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#136010 - 05/07/06 05:14 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's review
BruceH Offline
devotee

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 353
Loc: Western Canada (just)
In reply to:

My media room looks like some kind of snobby audio store. I have cables, amps and speakers all crowded into every cranny they can fit. Now if i just hang some sales signs but w/o the prices, it would be a beautiful showroom.




I'll second that.

First off, a special thanks to Chesseroo's wife for putting up with this whole parade as most wives roll their eyes at this sort of thing. (Chess has got himself a keeper!)


Lots of speakers and finally had a chance to audition the Epic 60 surround system with "Ice Age". A seamless soundstage and DVD-A with Seal was very detailed.

I wish I had more time to listen but as with everyone's schedules and the day chosen, the audition/comparison was about two hours.

For home theater I would have no problem recommending or even ordering a set of Axioms. In discussing the different audio settings with Chess, it was clear that the type of mixing/eq'ing done by different surround settings as well as how differently each recording is mixed is made very apparent with these speakers (Axiom and Monitor Audio).

For the brief M60 and GR60 comparison, it was rather interesting. The speaker switching setup was vey well done by Chess. It was unfortunate not to have a stereo switching setup but it worked well nonetheless.

I now understand how and why people describe the Axiom sound as being "forward". To me the speaker seems to have more midrange presence. In comparing the sound I felt with the GR60 as if you were listening to a live perfromance and the Axiom sounded as if you were listening to a live performance in the studio. Both were great sounding but different. I would NOT describe the Axioms as "harsh" or "bright". Bright is a term I use for over-emphasized highs with bad tweeter design.

The Monitor Audio tweeter is defintiely in a different class than the Axiom but you would have to expect this for a speaker pair costing $3,000-$4,000 more (price variance depending on where you purchase the MAs). It should be noted that the Silver and Bronze series offerings from Monitor Audio use a different tweeter. I would say that the Axiom compares somewhere between the Bronze and Silver series but perhaps closer to the Silver (still more expensive than Axiom). There was less siblance from the GR60. Not a huge difference but noticeable. The GR60 tweeter is smoother.

The bass in the GR60 extends deeper. I would say, perhaps, it may be better to compare the bass to the M80s but again this difference is subtle. The M60s defiinitely hold their own. If using a quality subwoofer, dialed in correctly for music, I'd say the point is mute. The real differences lie in the mids and tweeters.

I'd say there is something to the phase plug midrange that Monitor Audio uses. Again I found the mids on the GR60 to be slightly smoother and a little more "laid back". It is difficult to describe but the mids on the M60 were a tiny bit more "squawky" (the extreme example to define squawky would be like a megaphone which is mostly midrange and this is just my impression in comparison to the GR60s with a half hour side by side comparison - hardly fair). Don't get me wrong, this is simply different to what most people are used to listening to. In the past most speakers subdued the midrange; people were used to setting their eq's with a smiley face. This is what a lot of people wanted in sound and for the mass market, this is how manufacturers made their speakers. Heck, even Paradigm, an excellent manufacturer had designed a bass hump in their spekers becasue people typically like "pronounced" bass during their playback. I digress. The bottom line is that I found the midrange on the Axiom to be smooth but slightly more than what I was used to hearing from my former Mirage M3si and the Monitor Audio GR60s. It may not be for everyone but it is still a great sound.

Had I found the Axioms prior to the Monitor Audio, would I have been happy with the sound? I would say yes. The side-by-side comparison was a clear example of the law of dimishing returns. To my ears (and the wife thinks I'm half deaf since I only answer half the time when she calls) the Monitor Audios had smoother mids and highs, but $4000 better?! Not for your average listener. If you have money to burn, you can buy the MA's Gold Reference offerings (Consider also that in this price range it opens the doors to many other speakers. The original owner of the MAs replaced them with Jamo speakers).

For the average joe who wants great sounding speakers or the budget audiophile who wants value for money I really like the Axioms. I think my wife preferred the Axioms to the Monitor Audio. She likes the "forward" sound but then again, I don't take her opinion too seriously since she finds listening to a transistor radio good enough {ducking as a cusion comes flying at my head}. My preference is towards the MAs. This was the first time I had a chance to really listen to the GR60s and fed with quality components. I had not hooked them up since I obtained them (how's that for patience!).

