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#428318 - 01/19/18 09:50 PM Axiom vs Klipsch
Vasubandu Offline

Registered: 01/19/18
Posts: 6
Hi everyone, my name is Matt Davis and i live in Seattle. Through a rather odd trade, I am picking up a 7.1 set of Axiom speakers tomorrow. They include 2- M80 towers, 1 VP150 Center, 1 QS8 Surrounds and an EP500 subwoofer. My speakers are almost all Klipsch, and my first inclination was just to sell the Axioms. However, the more I read about them, the more interesting they seemed. So I am considering uding the Axioms for my home theater and selling my Klipsch speakers.

I am curious if anyone has done a straight up comparison between Klipsch and Axiom, and if they have, what they thought. I am as interested in subjective thoughts as objective measurements.


#428321 - 01/20/18 12:13 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: Vasubandu]
bridgman Offline

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6275
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Hi Matt, and welcome to the forum.

I did a bit of searching and didn't find much that was sufficiently recent to be useful.

The general consensus from older posts though seemed to be that Klipsch and Axiom had somewhat different sounds. Axiom owners generally found Klipsch speakers a bit harsh and coloured, while Klipsch owners found Axiom speakers a bit dull and lacking in dynamic range. The complication though was that a lot of those comparisons seemed to be large Klipsch speakers against smaller Axiom speakers, where the dynamic range difference would naturally be expected, so that mostly leaves the harsh vs dull aspect.

Interesting notes:

1. 10 years ago Axiom speakers were considered "a bit bright" and Klipsch speakers were considered "really bright". Both statements are still hotly debated though.

2. What we call "brightness" (often a subtle peak in the 2-3 KHz region as opposed to "the BBC dip") seems to be more tolerable in an HT system than in a music system, since it arguably brings an increase in clarity of dialog as well.

Even the most passionate Klipsch owners felt that QS8's were awesome though, and a number of people had QS8s in an otherwise-all-Klipsch system.

Which Klipsch speakers do you have now ? That might help a bit... also there have been a few generations of Axioms starting with a "ti" suffix (or maybe even before that) and going up to v4 (current)- would be useful to know that as well, at least for the M80s and the EP500.

Depending on the Klipsch speakers you have and the generation of the Axioms you might end up best served by a mix-and-match solution, although that would make selling the speakers you don't use a bit harder.

Having more than one subwoofer is generally considered a Good Thing because it gives you both more output and more balanced bass across listening positions, and the EP500 is an interesting mate for most other subs because it has extremely flat frequency response at the expense of less peak output in the response bumps it doesn't have. I run an SVS PC+ 20-39 paired with an EP500, for example.

My first thought would be "keep the sub, keep the QS8s, and for mains and center that depends on the specifics of what Klipsch models and what Axiom generations you have".

Edited by bridgman (01/20/18 12:50 AM)
M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti, EP500, PC-Plus 20-39
M5HP, M40ti, Sierra-1
LFR1100 active, ADA1500-4 and -8

#428322 - 01/20/18 12:50 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: bridgman]
Vasubandu Offline

Registered: 01/19/18
Posts: 6
Thank you, that was very helpful. My current system has an RC-7 center and 2 RF-5 towers that are really vertical RC-7. They share the sake 2 8-inch woofers, and my towers have the tweeters from RC-7 along with the crossovers. My RC-7 is my favorite speaker ever. The I have RS-7 surrounds. To put this in perspective, my center weighs 45 pounds, the surrounds 24 pounds apiece, and to the towers about 50 pounds. Every speaker has 8 inch woofers.

This all is a replacement for a Paradigm Millenia system I put together 12 years ago. Those speakers were so small it felt like they were struggling to reach us, let alone fill the room.

Your description of the Klipsch as harsh and coloured makes some sense. They seem to be focused on precision and completeness. I do very much like the clarity of dialog.

The think that I like about my Klipsch speakers is that that comfortably fill the room with sound. It feels like the sound permeates the whole room, which is completely different from the Millenia.

I am told that these speakers were purchased in 2007, but I am not sure about that. I will have them tomorrow and can check the serial numbers.

I thought about mixing the speakers, but part of would rather keep the set together one way or another. I got them by responding to a craigslist ad for an Outlaw 7700 amplifier, and the guy settling it is moving to a cabin in the woods, so he could not take them with him. So I agreed to buy all of it, and he gave me a great deal. He told me how carefully he treated them, and it just seems like a shame to break it up. I assume that I could find some Axiom fan in Seattle who wanted a great deal.

But I am seriously intrigued by the idea of using them. Your description of what people said was different is helpful because I can listen for it.

Oddly when I put the Paradigm set together 12 years ago, I looked at Axioms, but I got distracted. So in a strange way, I am back.

