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#79742 - 01/30/05 09:22 PM The Mother of All Posts, Part I
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
History / About these posts….

I've been promising and joking for a couple of months now that, although I never officially posted my impressions of my Axioms, someday I was going to write the Mother Of All Posts. Those of you who know me, know that I can be long-winded on just about any topic, so this ought to be a doozy. I have a good number of photos to post as well, so I will break this into several posts to try to keep it organized as well as easy to load for those of you who are on dialup. (snicker-snicker).

For those of you who have come to these boards somewhat recently, and want to know my life story for a sense of perspective, my ego is glad to indulge you by directing you to this post: Who I Am And Why I'm Here See? I told you I can be long-winded!

I'm not really as self-centered as I might seem. I'm hoping that this post, with all of these little details, can help someone who is interested in Axioms or might benefit from some of the methods I've used to mount and install them. They're issues that I'm sure some of you have dealt with or will deal with before long. Along the same lines, I'm also going to write about my experiences with much of the ancillary equipment I've purchased in the last couple of months as I haven't done so yet.

Do I need to say that all of what follows is just my personal opinion?

For those of you who don't want to read the 209 pages of minutia that follow, and have a finger poised on your mouse to click "place order": Just Do It. You can read this while you're awaiting delivery. For the rest of you, let me start with my "Axiom Experience":

Are You Experienced?

As you may or may not have read in the previously-referenced post, I planned on spending quite a bit more on speakers than I did on my Axioms. I'm not made of money, but rather allowed myself the option of buying the speakers piecemeal if necessary to get the quality that I had hoped for. I look at speakers as being a long-term investment and would not have been uncomfortable spending $5,000 on B&Ws or Cantons of KEFs. Yes, I equated quality with price.

I'm not sure where I first heard about Axiom, but it was likely on the Audioholic boards. I was mostly checking into Paradigm, Definitive Technology, PSB, Monitor, Canton, KEF and B&W and, to be honest, I was really pretty unsure about Axiom. I had never heard of them before, and was close to convinced that if they were not some huge "brand name" that I've heard for the last 20 years, they couldn't really be all that good. Mostly what I did not want was a compromise in the sound. I wanted that "pride of ownership", and I really would not have expected it with the Axioms. I didn't want, every time I turned on the system, to think that there was some detail in the "highs" that were veiled or muffled, or that my bass just went "boom, boom, boom" without any articulation.

There are several things that I've owned in my life that just "feel right" and, although they're never the finest money can buy, they were more than a good value for me; more than pedestrian. They just worked harmoniously with me the way a well-engineered items' ergonomics should work: A Seiko dress watch, my old Canon F-1 pro 35mm, my S&W 9mm (let's not hijack the thread here!) and maybe even my MX-700 remote (more on that later!). My Axioms are poised to join that elite list.

I stumbled across this very forum and liked what I was reading. Not only were people posting great things about their Axioms, they also seemed to be honest enough to recommend an alternate product if it really fit someone's' needs better. Further, it seemed like a great little community here. The word family comes to mind but I think we, as a whole, get along better than that!

In looking at the pricing, I was concerned that it was too low, especially when you consider the discount for multiple items and the Factory Outlet. I was afraid that I would be under-buying, which has caused more problems in the past than overbuying. And, I never posted this at the time when I was new on these boards (and hopefully no one will be offended now) but what if everyone here just had low standards when it came to their systems? What if, previously, most had owned $499 HTIB setups? How could I trust the posts that extolled the Axiom benefits?

Before I write about what I ordered, this might be a good time to write a bit on the room I'm using. I won't go into the previous equipment; I covered that thoroughly in the post linked above.

I live in a 100 year old house on a main drag in Concord, NH and run a video production and photography business out of the same building. Because of the needs of the business (which really accounts for almost two-thirds of our square footage), our living room is relegated to a room that originally was designed as a bedroom. More of an issue than it being small, however, is the fact that it's square…13' x 13' to be exact. Square rooms have a reputation for being the most difficult to tame in terms of standing waves and "nulls", particularly in the bass.

Here's the basic floor plan as it currently is; the equipment is new but the room dimensions and the sectional, table, etc. haven't changed:

Previously, on the wall where the DLP and speakers are, I had a massive oak entertainment center. As much as I loved that piece of furniture, it limited our TV to a 32" and was just big for the small room. It's our intentions to replace the sectional and lounger with a new couch and loveseat, increasing the flexibility of positioning. If we get the style that has built-in recliners, I'll never miss my chair! The Bell'O equipment rack was moved into the closet based upon an idea by a member here (Thanks to Craig –" SpiffNMe") to help keep the minimal wall space open, both for flexibility in speaker and TV positioning as well as aesthetics.

I took a couple of still photos with a video camera that has a fisheye adaptor; it goes "wider" than any still camera I own at the moment. The first photo is taken from the corner of the room where the subwoofer is:

Here you can see the general placement of the QS8s and even, in the bottom right corner, An M60, the TV stand and the Samsung DLP.

The room from the opposite corner:

The doors were taken off both the entrance to the room and closet. The closet door was removed within the Home Theater Upgrade process, so that it maintains the look of the equipment being "inset". I've left the hinges on the door frame to allow me to "hide" the equipment if necessary when my little niece and nephew visit. The entrance door we removed quite awhile ago simply to allow room in the corner where the chair is. As an aside, that's my office and edit suite across the hall; Joyce's is down the hall a bit.

The photo above is from the primary seating position. I haven't as of yet done any A/B testing with the coffee table in and out of place to see if my imaging would be cleaner without it's large, flat and half-glass top surface reflecting everything to my ears!

Finally, a photo towards the setup that doesn't have the fisheye look and serves as a good, general reference shot:

As you can see, the floors are hardwood with a rug just under the table. I don't really consider it a "live" room, but it would certainly lean that way over it being described as acoustically "dead".

Although I know many are anxious to read about the Axioms, let me also write a little about the general equipment and the placement in the room. As I mentioned previously, I "installed" a recently purchased Bell'O equipment rack in the closet to save some wall space and give a little bit of a custom look. I emptied the closet (which was essentially full of little-accessed stuff that I could find some other place for!) and painted the whole interior black. I wall-mounted a Tripplite HTPowerBar 10 to the inside right (The building has a whole-house lightning protector at the service panel, but I'm pretty cautious about such things!).

It was after talking Joyce into the idea of losing the closet for the equipment (but luckily, before painting) that I tried putting the rack in there to "get a feel for it". I realized as soon as I did that there was one small detail that I hadn't considered: The floor was uneven. Not atypical in an old house, we've gotten used to keeping our feet on the floor when we're sitting in chairs with castors so as to avoid careening towards the corners of the offices! Anyway, when you stand a 5' object up in a closet door, it becomes immediately apparent if the lines of the object aren't parallel to the door frame. On the one hand, it may not seem like too big a deal to overcome, but there were other factors. The Bell'O rack, having glass shelves, explicitly warns of it being moved with equipment on the shelves, yet I needed a way to roll the rack out for rewiring. I initially thought that this could be accomplished with Teflon gliders, but was now leaning towards castors of some kind. I would also now need a base unit that would not only support the rack without flexing (and potentially dumping my equipment in a shower of glass) but correct for the uneven floor.

