Acoustic Zen Adagio Loudspeakers Reviewed

Published On: January 2, 2009
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Acoustic Zen Adagio Loudspeakers Reviewed

Made by a company more known for their cables, the Adagio is a true work of art with exceptional cabinetwork and solid sound all at an affordable price. Those looking for a smaller speaker a stand mounted version is also available in the Jr. model

Acoustic Zen Adagio Loudspeakers Reviewed

By Author: Brian Kahn

Brian Kahn is the longest tenured writer on staff at His specialties include everything from speakers to whole-home audio systems to high-end audiophile and home theater gear, as well as room acoustics. By day, Brian is a partner at a West Los Angeles law firm.


The Adagio speakers are made by Acoustic Zen, a company known in audiophile circles as the makers of premium audio cables. The Adagio series of speakers is Acoustic Zen's smallest and least expensive line of speakers. There are two versions of the Acoustic Zen Adagio, the standard Adagio and the Adagio, Jr. The speakers are very similar, with the standard version being a floor standing speaker and the Adagio, Jr. being a large stand mounted design. The Adagio retails for $4,300, this is a competitive price range that has many good speaker choices to choose from. For a speaker to survive in this category it needs to be very good.

Additional Resources
Read more Acoustic Zen reviews from here...
Read more high end audiophile bookshelf speaker review from brands like Acoustic Zen, B&W, Paradigm, PSB, Mangepan and many others.....

The Adagio samples I received were finished in a furniture grade burled walnut finish and measured 48 inches tall, 13 inches deep and nine inches wide. They weigh 78 pounds each. The Adagio's driver array consists of a pair of six and one-half inch cones vertically flanking a one and one-half inch circular ribbon tweeter in a classic D'Appolito array. The mid-woofers are mounted on baffles which increase the effective thickness of the MDF cabinet to approximately two inches while helping to time and phase align the drivers. The bottom of the Adagio's front panel features a large port for the transmission line. Frequency response is 30Hz to 25kHz, with a sensitivity of 89 dB/1Watt/1meter. The MDF cabinets feature curved side panels and a narrower rear panel. This design is said to reduce internal reflections.

The custom made six and one-half inch midrange-woofers feature ceramic impregnated fabric cones and feature an "under hung" design. This same basic design is used by many other high end speaker manufacturers including Wilson and THIEL. This design has a short voice coil that moves in a long magnetic gap. This design is capable of reducing distortion by up to 95%. Robert Lee, the chief engineer of Acoustic Zen designed the one and one-half inch circular ribbon tweeter which is made from an extremely thin layer of kapton. Robert Lee states that kapton remains thermally stable so as to minimize distortion and maximize linearity no matter how much power is being used. The Adagio's feature a single set of binding posts as the internal wiring is Acoustic Zen's own Satori cabling which is of higher quality than the cable most would use for bi-wiring these speakers.

The frequency extension, at both ends of the spectrum, and the performance levels at these extremes was quite good. The ribbon tweeter struck the careful balance of detail and presence without being irritating and the bass was surprisingly solid and deep for the modest size of the drivers and cabinet.

Read The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion on Page 2

High Points
• The cabinets are solid and their aesthetics are of furniture grade quality. They look simply fantastic.
• The drivers feature advanced designs and are custom made for Acoustic Zen. 
• The Adagio's are capable of deep and solid low frequency reproduction despite their relatively small size.

Low Points
• Their sonic presentation has a slightly forward high frequencies for my tastes when matched with the electronics that I own. The Adagios would be well matched with tube electronics from the likes of Conrad Johnson, Audio Research and or Cary
• If found the Acoustic Zen Adagios to take dozens and dozens of hours to break-in thus getting to their full potential. I recommend running a CD for hours while you are gone.

I was surprised by the Adagio's level of performance at their price. When I first saw these modestly sized, fairly traditional looking speakers I was not expecting them to be able to perform to the level that they have achieved. Acoustic Zen has managed to balance the ribbon tweeter to bring out the nuanced highs that provide for detail and a sense of airiness while keeping the ribbon properly damped to prevent any harshness or ringing. No easy feat. The woofers also performed beyond expectations providing deep and solid bass. Overall, this speaker system was at ease with both micro and macro-dynamics. Details did not get lost in busy mixes, instruments and voices sounded natural and unforced. I think you might very well fall in love with these speakers.

Keywords stereo, speaker, floor standing, tower, ribbon, Acoustic Zen, under-hung, audiophile, driver.

Additional Resources
• Read more Acoustic Zen reviews from here...
• Read more high end audiophile bookshelf speaker review from brands like Acoustic Zen, B&W, Paradigm, PSB, Mangepan and many others.....

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