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#144443 - 07/30/06 09:55 AM Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again)
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11064
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I'm sure this question gets asked all of the time, but I figured I'd ask to get the freshest responses possible. I just purchased the Millennia M80 v2 floorstanding speakers, and I plan to, over time, purchase more Axiom speakers until it's basically the Epic 80 - 500 system. I figured I'd put off getting a new receiver until after all of the new speakers, since that gives manufacturers time to start putting in HDMI 1.3 connections, allowing the new sound standards for HD DVD and Blu-ray to be passed on digitally (BTW, I have the Toshiba HD-A1--how much is that going to limit my sound quality?). However, the sound quality with the M80 v2s was less of a jump from the Polk Audio bookshelves I have than I was anticipating. I emailed Axiom to see if they thought my receiver was the limiting factor, and they did. It's a Sony DA3ES receiver, which outputs 100 watts @ 8 ohms. It would be nice to get more performance out of these speakers sooner rather than later, so my purchase feels justified. I was thinking of getting separates, and I was thinking Outlaw Audio because the reviews seem solid, and I'm a fan of the direct-to-consumer business model.

Soooo... I was thinking of picking up two of their monoblock amps to start, to power the M80s. Do you think using the preamp outs on the Sony receiver along with the Outlaw monoblock amps would give me at least some of the boost in performance I'm looking for, or do you think the Sony receiver isn't even up to doing preamplification duties? In addition to Outlaw Audio, the expert at Axiom also recommended Denon, Harman Kardon, NAD, NewCastle and B&K. Would a receiver by any of these brands serve my needs, or am I right by getting separates, albeit at a much slower rate, since I'm not as rich as I think I deserve to be? It seems separates offers the most flexibility, and I like the idea of only having to upgrade a preamp/processor later. And if I get the monoblocks, it means I can output at 4 ohms to the M80s, and 8 ohms to the others. Or are there multi-channel amplifiers with different impedance settings for each channel? I'm kind of new to high-end audio, so I'm still trying to pick up on everything. Please feed me healthy, easily digestible advice. Thank you for your time, everyone!

C.V.

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#144444 - 07/30/06 10:05 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13311
Loc: Iowa
Charles, sorry your not as pleased with the 80's at this point in time. I'm pretty sure the issue is your Sony. Most people will use Denon, HK, or other methods that have been proven to have no problems with the 80 4ohm load. Not sure if you asked those questions when looking at speakers, but I'm sure we all would have said the Sony would have problems.

Yes, you could by some monoblocks for the 80's and drive the rest of your system with the Sony, but I think long term you may find you'll want a different AVR and/or seperates.

I'm sure others will chime in here, but most Denon's, HK's, NAD will have no problems driving the m80's. If you have the money and want to go the seperates route, go for it. At this point my Denon 2805 has no problems driving my 7 Axiom speakers. Some day I'll most likely get some 80's to replace my 60's, however, right now my 60's have no problems in my 900 sq ft room.
_________________________
M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#144445 - 07/30/06 10:13 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1115
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Charles, sorry to hear that you are disappointed. One thing that you may want to play with in the meantime is placement. I have had my 80's in 3 different rooms and without a doubt changing the position within those rooms made a huge difference. It is very rare that you can take a new speaker and plop it in the exact position of the old one. (And expect them to perform at their best)
_________________________
Shawn

Epic 80/600 + M3's + Custom Finish Algonquin V3's

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#144446 - 07/30/06 11:37 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3825
Loc: Up yonder
I think you’re on the right track. Separates are definitely the way to go if you can afford to do so. Personally, I’d go with a couple mono blocks first and still use the Sony for a pre-amp. Outlaw makes some great stuff and I wouldn’t hesitate to give them a try. That is a fairly cost effective solution. The 80’s seam to come to life with a healthy shot of current. Also, I agree with the previous post, try moving them around a bit. They like to be at least six inches away from the back wall and about a foot away from side walls. They like some breathing room.
_________________________


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#144447 - 07/30/06 04:38 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: michael_d]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11064
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Thank you very much for the feedback. I will try the monoblocks first, and plan on a new preamp in the long run.