I ended up constructing the base out of Poplar 2x2s as a frame with 2x2 "braces" or "cross-members" every 4", with ¾" plywood on top and bottom. I wanted the castors to not only be rated for far more weight than necessary, but also as low-profile as possible. I ended up with appliance castors that fit both needs well, and mounted them under the base with one side "shimmed" to make up for the uneven floor. I covered the entire base with the heavy material used to cover P.A. systems and racks of audio equipment that DJs and bands use. It's matte black, heavy duty, and, besides, I had some leftover from a previous project. This base unit is about the only thing that I did not photograph as it was under construction, but there really wasn't much to show anyway I guess! I fashioned some pieces of 1" dowel, covered with black rubber into appropriate places on the top of the base to act as "bumpers" to "lock" the rack in place; it can't be slid off the front, back or sides.

The rack pulled out for wiring:

There isn't a specific "end result" photo" but there really wouldn't be much to the photo except a low-profile, unobtrusive black boxy-type thing, which is good because that's exactly how I wanted it to look: Invisible in the black closet! You can see it at the bottom of the next photo.

This is a composite of two photos of the rack to show it in it's entirety top to bottom:

On top of the rack are my A/R wireless headphones. I'm not at all impressed with these, as the reception is actually finicky when I'm sitting only 10' away on the couch….plus they have no bass at all! They allow me the convenience of watching TV late at night without waking up Joyce, though. I have Sony MDR-760s and AKG-240s for music listening.

Top to bottom:
The next shelf down has the Pioneer 578 disk player, a TiVo unit, and an old Panasonic VCR, which really doesn't get used anymore. The second I pull it out, though, we'll find a tape that we want to watch in the living room!

Next shelf down is the Denon 3805 and below that, a Philips CD Recorder and an Onkyo MD deck.

The bottom two shelves each have a Sony 400-disk Jukebox. These are connected to enable "mixing" and shuffling between units while in playback mode. The only other piece of equipment (not in this photo) is the high-def/DVR cable box under the DLP.

I'll write about each of the pertinent components a little later.

Just as a quick note, I spent a little time looking for some sort of "pass-thru" to enable a clean method of passing the wiring between the closet and the room without having it just feed in along the floor. I couldn't find anything so ended up cutting a hole through the baseboards on each side and using dimmer "wall plates" to keep it a little neater than my saw left it:

The last thing I'll mention about the room is lighting, as I feel it has much to do with the success of the room for Home Theater. I installed a Lutron remote-control dimmer for the overhead light that I can control with my MX-700 remote. I also have a floor lamp standing in front of the equipment rack with 3 lamp holders; one holds a 15 watt bulb and is pointed towards the ceiling for overall ambient room light when watching movies, the two others hold 7 watt bulbs to softly light the equipment. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I also want to experiment with a soft light mounted behind the DLP to "glow" the wall around it a bit.

I'll see you on my next post where I'll discuss becoming an "Axiomite"

::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#79743 - 01/30/05 09:23 PM The Mother of All Posts, Part II
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Lost in the Land of the Axiomites……

My plan was originally to just order my main speakers, and hold off a bit on the surrounds, center and sub. My concern was not only that I might be "under buying" with the Axiom brand, but also that I might be "overbuying" in terms of speaker size. I was unsure if I wanted to give the M22s or the M60s a try… they both seemed to be the most popular choices. I was leaning towards the M60s, but always had the feeling that a large speaker in a small room never really gets the opportunity to "open up" and needs to sound it's best. (Maybe it's more common with less sensitive speakers?)

I was also unsure about ordering an Axiom sub. At the time (pre EP500 and EP600), almost all the talk regarding subs left an impression that SVS or Hsu was the way to go… that seems like it's much less a "given" now that Axiom has some "Beasts" in it's lineup. As you may have seen in the photos in the previous posting, I like a nice clean look and therefore it was an important factor to me that the sub match the finish of my other speakers.

So, on a wing and a prayer, I decided to just order the M60s, VP150, QS8s and an EP350 in Mansfield Beech with black grills from the Factory Outlet. The wait time was expected to be seven weeks if I remember correctly, and the wait just about done me in! Someone else described it as a "kid at Christmas" feeling, and I couldn't agree more. It didn't help that it was close to Christmas time! At about five and a half weeks out, I received the famed Golden E-Mail from Amie to let me know that the order was shipped early. Woo Hoo!

Unfortunately, FedEx damaged one of the M60s in Memphis, so I received my order minus one of my main speakers. Although it was in no way Axioms' fault, they went so far "above and beyond" in service that I couldn't believe it! I received the order and notice of the damaged speaker on Friday, and if you don't know, Axiom is closed on Fridays. I sent Axiom an e-mail anyway to let them know what happened and took my wife out to dinner. When I returned, I found an e-mail from Amie apologizing (Ummm, Amie? I blamed FedEx, not Axiom!) and letting me know that she shipped another M60 already and had it sent overnight priority! I can't even imagine what it cost to ship an M60 overnight, morning delivery from outside the country! On Monday (the next business day), I was surprised to take delivery of not only the replacement M60 that Amie sent, but the damaged one that, for whatever reason, FedEx had sent on to me despite the arrangements that were already made to return it to Axiom. I called Amie, and she arranged to have another FedEx driver pick up the damaged one later that day. FedEx could have done better, but to say that I was impressed with Axioms' customer service would be a severe understatement!

It was only matched by my initial impressions of the speakers as I unpacked them. Man, Kid at Christmas is right!

These were good looking speakers! The photos on Axioms' website did not do them justice. I had heard that the M60s were deep, and certainly I saw the measurements listed…. But there was no photo anywhere that gave me an idea of the depth and shape.
So others don't have to suffer the same way:

There are some towers that are literally a work of art, and their prices reflect that. Ninety percent of the others fall somewhere between a boring monolith and a very clean, understated look …. The M60s fall into the latter group and I would put them at the upper side of that range. The "Anti-Standing-Wave" cabinet..(i.e., it's broader in the front than in the back); the radiused front edges and the excellent vinyl that'll-pass-for-wood-with-many-people all contribute! As you may tell from many of the photos, I have a tendency to prefer my speakers with the grills on. Actually, they're a great looking speaker without their grills as well, with those matt silver cones…But hey, as I just said, I like clean, simple looks.

The QS8s were smaller and yet heavier than I expected. The VP150 was both larger and heavier than I expected and the sub was just much bigger than I expected.

I spent a few minutes looking them over for the blemishes that led them to be classified as Factory Outlet, and I couldn't find any! I had read on these boards that it's pretty common for F.O. buyers to not find any blemishes at all, or, if they do, they're minor.

First Impression upon seeing them? Psyched!

