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#95352 - 05/21/05 04:39 AM Finally......I bought some speakers
TNTguy Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 325
Loc: Utah
After nagging many of you I finally actually made a decision and bought a HT setup. First a little background (if you are bored and want some reading) about what got me to this point.

At the beginning of the year, I decided I should get a HT system. I have a Sony HDtv which has been great, but something was missing from the movie experience. As all of you know video is only half of the equation. I missed feeling ships whiz by your ears, explosions rocking the house, and volume that rivals a movie theater. I decided it was time to buy a HT system. The closest thing I had in the past was an Aiwa HT system (if it could really be called that) consisting of a built-in receiver/cd player/tape deck and 5 speakers. Two fronts, a center, and 2 surrounds. Needless to say it wasn't much of a thrill although it was better than nothing. But where do I learn what I need to know? I had learned alot of valuable info about upscaling DVD players on the AVS forum, so I figured that would be a good place to start. After researching for a few weeks, I had all but decided on the Onkyo 770 HTIB. Everyone in most of the HTIB section of the forum had raved about the sound and power of the system and I was all but sold. Then I stumbled upon a thread by JohnR_IN_LA in that same forum about the Onkyo system. Basically, he trashed it. He said that the receiver and sub were of decent quality but that the speakers were quite poor. He was a bit harsh about it, but he made some very good points about how corners are cut with systems that cheap. After reading through the thread that made me think that perhaps I could spend a little more cash and look into buying a component system. Somewhere along the way, I found the Axiom board. I loved the design of the website, and Axiom speakers seemed to have a very good reputation. So after reading the message board for awhile I started to look into narrowing down the choices.

One of my dilemmas has been I live in a rural area and speaker auditions would be difficult. So as subjective as speaker sound is to everyone, I wanted to get as much info as I possibly could before I made a decision. Hopefully I would make a decision the first time that suited me well. I looked into alot of things. At times I just wanted to buy something but I forced myself to wait. I can be an impulse buyer sometimes and that isn't always a good thing when it comes to high priced electronics. After talking to board members here and other websites I narrowed my choices to the Axiom M60 and the Monitor Audio Silver 8. Many here have heard both speakers and both are well respected. And many say the two speakers sound quite close to each other. Which do I go with? The M60s were a bit cheaper and offered the 30 day guarantee. I went back and forth several times. Two things swayed my decision. One is that I have tinnitus in one ear. For those of you not familiar with tinnitus it is a constant ringing in the ear. Yes it is annoying. Fortunately for me I only have it in one ear and not both. It is very annoying at times but you do get used to it somewhat. I worried about the M60s and the high level of detail. I thought often about whether or not the transparency of the M60s might be too much for my sensitive ears. I know the MA S8s have close to the same level of detail, but the top end is somewhat less bright. I wondered if perhaps the MAs might be easier for me to listen to. Also, I found an authorized dealer somewhat close to me who could get me the Silver 8s for very close to the same price as the M60s. I felt like for those two reasons, I wanted to give the MAs a shot. So this is what I purchased. S8s for fronts (phantom center for now), S1s for surrounds, an SVS PB12-ISD sub, all being driven by the HK 635. I got both sets of MAs in the Rosemah finish. Main speakers are 8' apart, and 8' from the listening area. Speakers are slightly toed in. My room is 15'x15'x15'.

