ADA, a.k.a. Audio Design Associates, is not a household name when it comes to
home theater equipment, predominately because they cater to the high end
custom installer, and their products are definitely not available off the shelf.
They have been in business 30 years,
and I hope to introduce you to an exemplary
company that produces some very fine audio gear.
ADA maintains headquarters in Westchester, New York, and has been there
since their inception in 1977 when Albert Langella and Peter McKean
incorporated ADA, formerly Peter's radio and TV retail store. Inquiry from clients soon turned them
to designing and fabricating custom installations which they still do today.
ADA quickly adopted a build-to-need position as they responded to their clients'
demands. In fact, their product line is diverse and extensive, from A/V
controllers (SSPs) and amplifiers to keypads and multi-room controls. And quick to
respond to the market, ADA has developed tuners for satellite and HD-Radio.
Given that I'm but minutes from their location, I took the opportunity to
visit their offices and manufacturing/assembly facility. I found this to be
a rare treat, and I was fortunate to have their Vice-President and COO,
Richard Stoerger (photo below), show me around.
I found Richard absolutely engaging and
intensely passionate when it comes to his feelings for ADA, its
accomplishments, and the future.
Richard was quick to show us the early model
units on display in their modest setting. As he led us through the facility, I
was struck by the air of informality and casualness. I began to understand
and appreciate the un-corporate-like mentality at ADA as I was shown the
I went through the amplifier assemblies, through metal stamping, and
even the testing lab ending in the design department where I was surprised
to meet Mr. Langella, President, CEO and chief designer, sitting quietly in
front of a computer laying out a new circuit board.
In the end, Richard himself packed up four
very large and very different units for me to load into my car: the
incredible new Cinema Reference Mach III controller, the MPA-502
five-channel amplifier and separate power source, and a two-channel
the PF-2502 to complete my seven-channel system.
What became obvious was their commitment to building the finest audio
equipment – let me tell you how they have succeeded.
Each unit is designed to be mounted in a rack
and thus all have front handles. And as such, when mounted in a rack, it
becomes obvious that air circulation is a problem, so each has two side-mounted
fans blowing over the heat sinks situated to allow the air to circulate
Although each component is of different weight and depth, they all match up
for a flush look. I found the entire package handsome including the five- and
two-channel amplifiers with their bar-type jumping LED display. All switching
is done on the front.
I could definitely review each of the components in individual articles,
but for the most part I want to concentrate on the controller and how the
amplifiers contribute to the overall performance.
Go to Part II.