear on the tabletop. Some small rubber stick-on feet are provided to isolate the speakers from the surface they’re placed on.
Plugged into a Native Instruments Audio 4 DJ interface and playing Beatport-purchased MP3s at 320kbps, the sound from these speakers was appreciably fuller than that from the much smaller M-Audio AV40 all-round computer monitors/practice speakers that we use day-to-day here in the Digital DJ Tips offices. Highs were clear and clean, and the bass was warm, at the expense maybe of some punchiness.
There was a slight, low hum from the speakers when plugged in, that is not noticeable as soon as you have any music at all playing through them, but is noticeable when they’re silent. This would certainly be unacceptable on reference monitors, but it’s a small thing that needs to be seen in relation to the low price point. As I say, you can only just hear it, and certainly not when any music is playing.
At the highest volume level it was pretty easy to get these to distort, but you do have to drive them quite hard before it starts to happen.
The bass and treble controls proved to be a good addition for when listening to DJ mixes streamed from online, as there’s often no easy way of adjusting equalisiation with these sources, and I suspect as these speakers will be used as all-rounders (ie not just for DJ monitoring), many users will appreciate these controls.
These speakers are good value. For not very much outlay, you get wooden, ported, loud, powered speakers that’ll do you just fine as DJ practice monitors, and that look good too.
Sure they’re not the quality of decent reference monitors, but they’re also nowhere near the price.
Sure they’re not the quality of decent reference monitors, but they’re also nowhere near the price. And while audiophiles may baulk at the addition of sound-colouring bass and treble controls, in the real world – where people listen to music via computers and may not have the ability to alter such things before the signal hits the amp – this is a nice addition.
I would have been happier with them had they not had that low hum (my AV-40s don’t and they’re a similar price), and also it would have been nice to see an extra input or two (maybe just an 1/8″ jack for playing your iPod through them).
But the ADM-5s get the job done, and apart from for very loud or very demanding use, they’ve got what it takes to perform well as a practice speaker. If you’re a DJ who can’t afford pro monitors but wants something better than computer speakers, they should be on your list.
- Good looking
- Nice sound
- Built-in EQ makes them flexible
We don’t like:
- Not studio monitor quality, although not surprising at this price
- Slight hum when powered up
Size & weight: 9.1 x 7.1 x 12.6″ (232 x 180 x 320mm), 11lb (5kg) each
Price: US$ t.b.c. / £125 / €129
What do you think?
Do these like good value to you? What do you use for DJ practice speakers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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