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Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
#406687 08/19/14 04:59 PM
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Greetings,
I've been in the audio game since the mid 80's. I have alternated between DIY and high end since the early 90's. I can tell you first hand, that under a lot of those glossy, insanely expensive high end speakers lie shockingly cheap parts. I have found 39 cent electrolytic caps in 2,000 a pair speakers. I have found $40 woofers in $4,000 speakers. (90's prices adjusted for inflation probably $3,800 and $6,000 now) Long story short, I got into DIY and refurbing/upgrading classics like Infinity and polk to ease the pain of high end pricetags.
I have been watching Axiom since it's inception and here is my general impression: (correct me if I got it wrong) It earned my respect that AXIOM was really doing R&D at the NRC. Many high end companies do not do this.

AXIOM RISING:
M80ti- Very good for the money, upper midfi, but not something that is really going to beat a paradigm studio 100 or energy veritas. No doubt worth the money, as they outperform stuff like deftech and polk audio of the same era. Not enough to stop the high end community from scoffing, like the wanna-be "fluance" junk.

M80v2: Obvious refinement, knocking at the door of the $3,000-$4,000 speaker performance range---starting to scare the crap out of Paradigm and Energy, among others. It was at this point, I saw the most "audiophile" backlash "Oh no way!" "Silk purse out of a sows ear!"

M80v3: Improved still, goes toe to toe with ANYTHING under $5,000. Lacks only subtleties...many audiophiles acquiesce that these are probably excellent.... (Since they aren't expensive....it's a hard sell. Snob-o-philes turn off their speaker radar unless mini monitors are $3K or more and floorstanders are $4k or more)

M80v4: Improves focus, clarity and dynamics. Unquestionably a high end product and a giant killer. I have read favorable comparisons to $7,000 and $8000 a pair speakers.

M80v4 HP: Makes you question your sanity buying other brands for 2-3x the cost. World class bass. Only personal stories, no pro reviews that I have seen.

Now, the most convincing and effective reviews for me, have been using separates like Bryston (not all in one denon receivers) and direct name comparing like "The M80 easily outperform my B&W x.xx model" "Can do anything my $7,000 Vienna acoustics can" That gives me a concrete reference and I can more easily understand the capabilities.

I can also say that I am glad that these are a Canadian/North American product. All too often parts and entire speakers are designed in North America, Built in China for a few bucks and brought back here for arbitrary prestige pricing. (That is, throw a dart at a price on the wall---this started in the late 80's). "Hey! Lets charge $8,000 for those speakers and it will command market respect! Where those bloated, ego-stroking high end boutique models are designed to impress reviewers, I found a lot of them inaccurate and often deeply flawed....more so than many affordable speakers.

I am looking forward to some M80v4HP in the near future.


Great Speakers start with great engineers.
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406688 08/19/14 05:39 PM
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Ok this is maddening. The forum search function just gives me a loop error.

Is the M100 worth the extra $500 over the m80v4 HP?

(Consider I have a sub, and this is a 2-channel only application)

EDIT: The top search box on the page fails, but the search tab works. I am salivating over the m100 right now.

Last edited by Scottinwa; 08/19/14 05:53 PM.

Great Speakers start with great engineers.
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406689 08/19/14 05:56 PM
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Tough call. My first thought would be "no" since the biggest difference seems to be in the frequency range your sub will cover anyways.

My second thought is "yes" in case you end up deciding in the future to use them for 2.0 listening without a sub... although the M80v4 seems to do a great job there anyways.

My third thought would be "oh crap, I don't know what to do" so I would probably decide based on height -- I'm fairly tall and I end up raising most of my furniture a few inches so M60/M80 speakers need to be tilted up a bit unless I'm sitting far away while M100's would be just the right height.

It's probably fair to say that the non-HP M80s are all you need if you have a sub, but there's no way I could resist the HP option even so.

So M80HP's unless you're really tall, in which case M100's wink

EDIT - speaking of loops, the loop I would get stuck in is :

- all I need are M80s
- it's only $500 more for M80HP's, duh !!
- it's only $500 more for M100's, duh !!
- oh geez, I'm up $1000 already
- repeat

Eventually I would get yelled at and told to "just buy the damn M100's and stop agonizing".

Last edited by bridgman; 08/19/14 06:04 PM.

M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti, EP500, PC-Plus 20-39
M5HP, M40ti, Sierra-1
LFR1100 active, ADA1500-4 and -8
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406691 08/19/14 06:09 PM
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That sounds about right. There is no way I'd omit the HP woofers. Not even a second thought there.

