Which bookshelf to get?

Posted by: Royi

Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 07:01 AM

Hi.
I am thinking of buying a bookshelf.
My use is: 50% stereo 50% home cinema (ofcourse the stereo is more important).
Room dimensions: 5.5X4 meters.
will be connected (currently) to a NAD 3020 for stereo and a HT receiver for movies.
is the M3 will be enough for my room or should i get the M22.
what are the main differences between them?
Thanks!
Royi
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 12:27 PM

Welcome to the forum. \:\)

M3s do not have to overall output of the M22, read that as the M22s work better in a larger room and the M22s have more midrange/upper end clarity than the M3s. You can simulate the bass hump the M3s have(use without a subwoofer) with a boost of 3db in the bass management with the M22s.

That appears to be a fairly large room so I would recommend the M22s over the M3s, then again I prefer the M22s to the M3s so I am biased ;\)
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 12:50 PM

I have an average sized living room and M22's w/o a SW. I ordered a pair of M3's as a gift, but when I get them, I'm going to open the boxes and place them on top of my M22's and do some A/B comparison, between swapping speaker wires on the receiver (or using a different zone).
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 01:43 PM

Excellent. That's a datapoint I don't remember seeing here, and a very important ones.

FWIW when I was A/B-ing M2 vs M3 I tried a few arrangements and concluded that side-by-side placement was a slightly more valid test than one-on-top-of-the-other because the speaker position relative to your ear would be less affacted.

If one speaker is right beside the other then you can kind of "lean left" vs "lean right" when the speakers are being switched to maintain a relatively constant ear-to-speaker relationship.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 03:48 PM

A lot of people, when they A/B speakers, seem to place one pair on the outside of the other pair....AB...BA. It would seem to me to be a better idea to stagger them to maintain the same spread and not give either of them an imaging/soundstage advantage...AB....AB...
Posted by: audiosavant

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 04:46 PM

Here is another biased vote for the M22's!

Paired with a subwoofer, the M22 is the best bargain in audio. Full range music listening that will knock you out.

And used as mains in a HT set-up will also net you unreasonably awesome playback for your visuals.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 04:52 PM

 Originally Posted By: audiosavant
Here is another biased vote for the M22's!

Paired with a subwoofer, the M22 is the best bargain in audio. Full range music listening that will knock you out.

And used as mains in a HT set-up will also net you unreasonably awesome playback for your visuals.


The purpose of the M3's is because 1) they cost less for me, and 2) the gift recipient does not have money to spend on sound equipment, so therefore, no sub woofer. Sacrifice a little on mid-range to get a little more on bass. But, we'll see.
Posted by: Royi

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 05:28 PM

I own a Sub Woofer.
Never used it on stereo only on movies since now i own a floorstanding speakers providing enough bass for me.
Since I am moving to bookshelfs i will consider using my sub (a cerwin wega 12") for stereo also, don't know how it will sound.
Posted by: audiosavant

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 05:56 PM

With a properly dialed in sub, the M22's rival floorstanding speakers costing much, much more.

What type of floorstanding speaker are you currently using?

From what I've read, it seems that the M3 would be an excellent choice for two channel playback without a sub.

Or the M60 and up if your budget and room size allow.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 05:56 PM

I have a pair of M2s, M22tis, and had a pair of M3Tis. I walk a lonely road here, but I prefer the M3s with or without a sub to all the M2x series speakers.

Sounds richer ... better mid bass, better bass, better for jazz, and female vocals. Can get a bit chesty with male vocals.

If you won't have a sub for a while then IMNSHO there's no comparison. M3Tis.

Best regards and g'luck.

BTW, M3s are a perfect speaker for a nice SET 5wpc tube amp.
Posted by: audiosavant

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/14/09 06:45 PM

 Originally Posted By: 2x6spds


BTW, M3s are a perfect speaker for a nice SET 5wpc tube amp.



Yes, that would be excellent for music playback.

I'm planning on setting up a dedicated two channel (no television allowed!) listening area with M80's mated with the EP 600 and Prima Luna tube amplification.

Can't wait!
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/15/09 08:20 AM

I'm curious about the Prima Lunas - I've heard nothing but good things about them. Funny, but for 2 channel listening unless you have a huge room, I'd go with a pair of book shelves and a sub rather than a pair of towers. M3s image so beautifully, and with a good sub and an Antique Sound Labs MG S1 15 DT, I realized THE WALL OF SOUND. Of course I got very similar results with a pair of M22 like Michaura M55s. What I cannot understand is why I did not get the same results with a pair of M22s.

Scratch head.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/18/09 11:50 PM

 Originally Posted By: CatBrat
I have an average sized living room and M22's w/o a SW. I ordered a pair of M3's as a gift, but when I get them, I'm going to open the boxes and place them on top of my M22's and do some A/B comparison, between swapping speaker wires on the receiver (or using a different zone).


Well, I got the M3's and I have them placed on top of the M22's. Can't side by side them because the wall space only supports one at a time and I only have stands for one set.

I attached the mike to a tripod and ran the auto eq for both sets of speakers. What supprised me was the 9 band eq was almost flat for the M3's but not for the M22's.

My Pioneer receiver allows me to Play the same input using the Tuner but not the BD player. So, when I listened to a CD or Movie/Music video, I had to turn off the receiver and swap bananna plugs for the speakers in the front channel. But for Tuner, I could switch eq setting, mute, switch zones, then unmute. I did this back and forth over and over again.

I'm used to the sound of the M22, so my first impression was the M22's sounded good, while the M3 sound was less bright and toned down to an unacceptable level. But, the M3's have a much nicer low level, so therefore more suitable for a system without a subwoofer like I had thought.

Once you get used to the M3's, they sound very nice, a more solid sound. But, I still prefer the sound from the M22's even without the extra bass, though. They just sound so much clearer.

Well, probably nothing here that anyone would consider new, but it does confirm what everyone has said.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/19/09 12:24 AM

You're right, nothing new but try this, add a 3 db boost via bass settings to mimic the the bass hump(actually the M3s have a depressed midrange but I digress) the M3s have, this is the best of both worlds. \:\)

The M22s are actually capable of more bass output than the M3's as the dual 5.25's have more surface area than the single 6.5" and with the bigger cabinet it can play some nice bass, it's just that the rest of the frequency is played with the same authority so the bass doesn't sound as strong.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/19/09 08:31 AM

I've tried this in the past with a Sony receiver that has the ability to boost bass by decibles, but found 2 db boost the best. With the Pioneer, I have to adjust a 9 band eq instead and I guess, I'd have to up the bottom 2 or 3 instead. I'll try that later.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/19/09 11:52 AM

Before you do that, go into the Audio Parameters, and enable Loudness (it's a per-input setting, so if you like it, you'll have to do it for each). That provides a variable bass boost depending on the volume setting. The human ear is more sensitive to treble at lower volumes, so as you turn down the main level it slowly brings up the bass (poor man's DynamicEQ).
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/19/09 04:19 PM

The Loudness didn't seem to produce any audible difference. Perhaps I had the volume up too loud already. But I did find the 0-6db bass and treble boost. It was hidden. You had to change the tone function from Bypass to On. Found it in the manual \:\) . It's at bass +2 db now, but need more time to tell if I like it or not.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/19/09 04:29 PM

Indeed the Loudness setting has little effect at higher volumes (by design). I still like to have it on, as it does help keep the bass audible at lower levels.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/19/09 05:15 PM

I turned loudness back on, but reset the bass boost from +2 to +1. This kind of boost sounds artificial to me and with this particular receiver it's not really needed.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/21/09 11:10 AM

Just so I can beat this topic to death, while watching an acoustical music video at high volume (about -18db) I noticed too much artificial bass, when I switched the Loudness option back off, it went away.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/21/09 01:00 PM

Hmmm, -18 dB is where I watch just about everything. I don't ever notice what seems like extra bass (I don't use the Tone control at all), actually without the Loudness things seem a little anemic in the bass range. Have you run the MCAAC? With 3-position standing wave attenuation? I think that would still have a little effect even with 2 channels, because it does make adjustments for the main (center, and sub too, if you have them).

Though as I'm always quick to say, what ever sounds best to you. \:\)
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/21/09 01:53 PM

The first thing I did on setup was run the MCAAC. Then again when I used a tripod. The loudness setting was very noticable when listening at -18db to the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Live at Radio City concert. I had the Tone Bass set at +3db. But, for acoustical guitars, that still seemed like too much bass, +2db would probably have been better. I think the recording was probably engineered with bass emphasis and not flat at all.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 12/21/09 02:16 PM

It could very well be the recording. The DTS versions of Bjork's Surrounded boxset are so bass heavy they sound completely unnatural--regardless of the settings. That's one problem, as your equipment gets better, flaws in the material being played become more obvious. But from what I've heard, that recording is supposed to be a very impressive.
Posted by: bonobothegreat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 08:31 PM

Hi folks,

I'm shopping for speakers for the first time in 17 years and can't decide which bookshelf units to get and was hoping to get some sense of perspective regarding the M22. Many comments and reviews say that they need a sub-woofer but I'm wondering how much this really matters to the casual listener.

