Just bought the M-80's!

Posted by: rcb

Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 12:48 AM

OK.. so I hope this thread isn't too unexciting, considering that everyone here probably already has Axiom speakers, but I ordered a pair of M80s last night.

The funny thing is that everybody seems to talk about how cheap these things are, when they're actually among the most expensive speakers I've ever seen... not sure what to make of that, but it probably disqualifies me from being a real audiophile. Either way, my friend has the same speakers, and after I heard his, they were the only ones I was interested in.

Once mine arrive, I will have to come up with something to drive them with, as I doubt my little tube amp (which I built years ago) has anywhere near enough power. Most likely, I will have to design a new one.. That should make for a fun little fall project laugh
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 06:46 AM

Welcome and congratulations on the coming Axioms.

While not cheap, Axioms are a very good value and compare favorably with more expensive speakers.

They are efficient / sensitive also. You might find that your amp does fine for your needs depending upon the demands of what you're listening to, the size of the room and whether or not you have a powered sub to remove some of the burden of the M80s playing full-range on their own.

Be aware though, that speakers such as the M80s are more likely to be damaged by an under-powered amp driven into clipping than a much more powerful amp that is running at half it's output on loud crescendos!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 08:50 AM

Welcome. Axiom was the first time I bought anything other than budget speakers as well and after doing some research and listening, I was/am super happy with my purchase and they are worth every penny as they perform like speakers that are indeed much more expensive.

I agree with Mark. If you are not trying to fill a big room and you are listening at comfortable listening levels, your tube amp may drive them just fine. Just be very careful if you get tempted to try them at really loud levels.

Here is a calculator that can give you a rough estimate of the power you need based on distance, sound level desired and the efficiency of the speaker (found in the specs on Axiom's site). If you are not too far away and playing at an ear safe level of 80db or so, you might only need a few watts. Add in a good 10db of overhead if you are a classical music listener (lots of peaks) and you still might be sitting safely within your amps limits.

Amp Power Calculator

Experiment with the loudness in the calculator though and you will notice that the wattage needed is not a linear linear calculation. You can get up to crazy power requirements pretty quick if you like it loud.

Posted by: J. B.

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 10:18 AM

they really ARE cheap for the kind of sound they output.

i've had mine for 1-2 years and i'm still in awe with the details they give, the huge dynamics and the lack of distortion.
Posted by: ArthurC

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 11:45 AM

I'm a recent owner as well (M100's) and I must say I'm impressed so far though I only received them last Friday and have had limited listening time.

Certainly good value for the sound they deliver.

The wife is still muttering "they're f-ing big" now and then though. The M80's would likely have been more wife-friendly. That extra woofer adds a bit of height. I'm sure she'll get over it when she's in a head-banging mood and cranks it (sorry neighbours).

Hope you enjoy them as much as I'm enjoying mine.

Posted by: PatCase

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 05:25 PM

My wife got over the size last weekend. We sat up late listening to some of our music and as some point she said, "yeah, they are good speakers" - YES! I had to keep pointing out that though they are as tall as her, they occupy the same footprint as the M80s.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 05:56 PM

best bang for the buck in audio
Posted by: rcb

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 11:26 PM

This wait is gonna be SO long! It's been two days already!

I am pretty certain that I will need a bigger amp for a couple reasons.. not least, the fact that the tube amp doesn't even come close now -- I currently have to back it up with another receiver to almost get where I want to be.

Before I moved to this house, the tube amp (plus an old pair of Boston Acoustic A70s) actually sounded quite nice... good enough that I have built copies of it for other people. Once I brought it here, though, my first impression reminded me of a clock radio.

The room I'm trying to work with is about 35x15 ft., not quite rectangular, and connected to two similar-sized rooms. This is one thing that my friend (the one who has the same speakers) does not have to deal with.

The watt meter tells me the amp is good for about 15W / channel before I can start to hear distortion, which isn't bad for a pair of 6L6 operating as triodes. That is enough for a lot of uses -- just not the living room, apparently. Just for fun, though, I will try it in some smaller rooms with the M80s. I'm told that Axiom's smaller speakers sound similar, but haven't personally heard any of them yet.

One thing that will be nice about building a new amp will be testing it against great speakers right out of the gate, and having a friend in town with the same equipment (but with a known-good amp) to compare to. This is a task that will require a little time and much beer, but I think it will be worth it!
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/27/13 11:52 PM

I kinda attacked the lower powered amp problem in a different way.

I have an integrated tube amp with 4 X KT-88s that puts out only 35 W/Ch in Triode mode; however, I went with a pair of M2s on stands & 2 X Axiom EP400 8" subs that put out up to 500 W/Ch RMS each for the heavy lifting down low.

Turns out that this is an absolutely wonderful combo for music only in quite a large space - articulate & powerful.

