Rebuilding my HT

Posted by: exlabdriver

Rebuilding my HT - 10/20/11 02:20 PM

Greetings from Vancouver Island - first post to this Forum.

As I recently posted to the 'Stereo Forum' I am a longtime Axiom listener & still use my 1991 AX2s plus vintage Velo F1000 in my audio only system.

As for my separate HT, in my untreated 2500 cu ft room I've been using my 'too' expensive Sony Kf-50XBR800 Rear Projection TV from 2003 (HDMI/DVI) for all of these years. It still works beautifully on its second bulb; however, I think that I'm one of the last people still using this old technology, ha!!

Sound was provided by a big Sony SA-VA55 tower speaker system that featured an internal amp in the left tower & wireless IR to the rears (I'm on a slab). But alas, even though it still provided decent sounds for many years, the original Pro Logic decoding with mono rear channels became obsolete for today's sound tracks.

This summer I started updating my HT sound system in stages in order to spread out the costs. I started with twin Velodyne DLS-3750R 10" subs that FS had on clearance at $300 CAD each (Velodyne's new website price is $599/$550 US with no international shipping!!). I then bought the last Denon AVR-891 online from Best Buy Canada for $450 vs list of $800.

I resurrected a couple of vintage speakers from the early 1980s - a pair of Koss M/80 Dyna Mite bookshelfs & RS Minimus 7s for the rears - to use while I waited to purchase some Axioms. My temporary system actually sounds surprisingly good to my ears. After the Audyssey setup, the twin subs really rattle the house & nicely vibrate my leather couches. The diminutive Koss M/80s perform astonishingly well for their size & age; however, I'm scared that some of the peak levels will cough their drivers out onto the floor, ha!

My elegant Sony TV stand is space challenged, so inserting a center speaker is difficult (although it seems that the VP100 will fit). I will experiment with my present fine Sony SS-LAC305ED center speaker to see how it blends with my new system.

Last weekend I won 2 Axiom auctions of M22s plus QS4s at substantial savings - much less stressful than e-bay!!. They have shipped & should be here early next week. I'll be using the 2 Velos as speaker stands for the M22s as they are really nice looking subs. They fit perfectly - nicely flanking the TV stand.

In anticipation of the Axiom arrivals, yesterday I spent three hours on my knees removing baseboards, hiding rear wires & replacing the boards. I didn't break anything, but it wasn't fum. Unfortunately, hole filling & touchup painting is now in my future.

So, for about $1860, I think that I'll have a quality system that is appropriate for my moderately sized room.

Comox, BC
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/20/11 02:36 PM

I think that will be a wonderful system!

After you get the M22's, please take some time to experiment with speaker placement, which can make a HUGE difference. I'm concerned that the subs may be a bit too short to optimize the M22's, whose tweeters should end up at about ear-height relative to your listening position.

Nice buys! I admire your patience.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/20/11 02:57 PM

This is a small forum (family) and you have 6 posts, so not first. smile Welcome by the way...
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/20/11 05:17 PM

Tom, in addition to Tom's(tuttle) excellent advice, also make sure the edge of the M22 is flush with the face of the sub or protruding slightly to negate reflections from it's surface.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/20/11 08:35 PM

Thanks for the advice.

I too was concerned about the height of the M22s on top of the Velos; however, my present Koss M/80s seem to demonstrate no appreciable deficit in sound. I figure that the M/80 tweeters are even lower by about 10 inches as contrasted to where the M22s will be as the Koss tweeters are actually in the center (6" above the top of the Velo) with the mid drivers above & below.

The FMS 16 stands that are an Axiom accessory for the M22s are 16" high & the Velos are 16.5" high. Therefore, I think that the Velos might be pretty close to being ideal - I hope so as I think that this configuration will look pretty cool.

Anyway, some experimentation will undoubtedly be required.

Comox, BC
Posted by: SBrown

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/20/11 09:13 PM

Hi fellow Islander,

I have my M80,s on top of my PS-1000 subs and they sound fantastic. I see no reason that yours would be any different....enjoy!
Posted by: casey01

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/21/11 12:14 PM

Unlike most consumers, you have spent the time and effort necessary to get the best bang for your buck within the framework of your budget and space requirements. Once you have everything put together I am sure you will be rewarded for your efforts. Good job!
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/21/11 01:57 PM

Yup, being retired, I am able to spend lots of time researching - perhaps too much time - on the net. Fine forums like this are such a wonderful depository of knowledge.

