Dean was gracious enough to invite me over Friday for an afternoon and evening get together. Not only did I get a chance to finally hear some Axiom M80s and experience an outstanding home theater, I also got to meet yet another fine individual from the Axiom forum. So far, all my encounters with forum members(Charles, Tom, and J.P.) have been highly enjoyable, and time spent with Dean was no exception.

Upon arriving, Dean gave me a quick tour of his house. The obvious focal point is his awesome home theater which is the first thing you see coming through the front door. Dean has done a fine job of controlling the light in the room with dark burgundy paint and black curtains hanging along the side and front walls. I'm sure you guys have seen the pics in his HT thread.

Before we got to any kind of audio geekiness, Dean and I spent a good hour or two just chatting and talking and getting to know each other. I guess in the tradition of most of threads here, it turned out to be a fun opportunity to socialize and have fun and joke and THEN get to the audio stuff!

After cracking open a couple of beers, Dean allowed me to take the sweet spot on his comfy couch and we settled in for some two channel listening. I was rather looking forward to hearing the M80s. This was my first opportunity to hear the Axiom flagship speakers and this respective side of the house sound. My only other exposure has been to my M40s and M3s, which offer a slightly different flavor of sound reproduction. And, yes, I do have QS8s, but I've never really listened to those by themselves. Anyways, on to the M80s. . .

I found them incredibly dynamic and fun speakers! Not harsh or bright or any of that nonsense, but clear and smooth. We cranked up the volume and enjoyed a couple of the CDs I brought. The M80s, no surprise to some, can really pump out some bass. The important part is that they do so with excellent control. Crisp and clear and palpable. Impressive to say the least. Along with the bass, was also an excellent midrange and top end. The sound spectrum was reproduced clearly and with separation between each instrument, yet it all came together to form a pleasing and enticing whole.

With time winding down, Dean showcased his HT set up with the opening battle scene from Master and Commander. A movie like this is best served in a setting like Dean's home theater. With M80s across the front, QS8s on the side, M22s in the rear, and an EP500 handling the lower frequencies. . .oh, not to mention the gigantic screen and projector, the movie is fully realized in epic proportions. A sweeping shot of the ship in the ocean was rather breathtaking in the large format.

Next, Dean flipped on the Buttkickers in the couch and we watched some scenes from Appleseed and The Fellowship of the Ring. The Buttkickers really enhanced the effect of the EP500 by giving me a physical rumble and made me really sense the immense weight of the tumbling rocks and bridge in the Balrog scene. Dean did a good job of crossing over the Buttkickers to just play parts below 40Hz. That way their effect was not so overpowering and distracting, but reinforcing.

All in all, I had a blast meeting Dean and visiting with him and enjoying his set up. We plan on doing this again soon, and I'm going to tote some of my gear down to his place so we can have a fun time of listening to different things and matching the M80s to a tube amp. I'd like to hear his M22s along with my M3s so we can get a sense of how similar/different their sound is.

Thank you, Dean! It was a pleasure meeting you!
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose