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#16753 - 08/07/03 01:34 AM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
JohnnyCasaba Offline

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 50
Well as the third person at the session I thought it was time for me to chime in and take some of the heat off of the others. Just let me state that I currently own an Ascend 5.1 package with 4 CBM-170’s and a 340 center with a VTF-2. Would also like to thank Mark for sharing his home and “speaker collection” with us. That said, I think nothing has changed about my opinions of both of these fine speakers.

The greatest differences with these speakers are that the Axioms are more detailed and forward than the Ascends (both the 340 and 170) and the Ascends just seem to have a fuller sound. Also with the Axioms, as the volume levels were increased, there became a point where the detail was just overwhelming and they started to sound to bright for me. I’ll tell you how these opinions came to be with the movies and music we threw at these speakers.

First we listened to the opening beach assault scene from Saving Private Ryan. With the Axioms, the bullets ricocheting off of the beach obstacles and the falling of shell casings from the machine guns were just more pronounced than with the Ascends. But on the other hand with the Ascends, you got a more noticeable “thud” sound as the bullets hit their mark on those poor soldiers.

Next we put in The Matrix and watched The Lobby scene. As with SPR, the Axioms just had more detail that showed again with things like falling shell cases and machine gun fire. All these sounds were there with the Ascends, just not as pronounced. I will say that with the Axioms on this particular scene, the detail was almost at a level FOR ME of being to much.

Next up was some classical music. This is where I think the Axioms really shined. We listened to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries” and I think one other piece from a disc Zarak brought. The extra detail of the Axioms just gave these pieces more air and made them more engaging over the Ascends. The only think I liked more about the Ascends over the Axioms on the classical music was the sound of horns.

With the Rock/Pop stuff we listened to, both speakers had their moments. Preferred the Axioms again with “the cranberries” and “Empty” and Dave Matthews Band and “Crash” sounded best on the Ascends.

I don’t think we helped Mark any with his decision. Thanks again Mark, I hope you get this worked out.

#16754 - 08/07/03 02:14 AM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16418
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I was going to say marriage and children are a cure for upgraditis, but that's not correct. Marriage and children merely aggravate the situation by putting upgrades further out of reach!

I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

#16755 - 08/07/03 03:37 AM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
sushi Offline

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
When you guys say "horns," you specifically mean French Horns, not other brass instruments (trumpets, trombones, etc), right? -- just to make sure that there is no misunderstanding...

#16756 - 08/07/03 06:41 AM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
Gary Offline

Registered: 06/10/03
Posts: 38
Loc: Columbia/Clemson, SC
I recently compared the m22s and 170s and most of your comments are the same as mine. One thing I disliked about the Ascends was an extra resonance with horns. For example, a saxaphone or trumpet had a very, very strong bite(attack) to the sound, more so than I have ever heard (and I play trumpet). I agree that the Ascends sounded fuller. On Dave Matthews Band's cd Crash, track 4 is the song "Too Much". The openening features all of the intruments playing the same chord. On the Ascends the instruments kind of mushed together(but not too bad), whereas on the Axioms they were very clean. I ended up sending back both speakers and am now considering getting the m60s.

#16757 - 08/07/03 07:09 AM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
Zarak Offline

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1852
Loc: PA
FYI for everyone...the other classical track was Wagner Lohengrin - Prelude to Act III.

I'd be curious to hear track 4 on Crash now, after the other comment that was made about it.

#16758 - 08/07/03 07:44 AM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
Zarak Offline

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1852
Loc: PA
Just thought of this too....

The extra thud in Saving Private Ryan is from the extra bass the Ascends put out. However, Mark didn't have the sub on while watching the movie samples...the VTF-2 would handle the thud part, so I don't know that that is as big of a deal.

#16759 - 08/07/03 12:31 PM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
spiffnme Offline

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5222
Loc: Los Angeles
OK...I'll jump in.

I first bought and loved a pair of M22's. I was able to compare them side by side with several different speakers, including the Energy C-3, Rocket RS-150, and Ascend 170's. In the end I still loved my M22's. There clarity and details are unsurpased.

