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The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review

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arumako
Posted 2021-09-05 10:29 AM (#556062)
Subject: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 975

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Hello OFC! Adamas fans are already very well aware of the 1680 Premier, so this review is redundant; but it is a first for me, and I am so excited to be an Adamas owner, I hope you all don't mind if I share my initial thoughts on this remarkable instrument!

Have you ever taken possession of a guitar and thought, “This is the ONE. No more guitars necessary.” Of course, that may or may not affect the GAS that directs your life in the future; but like an encounter that marks the end to a really satisfying journey, this ONE fulfills that longing, that dream – this ONE closes the story with a kind of serenity and satisfaction that goes beyond, “That was worth the price.” or “That was worth the wait.” More like, “That was worth the pursuit.” This is my review of the Ovation Adamas 1680-NWT Premier.

1680 full

Quite certain that the specs are known to OFCers, but no review is complete without them so here it goes:

Top: Woven Carbon Fiber Top Suspended with the Smooth Adamas Ring
Bracing: Scalloped Adamas Quintad
Bowl: Lyrachord GS Deep Bowl non-cutaway

Neck: Two-piece Walnut 12-Fretter
Bridge: Ebony

Fretboard: Ebony with EVO-Gold frets and 1.75” nut width
Headstock: Slotted

Epaulets: Walnut
Pick-up: OCP-1

Pre-amp: VIP-5
Color: NWT - Natural Woven Top

The 1680 has an understated look - not nearly as flashy as the 1678 50th Anniversary, nor classic as the 1687-8 Adamas. But make no mistake, the 1680 is built to be played; and when I hold it, it feels bullet-proof. Her voice can be overwhelmingly powerful or delicately emotional. She is exceptionally well balanced and behaves with solemn dignity, but she can growl with nasty irreverence too.

Family 1680 & 1678

The feature that catches my attention first is the woven carbon fiber top. It is ultra-thin, and masterfully consistent. As a matter of fact, the walnut epaulets glued to the top are thicker (1.2mm) than the CFR, birch, CFR sandwiched top (1mm). There is no kerfing underneath, instead the top is suspended on what is called the “Smooth Adamas Ring”. In contrast, the more traditional 1687 Adamas I features a molded Adamas Suspension Ring with that famous carved wood look.

CFRP Top

The bracing looks to be spruce arranged in the traditional Quintad structure. They have been hand scalloped to produce a highly tuned and balanced top. Construction is immaculate with no excess glue visible anywhere. Even when examining the innards with a mirror, you can tell this instrument was constructed with the utmost care. There is only one strip of brass binding that decorates the seamless transition from the top to the suspension ring to the bowl – very clean…

scalloped bracing

The 1680 features the lighter molded Lyrachord GS bowl, and weighs-in at 2100 grams (including the pre-amp) while my hand-laid mid-depth bowl, 1678AV50, weighs in at 2300 grams (including the pre-amp). It would be a mistake to credit the entire weight difference to the bowl alone [the 1678AV50 has a bearclaw Spruce top which is clearly heavier than the Naturally Woven Top (NWT) of the 1680], but when you consider that woodbox dreadnoughts without preamps weigh-in between 2000 to 2500 grams, the 1680s power to weight ratio is absolutely astounding. Interestingly enough, the 1680 does not have the customary manhole cover featured on all Elite style offerings. However, the pre-amp cavity provides enough (barely) room for my hands to fit in for any maintenance work that might be needed.

the backside

The energetic voice of the 1680 is also a product of the 12th fret neck-to-body construction. This construction places the bridge right in the sweet-spot of the soundboard; and when combined with the unhindered design of the Quintad bracing, the CFR top is free to pump with vigorous resonance. She’s currently wearing D'Addario EJ17s, and one firm strum of the open E-chord, and the whole instrument resonates, like – endlessly, and it keeps resonating just like my friend’s 1687-8 that I strummed way back when I was in high school. She would probably benefit from Adamas 1919Es, and I can’t help but wonder if 1818Es would make her sing even more.

