|#3289 - 06/01/02 11:57 AM M60s vs. Angstrom Modular....and the winner is....|
Loc: western canada
I have to say that after listening to my recently acquired M60s (and M22s) for the 30d trial, i was shocked to read Randyman's post about a week or two back on his review of the M60s and M50s.
I think Randyman pretty much nailed my impressions of the M60s as well.
My quick positives:
1) VERY clear highs
2) smooth crisp mid-tight, not overpowering bass
3) really nice veneer finish (i got the boston cherry)
4) they blow away the M22s for overall sound immersion (but a full size tower vs. a bookshelf size this was not unexpected really)
My Quick negatives:
1) VERY clear highs, that brightness referred to can be a little blinding (depending on the recording! and volume setting!)
I have limited space right now for setup so i could not move around the speakers too much making it difficult to tweak for a larger sweet spot.
In my opinion the M60 speakers were not meant for smallish rooms unless it is a perfect square or rectangle and you might be able to get away with some 'toeing' for tweaking. My listening room temporarily is about 15x16 but awkward walls are abundant and because of the stair arrangements, our couch sits barely 7 feet from the speaker front, a tad close for my liking.
The other speaker set i was considering were the new Angstrom Modular series.
Depending on who you can swing a deal through, the Angstroms are actually cheaper than the Axiom for a full system ($2500-3000 after tax compared to Axiom Epic 60 system $3078 before tax).
The build quality is pretty equivalent (heavy MDF, Vifa drivers, angular box design, black or maple veneer).
I used the Axiom M22 to compare to the Angstrom Modular 4, bipolar speaker (the website info is a bit turned around and they have it listed as the Modular 3).
1) clear smooth highs (no brightness but nowhere near the description of muffled...excellent drivers for high frequencies without listening fatigue)
2) strong and clear mids
3) bass about equivalent to the Axiom M22, typical of the bookshelf size (i.e. neither of them is comparable to the full size M60)
4) imaging less of a problem, seemingly wider soundstage so the speaker position tweaking was far less
Quick negatives (or maybe not so quick):
1) more difficult surround design (e.g. multiple units are required to buy/select and setup which for our purposes would have been 2-Modular 2s for surrounds, 2-Mod4s for mains COUPLED with 2-Mod8 (LFE) along with their 10i sub and 6i centre hence 8 speaker units vs. Axioms 6 units)
Note that the Modular design usually only requires the use of one LFE which is the sub10i OR the Mod8 however in order to make a true 3-way front tower, you have to sit the Mod2,3, or 4s on top of the Mod8s to do so.
Since i also wanted a dedicated sub i needed to buy the sub10i as well HOWEVER the Mod8s have the EXACT same specs as the sub10i and hence having both models may be redundant. In such case you bought only the Mod8s to have a true 3-way front speaker then, you would still have one more speaker unit than the Axiom system. In order to couple the Mod8s together with the Mod4s (or Mod2 or 3s), there is an extra component from Angstrom called the Modular14 which hooks them all up together with speaker wire before heading into the receiver/amp....i think i've made my point clear about the more complex setup.
2) customer service unparalelled (e.g. Angstrom has NO customer service, i've emailed them twice with no response, their website blows chunks and finding a dealer is difficult...forget about the list on their website, its WAYYY out of date.)
3) less product finish selection compared to Axiom
4) overall info SUCKs, only review i've found are in the Inner Ear Report and i think they are biased to Angstrom speakers
5) no factory outlet options for cheaper solutions
**Note most of these are NOT sound related but rather company related!!
Yes, CUSTOMER SERVICE, QUALITY BUILD (STILL MOST IMPORTANT) and accessibility also make a HUGE difference in customer selection**
A good company needs a balance between marketing and quality product. THe day a company moves too much towards volume business, the quality inevitably suffers (e.g in my opinion most NEWER Bose and Polk Audio Future Shop kind of stuff falls in this category with Paradigm and PSB slowly following suit).
If a company goes the other way and ignores the marketing, that company may no longer have enough income to be a company (e.g. look at the history of Angstrom).
But i digress.
So after having listened to both the Axiom M22 and the Angstrom Mod4, i preferred the Mod4 solely based on the non-listening fatigue design of the high end (silk Vifa tweeter) since in all other respects I found the 2 speakers to be very equivalent.
However that being said, the clarity of the Axiom titanium tweeter may be more atractive to some people. The extra clarity in playing pieces such as the King's College Choir "O Come all ye Faithful" (with some huge pipe organ base) or recordings like "Suo Gan" by the Ambrosian Junior Choir (from Empire of the Sun soundtrack) brings out a real strong quality for each voice.
For those interested my other test songs are to be posted at the other thread presently running titled "Just for fun".
Ultimately we chose the Axiom speaker for our home theatre. I could NOT get ahold of the Modular 8 LFE to make a true 3-way speaker out of the Angstrom set to test against the Axiom M60 so unfortunately i cannot comment on how the full Angstrom home theatre/full tower design may have sounded.
I refuse to buy something i cannot audition and based on only other people's recommendations. I guess i could have taken my opinion of the Angstrom Mod4 and extrapolated it to the Mod8 sounding equally as good and great when coupled together but that would be a big assumption.
So all in all, 2 great speakers, 2 Canadian companies (although Angstrom has been bought and re-bought about 4 times in the past 20 years). Axiom as a company made a HUGE impression for us during the speaker selection process beating out other companies such as Monitor Audio (too pricey), B&W (nice speakers but couldn't get as good a deal), PSB and Paradigm (too OEM style, quality not what it once was) and of course Angstrom (not much of a company to talk about but superb and cheap speakers).
I wish i could say more but my fingers hurt now.
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."