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#363487 - 01/12/12 02:32 AM VP160 quick review
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10412
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Ok finally sitting down to give a little more thorough review of this speaker or is it a summation of the things I have posted here and there.

I have some pictures already up on the forum here for those interested. I can add some more by request.

My system consists of a Denon 3808 and my Axioms, M80v2, QS8 v1 and the VP160v3. I also have a PB13 Ultra to round out the bottom end. I stream my music from my NAS to the 3808 in FLAC. My Blu Ray player is a Samsung BDP1400 and the Blu Rays were watched in DOLBY TRUE HD or DTS-HD. My previous centers I have used, Axiom VP100 and 150, my M22v1, M2, M60 and finally a VP180. I have tried a few other non Axiom centers, (Sony, Paradigm) but I know these speakers the best so they are my reference points.

Build quality - Excellent as usual, this is a preproduction version so there might be a few differences from the production models but from what I have seen this speaker is built just like all other Axiom products, it is sturdy, effectively braced and weighs in at 48lbs according to my scale.

Size - the size of this speaker will not lend itself to just any home theater. You will need 10 13/16" minimum height to allow for a smidgeon of wiggle room and 30" in width, the depth is 14" and with the ports on the front you can slide this speaker right up close to a wall or back of a cabinet.

I have listened to everything I can get my hands on in multichannel. My first experience was a few quick scenes from U-571 with the DTS soundtrack. I watched the boarding of the submarine and the gunshots had a very visceral effect, good impact from the center, right where it should be. The depth charge scene had more feel to it than I have had with my previous centers, the VP180 and an M60 withstanding. The VP160 easily out muscled my M22 as a center during this scene ( I swapped one in just to compare). The soft whispers of the dialogue were delivered with pristine accuracy and never once did I strain to hear what they were saying.

I quickly put in the BR extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring. The clanking and banging of swords, the 'TING' of spear through armour came through with effective clarity. Gandalph's mumblings seemed to be more intellible than with the other centers I have used to watch this movie, certainly better able to keep the dialogue upto the same levels as the M80s are playing at, I think it might have even bettered the VP180 during this type of scene.

I more recently watched Avatar and once again all the jungle sounds came through with great accuracy. I watched this movie from an off axis position and the dialogue was just as clear and nearly as loud as when I moved to the sweet spot, I measured about 1 db lower between the 2 positions, excellent performance for being off axis. The crispness of the 'TICK' off the golf ball off the putter was amazingly precise. My wife even commented on how nice it was to hear ALL the dialogue and sounds so clearly.

My family and I watched various movies (Spy Kids, Nanny Mcphee Returns, Mr. Popper's Penguins, you get the idea family movies) streamed from our cable provider and the VP160 was able to handle these compressed soundtracks with the same clarity and strength as if I was playing the DVD, dialogue was clean and sound effects seemless across the front soundstage.

Watching sporting events has been improved as well, no longer am I hearing the crowd through the M80s over top of the center channel. The VP160 is able to keep the announcers voices elevated over the crowd sounds.

For music I watched my BR of David Gilmour - A Night to Remember. The VP160 brought new life and imagery to this Blu Ray. The VP160 withstood the wail of the guitar and David's vocals powered through with grace and clarity.

I also watched The Eagles - Farewell Tour Melbourne DVD. I was able to listen to this DVD with a new enjoyment of their music. The bass is very strong during many of the songs on this DVD and the VP160 handled it with great ease, the highs from the trumpet during the encore just before Hotel California sounds very real to my ears, nice and clean

I also listened to various CD's in Dolby PLII, each and every one of them was brought to a new life in surround sound. I never liked listening to music this way before but the VP160 is up to the task of staying with the M80s, I now prefer to listen to music in this manner.

I have yet to try the M22's with the VP160 insted of the M80s, hopefully I will get to try this soon, I will have to wrestle my M22s away from my parents HT for an afternoon.

Something to note about the VP160 is the smoothness it has over my M80v2's. During a listening session with mojo(former forum member) we discovered that the 160 has less sibilance than my M80s. It is not distracting in any way, it was just something we noticed as we played with the settings for the center channel. As the center 'width' was increased (more sound from the center) the sibilance was greatly reduced from her recordings, not an entirely bad thing. As we reduced the center width more sibilance came back into play; noticing this makes me want to upgrade to the M80v3, maybe in a few more years......

Thanks for reading.


#363489 - 01/12/12 03:27 AM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: jakewash]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10526
Very interesting, Jason. The sibilance point was especially interesting, as was the height measurement. You apparently measured about 10 3/4", while the announced height was 11 1/2". This could make a difference to some prospective buyers who didn't have about 12" of vertical room.

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.

#363492 - 01/12/12 06:15 AM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: JohnK]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11373
Loc: Central NH
Fantastic, Jason!

But now I want one for sure! And I believe the pre-order is over?
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#363495 - 01/12/12 07:01 AM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: MarkSJohnson]
Wid Offline

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6776
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Thanks for the review Jason. Now I have to get one ordered.

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud

#363497 - 01/12/12 07:24 AM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: Wid]
CatBrat Offline

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 6015
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Excellent! I can't wait to get my in-cabinet VP160 mounted under my TV. Which reminds me. I better get the Pioneer MCACC mic ordered from Pioneer for $65 or I won't be able to calibrate it.

#363539 - 01/12/12 02:32 PM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: CatBrat]
Bayne Offline

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 266
Loc: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thanks for taking the time to write a review, Jason. It pains me knowing that mine will arrive right in the middle of my rennovations. I'm also glad to read that you too have a Denon 3808. Now I know the VP160 will fit into my set-up just fine.
"Not throwing my hands up or my dress above my ears don't mean I ain't awestruck." Al Swearengen

#363563 - 01/12/12 05:17 PM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: Bayne]
terzaghi Offline

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 4863
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thanks for taking the time to review Jason.

#363583 - 01/12/12 07:17 PM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: terzaghi]
SBrown Offline

Registered: 11/16/10
Posts: 890
Loc: Victoria,BC
Thanks Jason! Glad I pre-ordered.

#363589 - 01/12/12 08:23 PM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: SBrown]
dakkon Offline

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1851
Jason, how does the 160 compare to the 180? It shouldn't play as low, but should sound pretty much the same in all other aspects, no?


#363599 - 01/12/12 08:40 PM Re: VP160 quick review [Re: dakkon]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10412
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
JohnK, my measurement was without the feet, I will guess Axiom's measurements take into account the rubber feet it will ship with, just speculating though as I don't know.

Alex, the 160 does sound very similar and not as low from what I can remember of the 180 but I won't know for sure till I get a chance to do a side by side test. But it does blend nicely with the M80s and I am sure even better with M60s.


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