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#214 - 08/06/01 06:16 PM Axiom M3Ti: One Mans Journey-The story (Chapter 1)
Keokosky Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego CA
"AXIOM audio, can I help you".
"Hi, could I speak to sales please"?
"Sure, one moment". Canadians sure talk funny.
"Good morning, this is Noreen..".
"Hi Noreen, how are ya? You sound a little tired".
"Well it is 9:00 Monday morning, ya know, but i'm good. Thanks for asking".

Noreen has an area of the website dedicated entirely to her and I can see why. But in the bigger sense she reflects the comfortable way in which I, as a customer, was treated....

But hold on, lets start at the beginning. Over the next month or so I thought i'd detail my experience in discovering, reviewing, purchasing, and auditioning a pair of Axiom M3Ti's.

My motive is nothing more than to objectively highlight my experience and have a little fun and hopefully share this with those interested so that it may/or may not factor in their purchase decision. The installments that will follow are just the observations of an ordinary listener, in an ordinary room, with ordinary intelligence, and slightly better than ordinary equipment. Please read on.

I live in Southern California. Academically I have a couple of degrees, professionally I work with computers, and personally I enjoy surfing, cooking, wine, cars, nature, and photography to name a few.

My stereo is humble but I think a good representation of what you can do on a budget-

  • NAD 751 reciever
  • NAD 521 CD player
  • IXOS 6003 gamma series speaker wire
  • A nice inter connect
  • and some nice plugs

Just an ordinary L-shaped room with carpet, some drapes, furnature, and approxamately 10x 15x15.

So now that we have a little background, I think I'll take a break for a coffee and then start at the beginning.


#215 - 08/07/01 12:39 PM Angling for speakers (chapter 2)
Keokosky Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego CA
I have a background in science and tend to be very detail oriented. Like many aspiring audiophiles I find things like SPL, frequency response, diagrams, and ohms law very quantitative and comforting. The irony, I believe, is that what makes a good composer, singer-or speaker for that matter- GREAT, rather than just good, is entirely in the qualitative relm. Therefor, all you will read is just what I hear sans the science.

Audiophiles are probaly a little obsesive compulsive, my girlfriend Andrea seems to think I am. So when I got the bug to get a new system after several years without, I started obsessing over every printed review, periodical, and electronic document I could lay my eyes on. So many products, claims, and prices floating through my head, it was mind boggling!

Since this is all about speakers I'll stay focused. My first choice was a set of Mission M71's that had received the Product of the Year award from WHAThifi. Very nice, very reasonable in price and had a bit of what I would later learn to be the Brithish sound, though a bright British sound. I was so proud of my new speakers! How clean, how smooth, and look at the, I mean hear, the soundstage!

But did they engulf me with sound like a concert? Sadly not. So I kept looking, Epos, Joseph, Kef- incredable and too expensive. Wharfdale Pacific Pi30's also too expensive. But I scored the Internet deal. They arrived at my house in gigantic boxes, I was a kid in college again! Bigger is better.

They did indeed throw a big sound. A warm winter nite cabin in the woods sound but the highs seemed to contain too much effort and they lacked the sense of spacialness (?) that I felt when I went to a concert. I continued to read and learned this was a characteristic of smaller speakers. Back to the web.............and by chance on July 25th I came across the site Goodsound ( that we all hear so much about. This was my first aquaintance with Srajan Ebaen and his budget ethos- We were two peas in the same pod! So I wrote him and asked his advice. He suggested the Triangle Titus and Axiom M3Ti's. More reviews, god I love the process, and more searching the net.

Finally, on Monday,July 30th I called Noreen at a sleepy 9:00 in the morning credit card in my eager hand. I love Canadians (I actually hosted some of the Canadian national cycling team every spring while in college at Arizona where we trained and raced) and I really loved the exchange rate. I wonder if these sell for $360 in Canada. But who cares! I had sunk the hook and Noreen told me to exspect my speakers Friday or monday at the latest.......

#216 - 08/08/01 06:40 PM Jumbo Shrimp: (chapter 3)
Keokosky Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego CA
Thursday, July 26, 2001

There is nothing better than coming home to see the screen door ajar and know that your speakers are waiting for you!

Yep, there was the box. Now comes what you are here for, the first moment of the commencement of the critical process called this mans AXIOM experience.

I set the box down in the living room...a day early. Chalk one up for AXIOM.

