Audition at Axiom

Posted by: Stilljoe

Audition at Axiom - 05/07/12 10:10 PM

My wife and I had the pleasure of a drive to Dwight today.

It was further than I remembered from Ajax (just east of Toronto) through Barrie, Orillia and Huntsville, but easy driving, no traffic issues. Close to three hours drive between 120 and 130 most of the way. Ah, that's km/hr - call it 75 - 80 mph.

At the Axiom factory Noreen gave us a tour while Ian set up the demo room for A/B blind testing of centre channels. I learned some things I didn't know (the woofers are assembled in Dwight - I assumed they were from China like the tweeters).

When Ian was set we we given the demo room, a bunch of CDs and DVDs in addition to a few we had brought with us, and a (rather temperamental) remote control to switch back and forth between centre speaker A and B. I wanted to decide between a VP 150 (as recommended by Brent) and a 160. The rest of the system, M60s, QS8s and . . . I don't know which sub was behind the curtain.

So,we listened to Michael Jackson (for my wife), Ricki Lee Jones, Jon and Vangelis, Kevin Ayers, and Holly Cole. Unfortunately we couldn't get the Elton John SACD (Madman Across the Water) to work - I still haven't heard that in multi-channel.

I took a few notes - minimal really - and let them behind, so from memory:

Speaker A: "fuller" sound; is it louder (no - I know Ian level matched them). Speaker B: voices sound very good, overall sound (by comparison) is somewhat "muffled". Back and forth; speaker B might be a bit smoother on Holly Cole's voice.

Off axis (by quite a long way, maybe 50 degrees out from centre) speaker A still sounds "fuller", but it's not so aggressive - in fact it's maybe a bit recessed. Speaker B really didn't change much that I noticed, so it was consistent but overall less "there" than A.

Interestingly, my wife and I were absolutely in agreement. Both centre speakers sounded "good" but different - in conversation with Ian afterwards, we discussed "similarly good".

And in case you didn't guess, we drove home with a nice Boston Cherry VP 150 - speaker A.

Set up at home is a small dedicated basement room, 11X17X8. Carpeted floor over Dri-Core, soft suspended ceiling, and drywall over lots of insulation (for heat loss, not soundproofing). Front speakers are Boston Acoustics A100s that I've owned for about 30 years, surrounds QS4s, rears on-wall M3s, sub is an SVS PC12 NSD. I've been doing without a centre to this point.

So we made it home: hooked up, run MCACC (Pioneer VSX9130 TXH), and popped in a Blu-Ray I've been saving for this: Apocalypse Now.

Impressions:
1. Wow. Maybe MCACC is happier when a centre speaker is connected? somehow this has brought the surrounds to life. Okay, call it new speaker euphoria.
2. As you'd expect, the Bostons sound quite different from the centre. I'll address this later in the year (Christmas? Honey?) with M50s or M60s.
3. I think maybe the 150 stood out in the A/B test because it doesn't sound like an M60, whereas the 160 does, so it was more seamless?

A thoroughly good day overall. Thanks to Ian and Noreen for being good hosts. I'll be back for more Axiom goodness.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/07/12 11:35 PM

Great review, thanks for sharing!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/08/12 06:45 AM

Ditto what Randy said!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/08/12 07:47 AM

Ditto what Randy said! (Not what Mark said.)
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/08/12 11:32 AM

I think Mark's statement is really dumb.

I agree with Randy and Peter.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/08/12 02:36 PM

I don't agree with any of them but they all are correct.

Thanks for the review StillJoe. It's great to hear a first hand comparison of the two.

I remember my blind listening test at the Axiom plant to be very eye opening and confusing. Anyone reading my notes would have seen me start off enjoying speaker A for some reasons then slowly turn everything around and eventually preferred speaker B for other reasons. Or was it B then A, I can't remember. Either way, it sure was a tough thing to do. I could definitely hear the differences but my definition of "better" kept changing the more I was able to isolate those differences..
Posted by: Gary Vose Sr

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/09/12 08:52 PM

Welcome Stilljoe to the forum. Those M60's you might be wanting, would look and sound just as good for Father's Day, as it would for Christmas.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/09/12 09:11 PM

I second Cam's motion.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/10/12 06:29 PM

Originally Posted By: SirQuack
I second Cam's motion.


smile
Posted by: fredk

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/10/12 10:08 PM

Originally Posted By: SirQuack
I second Cam's motion.

