Yesterday I received and unpacked the Epic Master HT speakers (sans sub). The first thing I noticed was a very distinct smell as I removed the plastic wrapping. Something like the smell of drying oil based paint or glue. I wondered - hmm, are these speakers hot off the production line and the glues/caulking havenít fully cured yet? Should I be listening to these at anything greater than low SPLís just yet? Donít know! By then it was dinnertime anyway so I didnít get back to them for about 3 hours. By then I couldnít smell a thing, so I set them up, calibrated them and preceded playing 2-channel music.

My very first impression (first 30 seconds) was the M3ís tonally sound fairly similar to my 16 year old Tannoy cd1000ís, but definitely clearer. Kind of like lifting a thin veil off the sound of the Tannoyís or like smoke cleared from in front of the sound. As I listened to a couple songs it became obvious that even for a small bookshelf, they have a decent amount of base. I have always felt the Tanís were a bit thin in the base so always had the base set to +1 or 2. No such need with the M3ís. In fact the low-mid base seems a little on the warm side. Having read the Axiom boards a fair bit the last couple months and the ďforwardĒ nature of the speakers; I was listening for this trait. The M3ís donít sound forward to me at all. Maybe cause Iím used to the Tanís and their horn tweeters. But when listening to a few female singers (KD Lang, Diana Krall and Natalie Cole), especially Natalie, it seemed to me there was a tinny bit of an edge to their voices. Other than that, I was really liking the sound for such a small speaker. The sound was very detailed and clean and I could hear some accompanying instruments and background recorded sounds much better from the M3ís than I ever could with the Tanís. I was really pleased with the sound for such a budget speaker and finally decided to go upstairs and crawl into bed about 03:00.

I wasnít sure if the edge I heard in some of the high voice passages was my ears or the speakers needing a little breaking in time or what. So before going to bed I selected all-channel mode on the receiver and left it playing the radio till I got up this morning. Iím glad to report I listened to Natalie, the edgiest of the recordings, this morning before dragging my butt into work and voila, no more edge, just nice smooth vocals. Donít know if it was my ears, my mind or the speakers, but the bottom line, itís gone and I love the speakers.

Thanks ya'll for your help with my HT speaker questions the last couple months. Gotta go and listen to the rest of the system - Cheers