#428323 - 01/20/18 01:10 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: Vasubandu]
bridgman Offline

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6275
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Interesting... my first thought is "I would really like to hear what you think when you compare them", which I realize is not particularly helpful.

In a music system I would probably swap out the Klipsch speakers in favour of the Axioms, but in an HT system I'm not so sure.

The Klipsch speakers you have seem to be highly regarded within the Klipsch lineup, as a bit of a "sweet spot". That said, I expect the QS8's would give you an even more seamless surround effect than the Klipsches, although they don't go as deep in the bass so depending on your A/V receiver you might have to shift the cutoff between sub and "everything else" up a bit.

It's a tough call, and gets into nuances like main-to-sub crossover frequency. The QS8's and VP150 are probably best with 80Hz cutoff, while the Klipsch speakers you have are probably OK with 60Hz, for example. The M80s are OK even down to 40 but AFAIK most AVRs don't let you pick a different cutoff per speaker (my HK 630 does so I'm a bit spoiled).

If I didn't live on the other side of the continent I would be tempted to drive over and see how they compare. I don't get out to Microsoft much these days (the only chance I get to visit Seattle), although when I drive out to Boomershoot I run into a lot of MS folks down in Idaho.


Edited by bridgman (01/20/18 01:20 AM)
M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti, EP500, PC-Plus 20-39
M5HP, M40ti, Sierra-1
LFR1100 active, ADA1500-4 and -8

#428324 - 01/20/18 09:26 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: Vasubandu]
norap Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/24/17
Posts: 65
Loc: Ontario
I have ownwed both Klipsh RF82's and M80 v2's. I was able to compare the two side by side. Not sure how the RF 82 compares to the Klipsh Rf 5 that you have but the 82s also have two 8" drivers....very impressive looking,copper infused.For all out grunt (SPL), the 82's had a slight edge.The 80's were more than up to the task of filling the room but not with quite the same authority. Where the 80's shone was in music listening. They had the same detail and clarity without the harshness of the highs I felt the Klipsh could exhibit on occasion. As it has been said, for HT the Klipsh were great but for music I much preferred the Axiom. I had planned to build a complete Klipsh system with the 82's as the base until I came across the 80,s for a steal on Kijjiji. It was that purchase that steered me toward going with an all Axiom set up. I too will be very interested to hear your impressions and ultimately which you keep.
LFR 1100s QS8s QS2s ADA1500 EP350
Yam RX-A3050, Polk CSI A6, Klipsh B10B, SVSPB2000,PSW125x2

#428325 - 01/20/18 11:28 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: Vasubandu]
alan Offline


Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3268
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hello Matt,

NoRap has essentially nailed the differences between Kkipsch speakers and Axioms.

For years, Klipsch has generally used horn loading on its tweeters and sometimes midranges, which helps achieve very high Sound Pressure Levels (SPL) with very few watts of input power. However, the horn loading produces aggressive strident highs that are musically unnatural and inaccurate. Horn loaded speakers are the norm for movie theaters, rock concerts and large venues to achieve high-volume sound over a very large area without having to use tens of thousands of watts of input power. But you don't listen to those speakers for musical accuracy. Certainly dialog intelligibility is important for home theater (and in movie theaters). Of the Axioms you picked up, I'd upgrade the center channel, the VP150, which at best is barely adequate. The VP160 or VP180 are vast improvements over the VP150. (Your Klipsch center channel may be fine as an alternative if it doesn't make strings, brasses and music vocals too aggressive and sibilant.) I'd go with the rest of the Axioms you picked up except for the VP150, and sell the Klipsch models. The Axiom M80s are capable of very clean high-volume levels in domestic living rooms, even very large ones. And they are no inherently strident or edgy, unless the source material has been EQ'd to sound that way, a so-called "presence peak".

Axiom's M80s and M22s, and others in the Axiom lineup, are musically neutral and natural, with excellent spaciousness in the soundfield, and they produce really excellent frequency response congruity measured objectively.

Going back several decades when I was Editor-in-Chief of Sound Canada (later Sound & Vision Canada), we objectively tested a Klipsch Heresy loudspeaker at the National Research Council anechoic chamber in Ottawa, followed by double-blind listening tests. The resulting frequency response curves were among the worst we'd ever measured, and in listening tests, the Heresy was found to be extremely coloured, unnatural and musically inaccurate. I have not heard recent models of Klipsch speakers but I suspect the design recipe hasn't changed much.
Bridgman's comment of "a different sound" for Klipsch is very polite and understated.

Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

#428327 - 01/20/18 02:25 PM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: Vasubandu]
brendo Offline

Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 558
Loc: West coast Canada
I moved from the lower model Klipsch 20 series {B20,C20 etc.}
Found I didn't enjoy the treble they produced found it to harsh and sibilant. Then I moved to the M3 and never went back, size pretty much identical to the B20. Now have all Axioms. M80, Vp160,M3,M22 and Qs10a.

