Clash of the Minispeakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Nine bookshelf speakers in a blind listening test.

Audioengine P4
Axiom Audio M3v3
Hsu Research HB-1 MK2
KEF C3
Klipsch Reference RB-41 II
Monitor Audio Bronze BX1
Music Hall Marimba
Polk RTiA1
Paradigm Atom Monitor (late addition)

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/review-clash-minispeakers
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post #2 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 02:49 PM
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Thanks for the post/link..........

Too bad for us ID buyers they couldn't have also had the Arx A1bs and the Ascend CBM-170SEs in there as well........

Surprised they didn't have the Cambridge S30s or the Pioneer SP-BS41s in there......or the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s............

Any others they missed, guys and gals??
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post #3 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

Thanks for the post/link..........

Too bad for us ID buyers they couldn't have also had the Arx A1bs and the Ascend CBM-170SEs in there as well........

Surprised they didn't have the Cambridge S30s or the Pioneer SP-BS41s in there......or the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s............

Any others they missed, guys and gals??

The Pioneers have been out of production since the Gen II Andrew Jones speakers were released. There is no Gen II version of the 41.

Brian
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post #4 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 03:13 PM
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I think I saw a list once with about 200 manufacturers currently in operation. This was for US sale only. Add that many of them have multiple lines in multiple price segments and I'm sure a few are going to get left out. That's what makes this hobby so interesting. Literally something for everyone.

Marantz SR-5007
Klipsch WF-35, WC-24, WB-14
SVS PB-2000
LG 55LN5600
Sony PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
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post #5 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 03:18 PM
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+1 on the padgman1 list, maybe a couple of the NHT in that price range too.
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post #6 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BGLeduc View Post

The Pioneers have been out of production since the Gen II Andrew Jones speakers were released. There is no Gen II version of the 41.

Brian
Isn't the SP-BS22-LR the replacement for the 41?

41: http://www.stereophile.com/content/pioneer-sp-bs41-lr-loudspeaker

22: http://www.pioneerelectronics.ca/POCEN/Home/Speakers/Home-Theater-Speakers/SP-BS22-LR
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post #7 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 06:32 PM
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no, the BS22 is the replacement for the BS21. both have 4" woofers and 1" tweeters.

The BS41 is a larger speaker with a 5.25" woofer and 1" tweeter. Pioneer did not produce a bookshelf speaker with those size drivers for the new series.

This is the BS21
http://www.pioneerelectronics.ca/POCEN/Home/Speakers/Home-Theater-Speakers/SP-BS21-LR

this is the larger bs41
http://www.pioneerelectronics.ca/POCEN/Home/Speakers/Home-Theater-Speakers/SP-BS41-LR

Afro GT
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post #8 of 59 Old 03-31-2013, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

no, the BS22 is the replacement for the BS21. both have 4" woofers and 1" tweeters.

The BS41 is a larger speaker with a 5.25" woofer and 1" tweeter. Pioneer did not produce a bookshelf speaker with those size drivers for the new series.

Oh, I see that now. My error.
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post #9 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree that it would have been interesting to see the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR in this review, considering the low retail price. I would have also put an Infinity Primus series bookshelf in the face off.

I am puzzled by the "defective" and "repaired" Axioms, kudos to Sound+Vision for sticking to their conclusions. Don't know if they are aware of the drama after the Audioholics speaker face off...
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post #10 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

Thanks for the post/link..........

Too bad for us ID buyers they couldn't have also had the Arx A1bs and the Ascend CBM-170SEs in there as well........

Surprised they didn't have the Cambridge S30s or the Pioneer SP-BS41s in there......or the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s............

Any others they missed, guys and gals??

That would have been nice to see. I think the Arx and Ascend probably would have been right at the top.
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Originally Posted by Badouri View Post

I am puzzled by the "defective" and "repaired" Axioms, kudos to Sound+Vision for sticking to their conclusions. Don't know if they are aware of the drama after the Audioholics speaker face off...

The first review was posted and Ian must have thrown a fit about and it was removed several hours after posting. He's known to challenge every review that doesn't put Axiom at the top. You'll never see any mention of this article on Axioms site or FB page, Now if Dale from HTS did this review, Axiom would have it posted everywhere and it would have been a very positive review.

The only thing holding this M3 back is the horrible xover design, which is really just a cap on the tweeter. Give it a real xover, make the cast drivers standard and give it nicer quality vinyl and it would be a great bookshelf instead of meh and over priced.
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post #11 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 10:43 AM
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Conclusion of the article:

Note that while some of these speakers definitely outperform others, there was no clearly superior product. We generally agreed on which of these speakers are real contenders, but our personal preferences among the favorites differed. Picking a “winner” in this case would be arbitrary, so instead we’ll help you figure out which one or two might be the best choice for you.

