Axiom VP Series Quandaries……

Posted by: michael_d

Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 12:04 PM

I’ve been a board ‘regular’ for several years; more of a regular reader than poster, but around regularly enough to notice trends. One thing I’ve noticed from day one is that the VP line just doesn’t seam to get the praise that the rest of the line does (has). I can’t really remember a whole lot of complaining about the VP’s, but there has definitely been more non-positive talk about the VP’s than the remaining speakers. I don’t specifically recall anyone or any thread in particular where the VP’s got thrashed, so I’m just wondering what the deal is with these speakers and this perception. Is it real or is based of rumors, nonsense and legacy issues (real or otherwise)?

My motives for asking this are personal. I plan to swap out my vinyl Axioms for the latest version of Axiom speakers to a wood veneer sometime this year. (Well, if my roof replacement doesn’t go over budget anyway.) I would really like to try a couple VP150’s (one over and one under my screen) verses my current configuration of running two M22’s as center. Depending on what I do with the center channel; that will affect my choices for what I use for heights and width’s, subs and so on. I am also in the process of setting up a buddies’ home for surround sound and a VP would be the optimal choice due to his TV size and placement.

So generally speaking, I’m just looking for a broader perspective regarding the VP’s and what owners and other folks who frequent this sight (who are much more knowledgeable than I, which is just about all of you) think about the VP’s. Why do they not get the fanfare of the rest of the Axiom line up????
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 12:14 PM

Hey Mike,

I will try to provide you feedback asap. I'm in the process of collecting some comments from other forumns on this topic. As you know this seems to come up a lot regarding the VP series...keep you posted...Randy
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 12:18 PM

Man you're fast. Don't you sleep? I just sent you a PM too.....

Thanks Randy.
Posted by: Potatohead

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 12:55 PM

I have a W150 and I find it does the job fine. I sit about 15' from it slightly off axis and do not have an issue. I do have other seating in the room closer and more off-axis, and nobody has ever complained about not being able to hear properly. I can only compare it to my old Boston center in my old setup but for me the 150 is completely adequate at minimum.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 01:08 PM

I used to listen to multichannel SACDs fairly often and never found my VP100 to be sub-par in comparison to my M22s. Multichannel music will put a center speaker through its paces much more than most movies will, too.

One of the loudest complaints I remember hearing people make about the VP speakers in the past is that they were sibilant, particularly with S sounds. I never had this issue, but I know it's hard to miss a hard S when you hear it so I don't doubt that other people heard this. I chalk it up to accurate reproduction of a poorly-mic'ed recording. Perhaps center channels from other brands would smooth over the sibilance. Also, perhaps the changes Axiom has made to their tweeters over the years have more or less made this issue a moot point.

It would be hard to know for sure without being able to listen to a VP speaker that's 4 or 5 years old versus one that's fresh off the line today.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 05:17 PM

I think it's people listening with their eyes.

The design is "different", so consumers feel justified in questioning it. Pseudo-scientists complain that the multi-driver approach MUST induce nasty comb-filtering or other undesirable traits. Of course, Ian's not a hack and Alan has categorically debunked the notion of comb filtering being significant in Axiom's designs.

I will concede that the width of the VP150 might make placement problematic in some rooms.

I think there is overall a lot of negativity at AVS and some other forums and that it feeds on itself over time.

Personally, I think the VP100 is a very underrated speaker, and I am extremely happy with it.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 08:28 PM

I think that Tom's got most of it there, but the mention of the sibilance also rings bells. However, since that's been a complaint across the Axiom lineup (often with little justification), I am somewhat inclined to discount it.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 09:11 PM

If a speaker is sibilant, it's always going to sound that way, no matter what you play, so I would also agree with the quality of the source as being very important here. When I listen to Diana Krall, it ssounds rather ssibilant, but throwing on some Norah Jones or Sade sounds very clean.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 10:02 PM

No issues with my vp150 here
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 11:11 PM

So by the responses so far, would it be safe to assume that whatever issues the VP’s may have had, perceived, real, imaginary or otherwise, that they are no longer there and they get similar praise as the rest of the line up?
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 11:39 PM

I don't think so, but that's probably a symptom of their being center channels. You just want a center channel to do its job well, but you listen to and enjoy your mains. They're the anchors of your system. In the same sense, the surrounds add that extra wow factor to both movies and music so you really notice them.

The center channel just sits their above and/or below your screen, playing a mono signal when asked to.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 11:48 PM

The vast majority of magazine articles and test certainly are geared towards tower speakers, usually in the $2000-3000 sweet spot with bookshelfs coming next. Centre speakers seem more of an afterthought, maybe because their main use is for HT applications.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/22/10 11:59 PM

 Originally Posted By: pmbuko
I don't think so, but that's probably a symptom of their being center channels. You just want a center channel to do its job well, but you listen to and enjoy your mains. They're the anchors of your system. In the same sense, the surrounds add that extra wow factor to both movies and music so you really notice them.

The center channel just sits their above and/or below your screen, playing a mono signal when asked to.


I know this is going to sound dumb, but what is a mono signal? Isn't every indivdual speaker essentially playing a mono signal? How does a single individual speaker differentiate what is fed or assigned to it -- be it mono or stereo? Sorry for getting OT but I'm just curious about that last statement.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:05 AM

 Originally Posted By: Adrian
The vast majority of magazine articles and test certainly are geared towards tower speakers, usually in the $2000-3000 sweet spot with bookshelfs coming next. Centre speakers seem more of an afterthought, maybe because their main use is for HT applications.