I'm not a tall guy...but...

I just read that the M-100's have a few benefits over the m80 in terms of clarity, imaging, power and bass.

I think of the m80 as a cohesive 2 channel speaker that I would want a sub, then start drooling that the M100 have that extra muscle and allow for uncompressed dynamics.....

10 Goto axiom
Rem m80
20 Seek M80v4 HP
Rem M100
30 Then goto M100
40 If M100>than m80 $500 then goto M100 else M80
50 Goto 10


Great Speakers start with great engineers.
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406692 08/19/14 06:20 PM
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Hah... I was going to put line numbers in my code too but decided against it.

One other checklist thing to consider...

The big Axioms need to be a fair distance from the back wall if you want the flattest bass response. My M60s need at least 18" from back of speaker to back wall in a decent room and over 24" in a "boomy" room -- M80s seem to need a bit more and are also deeper so the fronts end up approaching 48" from the wall and M100s would probably need even more.

If you have room, no problem (in a 5.1 system you want the mains fairly far out anyways to let the center channel be a bit closer to get the same speaker/listener distance) but if your room is short on depth that *might* be a slight argument for the M80HPs. Axiom now includes port plugs for cases where you have to put the speakers closer to the wall but it seems a shame to have to do that to new speakers.

Last edited by bridgman; 08/19/14 06:32 PM.

M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti, EP500, PC-Plus 20-39
M5HP, M40ti, Sierra-1
LFR1100 active, ADA1500-4 and -8
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406693 08/19/14 06:37 PM
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My listening room is about 30' by 20' (Ok...oops that's 9.144M by 6.096 meters in the Canadian language wink )

My Infinity reference never got closer than 28" (or .7112 m) to the back wall and I am just over 6' or 2m back for listening.

I have a 12" sealed sub (dayton titanic) with a 500wpc amp. That seems to be as much depth as the listening area can reasonably handle. (The other side of the house REALLY gets some low bass....but I digress)

I guess the theory of the M80 vs M100 in practical terms is like comparing a 2 way standmount, to a similar 2 way in a full floorstanding cabinet. The floorstander will have more potency for the same drivers. I like the fact that axiom uses 2 or 3 6.5" woofers vs some companies that use a cheap 12" for bass.

It's easy to notice speakers that crap out early on Telarc classical and some vinyl I have. Not to mention newer vinyl like Daft Punk that will torture a lesser speaker with electronic bass.

I could tell my old Infinities (2x8" poly Watkins woofers) were too "flexy" to handle this kind of music coherently.


Great Speakers start with great engineers.
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406694 08/19/14 07:06 PM
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OK, sounds like distance from the wall won't be a problem. I'm running out of things to consider.

AFAIK most Canadians my age use feet, pounds, miles and... liters. Go figure.


M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti, EP500, PC-Plus 20-39
M5HP, M40ti, Sierra-1
LFR1100 active, ADA1500-4 and -8
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406695 08/19/14 07:12 PM
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I used to drive up to Montreal when it was still "Miles" and "Miles per hour"

The loop reference reminded me of the TRS-80 model III I started on.

Last edited by Scottinwa; 08/19/14 07:13 PM.

Great Speakers start with great engineers.
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406696 08/19/14 07:21 PM
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I see from your avatar that you've made a decision about the woofers laugh


M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti, EP500, PC-Plus 20-39
M5HP, M40ti, Sierra-1
LFR1100 active, ADA1500-4 and -8
Re: Dipping toes into the Axiom waters with M80v4HP
Scottinwa #406697 08/19/14 07:31 PM
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The HP option was something I first discovered when looking at the M60 model. It seemed 100% logical based on the DIY I have done.

I like that AXIOM like some other makers, uses multiple small drivers to make bass. If you see most speakers at $1,000 a pair, it's probably a 30$ woofer.

I once (for giggles) swapped out the 15" woofers in some cerwin-vega speakers. The cerwin vega woofers were flexy, with a smallish magnet and crossed over too high.

The new EV woofers were probably $100 each back in 1996. The difference in control, quality and output was huge. Controlled bass!

Since that experiment, I have been very leery of cheap or under engineered drivers.

My dayton titanic sub driver was probably $299, and will eat an REL strata III for lunch. (Those subs probably have a $100 driver, and cost $2,000+) The Dayton has longer xmax, stronger magnet and bigger voice coils.


Great Speakers start with great engineers.
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