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#136844 - 04/30/06 08:36 PM Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
viscera912 Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 02/20/06
Posts: 28
Loc: Tx
This is a review of an audition session of Spiffnme’s Axiom speakers and setup. My buddy and I went to his house Sun afternoon prepared for a good hour or so of excellent music on superb speakers. I am currently looking at purchasing the Axiom epic 80-500 setup and running it with Yamaha v2600 receiver and c750 DVD player. I wanted to audition an M80 but there was no one around my area that has offered an audition for the M80. Spiffnme offered to audition his audio system and it has the following, 2 M60’s, VP150, 2 QS8, HSU subwoofer, all powered by Rotel Receiver and amp with Denon 2900 dvd player, connected by Blue Jean cables.

His setup is in his family room with hard wood flooring. There is a nice large rug and coffee table separating the sofa and tv stand. His tv stand is very elegant and looks really nice in his room. The sub is placed to the right of the sofa out of view and the surround speakers are placed parallel with listeners ear when sitting on sofa. I have never had the opportunity to listen to DVD-A or SACD and I asked Spiff if he can demo some of his albums. I chose to listen to Ray Charles-Genius Loves Company track 9 and Norah Jones-Come Away with Me. I will comment on Norah Jones because that is what blew me away the most. We listened to Come Away with me and I was shocked at how talented a vocalist she is! The M60’s really brought out her consonants and vocal intonations one may never hear unless they have a good system. The recording was so good in surround as the upright bass and piano molded as one. If you listen intently the QS8 will pick up the variations in guitar playing re: plucking vs picking. I was amazed at the detail that the VP150 portrayed with her voice, it was warm and really picked up the detail in which the vocalist has to emphasize consonants. As a vocalist myself I know that recording in studio is very difficult due to words coming out muddy and intelligible because consonants aren’t emphasized, however, you cannot overdue it or else you sound clipped and musicality is thrown out of the window. All in all I am totally sold on the DVD-A and SACD, and the Axiom speakers really made my listening experience all the better.

Next, I had made an “auditioning” cd of all the tracks I wanted to hear. The first track was BYU Choir Complete Accapella Works of Eric Whitacre- Water. The track is filled with lush lyrics and dissonant chords. It takes a serious pair of front-speakers to really bring out the chords and inner parts. The m60’s really paid attention to the alto and tenor parts; the sopranos weren’t overly bright or harsh and there were instances the bass part went lower than I ever knew because I haven’t heard it on a good system yet. I am a tenor myself and it is difficult for speakers to utilize the warmth of the alto/tenor section of most choirs, the M60’s had no problem. Track 2 was BB King and Clapton- 3’o clock blues- I was interested in what the speakers would do with guitar tonality mostly. The guitar tonality really shines on the M60, you can truly tell the difference between Clapton sound and Kings sound. Nothing beats live but I’ve heard both live and their guitar tones on the M60’s sound very similar to when they play live. You can really feel the emotion through the guitars and vocals through the speakers.

Track 5-6 were Bobby Mcferrin Circlesongs –Circlesong 5 and 6. As one can imagine it is very difficult for a speaker to portray the vocal skill of McFerrin, however all the subtle nuances only he can sing come forth. Both tracks have very difficult rhythm and chords but each part can be followed because the speaker has perfect mid-range balance. On every-day speakers it is difficult to pick up the inner parts of the chord because it isn’t clear, however, the M60 has excellent mid-range levels where one can follow the baritone notes and feel the chord progressions. Tracks 8 and 9 were Take 6 from their new project Feels Good, Family of Love and Just in Time. Just in Time is purely accapella vocal jazz at it’s finest. Those who have heard Take 6 know that they are best in the business for male vocal accapela singing; their vocal arrangements are out of this world and are the most difficult to sing and follow. Right from the start I had to replay the first 15 sec of the introduction to really appreciate their skill. They do so many things that a regular speaker will never uncover; I have listened to that track 3802423908 times and was never able to understand the wording during the scat portion of the intro on my speakers at home. Today I was finally able to clearly hear what they are saying and the progression of the chords because it was so clear and defined. As I already mentioned I had to play the track over like 3 times because I couldn’t believe how crisp the sound was.

There were 4 tracks of chill/downtempo/house, 1 track of Glen Miller, and 1 track of Gypsy Kings. The bass end of the speakers represented the familiar house beat with lazy jazz spread over the mids and highs. Some speakers I had demo’d had too much bass and boomed out the beats with a harsh punch to it but the M60’s was light and feathered. This allowed the horns, keys, and/or solo instrument to shine. Lastly, I wanted to listen to some Hammond B3 gospel music and put in Steven S Golden Jr. Organ music really pushes speakers to the test because I listen for the differences in organ tonality with drawbar shifts and tremolo. The M60’s produced a wonderful tone and picked up on the lower manual chord tremolo while solo tone wasn’t overly bright which is very difficult for speakers. The Hammond organ is a very busy instrument with varying tones and I think the M60 did it very good justice.

