|#393929 - 06/10/13 07:32 PM New Axiom owner's journey - M80 impressions(pics)|
Loc: B.C., Canada
Let me start off by saying that the users on this board really helped my experience with "Axiom". Axiom should be proud they have such a dedicated following. Just as the following should and does feel proud to own Axiom I know I am very proud of my selection.
I first was given the name of Axiom in 2008 from a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing. This person is considered incredibly knowledgeable, so his recommendation peaked my interest.
I found Axiom's website. Incredibly well laid out, easy to navigate, great information and lots of pictures. Just what the average consumer likes to see. I browsed literally every page they had on their servers over the next year. That's when I discovered these forum boards, though I didn't join till much later.
I sent an early email to Axiom with a simple question about whether my Rotel RMB-1095 would be sufficient to power them. I received a friendly email back from Brent right away. As I had read, their customer service was already proving itself.
In the coming years, I trolled these boards and discovered AVSforums, audioholics and Emotiva(which I plan to buy a power amp from in the future). I took in SO much information over the next 4 years, it was almost overwhelming. I read epic threads on Axiom over at AVS, and while at times they were full of hate mongering and garbage, I STILL walked away more then impressed with Ian, Andrew and the axiom board crew. My mind was made up, when I received a pension pay out from work in 2013, I would pull the trigger and buy a set of M80's.
Before jumping into my details of ordering and receiving, I should tell a little bit about me stereo/home theater history if anyone missed it in my introduction on these boards. My dad is a huge stereo head and gave me my first second hand loudspeakers when I was roughly about 10 years old. They were an old vintage pair of Wharfedales. Over the years from that point, I went through tons of stereo equipment. I was trapped in a 2.0 listening mode for most of my life. I went through JBL, Sony, Cerwin Vega, B&W, Bose, Klipsch and Sound Dynamics for speakers and a whole slew of equalizers, receivers and power amps. My fondest vintage amp would have been an old Rotel that was just MONSTROUS! lol
At 10, my dad had taught me the basics of stereo hookup, dos and don'ts, speaker placement, etc. At 18, I finally embarked on my first set of "new" speakers and bought a pair of Paradigm Monitor 90P's. They were an incredible set of speakers for $1800. They had powered subwoofers and I was blown away that I had to plug the speakers into the wall as well as into my amplifier. lol. I unfortunately ended up selling them when I was a broke 22 year old. I've missed them ever since.
I mainly listen to classic rock and heavy metal, when it comes to music. I LOVE the floyd, led zep, fleetwood, ac/dc, black sabbath, etc. Out of anyone I've ever met personally in life, I seem above and beyond when it comes to my obsession with music. And because of this, I have put in an extraordinary amount of time listening to music. And more then that, I have put an exuberant amount of time into listening to the same songs over and over again. So with each pair of new speakers, I really have a good comparison when I listen to my favourite songs, again...and again...and again. lol
I placed my order for (2) M80's on May 13th/2013. Received my confirmation immediately. I ordered M80's in Boston Cherry, with die cast baskets and dual input, so it said they would ship in 10 business days. On May 29th/2013 I received an email confirmation that my order shipped. And I just loved the vibe of the email:
Here it is -- the email you've been waiting for! Your Axiom order shipped today!
Things to do while you wait:
1) Dust off all your old CDs - you won't believe how great it is to rediscover your music collection through your new Axiom speakers.
2) Post tales of the agony of waiting on our Message Boards at http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards. You'll find lots of sympathetic listeners there!
3) Review Alan Lofft's helpful list of placement and setup articles at http://www.axiomaudio.com/newsletter_index.html so that you won't waste a minute once your speakers arrive.
If you'd like to track your shipment please allow 2 business days from the date of this email for all the scans to get into place and then go to http://www.axiomaudio.com/track.html
and post your tracking number.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me, or visit our Shipping Questions page at http://www.axiomaudio.com/shippingFAQ.html
Brent Tombari & JC Benoit
They seem so passionate about their product and the customer service was astounding.
On June 3rd I was sleeping for a 12 hour nightshift that commences at 5pm, when I heard the fedex truck pull up at 2:30pm.
I jumped out of bed to greet him at the door before he even knocked. lol. I helped him bring them inside and up our stairs into our living room. When he left, I stood in an awe of giddy excitement.
Upon unboxing I was immediately blown away by the finish. It was much nicer then the pictures and way better then expected. Great WAF! She loved them and they really matched our "african theme" going on in our living room. The build quality seems quite efficient and solid.
(using old speaker wire at this point)
(using old speaker wire at this point)
I hooked them up to my Pioneer SC-61 via the receiver's "bi-amp" 5.2 mode. I don't care what the general consensus on this is...whether Placebo or not, I feel it makes a difference in sound and that's all that matters I used Monster 12 gauge speaker wire which cost me $25 for 30 feet. So I have 4 cables, all 7' 5" each.
