Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue?

Posted by: jrock65

Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/07/06 03:51 PM

I've read that Axiom speakers are "bright".

I'm thinking of getting 5.1 speakers (M60 fronts) mainly for home theater use.

Are the Axiom speakers too bright? Do they lead to listening fatigue? Is it possible to reduce the brightness by turning down the treble setting?

Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/07/06 03:59 PM

Some say they are. They certainly give much more high "tactile" feedback. For instance, everything is very crisp and detailed in the high end range. That's what gives a great quality to them. I have the M22's, and it took a little bit to get used to all the high end I was missing. However, the M22's are considered as being "brighter" and more foreward speakers, meaning they reproduce audio very accurately, and arn't forgiving with bad recordings. Everything is "up front" and played just like it is played.

The M60's, on the other hand, are a tad bit more "laid back" and are not classified as "bright" as the M22's, mostly because the m22's have 2 5.25" woofers for midrange, the M60's have one.

I have heard people complain that the m22's are very bright, but have not heard people complain, if at all, that the m60's are bright.

I have the m22's and did indeed agree I was missing a lot of high end from an upgrade from really bad speakers, but it never bothered me as being bright or harsh. Many of the people who call axioms really bright have extremely reflective rooms. Metal tweeters will create lots of crisp high end sound that WILL sound harsh if your room is excessively reflective.

Anyways, I'm rambling. My answer to you is that if you set up the speakers correctly, the "brightness" will not be there. Axioms will have tons of detail in the high end that other speakers will leave out. Axioms give a very crisp and detailed high end that will let you hear every breath and guitar knick and squeek. It's amazing! Sometimes you hear all the "mouth noises" singers make. Kinda disguisting, but really cool at the same time that you can actually hear that kind of detail.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/07/06 04:49 PM

I do not feel the Axioms are bright at all. I have the M80s and have never had listener fatigue after hours upon hours of listening. The M2, M22, M60 and the M80s all have the same sonic signature. It is the M3 and M50s that are said to be a more laid back speaker in the Axiom line up.
Posted by: littleb

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/07/06 05:29 PM


This could be a long thread. I asked this very same question at this board about 400 years ago. There must have been a hundred zillion replies. I auditioned quite a few speakers before I ordered a pair of M22s only after I apologized to the forum members for using 'that' word. I auditioned many speakers I considered harsh sounding. I even brought a couple home. If you define 'b' as overextended highs, you would be wrong about the M22s. I would consider that issue a non-issue. However, as has been posted previously, they are more forward speakers, than you will find in BB or CC. The music or dialogue will seems to be right in front of you. You will not need much volume to make things seem right. If you like to listen at extreme volumes, it might be a bit much.
Posted by: ratpack

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/07/06 10:43 PM

Go look at the audio response as a function of frequency and tell me that they are bright!!!!!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 12:01 AM

Uh, Dan? Where'd you get the idea the 60s have less treble than the 22s? My understanding is that the 22s and the 60s have a fairly identical sound, other than the extra bass and presence from the 60s. The 3s and 50s are a little more laid back.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 12:30 AM

Let me guess Jrock, you've been hanging out over at AVSforum...

I've got about 1500 posts racked up over there, and have heard it all. Everything from Harsh, Bright, Ear Bleeding, etc... what a joke.

There are a few people over there that like to give Axiom a bad name, not sure why, but they do. I've owned many brands of speakers through the years, and I really love my Axiom speakers, and most likely will never change brands again.

If possible check the Audition thread in the Hearing Things forum to see if someone lives close to you and will let you have a listen, or you could make use of the 30day in home guarantee. I"m betting you'll keep them...

Welcome to the boards...


Posted by: JohnK

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 12:47 AM

JR, welcome. Wherever you read that, it simply isn't accurate. For a speaker to be "too bright" when being fed material which is well-produced with a flat response, the speaker would have to have a significantly elevated response over a broad area in the upper midrange/lower treble. Measurements show nothing of the sort and personal experience with good quality source material doesn't show it either. Speakers such as the Axioms which accurately reproduce what they've been fed will also reproduce the flaws in poor recordings. Using tone or equalization controls with such recordings can make them less objectionable.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 09:20 AM's an unsubstantiated and unscientific observation made after following the Axiom forum for nearly five years now(has it been that long already?)...but, going back a few years there "Were" a number of complaints about the "b" word and listening fatigue connected with the M60s. Enough of those complaints that I felt obligated to go with the M50s instead of the M60s back about a year ago when I needed to update to floorstanders.