1680 face

The neck is a two-piece walnut construction with a soft V shape to it. It feels faster than the C-shaped two-piece maple neck that comes standard on the 1678AV50, but I get the feeling that finger-pickers would prefer the slightly beefier feel of the maple-neck. Still, the difference is minimal, and either neck is equally comfortable. The 1.75” nut-width is perfectly suited for me enabling my stubby fingers to get where they need to be without falling all over each other.

neck fret board

The classy ebony fretboard features MOP inlays that are set beautifully. Personally, I prefer the simpler look of a single 12th fret inlay with side dot markers, but the cosmetic package is understated and works very well. Of course, I love the slotheaded headstock. IMHO it is the most beautiful headstock in the history of guitar building.

headstocks

The VIP-5 pre-amp is something I’ve always wanted to try. It does not disappoint. Although it is not as versatile as the OP Pro Studio, the VIP-5 is easy to dial in. The 5 voice imaging options combined with the blending capability, and the XLR output make it one of the best pre-amps I’ve ever used. The pre-amp “canister” enables direct swapping with the OP Pro Studio or the iDea pre-amp. I tried swapping guitars and pre-amps for all possible combinations, but that will have to be for another thread.

VIP-5

The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier is an elegant and potent fusion of engineering and craftsmanship. The piano like clarity and precise note separation make this guitar the most articulate guitar I’ve ever played. No matter what you’re playing preference is, her acoustic voice is dazzling. Despite her rugged build, she is capable of delivering the most subtle nuances of sound with outrageous sustain. Ovations trademark punchy mid-range is enhanced by a depth only possible through the 12-Fretter/Deep Bowl combination, and the CFR top endows this Adamas with clear bell like highs. The 1680’s label is a bit puzzling indicating a “Contour Bowl” although the bowl is clearly not contoured.

Contour?

I’ve dreamed of owning an Adamas for quite awhile; so, this review is obviously biased, but I gotta say, this is the ONE - everything I dreamed it would be and more. Of course, I’m really compelled to do a head-to-head comparison with my 1678 50th Anniversary, but that will have to wait for now.

Again, I am deeply grateful to all the advice and kind direction that the OFC’ers provided while I waited for my Adamas to find me. I was not exactly lost, but I am definitely found!

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d'ovation
Posted 2021-09-05 4:40 PM (#556063 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review


Joined:
December 2003
Posts: 821

Location: Canada
Thanks for the well written and enthusiastic review. I am pleased that you are happy with the new member of your family.
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arumako
Posted 2021-09-05 11:00 PM (#556066 - in reply to #556063)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 975

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Thanks for the comment d'ovation.

It's been said over and over here at the OFC, but I just have a hard time understanding how these amazing instruments could be so underrated? The original owner bought this Adamas new and chose it over a new Martin that was in the same price range (didn't mention the model). Not against woodboxes at all as I own a few myself, but an amazing guitar is still an amazing guitar... so, strange...
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Love O Fair
Posted 2021-09-05 11:28 PM (#556067 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1462

Location: When??
Ken, your review could have been used as a successful sales campaign. I can feel the excitement and the enrichment you are getting from this baby to the point where I'm practically ready to hit the online ads to get one for myself! So very nice!! Meanwhile the neighbors are fingering their chins... wondering.. hmmmm... he left with his daughter, but came home with an absolutely beautiful and expensive guitar and we haven't seen her since. I hope you have explained her absence to them!


Edited by Love O Fair 2021-09-05 11:39 PM
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tpa
Posted 2021-09-06 1:36 AM (#556068 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 483

Location: Denmark
Happy NGD.
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arumako
Posted 2021-09-06 9:13 PM (#556073 - in reply to #556067)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 975

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Thanks TPA! I am oh so very happy, indeed!


Love O Fair - 2021-09-05 1:28 PM

...the neighbors are fingering their chins... wondering.. hmmmm... he left with his daughter, but came home with an absolutely beautiful and expensive guitar and we haven't seen her since...

Ummm...Daughter? What daughter?



Edited by arumako 2021-09-06 9:15 PM
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FlySig
Posted 2021-09-07 8:53 AM (#556074 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3916

Location: Utah
Congratulations Ken!

Power to weight ratio to rate a guitar? Excellent!
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arumako
Posted 2021-09-08 11:41 PM (#556079 - in reply to #556074)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 975

Location: Yokohama, Japan

FlySig - 2021-09-06 10:53 PM
Power to weight ratio to rate a guitar? Excellent!


Thanks FlySig! Of course, she's no OW98 Yamaha YZR500 with 150 break horse power at only 130kg, BUT...

