No matter how much you’ve spent on your interface, DAW, plugins, and of course, your guitar, the way your recordings turn out is very much reliant on how well you’re able to hear them. The vast majority tend to just use their studio monitors, or even standard speakers to listen to their playback, and as a result, they make adjustments based on an incorrect reference.
Why is it that the reference is incorrect? The answer – untreated rooms. The reflections, echoes, and background noise experienced can influence your perception of the recording, which is terrible when mastering a track. Fortunately, the solution is simple – quality studio monitoring headphones.
With studio monitoring headphones, you’re getting the proper flat response you need to hear exactly what’s going on in your mix, and that’s the secret sauce for getting genuine professional quality recording at home.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll be looking at one of the very best sets of studio monitoring headphones on the Market – the Adam Audio Studio Pro SP-5. Our friends at Sweetwater sent us these headphones for the purpose of this review, but they had no input as to the content. Everything covered below is our own opinion.
If you’re in the market for a set of ultra premium studio monitor headphones, you’ll definitely want to keep on reading.
Who is This For?
The Adam Audio Studio SP-5 headphones are high end headphones designed for recording professionals, and serious enthusiasts.
These cans don’t come cheap, but if you’re looking for professional quality, they’re exactly what you need. They’re especially well suited to editing, mixing, and tracking, as well as critical listening.
If you’re looking for headphones that will make your favorite artists sound great, these aren’t really for you. They’re so incredibly flat that they do few favors for pre mastered music, and we’d suggest looking at a more consumer based headphone if this is what you’re after.
Appearance / Features / Controls
The unboxing experience with these headphones was very different to opening a budget set. We were immediately presented with a high quality semi rigid case that the SP-5s fit perfectly into. The case itself was slim, and ideal for travel.
The feel of these headphones was striking. The build quality was, as expected from Adam Audio, spectacular. They were built like a tank, but were still light weight enough to be comfortable.
They featured a closed back design with a circumaural ear pad. The head band was fully adjustable, with comfortable leather padding, and the ear cups themselves had a 90 degree hinge.
As for connectivity, these cans are wired only. The cable was detachable, and it came with 2 cables in the box. The cables were plenty long enough to prevent the feeling of being attached to the desk – which is a must in our opinion.
The drivers were 40mm, and utilized ULE technology. This ULE tech minimizes exposure to electromagnetic radiation through MU metal shielding – something anybody who spends a lot of time in headphones will appreciate.
Frequency response was a massive 8Hz to 38kHz, and they came with S-Logic Plus technology, which puts sound where your brain expects it to be, and as a result significantly reduces ear fatigue.
Performance / Sound
We really were blown away by the performance of the SP-5s. They really were an incredible pair of headphones that exceeded all expectations.
The frequency response was, as mentioned, extremely broad, going as low as 8 Hz and up to 38 kHz at the top end. The accuracy across the entire spectrum was fantastic, with an almost perfectly flat response. They were particularly strong when it came to critical listening tasks like mixing and mastering.
Another impressive area was the transient response, which we found to be both fast and accurate. This ensured we were able to hear even the most subtle nuances in any mix.
They had tremendous sensitivity, too. With 95 dB at 1mw, they were able to deliver high volume with minimal power. This makes them a great set for anybody who might be mixing live in a noisy environment.
Thanks to the S Logic Plus technology, the sound stage on the SP-5s was absolutely outstanding. Even in a complicated stereo mix, they were able to accurately place vocals and guitar tracks. In an untreated room, even with high end studio monitor speakers, this would be simply impossible.
Sound isolation was extremely good, especially considering there was no active noise cancellation. The closed back design and circumaural ear cup did a great job of keeping outside noise out, including tricky low frequency noise from things like AC systems.
We were extremely impressed with the out of the box comfort. They needed virtually no break in time, and we can attest to the fact that they are even comfortable for glasses wearers – something not every headset can claim!
Final thoughts on the Adam Audio Studio Pro SP-5
We were absolutely thrilled to be able to spend time using the Adam Audio Studio Pro SP-5 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones. We’ve used plenty of high quality cans before, but nothing quite in this range, and what a huge difference they make. The accuracy of amplifier models and speaker emulations through these headphones was incredible, and while we couldn’t actually feel the reduction in electromagnetic radiation, it was nice to know it was so well contained!
The build quality was amazing, too. It’s clear these headphones were built to last even under the most demanding conditions. If you’re in the market for high end headphones for your recording rig, pick these up now at our favorite retailer Sweetwater.