I should start off by saying I am no audiophile. This is my first set of quality speakers, so YMMV. I have had the system now for about two weeks and these are my impressions. The clarity is very good. At first this took a bit of an adjustment. I wasn't used to hearing instruments and voices that clear. Detail is good, though I know some speakers do detail a bit more. Imaging is good. I love the soundstage. I have noticed with alot of classical and acoustic music that some instruments sound roughly at the speakers, while others seem further back. I love the depth that gives to some recordings. The balance of the MAs is excellent and I believe this to be one of its strongpoints. Clean and good detail in the highs, solid midrange, and tight bass. The C-CAM drivers allow the speakers to have a very quick response but the alloy is usually a little less bright sounding than many other metal drivers. So good detail without the brightness. The S8s and S10s are sometimes known for overwhelming bass but I have not noticed it. I do have them a few feet from each wall so I am sure that has helped. I am impressed that the 6" drivers can put out such punchy bass. I would say classical and acoustic music sound excellent with these speakers. I was surprised that many of my dance/techo sounds really good. Rock seems to vary. Just like I have heard with the Axioms some rock recordings do come off a bit bright, but most of them are very listenable, just not as impressive as other well recorded CDs. For HT I have found the Silvers to be excellent. I was worried that with the soundstage not quite as forward as the M60s I would be a bit disappointed. I have not been. The clarity and midrange serves the speakers well when watching movies. When I first guessed my movies to music ratio, I thought it would be 70-30. Since I have had these speakers it is the opposite. I am motivated by these speakers to revisit my music collection. As far as the other things in the setup I must give kudos to the SVS PB12. This sub easily fills my room at about 30-40% gain with only 320 watts. For those of you who like your bass in the 500+ watt range, I salute the walls in your homes. They must be structurally quite sound. I am really liking the HK 635. It has very good power and matches well with the MAs. I do sometimes get overwhelmed with all of its features and settings, but hopefully sometime soon I can get a good understanding of everything it has to offer. On the HK I like to listen between -20 and -30. -20 is what I would consider "comfortably" loud. -10 to -20 is good too, but definitely getting quite loud. Anything above -10 my ears get congested and it is just too much.

These are well rounded speakers. However, if I had to mention some weaknesses I would say the detail might not be quite as much as some would like. For those who like a really forward speaker the MAs are a little bit more recessed. I think the imaging is good but I wouldn't say it is excellent.

If you can't tell, I am very happy with my purchase. I know I must be liking these speakers when I look forward to the next time I can listen to music on them. I was worried about the tinnitus and listening fatigue, but I haven't noticed any yet unless it was at really loud volumes for extended periods. Are there better speakers out there? Of course. However I think the MAs (just like the Axioms) give very good performance for the price. I think the law of diminishing returns does apply to many of us that don't have endless amounts of cash. For that both speakers are an excellent value.

I can't thank enough those of you who helped me with my decision and my endless questions. Your patience is much appreciated. This is a lifelong audio journey for all of us and I think most here try to be considerate and supportive. This is a great board with alot of good people. Thanks for letting me come along for the ride.

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#95353 - 05/21/05 06:22 AM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6024
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Congratulations on the new arrivals. That's a great system you have there... no wonder you're listening to more music than you expected
_________________________
HT: M60ti/VP180/QS8, SVS PC+ 20-39, EP500
Music: M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
Idle: M2ti, M3v4, VP100
John

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#95354 - 05/21/05 09:35 AM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
TNT: Great! Enjoyment your investment.

That's what its all about, anyway.

I like your comment about the point of diminishing returns. I think that it applies to many of us. I'm 58 and I'm sure that I don't hear as well as I used to, not that I would have ever claimed to have had excellent hearing. But, I do enjoy listening to good "sound." And, I really like the HT experience.

The Rat.
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#95355 - 05/21/05 10:29 AM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
chesseroo Offline
axiomite

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5171
Loc: western canada
A well written post Ryan.
Perhaps you should compare notes with Winterpeg (Troy) who recently purchased both the M80s and the MA S8s.
Getting the S8s for near the same price as the M60s is a steal. They are beautiful speakers.

After purchasing our Axiom system, my wife and i also picked up steam in listening to our music collection all over again. I'm still going through all the discs finding some surprisingly well recorded gems amongst some of my favorites. Unfortunately some other favorite discs have been rather disappointing and i continue to hope that some will be remastered into dvda formats or the like possibly shoring up some of the previous overdone mixing efforts. One can only hope the original taping was not the final version released on cd.

_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#95356 - 05/21/05 10:40 AM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Ryan-
Great post! Don't feel like you have to be a stranger here because you ultimately chose MAs for your needs! This board would be boring if we all had the exact same thoughts and equipment!

And, quite frankly, if I made my way onto these boards as a potential Axiom customer and everyone here owned nothing but Axioms, (A) I don't think I would really trust anyone's opinions as much and (B) I probably wouldn't stick around long!
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#95357 - 05/21/05 11:29 AM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
bugbitten Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 2339
Loc: Madisonville, KY
Congrats on your system.

Mine is only a month old and I haven't even listened to any CD's yet. Either my son or I always have a dvd in the player. The change in movie enjoyment has me going through the whole collection and I'm sure I'll do the same with CDs later.

I have the same problem in both ears, but hey, life goes on.

Stay with this forum. Someone will be asking about your speakers sooner or later and now we will have an expert.