As Alan said the VP150 would do much better being swapped to something larger. As most movies including Atmos are mostly center oriented.

Congrats and welcome

#428340 - 01/21/18 12:09 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: bridgman]
Vasubandu Offline

Registered: 01/19/18
Posts: 6
Thanks so much. That is thoughtful and helpful. I see what you mean about music and home theater.

We picked them up today, the the guy was just one of the nicest people I have ever met He gave use everything attached to the system because he is moving to a cabin - like a nice Oppo dvd player. I told him he was selling too cheaply, so I actually gave him more money that he was asking. He showed is his new system for the tiny cabin, and it is 2 nice JBL bookshelf speakers. I told him that I am getting him a small subwoofer for it, which I will. He sold me all of this for $800.

We gave everything a good listen at his place, and I was very impressed. The Axioms have a more immediate presence like they are not trying too hard. And that gave me an idea that may work or may be crazy. I plan to use the towers, but to use my current center, the RC-7, for now. Then I will will use 2 QS8 for the surrounds and leave the Klipsch RS-8 for the back surround. I am planning to get a Maranz SR6011 in the next week or two, and it is a 9.2 receiver. So one I have it, I can use the last two QS8 for the 9.2. I have never even looked at 9.2 before and there seem to be variants, so that will be something new. With this, the only new speaker we would not be using is the 150 center.

I will have to give the centers a long comparison. My RC-7 is my very favorite speaker. It is so good that people transplant the tweeter and crossovers into reference towers to make vertical RC-7.

The are the RC-7 Specs

BANDWIDTH 45Hz-20kHz ± 3dB
SENSITIVITY 98dB @ 2.83 volts/1 meter
NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 ohms compatible
CROSSOVER FREQUENCY 500Hz and 1950Hz (Tapered Array)
POWER HANDLING 200 watts (800 watts peak)
ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass reflex via dual rear-firing ports
DRIVE COMPONENTS Tapered Array system using one 1.75'' (4.4cm) magnetically shielded, titanium diaphragm compression driver with an 8'' (20.3cm) square 90˚x 60˚ Tractrix horn and two 8'' (20.3cm) magnetically shielded, Cerametallic cone woofers
WEIGHT 44 lbs. (20kg)
HEIGHT 9.1" (23.1cm)
WIDTH 26" (66cm)
DEPTH 13.5" (34.3cm) w/grille, 12'' (30.5cm) w/o

The Axiom All Axiom Centers feature:

Titanium Tweeters
Aluminum Woofers (and Midranges where applicable)
Anti-Standing-Wave cabinets that suppress internal resonances which color sound
5-way gold-plated binding posts
Enclosure Acoustic Suspension
Max Amp Power 400 Watts
Min Amp Power 10 Watts
Freq Resp +/-3dB (Hz) 85 - 20 kHz
Freq Resp +3dB- 9dB (Hz) 55 - 20 kHz
SPL in Room1w/1m(db) 95 dB
SPL Anechoic 1w/1m(db) 91 dB
X-Over 2.7 kHz
Tweeter Dual 1"
Woofer Triple 5.25"
Dimensions H W D (inches) 7.5" x 27.5 " x 7.5 "
Dimensions H W D (mm) 191 x 699 x 191
Weight (lbs) each 21.8 lbs

The RC-7 goes lower, which is no surprise with 8 inch woofers. Sensitivity is the same. Not sure how to compare the tweeters. But they look like pretty comparable speakers to me. I'll have them up and running in a few days and share my thoughts.

#428341 - 01/21/18 12:15 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: norap]
Vasubandu Offline

Registered: 01/19/18
Posts: 6
Thanks for the thoughts. In the Klipsch forum I often read about fatigue because of what you call harshness. That term is used about Klipsch often enough that it must have some basis. I never noticed that but we never really stretched anything to its limits. I really want to see what I think of dialog from both systems.

If you ever get back into Klipsch, let me know.

#428342 - 01/21/18 12:41 AM Re: Axiom vs Klipsch [Re: alan]
Vasubandu Offline

Registered: 01/19/18
Posts: 6
Thanks Alan. My last speakers were Paradigm Millenia from 12 years ago when I last got into Audio. At that time my sense was that Canada had made audio some kind of national priority with things like the anechoic facility.

I have not heard a lot of different Klipsch speakers, and I would tend to assume that the ones I have are some of the more neutral ones. My RC-7 does have a 1.75" titanium diaphragm compression driver with a Tractrix horn, but I have not observed any harshness.

If I leave the RC-7 then an upgrade to the 150 seems necessary, but what the heck is the story with the 160 and the 180? I get the 180, but the 160 makes no sense all to me. It kind of looks like a mess. and no straight line from 150 to 180. I could only see an upgrade to the 180 unless they are about to come out with the 200.

This is fun. I will post my progress here.

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