IOW, they were all similarly good & any of them would work very well for most people...

TAM
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post #12 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

they were all similarly good & any of them would work very well for most people...

I think Axiom really likes that "similarly" good deal, it makes so there speakers no matter what seem just as good.

But when I see a quote like, "Our listeners ranked the HB-1 MK2 in the middle of the pack, and the M3v3 toward the bottom of the pack."

To me that doesn't shout "similarily good". It means you would probably be better off with one of the ones towards the top of the list that did not rank toward the bottom, which means those speakers are the top got more right than wrong. Which is not similarily good.

When the designer claims that the crossover is bad and that it needs fixed and then there is still no improvement over good xover and bad xover that is not similarily good.
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post #13 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

Conclusion of the article:

Note that while some of these speakers definitely outperform others, there was no clearly superior product. We generally agreed on which of these speakers are real contenders, but our personal preferences among the favorites differed. Picking a “winner” in this case would be arbitrary, so instead we’ll help you figure out which one or two might be the best choice for you.

IOW, they were all similarly good & any of them would work very well for most people...

TAM

I would agree.......it's just that, on this forum, the above mentioned speakers in my earlier post (#2) have more cachet and more comments about them, good and bad, that it would be nice to include some of them as well......

I would think most non-audiophile and mainstream (average) people will take your review and use it preferentially to buy these speakers over others , both ID and B&M, that may be comparatively better...........at least in the opinion ( yes, opinion) of those who frequent this and other forums....................
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post #14 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 12:16 PM
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The winner really is the customer who purchases the right speaker for them.

While measurements are important for those who are interested in that sort of thing, the subjective sound is mostly how the choice is made with aesthetics & price of course being factors as well.

Again, as I found during my own brand name speaker auditioning last year, all candidates had their own 'sound signature' but were similarly good - there were no clunkers that I came across.. Makes choosing somewhat difficult...

TAM
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post #15 of 59 Old 04-01-2013, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

Again, as I found during my own brand name speaker auditioning last year, all candidates had their own 'sound signature' but were similarly good - there were no clunkers that I came across.. Makes choosing somewhat difficult...

TAM


Totally agree...........
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post #16 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 11:35 AM
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I read the clash of the mini speakers and have heard the polk, monitor audio, klipsch and axiom and the article states no clear winner while some outperformed others.
Then someone with axiom experience said that they would all score similarly good which is a great way for a speaker to never come out on the losing side of things
What confuses me is that if they all score "similarly good" yet a B&W 805 loses to an axiom m3 in a DBT at a anniversary bash at axiom.
How can this be that an B&W 805 which was priced at $2500 cannot even score similarly good vs the axiom m3 which was $348 at the time?

To quote Alan Lofft

"However in the B&W 805 vs. Axiom M3 listening test, I did not write "similarly good" because I clearly had a preference for one over the other and that was expressed in the individual scores and in my written comments."

So the speakers in the sound and vision article would score similarly good but the B&W 805 does not score similarly good when compared to the m3, Wow the 805 much be one bad speaker?
Myself I dislike the term "similarly good", and I wonder if its dated, over used, biased, depends on which brand or model your debating?
At what point does it become not believable? Is a DBT done at a axiom anniversary with axiom owners unbiased?

Alan also stated

"Under "Overall Sound," speaker #1 received a 7.5 out of a possible 10. A rating of 7.5 is what I'd call "good," which means it's a reasonably accurate, pleasant-sounding loudspeaker but with a couple of audible flaws that prevent it from getting a higher score. I gave speaker #2 a rating of 8.5; while not perfect, it represents a speaker that I'd describe as "excellent" with no blatant flaws or audible colorations."

# 1 speaker was the B&W and #2 was the axiom speaker. I find the article hard to believe myself and it left me scratching my head.
But who am I to argue as Alan Lofft has had 30 years of blind listening test experience.
Finding a way to get honest answers in the world of audio is a tough thing to do.

Dr. Floyd Toole coined the phrase "similarly good"
Si Robertson coined the phrase "hey....What a piece of junk" smile.gif
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post #17 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 12:35 PM
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I think that 'similarly good' says it all.

When I auditioned many brands & models last year, that was the best & simplest way to describe my experience...