I rudly motion to Cam.

Its always nice to hear about factory visits. Hmmmm... so the VP160 with its 'superior' design didn't 'blow away' the VP150. I can't say I'm surprised. It seems like off axis response on the VP160 is noticeably better though, if that's important to you.

Spounds like you are going to really enjoy the new addition.
Posted by: Stilljoe

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/11/12 12:09 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary Vose Sr
Welcome Stilljoe to the forum. Those M60's you might be wanting, would look and sound just as good for Father's Day, as it would for Christmas.


Thanks you for the welcome and everyone's comments! I showed this to Heather. She laughed. Oh well. We have one major purchase coming up in June already and the roof has to be re-shingled this summer, so I think it will have to wait.

About the 150,I don't think I can get seriously off-axis in my little room. No worries there.

So, M50s or M60s? Bearing in mind the size of the room?
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/11/12 07:53 AM

If all your speakers are M22's (+sub), then the addition of the VP160 makes a noticeable improvement over the VP150.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/11/12 08:04 AM

Except for the fact that he A/B'd the 150 and the 160 and chose the 150.

I would probably chose the M60s over the M50s. I own a pair of the early M50s, and they really don't keep up with my M80s (which are v2s). I would expect that in terms of bass and loudness, but they just don't have the imaging that the 80s (or 22s) have. I would expect that the 50s have improved along with the rest of the lineup, but the 60s are probably still superior.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/11/12 09:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Except for the fact that he A/B'd the 150 and the 160 and chose the 150.


But he had M60 + QS8's in the mix. Apparently the vp150 sounds better with them. I'd like to see what would be chosen in the same environment with M22 + EP350 and have to choose between VP150 and VP160.
Posted by: Stilljoe

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/11/12 09:19 PM

He's back. Brutal day at work; two colleagues and my regional manager away so I was four people today. Anyway I am three pints better now but excuse me if I make misteaks.

that sounds like too many numbers

Tough to say that the 150 sounded "better" than the 160; as noted, "similarly good" was discussed. The difference really wasn't subtle, but both were pretty impressive. But we both preferred the sound of the 150. Might have turned out different if we'd stayed another hour or listened to different material. I'm good with the choice.

M22s - I don't think I'll go that way. I had a pair of Paradigm bookshelves when they were a very new company (late 70's maybe? I don't remember the model) and traded them in when I bought the Boston floor standers that will be retired this winter. I think I'll stick with towers.

Lots of time to think about it but yeah, I suspect we'll spend the extra for M60s. Sometimes it gets a bit loud downstairs. This whole upgrade was prompted by popping the tweeter fuses in the Bostons again.

I've seen a few pictures of the Axiom "stronghold" on the web, but I don't think I have seen any with snow on the ground. Maybe I'll make another trip north this winter and surprise you with that.

Anyway. heading downstairs to pop in Alien on Blu-ray - birthday present from the kid. Again - it might get loud.

Cheers!
Posted by: Gary Vose Sr

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/12/12 04:09 PM

[Gary Vose Sr]Welcome Stilljoe to the forum. Those M60's you might be wanting, would look and sound just as good for Father's Day, as it would for Christmas.

Thanks you for the welcome and everyone's comments! I showed this to Heather. She laughed. Oh well. We have one major purchase coming up in June already and the roof has to be re-shingled this summer, so I think it will have to wait.


No Stilljoe, you are thinking about this all wrong. Buy the speakers now, and do the re-shingling in December. You can always place buckets in the areas where the rain water will be coming in.
Posted by: Stilljoe

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/26/12 05:55 PM

New speaker, new camera, new cabinet.
I didn't have a centre speaker before; now I need a cabinet that will let the VP150 sit under the television.

Cabinet finishing construction:

It's not the finest work I've done but it's sturdy and has slotted shelves and base so lots of ventilation. The finish is Antique Cherry by General Finishes and then water-based poly; it blends well with the stock Axiom finish.



The room is darker than that; I'm still getting used to the new camera (Canon SX 40).