That does seem to be the case. It'd be nice to see some more focus on the centre speaker though. Try isolating the centre (by disconnecting all other speakers) and you'll notice a LOT of audio (dialogue, sound effects, music) is sent there now. The mains may be the anchor for music, but personally I feel the centre is the anchor for HT.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:10 AM

htnut has a point about a "mono signal" there, Peter...
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:17 AM

Hi Michael, I’m one of the people who doesn’t much care for the VP150 can’t speak to the VP100 since I haven’t heard it.

I’ve tried it in 3 different rooms and paired with M80 and M22 mains and in 2 out of the 3 cases (paired with the M80s) I preferred either an M80 or M22 as a center over the VP150. In the one other case it sounded ok paired with the M22s but I never really tried listening to it much since in that room I mostly used headphones, but clearly nothing anomalous jumped out at me like the other 2 times.

My biggest issue is that I have never found it to be a good tonal match with the M80s. Note I am very sensitive to this and eventually switched to using a phantom center it was so annoying. In both cases it was noticeable enough I could tell the difference in a blind test within seconds of hearing a male voice from the center speaker in blind testing. It was also very noticeable when a actor is talking and walks across the screen. In these cases the sound of male voices was more hollow sounding when coming from the VP150.

The other issue I hear is the smearing of the front soundstage during music. I found that discrete instrument and vocalist placement wasn’t a precise with the VP150 up front. Also multi-channel SACDs sounded less dynamic with the VP150 then with an M80 or M22 no matter the crossover. The VP150 also killed the ambience on some of my favorite tracks.

IMO the VP150 has the least fidelity of the Axiom speakers I own. M80, M22, QS8 and VP150. However, that’s not necessarily all bad. There is an appeal to the more wall-of-sound like effect the VP150 created over a vertical speaker especially for movies. Laying 2 M22s on their sides will simulate this though more exaggerated but not the tonal difference. The closer I sit to the screen more this effect helps spread out the center channel to blend better with a large screen. The first thing I noticed when trying a vertical center was this change with the M22 of M80 sounding more like a point source than a horizontal array.

As for other issues real or theoretical others have reported I haven’t had them.

In summary if I didn’t hear the tonal difference or notice missing dynamics with the VP150 I would prefer it’s wall-of-sound effect for movies. However, I would still prefer the M22 or M80 for music due to the more precise sound stage I hear.

In ranking the Axioms I have the VP150 is the weakest. The M80s are all around the best. The M22s are the best performance for the money and the QS8s are the best in their class I’ve heard.

Cheers,
Dean

Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:19 AM

True, every speaker gets a mono signal. To be clear, I meant it is a solitary speaker. The fronts, surrounds, and rears can play in stereo. The center cannot.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:19 AM

How old is your VP150?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:19 AM

Still, that wouldn't really be a difference between the VP150 and any other arrangement of centers out there.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:20 AM

Agreed. I was speaking about centers in general.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:21 AM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
How old is your VP150?

Ken, if you’re asking me mine was bought in 2007 about a month after I joined the forum.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:24 AM

Hm. I wonder if your experience is more of a reflection on the VP150, or on vertical vs. horizontal centers.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:24 AM

Has it been that long? And here, I still thought you were one of the newer guys. \:\) How time flies.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:31 AM

 Originally Posted By: pmbuko
Has it been that long? And here, I still thought you were one of the newer guys. \:\) How time flies.


I am still a F. N. G. here but my body says not so much after the running I’ve been doing this week.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:45 AM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile

Hm. I wonder if your experience is more of a reflection on the VP150, or on vertical vs. horizontal centers.


With the smearing of the soundstage that is clearly the case as it went away when I tried the VP150 vertically. OTOH it still didn’t sound as dynamic or as well tonally matched to the M80s as a M80 or M22 center to me.

Part of the dynamics may be sealed vs ported. And cabinet size driver sized and numbers and crossover may also play into the tonal issues I hear.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not an a crusade to trash this particular speaker. I’ve never met a horizontal center speaker I liked as much as good towers or bookshelf speakers. For most people the VP150 does a great job. I hesitate to talk about this anymore because like the DLP rainbow thing if you learn to see it they say after that you always will. Well for some people it may be the same with tonal differences. Once I heard it I couldn’t ignore it.

IMO if horizontal centers sounded as good as towers you would see more people running 3 horizontal centers across the front. I haven’t seen one yet. Personally I would prefer 3 VP150s across the front to M80/M22 mains with a VP150 center.




Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:58 AM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
Hi Michael, I’m one of the people who doesn’t much care for the VP150 can’t speak to the VP100 since I haven’t heard it.

I’ve tried it in 3 different rooms and paired with M80 and M22 mains and in 2 out of the 3 cases (paired with the M80s) I preferred either an M80 or M22 as a center over the VP150. In the one other case it sounded ok paired with the M22s but I never really tried listening to it much since in that room I mostly used headphones, but clearly nothing anomalous jumped out at me like the other 2 times.

My biggest issue is that I have never found it to be a good tonal match with the M80s. Note I am very sensitive to this and eventually switched to using a phantom center it was so annoying. In both cases it was noticeable enough I could tell the difference in a blind test within seconds of hearing a male voice from the center speaker in blind testing. It was also very noticeable when a actor is talking and walks across the screen. In these cases the sound of male voices was more hollow sounding when coming from the VP150.

