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#337074 - 02/04/11 03:18 PM Complete home audio newbie, could use some help!
Artisan Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 02/04/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Beaumont, TX
Greetings. I first learned about Axiom Audio about four or five years ago when I started looking into home audio/home theater. Searches and reviews lead me to this site and I'm sold on the Axiom line. I even registered under a different login name and made a few forum posts a few years back but I can't remember my old password.

Anyway, I've recently started upgrading my car's audio system (2009 Honda Fit Sport, Pioneer 3200DVD head unit, soon to be filled out by a set of Hertz HSK 165 components, a JL Audio XD700/5 amp and a JL Audio 8w3v3 sub in a ported enclosure... can't WAIT!) and it got me thinking once again about home audio.

My requirements are that this home audio set up will be used primarily for music. Musical fidelity and clarity are my paramount concerns.

I live in an apartment with an average to above-average living room where the home theater will reside. I have neighbors below me and to each side of me.

I have a Samsung 46" LCD television that I love. I also have a Sony BDP-N460 BluRay player that handles any kind of CD or DVD/BluRay I have. I watch a lot of movies and a few select TV shows, but my primary use of my current audio system (a simple Sony CMT-HPX9 that I dearly love) is for music first and television/movies second.

I listen to primarily alternative and classic rock. My musical library contains Radiohead, Ween, Beck, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, They Might Be Giants, Johnny Cash, Dave Mathews Band, Nine Inch Nails, The Pixies, Primus, Built to Spill, David Bowie and Tom Petty, among many others. I occasionally play classical, country and blues, and sometimes even some disco and techno, but alternative and classic rock are my bread and butter.

I am torn between my budget and my desires.

My gut instinct is to buy a pair of M60v3s and use this as a baseline for an upgrade to an eventual 5.1 home theatre. This is offset by a desire for the 2.1 setup of a pair of M22s and an EP500. While the latter setup will provide deeper bass extension than the former, I am worried about having too much bass in an apartment where I have to keep an eye on my neighbors. Will the EP500 be overly obnoxious? Am I delusional in thinking the pair of M60s will be less obnoxious? I am not a bassaholic. I just want nice, clear, accurate bass that can keep up with the rest of the midrange and treble. Would I be well-served by nothing but a set of M60s? Would I be better-served by a set of M22s with either an EP350 or EP500? Would I be served better yet by some M60s and an EP350?

Here's where I get even more muddied. When I think about making the leap to a full 5.1 setup I run into all kinds of problems. Should I just go ahead and buy either an Epic Grand Master with the EP350 or Ep500, or should I step up to the Epic 60 with either the EP350 or EP500? Will the EP350 be a musical enough sub to round out the M22s for my musical desires or should the M22s really be paired up with the EP500 (or even the EP400)? Would the M60s be overly bass-heavy with the EP350 or EP500? Which sub is more musical? My gut desire points me to a range of the M22 theatre with the EP350 up to the M60 theatre with the EP500, and I'm leaning more towards either the M22 + EP500 and the M60 + EP350.

And now it gets even worse. When I try to use the Axiom HT Wizard I get even more suggestions. Depending on how I answer the questions, I get answers suggesting everything from an M2 setup up to an M60 + EP600 setup. Neither of those extremes really interest me. I guess I'm looking for some kind of sweet spot that resides in a range including the M3 HT setup all the way up to the M60 + EP500 setup. I'm leaning most towards either an Epic Grand Master 350, Epic Grand Master 500, or an Epic 60.350. That is not to say that I wouldn't be well-served by an Epic Master 350 or 500 with the M3 speakers. I really have no idea. I am so bewildered by the sheer volume of choices that I can't make a decision. I keep starting off with a pair of M60s and I keep ending up with Grand Master 500 or Epic 60 350 setup. Somewhere in that range of possibilities there must be a sweet spot.

I already mentioned that I'm not a bass head. I also don't want to annoy my neighbors. Should I just go ahead and buy the pair of M60s and call it a day? Or should I go with either a pair of M3s or M22s + either a 350 or 500 sub? I'm worried that the latter choices will be overly bass-heavy for my neighbors, while the former wont give me the musicality in the lower regions that I desire. If I do decide to buy either a set of front floor standers or a set of bookshelves + sub woofer then I will eventually upgrade them to a 5.1 system with probably set of QS8s and a VP100 or VP150. I could also spend more now and just buy a 5.1 system. I don't know. I'm beating my head against a wall, and I'm still at least three months out from making a decision.

After typing all of this nonsense, my gut instinct is still to buy a set of M60s and add the rest later.