In meeting Chess I have every confidence that he has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to audio and what to listen for in comparing speakers. I'm sure he can also give some impressions from his friends that have a chance to audition them side by side.

His review may be more credible considering he will have a lot more time to compare them. I think I will leave them with him for a week to formulate the best impression possible. Plus, I never had a chance to listen to the Tannoys so he will have to fill us in on the overall comparison. Bren, you still have time to stop by for a listen...no opinions necessary.



Edited by Amie (05/08/06 06:46 AM)

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#136011 - 05/07/06 07:39 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's review
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Nice write-up, Bruce. In all honesty, I think the difference between the MA Silver and Golds is less than the price indicates. Both offer excellent sound, though. Too bad you didn't get a chance to hear the Tannoys.

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

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#136012 - 05/08/06 12:11 AM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's review
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
Chess... hoping you cabbed home from the Wine Show... the number of drunken lugans driving around there was astounding. Lost my cool for the first time in a long time.

Bruce - glad to see you enjoy what you own and concede that you can hear what others hear in their choice, that's what it's all about, no?

Bren R.

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#136013 - 05/08/06 09:21 AM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
BruceH Offline
devotee

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 353
Loc: Western Canada (just)
Yes, very true. However I still believe that having found Axiom before purchasing the MAs that I would have bought an entire Axiom surround setup for what was paid for the MAs.

The next step is while I have the MAs for fronts, I will get the QS8s for surrounds and likely the VP150 for the center (unless before the time I purchase I come across an "inexpensive" used MA Gold LCR).

It is strange but I would also say that depending on the mix, I may prefer the Axiom sound to the Monitor Audio sound. For the price, it really is a wonderful speaker.

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#136014 - 05/08/06 10:14 AM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Bruce, you may want to start checking around for better pricing on the MA center channel. With Monitor coming out with newer versions many places are discounting the older models.

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

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#136015 - 05/10/06 12:31 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
BruceH Offline
devotee

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 353
Loc: Western Canada (just)
I have been doing some research into the Monitor Audios and from some other people’s descriptions it appears that the midrange may be purposefully “dialed back” which is why the Axioms sound more “forward”. In reality, I believe the Axioms may be portraying the "real" sound and the Monitors portraying a slightly tweaked midrange to provide their interpretation of what sound people want to hear (what people are used to hearing from speakers). I found a frequency graph of the GR10 (same midrange as GR60) that shows a dip around the 4 to 5 kHz range.



Looking at the Axiom M22Ti (can not find a curve for the M60Ti) we see the following:



I realize the M22 has two mids versus the M60’s one but it should get the point across. When listening at Chess's place, there was a live recording of Eric Clapton in which some whistling was recorded. On the Axioms the whistling was "in your face" so to speak and irritating. On the Monitors it was subdued and did not get on your nerves. If I think about being in a stadium or a venue with live music and people around me whistling, the sound is typically "in your face" and sometimes quite annoying (I notice the dirty looks I get when I whistle like my grandpa taught me - he whistled loudly for the cattle to come in from the fields).

I believe the Monitors are tweaked to make this midrange (to what we are most sensitive) "more listenable" which may be perceived as sounding better. Thus, the Axioms can be regarded as being more accurate in portraying the sound, although the Monitor midrange is slightly more refined (law of diminishing returns). For a properly done recording, the Axioms really shine (as I mentioned with the Seal demo). And to reiterate, the hometheater demo was seamless and was everything I would want in home theater audio. I tend to like the home theater sound to be more forward...or shall I say accurate .

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#136016 - 05/10/06 11:35 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10362
Bruce, if you examine the graph(on-axis only)which Axiom shows for the M60, it can be noted that it's indeed almost identical to the M22 in that upper midrange/lower treble area.
_________________________
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#136017 - 05/11/06 02:32 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4788
Loc: western canada
Bruce,
Although i have yet to put forth any further comments on the speaker auditions, i have to disagree with some points.