I'm very limited as far as placement in my current arrangement, but I've done what I can. I was already about 6 inches away from the back wall and several feet away from side walls, but I moved the speakers even further forward, and it did seem to help a little. Once my basement is finished, I'll be moving the system down there, and I'll have more room to play with.

Thanks again for responding! This is a great community.

C.V.

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#144448 - 07/30/06 11:27 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10308
Charles, welcome. There're several possibilities at this time as to why you're not totally overwhelmed by your M80s, but inadequate amplification should probably be placed at the bottom of the list. Your DA3ES is now somewhat dated in its features, but furnishes heavyweight basic amplification typical of the Sony ES models. Your M80s are slightly above average in sensitivity and unless your listening room is huge(unlikely if you previously used bookshelf speakers)the DA3ES should have more than enough maximum power capacity to drive them with ease.

Pending your purchase of a replacement receiver with updated features you should experiment with speaker placement as Shawn suggested, which can indeed make a significant difference. Also, even with speakers as excellent as your M80s there's a need to guard against unrealistic expectations if you're not immediately "blown away".
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#144449 - 07/30/06 11:50 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: JohnK]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10694
Loc: Central NH
CV-
I'm short on time, but wanted to mention another possibility: Axiom speakers are what's often termed as "revealing" (Garbage in, Garbage out).

Frequently when someone reports being disappointed in new Axioms, it ends up that they're not listening to great recordings. Make sure the movies and music you're using to judge are recordings that are often considered "well mastered".

You really would be surprised at how many mediocre recordings, both music and movie soundtracks, are out there!
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#144450 - 07/31/06 12:17 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: JohnK]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4736
Loc: western canada
Although i disagree with JohnK on the first point, i agree with him on the second point.
Adequate amplification is indeed a strong consideration when powering speakers, especially with those rated at 4 ohm and Sony has never been known for its beefy amp sections. Yes, even at low to moderate SPL this will make a distinct audible difference.

However, one must guard against the expectations our brain may set when buying a new pair of speakers. The concept of "blown away" or "night and day" sound is so over exaggerated by many who report such findings that new buyers are less than overwhelmed by the general lack of amazement upon receiving and hearing their new units. It is called "bias" and everyone has it, everyone does it, consciously or not.
Give the speakers a couple of days and try listening to some different recordings. Borrow a different and capable receiver from a friend or family member, or get one from a store on a returnable basis to use as a comparison. If in the end you still feel they are not worth the cost or change, then send them back.
That is the beauty of the Axiom sales philosophy, 30 days return full refund (except return shipping).
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#144451 - 07/31/06 12:52 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: chesseroo]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11064
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Nothing's ever easy. I'll experiment as much as I can with placement, and there might be a local shop that will let me borrow a receiver. It would probably be an Integra. There really isn't a great selection of home theater/audio stores in this area.

I've played a ton of material, and so far, maybe 5% has really impressed me, but most of those already impressed me on the Polk Audios. Let me just say that the M80s already show themselves as superior to the Polks in several ways, but yeah, I may have been unrealistic in my expectations. The glowing reviews make me think they HAVE to be better than what I'm hearing. I guess that's what scares me the most. Everything is dependent on everything else. What speakers will sound good with what receiver or preamp/amp combo? What if I never find the combination that gives me the performance I'm looking for? I guess that's why this is Earth and not Heaven, huh? Ha ha.

I will try what I can and report back, or I will be glued to my speakers because they sound so good.

C.V.

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#144452 - 07/31/06 11:27 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4736
Loc: western canada
Quote:

Everything is dependent on everything else. What speakers will sound good with what receiver or preamp/amp combo?