Hooking Them Up / First Listening Impressions

I hooked up all of my speakers with some 12 gauge Radio Shack speaker wire I bought in anticipation of the arrival of the Axioms. Evidently, RS was "getting out of the bulk cable business" and after calling several stores, I found one nearby with 150' or so left and available at the closeout sale price and so I cleaned them out of the last of their stock.

On the speaker ends, I used Radio Shack dual banana plugs for the M60s and the VP150:

On the receiver end, I used Radio Shack Single banana plugs:

The single banana plugs are crimp-on, but I soldered them anyway.

OK, so here's the part where I repeat what I said earlier about this being my opinion, and much of the reason why I put off this "report" for so long. And please, at least respect my honesty.

My first impression was that they were "bright". Let me immediately follow that with "I don't feel that way now"! But yes, for awhile…weeks… that's the impression I kept coming away with.

I would put on one recording and think that they were beautifully detailed. The veil that muffled the highs on my old speakers was gone, and I never heard an acoustic guitar sound so beautiful. I was thrilled. Then, I would put on another recording, and feel that the speakers were a little bright. And I would wonder if I made the wrong decision.

Let me just break here for a moment to explain that I do understand the idea of a "monitor". In video production, professional monitors are used because they will expose the flaws in your image quality. You want to see these issues, warts and all, or you'll never know if the color is correct or not. Ditto with audio in a production environment. If I'm mixing a soundtrack with speakers or headphones that color the sound, my mix won't sound right on other systems.

So, I understood that "monitors" such as the Axioms were going to be revealing, and allow me to hear excellent recordings as sounding excellent and poor recordings as sounding poor. Certainly, I had read it here plenty of times before I purchased! I think, in short, what surprised me so much was that so many of my CDs were really not engineered that well! I should mention that because of my age (42) and being a bit of an early-adopter when CD came along, a sizeable amount of my collection is more than ten years old, and I have seen many discs that I own replaced with remastered versions. I listen to a lot of rock music, some jazz, lots of blues, some classical, but own virtually nothing that would be considered "Top 40" pop.

It could be thought by some that "if the Axioms sound bright with so many recordings, is it really incorrect to label them as bright?" I've come to the conclusion that "Yes, that's incorrect". The material that you assume to have better recording, engineering and mixing….Jazz, Classical, well-regarded rock-pop masterpieces such as DSOTM all sound great. It's the more "mainstream" pop and what I like to call "Top-40 Metal" that sound bright. In other words, the recordings that are frequently engineered for radio airplay, car stereos and boomboxes. You know what? If I engineered for that listening equipment, I might mix the high-end a little hot, too!

I can't vouch for whether or not I have a tendency to ignore the poorly-recorded stuff for the better-sounding stuff, or whether it just took a few weeks for my ears to get used to that "veil" being lifted after years of my older speakers, or if positioning tweaks have made a difference, or even if they've broken-in (!). All I know is that initially, I was a bit unsure of them and now I'm very much enjoying them can't believe that I am on my way to achieving my initial goal – hi-end sound – in my listening room for the price I paid!

Which, does, of course mean that I'm not quite there yet. I don't blame my Axioms, but I need to work on this room a bit, as I've posted recently here. I need to explore some bass trapping and maybe some of the reflections that I'm getting from the floor and the sidewall from my right speaker. Here's a photo of some of my original testing with sound absorption/diffusion by using some Auralex foam along with a "sound blanket", a location production tool that allows for easier "dry" recording in a "live" audio environment:

I did find that it helped my frequency response plot, but I have more work to do to improve things further and keep it aesthetically pleasing!

As mentioned, I have found that there are good and bad recordings, and the Axioms make you very aware of that. I'm certainly aware of it, in that I really think that I've skimmed probably three quarters of my 700 or so CDs. I had read on the boards that when you receive your Axioms, you "rediscover" your music collection, and I've found that it's absolutely the case! I don't think I listened to an entire CD the first week or so though; it was like I was an addict in need of my next fix! I would grab a CD, skip around to a few tracks that I was curious about hearing, and then move on to the next one. Many a morning I could be found in a semi-comatose, fetal position under the coffee table, CDs littering the floor giving away the previous nights' obsessions! I should mention that all of my CDs are particularly easy to sift through, as they've been currently "stored" on 100-CD spindles. I'll write more about this a bit later, but the short story is that I emptied my two CD jukeboxes just about a year ago and haven't yet replaced them. I would say, if pressed for percentages, 70% of my CDs sound excellent, and 30% of them sound as though the upper end is a little edgy. Of course, 100% of my CDs still sound better than my previous speakers, which were no cheapies! Still, it's unfortunate that the discs I have aren't more uniform. Just a moment ago, as I'm writing this, I popped in U2s' "War", expecting thunderous beats from Larry Mullen, Jr. and I didn't get them. There really wasn't much punch to them at all. Again, I don't blame the Axioms (recent U2 releases sound much improved) my old speakers just never allowed me to hear how mediocre this CD sounded! I put on "The Best of Al Green" instead and it sounds better than I've ever heard it.

I've bought several SACD and DVD-Audio discs and some of them are among my favorite "test" recordings. Steely Dan's Everything Must Go, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, The Eagles' Hotel California, Santana's Shaman, Beck's Sea Change, Yes' Fragile, Queens' The Game, Jimmy D. Lanes' It's Time, Stevie Ray Vaughans' Couldn't Stand The Weather, Diana Kralls' The Girl In The Other Room, The Indigo Girls' Become You, and Aerosmiths' Toys In The Attic are among my favorites. In the interest of emphasizing that not every hi-resolution disc is worthy of it's name, I've found Aerosmiths' O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits to be extremely bright and edgy and Peter Gabriels' Shaking The Tree to be disappointingly mushy at best. I have definitely come to a favorable conclusion regarding hi resolution discs, but it hasn't been without bumps.

I think the biggest benefit and/or surprise regarding these discs is that I like the idea of surround mixes for music. When I was first reading about surround mixes putting you "onstage" with the musicians all around you, I didn't think I would like it at all. To me, that wasn't natural to hear music as if I were onstage with the musicians, and I certainly wouldn't expect a format that relied on listeners to sit in a sweetspot to succeed. I know that I don't have the opportunity to do that very often…frequently I have music while I'm in and out of the room and multitasking. But, I bought a few discs early on with the thought of hearing amazing benefits to the higher sampling rates, which I'm not sure materialized. In listening to these discs, I never had the previously-described feeling of being "onstage" with the musicians, but rather that the stereo mix that had always come from one direction in the room had now "opened up" to expand all around me. And although there are certainly benefits to sitting in the sweetspot, I find no disadvantage to surround mixes when I am multitasking. The sound just seems to fill the room. Of course, that's partly due to the excellent QS-8s (more about them later).

::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#79744 - 01/30/05 09:24 PM The Mother of All Posts, Part III
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
The M60s

As you probably have been able to tell from all the previous "room" photos, I'm pretty limited in my locations for the M60s. By "pretty", I mean, of course "very". If I want to keep the M60s equidistant from the DLP and center channel, they can really only go in the general placement where they are.

