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#406075 - 07/11/14 05:58 PM So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner...
Boomzilla Offline
buff

Registered: 09/25/13
Posts: 43
I ordered my Version "3.5" M80s in the transition period when the new tweeters were available, but the Version 4 designation wasn't yet available. The plates on my speakers say 3.0, but my friend's older 3.0 M80s have different tweeters. Cest la vie...

I've run my speakers with an Emotiva XPR-2 amplifier, with a Crown PS-400 amplifier, with a Nakamichi Stasis 5 amplifier, with an Emotiva XPA-5 amplifier, and now, with a pair of bridged Crown XLS-2000 amplifiers.

They're run as stereo speakers in a 2.1 configuration system (driven directly from an Oppo BDP-105 and with a Powersound Audio XV-15 sub) and in a 5.1 configuration for movies.

So how do they sound? I thought you'd never ask! Two things have surprised me about these speakers:

1. How little they care about placement. I originally put my speakers on some furniture casters so I could roll them about & try different placements. The sounded equally good at all locations, so I then installed the outriggers & placed them in locations of convenience. They image brilliantly regardless of positioning! Perhaps this is due to the nine ATS sound absorbers (and one corner bass trap) that I have in the room, but I doubt it. They just don't seem to care about placement. This is the exact OPPOSITE experience of my friend who has the older 3.0 M80s. In his room, even an inch makes a difference. Go figure...

2. How revealing the speakers are of ALL upstream equipment. Insert a preamp - the sound changes. Add a tube buffer - WHOA! Switch from one amplifier to another - Yes, Tinkerbell, one CAN hear the difference in amplifiers! Given smooth amplifiers with enough current to swing the 4-ohm Axioms, the speakers just virtually disappear, leaving a wide, deep soundstage. If the amplifier has even the slightest trouble with high amperage & low impedance, you'll know it instantly.

In the near future, I'll have the pleasure of reviewing the yet-to-be-introduced Yamaha Aventage RX-A1040 for Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity (www.hometheaterhifi.com). I'll be using the Axioms as the main speakers for the review. Based on my experience so far with my M80s, I feel confident that they'll be sufficiently revealing to expose the Yamaha's best.

In the meantime, I've got friends from out of town coming this weekend to hear the Axioms. Hopefully, they'll take the time to write up their impressions too.

My conclusion so far is that the Axioms are equal to the best of the best loudspeakers I've owned (to date, the Thiel 3.6 and the Magnepan 1.6). Obviously, due to the radiation pattern, the Axioms are closer to the Thiels than the Maggies, but in my room, forward-radiating box speakers seem to do best.

So Bravo, Axiom - my M80s are a real hit!

Boomzilla

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#406077 - 07/11/14 09:01 PM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6613
Loc: It's all about the location.
Boom, which amplifier do you feel worked best with the M80s? I'm curious how the Pro-amps compared to the others.
_________________________
Half of communication is listening. You can't listen with your mouth.

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#406079 - 07/11/14 10:07 PM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
oakvillematt Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 187
Loc: Oakville, Canada
It is interesting what you wrote. I had a completely different experience.

I will agree with you that the M80 are very forgiving in the placement. I found that moving them around inside my room had very little if any effect on the sound. You could get a bit more base boom if you put them directly into the corner, but that was just getting silly.

I will agree that they are a fantastic sounding speaker. I did find them very revealing for the source material that I used. I have quite a collection of music, but found that 30% of what I had sounded awful from the speakers. About 50% of my music sounded pretty good, but that last 20% was jaw dropping fantastic.

They lies the problem with these speakers. They truly play you back what is recorded. If your source material isn't up to snuff, then you better just hit the eject button and try something else. It just won't cut it. Find something recorded great and you will be in sound nirvana.

But where I found it different. I can't say I have the most expensive collection of amps or receivers. But I honestly could not tell the difference between my old cheep Yamaha receiver and my latest Anthem amp with a dedicated pre-amp. Whatever I used, the good recorded stuff sounded fantastic.. the bad stuff sounded like it was missing any life. And the rest sounded better than any speakers I have had in the past, but not quite at that perfect state.

I will admit that I have never owned a tube amp, nor could tell you what one sounds like.

I will admit that I have never owned an amp costing over 4 digits. Perhaps that is why I have not experienced a difference.