While I am a long time audio & video enthusiast, I do not drive myself crazy trying to determine or optimize every nuance of a recording. While audio performance is the main concern, aesthetics are very important as well. The system has to look good & balanced in my room, although it may not be absolutely ideal for sound. Highly critical listening is not my thing - I just try to enjoy the material. I therefore am not subject to that horrible affliction - chronic upgraditis, ha!

My longstanding experience with my Axiom AX2s brought me back to the Axiom fold even though I auditioned many speakers locally. Hopefully my new Axioms will bring me just as much pleasure as my vintage set has over the past 20 years....

Comox, BC
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/26/11 01:03 AM

I am quite certain you will be very happy with your new speakers and possibly a bit surprised at the sonic differences you will hear between the M22's and the old AX2's.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/26/11 03:56 AM

My M22s & QS4s arrived all OK yesterday. They exude a fine, high quality appearance. The M22s perched on top of my twin Velo subs look really nice - at least to me.

The powered wall mounts for the QS4s are really slick & convenient; however, my initial Audyssey calibration has the surrounds out of phase, although they sound fine to me with Avia's test tones & I'm sure that they are hooked up correctly. More investigation required I guess.

Initial music testing with the Clapton/Winwood DVD in stereo sounds great although more tweeking may be required. I'll report back with my impressions when it's finally set up.

I'm sending some pics to include in the 'Wall of Fame'.

As for the differences between the AX2s & M22s, I won't A/B them as the AX2s are set up in my audio only system upstairs.

Comox, BC
Posted by: Amie

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/26/11 10:24 AM

I've got Tom's Rebuilt Home Theater Pictures up on the Wall'o'Fame now! See them all here:

Tom's Rebuilt Home Theater

Posted by: jakewash

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/27/11 02:20 AM

I think we are looking at Axiom's next version of the M22 with a built in sub for each speaker. Looks good. smile
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Rebuilding my HT - 10/30/11 05:41 PM

Well, it has been a week since my M22s & QS4s were delivered & installed into my rebuilt HT. After some pleasureable testing
throughout the week, I am most pleased with the results.

I sorted out the QS4 'out of phase' problem (I reread the connection section in the manual, ha!!). I decreased the volume to 25 on the twin Velo subs & solved my sub hum problem. Then I reran the Audyssey Calibration in a different position that now
encompasses 2 sweet spots (R & L ends of perpendicular couches). The results seem good & all testing was carried out with the resulting Audyssey settings.

Let the fun begin. I watched 2 movies that I hadn't seen before - U-571 & Thor - that are known to have dynamic soundtracks to say the least. I was home alone with the cats so I ran U-571 at the full 0db Ref Level. My gawd, it was downright scary at times. I thought that the QS4s were going to leap off of the walls! The cats wisely retreated to the far end of the house for the duration. Thor was almost as impressive at -5db (WAF!!). The system showed no signs of distress at all - no clipping nor sub driver bottoming.

Musically, I watched/listened in stereo to the CLapton/Winwood 'Live in Madison Square Garden' DVD - simply wonderful.

The CD (played on my DVD Player) Eric Clapton 'Clapton' was stunning, especially the last track 'Autumn Leaves'.

There has been much written about the fine qualities of the M22s & QS4s. I echo all of those positve comments & find the sound presentation of these speakers to be superb both for movies & music.

Couple of observations:

During the interview portions of the Clapton/Winwood DVD, I noted some harsh 'S'es with spoken voice but this was hardly
noticeable during the musical selections. The Clapton CD demonstrated none of this condition.

When playing Avia's Pink Noise Tones, the M22s are definitely brighter than the QS4 Surrounds & Sony SS-LAC305ED Center; however, I find no distraction nor detriment to the actual material that I've heard. What is interesting - the QS4s & the Sony Center sound virtually identical to each other. Dialogue is nicely resolved by the tilted-up Sony so I think that I'll stick with it for the time being as space on my stand is limited.

I am more than pleased with my choice of speakers. In my 2500 Cu Ft room, they easily fill the space with good sound, ably handle the most dynamic soundtracks & are highly musical. The Axioms, when paired up with the twin Velodynes, just sound right to me. They certainly will not be going back!!

Comox, BC