Unfortunately, I would like to spread them a little further apart for a wider soundstage, but I really don't want the issues that I'll get with moving the right speaker closer to the right wall, and the left speaker would need to be moved in front of the equipment rack.

As some of you may have read in a recent thread, I have tested the M60s in regard to their proximity to the rear wall, and found that they do, indeed, sound better and "plot" a little better when given some room behind.

Despite the limited positioning, the M60s, as others have said, image great. Especially during testing, when I have frequently reset and changed settings on the receiver, I really do have to walk up to the center channel to ensure that it's not on along with the M60s.

As for settings on my receiver, I've preferred to set them as "large" with a 100Hz crossover. A 100Hz crossover would not ordinarily be my first choice with these speakers, but I've found that the VP150 and, especially, the QS-8s need to be crossed at 100Hz in my room to avoid a little hole in response that I would get if crossed over even at 80Hz. With the sub in a "forward" position in the room, alongside the M60s, I find that there is no sub localization with the M60s set to "large". Besides, they just sound a little fuller on large. It seems to me as though, in my setup, they image better on Large as well.

The M60s have very respectable bass…more than I expected from the dual 6.5" woofers. That being said, I still prefer them with a sub as opposed to on their own. I'm finding that I do prefer a full, heavy sound with much of my music. Movies, of course, are a little more hit and miss for the bass…Ahnold generally benefiting a bit more with this "extra bass" sound than Hugh Grant!

I'm not sure if I ever bought into the idea of different speakers sounding better with different types of music, but if it ever were true, I don't find it to be the case with the M60s. I have literally listened to everything from heavier stuff such as Bad Brains/Nine Inch Nails/Rage Against The Machine/Ice Cube through contemporary Blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan/Jonny Lang/Shemika Copeland) to light rock (Sarah McLaughlin/John Mayer/Eagles/Sting/Jewel) to electric and acoustic Jazz (Michael hedges/Diane Schuur/Billy Cobham/Chick Corea Acoustic Trio/Flim and the BBs) to some classical (I'm not gonna look up the performances!) and the M60s sound great with any type of well-recorded music. They can crank Metallica and then sound delicate with George Winston…..

The system while playing Electric Ladyland, Side Three……

The VP150

There have been a few posts in this forum regarding the VP150 not being as stellar in comparison to the other speakers, and I'd agree by default. It's not that there's anything wrong with the 150, it's just that the 60s and QS8s are just so outstanding, the 150 being "very good" makes it pale a bit in comparison.

I was very limited to my mounting position with my 150, and never tested it closer and further from the wall as I had planned to. I did, however, do a fair amount of listening to it by itself. As I had done with my QS-8s. I connected the VP150 to the "Main Left" or "Main Right" speaker outputs on my Denon receiver, allowing me to audition a good amount of music on the VP150 alone. I auditioned it with both male and female vocals and wide-ranging material and thought it did fine. Again, it wasn't an M60 (who would expect it to be?) but outside of a fairly steep drop off at about 80Hz, I found it served my needs nicely!

Finding a place to put it was a different story, but I'll write about that in a moment!

The QS8s

Despite reading it over and over again here, I was still surprised how good the QS8s were. I know that generally direct-radiating speakers are recommended for "rears" with multi-channel music, but I really find that my QS8s are doing just fine, thank you very much!

They somehow have the ability to sound completely diffused with movie soundtracks, yet I think they are "localized" fine for music. When I tested mine, I found each had a peak centered at around 320Hz that made them sound very slightly "nasally" and a tad heavy with male voices, but I only heard that when listening to them by themselves when they were being fed "Main" signals for testing. A touch of EQ from the Denon at 250Hz and 500Hz took care of that with no problem.

The diffuse nature of these speakers really would allow for some flexibility in mounting I'm sure. To be honest, I never tested them in different locations; I just followed the rough guidelines for putting them "above your head, a little forward or a little behind" of your listening position. In my case, I went "behind" as I expected to gain a little reflection off the back wall. Unlike the M60s and VP150, the QS8s aren't really designed for banana plugs, but it never concerned me. To me, the advantages of banana plugs are speed and convenience in swapping out speakers. With a speaker that's attached to the wall, it doesn't make any difference.

As I said earlier, the QS8 is smaller than I thought it would be, despite poring over it's measurements (and everything else) prior to purchase. I really think that if the correct finish is chosen, the QS8 will either look small and not at all obtrusive in a living room environment, or, if in contrast, you want it to be visible in a theater-like environment, it will give that professional "dipole" type of look with it's angled cabinet as well.

EP350 sub

I wasn't sure of the 350 sub for the first few weeks.

I had placed it in the spot in my room that produces the least bass falsely thinking that "least" necessarily meant "cleanest and tightest". I routinely had it's knob at the 11, 12, or even 1 O'clock positions and had previously expected it to be set lower in my smallish room. I had heard some sounds that I could maybe describe as "chuffing" while I watched it's cone move wildly trying to reproduce a frequency in DSOTM.

Well, I've since discovered that I was a bass-head, and an ignorant one at that!

For starters, I learned that some of the "humps" in my frequency response plots were not because of positioning in the room… I had those humps in every available position. (they correspond, by the way, to the mathematical calculations that predict
humps based upon the room size). So I put the sub in the corner and that increased it's gain by about 10db. Metering the response also taught me that I was listening to the sub very "hot" in comparison to the rest of the system. I was now able to turn the subs' knob down to the 9 O'clock position…. Not much above the minimum. Hmmm… I thought for awhile I didn't have "enough" sub, now I'm wondering if I have too much!

I haven't gone back to check DSOTM though, and listen for that one spot. My guess, though, is that now that the sub is turned down substantially from where I started, it won't be a problem any more.

I do have an uneven bass response, with a huge "hill" at around 44Hz-50Hz, that I wholly attribute to the room. I'm going to try an experiment in the near future that I had heard about in a forum such as this: I'm going to load a corner of my room with a bunch of towels and loose blankets to experiment with something akin to a homemade bass trap. Luckily, the corner behind the sectional is not only hidden from visitors, but it's also in the diagonal corner from the sub if that matters.

Right now, when I walk around the coffee table in the room, the bass tones from my test CD increase dramatically and, not infrequently, disappear completely as I enter a "null" in the sound. This was with the M60s set to "small" and testing the sub by itself. I'd like to test this again with the M-60s set to Large so I can see if having three sources of bass can smooth out some of the room's irregularities. The problem with metering in the traditional sense is that if you move the meter a foot or even a couple of inches, the readings can sometimes change dramatically. I have to think it's better to have a "pretty good" response throughout most of the room (though we really don't entertain much) than to have almost perfect bass in one seat position only!

I might also purchase a Behringer Feedback Destroyer to try to tame the big bass hump. If I can get that hump flattened, I'll be able to turn the sub up as a whole, increasing my output on the bottom end as well. I think the 350 needs a little more on the bottom end. Maybe it's because I've been reading about all these monster subs, but my room doesn't shake, and I don't "feel" the bass. Again, I think if I get rid of that big hump, I can actually turn up the gain, thereby increasing the bottom end.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I think like the sub a lot. It's my room I don't like!