I'm also not quite level! But the exposure is better. In the box are: Belkin PF30 "Power Conditioner" (really just a prettier than most surge suppressor); Pioneer 9130 receiver; PS3 slim with a Harmony remote adaptor; and HD cable box.

And if it doesn't rain soon (getting really dry out there!) I'm going to think about Gary's point. The Boston's are still good in two-channel but not really a comfortable match either visually or sonically.
Posted by: Socketman

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/26/12 08:50 PM

Looks fantastic ,nice job. I envy your shop, all the lighting and organization.
Posted by: SRoode

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/27/12 06:48 AM

Wow, I think it's gorgeous!
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/27/12 09:52 AM

That turned out great, Stilljoe! Nice job!
Posted by: INANE

Re: Audition at Axiom - 05/28/12 12:40 AM

Very nice work. I wish I had some finishing skills like that.
Posted by: Stilljoe

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/10/12 10:49 PM

Here's the reason the towers have to wait. Her name is Sonnet. I haven't been down to the basement since she came home, and I think she's not going to give me a spare couple of hours for a while to come.


Posted by: dakkon

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/10/12 11:24 PM

Is she a German Shepherd? She's already got her toy chosen eh? She's gona be big, just look at that paw...

P.S.

A couple things that i thought of. I don't know if this is your first big dog or not, but mine is my first.. A couple things that i have been told.

Never let them play with tennis balls, because they can compress and get swallowed.

fill Kongs with a peanut butter food mix, and freeze. I have bought about 20 Kongs some for catch toys, others for peanut butter treats. Amazon is the least expensive place i have found.

My dog also REALLY likes Larcrosse balls, but only the white ones...

If you have a truck or SUV, don't let her jump down when she gets older. This jars their joints and can cause future problems. Even though my dog is 100lbs, i hold him and place him on the ground, he knows he's not suppose to jump out of the explorer on his own.

knuckle bones, these are what the dogs at my house get as a meat treat. I get them as a whole piece. which is about the size of your fist to 1 1/2 times that size, my butcher also has smaller pieces that are cut up, which are about the size of an oreo cookie. They cost about 3$ each from my local butcher. Never let the dog have any kind of cooked bone at all. As the bone gets cooked it becomes brittle and can splinter as the dog eats it.


Anyhow, these are tidbits that dog trainers/breeders/vets have given to me. I thought i would pass the information on to you, some you may know, some may be new.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/11/12 06:22 AM

Cute! In the first photo, he looks unsure as to whether or not you're going to grill him!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/11/12 10:35 AM

Nice looking Dog.
I think Puppies developed those sad looking eyes as a natural form of evolution. Chameleons learned to change their colour to help them hide, puppies developed sad eyes so we would give them a home.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/11/12 10:41 AM

Makes you want one, huh Murph? grin
Posted by: Murph

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/11/12 12:07 PM

Yes, it does. We are getting closer. Even had a close call.
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/11/12 12:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
Yes, it does. We are getting closer. Even had a close call.

You have to stick the past due dates on the package Murph!

Oh wait, maybe i should read the earlier parts of this thread first.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Audition at Axiom - 06/11/12 01:04 PM

Hahah, Good one.
Posted by: Stilljoe

Re: Audition at Axiom - 12/08/12 04:08 PM

Time to resurrect this for an update.

M60s ordered! From the factory outlet so I don't know if they'll be here for Christmas but that's not really important. I spoke with Brent and ordered spikes to go with them - not because I expect any difference in sound but because of a rather thick carpet and underpad. The old towers are a bit wobbly; I don't want to have the new ones flopping around.

And here's an update on the other front: Sonnet is 8 months old today! She's about 70 lbs and sweet as she looks. Down here is the only place she gets to lie on carpet - it's all wood floors upstairs - so she makes the most of it. Yes, she is gradually growing into her ears and feet.

Posted by: jakewash

Re: Audition at Axiom - 12/08/12 07:56 PM

She turned out to be a beautiful dog.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Audition at Axiom - 12/09/12 08:37 AM

Originally Posted By: jakewash
She turned out to be a beautiful dog.

I'm SO tempted to make that my SIG line because of it's irony. Unfortunately, it might offend women, so I'll stick with my "booby" SIG line.

Ha! Irony again!