Following listening to my audition selections he thought we would like to hear some other groups he liked so he introduced us to Pink Martini, Dead Can Dance, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I was so happy he let us listen to them because I think Pink Martini is so good, I am going to go and pick up their 2 projects as my next musical purchases!! If you aren’t familiar with Pink Martini or Dirty Dozen Brass band go check out some of their stuff. Closing out the session I wanted to see how the speakers did with movies so we decided on LOTR Fellowship of the Ring. The opening sequence is narrative with the opening into the battle scene. I was AMAZED at the warmth and creation of the narrative in the VP150. I couldn’t ask for a better sound than what came forth and during the battle scene all the busy effects were wonderfully portrayed with the Q8’s. I think Spiff waited till the end for the movie because that was the icing on the cake for the whole audition session.

All in all I am very IMPRESSED with M60, VP150, and QS8. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Axiom and I went in not trying to think of all the good press and comments people have with it, not to mention the awards they have won. Axiom truly does live up to its reputation and I am totally sold on their speakers. I mostly listen to all types of music except hard rock and concentrate on jazz/blues, vocals, classical and downtempo/house genres and the M60 truly is versatile enough to handle them. My buddy and I decided the strength lies in the balance between the mids and highs. For classical music the mids is what truly brings out your winds section, the alto-tenor lines, and the viola/cello. Highs come in for horn section, sopranos, and violins. These are the most crucial sections for classical music and this speaker really brings out the definition between the various registers for instruments and voice. The only minor negative I can say for this speaker, and I emphasize minor, is that it doesn’t push a LOT of bass w/o sub. Now I must clarify…bass is something different to everyone, bass in the M60 is perfect for my house music, however if I put on some Mos Def or Common I don’t think it would have enough bass for my hip-hop tastes. With that being said I wouldn’t ever say that the M60 lacks in bass, it is just different for all types of people. I will have a sub to help out with some of the lower bass fill out the lower end for when I do listen to hip-hop or organ music. The VP150 does just what it was made to do with warm tone and accurate reproduction of vocals. Whether movie or music this is a perfect speaker and it looks good too! The QS8 is just splendid and performed wonderful in opening sequence of LOTR and surround audio.

Spiffnme was a wonderful host and I wish to publicly thank him for opening his home to us. Ya know us guys with toys, we are very protective of our equipment and he allowed us to push the volume and work the cd controls. He has similar musical flavor I have and we had good conversation. It didn’t feel like I just came in to listen to music and then leave. We had a good time and celebrated the passion for music and appreciation for good speakers. He is an excellent person to audition speakers and I would HIGHLY recommend him if anyone is interested. In closing, I will be purchasing Axiom Epic 80-500 soon and look forward to sharing my system with others. Axiom is an excellent company and they make quality speakers with a price to knock your socks off. Those who are reading this and are leaning yay/nay in whether to get them or not, I hope this review has been helpful to you in leaning toward the yay. Thanks to Spiffnme and this board in your assistance and guidance for my HT audio experience.

Jason

Ps
Sorry for the length!!!


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#136845 - 04/30/06 09:09 PM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Glad to be of service. As I told you while you were here, I really enjoy having in-home demos as it allows me to sit for a good hour or two and just enjoy my system. Most listening is usually background while other things are going on, but during a demo it's all about the sound. It's a real joy.

If you want an second listen before making your final purchase, just let me know. I'll gladly have you back.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#136846 - 04/30/06 10:45 PM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6215
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Excellent review, Jason. I'm so glad you were pleased with Spiff''s Axioms. Thought I've never heard them, I suspect you'll find the M80s will deliver a bit more bass. And, being an EP500 owner, I feel safe in saying that if the 80s still aren't enough, the 500 will provide all the bass you could want. Enjoy!

(P.S. First tenor vocalist here. )
_________________________
Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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#136847 - 04/30/06 11:18 PM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Jason, it wasn't too long at all and it was enjoyable to read of your session at Craig's.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#136848 - 05/01/06 12:14 AM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Thanks for sharing your notes with us. It's always nice to hear how other people describe hearing Axioms for the first time. I found myself nodding my head very often.

And Pink Martini is absolutely amazing!
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#136849 - 05/01/06 12:31 AM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
tomtuttle Online   happy
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8135
Loc: Tacoma
Excellent review, Jason. Welcome to the family.

Craig is a treasure to many of us, though we've never had the pleasure of meeting him in person.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#136850 - 05/01/06 01:47 AM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7373
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
A review well done, Jason. Thanks for sharing your impressions. You make me want to buy some M60s, or at least go to Craig's and listen to 'em!


_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#136851 - 05/01/06 01:47 AM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
In reply to:

Craig is a treasure to many of us


Yes. let's bury him!

Bren R.

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#136852 - 05/01/06 01:56 AM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7373
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
In reply to:

Yes. let's bury him!




AARR!

Wait, that whole "talk like a pirate" day was a while ago. Is this "act like a pirate" day?
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#136853 - 05/01/06 02:49 AM Re: Review of Audition session with Spiffnme
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
LOL...I just, not 10 minutes ago, watched 'Back by Midnight', a low budget film with Rodney Dangerfield, and that line "he was a treasure...you should bury him" was in it.

It's really so much fun hosting demos of my Axioms (especially when the listener really digs them). I almost always discover a new band or album that I'd not heard before that I really enjoy. In fact it's how I discovered 'Pink Martini'!


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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