::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#79745 - 01/30/05 09:26 PM The Mother of All Posts, Part IV
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Where to stick it….

Among the considerations in setting up a home theater beyond budgeting, equipment choices, etc., there is the mundane (at least some think so) process of figuring out where (and how) it's all going to go. As I mentioned in the opening post, I have a 100 year old house that presents a few challenges.

Mounting the QS8s

For starters, my house doesn't have sheetrock with neat 16" on-center 2x4s that can be found with a stud finder. My walls are horsehair plaster over lathe. I couldn't find a stud behind a wall in this house with anything but a lucky guess (insert your own joke here). This presents problems when I want to wall mount something that I consider to be heavy… such as the QS8s. My experience (and a bit of common sense) tells me that if I spread that weight over a larger mounting area, I'll end up with a stronger result.

Originally, my idea was to mount the QS8 on something of a "shelf" with a hole cut within the bottom to afford room for the 5 ¼" bottom-mounted woofer. What I hadn't realized, however, was the T bracket that comes with the speakers is a simple but very effective method of mounting the speaker. Still, I needed to increase the surface area and decided that a "plaque" would do well for me. This is what I ended up with:

This "plaque" is made of Poplar and is about 3" bigger both vertically and horizontally than the QS8. I had debated about the merits of varying plaque sizes. If I made it smaller, the speaker would appear to "float" from the wall, but I assume that the speaker was designed to "couple" with the wall and thought floating it out from the wall would be a problem. Along the same lines, I might have designed the plaque to be much larger, giving the speaker a decent-sized surface to couple/reflect with. Unfortunately, I think that would just be visually "heavy" to have the speakers mounted on big, oversized plaques. In the end, and without testing the sound of it at all, I decided that the diffuse nature of the QS8 would likely mean that I wouldn't have to worry about "edge effects" with the size of the plaque being what it is.

I cut the corners off both to reduce it's "visual weight" and to follow along a bit on the angled design of the speaker. I went over the edges with a router, drilled a large hole in the center and beveled that as well with a ¼ round bit. The hole is for the speaker wire to pass through and is off-center because the jacks on the back of the speaker are not centered. You also might notice that there is a channel cut on the inside edge of the hole; it runs to the left edge in this photo and allows for the 12-guage wire to tuck behind the mount. Note that the two speakers required a mirror-image pair of mounts; they're not identical as I wanted the wire to run towards the "back" of each mount in their respective positions.

I also needed to cut the bottom of the T bracket (it's normally "taller") so as to not block the hole. I made use of all the screw holes that the bracket had left, and with the screws being driven into hardwood, I have no concern about its ruggedness!

Here's the QS8 mounted:

The finish, as with other pieces I'll illustrate shortly, was a custom mix to get as close to the color of the Axiom Beech as possible. Like the others, it (strangely) looks quite different depending upon the light and the angle you view it. Mostly, it looks like an exact match for the Beech; other times it's merely "close enough".

Another issue with these old walls is fishing wire. I chose not to do this and instead used Wiremold channels to hide the wire from the floor up to the speakers. If you really crane your neck into the corner, you can see the exposed speaker wire where it exits the Wiremold and enters into that "channel" in the back of the plaque. No one has noticed it yet, so we'll keep it as our little secret.

Another look at the room shows the QS8s as they relate to the rest of the room:

All in all, I'm very happy with the placement in terms of sound and the mount in terms of aesthetics and strength!

Like walking a tightrope….

Something tells me that I'm not the only person who is running into a problem trying to place their Center Channel somewhere around a DLP. If you have room underneath, that certainly can work, but many people (myself included) don't have room for a good-sized center channel on their stand. And, quite frankly, I prefer a center channel up above a screen rather than below in most cases as I believe it projects better, doesn't interact with the room (floor) as much, and doesn't get blocked when your dog walks into the room and just stands there! The problem, of course, is that the top edge of DLP, LCD and Plasmas are too narrow to support a speaker.

Well, if my plate weren't so full, maybe I would look into starting a company to make a nice powder coated steel, adjustable stand in several models and styles to fill this new need people have….(and if any of you steal the idea and make a million, I want a beer out of the deal! And a good one, too….no cans!). Anyway, this is the idea that I had sketched out early in the game:

What I built ended up being pretty close… though I didn't need the "feet" and not knowing any local welders, I made it out of wood:

Above is the unfinished (obviously!) center channel stand still in the workshop. Once again, it's made of Poplar (2x2s) except for the ¼" plywood shelf.

It's designed to fit behind the Samsung DLP and offer a shelf that just barely "floats" above the top edge of the TV. Accuracy in sizing is everything, and the photo above is from a "sizing trial" to ensure there weren't any miscalculations. The "feet" that I designed in my original drawing weren't necessary because the TV stand I purchased and modified had a "lip" in the back allowing me to simply attach the bottom edge with a couple of bolts and wing nuts. See out-of-sequence photo of already-finished stand (see arrows):

The dynamics of the design are such that the bottom piece really wasn't in need of being attached in a way that required brute strength; really, the back just wants to "slide out" a bit as the stand wants to lean forward with the weight of the speaker. I just needed a way of stopping it from "kicking out". The reason that I was being so critical of the sizing is that I did not want the DLP to be supporting any weight of the speaker. The design is such that if the measurements and sizing is perfect, the stand will only "kiss" the top of the DLP and not rest any weight on it.

OK, back to the design and measurements. The width coincidentally was very close to the same for the width of the center speaker and the "spread" of the two vertical "legs" so as to not block any of the connections of vent holes. There's a notch cut into the bottom (bottom right in the above photos) to allow for the power cord.

Below is a photo showing how the shelf has a "lip" that protrudes over the top of the DLP:

In this photo, the lip and DLP are touching because it's "leaning forward" on the DLP…it wasn't bolted on the bottom yet.

In actuality, the two surfaces that "meet" the DLP had small rubber "bumpers" and felt pads installed so the wood won't make contact:

The height of these bumpers was actually figured into the height of the stand for that "kissing" effect explained above. There are also 4 very large "bumpers" on the top of the shelf that the speaker itself sits on. This protects the finish on the Axiom and prevents it from vibrating off during particularly intense sessions!

Another shot of the "sizing trial" from the front:

And finally, the end result, after being primed and painted flat black:

It does exactly what I had hoped: It places the speaker above the Samsung, in a strong and essentially "invisible" way and does not place any weight on the TV itself. The contraption is not visible from any normal angle in the front.

Standing Around…

I guess this is as good a time as any to write about the TV stand.