As a point of comparison, I was recently gifted some Audioengine A5s for my computer and think they sound pretty good but feel they lack any decent mid-range. Their 5" woofers put out as much bass as I'll ever need, so I figured that the M22, with two of these sized woofers, should have at least as much punch. Is my thinking right about that? The Audioengines are so well reviewed, I wondered if I my mid-range hearing isn't what it used to be and googling has led me to the M22.

I listen to Eno, Bowie, older jazz, power pop, blues on a '93 low-end Denon DRA-345 receiver (8 ohm, 45W x 2). The living room (12x20x9' ceilings) is in a biggish, creaky 90 year old home with hardwood floors. My recently toasted Paradigm Titans (Performance Series) always sounded fine to me (and I always had the bass way down).

So I guess it all boils down to wether or not my cheap old receiver can drive the M22s and if the lack of bass is really a problem if I don't plan on upgrading the receiver or adding a sub for the foreseeable future. Would I be just as well off with the M2 or M3?

Thanks,
Paul
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 09:32 PM

Paul, to be honest, I don't think the A5's are even in the same ballpark as Axiom speakers, maybe some other members will comment. The m22's will probably do a fantastic job, as would the m3's. The A5's appear to be a powered speaker like one would use for a computer setup. The Axioms are audiophile speakers used for Home Theater or Music listening.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 09:33 PM

If you're not using a sub, I'd probably go with the M3 by preference, although the M22s are lovely.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 09:57 PM

Paul, welcome. As a highly satisfied M22 owner for almost 8 years now, I can assure you that for most music a sub isn't essential with them. In-room, my measurements show strong bass down to about 50Hz and much lower, but still usable response around 40Hz. I now use the EP500 sub I got about three years ago full-time for very low frequencies(e.g., pipe organ, some movie low frequency effects)and for even better bass response in the 40-80Hz octave. However, on most music the bass is very satisfying with the M22s alone, and I highly recommend them for such use.
Posted by: bonobothegreat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 10:09 PM

 Originally Posted By: sirquack
The A5's appear to be a powered speaker like one would use for a computer setup. The Axioms are audiophile speakers used for Home Theater or Music listening.


Yes, that makes sense. I guess my question (buried in there somewhere) is whether or not the M22 are likely to have acceptable sound when powered by such an anemic receiver or if I'd be better off just getting the M3s.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 10:23 PM


As long as the receiver is functioning properly you will have no trouble pushing the M22.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 10:38 PM

I started out with the M22's and a cheap Sony 100 wpc (so called) and I didn't get hardly any bass. Then I switched to a Pioneer Elite model with approx the same wpc and I get plenty of bass. Not deep bass, but enough for most music. Sometimes I'm supprised by the amount of bass I hear, especially at higher volumes. There's been a lot of talk about it doesn't matter which receiver you use, that it all sounds the same anyway. That is true if you are comparing comparable receivers, but to go from a cheap receiver to a much more expensive one, there will be a noticable increase in power and in bass response.

Edit: I've listened to both the M22 and the M3's. While some prefer the M3's, I prefer the M22's because of the clarity of sound over the M3's. I would get the M22's if you plan on improving the receiver sometime. If not, then the M3.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/03/10 10:43 PM

Paul, you may have a misimpression as to the power requirements. The Axiom sensitivity spec for the M22 is actually 1dB higher than for the M3(89dB vs 88dB for 1 watt), so the M22 would require slightly less power at a given sound level. Your DRA-345 should be able to handle a peak of about 102dB with the M22s, and certainly isn't "anemic".
Posted by: bonobothegreat

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/04/10 12:52 AM

Thanks everyone (especially JohnK for all the hard figures), this is an amazingly active forum. I think I have enough info to pull the trigger. If I ever decide to get a sub and better amp, I'll have that path open to me with the M22s and like I said, my ears seem to crave the midrange more than the bass.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/04/10 06:08 AM

Ear Cravings: A really awesome band name!
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/04/10 06:21 AM

A band of boxers?
Posted by: davidsch

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/04/10 07:31 AM

 Originally Posted By: bonobothegreat
Thanks everyone (especially JohnK for all the hard figures), this is an amazingly active forum. I think I have enough info to pull the trigger. If I ever decide to get a sub and better amp, I'll have that path open to me with the M22s and like I said, my ears seem to crave the midrange more than the bass.


The midrange on the M22s is outstanding. Let us know how you enjoy those speakers when you get them in. I have enjoyed my M22s for nearly seven years now.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Which bookshelf to get? - 02/04/10 04:02 PM

The midrange on anything Axiom is outstanding. I was really impressed by the midrange on my M2s when I did some 2 channel listening with them.