All of this will be powered by a receiver in the ~$500 range. Right now, I'm looking at the Onkyo TX-SR608 shown here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120166

What say you, oh wise and powerful Axiom collective?


Edited by Artisan (02/04/11 03:26 PM)

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#337075 - 02/04/11 03:21 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: Artisan]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17789
Loc: NoVA
I'd start with the M60s. I have M80s and an EP350 in an apartment, but my neighbors are older, possibly with hearing loss, and a strong streak of tolerance.
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#337076 - 02/04/11 03:24 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: Artisan]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16289
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
You don't need to worry about any well-designed subwoofer being too much unless you run it excessively hot. When you set up your system, proper calibration will ensure that all your speakers play at the correct relative volume.

My Axiom system is based around M22s and an EP500 and I never get complaints from my neighbors. I am not a bassoholic either and rarely listen at crazy volumes. If you're really looking for full-range, this combination will not disappoint.
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#337078 - 02/04/11 03:41 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: pmbuko]
Argon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/24/04
Posts: 1443
Loc: Oak Ridge, NC
I would go with the '60's. Plenty of bass for an apartment - I would think. I have and Epic 60 - 500 system. Since the receiver you are looking at will decode the latest formats, you will get lots of bass out of a 500 when viewing action movies. IF I was my neighbor I would be annoyed at how much the 500 can put out during a movie like Master & Commander or Transformers. I am not a bass head for music but for movies.... I can't comment on the 350 but I can tell you that I had problems with my 500 initially (all resolved now) where it would stop working. It sometimes took me weeks to realize it was not playing - only when I would see a scene in a movie and think - hey that should have had more oomph. Telling you this part is to point out that the bass coming out of the 60's is considerable. Later, you can add the sub of your choice. A sub definiatley adds to the movie viewing experience.
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#337080 - 02/04/11 03:46 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: pmbuko]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5908
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Here's where a lot of people cringe while presenting different views. There's one that says that M22's + sub woofer is as good as (well almost) as an M80. There's another group that says you are missing mid bass by going this route and should stick with either an M60 or M80. I'm of the 2nd opinion after living with M22's and EP350 for a while. I don't think the EP500 would give me that much more, except in volume (if turned up) and bass extension.

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#337082 - 02/04/11 03:47 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: CatBrat]
Argon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/24/04
Posts: 1443
Loc: Oak Ridge, NC
Waiting for the '80's crowd.....
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#337083 - 02/04/11 03:55 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: Argon]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6613
Loc: It's all about the location.
I would also go with the M60s. Perhaps if you move in the future you could add a sub for the extra/extended bass, but the M60s/80s go pretty deep on their own....you'll likely only miss a sub when playing certain movies with plenty of LFE's as mentioned. I wish we all had considerate neighbours like you Art!
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#337088 - 02/04/11 04:24 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: Adrian]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5908
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Where's Fredk when you need him to say that everything is the same because the world is flat.... Oh wait...

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#337124 - 02/04/11 08:26 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: CatBrat]
Artisan Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 02/04/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Beaumont, TX
Wow, thanks for the responses so far. I didn't expect so many so quickly.

If I do go the route of two M60s for a front stage to start off, how will they handle the lower frequencies without an accompanying subwoofer? I don't listen to any pipe organ music, and only rarely classical. Will I be missing much in the way of detail down there if I'm simply running a true stereo setup? I'm in a situation where I want to have all the bass reproduction and quality that I can get for my listening enjoyment, but without going too bass-heavy and upsetting the neighbors. I'm worried that the M22s+EP500 will be too much, and the M60s by themselves will be too little. More and more, though, I'm leaning towards the M60s.

EDIT: Any thoughts on the Onkyo 608? Is there something else in that price range I should look at instead? The 608 looks like a very nice entry-level receiver and unless I'm missing something it looks like it should power an entire Axiom 5.1 setup with no issues. Would it handle the load of M80s?


Edited by Artisan (02/04/11 08:35 PM)

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#337127 - 02/04/11 08:35 PM Re: Complete home audio newbie, could use some help! [Re: Artisan]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10399
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
You won't notice that you are missing anything with the M60's till you do A/B testing. If you go with M22's you won't notice anything missing either. If you have the room for the extra depth of the M60's then I would get them as they will fill a larger room of you get a home or move down the road, kind of future proofing. If you get the M22/sub combo, from my exerience, you will get slightly better detail with lower bass extension, but this combo sounds a little less 'warm' than the M60's. It's really being pretty picky to tell any of these difference and I highly doubt you would be disappointed by either system.
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