If interested, you can read about my quest here:


Posted by: ArthurC

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/28/13 07:14 AM

Originally Posted By: rcb
This wait is gonna be SO long! It's been two days already!

Due to it being new and there was a backlog, my M100's took 24 days. I'm hoping your wait will be significantly shorter.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 08/28/13 02:24 PM

Sob! I can't wait until I can buy a bigger house, so I'll have room for some....
Posted by: rcb

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/01/13 12:46 AM

Just an update.. I got the speakers yesterday morning, and have been playing them almost nonstop. The tube amp proved to not have close to enough power -- it sounded sweet, but just couldn't do the job. I connected the old receiver from my college days, and it performed shockingly well! This thing is.. don't laugh.. a TEAC AG-680 that I bought in 2000 for a couple hundred bucks. It was always pretty decent, but I am still in disbelief at how well it drives the M80s. It's actually good enough that I can put off buying / building another amp for a little while.

Even though I have heard them before (and connected to better equipment than I have)... WOW!! Every single thing about my stereo is night-and-day better than before. Even the subwoofer (a Polk PSW505) sounds dramatically better, because the Axioms can get low enough to meet it at a frequency where it belongs.

My impression of the M80s is crystal clarity and effortless dynamic range. I know that sounds like the kind of generic line you would see in quotes on some speaker company's website, but it's how the sound comes across to me. I can hear everything in the music as if it were playing by itself, even when the whole audio spectrum is filled with much louder signals. Drum solos are amazing. I've seen a lot of people describe them as "bright", which would seem to imply that they favor the high end, but I really didn't get that impression at all -- if I had to use one word to describe the sound, it would be "clean".

On the downside, defects and distortion in recordings are agonizingly obvious. The M80s are NOT forgiving of poor quality recordings. At all. Some music just doesn't sound that great when you can hear all the details. Some records have intermodulation / harmonics and even clipping in them (that I never noticed before). That sounds downright horrible. More forgivable are old recordings -- mostly stuff from the 60s for me -- that are full of tape noise and missing part of the low and high end. These don't sound "bad", but it doesn't help to play a bunch of near-perfect sounding tracks before listening to them...
Posted by: Cohesion

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/01/13 11:05 AM

I totally agree about the speakers being VERY revealing of poor quality source material! Once you hear how excellent they can sound with good source material it's tough to listen to anything else. Personally I find I'm even reluctant to listen to otherwise good recordings with background tape hiss - although since I upgraded from the M80s to the LFRs they may be making this noise even more obvious. (Sort if an omnidiectional tape hiss!)
Posted by: J. B.

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/01/13 12:12 PM

when i hear tape hiss on a music track, it's like a snowfall in my mind; it fills the room and beyond, but does not bother me.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/01/13 04:37 PM

Originally Posted By: J. B.
when i hear tape hiss on a music track, it's like a snowfall in my mind; it fills the room and beyond, but does not bother me.

Ahhh, the good old days. I miss all that tape hiss and static popping...
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/01/13 09:37 PM

Russ, glad to hear how much you're enjoying the music through your M80s. Yes, very accurate speakers such as the Axioms reveal the blemishes in some recordings as well as the beauty in well-recorded discs. I've tried to suggest here(e.g., in the "Stunning Recordings" thread)great music, well-performed, that sounds terrific on my Axioms.

Incidentally, no need for "disbelief" as to how well the AG-680 drives the M80s. They're average to slightly above average in sensitivity and don't have any special amplification needs. Assuming that the AG-680 is still in good operating condition, its 100 watt per channel rating is plenty for providing safe(to your hearing) sound levels. Newer units with more up-to-date features are available, of course, but simply from the standpoint of transparent amplification, what you have is fine.
Posted by: DarkPathSignal

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/04/13 09:39 PM

I sometimes drive my 80s with 40 watt of tube power effortlessly.
Posted by: rcb

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/08/13 12:07 AM

You know your speakers are doing their job, when you start mistaking sound effects in music for actual sounds in the room!

Lampshade -- my tube amp is only good for about 10 watts (average RMS, while playing music). It does sound great with these speakers, but can't really do it for that particular room. I will definitely find a home for it though.

On another note, enjoying music in the car or at the computer has gotten harder!
Posted by: Haoleb

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/12/13 01:56 AM

Congratulations on your purchase, I had previously owned the M80, both the Ti and v2 for several years and it is an excellent speaker. You will get many happy years to come out of them. I had driven them with several different amplifiers, including a tube amp that I believe was rated for 35wpc which did a remarkably good job of driving them. It has been my experience that they really do not start to shine until you turn them up and feed them some wattage though smile
Posted by: GTZ

Re: Just bought the M-80's! - 09/12/13 12:33 PM

Originally Posted By: SirQuack
best bang for the buck in audio

X2. Had mine for 3 years and really enjoy them.