Not quite.
The fact is you may have had some reasonably good Polk speakers such that hearing the Axioms provided a different sound but not a massive "increase" in sound quality per your expectation. Had you been using some $50 Radio Shack no-name brand, made of cardboard boxes speaker that was 30 years old (or the infamous "white van" speaker sales), you would likely have had a very different experience and probably would have been "blown away" by the Axioms.

However, in regards to the electronics, the Sony receivers have often been noted as lacking in their amp sections and driving a 4 ohm speaker is a real task. ANY other receiver (or separate amp) that has a beefier amp section could make an improvement in sound quality, but only because the M80s need more juice, not because each brand has a supposedly different sound character. They simply do not. The frequency response from modern receivers is ruler flat. Unless there is some unknown filtering going on inside the units, or they have a tube section, then when all sound processing option are turned off and signal levels matched, they will all sound the same. I have yet to hear any difference in solid state amps or preamps in any A/B test i've run. I HAVE heard a difference when comparing a cheap Sony HTIB receiver with a Denon 3802 powering cheap little HTIB satellite speakers and some other small bookshelves of more notable quality.


Edited by chesseroo (07/31/06 11:28 AM)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#144453 - 07/31/06 04:58 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: chesseroo]
Jordan Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 165
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
My uncle just purchased some speakers this weekend ... from the back of a white van. I wish I could have warned him.

They claim to be "liquid cooled". Hehehe, poor guy.

Cheers,

J

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#144454 - 07/31/06 07:43 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: chesseroo]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11064
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Chesseroo, that's good to know. Exactly what should I be looking for in a preamp, then?

As for liquid cooled, that reminded me of the Aperion speakers I was looking at before the Axioms. "Our audiophile-grade 1-inch tweeter features ferrofluid cooling for high power handling and smooth response."

C.V.

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#144455 - 08/01/06 10:04 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: Jordan]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4736
Loc: western canada
Quote:

They claim to be "liquid cooled



This is sort of a half truth marketing thing. There is often a ferrofluid in the tweeter to keep it cool, but this is not something new or special.
Those white van guys just kill me. Do they have a fleet or something? They seem to be very widespread.


Edited by chesseroo (08/01/06 10:05 AM)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#144456 - 08/01/06 10:17 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4736
Loc: western canada
Quote:

Exactly what should I be looking for in a preamp, then?



CV, it isn't the preamp section you should be concerned about. Several sources including Axiom recommend using Denon or Harmon Kardon receivers with M80 speakers as their power supply is beefy enough to run them without going into shutdown protection. Many have reported high enough SPL for their preference as well indicating these units should supply enough, adequate power to run the M80s with reasonable results.
Personally, with a 4 ohm speaker i would buy separates but only to ensure that the speakers had enough dedicated power for a truly high sound output, which sometimes is my preference. Axiom uses Bryston amps at the factory during their testing stages, a very proven name for amplifiers, although also pricey. You can get some older models, say 2 generations back possibly between $1500-2000 Cdn used, depending on the model and specs. At home i'm presently using a less expensive Anthem unit, the MCA30 to power some 6 ohm speakers, but they have been used and are rated for 4 ohm units. You can find the MCA20 amps used for as little as $400 Cdn.
If you go this route, i suggest buying a good but 'lower cost receiver, like a Denon, H/K or Pioneer (see this one here and here)
and use it as the preamp/processor section or to power surround and centre speakers, leaving the amp to power the M80s. Totalling the used unit and new unit cost together is still well under the cost of many higher end receivers.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#144457 - 08/01/06 04:17 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: chesseroo]
Foghorn Offline
local