The other issue I hear is the smearing of the front soundstage during music. I found that discrete instrument and vocalist placement wasn’t a precise with the VP150 up front. Also multi-channel SACDs sounded less dynamic with the VP150 then with an M80 or M22 no matter the crossover. The VP150 also killed the ambience on some of my favorite tracks.

IMO the VP150 has the least fidelity of the Axiom speakers I own. M80, M22, QS8 and VP150. However, that’s not necessarily all bad. There is an appeal to the more wall-of-sound like effect the VP150 created over a vertical speaker especially for movies. Laying 2 M22s on their sides will simulate this though more exaggerated but not the tonal difference. The closer I sit to the screen more this effect helps spread out the center channel to blend better with a large screen. The first thing I noticed when trying a vertical center was this change with the M22 of M80 sounding more like a point source than a horizontal array.

As for other issues real or theoretical others have reported I haven’t had them.

In summary if I didn’t hear the tonal difference or notice missing dynamics with the VP150 I would prefer it’s wall-of-sound effect for movies. However, I would still prefer the M22 or M80 for music due to the more precise sound stage I hear.

In ranking the Axioms I have the VP150 is the weakest. The M80s are all around the best. The M22s are the best performance for the money and the QS8s are the best in their class I’ve heard.

Cheers,
Dean


I think part of the problem with manufacturers in general is that most centres are / were designed to be easy to implement and install. Designing them for placment above or below a display or on a shelf or rack limits the physical dimensions and weight. IMHO you can't change physics and the only way to get a "fuller" or "deeper" sounding centre is to use a bigger cabinet.

Like you, I have always preferred 3 identical mains across the front. Aside from their sonic characteristics being identical, their height is also identical, which is another dead giveaway when testing horizontal centre speakers. The only real fair way to test a centre speaker is to elevate it to the same height as the mains. This is why the dual centre speaker setup is intriguing, as users claim that the sound feels like it is coming from the screen as opposed to below it.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:04 AM

 Originally Posted By: pmbuko
True, every speaker gets a mono signal. To be clear, I meant it is a solitary speaker. The fronts, surrounds, and rears can play in stereo. The center cannot.


Even more reason in my books not to skimp on the centre speaker \:\)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:05 AM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Hm. I wonder if your experience is more of a reflection on the VP150, or on vertical vs. horizontal centers.


Speaking for myself, I would say a bit of both.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:08 AM

 Originally Posted By: htnut

I think part of the problem with manufacturers in general is that most centres are / were designed to be easy to implement and install. Designing them for placment above or below a display or on a shelf or rack limits the physical dimensions and weight. IMHO you can't change physics and the only way to get a "fuller" or "deeper" sounding centre is to use a bigger cabinet.

Like you, I have always preferred 3 identical mains across the front. Aside from their sonic characteristics being identical, their height is also identical, which is another dead giveaway when testing horizontal centre speakers. The only real fair way to test a centre speaker is to elevate it to the same height as the mains. This is why the dual centre speaker setup is intriguing, as users claim that the sound feels like it is coming from the screen as opposed to below it.



In my apartment I tried dual M22s above and below the screen and liked it a lot especially for movies. I didn’t mind it for music but it did mess up the soundstage on my best recordings a little bit but not to badly. The best sounding center I’ve had was a single M80 upside down above my HDTV. Having it upside down put the tweeters almost on level with my M80 mains but with the rest of the speaker extending upward it made the soundstage seem like it was radiating from the whole wall. The only thing it did to change the soundstage was to make the discrete audio like vocalist drums coming from the center sound like they were on a dais. I briefly considered using an AT screen so I could hang my center M80 upside down behind it. But then I got better. Sort of?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:09 AM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
 Originally Posted By: kcarlile

Hm. I wonder if your experience is more of a reflection on the VP150, or on vertical vs. horizontal centers.


With the smearing of the soundstage that is clearly the case as it went away when I tried the VP150 vertically. OTOH it still didn’t sound as dynamic or as well tonally matched to the M80s as a M80 or M22 center to me.

Part of the dynamics may be sealed vs ported. And cabinet size driver sized and numbers and crossover may also play into the tonal issues I hear.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not an a crusade to trash this particular speaker. I’ve never met a horizontal center speaker I liked as much as good towers or bookshelf speakers. For most people the VP150 does a great job. I hesitate to talk about this anymore because like the DLP rainbow thing if you learn to see it they say after that you always will. Well for some people it may be the same with tonal differences. Once I heard it I couldn’t ignore it.

IMO if horizontal centers sounded as good as towers you would see more people running 3 horizontal centers across the front. I haven’t seen one yet. Personally I would prefer 3 VP150s across the front to M80/M22 mains with a VP150 center.





I share your sentiments 100%...which is scary because it's like you're reading my mind!
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:13 AM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
 Originally Posted By: htnut

I think part of the problem with manufacturers in general is that most centres are / were designed to be easy to implement and install. Designing them for placment above or below a display or on a shelf or rack limits the physical dimensions and weight. IMHO you can't change physics and the only way to get a "fuller" or "deeper" sounding centre is to use a bigger cabinet.