If I were to be needing floorstanders today, I would instead probably go with the M60s, as the number of complaints against them has fallen to near "zero" in the last ten or twelve months.

In addition; we now know that there have been changes made to the crossover network of the M80, and while we haven't been given the info that the M60 has undergone similar changes.....
Posted by: jakeman

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 12:12 PM

I don't find the m80 or m60 bright either. They are amazingly accurate speakers, but I was wondering why this issue keeps coming up with speakers exhibiting flat FR. It's a crtiticism sometimes levelled against any speaker with linear response which I always felt was its most desirable feature. I've heard the same criticism against PSBs, Paradigms and Mackies to name just three other companies. I guess I wasn't the only one wondering because when I picked up the December issue of Home Entertainment magazine last month it featured an article with PSB's Paul Barton doing listening tests at the NRC on this topic.

Interestingly he found that a certain small group of listeners tended to associate linear FR above 5000hz with "brightness" in a speaker. The 5000hz inflection point seemed to be the point above which those listeners preferred a gently declining ("warmer") FR curve even though accuracy of the recording was compromised.

So I think the phenomena is real for a certain minor group of people. The same ones who seem to like "warmer" sound. What I don't understand is why those users exhibiting this sensitivity don't simply lower the upper range response with treble control or equalization in the receiver.

By the way some of the loudest crazies who love to bash Axiom at AVS are retail audio merchants who feel threatened by internet sellers. One of them even goes so far to complain about ringing from aluminum drivers even though he admits to tintinitis in the ear where he hears the ringing.
Posted by: ratpack

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 12:24 PM

jake: a few months ago, Alan gave a good description on one of these threads of what is happening. Maybe someone can give the specific link.

If I recall correctly, he said that some of the source material is "adjusted" in the mid ranges to compensate for the boom boxes and other "cheap" speakers that are commonly used by many. Thus, when this material is played through "good" speakers which are neutral/ flat response, it seems that they are "bright."

I don't know that you can do much about that situation.
Posted by: bugbitten

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 12:34 PM

I find my Axioms to be very accurate and not coloring the sound bright or warm.
Posted by: Ajax

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 01:32 PM

In reply to:

By the way some of the loudest crazies who love to bash Axiom at AVS are retail audio merchants who feel threatened by internet sellers. One of them even goes so far to complain about ringing from aluminum drivers even though he admits to tintinitis in the ear where he hears the ringing.

John, I, of course, know exactly who you are talking about. I was amazed to see him appear in a Klipsch thread spouting the same denigrating insults he heaps on Axioms, and hyping the speaker brand he sells. It turns out that he sells ONLY that one brand, and introduces it into every thread in which he posts. He is a master of subtle marketing (or not so subtle, depending upon how you look at it).

He refers to the speakers which are the subject of the thread as:

1. "massively overpriced"
2. "phenomenally ugly"
3. "flawed because of their design"
4. "great speakers, right up until you find out what you're missing" (I'm particularly fond of this argument. He's saying, in essence, "If you only knew better, you wouldn't like these speakers, i.e. you're ignorant).

He continues with Klipsch are:

5. "OK, if you're an average listener" (more of the "you'd like these speakers only if you're ignorant" argument)
6. "I guess I'm just used to a much higher level of performance."
7. "I hereby give you permission to enjoy your system, despite all its limitations"

And believe me, that's just a small percentage of his garbage. He uses much the same trash in Axiom threads.

Another little trick of his is to point out all the brands (including Axiom) that people have traded in to buy his brand, thus implying that his brand MUST be superior or these people wouldn't have traded their speakers for his. Never mind that we could probably find just as many people, if not more, who have traded in HIS brand for other brands. ALL speaker brands get traded in, for pete's sake.

Get this! When people who own Klipsch object to being referred to as "average" and "not knowing what they're missing, he has the gall to say:

"Well, note that all I did was put in my 2¢ and.....At least I haven't personally attacked anyone here personally."

