|#396838 - 09/03/13 11:02 PM My review of the M80's at AVS|
Loc: B.C., Canada
I have now had 3 months with these badboys...here are my updated impressions.
Well, an update on my new experience with a pair of of brand new Axiom M80 V3.
Size of room : 1600 cubic feet with an 8 foot opening into a dining room/kitchen that's around 1500 cubic feet.
Receiver : Pioneer Elite SC-61
Blu ray : PS3
wiring is all 12 guage monster cable speaker wire
I have the m80's bi-amped for shits and giggle using the feature of the SC-61.
I've had now 3 months to listen to these speakers quite regularly. And more so than usual. About 3 weeks after receiving these speakers, I started going through a seperation/divorce.
At a time where I looked around the empty living room, my furniture gone, my tv gone, my M80's standing there by themselves...they just beckoned me to play them. And comfort me they did.
In times of emotional upheaval and stress, whether it's my guitar or recordings from my favourite artist, I've always used music theraputically.
There have been many days throughout the last 3 months that I have listened to them at VERY loud listening levels, for 12 hours straight.
So first things first. These speaker's build quality is flawless, IMO. They can handle extended use and LOUD playback levels. The cabinet design is incredible. No vibrations or anything like that.
In terms of "overall", I think the closest speaker that I've owned that compares to these were my Paradigm Monitor 90ps. But interestingly enough, even though the 90Ps had a 400 watt powered amplifier for the 3 8" woofers, the M80's bass is better.
I have tested all sorts of music from electronica(Shpongle is a must for people to test the smallest nuances of their speaker. Very incredible engineering), to heavy metal, to classical, to country to hip hop. These speakers can truly fit into the category of a loud party speaker while also having the finesse to be classified as an audiophile's dream. I am hearing my favourite artists in a new and incredibly detailed way I didn't even know was possible. These speakers TRULY bring my music a new life.
Stillborn - Black Label Society is a great metal track to test the "mid" bass slam and low extension of the speakers, while getting to hear it handle the classic electric guitar tone of Zakk Wylde. I have listened to this track thousands of times on quite an array of speakers, but I've never heard it sound so clean and have SO much punch. As a guitar player myself, I find the electric guitar coming out of the m80's is almost EXACTLY like the sound coming out of my electric guitar amplifiers. As this song rips along, I can't help but get giddy and smile. I can hear the entire drum kit, the smallest brush of the hi hat, while being reminded of the visceral punch and feeling that metal like this can produce.
Time - Pink Floyd is another of my all time favourites. There is a lot of incredible music engineering going on in that entire album. This song really has a lot to offer in hearing the way two speakers work together as a single unit. Great stereo effects. I found myself slowly turning it up more and more during the initial barrage of clocks/bells/alarms. These tweeters are amazing. I know there is probably a limit to them, but I'm not willing to turn it up to such a level. lol. After settling in on around -10 on my Pioneer Elite, I restarted the track and layed back in the prime listening position. This song took me for a journey. It brought back "flashbacks" of being 15 years younger and high on LSD. I haven't heard Pink Floyd in such a way in SO long. I have been listening to a lot of Floyd since owning these speakers. They do not disappoint.
Katie Melua - I'd love to kill you - I would have never discovered this song if it wasn't for a youtube video of it playing while someone showed off their M80's. This woman's voice soars. The bass is so clean and extends nice and deep. The plucking of the guitar strings truly stands out and sings. The whole package is an incredible treat to listen to on the M80's. I wow people with this track. A true audiophile track in my opinion. At one point she says, "I’d like to put you in trance". With the help of the M80's, you most certainly do Katie.
Shpongle - Entire Catalog - Enough can't be said about this artist. I'm not even a real fan of the genre, but the ambient psychedelic nature of it, usually incorporating incredible flute passages as well as other traditional and world music aspects, is something I'm left drooling over. Incredible beats and very "meditation" orientated music in general. It's VERY relaxing music The engineering is flawless. I truly have been taking away to other worlds while listening to this on the M80's.
These speakers can play the rap and hip hop with ease. The bass these speakers can produce has left me astounded. They do so without sounding muddy or boomy. They do so, while still highlighting all the delicate nuances of the highs and all the important mid frequencies as well. These speakers dynamic range is astounding.
With all that being said, these speakers are EXTREMELY revealing. I find I can't even listen to some music I used to enjoy because of imperfections in the recording and/or engineering. It also gives you a new appreciating for high quality source material. I find myself hardly listening to mp3's anymore. These speakers are truly turning me into a "snob" in those regards :P
Now onto home theater.
I don't have as much experience in this regard. And right now my system is quite lackluster for such an application. A few more months and I'll be able to get the rest of the M80 system, but for now I'm using a sound dynamic r-55 bookshelf for a center and (2) paradigm ADP-150 for rears. It's a mixed matched setup I know And worst of all, I'm lacking a subwoofer.
This has left me afraid to REALLY push the speakers to the levels I'd be comfortable with. That being said, I still have experimented with such levels carefully, running m80's full range.
Running blu-rays through my PS3, I am now having a new love for my movies as well. The panning abilities of these speakers is incredible. They can convey SUCH presence in action scenes, while deliciously serving up the tiniest sound effects that I haven't even heard before. And excuse my language, but holy fuck can these speakers dig deep. And LOUD!. And they sound refined and controlled while doing so.
I have found speaker placement for the M80's is especially critical when it comes to HT. I have them toed in slightly and find this works best.
I find myself wanting to buy a new blu ray every other day. The way these speakers can bring me right in, is something all my previous speakers couldn't do. The speakers truly disappear in my room. Running in just stereo, the front soundstage is amazingly accurate and detailed, but running in 5.1, truly just shows the limitation of my current center channel and surrounds. The M80's seem to be able to blend with them nicely when MCACC is applied, but the center and rears just aren't up to the task of playing the content at moderate to high levels.
As soon as I get the rest of the system and the two Power Sound Audio XV15's I'm eyeing up, I will report back with more updates on my HT experience. Needless to say, I'm confident and blown away by what the M80's can do in that department.
I don't consider myself an "audiophile", nor do I claim to be extremely tech savvy, but I will say this:
And after re-reading this. One thing becomes clear to me about my feelings on these speakers. They invoke a true memorable and positive emotional response. Something I haven't had a pair of speakers do for a long time. And at the end of the day, that's what we are all striving and searching for. The M80's are hands down my most favourite speaker I have ever owned. They can handle everything I throw at them and they effortlessly can produce some of the most high quality sound I have ever heard. They truly invoke an incredible emotional response within me. Who can ask for more than that?
2 Axiom M80s v3-custom
1 Axiom VP160 v3-custom
2 Axiom QS10HP
2 Cerwin Vega CMX 12's