After studying the MCACC thread over at AVS for a week, I now have 4 different presets. I feel I was very successful. I still very much enjoy running 2.0 channel music in pure direct mode, but have found that my 3rd preset, which is front align, is identical in every way, except it's got a little more deep bass and "oomph"(but it's so, so subtle) and the soundstage/vocals seem to be a little higher, by about a foot. In pure direct mode, it sounds like it's coming out of my center channel under my t.v. and on preset 3 it sounds like it's coming out almost the center of my t.v., maybe a bit lower.
I'm not expert in using adjectives to describe sound, so I'll start with this. The M80's are the best speakers I have EVER owned. PERIOD. The clarity, soundstage, bass...everything just blows me away. I can't even remember the last time my ADD ish self was able to just sit through Pink Floyd's: The Wall without doing something else. I literally just sat there in awe, from start to finish in the prime listening position.
If anyone is hesitating to pull the trigger on these speakers because of the garbage propaganda they've read on other sites...you are doing yourself a disservice. These have more dynamics, deep end and clarity then my Paradigm Monitor 90ps I owned. And even though I haven't pushed them to their limits yet, they can definitely go louder too.
Next was Darkside of the Moon. I really like using track 3 - "Time", to test speakers. It has a great mix that will test the stereo separation. Before the vocals kick in the, the drums roll from left to right then back again. Add to that, I find the beginning alarms/bells can really test a tweeter. This song BLEW me away on the M80's. My most recent pair of speakers were Cerwin Vega D8's and they had brand new cerwin vega 15" woofers in them. The M80's destroy my Cerwin Vega in the bass department. But it's tighter and cleaner while having that "chest pound" feel when you want it.
This is especially apparent on the "club hits" I tested yet. Unfortunately they were mp3 which also brought me to another revelation with these speakers. The M80's are INCREDIBLY revealing. Many of my mp3s sounded great still, but I ran across a handful that I always would play on my cerwin vegas with no problem, but sounded like shit on the M80's. One that stood out was a Led Zep track. For comparison I went and grabbed my actual cd and put it in...night and day difference.
Some people's opinion is that the M80's are bright. After owning and hearing lots of Klipsch in my life, which I find "bright", the M80's cannot be classified as bright in my opinion. They are warm to neutral in my opinion. I love the airy, crispness behind all the vocals I'm hearing. A cymbal sounds like a cymbal should sound.
An incredible reference track is Katie Melua - I'd love To Kill You. Every possible subtle whisper and purse of her lips can be heard with every incredible detail and dynamic.
Black Label Society's - Stillborn, made me stand back and go "holy shit". I like to play my heavy metal at ear bleeding levels and the M80's didn't even struggle. The distorted electric guitar of Zakk Wylde sounds like it does when I play through my own electric guitar setup. The "oomph" and tightness of the drummer and bassist made literally go "holy fuck yes!". These speakers have the ability to convey the power and presence of the most quiet and delicate sounds, while still being up to the task of being a true rock and party pounder!
Which brings me to Dire Straights - Brother in Arms. Oh my god! At this point, I thought "ok, I have an idea what they can do and how good they are." But was blown away once again when I heard the way they play this cd. Outstanding is one way to put it. As a guitar player myself, I know how a string should sound when plucked and these speakers capture it perfectly!
Over the course of the last week, I have experimented with many sources of music. I am hearing it in a way I haven't heard it before. These speakers get me excited and giddy about music again. I'm also finding they are making me want to have a giant cd collection again(and eventually a SACD collection). I'm still downloading music as we speak, but only .flac. I'm finding that the quality of the source is very important.
And on that note, let's move into my blu-ray experience.
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynold's live at Radio City...WOW.
I have a "frakenstein" 5.0 system in total(I'm going to be upgrading everything to axiom slowly). I use a sound dynamic r-55 bookshelf for a center and (2) paradigm ADP-150 for rears. I tested the Dave Matthews blu ray on 2.0 and dolby pro logic - music. Both blew me away.
I only own a dozen or so blu-rays at the moment, but played every action scene off everyone of them. This is my first time joining the digital 5.0 age. So I don't have much experience in this area. But I do know that the sound is night and day above me cerwin vega's in the same setup. These speakers grab every detail in the scene and let you hear it. And when called upon for digging deep and hard, they deliver!
I can't wait to order a VP180 to complete the front soundstage as well as a pair of QS8's for rears.
Bottom Line: I couldn't be happier. I've owned a lot of equipment in my life so far and these beat anything I've owned by far. I highly recommend them. They will give you everything you are looking for in a music speaker AND a home theater speaker. The customer service was exemplary and I can't wait to place my next order.
Well done Axiom! You have made a believer out of me.
2 Axiom M80s v3-custom
1 Axiom VP160 v3-custom
2 Axiom QS10HP
2 Cerwin Vega CMX 12's