Oh sure! No one should take it personally if they are referred to as being ignorant. Don't you love it?

But, here is the topper! He admits that he has NEVER HEARD THE KLIPSCH SYSTEM THAT WAS THE SUBJECT OF THE THREAD! After making all those derogatory comments, the last post in the thread is his. It says:

"Well, I heard the Ultras today. I'll let it go at that. I just wanted people to know that, yes, I bothered to listen."

Just in case anyone is interested.

NEWBIE - Buying Klipsch - HELP!!

DISCLAIMER: I apologize to all for bringing the AVS dissention over to our relatively peaceful corner of the web. I do so only to point out to jrock65 that what you get on that forum, and for that matter, on all forums are OPINIONS.

It's OK to factor those opinions into the decision making process. Just don't make your decision based on opinions alone. The only way to know the sound of ANY speaker brand, and decide if that sound is for you, is to listen to it yourself.
Posted by: littleb

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 02:31 PM

We're up to 12 now guys. Let's keep 'em comin'. Jack, it's really hard to believe that dealers in Whatever, Kansas, or pic-a-town and state are that fearful of Axiom. I've always wondered why the AVS bashers seem to reserve their wrath for Axiom. What about the other online retailers. They don't seem to regard Rockets as threatening. What gives?
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 03:47 PM

Ajax, just looking at that thread makes me want to rip on that guy. I'm so thankful the Axiom forums are so peaceful. Everyone is accepting of each others opinions. We arn't having a war over silly things. Everyone has an opinion, and once your opinion is voiced, it's your's, it's what you think, and no one should make fun of you for it.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 03:55 PM

I learned to stop hanging on AVS that much, it was raising my blood pressure.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 04:17 PM

Ahhh! I read another thread. My blood pressure definately jumped up a few notches.

I love the many...accusations, pride issues, misreading of what someone read and making an accusation based on that misreading, fanboyism and claims of not bashing something when clearly the object is being bashed, personal opinions meaning everything in the world to people...yeah. And then, what makes everything really interesting is that the thread, instead of dealing what it was supposed to be about, deals with trying to calm everyone down and sort out all of the accusations. Once everything seems to be dieing down a bit, some random person comes in and says, "Hey, help me in deciding with this."
Posted by: jrock65

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 05:17 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. Axiom speakers seem like they're pretty good. I'm interested in this package:

I'm not really an audiophile (I am somewhat of a videophile though), so I don't need anything THAT fancy or the very best. As long as the speakers sound good and look good, I'm cool with that.

I just wanted to get assurance that the Axioms don't lead to fatigue becaue they're "too" bright.

Also, excuse my newbieness, but if speakers sound too bright (whether Axioms or anything else), can't you just make it less bright by turning down treble?

Posted by: Ajax

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 05:24 PM

Trust me, Bruce. Rocket gets it share of the same garbage. The brand hasn't gotten much flack lately because there simply haven't been many recent threads concerning Rockets, while there have been a number of threads about Axiom over the past few months. Guys like the one in the Klipsch thread just focus on whatever speaker thread deals with a brand they dislike or whose success they view as threatening.

Recently one poster at AVS expressed an interest in an new Emotiva product soon to be released by av123. He wanted more information and said: "I guess I will have to go to the AV123 forums, which I assume will be very biased".

My reply:

"Of course people at av123 are biased. Do you feel you get unbiased opinions here [AVS forum]? Everyone here has their biases. The difference is, at av123, most, but not all, of those biases favor av123 products, while here we have a smörgåsbord of biases.

I'm one who believes there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion or, for that matter, an unbiased human being. I am skeptical of those who claim they, or their opinions, are unbiased. Sometimes, if the circumstances are right, we can get close to an unbiased opinion, but even that's rare.

Shoot, I can be watching a football game in which I have no vested interest in who is victorious, and I suddenly realize I'm rooting for one of them. When I start to examine why I'm pulling for that particular team, I find the answer can be something as simple as I don't like the other team's uniforms.

I don't feel there's anything wrong with having biases. The problems arise when one fails, or is unwilling, to recognize and admit their bias, and thus doesn't allow for, or try to prevent, those biases influencing their opinions or behavior.

