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AVI announces ADM40 active floorstanding loudspeakers

The British hifi company AVI, based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, has announced the ADM40 active floorstanding loudspeakers, promising that “Everything is new, different and improved” versus the successful ADM9 and ADM9T, reviewed here.


Here is what we know about the ADM 40 (the hole in the above picture, by the way, will hold a status display). All subject to change, these are informal announcements on a forum:

  • Measure 90 x 21 x 30 HWD.
  • Three-way speaker system.
  • Two analogue inputs and four optical digital.
  • Stereo outputs for an optional sub-woofer. Without sub they are “-6dB at 45Hz”.
  • Remote with on/off and filter selection.
  • £3000 with Cherry or Walnut finish. Rosewood, Piano White or Black Lacquer £3750 delivered to the UK.

This price makes them more than two and half times more expensive than the ADM 9T. The challenge for AVI has been to make speakers that can reasonably be described as “full range” and which improve on what the smaller 9T already delivers. Three-way loudspeakers have theoretical advantages, because each drive handles a narrower range, but the design is more complex thanks to the crossover (of course this requires three amplifiers in an active system) and potential interactions between the different drives. Add a sub-woofer into the mix and the complexity increases. Large loudspeakers are hard to do well, but of course well worth it when successful.

AVI preparing a successor to the ADM 9.1 – the floorstanding ADM 40

AVI is a small British hi-fi manufacturer who advocate active loudspeakers; its AVI 9.1 (recently lightly revised as the AVI 9T) is widely liked for its clean uncoloured sound and lack of clutter – all you need is a digital source. However the 9T lacks grunt and until now the recommended solution has been the companion subwoofer, which adds a substantial £800 to the cost. The 9T is £1125 so that is not far short of £2000 for the pair, making the value for money less impressive.

Now the company is preparing an all-in-one successor to the 9.1 – the floorstanding, 3-way active ADM 40. From what we know so far:

750 watt per-channel RMS amplification
3-way active crossover
8 inputs
Remote control

It will be possible to fine-tune the bass via the remote control; there will also be a companion iPhone app.

How much? According to AVI man Ashley James “under £3000 definitely, hopefully £2500”.

Hitherto AVI has been opposed to full-range loudspeakers, claiming that smaller two-way loudspeakers supplemented by a subwoofer is a better solution. Why the change of heart?

We don’t like typical three way lower crossovers because they are in the middle of the most music. Even  phase perfect ones are still reversing it and back again!!

However we’ve found that you get 95% of the intermod reduction by crossing over at 100 Hhz, a noticeable increase in clarity and dynamic range and the bass can be adjusted to suit rooms and program material, in this instance by remote, which isn’t possible with an old fashioned three way. And there’s an LFE input, so it’s a win win situation in a comparatively small speaker because we can use a Sub driver and not one for a three way.

says James.

On the face of it the ADM 40 will be better value than the ADM 9T plus subwoofer, as well as more convenient; one fewer box has to be a good thing. Then again, can AVI really deliver something as good as the 9T but with full range? The proof will be in the hearing.

There is a review of the ADM 9.1, similar to the 9T, here.

Update – oh dear:

We can’t get the performance from a floor stander and they cost disproportionately more for limited demand, so we’ve dropped the idea.

seems to be the latest news.

AVI ADM 9.1 loudspeaker review – should we all go active?

I have reviewed the AVI ADM 9.1 active speaker system. This is a distinctive system, in that it builds amplification – both pre- and power amps – and a DAC into the loudspeaker cabinets. There is a remote to control volume and to select between two digital inputs or an analog input.

Why distinctive? Well, most consumer hi-fi is based on passive speakers with an external amplifier. There are lots of active monitors on the market aimed at the professional audio engineer, but most of these lack the pre-amp, DAC and remote.

What is an active speaker? Read the review; but in a nutshell it is one where each speaker driver has a dedicated amplifier, so that the crossover, which divides the audio signal into frequencies suitable for each driver, works on a low-level signal rather than one that is already amplified. This is well-known to reduce distortion. It also means that the amplifiers can be tailored exactly to the characteristics of the speaker drivers, since they are the only ones they ever have to drive.

The ADM 9.1 is expensive, but less so than the very high-end active systems on the market from the likes of Naim and Bang and Olufsen.

It raises the question: why are there not more active systems in consumer hi-fi? The short answer is that they do not sell that well, because they are inherently more expensive – you need at least double the number of amplifiers, presuming a two-way loudspeaker.

The long answer, claimed by AVI, is that the hi-fi industry is wedded to the idea of an upgrade cycle that keeps customers buying more. Passive systems, with several separate boxes, are more amenable to that process.