Having used the Energy Connoisseur C-3 speakers for 3 months while I made final decisions on my Axiom speaker system, I had planned to provide lots of comments about the differences between the Axiom M22 and the Energy Connoisseur C-3. However, after doing some listening comparisons and measurements. I find there is little I can say definitively. These are similar sounding speakers and I enjoy both of them, but I’m happier with the M22 as part of my system.
Definitively, I can say you should plan to enjoy the front baffle design of the C-3 because the speaker grill distorts the treble, perhaps because of diffraction.
With some conviction, I can say I think I prefer the stereo imaging of the M22 speakers and that they seem just a tiny bit richer and more interesting to listen to. The C-3’s occasionally sound a bit uninspiring especially with poor recordings. The C-3 sounded like it might have a little more bass extension, but I couldn’t measure any difference. The only difference I measured that appeared significant, and large enough to be real and not a measurement error, was at 4 kHz where the C-3 dipped and the M22 peaked. Published charts show the same. I do feel there is an audible difference for sounds that happen to fall at that frequency and sometimes the M22 seems too loud at this frequency. I’ve tried a -2 db EQ adjustment to smooth out the 4 kHz peak, and sometimes it seems like an improvement and other times it doesn’t. It’s a subtle difference.
Spiffnme has previously commented he though the M22 was clearer and cleaner than the C-3. I’d tend to agree, and the SoundStage charts on Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise would tend to support that since the C-3 is a bit noisier around 1 kHz.
Beyond that, influences from my room acoustics, the significant limitations of my test equipment (Radio Shack SPL & Rives Audio disk), and the time it took to switch speakers were more than enough to wipe out differences between the speakers.
For more experienced/competent information and comparisons than mine, you can check out these links I used during my speaker research and some old threads on this board.
SoundStage Review of Energy Connoisseur C-3; June 2002
SoundStage Review of Axiom Audio M22Ti SE; November 2001
Sound Stage Review of Axiom Audio M2i; September 2002
(Axiom vs Energy comments)
Alan Lofft’s post for spiffnme “First, what’s the difference between…”
spiffnme post “Axiom vs. Paradigm vs. Energy”
Thread “Axiom M22, M3, Energy C-3”
from 9/19/2002 (for a different viewpoint)