Like you, I have always preferred 3 identical mains across the front. Aside from their sonic characteristics being identical, their height is also identical, which is another dead giveaway when testing horizontal centre speakers. The only real fair way to test a centre speaker is to elevate it to the same height as the mains. This is why the dual centre speaker setup is intriguing, as users claim that the sound feels like it is coming from the screen as opposed to below it.



In my apartment I tried dual M22s above and below the screen and liked it a lot especially for movies. I didn’t mind it for music but it did mess up the soundstage on my best recordings a little bit but not to badly. The best sounding center I’ve had was a single M80 upside down above my HDTV. Having it upside down put the tweeters almost on level with my M80 mains but with the rest of the speaker extending upward it made the soundstage seem like it was radiating from the whole wall. The only thing it did to change the soundstage was to make the discrete audio like vocalist drums coming from the center sound like they were on a dais. I briefly considered using an AT screen so I could hang my center M80 upside down behind it. But then I got better. Sort of?


Yup, for me the only way I'd be totally happy is with an AT screen and 3 floorstanders across the front. Sadly finances and WAF prohibit that so my quest continues for a horizontal centre that comes as close as possible to the mains.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:21 AM

 Originally Posted By: htnut

Even more reason in my books not to skimp on the centre speaker

The best reason I can give people for using an identical center to there mains is that you never see anyone using 2 different left and right mains presumably because they share a lot of audio information between them so you want them to sound as similar as possible. Since a center seems in most material to share even more information with the L/R mains than those speakers even share between each other why would you want to use a different speaker unless you had to.

One thing, people switching or at least trying a matching vertical center might find is that I sounds very different and even might not like it. There is an appeal to the spread out sound of a horizontal center. Nothing wrong with that at all. I prefer QS8s for music even though theory says I should be using identical or as closely matched surrounds to my mains as I can, but since they are purpose built to reproduce ambient sounds I find they work better for me than direct radiators as surrounds.

When I switched from the VP150 to a vertical center I had already spent months using a phantom center so the change was not as drastic for me to just add another identical speaker. For people switching directly it will sound very different and quite possibly not as good since they are so use to hearing the horizontal center. And like I’ve said before there is an appeal to the way a horizontal array spreads the sound out across the screen. I think JC from Axiom is using 2 M22s laying horizontally above his screen. I tried and liked this a lot for movies but it didn’t work at all for music IMO.


Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:25 AM

 Originally Posted By: htnut

Yup, for me the only way I'd be totally happy is with an AT screen and 3 floorstanders across the front. Sadly finances and WAF prohibit that so my quest continues for a horizontal centre that comes as close as possible to the mains.

I’ve discovered that w/o the WAF finances are also less of an issue. ;\)
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 10:25 AM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
IMO if horizontal centers sounded as good as towers you would see more people running 3 horizontal centers across the front. I haven’t seen one yet. Personally I would prefer 3 VP150s across the front to M80/M22 mains with a VP150 center.


Didn't someone post pictures of an install with three VP150s across the front? Weren't they all pretty high up in a room with a lot of glass all the way around?
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 10:48 AM

Yeah, it was a house in California out by the beach. I don't think the owner was a forum member?
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:17 AM

That sounds right.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:22 AM

Actually it was a Florida home....

3 vp150s, 4 QS8s and A1400-8 system

Gorgeous home!
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:28 AM

Ahh, it was jakeman who had posted it. Thanks, Rick. The California one we were thinking of must have been that World's Largest Axiom Audio Installation.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:32 AM

I must have completely missed that thread CV, do you remember who posted it?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:33 AM

I thought that was the same one.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:42 AM

Ah Ha! Found it....

World's Largest Axiom Audio Installation

...because I don't have anything exciting going on in my life today.
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:43 AM

I don't remember who posted the thread, but here's the site for the place:

World's Largest Axiom Audio Installation
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 11:43 AM

Ahh, cool, you got it.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 12:14 PM

Good discussion.

So Dean, if I understand you correctly, you have a general preference for a vertically orientated center channel verses a horizontal arrangement and you prefer this arrangement because you feel it provides better off axis imaging? You don’t really have any concerns with the VP150’s performance or its design characteristics, correct? And you also feel that the VP150 has a slight tonal difference than your M80 mains and you feel the cabinet size is the limiting factor that is contributing to this difference?

If you were king for a day, what would you do differently with the VP to make it satisfy your desired center channel characteristics for both HT (Movie) and music listening?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 01:07 PM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
The best reason I can give people for using an identical center to there mains is that you never see anyone using 2 different left and right mains presumably because they share a lot of audio information between them so you want them to sound as similar as possible. Since a center seems in most material to share even more information with the L/R mains than those speakers even share between each other why would you want to use a different speaker unless you had to.


I had actually considered 3 horizontal centre speakers across the front, but I wasn't able to find any centre speakers that sounded as good as the mains. I'm sure they're out there, but space and $ limitations unfortunately dictate what my options are.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 02:11 PM

 Originally Posted By: michael_d

So Dean, if I understand you correctly, you have a general preference for a vertically orientated center channel verses a horizontal arrangement and you prefer this arrangement because you feel it provides better off axis imaging?


Yes imaging is one of the main reasons I generally prefer a vertical center. However, off axis imaging isn’t the only reason. Even sitting at dead center a horizontal array creates a wider center image smearing the center of the front soundstage making singers and instruments sound wider and less discrete than they should. Narrower horizontal arrays and having them farther from the listening position, both decrease the angle to the “outer” drivers helping minimize this. Though I haven’t tried one I presume I would prefer a VP100 over a VP150 if I had to use a horizontal center.