The box appeared in pretty good condition, but is was lighter wt. that others I had seen.

I carefully sliced the tape and opened the top. Each speaker was individually wrapped and then couched in foam. So far so good.

I lifted them and out falls the users manual. I sat and read each page. Hmmmm, this could use a little work. Really pretty generic. The warranty registration is enclosed in the middle. Bottom of the first and AXIOM flies out to center on this one.

I unpack the speakers and begin to examine them.

Aesthtics: They have a nice look to them and the first thing you do indeed notice is the unique asymetrical shape. The dressings are nice, but nothing extraordinary, and firmly on a par with ones peers. A double.

Construction: The speakers are well made. The binding posts are done nicely and are seated solidly in their heavy plastic pocket. The grill pops off in a posative way and is clean and sturdy. This reveals the drivers. Each module appears overbuilt-Thats good! but one thing did catch my eye. The allen screws which attach the drivers to the cabnets are raised. If we were to really be anal- Would this effect frequency/dispersion response? Most likely not, but one does wonder. A triple for AXIOM!

Time for the moment of truth! Lets hook them up!

OK, ready to go. But before I flip the switch; I should tell you I have been listening to a much larger set of Wharfedale Pacific Pi-30's till now. They are reviewed as "Throwing out an OCEAN of sound..." so I am very curious to see what will happen next.

I have a couple of CD's I like to use that I know. The Stereophile 3 CD, Sarah McLachlin's Surfacing, Stan Getz's Serenity, and finally Anita Bakers Rythm of Love.

So I stack them up, load Sarah, walk into the kitchen make myself an espresso and plop down on the sofa. PLAY

Sound: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........till next time :)

#217 - 08/08/01 09:34 PM Re: Jumbo Shrimp: (chapter 3)
Dave Offline

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 47
Loc: GTA
C'mon Keokosky, less espresso drinkin', and more reporting! As a fully satisfied M3Ti and EP-175 owner in particular, and all-round Axiom fan in general, I await the next exciting installment of your tale...!


#218 - 08/09/01 02:44 PM Jumbo Shrimp...or Shrinp Jumbo?: (chapter 4)
Keokosky Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego CA I have plopped down on the sofa with my espresso (did you know that the relentless pursuit of a good cup of espresso is quite analagous to that of good audio? OK later)...

Before I start I just want to make it clear that I already know where this story is going to end and you do not so it is very important that you complete the ENTIRE journey with me to find out the correct conclusion.

Thank you.

First the Sarah CD, then Anita, and finally Stan and some blue note jazz by Jimmy Smith....So how long can I draw this out?

Well, I didn't hear what I was hoping to hear.

My first response was disappointment. The depth of the soundstage was compressed, and the music sounded...well, constipated. Like the face of an old female baptist parishiner who had seen a porn site for the first time. There was a NY city grime over the whole spectrum that, as if like a dirty window, needed to be wiped to its sparkling state.

Everything sounded very recessed in the middle and upper end, though I can say that the upper bass was quite punchy and tight- Far more so that I exspected. And with some careful room placement you could even augment it a little without getting boomy.

The burning question is why, why....why?! Why was I not hearing what all these acomplished audiophiles and other listeners were hearing? In the past I thought it was me, but later realized that mediocraty runs rampent and I for some reason was able to distinguish quality where others could not. Was this another case?

You will have to wait till next time to find out.....Nope, not even a hint.........But please reread the opening of this passage before you leave.

Thanks, Bill

#219 - 08/12/01 01:51 PM Re: Fishermans Catch!: (chapter 5)
Keokosky Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego CA
...Its been several days since my last post and actually a couple of weeks since purchasing my Axioms.

In Chapter 4 I think we can all agree that my opinion of the sound that emminated from my M3Ti's was less than perfect and inferior in quality to the descriptions that past Audiophile reviewers had described and possibly somewhat controversial.

BUT and i mean BIG BUTT...there are some very important caviets to address before we go on and they are listed as follows:

  • My review was "out of the box". Speakers are like new automobiles and must be broken in! I suggest at least 200 hours with a specific passage for this exact purpose such as the one on Stereopile's #3 disk.
  • There is the Platonic standard and the Relative standard. This translates into comparison to the "perfect" speaker and to the peers of the speaker in question...usually based on cost.
  • Lastly, the total cost of my system, everything, including speakers is $960. So I cannot draw out the absolute performance that some may. But that doesn't matter because this is about how they sound with MY system!

