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#11692 - 06/05/03 01:14 PM M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles
I was able to listen to all three of these bookshelf speakers last night. I was surprised at what I heard/saw.

1) LOOKS
The M22ti is solidly constructed, with an extremely well laid vinyl. But it IS vinyl. From a distance it can pull it off, but up close, you know it's vinyl.

The Rocket RS150 is a good looking speaker. Deep rosewood veneer with a polished black top and bottom cap. Very solid build.

The Ascend CBM-170 is a square black box. Exposed seals, rough textured surface. Plain ugly. There's no getting around it. This is one ugly speaker.

2) PRICE
Axiom M22ti $400/pair
Rocket RS150 $400/pair
Ascend CBM-170 $328/pair

3)SOUND
I listened to a CD that I've demo'd dozens of speakers with, and listen to quite often myself on my own system. I KNOW that this cd sounds like. That said, here were MY impressions. DON'T FLAME ME!!!!

LOW END
The winner here would have to be the Rocket RS150. Much deeper bass than either the Axioms or the Ascends. Perhaps not quite as tight, but still a good sounding low end. Next in line would go to the Ascends. A bit tighter, but not as low as the Rockets. Finally the Axiom M22ti. Again, nice tight bass - for what it has. None of the three sounded too boomy which is great.

MID TONES
First place I'd have to say was a tie between the Axiom M22 and the Ascend CBM-170. Nice and clear. Voices were articulate and natural sounding. The Axiom's and the Ascends sounded very, very similar to eachother here. The Rockets were COMPLETELY different. One track in particular "Polaroid Millenium" by Superior (a gentle female voice accompanied by guitar) sounded...well the only way I could describe it is as "hollow". There was an almost echoy sound to her voice which in all the speakers I've ever listened to this track with, I've never heard before. The voice also sank back - waaay back. She almost sounded like she was singing in another room - with the door closed. Personally I didn't like this sound effect. Perhaps some do.

HIGHS
Again the Axiom M22 and the Ascend are quite close here, but 1st place in the high end has to go to the Axiom M22ti. Again, with the Superior track, on the M22's the female voice has an extra little breath to it. In the guitar you can hear the individual strings being plucked a bit more clearly. It's only a bit more articulate than the Ascends, but those small details are missing in the CBM-170's. 2nd place goes to the Ascend CBM-170's. Again they sound quite similar to the M22, but the finest details of the upper notes are smoothed off a bit. Taking up the rear is again the Rocket RS150. There is little high end to speak of. To be honest I was wondering if we were listening to a faulty pair of speakers. (I was assured that we were not).

4)FINAL NOTES/RECOMMENDATIONS

For me I liked the Axiom M22ti the best - by a hair. It's slightly more detailed highs and better looks push it ahead of the Ascend CBM-170. The Ascend's are right behind though, and if you like the slightly smoother sound in your highs, you'll like the CBM-170 more - IF you can get over their looks. At $328/pair these Ascends are a BARGAIN. Finally the Rocket RS150. I don't know what to say about these speakers. The Rockets have a loyal following, so obviously people like that sound, but it's FAR from neutral. You're either going to like it or hate it. The RS150 is a great looking speaker, and if you like their VERY, VERY laid back sound, you'll be thrilled with them.

Finally - THIS WAS NOT A SCIENTIFIC LISTENING SESSION! It was not blind, it was not in a sound chamber, etc... It was simply my impressions of these three speakers in the comfort of a living room. So I beg you, don't bring the lack of science up, we've all been there before.






Edited by spiffnme (06/05/03 01:22 PM)
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#11693 - 06/05/03 07:19 PM Re: M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10626
Interesting to read your review Craig(presumably this was at Curtis's?)and didn't surprise me a bit. Looking at the NRC measurements alone, the two speakers appear to be quite similar in overall presentation.
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#11694 - 06/05/03 07:56 PM Re: M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
yup....it was at my place. We had a good time. Craig does some cool work. Might try and see some this weekend.

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#11695 - 06/05/03 08:10 PM Re: M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles
In case you're wondering what "work" that is Curtis referred to...I do all the 65mm film recording for IMAX. I just finished up on The Matrix: Reloaded. It's hitting IMAX theatres this Friday, the 6th.

And to clear up a huge misconception, IMAX has only repurposed 3 Hollywood films for the 15perf/70mm format. Apollo 13, Star Wars Episode II, and now The Matrix: Reloaded. Both picture AND sound has been completely "repurposed" for the IMAX theatre. Any other Hollywood films you may have watched in your local IMAX theatres were simply 35mm prints being thrown up on the larger screen with their standard soundtracks. If you go see Matrix in IMAX, you won't beleive what you see/hear. (ESPECIALLY hear!)

Thank you to Curtis for letting me enjoy his living room and rocking sound.
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#11696 - 06/05/03 10:02 PM Re: M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
And what Craig is leaving out is that IMAX uses Ascend speakers!! Just kidding!

I actually asked him about the speakers in the screening room, and if he could them at at home. Then he explained to me that ONE speaker array may fit in my livingroom! I may be exageratting a bit.

and it was my pleasure!

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#11697 - 06/06/03 01:57 PM Re: M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Thanks, spiffnme, for posting your review. It is very nice to have a comment on the "neutrality" of the Axioms (and Ascends) from a recording engineer, who I guess knows something about neutral/accurate sounds!

I dare not post this on the AVSforum , but I do have to agree that the Rocket sound is way too laid-back to my taste. Perhaps they do well on some of those "hot" rock/pop recordings. But when I listened (only briefly) to the Rockets with some of my favorate classical music CDs, I got the "back-seat-at-the-fifth-floor-of-a-large-concert-hall-looking-down-the-far-away-orchestra" type of sound, which I simply do not like even for casual listenings.

Talking about classical music recordings, thank God very few of today's classical CDs are tuned "hot" or anything -- most of them are neutral. I do remember, though, that toward the end of the analog recording era, quite a few classical records were heavily colored and "hot." I cannot stand them now.

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#11698 - 06/06/03 02:03 PM Re: M22ti vs. Ascend CBM-170 vs. Rocket RS150
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles
I'm not a recording engineer. The recording I do is film recording, not sound. I like to think I've got quite a critical ear, but certainly not a "professional" one.

That's a VERY acurate description of the Rocket sound. I'm really shocked so many people seem to like that. To each his own I guess.
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"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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