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M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
#325864 10/17/10 09:59 PM
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Hi Axiom Enthusiasts! I'm a newbie on a modest budget assembling a 3.1 system (I may add surrounds eventually but not now). This is for a small living room (15x15x9) with some logistical/placement hurdles; thus going with bookshelves as fronts. System will be used 50/50 for music/ht, but I am more concerned with sound quality for music than ht.

My budget has climbed as I have learned more (shocking, I know) and I'm now needing to stand firm at ~$1200 max. I pulled the trigger on a Pioneer VSX-1020-K for $370 on Amazon. This leaves around $800 or so for LCR and sub. Tactically - since I am more concerned with music, I'm anticipating that it may be worth delaying the center channel purchase if it means better sub and fronts at the outset.

So as you experienced hands know and I have now learned - boy are there are a lot of bookshelf speakers out there in the $300-$400 range! My short list based on reading only was:

Def Tech Promonitor 800 (or 1000's if a good open box deal could be had)
Polk Audio RTIA1
Axiom M3
Aperion Intimus 4B
Boston CS26 (mostly becuase I loved my old A150's)

I listened to the Def Techs with some of my own CD's. I liked them but can't see using even the 1000s w/o a sub for music or ht. Heard them with and without a Def Tech Pro Sub 800 and with the sub they were sweet. Without they left me wanting, especially the 800s... Using the 1000s in 3.1 for spider man demo (with a procenter 1000) was impressive though I thought a bit shrill. Maybe it was the material.

I also listended to the RTIA1's on their own and they were nice; I think I may go for another listen. Did not get a listen to these in combination with center or sub but on their own they were certainly more range-y than the def tech 1000s were. Also not harsh or overly bright to my ear as some say of Polks. It was a tough bigbox environment though - still some uncertainty there.

I was disappointed by the CS26; and am shying away from the Aperions based on specs (harder to drive?).

Which brings me to the M3. I have lurked on this forum and read enough reviews to know they are beloved, but I have not had a chance to hear them. I'm willing to take a chance on a trial/return shipping costs but in the mean time I was wondering if anyone here might be able to characterize them - subjectively I understand - relative to the RTIA1 or even the Def Techs? I like what I have read about them; but was hoping to gain some added frame-of-reference.

Sorry for long-winded preamble to a basic question... any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob

Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
rnuge #325870 10/17/10 11:23 PM
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Hello Bob and welcome to the forum. I have owned the M3ti's for a while and have grown to fully appreciate their warmth, smoothness, transparency and overall balance. I have not heard the Polk or Def Tech monitors you mentioned but I can add the M3 V3 went up again a pair of B&W 805's in a blind listening test during Axiom's 30th earlier in September. Overall I do believe the M3's were voted better, but just slightly. Keep in mind the 805's are about $2500/pair. That should give some insight on how well the M3 can compete. At $348/pair it leaves a $452 for sub/center or maybe just a good sub (Outlaw, Hsu, Axiom) and Axiom's has a solid return policy. Only you can decide your preference after comparisons. Personally, I think the M3's are fantasic bookshelves.


FireGuy
M22V3/M3ti/M2V3/Omega Super 5/Aperion 5C/OutlawLFM1+Sub/Denon AVR1906/YamDVDC750/AS AMP110
Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
rnuge #325873 10/17/10 11:49 PM
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Since you seemed to like the RTIs but not the environment you listened in, why not order the M3s and pick up the RTI. You can return which ever one you don't like.

Listening in your own home is really the ideal situation.

Personally I would go for the M22s and then add more speakers as I have money.


Fred

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Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!
Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
rnuge #325879 10/18/10 02:06 AM
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Bob, welcome. Yes, a better way to go with the remaining $830 or so room in the budget would be to delay a center speaker and get better mains and sub. I'd also suggest that the next buy should be QS surrounds rather than the center speaker.

The best use of the money in my view would be M22 mains plus a sub in the $300-$350 area, notably the excellent Hsu STF-2.


-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.


Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
JohnK #325886 10/18/10 03:39 AM
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The best way to listen to speakers is in your own home. From the choices on your list my preferences would be towards the Axiom M3 and Aperion 4b. Both companies have 30 day trials with Aperions being "risk-free" (no costs incurred with return freight). This would be the most cost-effective way to get a few pairs of speakers to compare in your home. Ascend Acoustics speakers are also worth consideration along side your "interested in" list which also fits inside your budget. The similarly priced models would make for a great comparison to either the Axiom or Aperion models in particular.

Instead of a centre channel I would also recommend a subwoofer to complement the mains since neither speaker has full range capabilities. I would second JohnK's subwoofer recommendation and add a centre channel or surrounds at a later date.


I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne
Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
BlueJays1 #325894 10/18/10 06:05 AM
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I do not think I can add much over the previous 2 excellent posts other than to say there are some good budget subs out there, BIC, Outlaw audio, SVS, Elemental Designs are a few other companies to check out for good quality lower priced subs. Even Parts Express gets some good reviews of their Dayton subs.

I am curious as to the logistics/placement issues you are mentioning. Are the speakers going to be placed on a TV stand, speaker stand or wall mounted?


Jason
M80 v2
VP160 v3
QS8 v2
PB13 Ultra
Denon 3808
Samsung 85" Q70
Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
jakewash #326187 10/21/10 01:14 AM
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Thanks everyone for the responses. Dr. House - haven't heard them and love the reviews (and I admit I'm new to this) but are the Aperion 4B and 5B a lot to ask of my entry-level Pioneer VSX-1020-K which delivers an honest 80W x 2? Maybe I'm overstating this concern... The Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SE looks intriguing. I'll need to get more acquainted with these on paper and add them to the short list.

Jason - thanks for the sub recommendations. My short list of subs at the moment had all but the Outlaw. SVS was a little steep given my budget, though that was assuming the center channel was also part of the picture. I need to narrow this list a bit and also better educate myself about integrating any of these bookshelf candidates with a suitable sub.

The speakers will be placed on top of a cabinet which encloses the television/receiver/etc. (The speakers will be on top, not within the enclosure.) The top of the cabinet is 48" above the floor; the speakers will be about 6-10" from a rear wall, and about 6 feet apart. The listening position is about 10-12 feet from the front of the cabinet. Not perfectly ideal though not horrible either... I'm somewhat constrained as to moving the cabinet, and as it is the right side is pretty close to an opening into an adjoining room. Thus floor standers (and for that matter stands) would be tough to accomodate on that side. These are compromises I'm prepared to live with, given this is a living room not really a dedicated listening space or theater. Of course within these constraints I'll experiment and refine the placement as much as possible.

Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
rnuge #326189 10/21/10 01:24 AM
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Your Pioneer will be fine.

Lots of people like both the Aperion and especially the Ascends (which I find very ugly). I heard some Aperion towers and liked them very much.

If your speakers are really only going to be 6' apart, you can probably get by without a center channel (using phantom mode).

You can get really great bookshelf speakers; if your room doesn't easily accommodate floor-standers, I wouldn't obsess about it.

Have fun!


bibere usque ad hilaritatem
Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
tomtuttle #326193 10/21/10 01:31 AM
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Your Pioneer shouldn't have issues powering any of those models.


I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne
Re: M3 versus Polk RTIA1?
BlueJays1 #326248 10/21/10 07:35 PM
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Those speaker placements sound very simialr to my old system/house where I had the speakers high up on a mantle/TV shelf about 50" off the ground.




Jason
M80 v2
VP160 v3
QS8 v2
PB13 Ultra
Denon 3808
Samsung 85" Q70

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