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 226
CV, I think you are on the right track with the receiver. I gave a Yamaha AVR (HTR 5640 I think) and some surround speakers to some friends who had a circa 1995 $1200 Sony rack stereo system. We were all amazed at how good the Sony speakers sounded when we switched out the receiver. You may even want to try your Polk speakers with a new receiver. You may be impressed. As a Polk and Axiom owner I should echo what the other have said about the speakers. Polk makes some very good speakers so depending on which model you have the difference between Polk and Axiom may not be that impressive.
Also, I know there a lot of people who favor separates, but with my modest $300 HK AVR 230 I can crank it up to where I like it (meaning it doesn't really sound "loud", per se, just "appropriate for rock and roll" but not straining or distorted in any way) and at that volume I can't hear my pager on my hip or my cell phone in my shirt pocket or the house telephone 6 feet away (or my wife arriving home and yelling at me to turn it down). Based on that I have decided that I don't need separates. Going forward, you may decide that you need them and you may want to get that started now, but don't underestimate the AVRs - particularly the brands recommended by the Axiom gang.

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#144458 - 08/04/06 07:33 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: chesseroo]
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
What is that old saying that goes something like "there is a sucker born every minute."

Unfortunately, your story is repeated every day with speakers, speaker wire, power conditioners, etc. and etc. and etc.

BUYER BEWARE!!!!
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#144459 - 08/04/06 10:47 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: ratpack]
Jordan Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 165
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
I knew about tweeters often being “liquid cooled” and presumed that this was what the claim on the box was referring to. However, my uncle had visions of something much more elaborate. I suspect something more along the lines of radiators and cooling pumps or something.

They must have a fleet. This topic should be covered in grade school as a preventative measure.

Cheers,

J

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#144460 - 08/04/06 11:44 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: Jordan]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17697
Loc: NoVA
As a little note, they're not just in white vans any more--and the speakers look a bit more sophisticated. I've seen postings on Craigslist advertising Home Theater Digital Speakers (!!!!) normally retail for $10000, yours for only $2000! or something along those lines.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#144461 - 08/05/06 02:48 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: Ken.C]
BassTek Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/28/06
Posts: 67
Loc: Regina, SK
Dogg Digital Audio is my favourite white van speaker brand. There's a pair on ebay right now, normally $1449 each, yours for $250 for the pair!
_________________________
M3's(LCR), Onix X-Sub, Marantz SR5200

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#144462 - 08/05/06 01:26 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: BassTek]
DrunkenWolf Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 133
Loc: Issaquah, WA

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#144463 - 08/05/06 01:34 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: DrunkenWolf]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17697
Loc: NoVA
Aww, no pictures.

And I can't seem to find any of my examples at the moment.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#144464 - 08/05/06 01:47 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: Ken.C]
DrunkenWolf Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 133
Loc: Issaquah, WA
Here you go, these speakers do look pretty cool:




Edited by DrunkenWolf (08/05/06 01:50 PM)

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#144465 - 08/05/06 01:50 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: DrunkenWolf]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17697
Loc: NoVA
Hmm. Different from the ones I found. Nice to see that they're expanding their packaging...

Anyone think these things all look a little similar to a certain brand that we all hear about a year or two ago?
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#144466 - 08/05/06 04:05 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: Ken.C]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16227
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
STREEM!
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#144467 - 08/05/06 06:04 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: Ken.C]
BassTek Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/28/06
Posts: 67
Loc: Regina, SK
Here's the ones I found. The actual speakers look like a computer rendering so the only real photo you get is of the box:


_________________________
M3's(LCR), Onix X-Sub, Marantz SR5200

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#144468 - 08/06/06 12:11 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: BassTek]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Also, the drawing on the front of the box is clearly a three way (you can see the midrange above and left of the woofer) but the speaker in the photo appears to be a two way, with a larger woofer and no place for a midrange.

What is "digital" about a horn tweeter ?

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#144469 - 08/06/06 02:01 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: bridgman]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7373
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Quote:

What is "digital" about a horn tweeter ?




You can stick your finger in it.
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#144470 - 08/07/06 11:59 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: St_PatGuy]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16227
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
LOL
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#144471 - 08/07/06 04:07 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: pmbuko]
Jordan Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 165
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Now that is witty.

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#144472 - 08/07/06 05:01 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: St_PatGuy]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6275
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
< ... that's what she said! >
_________________________
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.

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