I had been trying to figure out what to use as a TV stand for my Samsung 46", and wasn't coming up with great options. I could get a Bell'O that matched my audio rack, but that would be $500, be taller than I wanted, and not match my Axioms. I could get one of those other glass and steel stands, but really, my room isn't totally "modern" and the better ones again are pretty expensive. About the only time in two weeks when I wasn't really looking, I came across this at Target:

and wondered how close it's Maple finish would be to the Beech Axioms. It was a tad taller than I wanted, but I could choose to not attach the legs. The silver accents would match the silver Samsung and silver HD cable box. It even offered some storage that I could use (since I recently lost a whole closet!!). Otherwise the size and price ($130!!) was right. I brought a carefully printed photo of my Axioms' finish back to Target and discovered the match on the finishes was really not very close at all. It was then that I noticed that they had the same model in black. Problem was, I didn't think the all-black stand looked nearly as nice as the Maple (it was all black except for the silver design on the doors). Anyway, I decided to buy it and modify it. As seen in previous photos:

There were two black pieces that I replaced and stained to match the Axioms (though, as I said above with the QS8 mount, the stain color is "perfect to acceptable" depending upon the angle at you look at it. Weird!). There was a large "bar" that ran across the top shelf in front that I replaced with a Maple substitute and I replaced the drawer fronts (again, previously black) with pieces matched to the Axioms' Beech. I had also tried replacing the included feet with castors, but even they added another 2" that I really didn't want so I ended up using Teflon gliders on the bottom. I'm always big on being able to pull something out to rewire!

Again, in the end, I think it was very successful. The black, silver and "faux Beech" finishes present a clean, "matching" look and I was able to duplicate those two replacement pieces in half a day. For maybe $150 total, it works for me!

::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#79746 - 01/30/05 09:27 PM The Mother of All Posts, Part V
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Non-Axiom Stuff…Mostly

There is, of course, more to a Home Theater than the speakers, though I think they share equal billing with the display as the VIPs (Very Important Pieces) of the system.

Denon 3805 Receiver

I purchased this receiver several months ago as the first new piece in my HT makeover, and have no regrets whatsoever.

I honestly don't know if receivers and amps sound different; I see a bit of the argument on both sides and have never had the opportunity to A/B them at all, not to mention doing it under controlled circumstances. I really like what JohnK wrote the other day in regards to a wild frequency plot I posted:
In reply to:

Another illustration of harsh audio realities: some worry about relatively insignificant things like players, amps and wire, while even with good recordings and flat (anechoically) speakers it's the listening room that makes most of the difference.

That's not to say that I don't think there can be a difference in sound. I once owned an NAD 2200PE amp and 1155 preamp that absolutely sounded better to me than the Technics receiver I also had. There seemed to be more "punch" in the dynamics and attack. A violin didn't sound much different, but John McLaughlin playing an acoustic guitar sure did. Ditto with drum and bass-heavy electric, contemporary Jazz.

Yet, I'm not saying it wasn't all in my head. Maybe the design of the NAD as a "high headroom amp" that could output 700 w/pc on peaks influenced how I thought it would sound. Maybe the weight of the unit or it's almost industrial dark gunmetal finish influenced me… I don't know. But my perception at the time was that there was a lot more "pride of ownership" (Sorry, Jack!{inside joke}) in the NAD equipment.

I do have a lot of the same feelings with the Denon receiver. It does almost everything I ask of it and does it well. Ray(3) recommended some time spent with the manual and I'd agree. Although I'm successfully and enjoyably using it on a day-to-day basis, I still feel that there are areas I'm a bit gray on… mostly related to different surround and processing modes. I still plan on going through the manual again, assuming that I'll absorb more the second time around. Receivers today are much more complex than even five years ago, and, to echo Ray, you'll only realize all the benefits if you spend some time with that manual.

From Left Field: What happened to "Loudness" controls? Don't human ears perceive Bass and Treble differently at lower volumes anymore, or was that never the case? I don't see that button or receivers or pre/pros anymore….

The one quibble I have with the Denon is that you can't change the crossover point individually for different channels. As mentioned a bit in the "speaker" section of this post, my different Axioms have different lower-end capabilities and I wish the Denon allowed a little more flexibility here. If given my choice, I'd like to cross the QS-8s to the sub at 100Hz to reflect their natural rolloff as well as to take some strain off these (the smallest of the set) during loud or demanding passages. I'd like to cross the VP150 at 80Hz since it's capable of getting a little lower than the surrounds, and crossing over at this point would allow the resonances of James Earl Jones to stay within this speaker. Finally, I'd like to cross the M60s over at 60Hz or maybe even 40Hz as, to me, they seem to image better on "large" but I'd like to remove the strain of the lowest bass from their duties. It's not a deal breaker from the point of view of the Denon, but it's about the only thing I'm finding that I wish were designed a little different.

There's been a little talk about the accuracy of the Auto-setup functions of this receiver, so yesterday I ran some tests with my trusty Radio Shack SPL meter to compare the Auto-EQ offerings to each other as well as the original plot and an attempt at using the manual EQ as well.

A few notes about these plots: Ignore the legend in this first graph showing "Blue as Manual". I realized that it would be cleaner to just put the "Manual EQ" on a separate chart. All of these plots were made on a tripod with the Denon mic in the exact same position as the RS meter. Those of you who have been through this procedure know that the proximity and position of your own body can greatly influence the readings. Unfortunately, for me to place the mic in the "sweetspot", my back is against the wall and I can't get too far from the mic. It was evident that I was affecting the reading at certain frequencies by the wild swings of the meter if I moved just a couple of inches in my position behind the meter. I tried to average the readings in cases like this, but I have absolutely no doubt that at some frequencies, the readings were erroneous. I therefore offer these simply as a point of interest to compare the Denon modes, not as an absolute finding. The "2Khz" point on this first plot was one that I noted at the time to likely be erroneous due to the fluctuations. It is interesting, though how at certain test frequencies I can get a huge difference in the volume by moving my head an inch or two. There's obviously no way that the tweeter would be capable of dispersion patterns such as that and I take it as further evidence that my room would benefit from acoustic treatments.

This first plot shows the various Auto EQ modes that the Denon generated, as well as the plot with the EQ off:

It's important to note that I turned the sub down from it's "10 O'clock" position to about an "8:30" position after this test! I feel that the "flat" EQ setting is, if not appropriately named, at least the closest to the goal!

Because of this, I wanted to test the "Flat" setting against the original plot and an attempt at manual settings as well.

First, this is what the Denon did to produce it's "Flat" EQ setting:

And the second plot:

Remember that the sub was turned down after the "Flat" mode was determined by the Denon and therefore the bass readings with "Flat" may not be representative as to how the Denon would have smoothed the bass if the sub were outputting a little less.

I came to a couple of surprising conclusions after running these tests: First, I think the Denon did a little better than I thought it would. I do think in terms of plotting the "flatness" the auto EQ has a huge advantage over the manual EQ: The manual EQ acts as a simple graphic EQ, with fixed center points and no adjustment for the width or "Q" of the control. The Auto-EQ, on the other hand is not limited by the manual EQ center points and having the Variable Q allows it to operate as a parametric EQ. Without a doubt, I feel as though I could have EQ'd much better manually if the Denon offered parametric capabilities to its manual settings.

