The Opus 2ís showed up yesterday. Iím still doing some back to back listening with them and the M80ís trying to figure out what the differences are. In a blind test I honestly donít think I could pick a winner. While both are different in their own respects, they both sound so damn good that if Ďsoundí was the only factor involved, Iíd have one heck of a time decided which to take home. Well Iíve got both, so I donít have to make that choiceÖ..LOL.
I frequently see where Axiom speakers are referred to as ďbargain speakersĒ and that you get a lot of speaker for the price. While this is true, I think folks get too hung up on that. The simple fact is, they are great speakers that can compete with all the big dogs and come out winners most of the time. Hereís just one more attest to that. The Opus 2ís have a list price anywhere between $5500 and $3000 (US $). I know, whatís a list price when it has a range? Reason being, is that there are not that many dealers who carry this line from Wharfedale and those that do carry it, charge whatever the hell they want to charge. The lowest Ďlist' price I was able to find was $2999.
Without going into a long rambling description that no one would be able to understand, Iíll just some up my impressions.
The M80ís arenít really any more Ďdetailedí as the Opus, but different. The M80ís just seam to be Ďsharperí or maybe Ďmetallicí is the word Iím looking for. Donít really know how else to call it. The Opus highs are very detailed as well, but they donít seam to cut as deep. At high volumes (over 95 dbís) the M80ís start to hurt me some. Iíve had the Opus over 100 dbís without that same feeling of pain.
My favorite thing about the M80ís is their mid range. What can I say about that???? Itís perfect. Iíve heard all the Paradigm series (including their refís), Iíve heard B&Wís 600, 700 and Nautilus speakers and I prefer the M80ís midís over all of them. The Opus 2ís are every bit as good as the M80ís. Iím having a hell of time trying to figure out what might be different, and am coming up with nothing. They are both excellent.
The low end bass between the two is where the biggest difference is. The M80ís get on down there and are quite deceiving for their size. On paper they also look very impressive. The Opus 2ís have more. Lotís more. Not to say better, but just more. Iíve been running the M80ís with the Rotelís tone control on L1 for the past year because well, I just like it there. The L1 setting adds 1.5 db to the LFís. I like the Opus 2ís with the 1070 set to flat (so far, but I think I like it on the H1 setting). The H1 setting adds a bit of treble and I couldn't stand the M80's with it at this position. I must have a preference for highly detailed speakers....?
Both speakers play louder than any sane individual would ever want them to play. The M80ís will go louder though. Donít know how much that is, but they are definitely more efficient. Where before Iíd have the M80ís playing with the volume control knob about 10 oíclock most of the time, with the Opus 2ís, Itís closer to 12 oíclock. Playing around with the volume and seeing Ďhow high can they goí, Iíve had the knob further toward max than ever before with the M80ís.
The Opus 2ís come with their own impedance and frequency response graphs for each speaker. They are built as pairs and tested to ensure that they are identical. I donít know what to look for with these things, but I know a lot of you do. Hereís a pic of one of them.
Here's a couple more pics. The piano finish is quite impressive. The pictures suck compared to seeing these things up close. I need to re-finish my hardwood floors, but now it's like a slap in the face. I REALLY need to re-finish them now.......