The MA speakers are forward, but the upper end (lower tweeter frequencies) are smoothly reproduced. Something in the M60 or with its tweeter is causing an unpleasant resonance during that whistling passage and this is why i call the Axioms "bright". I reserve the word harsh for a speaker that consistently and constantly produces this effect but the M60s do not (source dependant). This whistling is a frequency in the very high end of midrange and in the lower end of the upper spectrum (a human whistle tends to fall in the 1kHz to 3kHz area). To say that the MA or the Tannoys do not reproduce that whistling realistically or equally as annoying would be a fallacy. I have yet to hear a person's whistle that actually makes me wince like when the sound is reproduced by my M60s. Having heard this passage on several other well made speakers, i doubt it is the linearity of Axioms and the assumed 'lack' of linearity of other speakers that is causing this effect.

Secondly, the graph of the GR10 cannot be compared to the GR60.
There will be similarities but conclusions about the GR60 performance cannot be made from the GR10 graphs.
Note the differences between the M80s, M60s and M22s in an overlaid graph. (M80s are the top line, M60s the middle line and M22s the bottom line).
If the scale up to 50Hz was removed increasing the amplitude of this chart it would make the differences alot more easy to read but we'll got with this.

There are many things one can pick out of this graph to see how these 3 speakers, with the same components and build design can still vary in some areas signficantly to make a difference noticeable to the ear.
M80s play louder. Well according to the charts that is true as noted by the higher SPL for the M80 UNTIL you reach the 3.5-5kHz range where the SPL narrows to a value for all 3 speakers that is probably indistinguishable by the ear. So the M80s play a louder range than M60s and M22s but not equally across the whole spectrum.

M80s have more bass. I think the hump between 150 and 200Hz may have something to do with that.

I digress. Back to the idea at hand. If you try to view specifically the M60 and the M22 at 2.5-3kHz you will see nearly a difference of 4dB in 2 peaks with the M60 while the M22 remains more linear, pehaps with a slight dip. Since these spikes come into the range for human whistling, have we potentially found the culprit spectrum for our harsh whistle sound from the M60? Perhaps using the M22 and M60 in a comparison of this could resolve the hypothesis.

In any event, the point remains, without proper graphs for the GR60s or the Tannoys, or having talked with their engineers, we cannot say what has or has not been done in tweaking the sound of these brands and models and we cannot draw conclusions on their actual linearity. Personally i feel the tweeters from the Tannoy and the MA GR60s are very articulate (more so than the M60s, easily distinguishable while using the switcher) and were very equivalent in their sound reproduction. I had trouble finding any real difference in sound between them (the tweeters that is). Both portrayed a whistling sound that was annoyingly loud and forward (bright) but without making me wince and there is a harmonic reason for it. I'm just doubting that reason is because the M60s are playing the sound more realistically, or more linear.


Edited by chesseroo (05/11/06 02:33 PM)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#136018 - 05/15/06 05:38 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
BruceH Offline
devotee

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 353
Loc: Western Canada (just)
In reply to:

the point remains, without proper graphs for the GR60s or the Tannoys, or having talked with their engineers, we cannot say what has or has not been done in tweaking the sound of these brands and models and we cannot draw conclusions on their actual linearity. Personally i feel the tweeters from the Tannoy and the MA GR60s are very articulate (more so than the M60s, easily distinguishable while using the switcher) and were very equivalent in their sound reproduction. I had trouble finding any real difference in sound between them (the tweeters that is). Both portrayed a whistling sound that was annoyingly loud and forward (bright) but without making me wince and there is a harmonic reason for it.




You are likely correct. I was grasping at straws as I just can not seem to find a response graph for the GR60s anywhere.

Oh well. We do like the Monitor Audio's sound and that to me is what counts. As stated in your other thread, some people are willing to pay more for the sound quality and others for the look (my buddy who bought my Mirage M3si speakers, for example).





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#136019 - 05/15/06 11:53 PM Re: Wpg gathering (MonitorAudio & Axiom) - Bruce's
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4788
Loc: western canada
In reply to:

I just can not seem to find a response graph for the GR60s anywhere.



I wish there were graphs for many more speakers. Although the list at that website is reasonable, there are tons of mainstream brands missing. Personally i would love to see some speakers from Bose mapped out.

Maybe if Ian is generous enough i can cart my Tannoys down to Dwight someday for a graph in their swanky new anechoic chamber. I"m dying of curiousity to see what kind of frequency graph produces a sound that i seem to prefer so much. It is likely i would have to keep the graph private though lest i be sued by the company.
Maybe i can get JohnK to defend.
*pondering*

_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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