So I said earlier that my only quibble with the Denon is that lack of independent crossover points. Maybe I'll amend that and wonder out loud how much it would have cost to implement a 10 band parametric EQ into the unit?

Anyway, I'm not ignoring the fact that the Denon did better with its Auto EQ than I thought it would. This was the first time that I had actually plotted the results of the Auto EQ; in the past I had compared it by ear only. That brings me to the second surprise: Last night, after skimming through some tracks by Donald Fagen, Santana, 4-Non Blondes and John Patatucci, I came to the conclusion that I preferred the sound of the Axioms with the EQ bypassed… despite the fact that my graphs were telling me that it certainly didn't offer the flattest choice in my room. Now, to be fair, none of the results were really anywhere close to being flat, so even using the word "flat" is a bit of a misnomer.

But it certainly did raise that question of whether or not "Flat" is always the best goal? No one faults a listener for liking a little extra boost in the bass or a crisp hi-end; what if someone chooses a result that actually has several substantial irregularities as opposed to one that if "flatter" when plotted?

I've sidetracked a bit from discussing the receiver, but let me finish by saying that, in my opinion, I still think it's a worthwhile goal to try to achieve a flat response in your listening room. If you then decide to deviate from that, at least you'll know from whence you came and have a "standard" to compare your deviations and preferences to. I still plan on doing what I can to tame many issues I have in my room and will continue to pursue that goal within reasonable financial and aesthetic limits.

The Samsung 46" DLP

I have to say, as much as I like my Axioms, the DLP is the piece of my HT that continues to thrill me. Of course, I'm not the first person to place a monitor first: God knows there's lots of people that spend big bucks on a plasma and consider sound an afterthought. I'm not in that category by any means, and I think it's a mistake to not make "sound" equal to "picture" when setting up an HT. But, I think a persons' priorities are, of course, relative to their perspective and where they're coming from. For starters, I had "OK" speakers going into this. Not great, mind you, and nowhere near the Axiom setup, but not horrible either. In comparison, the TV I was using was a 32" Sony CRT that offered only a single "S" input. So the jump from that to a 46" 16x9 monitor that offered Hi-Def was a HUGE jump. And in regards to perspective, I do also spend an awful lot of time looking at first-generation, broadcast quality digital video footage on a calibrated, professional monitor. It was always such a disappointment to settle into the couch after editing all day and look at a picture in my HT that was substantially inferior to what I could do myself!

Anyway, there really isn't much that I could ever find about this TV that isn't virtually perfect. Standard-def TV certainly isn't a match for a 480P disc or hi-def, but it's really not as bad as I expected either. Of course, as many of you know, when you have hi-def, it's easy to start avoiding standard-def programming!

I don't think I would go so far as to say that I feel the Sammie has a superior picture to a comparable Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Mitsubishi or JVC. Quite frankly, the initial feature that drew me to the Samsung was its narrow-bezel, speakers-below-the-screen design. With limited wall space, I really didn't want to commit to a TV that was 10" wider because of side mounted speakers. That mostly limited me at the time to the Samsung, RCA and LG models. The Samsung was the most expensive but had a better track record and more inputs. I got it for a very good price, though, on a pre-Thanksgiving sale.

It does suffer from typical DLP afflictions: The black level isn't great, especially when compared to a CRT. This really only bothers me in scenes that are very dark overall and the room lights are at their lowest. That's when you see that the blacks are just dark gray. If there's something within the scene that's bright though, the contrast fools your eye into making the blacks look a little better. I've also seen a little contouring, though it hasn't been an issue. Sometimes it's visible when a camera pans across a gradated empty sky. Finally, every once in awhile, I see a rainbow when I'm pulling my eyes off the screen and there's a contrasty image onscreen. That's never been a problem, though.

The black level is a consideration to me, but it's no better in any type of set that could have filled my needs: Plasma was too expensive and the picture quality is barely different, traditional rear projection would have been too big to get around a corner at the bottom of my stairs (with my studio, reception room and kitchen on the first floor, my living room is on the second floor) and CRTs are only available a hair bigger than what I already had. DLP and LCD projectors were at a good price point, and though I can't hang it on the wall, it's less deep than the CRT I replaced.

And, I'm still amazed when I watch high def programming at it's native 720P resolution. Yes, 1080P is coming, but there' no programming for it at the moment, it's not that much higher in resolution, and it'll be a little while before the pricing comes down. I have no reservations about this purchase.

Motorola Dual Tuner, Hi-Def DVR

I was always touting TiVo and all the benefits it brought. I truly feel that TiVo revolutionized the way a person can watch TV… it's never the same after! But with the new TV, I was definitely in search of a high-def provider.

I ended up going with cable for my HDTV... which initially I assumed would be my last choice. The problem for me is that Concord sits down in a little valley, so I couldn't get local HD via antenna, and all the satellite providers used rooftop antennas for local stations.

My cable company provides those affiliate local stations, plus INHD1 & 2, ESPN-HD, Discovery HD, and the HD flavor of whatever premium movie channels we have in our package for $7.95/month. There was absolutely a temptation to go with VOOM for the sheer number of HD channels they offer, but I came to the realization that most of what Joyce and I watch is either a broadcast network show or a movie on HBO, etc. Getting TNT in Hi-Def wasn't as important as CBS...etc... Now that I've been watching INHD1 & 2, I have to admit that I really like their mix of movies, documentaries, concerts, and just "fun", show-off stuff...extreme sports, etc.

For $6 more per month, I got a two-tuner HD box with built-in HD DVR. How could I go wrong? Plus, I was able to simply drive to my local cable office and swap my old box for the new DVR HD box, so I literally had HD in half an hour after the phone call, instead of waiting for installation of a satellite dish.

I still think that TiVo has a better interface, and features such as the "Wish List" to find programming that fits certain keywords was worth the monthly fee by itself, but the bottom line is that there was not a good path for me to go to a HD flavor of TiVo. The Motorola box does have one pretty big advantage over my TiVo in another respect as well: The dual tuner design allows me to watch one live channel while recording another. The TiVo I had allowed us to watch a recorded show while recording another, but that was it.

Normally, I kinda dislike the stranglehold that my cable company has over my television and internet, but this ended up an obvious choice and I'm very happy!

Pioneer 578 Disc Player

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this player. On the one hand, it was an undeniably good value, and it's…..well….cheap for a player that handles DVD-Audio and SACD discs. But I've had some problems with mine. The display disappeared mysteriously for a few weeks and then came back out of the blue. More of a concern is the problems that I have playing some perfectly clean DVD-A discs. I get a sound that really sounds like digital overload… a really nasty sounding distortion. If I switch to another multichannel track, it's gone, but as far as paying 192kbs stuff, it's very hit or miss. I guess the player suffices as entry-level for someone that wants wide disc compatibility; it's just too bad that many users report them as being temperamental.

