7 Sep 2022

Illawarra Production Services invest in Adamson

by John O’Brien

Quality audio reinforcement is a blend of technical and subjective elements. In a hire environment, it should cover a broad range of use case scenarios and be easy to use. Primarily, it must sound and feel good. These were all features that Illawarra Production Services (IPS) owner Tim van den Berg was looking for in a new line array.

His old rig was “clean, but its shift in dynamic range not good. We do a lot of orchestral and jazz shows where that’s quite an important component.” He also found that “The market was pretty much covered for rock style or dance oriented systems but not something that could reproduce the harmonic density of acoustic music. Once I heard the Adamson – that was it.”

He’d been in touch with old colleague Scott Angove from CMI, who arranged a demo of the Adamson S7 series. While Tim found these impressive, he’s “not a fan of 3-inch” compression drivers and asked: “Do you have anything with a 4-inch”?’ Scott said: “yes we do” and that was S10. Sold on the spot.” Adamson S10 are a full range line array cabinet with 2 Kevlar Neodymium drivers and the aforementioned 4-inch compression driver.


Tim is absolutely rapt with the excellence of what he has purchased. The system gives “a sense of ease that has allowed me to look deeply into the mix in a way that I’d never been able to do before.” The speakers’ clarity allows him to “know precisely what all the reverb tails are doing in the mix” and clearly hear how “the harmonic structure of a brass or string section are just thrown into very clear relief. The only problem that I would find is that you have to re-evaluate the way you mix. Because, there is no masking. There is none.”

The S10 rig out with Spacey Jane

This Adamson rig offers IPS operators great dynamic range. Tim finds that “you can run them at very quiet levels and all of the detail is still there. As you push the faders up, all that happens is that it simply magnifies the sound. It doesn’t change in focus at all. This I find extraordinary. When you consider that the driver complement consists of two 10s and a horn!” High praise from an accomplished engineer.

IPS have paired the S10 full range cabinets with S119 subs. Also constructed of marine grade birch plywood and aircraft grade steel and aluminum, Tim is equally impressed with the bottom end boxes from Adamson. “There are no artifacts. Every sub-woofer I’ve ever heard suffered from group delay of some sort. This thing doesn’t. All you get is the signal.” A long-term practitioner of the arcane theory and practice of speaker design, he finds the S119 have “fantastic radiation resistance.”


Tim attributes this to speaker sizing and material choice: “19 seems to be the sweet spot. The kevlar drivers certainly help with a very linear response. And the (S10) tops – that magnificent 4-inch. It loads into a 1.5-inch aperture, which gives much greater linearity in your top octave. I got very excited when I saw they had gone to the trouble of doing that. Everybody else uses a 2-inch.”

Not only do the S-series sound great, but they are also a breeze to deploy in the field. The gear is light, compact and quick to setup, using Speakon NL8 connectors and updated SlideLock rigging technology. “It’s bloody fast to rig. We can get the whole thing in the air in just 20 minutes. That’s two hangs.”  For IPS, “truck space, the mechanics, flying, everything about it is wonderful. It ticks every box for what we do.” This speed and efficiency at every step in the process pays off the investment in the equipment.

The S10 rig out with Spacey Jane

Capex on new lines is always a conundrum for PA operators. Part rational economic choice, part gut feeling. For Tim, with Adamson “the product just simply sells itself. As soon as you hear the thing you go wow.”

Which leads to the next link in the chain. He finds “the one problem I have with it is we are now having to go through our entire microphone inventory. Because it’s pulling apart microphones. Now we are in the market for better mics to match the PA. What a great problem to have.”

Tim is a very technically oriented person with an early background in high-end HiFi. Having now used the Adamson S10 And S119 units in several different gig environments, he is blown away: “I’d like to have them at home! They are extraordinary.” Those are strong words from a someone so experienced in both home and pro audio.

These seem stronger: Tim is “very, very happy” in his choice to go with Adamson.

Australian Distributor:

Adamson S10 and S119 – The Specs


2-way, full range line array cabinet

2x ND10-LM Kevlar Neodymium drivers (2x 16 Ω)

1x NH4TA2 1.5” exit compression driver (8 Ω)

4” voice coil

Dispersion pattern of 110° x 10° (H x V)

Lake processing

Power Handling (AES / Peak) LF  2x 350 / 2x 1400 W

Power Handling (AES / Peak) HF 160 / 640 W

Maximum Peak SPL**    141.3 dB


companion subwoofer to the S10

light weight, long excursion, 19” ND19 Kevlar Neodymium driver

5” voice coil

Power Handling (AES / Peak) LF  1200 / 4800 W

Maximum Peak SPL**    138 dB

**12 dB crest factor pink noise at 1m, free field, using specified processing and amplification


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