What an exhibit! I should have taken my camera. The Axiom exhibit, designed with the help of Gluckstein Design, won the Silver Medal at the Show. I dropped in this afternoon to find what looked like most of the Axiom team including Alan, Ian, Amie, and Jean wearing uber-cool red shirts with the Axiom logo greeting a long line of interested people that stretched 50 ft waiting to get in. The exibit itself looked like a custom made stone and panelled home with several furnished rooms including a living room, kitchen, and office.
Much to my surprise the exhibit showcased many of the rumoured new products. The office contained new Axiom computer speakers with matching small sub. Nice sound considering these were computer speakers but then again we are talking Axiom.
In the next room, a living room, we saw Amie explaining the new in-wall speakers to an interested couple. In wall on top and on either side of a plasma TV were a W100 centre and W22 speakers with a EP400 in the corner and QS4s up near the ceiling. All the speakers blended right into the colour of the room and were hardly noticeable. My dear wife made a point of mentioning how much nicer it looked compared to my large and visible (ugly) audio equipment in our living room.
Powering this 5.1 system was the new Axiom amp which I only saw from the rear and for something so powerful I was again surprised how small it looked. One of the Sherwood receivers was supplying the tunes.
I have generally been sceptical about in wall speakers but I have to admit the W100 and W22s sounded very airy and transparent with more dynamic range than I expected. Ian and Alan explained how they had spent a long time in listening tests comparing the W22s and W100 to the VP100 and M22s before they were satisfied. They also mentioned they got around the usual problem with dulled dispersion from flush mounting on walls by extending the speaker baffle so it sticks out 1/4"-1/2" from the wall. I have to say the difference between these and other in wall speakers I have heard are like night and day. The EP400 had the usual articulate quality you find in the othe EP subs. It is even smaller than I thought but the bass is clean and substantial for such a small unit. How the Axiom gnomes achieved this with an 8" woofer is remarkable.
Also on the wall beside the fireplace was a main console with a place for an Ipod for controlling sound to the in wall speakers and wireless speakers outside the exhibit. The console had space for a CD player as well so the user can control music throughout the home. Another new design product to fill out the line. That also gave my wife ideas since we have speakers in most rooms. My better half has always left me to audio pursuits and purchase decisions but this exhibit really put alot of design ideas in her mind. Amie of course is also very persuasive.
As we went into the kitchen I noticed another new twist, a pair of M2s lying on their side on an upper shelf but with horizontal grills and the Axiom logo halfway on the bottom grill.
Outside the "home" in a patio area were a pair of wireless speakers which again blended right in with the decor. These speakers were connected to something that looked like a solar powered unit on the "roof" that recharges an internal power supply in the bottom of the speaker. Music was transmitted uncompressed I was told to achieve the no compromise Axiom sound. Perfect for my deck, boathouse or outdoor patio!
I'm still somewhat in awe by these new products and wish I had more time to listen to them but as it was the Axiom folks were very generous with their time and explaining the details. What awed me even more is how my normally ambivalent wife to all things audio is all of a sudden interested in these new design products.