Let me start by saying that I’m not a sound engineer. I’m a simple guy who happens to be interested in home audio. I’m new to this forum and would like to share my experience with the time I’ve spent researching for the right speakers for my new Marantz SR5004 receiver. Hopefully, my experience would help those like me who first stumbled onto this forum to ease the process in making a final decision.

Over the past 3 months I’ve been comparing tower speakers in the $1000 CDN price range. I’ve read up on as many reviews online and read through as much information I could comprehend in understanding speaker specification and lingo. I’ve read through countless articles in my attempt to articulate and evaluate my short list of speaker towers.

I have auditioned the following speakers at my local retail store: Focal 714, B&W 684, PSB Image T5. I’ve also been fortunate to have a member of this forum open his home for me to audition the Axiom M60V2.

To set the stage, I have no control over each speaker set up as each speaker was auditioned at different locations. I simply had my set of CD’s on hand, my ears, a clear mind, my pen, and my trusty moleskine notebook. I spent about an hour listening to each brand of speaker. My CD list included: (1) Eric Clapton - Unplugged ; (2) Puccini - Turandot (Decca Record); (3) Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Jupiter; (4) Eric Clapton - Slowhand (SACD); (5) Diana Krall - When I Look In Your Eyes; (6) Beethoven - Symphony No.9 (Karajan Gold Recording)

Focal 714: $1200 CDN a pair
Where’s the bass? It appeared that I was missing the bottom half of the bass sound. With that initial thought in my mind it was difficult for me go beyond how “thin” these speakers presented itself. The speakers sounded “forward” in that the singers voice sounded too close to me. I also sensed that I did not appreciate how “bright” it sounded. My final comment to this speaker was that it’s over all appearance was forward thinking in that it tried to get away from making it look like a simple vertical box by adding other geometric shape to mask it’s vertical appearance.

B&W 684: $1000 CDN a pair
I felt that his had a better job of sounding “complete”. The bass was round and I could appreciate the bass line in the CD’s I plugged in. Listening to my collection through this speaker made me first appreciate a good vs. bad recording. This was also the first instance where I could hear detail in the high’s from which I have never heard before in my CD collection. However despite the positive thoughts I was writing on my notebook, I could not get away from the fact that as the tracks played on it was becoming more and more difficult for me to listen. I rationalized that this was due to B&W’s tweeter was too “harsh” for my liking, this was what the retailer was selling me on and it was the one aspect that I had difficulty appreciating. The overall appearance was comparable to fashion-glossy-magazine. Nice clean lines, very pleasing to look at from a minimalist point of view.

PSB Image T5: $1100 CDN a pair
This was a disappointment to begin with; the first comment I wrote down was “$300” for a piece of equipment valued at $1000 retail. To me the sound was “recessed”, in that it truly sounded like it someone was speaking from inside a box. I noted “sibilance” on my notebook. I also commented on how the sound felt really “dry” and “lifeless”. It is obvious that this speaker was at the bottom of my list. By this time, I’ve heard enough speakers and I really had nothing positive to write in comparison to the other brands already auditioned. For the overall initial appearance I simply wrote “ok”. Perhaps I was blinded by my initial comments on it’s sound to even give it’s appearance a once over.

Axiom Audio M60V2: $915 CDN a pair
The audition started on a good note. My first word on my notes was “presence” I honestly could not believe how the sound felt three dimensional. I also noted that I was listening to these speakers in someone’s home and not a professional studio. The bass line was “fat” and had a complete “rounded” punch. I also noticed in the classical recordings i could distinguish male and female voices in better clarity. For my thoughts on the value of sound i wrote “$2000”. The last comment I wrote was that the room felt bigger when I closed my eyes. The overall appearance was as advertised and as the owner pointed despite this set being purchased from the outlet store we both could not find any noticeable blemishes. He did admit that one of the grills had a slight bulge onto the speaker but wasn’t sure if this was considered a defect as he could barely notice it when installed. I noted that “it’s not sexy” and it’s most likely what a preconceived vision of a tower speaker should look like.

In addition to these speakers I’ve also had the privilege of auditioning other models / brands in a different price range to get a better appreciation of what good sound is suppose to sound like. These speakers include: PSB Imagine T ($2400 / pair) , Focal 826 ($3000 / pair), B&W 800 Diamond ($24,000 / pair).

My final selection: Axiom Audio M60V2. Over all I weighed my decision on what I wanted out of my speakers; I wanted the best possible sound for $1000, I wanted to appreciate bass lines from my favorite bass players, I wanted all the “transparency” i could afford in a speaker, and lastly I wanted a set of speakers from a manufacturer I could trust.

*Pls. “Delivery Fairy God Mother” - get my speakers to my door sooner then expected...*
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Axiom Audio M60V2, VP100V2, QS4, Standard Cable