As I've written on this forum previously, I like the idea of upgrading to the Denon 2910 or 3910… especially now that Denon has finally (!) announced SACD compatibility with Denon Link. The idea of having a player that is generally agreed to be excellent in every respect, which will upsample DVDs to the 720P resolution of the DLP, which connects all audio with my receiver via a single digital cable, handles all bass-management issues without quirks and even matches the style of my Denon receiver sounds awfully tempting. It's a hard decision to make to spend that kind of money with HD discs on the horizon, however!

Sony CX400 400-disc Jukeboxes

I've really enjoyed having these two jukeboxes, and they are "holdouts" from my previous system. There's something nice about not having to store and deal with jewel case for my ~700 discs. Better, it' nice to select a category and let the two jukeboxes do a shuffle play, alternating between players, even doing a crossfade between the players for true, continuous music. I do wish I had spent the extra $40 each for the players with the on-screen display… it was short sighted of me and as I now have a receiver that would have routed that signal to my Samsung… Well, it just would have been nicer than trying to read the display from a cross the room!

Probably a year or ago at this point (!) I had so many discs in the wrong slot, and also one of the players seemed to have become "corrupted" and was displaying the wrong "artist" with discs, that I decided to simply empty the jukeboxes, reset them and start again by reloading all the discs. Unfortunately, that's such a monumental task that I keep putting it off… partly because I'm not sure that at this point I shouldn't rip each disc to a hard drive and "stream" them into my living room instead of entering in all the information for each disc. An intermediate solution would be to copy each disc with "CD Text" enabled and load only the copies into the jukeboxes. I would still have to enter "music categories" and, I assume, "Artist" category, but it's probably still a better alternative than having to enter all the information manually.

In the meantime, the jukeboxes sit there empty and I try to locate discs that are loaded onto eight 100-disc CD spindles! Frustrating, to say the least!

Home Theater Master MX700 Remote

I don't have a lot to write about this piece of equipment as I have not done any in-depth programming with it yet. I will say that I am very impressed with the unit based upon the minimal programming that I've done so far. I think it will become one of, if not the, most-liked pieces of equipment I have. I've always had a love for products that just work as they should and considering I'm responsible for programming the remote to work as I direct it to, well……!

I think it makes sense for me to hold off on writing anything in-depth about the remote until I'm able to sit down and program it properly. In the meantime, I direct all questions to Ray3 on this forum! Maybe when I do program it, I'll write an extensive post on it!!

::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#79747 - 01/30/05 09:28 PM The Mother of All Posts, Part VI
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Final Conclusions…

Would I buy Axioms again? Well, I guess that's the crux of how I feel about them, and I would not only say yes, I would also say that I would have to have quite a bit more money to budget for my Home Theater for me to even be tempted to buy something other than Axiom. I would first be looking at a 7.1 system with M80s and two of the new subs! Maybe a $20,000 speaker budget would open my eyes to other brands, but if I wanted to keep it under 8,000, I might not find better than what I outlined above!

And the "brightness"? Well, I'm not sure how you go about designing a speaker that offers the level of detail that these Axioms do without also exposing bad recordings. If you keep peeling off those veils on a recording, you're either going to find something amazing underneath, or you're going to wish that you kept it veiled! Personally, I'd rather have the detail exposed. It's just a shame that so many popular music recordings are engineered poorly…because when you put on a good recording, these speakers just sing.

I had always hoped to own some really, nice, exotic speakers someday. Now, I realize I've found the sound of those really nice speakers without the exotic price. Yes, I'm a happy camper.

There's still work for me to do to try to improve my room. That's OK, it should be an interesting experience and I'm now going to settle back on the "setup" a bit and just enjoy the system. Here and there when I'm looking to be distracted on some Saturday or Sunday, I'll pull out the RS meter and tweak diffusers, absorbers, and maybe move the speakers an inch or two and plot the response.

After all, it's fun to own a Home Theater but it's also fun to try to improve one too. I'll keep my Axioms, thank you, and my Denon receiver and my Samsung. For everything else and I'm open to suggestions!

Final Note:
I created a test disc of tones with frequencies from 16Hz to 20Khz at 1/3 octave intervals (and extra tones in the bass region) and custom plotting sheets and graphs such as those that I've used in this post. If you would like a copy of these, PM me with your mailing address (for the CD) and e-mail address (for .PDFs of the papers) and I'll be glad to send you a copy of each.

For Photoshop users:
The graph itself is available as a .PSD file. The huge advantage of this is that the basic template is one layer and notes and individual plots can be on separate layers. This facilitates your being able to look at some plots and not others, as well as doing some other customizing. For instance, there's a "grid" layer that makes it much quicker to find the coordinates to place a point, and afterwards, you can reduce the transparency of this layer to make the scale subtle or disappear entirely. The "scale" on the right of the charts is also "floating", meaning you can move it into your field if view as you work on the plotting, and move it off to the side (or remove it entirely) when you're done.

Anyway, if you're a PS user and would like this file as well, just let me know.

::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#79748 - 01/30/05 09:53 PM Re: The Mother of All Posts, Part VI
Engine_Joe Offline

Registered: 01/14/05
Posts: 239
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Holy crow!!!!

It's going to take me a while to read this as thoroughly as it deserves. For now, I'll just say...

Holy Crow!!!
---- A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing... M60s, VP150, QS8s, EP350 Onkyo TX-SR702, Denon DVD-3910

#79749 - 01/30/05 10:17 PM Re: The Mother of All Posts, Part I
bridgman Offline

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6068
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Wow. It took about 15 minutes to load the post on dial-up so I'm a bit wary about responding. Maybe you could offer the post on the same CD as the test tones

The first thing I have to say is that the whole post was EXTREMELY well presented -- photography, writing, the whole mess. I imagine you have very happy customers, at least to the extent that customers can ever be happy.

At least a half-dozen times I was just about to fire off a reply saying "well, based on reading this I think you should try X" then in the next paragraph you explained that you had tried X and here was the result.

The floor plan really helped. Unfortunately, as you say, there aren't really any alternatives for laying out the furniture. It's a much better layout than first imagined.

I notice you have a couple of windows in the HT. Don't suppose any of those open onto the back yard do they ? I forgot to mention the other obvious option for dealing with room modes -- punch out one wall and put a small addition on to give you a room with more appropriate dimensions. I know that doesn't go over too well with a nice, older house though...

Anyways, I guess I'm just trying to say "surprise surprise, the post really WAS worth the wait !!".
M60ti/VP180/QS8/M2ti, SVS PC-Plus 20-39, EP500
M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
M3v4, VP100

#79750 - 01/30/05 10:55 PM Re: The Mother of All Posts, Part I
spiffnme Offline

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles

Great looking room. You've done a superb job. Nice idea putting the gear in the closet. I didn't realize you had actually done that.

"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

#79751 - 01/30/05 11:17 PM Re: The Mother of All Posts, Part VI
lomb7 Offline

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 425
Loc: San Diego
man, what a review. Now when a newbie asks those questions that always come up, we can point him to this.

A huge thank you!!

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