Axioms are good speakers for the money, but IMHO I think they are voiced more for Home Theater applications than for music listening.
4 responses Add your response
Ditto what the hippy said .
I have/do own Axiom speakers . The tweeters are unrelentless for music . They are so much of a problem that Axiom has a couple of different value resisters available to plug into the tweeter circuit ! I would look elsewhere for front channel speakers .
However , for HT I still use their CC and rear surround speakers , very clear and resolving although not terribly efficient . You will have to increase the level more to them than to the front left and right speakers . Oddly enough , they were a good match to the JM Labs front speakers that I replaced the Axioms with !
I had the VP150 in for an in-home audition, but sent it back due to brightness. The home audition works if you're willing to pay return shipping ... in case you don't like them. For good quality, versatile (HT/2ch) speakers in the same budget category take a look at Ascend Acoustics. Here's a user review I wrote on another site:
Of course the term best implies direct comparison to all the available alternatives. But based on my personal experience, this is the best speaker I have heard under $2,000. They sounded great right out of the box; and after the recommended break-in period (50 hours), the Ascends settled into a zone that defies their size and cost. Speakers that cost so little are not supposed to sound this good but they do. I auditioned Def Tech, Klipsch, Martin Logan, Vienna Acoustics, and few other models at my local Magnolia shop (inside Best Buy). Nothing under $2,000 performed as well as the Ascends. I brought along my own CDs for reference. Against the Ascends, those same recordings sounded as good or better than most everything in the store. (Note: I didnt ask to hear anything above $3,000 not even for S & G)
These speakers are very accurate, uncolored, and detailed in their presentation. They are combined with the Ascend center channel, Cambridge Soundworks S300 rears, and Hsu Research VTF-2. I was looking for a combination that would perform well, both as fronts for my HT set-up; and speakers that could deliver in 2-channel pure direct listening mode. These get the job done, and then some. Im using a Denon 3805 as Pre/Pro with Outlaw mono-blocks running the front Ascends. For DVD/SACD, Im using an Oppo 970HD. With the exception of LAT 300 interconnects (Sony CDP to Pre/Pro), all other cabling and power cords are from Signal Cable. I did a lot of research here on Audio Review, as well as A-gon and the Asylum. Taken into account against what is considered high end gear, this is a fairly modest priced system end to end. But how does it sound? Well my wife (anything but an audiophile) was in another room working while I was playing a few discs. She made a point to come in and comment about how really smooth the system sounded.
In fact, in 5-channel stereo, the 3 Ascends across the front produce a very coherent, blended wall of sound. When used with a well recorded CD/SACDs, these speakers are capable of producing the wow factor. By the way, changing out the standard jumpers to Paul Speltz anti-jumpers produced a noticeable improvement in clarity and resolution. One should also keep in mind that these speakers need to be used with a sub.
I ordered these after returning an Axiom VP150 center channel speaker. It proved to be a bit too bright for my taste. In fairness though, I may not have given it enough time to break-in. That experience caused me to sour on my original decision to go with the Axiom M80 ($1,300) fronts reasoning that if the center has brightness issues, the mains would be the same. Overall, in all areas with one exception - I have been very happy with the decision to make this purchase.
These speakers produce great soundstage with depth, clarity, and resolution. They do midrange and highs extremely well. Timbre and tonality of instruments and voices are spot on. Everything down through mid-bass is exceptional. I have compared these directly with what have been called- by one professional reviewer the shockingly good OML-2 floor stander. The comparison was done head-to-head in my home same electronics, same room acoustics. The Ascends outperformed this $2,000 speaker in mid to high detail, clarity, and extension although the more expensive OML-2 was a bit more refined and weighty, especially in the lower regions. I would rate the Ascend 340s a 5.5 for everything down to mid-bass. They are that good. Overall price/performance value is a 6.0!
As a true full range speaker, I give these a rating of 4.5 (please read explanation). The manufacturer and other reviewers dont try to hide the fact that these speakers dont go that low in bass (45hz at the low end). When you read that these can be run full range (as I did) that does not mean they are a full range speaker. It means, when used with a good subwoofer, one does not need to employ bass management at the receiver level. The trick is to blend these with the sub so that theres enough headroom that the transition to the lower registers is transparent. That said, if you are looking for a speaker that does everything well which would include producing solid bass without a sub (good enough for most music), then you might be better off with something like the Axiom M80. I know that is somewhat contradictory, but its the truth.
It was very difficult for me to get the bass just right with these. I had to calibrate and re-calibrate my settings using the Auto Eq. Function on the Denon. I also had to purchase the Stereophile calibration CD which required an investment in an analog SPL meter. It took a lot of time, effort, and trial/effort to finally get it correct. It was sweet once I got there, and its right 95% of the time for most of my music.