|#327629 - 11/05/10 01:28 PM M40ti review|
Update after living with the M40ti's for a couple of months and listening to them daily.
-Anthem Integrated 1 25 watts per channel tube amp with NOS tubes
-Music Hall A25.2 50 watts per channel solid state
-Sony Playstation SCPH-1001
-Laptop running ASIO4ALL, Foobar 2000
-Firestone Audio Fubar II DAC with Supplier power supply
-2 amp to 1 set of speaker switch box from Niles
-10 wide x 15 long
-entire length of front wall is covered by 5'high 18" deep book shelves filled to overflowing with books
-futon along back wall placed 1' from wall
-7' from listening position
-41" from bookshelves on front wall
-21" from side walls
-toed in 1/4"
Solid center image with a nice tall soundstage that extends width wise to just beyond the speakers. On well recorded tracks the speakers disappear. On other tracks certain sounds move back to definitely coming from the speakers. I blame this on the poor mix, not the speaker. The soundstage starts just behind the line of the speaker and extends back through the front wall. It's like sitting in the 5th row which I like. I have no desire to have the impression that I am sitting directly in front of the drum kit. When I play recordings of a solo guitar player/singer and match the volume to the level a real acoustic guitar would be in the room it sounds like the person is sitting right at the other end of the room. Every breath of the singer is audible but unlike some speakers this is not pushed to the front where it can become annoying. The overall presentation is musical and cohesive and easy to listen to but if you put on your "critical listening ears" the details are all there. They remind me of my Smaller Advent speakers in this regard. They are just a joy to listen to.
Nice tight realistic bass down to just below 40 hz with audible bass down almost to 20 hz. I had my 31 band realtime digital EQ setup that shows the source signal frequency. On one track the performer is stomping his foot on the stage. I could see it on the EQ centered around 25 hz and it was audible though recessed on the M40's. The bass is full and natural without being boomy (my room adds some boom but I can't blame the speakers for that since any speaker will cause it). I have a sub but I never bother to turn it on. The M40's shake my chair enough. The only thing they are missing on bass is the ability to do that slam in your chest that larger drivers can do. The 6.5" driver just cannot move enough air. So maybe not the speakers for bass heads but for realistic musical bass they have it in spades.
Mids and highs on these are very smooth and natural but also the place where I would like to make a change in the sound signature of the M40's. I do detect a bit of grainess/harshness in the highs on certain tracks and a bit of sibilance. I think it's the revealing nature of the metal domed tweeter. When it comes to the highs these do not gloss over poor source material. The "laid back" sound others have described with these speakers I believe is due to a dip in frequency response in the upper midrange between 2khz and 5khz. You can see this in the Listening Window graph from the review at SoundStage http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/measurements/axiom_m40ti/ This gives the sound a bit of a veiled character in the vocals and pushes them towards the back. If you look at the graph from the review of the M22 which is described as being more forward sounding you see it has a bump between 2khz and 5khz. http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/measurements/axiom_m22ti_se/ If you compare the graphs there is up to an 8db difference between them in frequency response in this range. When I bump up the EQ in this range enough to bring the M40 up to flat or just slightly bumped at around 3.5 khz the sound changes dramatically for the better. It sounds like taking a blanket off and becomes a much more involving and realistic listening experience. I would like to modify the cross overs to eliminate this 2-5 khz dip so EQ is not needed.
The 25 watts from my Anthem drives these to louder than safe listening levels with relative ease but they do like the extra power from the 50 watt Music Hall. Even at low/normal volumes that extra power gives a noticeable increase in bass fullness and tightness.
I really like these little towers. With the economy the way it is it will be a while before new speakers are in the budget and with the M40's I don't mind.