In 2 of 3 rooms the off axis performance of the VP150 was no worse than dead center for me however in my present room it is really bad. See my comparisons linked below.

 Originally Posted By: michael_d

You don’t really have any concerns with the VP150’s performance or its design characteristics, correct?


A year ago I would have said your correct, however see my new concerns in the link below.

 Originally Posted By: michael_d

And you also feel that the VP150 has a slight tonal difference than your M80 mains and you feel the cabinet size is the limiting factor that is contributing to this difference?


I’m guessing it’s both cabinet size and porting causing the difference since I hear it even when the VP150 is oriented vertically.

 Originally Posted By: michael_d

If you were king for a day, what would you do differently with the VP to make it satisfy your desired center channel characteristics for both HT (Movie) and music listening?


Perfect world I would start with an M80 and then hang two other M80s minus the tweeters off the top in a “T” shape making it switch-able between the vertical array for music and the horizontal array for movies. I’m basing this on having tested two horizontal M22s on either side of my vertical M80 above my HDTV in the apartment. For music I used the M80 and for movies I changed to the M22s using a manual switch. The long horizontal array created by the M22s was very cool for movies but sounded like crap for music. I imagine horizontal M22s would sound even better for movies with the larger screen I have now.

If it had to be just a horizontal center I shudder to say this but I would make it more like the AV123 “Bigfoot.”

If matching a center to M80 mains my order of preference is a single M80 center and then a single M22 center if L/C/R are all crossed at 80Hz. With a large screen or sitting close relative to screen size I would consider dual M22s or M2s either above and below or spread out side by side to create a “bigger” center image while giving placement flexibility to minimize undesirable driver, seating and room interactions.

Here’s the link I mentioned above:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubbthre...true#Post280673

In general I’ve noticed that the VP150 seems to be the most sensitive to room characteristics, and speaker/seating placement of my Axioms. The same is true for other horizontal centers I’ve heard but I think more so with the VP150. When I used it in a bedroom temporarily as a center for my M22s it seemed to do just fine but in every other room tonal differences were obvious and in my present room off axis performance is dismal, likely do to the proximity of the walls to the seating.

Note that others (the majority) find that their VP150s blend perfectly with their mains. Also as has been pointed out I think by Randy, most people who complain about the VP150 do so only on a theoretical basis and no actual listening experience. Based on the complexities of room, speaker, listener interaction IMO the only way one can know for sure what works best for them in a given situation is to experiment.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 06:56 PM

Dean and I share the same philosophy about center channel speakers although I am less sensitive to the tonal differences between the M80s and the VP150, but thinking back to when I ran the VP100 with the M80s I think it did sound closer to them.

I reallly like the Paradigm Center channels I have heard, but they have huge enclosures and run a WT/MW or WWT/MWW design.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 07:19 PM

Interesting to here your thoughts about the VP100 and M80s. I’ve always been curious about that but haven’t needed a VP100 so couldn’t justify getting one just to test out. I also usually prefer horizontal centers with larger enclosures and those designs.

At first I didn’t notice any significant differences in between the M80s and VP150 until for some reason I ended up playing a multi-channel SACD with the center disabled in the receivers menu and was totally floored at what I was now hearing. One I first noticed the difference I was screwed because then I started noticing in in everything even most movies.

On multi-channel sources I didn’t always notice it as much then I figured out that on those sources much more of the center channel information was mixed into the L/R mains. On the demo disks that came with my Oppo I couldn’t believe that the VP150 sounded just like my M80s until I went up to them and listened to hear that almost all the center channel was coming form the L/R M80s and only a tiny amount, almost nothing, was coming from the center. I’ve read and now experienced that some audio engineers don’t like the compromised designs of most HT center speakers carrying their well mastered audio tracks and feed most of the center channel to the mains assuming that they will be more capable speakers.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 07:33 PM

Jay whenever you were running the 100/150 together did you ever play around with top and bottom placement? I tried the 150 on top of the screen with the 100 below but I believe having the 100 above and the 150 below makes for a better SQ and overall soundstage for our room.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 10:48 PM


Rick, have you tried the VP100 by itself?
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 10:52 PM

No I sure haven't, whenever I incorporated the 100 into the system the 150 was already there and I never thought about trying just the 100 ... I can give it a try tomorrow and let you know what my impressions are.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/23/10 10:53 PM


Sounds good.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/24/10 03:29 PM

I believe I ran the 100 above and the 150 below for no other reason than it 'looked' better I never did try it the other way around, looking forward to your thoughts.

I get posession of the new house this Friday, WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/24/10 09:25 PM

 Originally Posted By: jakewash
I get posession of the new house this Friday, WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!


Good news for me.
Posted by: TroyD

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/24/10 09:40 PM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
Hi Michael, I’m one of the people who doesn’t much care for the VP150 can’t speak to the VP100 since I haven’t heard it.

I’ve tried it in 3 different rooms and paired with M80 and M22 mains and in 2 out of the 3 cases (paired with the M80s) I preferred either an M80 or M22 as a center over the VP150. In the one other case it sounded ok paired with the M22s but I never really tried listening to it much since in that room I mostly used headphones, but clearly nothing anomalous jumped out at me like the other 2 times.