YZR OW98

Gosh, the 1680 is just as sexy...

1680 sexy

I would guess your mode of speed is in the mach range more than mph, though, LOL!

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DetlefMichel
Posted 2021-09-10 5:19 AM (#556090 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 681

Location: Muenster/Germany
I followed the whole story in the background and I think for the FIRST Adamas this is the right choice, if not the best.

The NEXT should be an old 1687.

The NEXT a 2008 collector.

And then start thinking about playing 12 strings, there are no better 12 string guitars than Adamii ;-)

Greetings from Germany!



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arumako
Posted 2021-09-10 9:45 PM (#556097 - in reply to #556090)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 975

Location: Yokohama, Japan
DetlefMichel - 2021-09-09 7:19 PM
I followed the whole story in the background and I think for the FIRST Adamas this is the right choice, if not the best.
The NEXT should be an old 1687.
The NEXT a 2008 collector.
And then start thinking about playing 12 strings, there are no better 12 string guitars than Adamii ;-)
Greetings from Germany!

Back at you from Japan DetlefMichel!
I follow your YT page and I love your collection of 12-strings!

For many years, my go to guitar was a Fender F330-12, laminated all over; basically, a poormans Martin wannabe, BUT an extremely well crafted MIJ instrument. Despite it's less than impressive credentials, it was an amazing 12-stringer; However, a couple of years ago, the laminated top completely collapsed on me, and it is one of my project guitars waiting for a new top.

Never even thought of owning a 12-string O (played some Celebritys without much of an impression). Seems to me that the mid-range punch might be a bit overwhelming, and the woodbox seems more suitable for the voice of a 12er???

Edited by arumako 2021-09-10 9:47 PM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2021-09-14 6:06 AM (#556108 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 681

Location: Muenster/Germany
I have 10 12string guitars (and Ihad a lot more in all these years) and I can say that they are even more different from each other than 6string guitars are normally.
Talking about Ovations: they have extremely good playable necks. Some of them sound very nice (Custom legends have endless sustain, Elites have more dynamics), but they all are not very loud.
Adamas 12strings have it all. The 1688 for instance has a tremendous tonal range from ppp to fff and is a very "audible" guitar. But sounds quite sterile, harh sometimes, lacking the overtones of woods. The wood topped Adamas plays feather-light, but reponds like a spanish flamenco guitar, very fast but not so fundamental.The ultimate 12 string fingerpicking guitar. But of them loose when you try to go down to Kottke-alike opentunings.
I have a special made 12string for that....

Wood boxes are -like all other guitars- good or bad, depending on the efforts the luthiers or manufacturers are willing (or able) to make.

Most 12 string guitars are junk, due to the simple fact that they are built like a 6string with 12 strings, but that´s a mistake.

But for those who do not play 12strings so seriously like I do I would recommend Ovations, see above.
I would say: build an other 12string than a 1688 does not make sense, except for some hand-made boutique guitars.

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DetlefMichel
Posted 2021-09-14 6:06 AM (#556109 - in reply to #556062)
Subject: Re: The Adamas 1680-NWT Premier - a Review



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 681

Location: Muenster/Germany
I have 10 12string guitars (and Ihad a lot more in all these years) and I can say that they are even more different from each other than 6string guitars are normally.
Talking about Ovations: they have extremely good playable necks. Some of them sound very nice (Custom legends have endless sustain, Elites have more dynamics), but they all are not very loud.
Adamas 12strings have it all. The 1688 for instance has a tremendous tonal range from ppp to fff and is a very "audible" guitar. But sounds quite sterile, harh sometimes, lacking the overtones of woods. The wood topped Adamas plays feather-light, but reponds like a spanish flamenco guitar, very fast but not so fundamental.The ultimate 12 string fingerpicking guitar. But all of them loose power when you try to go down to Kottke-alike opentunings.
I have a special made 12string for that....

Wood boxes are -like all other guitars- good or bad, depending on the efforts the luthiers or manufacturers are willing (or able) to make.

Most 12 string guitars are junk, due to the simple fact that they are built like a 6string with 12 strings, but that´s a mistake.

But for those who do not play 12strings so seriously like I do I would recommend Ovations, see above.
I would say: build an other 12string than a 1688 does not make sense, except for some hand-made boutique guitars.



Edited by DetlefMichel 2021-09-14 6:08 AM
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