M3v4 vs previous M3s

Posted by: Mojo

M3v4 vs previous M3s - 04/19/19 07:50 PM

If you own any fronts less than v4, you might want to read this.

As I've said on here many times, in 2007 I listened to M3ti (the original M3) in my house. No matter how many accolades and awards that speaker got, I absolutely despised the sound.

Fast-forward to 2018. I had made a decision to upgrade my 150 to the 160v4 because I damned-well knew without listening to the 160 that it was righteous (just like I knew about the M5 even though some of you here chastized me for praising a speaker I had not heard). I also wanted to punt my 600v2 but I wasn't sure what to replace it with. That may sound strange given all the subs out there but what was important to me was primarily transparent, musical sound and then movies. I started corresponding with Craig Chase about subs and that led me to my custom 800v4 that I sing Hosanna to.

In those exchanges with Craig, I also asked him about the M3 and M5. He said something to the effect of "...they are similarly good as the M100"...LOL! We had discussed the v4 sound so I took that to mean the M3 had similar characteristics as the M100 and M5.

As many of you know, I've ended up with M3, M5 and M100, all v4, and have directly compared them against M80v2. As I've said many times before, the big surprise to me was the M3 which, with no hyperbolae, blew the M80v2 out of the water. Everyone who has heard both of them, side-by-side, blind or not, say so! I know some on here like Alan get upset when I talk like this but I am sorry...I can't help it if I can hear and they can't. smile The M80v2 goes louder, deeper, has a better mid-range and that's where it ends. The M3v4 was engineered with INTENT. I can hear the science behind it. So can everyone else who has heard it. I put it into my 4200 cu ft room, 12 feet apart, sit 13 feet away and I have a 20 foot wide, 6 foot deep, 7 foot high soundstage with all the instruments and voices arranged in 3D! And that 3D sound is like the M5 and M100 except as you move up, you get higher fidelity. Freakin' amazing!!

So I started wondering what changed in the M3 since the ti days. Of course the v4 tweeter is very different and it sure sounds sweet and there are magnetic grills, t-nuts and a nice speaker plate. The terminal blocks are better because the colors are easy to see. I decided to pop off the terminal cup and have a look inside. I noticed the terminal cup is now gasketed to prevent air leakage. I didn't measure the cabinet thickness but it looked the same thickness as the ti (3/4"). I think though the type of MDF may be different. There's lots of stuffing in there like the ti. I distinctly remember the ti wiring was really dinky but the v4 is very appropriate. I couldn't see the cross-over and then I remembered the ti woofer wasn't crossed over and there were a couple of electrolytic caps for the tweeter and I think a Zobel resistor. But with the v4 sound there certainly must be a "real" crossover somewhere.

So I reached just above the terminal cup and voila! I felt what appeared to be a real crossover. I think I felt mylar capacitors, definitely Zobels and one air core coil tie-wrapped to the board. It felt like a second order Butterworth to me although I didn't feel a second coil. Which in turn meant the woofer wasn't just mechanically rolled off like the ti.

So I don't know if I'm supposed to say this or not but for the sake of every ears-brain system out there, Ian confirmed that beauty of a crossover is v4. If you have a v3 M3, you do not have the v4 sound I've fallen in love with. I'll bet this is the case with other speakers as well.

If you want holography, v4 is the way to go! And yes, Alan, that M3 sure is sweet now.
Posted by: Jeff_in_the_D

Re: M3v4 vs previous M3s - 04/22/19 03:26 PM

Is there an easy method to determine what version M-3s I have? The tweeter of the M-3s appear to be a different version than the other Axioms I own. If that helps.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: M3v4 vs previous M3s - 04/22/19 04:12 PM

Jeff, the v4 tweeter has a metal screen as opposed to the plastic lens on the older version. You wouldn't have a v4 tweeter on a v3 speaker unless you got one from Axiom and replaced it yourself.

Even if you have a v4 tweeter, you likely don't have a v4 crossover in your v3. This makes such a big difference in everything!

Please trust me when I tell you that M3v4 is so vastly superior to previous versions. I hated the M3Ti and now I will never let my M3v4 go! I can listen to it for hours with all kinds of music.

v4 is truly a gift to mankind.
Posted by: Jeff_in_the_D

Re: M3v4 vs previous M3s - 04/22/19 05:12 PM

Then I will assume the M3s I have are v4. They have a metal tweeter with a mesh center screen and I will assume these speakers have the newest crossover(v4). My M80 EP800 VP180 and QS8 system is over 5 years old but the M3s are only a couple years old. But I guess they could be v3 crossover with the newer tweeter. I will email Axiom, see if they can tell me.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: M3v4 vs previous M3s - 04/22/19 05:29 PM

Good idea.

Your M80s may be v4. If they're any older, putting them side-by-side with the M3v4 should make you want to burn the M80s!

If you have the M3v4, any v4, set up properly in your room, you will hear a deep and wide soundstage with layers from front to back. This soundstage is behind the speakers. Just freakin' unreal!

I have them in my 12' wide living room, with their baffles 4' away from the front wall. They are 8 feet apart and I am sitting 8' away. The back wall is 8' away from me. I could listen to them forever!