I will also admit that I traded in the M80 within the 30 days and picked up the LFR1100. It did make a small bit of a difference. And as they require a pre-amp out and 4 amp channels to work, I can't really test them with my old Yamaha or Nakamichi. So unless someone want to loan me more equipment to try them out, I will just stick with my current Pioneer Elite with it's pre-outs and the Anthem amp.

But part of me still misses those M80 as they did sound awsome and for the price they are, WOW, what a deal.
_________________________
Matt

People are like a box of chocolates. It's hard to tell initially which ones are nuts.

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#406080 - 07/11/14 11:07 PM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1035
I have a tube integrated amp & for the life of me, I don't believe that I can hear any difference between it & my SS receiver.

Similarly, I changed out a complete set of tubes (10 of them) for a new backup set of another brand & I still didn't hear any difference between the 2 sets. This is contrary to all of the wisdom out there that espouses that different brands of tubes, types & vintage vs modern make big differences in an amp's sound signature. It doesn't for me; however, I might not be as susceptible to placebo effect like many others seem to be.

Tube gear does look cool though & I love being around them...

TAM

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#406082 - 07/11/14 11:51 PM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1204
Loc: Whitehorse YT
Tam , you know well enough that you don't have golden ears ,how could you possibly hear a difference. Maybe you can get an ear job next time LOL

Did that sub ever show up today??
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#406083 - 07/12/14 01:24 AM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1035
No!! It was in Nanaimo at 1 PM but never showed up an hour up the road. I waited all day only to have my hopes dashed, sniff!

I don't know if UPS delivers on Saturdays out here, but if they do, it'll probably be on my doorstep before I get up in the morning.

Actually, I could probably use an ear job, but then I might find that my speakers are bright, ha!

TAM

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#406084 - 07/12/14 01:37 AM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1204
Loc: Whitehorse YT
Sorry to hear , damn delivery companies they don't realize how important I think I am. I am not sure if UPS deliver Saturday's down there but they sure don't here. I have learned to not stress as much over deliveries, its been a long hard road. It will be there soon enough.
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#406085 - 07/12/14 03:12 AM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
brwsaw Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 1085
Boom its good to see you're happy. You took so long to post your thoughts I'd wondered if you'd sent them back.
_________________________
I miss flying.

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#406087 - 07/12/14 12:17 PM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1035
No big box here this morning, sniff. The UPS Tracker has changed from 'Friday' (yesterday) to 'Unknown' now. I expect that this means Monday now.

What is interesting, it probably was driven right past me on its way to their depot in Campbell River that is 45 minutes up the road from us...

TAM

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#406096 - 07/13/14 09:56 AM Re: So NOW I'm a real Axiom owner... [Re: Boomzilla]
Boomzilla Offline
buff

Registered: 09/25/13
Posts: 43
Adrian - To date, the "amplifier horse race" is too close to call. On some material, one amp is better by a nose, on other material, the second amp sounds better. The only constant I've seen is that amplifiers that don't like low-impedance loads don't do as well with the Axioms. My Crown PS-400, while a GREAT amplifier on higher-impedance speakers (such as my previous Definitive Technology SM-65s, rated at 6 ohms) failed to have sufficient dynamics with the M80s.

The "pro" Crown amplifiers are half the price (or less) of an equivalent home audio amp with similar power. Their performance, even with the Class-D modules, is equivalent to the the Class-A or Class-AB contenders. Therefore, I consider them a true bargain & recommend them highly. The all Class-A Nakamichi Stasis 5 sounded more open & airy on top, but the Crowns are no slouches. Of the Crown line, the amp that I have liked the best is the XLS-1500. They're powerful, cheap, and every time I play them, I'm surprised by their fine sound. Don't run them bridged - they sound better in stereo.

Oakvillematt - I'm not at all surprised that we have different experiences. You seem to be searching for a system that will make all your recordings sound good. I would rather have the unvarnished truth (even if it reveals some of my recordings as poor-sounding). When I want some "glamour" for the less-than-great recordings, I switch my tube buffer into the system. It conceals a multitude of recording sins.

exlabdriver - The newer tube products are engineered to sound neutral (as are the newer SS products). Therefore, I'm not surprised that they sound similar. Older tube products, however, (think Dynaco, et al) sound significantly more distinct.

I'll post more comments as time goes by. I'm particularly interested in what the Yamaha RX-A1040 will do with these speakers. AV receivers, traditionally, have profoundly sucked with low-impedance speakers. We'll see...

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