My biggest issue is that I have never found it to be a good tonal match with the M80s. Note I am very sensitive to this and eventually switched to using a phantom center it was so annoying. In both cases it was noticeable enough I could tell the difference in a blind test within seconds of hearing a male voice from the center speaker in blind testing. It was also very noticeable when a actor is talking and walks across the screen. In these cases the sound of male voices was more hollow sounding when coming from the VP150.

The other issue I hear is the smearing of the front soundstage during music. I found that discrete instrument and vocalist placement wasn’t a precise with the VP150 up front. Also multi-channel SACDs sounded less dynamic with the VP150 then with an M80 or M22 no matter the crossover. The VP150 also killed the ambience on some of my favorite tracks.

IMO the VP150 has the least fidelity of the Axiom speakers I own. M80, M22, QS8 and VP150. However, that’s not necessarily all bad. There is an appeal to the more wall-of-sound like effect the VP150 created over a vertical speaker especially for movies. Laying 2 M22s on their sides will simulate this though more exaggerated but not the tonal difference. The closer I sit to the screen more this effect helps spread out the center channel to blend better with a large screen. The first thing I noticed when trying a vertical center was this change with the M22 of M80 sounding more like a point source than a horizontal array.

As for other issues real or theoretical others have reported I haven’t had them.

In summary if I didn’t hear the tonal difference or notice missing dynamics with the VP150 I would prefer it’s wall-of-sound effect for movies. However, I would still prefer the M22 or M80 for music due to the more precise sound stage I hear.

In ranking the Axioms I have the VP150 is the weakest. The M80s are all around the best. The M22s are the best performance for the money and the QS8s are the best in their class I’ve heard.

Cheers,
Dean


The only problem is getting that m80 under the tv ;\)
Posted by: TroyD

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/24/10 09:43 PM

 Originally Posted By: htnut
 Originally Posted By: grunt
The best reason I can give people for using an identical center to there mains is that you never see anyone using 2 different left and right mains presumably because they share a lot of audio information between them so you want them to sound as similar as possible. Since a center seems in most material to share even more information with the L/R mains than those speakers even share between each other why would you want to use a different speaker unless you had to.


uhmm have you heard M&K they are awesome

I had actually considered 3 horizontal centre speakers across the front, but I wasn't able to find any centre speakers that sounded as good as the mains. I'm sure they're out there, but space and $ limitations unfortunately dictate what my options are.

Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/24/10 10:13 PM

 Originally Posted By: troyd

The only problem is getting that m80 under the tv



Then put it on top ;\)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/24/10 11:50 PM

 Originally Posted By: troyd
uhmm have you heard M&K they are awesome


No, haven't heard any yet. I can't find any floorstanding models though and they seem way more expensive than Axioms but I may try some out if they're that incredibly awesome. Thanks for the suggestion!
Posted by: Argon

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/25/10 07:38 AM

Wow....6 pages and still on topic? You guys are slipping.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/25/10 01:57 PM

 Originally Posted By: Argon
Wow....6 pages and still on topic? You guys are slipping.


I think they got distracted by the “So what are ya listening to tonight” thread. ;\)
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/25/10 04:30 PM

 Originally Posted By: CV

Good news for me.
You should be able to gain some ground, alot of ground starting tomorrow. I get to start moving stuff into the garage \:\) \:\)
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 09:57 AM

 Originally Posted By: sirquack
Hey Mike,

I will try to provide you feedback asap. I'm in the process of collecting some comments from other forumns on this topic. As you know this seems to come up a lot regarding the VP series...keep you posted...Randy


What did you come up with Randy?
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 09:58 AM

 Originally Posted By: RickF
No I sure haven't, whenever I incorporated the 100 into the system the 150 was already there and I never thought about trying just the 100 ... I can give it a try tomorrow and let you know what my impressions are.


Did you get around to trying this Richard?
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 10:30 AM

I did but just for a few minutes a couple of days ago Mike, not nearly enough time to really give it a good workout. I need to swap out the 100 with with the 150 because with the 100 being the only center on top of the large TV screen the sound stage was too off skewered so I really need to place the 100 on a more even plane with the mains. I'm in the middle of transferring home VHS tapes onto DVDs so whenever I get finished today I'll swap 'em out and do a comparison.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 09:16 PM


Well get to it.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 10:26 PM

I still didn't get a round to it today, I've been trying to get some (a lot!) of VHS tapes transferred over to DVD and I'm finding that some of the DVD discs that I'm trying to use are finicky about recording ... namely the Verbatim DVD+R disc, I bought a big stack and I was unable to get them to record although the recorder states that it will record onto DVD+R disc. Went and picked up some DVD-R's and they seem to record fine but I wasted quite a lot of time on the DVD+R discs.

Mark, sorry man but I'd never make you a good assistant. \:\)

The little missus is going out of town on Thursday for a couple of days so that's when I'll play around with the system.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 10:39 PM


I've had real good luck with Verbatim DVD+R discs. It surprises me you're having troubles with them.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/26/10 10:45 PM

Yep bought a 100 ct stack of 'em the other day and tried a couple (several) of recordings and couldn't get them to work, drove to the drug store down the street and bought a 5 pack of DVD-R disc and they worked just fine, tried a couple times again to record on the DVD+R disc and still couldn't get them to record.
The player is a Samsung DVD-VR375, brand new.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/27/10 06:26 AM

Back in the day, DVD recorders only worked with one or the other. I use Verbatim DVD-Rs exclusively at this point (not that I've had problems burning other major brands, but my printers are finicky as hell).