Are we biased here? Of course we are. We happen to hold Axiom the company, and Axiom the product in high regard, and this IS the Axiom forum. Anyone who comes here for information should assume that bias, and allow for it. That being said however, many times other companies products are often recommended here. We do a pretty good job of keep the correct goal in mind, which is helping the one seeking information to obtain a system with which they will be happy. The same can not be said for all too many at the AVS forum.

Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 05:30 PM

jrock65, if you order, make sure you check out the Factory Outlet link on the Store page, you save 10% and they are still new speakers with the same warrantly.

The Epic 60-350 was my first order, I later ordered two more Qs8's for 7.1, and recently upgraded to an EP500 as my room is huge. You'll be very happy with that setup and be grinning from ear to ear just listening to the awesome sound.
Posted by: Ajax

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 05:47 PM

He means he recently upgraded to a 500. When you get to be as old as Randy, you have these senior moments.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 05:55 PM

Jack you must be having a senior moment, what the heck are ya talking about man?

ps: I love the edit feature, ha ha
Posted by: jakeman

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 06:17 PM

Yes Jack that guy is a piece of work and it bugs me too when he trashes Axiom and spreads misinformation to people just looking for some knowledge. Like yourself I can't help but go after him and set the record straight especially because his agenda is so transparent.

This place is definitly more pleasant than AVS but there is much to be learned there as well.
Posted by: jakeman

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 06:31 PM

Hi Ratpack. Got to agree with Alan especially because he is right 99% of the time (though he and I had one hec of a lively discussion about the merits of Dolby and DTS one night in early December after dinner.) All recordings and recording engineers are not created equally. Their interpretations and biases are accurately reproduced on the m80/m60s for sure.

That research by Paul Barton showed some empirical evidence as to why some people are more sensitive to upper range material and are likely more willing to say certain speakers sound "bright" whereas I would say they sound clear and transparent. Those people would likely prefer less accurate speakers that have a "house" type curve of declining FR in the upper range. What I find ironic is they tend to then describe speakers with unlinear response as accurate and detailed which just isn't right.
Posted by: oz350z

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 07:05 PM

Excellent post! Your reply on the AV123 forum is totallly accurate. I kow this is a stretch and I have no intention of thread hijacking but I read this somewhere and thought that it accurately demonstrates the dynamics behind your statement. Unfortunately I did not get the name of the person who wrote it. It was during a period when I was doing research on religious freedom, but I think it is appropriate to anything.

In reply to:

Each of us has experienced the weight of another's Shadow upon us and have resented it, just as each of us is responsible for casting our own Shadow on others. This is especially true of religion. As individuals, we must find our own spiritual path. But, as soon as an individual finds the source of their own light, they hold it close, and their shadow ends up being cast out on everything else. The stronger the light, and the closer we hold it, the larger and darker the shadow looms. Until everything but your own light seems like darkness.

I'm not trying to be heavy here. I just think it is human nature to defend the choices we make. The more we research and invest time and especially MONEY into that decision, the more we will defend it. The most important thing is "we are all right" for our particular set of circumstances. Ears, room acoustics, personal preferences and yes even appearance. All of this is opinion. That is why it is essential to listen and maybe even look closely, (if that is what is important to you) to what you think you want to buy.
Why take my word for it? I'm older, and Im sure have decreased sensitivity to high frequencies. Do you want to take my word for it? I wouldn't! But I'll give it to you anyway.

(to the original poster)

I have the M60ti in a stereo only set up. I had heard all the suff about Axiuoms making you ears bleed with their extreme brightness. THEN I AUDITIONED THEM. THIS IS WHAT I'M TRYING TO GET ACROSS. For me and my personal preferences, I thought they were great. My opinion is that the speakers are very "detailed". That means they will reproduce the source material for better or worse. That means sometimes they seem bright. Sometimes I think I'm getting listener fatigue. Then I change the CD and put on a disc that is considered an "audiophile quality" recording. Considered by whom? It doesn't really matter. The thing is that these speakers have the ability to blow my socks off with certain source material. Just today I listened to two live recordings. First I listened to Jerry Garcia Band "Don't Let Go Live" 1976. The guitar and vocals on this cd sounded very good for the year and the fact that it was a live recording, but the drums sounded awful. I thought there was something wrong with my speakers. I then put on Eric Clapton Live at the Hammersmith 1974, and all was well. The thing is you have to listen, and if at all possible (with Axiom it is)listen in your own space. There is so much more than the drivers, tweeters and the box design going on.There is room size and shape and characteristics. There is also furnishings, carpeting and whether or not there are drapes on the windows.

