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#173037 - 07/24/07 04:14 AM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: ihifi]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11159
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I do like the idea of being able to change out connections via a card, but what kind of card is capable of the bandwidth that a future revision of HDMI might need? I'm not sure on any specs. Did Integra ever offer much selection with their future-proof, modular receiver? Will it even get HDMI 1.3 capability? I like the idea, but I'm thinking it would just add to the cost and complexity when people will probably just want a whole new unit in another 5-10 years. Too many changes may happen in the parts that CAN'T be upgraded.

I'm kind of curious what technology partnerships Axiom will have in place for their pre/pro. I can't imagine them trying to handle every aspect of the design internally. I suppose more than anything I'd like to just see them get a product out with rock-solid performance, something that just works how it's supposed to with all of the sound formats. Video processing won't make or break the system for me, but since I'll never buy a dedicated video processor, it's a nice bonus for the devices in my system that don't have their own built-in scalers. I would certainly like it to be able to convert all signals to digital for the HDMI output. The more connections I can eliminate, the better.

I hope they can align themselves with some really gifted software engineers, for the GUI and any computer interactivity. I do like the idea of setup profiles that you can save to and load from your computer. It would be really handy. Also, it would be easier to see a whole overview of your pre/pro's setup on a computer screen, I imagine, and with a mouse to quickly navigate, major adjustments could be made that much faster. With some creativity, I bet the software on the computer side could get very deep.

I imagine the design won't go nearly as far as my fantasies, but it's nice to discuss, at least.
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#173038 - 07/24/07 12:14 PM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: CV]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17751
Loc: NoVA
For what you guys are asking (esp. the modular thing), this pre/pro is going to be priced in the realm of Lexicons and the like. Careful what you wish for...
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#173039 - 07/24/07 12:27 PM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: CV]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8271
Loc: Tacoma
I just hope you guys are not setting unrealistic expectations for yourselves or the company.

Offering a processor changes the nature of Axiom's business on a fundamental level. It will be an enormously complex product compared to speakers and even amplifiers, and the amp isn't even available yet. Furthermore, the technology and standards move very, very fast. We can already see that not even our little group of devotees agrees completely about what to include. Being "everything to everyone" is impossible, and trying to do so at a price point that competes with the gear most of us currently run is simply not going to happen.

I'm sure Ian, Tom and other Axiom staff have done the appropriate research to ensure that such a project pencils out, but I'm skeptical and concerned about manufacturing a processor as a strategy to grow the business.

Of course, I certainly wish the Axiom family continued success and happiness, and am hopeful that their passion, expertise and innovation will bring forth a truly remarkable product.
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#173040 - 07/24/07 01:25 PM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: tomtuttle]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11159
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I won't be disappointed no matter what happens with it. However, if they do commit to offering a pre/pro, Ian seems like the sort who'd want it to be a compelling product, not something to blend in with everyone else's. However, even if it's just another pre/pro, I'm still a proud owner of their speakers.

I suppose my real excitement for them getting more into the electronics stems from what integrated systems they might offer down the road, where they can really balance the performance since they're making each part. I don't expect an overnight coup. I just think it makes sense to have a firm grasp on every step of the audio chain.
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#173041 - 07/24/07 01:37 PM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: tomtuttle]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3881
Loc: Up yonder
The Anthem D2 retails for a tad under $7000. If you call and order one today, you are put on an order list and will be lucky to get one within 8 weeks. - They are that busy trying to fill orders because they have a market nitch and there is a large group willing to pay their price (not everyone buys from the factory outlet or thinks vinyl is OK). I personally think the D2 is grossly overpriced for what you get. I believe that Axiom can deliver a better product with MORE features than the D2 at a significantly lower price.

A smart business model with have a pre/pro with the video processor, and one without. Again, similar to Anthem where they have the D2, the AMV50 and the AMV 40. The 40 does not come with a video processor, but it’s still $3000.

The new Integra 9.8 Pre/Pro will set the stage for new main stream budget processors, I believe. Just look at its features and it’s retailing for $1600. But unfortunately, the 9.8 has severely limited functionality of the Reon processor. Axiom should be able to land somewhere between the 9.8 and the D2.
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#173042 - 07/29/07 05:34 AM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: michael_d]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11159
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
The more I think about this, the more I'm willing to cut certain features. I don't really think I need any video processing. I imagine upscaling will be built into any DVD player I may own. My other sources will be high-definition to begin with. The only thing that would benefit would be the Wii, and it's not really worth the extra money (to me) to include video processing in the pre/pro for that. Also, not including video processing would probably reduce heat output of the unit.

Also, I don't really need the media streaming capability built into the pre/pro. Chances are that I'll be doing all of that through my Xbox 360 or PS3, anyway, or perhaps an HTPC down the road.

The important things for me are:

1) Support for all current audio formats, and the ability to download updates, should anything new appear (ethernet is my preferred connection).

2) A remote that doesn't suck. Backlighting, some assignable buttons for advanced functions that maybe only you care about.... I don't know. Just easy to use, I suppose, though of course I'll still want to be able to access the menus from the front panel if I want. Which leads to...

3) GUI. I still think this one is important. I would put some real effort into this aspect.