We do VHS --> DVD jobs everyday! \:\)
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/27/10 10:00 AM

Shipping charges would kill me Mark! \:D

The player I bought states that it can record using DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+R and DVD+RW ... more than likely it was pilot error. ;\)
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/27/10 03:08 PM

Well, then just keep your eyes on the horizon. \:\)

And no, it wasn't a sales inquiry... I never recommend that anybody ship anything irreplaceable!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 07:09 AM

I find certain brands of PC DVD disk drives & recorders to be very finicky and it seems to be more the recorders than the disks. For instance, my PC at home will write to almost any -r brand it seems except for a certain model of Maxwell. However, the Maxwells work fine on my work laptop but it's even more finicky and refuses to record to seemingly anything but Verbatim and that specific Maxwell.

Obviously, when manufacturers settled on a standard for writable DVDs, they should have spent a little more time actually standardizing.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 08:28 AM

 Originally Posted By: Murph
except for a certain model of Maxwell. However, the Maxwells work fine on my work laptop but it's even more finicky and refuses to record to seemingly anything but Verbatim and that specific Maxwell.

You should try gen-you-wine Maxell discs. They'll probably be more reliable than those Chinese knockoff Maxwells you've been buying at the dollar store.

Remember, I tease because I love!

Really OT now, does anyone remember about 20-25 years ago when there were tons of knock-off electronics? Like Pannasonix Boomboxes, or Sonny radios?
Posted by: Murph

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 09:13 AM

Obviously, I was referring to the coffee company's DVDs. The caffeine makes them burn faster.


Posted by: medic8r

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 09:26 AM

I remember National Lampoon's Panasauage boomboxes. Their slogan was "Just slightly ahead of the law."
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 10:12 AM

Sorry to interrupt the current off topic conversation….. I have a question.

When you mount a center speaker over the screen and one under, I have heard three different general opinions regarding this arrangement. 1) It’s a good idea as it anchors dialogue to the center of the screen 2) It’s not a good idea because it does not anchor the dialogue to the center of the screen 3) It’s not a good idea because of comb filtering.

I don’t even know what comb filtering is so I have no idea if that argument has merit. Can someone explain to me the theory behind the pro’s / con’s of this particular center speaker arrangement?
Posted by: RickF

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 12:01 PM

Mike I've always thought of comb filtering as being the same as cancellation due to one signal being fed through two different speakers, which evidently *should* be the case of using two centers like you are suggesting. I don't have any known cancellation issues with the upper and lower centers of our setup and surly haven't had any issues with off center screen dialog, in our application the two centers center punch the dialog squarely onto the center of the screen, but of course YMMV. I personally believe tweaking the angle of the speakers so that they are aimed directly to the listening position makes a lot of difference whether the dialog gets planted to the center of the screen or not.

If comb filtering and cancellation are not the same then maybe somebody can enlighten us?

Just curious, aren't you using two M22s as center channels? If so, maybe you could somehow place one above your screen and one below as an experiment ... even if they block the screne you may still get a good idea of how a two center application like that may sound.

BTW ... The little missus just left for a couple of days so I'll certainly throw the 100 on the bottom of the TV and give it a good workout for you and Rick, I'll report back to you guys a little later on this afternoon.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 12:03 PM

Comb filtering is selective canceling. As Alan has pointed out a few times, this happens with any setup with multiple speakers, much less any setup with multiple speakers with multiple drivers.

If you want to avoid comb filtering, use one speaker with a single full range driver in it. See how ya like it...

Mike, since you have two M22s, you're already experiencing the horror of comb filtering.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 02:42 PM

Mike, I've been reading some old threads on AVS and have captured some notes, I will try to add them this evening. In general, most of the complaints talk about sibilence or you hear a lot of Ssssss in multichannel music using the 150. The issue of having multiple tweeters spread out like the current 150, older models had a different alignment. No other mfg does this in a center, which caused comb filtering and other issues. Mainly I see how people say it just does not match the same sonic signature as the other Axiom speakers. You always hear about the front 3 should match, well a lot of people say the VP series matches none of the other Axiom speakers which affects the timber matching. I will see what I can add from my notes, however, I want to be cautious not to bring up old issues that have been resolved with V2 and other updates over the last few years.
Posted by: Potatohead

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 03:36 PM

I could only find it in spanish, but still awesome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdGZs8b0Ee8

EDIT: I have been paying a bit more attention, and I can't say I notice any Sssss sounds sounding odd. Maybe I am not sensitive to it.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 04:58 PM

I wonder if Homer got taken for some "Monstruo Cables" by that salesman?
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 05:33 PM

Los Cables del Chupacabra, I think they call them.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 05:51 PM

That makes sense. They take a bite out of your wallet.
Posted by: Potatohead

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 06:06 PM

Mmmm

Chimichangas
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 10:17 PM

Jeesuz, Rick, are you gonna help us out here, or what?!?!



I'm still of the opinion that the "timbre matching" issues some people have reported regarding center channel speakers are due much more to placement and room boundary issues than they are to design theory.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/28/10 10:21 PM


Still waiting.
Posted by: CV

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/29/10 01:13 AM

 Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
I'm still of the opinion that the "timbre matching" issues some people have reported regarding center channel speakers are due much more to placement and room boundary issues than they are to design theory.