You wonder if anyone returns Axioms. I am returning the M60ti.

For 80s !!!!!!!!

Can't wait till Tuesday. 2nd Christmas in 2 months.

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#95358 - 05/21/05 12:34 PM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7463
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Congratulations on your new speakers. What more can you ask for--getting speakers you like for a good price. Tastes and wants often exceed budgets, but there are a few gems out there. Actually, more than a few thanks to the internet. Those S1s are quite good small speakers with a surprising amount of bass. Enjoy! And may I also welcome you to the MA club, a small but growing group.

Don't worry Axiom, I'm still budgeting to get M3Tis in a custom finish. . .just need a little more time.
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#95359 - 05/21/05 06:47 PM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
TNTguy Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 325
Loc: Utah
Thanks guys.

A few follow up thoughts. It's amazing how short audio memory can be. I hadn't listened to the Monitors for a couple of days when I posted the review. After doing some more listening today I would have to say I would upgrade my impression of clarity from "very good" to "excellent." These speakers are very clear and detailed without being harsh. I still don't know about speaker break in, but my brain is really loving this sound.

bridgman.....I love reading about all of the tweaks you are doing with your setup. I don't think I have seen anyone play with their setup quite as much as you do (well maybe Neverhappy). I look forward to the next "I wonder what this will sound like" thread.

bugbitten.....I am actually surprised how many people have tinnitus. On one hand I feel bad for others that have it but it also makes you sympathetic to other's plights and to know others can understand what you are going through. I have found out that many folks on this board have tinnitus. The dealer I bought the MAs from has it, as well as my father. I am hoping to get some speakers for him, perhaps the Axioms or MAs. I think he would love them if the tinnitus isn't too bothersome. It does seem like the tinnitus affects hearing in different ways. The MAs aren't bright to me but I know some with tinnitus that think they are. Again, speaker sound is a subjective thing to everyone. I look forward to hearing your 60s/80s comparisons.

Chess....I haven't gotten into SACD or DVD-A yet. I imagine I am going to be blown away when I can start getting my hands on some high resolution music. From reading some threads on this board I am really in for a treat. And just like Legairre, I have to credit you for that 7 speaker audition you did awhile back. That was truly great.

Mark....I think you make some really good points. Variation spices things up and gives us alot to talk about. I tried to be specific and gives details in my report but nothing, and I mean nothing, can touch your "Mother of all posts" thread. For those of you who haven't read it please do, it's fantastic.

St. Patguy....didn't you get the GR10s? I hope to hear those someday. They seem to be awesome speakers.

Rat...I know what you mean. I have wondered how the tinnitus has affected my hearing. Because I still do have normal hearing in one ear I can compare the two and it seems like I lose a little bit of clarity in my left ear but it isn't too bad.

One other ironic thing. Any of you guys remember my "how does Journey and Def Leppard sound on the M60s" thread? Come to find out I think Def Leppard sounds a bit poorer than many of the great sounding CDs on the MAs. They are still very listenable, just not quite the impressiveness other CDs possess. I have most of Journey's remastered CDs and they sound tremendous.

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#95360 - 05/22/05 11:18 AM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Very interesting indeed!!

It "Sounds" as though you've found something that slots right in there between the M50 and the M60!

Hummmmmm........!

(this may deserve some additional scrutiny!)
Rich.

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#95361 - 05/22/05 02:27 PM Re: Finally......I bought some speakers
BigWill Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 1951
Loc: Corona, Calif. USA!!!
Good job being patient and working for the best deal, TNT!
No speakers are perfect, but both the M60s and S8s come close, IMO. Since I've owned both speakers, I'd like to add a couple things, if I may:
-stuff that sounds good on S8s also sounds good on M60s. Conversely, stuff that sounds bad on M60s also sounds bad on S8s, IMO. The MAs may be a tad less detailed in the tweeter, but the upper midrange is more present, so similarly bad recordings sound similarly bad on each.
-Neither MAs nor Axioms metal drivers "ring".
Maybe the coating helps the MAs some, maybe not. But, after owning both speakers and hearing many others, I could NEVER EVER go back to paper drivers. I know it has been discussed before that the driver material isn't as important as the crossovers, speaker design, etc... (I have no clue about that stuff ), but most other speakers sound pretty dull and lifeless in comparison to either of these.
My $.02

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