    So, this said, where are we now with the sound of the M3ti's.

    After some 125 hours these speakers have really improved! I cannot emphisize how important it appears to be to break them in. There is not just a perceptable improvement but a significant improvement. I mean the snap of the cymbol and the slide of the string are much cleaner and have increased attack and clairity. Most of the grime which I refered to is now gone. The sound has improved significantly!

    The top end is much cleaner and clearer, the midrange is much warmer and there is still good punch in the upper upper bass. Speaking of bass, this leads me to one observation. The bass rolls off like a stone after 100 Hz. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The best one can do is say "its got good base for a bookshelf speaker", no more no less!

    So where does this all leave us? All this improvement may have revealed a flaw. I believe that the speakers do indeed sound better. But, better than what? And do they sound good? Good comapaired to other $275 speakers or good compared to the best speakers?

    ........So, next time we'll try and see. :)


#220 - 08/16/01 04:32 PM Environmental Disaster: (chapter 6)
Keokosky Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 10
Loc: San Diego CA
...So where does this all leave us? All this improvement may have revealed a flaw. I believe that the speakers do indeed sound better. But, better than what? And do they sound good? Good comapaired to other $275 speakers or good compared to the best speakers?

I'm really sort of a Bohemian, I enjoy painting, photography, hanging out, and drinking espresso while listening to good music. My struggle is how to manage this when society has completely wrapped me around its finger and made me an uptight, anal-retentive, compulsive and detail oriented monger.

These speakers, much like my personality, can be frustrating and contradictory. The M3Ti's are really too good to be $275, the problem is that they are not good enough to be $600 speakers.

I just finshed a very pleasent listening experience with Anita Baker and my espresso. She was vibrant, warm, and engaging. She filled my room and I dreamed wistfully of being a musician myself.

I would characterize these speakers as smooth, clean, warm, and round. Round for me means that there is a component of three dimensionality. Brass feels chilly, wood feels warm, and strings twang. This is very good.

But this is exactly what I find the most frustrating!!! They simply are not as good as a really expensive speaker. They are so good that they are bad. They do a remarkable job capturing what is music for the price. But they are slightly out of focus, slightly constrained at the extreems, and only a little round. Damn it! I like them so much because they appeal to my sense of quality, value, and fairness. But I hate them because they perfectly illustrate what the short-comings are between a good speaker and a great speaker on the Platonic scale where price is no object (remember that one from my earlier chapter?).

This all leaves me very frustrated. Who would of thought purchasing a set of speakers would raise a philosophical debate! We will have to solve this next time...


#221 - 08/17/01 05:22 PM Re: Environmental Disaster: (chapter 6)

Those who are seriously looking at the M3ti should read Goodsound, Soundstage, and reviews- those reviews are backed up with charts and comparisons to other comparable equipment by people {Ian Masters!} who have done blind listening tests comparing the M3ti to speakers in the 2000 dollar range. To charge 2000 for a speaker and not !!SIGNIFICANTLY!! best the performance of a 275 dollar speaker is shiesterism at it's finest. I for one have looked long and hard at the M3ti speakers, and will probably take the plunge and order them; NOT because they "are so good they are bad?!", but because Axiom seems to be a company concerned with giving their customers the biggest bang for the buck, as well as top notch customer service. Alas, it all comes down to what one prefers. As the reviewer from soundstage said, "are the 2750 dollar speakers really 10 times better than the Axioms, and do you get 10X better sound?!" ...Kudos to Axiom Audio for putting out what seems to be (I'll find out soon) one of the best "budget" audio components in a LONG time ( and I already own Paradigm products:) ).

#222 - 08/17/01 10:35 PM Re: Environmental Disaster: (chapter 6)

.......Yesssss, I could not agree more. But I believe that it IS important to maintain the perspective. Iconically Ian Masters, of the Sound Network, observation's are quite similar to mine. But what fun would it be to let the final cat out of the bag with several chapters to go! We are not JUST reviewing speakers here.


#223 - 08/18/01 07:53 PM Re: Environmental Disaster: (chapter 6)

Well *&%$ ! I guess I jumped the gun..... I thought that was the FINAL Chapter! :) I look forward to seeing the rest of your observations about the M3ti.

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