Then I heard the Energy Veritas 2.2's and fell in love with them. (Yeah,yeah - I'm a speaker whore) I ended up buying a pair of the Veritas 2.2's (only because they were 50% off - which STILL put them at $750!) I got them home and I was in bliss. They had the detail of the M22's but a fuller richer sound. A really stunning speaker.

Then I heard the M60ti. Now I own a pair of M60's and my hunt for speakers is over.

The M60ti has a tremendous soundstage. HUGE compared to the M22 and even the Veritas 2.2's. It has all the clarity and fine details of the M22 without the same harshness at louder volumes. (at lower volumes I never had a problem with the M22, but I do know what people mean by "harsh" at louder volumes) The only edge I'd give the Veritas over the M60's was in "brassy" instruments. They had a nicer resonance than the M60's. This same rich resonance was also nice on female vocals as well. But the greater detail and that enormous soundstage really won me over to the M60's. (Beside that, the msrp on the Veritas was $1500 - I don't want to support a company that's going to gouge people like that!)

Yeah Axiom - quality products at FAIR prices.

So there you have it. Sounds to me like you would be well suited for a pair of M60ti's as well.
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

#16760 - 08/07/03 03:41 PM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
JohnnyCasaba Offline

Registered: 06/25/03
Posts: 50
Sushi, I don’t know what horn/brass/woodwind instruments were being played on the classical music pieces from Wagner, but as far as the rock pieces that I preferred the sound on the Ascends over he Axioms are: Dire Straits, Your Latest Trick, Sax and DMB, Crash, Crash Into Me, also sax. There just seemed to be more depth, resonance, fullness, whatever you want to call it on the Ascends with these instruments that I preferred.

I’d also like to comment on Zarak’s remarks about the “thud” sound on the SPR beach scene. Both speakers were crossed over at 80 so both speakers were playing the same frequencies. I don’t think adding the sub will change the fact that this sound was just more pronounced on the Ascends. Just like the other sounds I mentioned were more pronounced on the Axioms.

#16761 - 08/07/03 04:46 PM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
gem41573 Offline

Registered: 11/21/02
Posts: 171
Loc: Northern NJ

I'm no expert, but I'd like to add my .02 cents to your last comment. You claim that the sub would not have had an effect on the performance of the Axioms or Ascends with the "thud" sound during SPR. And you state "Just like the other sounds I mentioned were more pronounced on the Axioms" (I presume you were talking about the highs on the Axioms).

I think Zarak is arguably correct that the sub would fill in some of the "thud" sound in SPR on either speaker. I've compared my M22's with and without a sub, and there is a big difference in the fullness of sound when using a sub. So I would be shocked if a sub did not have an effect on a "thud" sound or any other sound during the SPR beach scene.

Conversely, if the highs are better with the Axioms than the Ascends, then that is being caused by one thing, the speaker itself. There is nothing else to fill in the high end other than turning up the treble.

There is no doubt that the Ascends sound like excellent speakers, and could be preferable to some people over the M22's. But I would tend to support Zarak's comment that a sub would help any deficiency of the M22's with a "thud" or similar sound. Maybe I'm wrong though.

#16762 - 08/07/03 05:02 PM Re: Speaker Face Off Part II
sushi Offline

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX

I re-looked at the published anechoic frequency responses of the Ascend CBM-170 and Axiom M22. It seems that these measurements may very well explain the impressions you guys are reporting here (assuming that the 340 is similar to the 170).

(1) Both speakers have a respectably flat frequency response overall, and a nice dispersion patters.

(2) The Ascends are definitely more sensitive (as Curtis has reported) by a few dB.

(3) The Axioms have a shallow but broad 2-3dB dip between 200-600Hz or so, which may explain the comparative "leanness" or the lack of "fullness" of brass sounds.

(4) The Axioms have wider lateral dispersion patterns in the 1-5kHz "presence" region, as well as in the top octave. This may explain the more muscial "details" and forward presentation heard on the Axioms.

(5) As compared to the Axioms, the Ascends exhibit more harmonic distortions in midwoofer frequencies above 200Hz. This might in fact contribute to the perceived "fullness" of the sound. Also, it may explain the sound getting "muddy" or opaque occasionally, as reported above.

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