4) Ninja-like operation. No fan noise, no sounds when changing modes, and very fast. It always seems a little hokey to me with my current receiver when it takes a couple of seconds to start decoding a new sound format, but I don't know if part of that is the player or not. Since it happens with all of my inputs, I assume it's the receiver.

I was going to mention something else, but it's slipping my mind. Anyway, I don't think this is too unreasonable. The hardest part of the design would probably be the GUI (I only say that because I haven't seen a really good one yet), but I think it would be worth the effort.

I know I'm talking about this a lot. I'm fairly interested in this potential product, I suppose. If not Axiom, SOMEONE will have one that fits my needs, but I would like it to be Axiom, if they ultimately decide this is where they would like to expand their business. Mainly, I thought it would be helpful to them if they could see what their potential customers are looking for.

Broadening the discussion a bit, what are some things you dislike in your current receivers/processors? Do you feel they're lacking any features, or is it more about the execution? I've never had any super-serious gripes with my receivers. Mostly I just haven't had the number of digital inputs I've wanted, as well as support for all of the audio formats. Man, and there are so many analog inputs STILL on modern receivers. To me, that's wasted real estate. I'd trade almost all of them for more digital connections.

I'm rambling!
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#173043 - 07/30/07 05:53 PM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: CV]
JohannGevers Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/25/07
Posts: 1
In addition to the points listed by others, my own wishlist would include:

1. "It just works". This, the user experience, is really the most important thing. It means not just must the product work flawlessly and reliably from a technical standpoint, but it must also be easy to use from the user's perspective. In other words, a simple, intuitive, easy-to-use interface.

2. Beautiful esthetics: elegant simplicity. Apple products (computers, iPods, iPhone, etc.) are good examples of beautiful, elegant design coupled with a great user interface coupled with good, reliable performance. One thing you do NOT want is a complicated unit with hundreds of buttons and switches. Have a few essential buttons/switches, and put the other functions into the digital GUI (controlled via computer monitor or TV screen).

3. Anyone that's going to spend this kind of money on AV equipment is very unlikely to still be using dated analog equipment. So limit the analog inputs/outputs to the minimum, and focus instead on digital inputs/outputs, especially HDMI.

4. One issue I've had is with my equipment not playing/cutting off the first second of audio tracks on some CDs. After researching this I eventually discovered that it has to do with newer CD/DVD players, which stop the bitstream between tracks. Older CD/DVD players do not stop the bitstream between tracks, but emit "digital black".
Stopping the bitstream means the player and pre-pro have to "restart" the process of determining what kind of source this is (CD, SACD, DVD, audio, video, etc.) and firing up the appropriate circuits, which then causes the first split second of the track to be lost. A contributory cause is that
older pre-pros do not retain their "state" after stopped bitstreams, while newer pre-pros do. This means older pre-pros lose the information about the kind of source being inputted, which causes the missing first second of each track after stopped bitstreams, whereas newer pre-pros retain the information and therefore do not exhibit this problem.
So both source equipment and receivers need to be designed to allow the option of switching between emitting digital black, or stopping the bitstream between tracks. That way, the user will be able to listen to both older and newer CDs on any combination of equipment without losing the first second of audio tracks.

Johann
Axiom Epic 80-500
Emotiva LPA-1 and LMC-1
Oppo DV-981HD

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#173044 - 07/30/07 10:49 PM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: JohannGevers]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11159
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Johann, thanks for posting. It's always nice hearing from someone new.
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#173045 - 08/08/07 02:42 AM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: CV]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11159
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I wonder if they will consider packing in a Harmony (or similar) universal remote, pre-programmed for their pre/pro. The pack-in could be a lower-end one, with a dropdown letting you upgrade to a higher-end one for additional cost. Also, people could opt to NOT have a remote included to save a tiny bit of cash, if they already have a universal they're happy with. I don't know how well this would work. Sure, they wouldn't have to manufacture their own remotes, but maybe programming all of the remotes would be a hassle. Has any other manufacturer ever done this?
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#173046 - 08/10/07 12:46 AM Re: Axiom Pre/Pro Wishlist [Re: CV]
duckman Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 312
Loc: kansas
I'll add a little to this. 2 or maybe even 3 mch inputs with independent bass management- my Adcom uses a db-25 port for one of it's two to save space on the back panel. It was a PITA to find a suitable cable for this, but using them to a greater extent would free up a lot of space back there.
Avoid having to cycle through all the dam modes to select a different one. Maybe hit the dolby button and get just the dolbys. Dts button for all those,etc. Logic 7 and some of the other more obscure modes might be nice, but licencing those may be prohibitive.
I'd like to see a small icon on the front panel for each channel- L,R,C,etc and when a channel is live- it lights up. You can tell at a glance what is going on. Maybe one set for the selected input and another for the output.
Perhaps a touchscreen for setup menus- just a thought. The ability to set x-over for each channel independently of course, and how about adjustable slope as well? I like the idea of setting the thing up on a pc and downloading to the unit. My car deck does that- the limitation is you cant hear what your settings sound like till they're downloaded, ability to sync live with a pc sounds expensive. I agree with the optional remote suggestion, they'd have to offer something, but how many would get used if included? Just be sure to supply the codes so the mx-700 posse can go to town.
One last thing- don't be building this thing in china, I wanna see a maple leaf on there someplace.
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