I'm thinking you may be right. I'm happy with the M22 taking over center channel duties, but I think a lot of the improvement may simply be from having the M22 further out in front of the TV instead of directly in front of it on the entertainment stand.
Posted by: grunt

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/29/10 04:43 AM

 Originally Posted By: tomtuttle

I'm still of the opinion that the "timbre matching" issues some people have reported regarding center channel speakers are due much more to placement and room boundary issues than they are to design theory.

While in my case it was certainly a factor, I found that the room boundary issues were only enhancing the difference that’s already there. I base that on my listening in my house where I’ve had the speakers set up so that none of the front 3 had any boundaries within 4 feet.

I don’t think the timber differences I hear are any issue with Axiom’s design philosophy just the differences between a ported 3-way vertical array with a couple different drivers and a sealed 2 way horizontal array.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/29/10 04:58 AM

 Originally Posted By: grunt
I don’t think the timber differences I hear are any issue with Axiom’s design philosophy just the differences between a ported 3-way vertical array with a couple different drivers and a sealed 2 way horizontal array.
My thoughts exactly \:\)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/29/10 11:20 AM

+1
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/29/10 11:11 PM

I read through some of the threads on various forums and review websites. Below is a high level of what I see others saying about the 150 and its design. Now granted, some of these comments can be from OLDER versions of this speaker, and may not apply to V2, or other enhancements Axiom may have made to recent models...I definately do not hold these positions, I love my 150. \:\)

Mike, I will send you a larger form of these comments via email. \:\)

*The big benefit of the vp-150’s design is that, because it’s sealed, you can put it almost anywhere. This is a good center speaker and probably matches really well with Axiom’s smaller speakers. With the m60s it matched well for TV and dialogue-driven movies, but for big-sound movies and multi-channel music, I was aware that it wasn’t as big as the floorstanders. It isn’t bad, just not as seamless as the Ascends or ACIs, which are identical across the front.

*Review 4 out of 5 stars for the 150 - "The VP150 has been criticized for having sibilance (over-pronounced "s", "sh" sounds,) a lack of bass and poor off-axis response with too great a degree of timbral change. The simple fact is that I can totally understand how people may have heard this from the VP150 speaker, but these are not inherent characteristics of the speaker itself. The VP150 is an unforgiving speaker, not only of source material and the equipment upstream, but of room acoustics and placement as well. Axiom designs their speakers for flat frequency response in an anechoic environment, not an adjusted response for estimated room acoustics. What Axiom delivers with the VP150 is a technically and mathematically well designed speaker. But unlike Paradigm, Axiom has not adjusted the output to compensate for what they can only guess to be YOUR room's acoustics. The result is simply this: if you have not treated your room acoustically with absorption and diffusion panels, you will likely find the VP150 sibilant, bright and/or harsh.

*Axiom does not roll off the high end frequencies. Nor does Ascend, which is why both sound very detailed. But Ascend's cross-overs have been designed to partially compensate for room boundary reflections, leading to what sounds like a more spacious and even sound in most untreated rooms.

*poor off-axis response is also the result of an acoustically untreated room in most cases. Within a 30 degree window, each tweeter has no timbre change in a room without wall and ceiling reflections. Part of the problem is that the Axiom tweeter actually has a very wide cone of relatively flat frequency response, leading to cancellations and peaks in an untreated room. All-in-all, this is a fabulous sounding speaker, but only in the proper environment.

*Strengths:
Extremely accurate (to a fault - ie. no high frequency roll-off), detailed and clear. Efficient, dynamic and well made.

Weaknesses:
Unforgiving of poor room acoustics and placement. Absolutely requires acoustic room treatment and even THX equalization (or equivilant) to avoid sounding bright or even sibilant.

*2005 reviewer - Upon first hooking it up I noticed the sound was similar to the sound you would get if you talked into a metal trash can. The sound was tinny and un-natural, S’s were not anything you could miss in dialog and were overbearing. The second problem I encountered with this center was the off axis listening. When immediately in front of it sound was totally different than if you moved into my side recliners, it sounded like you had just placed a pillow over the speaker.

*There is comb filtering with a (widely separated, dual-tweeter) VP150 when you start to move off axis. Avoid it. It may not bother you, but there are so many competent designs that avoid the whole issue to begin with (including the M22). The problem is the constructive and destructive interference that happens when you are two different distances away from drivers that are producing the same frequencies.

*S&V review - When I shifted to either side of my couch, however, clarity dropped off noticeably. Voices basically retained the same tone, but they sounded less crisp when heard from any position other than dead center in front of the screen. The VP150 center channel exhibits significant off-axis lobing that begins as soon as the microphone is moved off center. Our averaging technique tends to obscure it’s severity but it’s easy to hear the sound change quality at any listening angle as one walks about the speaker.



*
Posted by: Argon

Re: Axiom VP Series Quandaries…… - 01/30/10 10:06 AM

Randy,
I had read the review that said sliding to either cushion other than the middle on the couch caused the clarity to drop off noticeably. I never posted concerns like that during my prepurchase "sweat it fest" - but the thought was in the back of my mind. In practice, I do not find that to be the case - and my couch is directly centerd and facing the 150. So - again, all my sweating it was for nothing......Rob