Let me preface this by saying that, in less than a week, I should own m22tis.. I chose them because they seemed like the best value for the price range and I liked Axiom's scientific, practical philosophies. I'm not bashing them at all, but before ordering was wondering why some people think they are bright.

I was thinking about what could make people think they are bright or siblant when you turn the volume up. I have heard that they sound good at low volumes, yet when you play them very loud the treble is too much.

I thought of two theories to this. The first being that, perhaps the elevated high end causes them to sound "loud" at low volumes since the treble is playing louder, yet at higher levels the treble is too loud. The treble being loud at lower volumes would be the opposite of speakers with recessed treble where you have to turn it up to hear all the sound.

This didn't sound all too right.. then I thought maybe the frequency response changes when they get louder.

First I wanted to check the frequency response of a bigger speaker, the Energy C-3. At 90 and 95 dB, while the distortion goes up, the response stays the same. link. They are more expensive and bigger, so this can be expected.

The Axioms measured with slightly better on/off axis frequency response and similar distortion(link, yet look at the difference between the 1 watt measurement and the 90 dB measurement. 90 dB in an anechoic chambers would be much more in a normal room, which is a lot for a smaller bookshelf speaker to handle.

In the first image, it's relatively flat outside of a very tiny hump in the 3.5-5 KHz range. In the second image which is the 90 dB test.. the response curves up from 500 hz ever so slightly. By the time you're in the 3 KHz frequency range, it's 4-5 dB louder there than it is around 500 hz.

The smaller speaker seems to have a gradual peak throughout the treble when you push it hard. So I guess the moral would be that if you find the Axioms bright.. buy m80s?