I think it is great that you have made your way to the Axiom forums. It shows that you did your homework. You probably read many many reviews. I would wager that most of them were positive, but there were a few that made you have doubts. I had them too. That is when I set up an audition. That is what you should do as well. Audition as many other brands as you can also. That way you won't be constantly wondering "Did I make the right decision?" Whatever you do don't let reviews or someone else make you decision for you.
Posted by: spiffnme

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 07:56 PM

jrock65: If there's a B&W dealer in your area, stop in and ask to demo their 703 towers. If you like their sound, place your order for the Axiom M60ti's. You'll have just about the exact same sound quality, and you'll have saved yourself a big pile of cash to buy DVD's and CD's.

Posted by: Ajax

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 08:09 PM

Great stuff, Oz. I agree that it's human nature to defend one's purchases. However, that only becomes imperative when someone finds it necessary to attack someone else's purchase. I'm sure we can all agree that speaker preference is a VERY subjective decision. The one I like is the one you may loath. What I resent is the need to objectify that decision by running down the preferences of others - the old "I can't be right unless you are wrong" thing. How do I make you wrong? Easy, I just demonstrate that the product you like is a "bad" product. Cuz, if the product you like is a "good" product, then maybe I'M wrong . People who find this necessary just don't get the concept that two opposing opinions can each be "right."

Simple example. It is generally considered that Citizen Kane is the "best" motion picture ever made. I've never liked it. For whatever reason, it has never caught my imagination, or my heart, or whatever. However, objectively, it probably IS the "best" movie ever made. Subjectively, I don't like it. Both of those positions are accurate and "correct." I feel no need to justify my subjective opinion by telling you, or anyone, that it is a bad movie, or make others feel stupid for liking it.

When you separate "good" and "bad," from "like" and "dislike," it can be quite liberating. I no longer feel the need to "like" things that others feel are "good," nor dislike things others feel are "bad." Now THAT'S freedom!

Pretty sneaky Randy!!!!!!!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 08:20 PM

You're an intellectual hippie. You're everything that was good about the 60s rolled into one....
Posted by: oz350z

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 08:52 PM

That's exactly what I'm talking about! Although, I disagree with two things you have said.
1. I feel it happens all too often with out any attack or provocation what so ever. I'm not sure if it comes more from someone's insecurity or ego. [but probably both).
2. By the way, your absolutely wrong about Citizen Kane being the greatest movie and I can prove it. But you have to tell me what movie you think is the best , so I can trash it to support my stance.

Posted by: Ajax

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/08/06 09:18 PM

1. Agreed, it does. It's kinda the other side of the "trash yours to make mine right" coin.
2. LOL! I could never say which is my favorite movie. I have too many to count, and the list is constantly being added to and subtracted from.

Thanks Mark. That was a nice compliment (I think; I hope )
Posted by: littleb

Re: Axiom speakers too bright? Leads to fatigue? - 01/09/06 07:18 AM

And might I add this jrock65, when you get your Axioms and hook them up to your equipment, they will sound astounding right out of the box. Whatever your using for amplification won't matter, unless your getting the M80s, no one at the AVS forum will tell you that the reason they don't sound right is that you need to upgrade your receiver, add a power amp, etc, etc. You won't have to wonder about break-in periods, such as if I had only kept them and played them for 300 hours they would sound pretty good. And you won't have to worry about the stiffness of Kevlar or whatever other excuse you can think of. And you won't get a rude email from Axiom for asking them what you are possibly doing wrong to make these speakers sound so lousy. For these reasons, and especially the latter, I personally wouldn't buy a B&W product now or in the future. If you buy an Axiom product you can rest assured that you will have a top notch product and equally impressive customer service. And lastly, you will have to excuse Bruce for his rant. &