TAM
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post #18 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 12:50 PM
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Thats my exact thoughts too. How can the M3 as example score as good or better or "similarly" good against a high end $2500 bookshelf but yet is "similarly" good against smaller cheaper bookshelfs but still comes in last or close to last out of those? Is that Axiom test being overly biased? Is the SV right on the nose with the results? or is every speaker out there no better or worst than anything else?

Its just reinforces my opinion of "similarly" good, it makes it so nothing loses and makes everything equal. While they did say that that not all where total losers and nothing whooped up on the other, they did say that the Axiom was pretty much last. Which doesn't inspire confidence that its a $3000 speaker matcher/killer. If thats the case it should have wiped the floor with the competition.

I mean a few of those brands I said was true Axiom competition a while ago and a few Axiom guys actually was pretty insulted that I would say that. Shows that Axiom is a middle of the pack brand in its price range, no more/no less. They could fix it but I don't see it happening, they have the resources and 30yrs of knowledge. They could get back to making some of the top performance bang for the buck speakers in the ID world, but seems they are content on mediocre speakers and just hype them up.
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post #19 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

+1 on the padgman1 list, maybe a couple of the NHT in that price range too.

Maybe someone should write them and suggest a round two with more speakers smile.gif

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post #20 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 01:33 PM
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I just went thru the whole "auditioning phase" for many (and I mean MAAAAANY) speakers in this price range. I even listened to some speakers WAAAAY above this price range. I though the Klipsch RB line was good for music, and great for movies. However, to me mind you, the sound did get a little overbaring after a long audition. The Polks were good all-arounders, and the MA Bronze series where too flat for me (I like a little punch here and there to liven things up as long as it is controlled). What did I finally settle on....PSB Image series speakers. It made the music that I listen to sound the way that I wanted them to. They also worked great for home theater use, once again making the movies sound the way that I like my movies to sound. I think that the test above, like previously mentioned, was cleverly done so that none where clear losers or winners. They described the type of sound they all put out, so people can try to form their own opinions. If I had the room, and for a dedicated HT setup, the HSU's would be a worthy audition.

On a side note, the MA Radius speakers were super small and sounded bigger than they were, but they didnt provide a lively enough (if anyone can possibly understand what I mean when I say that) soundtrack for movies. They seemed to make everything sound "just ok".

One HUGE let down where the Totem Dreamcatchers. For the money they charge for them, and the rave reviews they received, I can honestly say that the speakers that came with my 10 year old HTIB Sony system sounded better.

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post #21 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 01:51 PM
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Mediocre and hype does sell, Just look at Bose, and no I'm not comparing axiom to bose, Don't want to get accused of that.

Alan Lofft also stated when talking about the dbt with the axiom m3 vs B&W 805 that

"In the end, this was a really enlightening comparison, because it showed off what I've maintained for years: there is little or no correlation between musical accuracy and price."

So for all the people who bought higher end brands such as B&W, Revel, and all the other more expensive lines or brands, I guess they have wasted their money.
Axiom could compete with anything out there and would at least score similarly good, and from what I understand from axiomites, this statement would hold true and also be unbiased.

I wonder if at the axiom headquarters, do they do an axiom cheer every morning? smile.gif

Give me a A
Give me a x
Give me a I
Give me a o
Give me a m

And whats that give you?
The best speaker on the planet!
Or at least similarly good!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. smile.gif
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post #22 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John1400 View Post

Axiom could compete with anything out there and would at least score similarly good, and from what I understand from axiomites, this statement would hold true and also be unbiased.

They believe it and I think its part of the reason why some just come crashing down hard, like we see in a few other threads. I think thats why alot of them don't venture outside of the bubble, because its been pounded in their heads that Axiom is similarly good regardless of price and competition. Quality doesn't matter (drivers,xovers, ect) and that everyone else is wrong outside of the Axiom bubble. And when Axiom isn't hands down preferred its why we see some of the posts of outrage and just pure taken aback.
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post #23 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 02:23 PM
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I don't think axiom owners will ever understand, and this type of thing will never end.
Maybe one day they will ask themselves why is this happening to us, and not just blame it on everyone else and chalk it up to haters and trolls.
If they would take off the blinders and look for the reason that this happens, and find the correct reasons, it would be at that point that things would start to change.
In the end it is all up to them to figure it out, and things could change, but only when they are open to understanding what the real problems are.
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post #24 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

They believe it and I think its part of the reason why some just come crashing down hard, like we see in a few other threads. I think thats why alot of them don't venture outside of the bubble, because its been pounded in their heads that Axiom is similarly good regardless of price and competition. Quality doesn't matter (drivers,xovers, ect) and that everyone else is wrong outside of the Axiom bubble. And when Axiom isn't hands down preferred its why we see some of the posts of outrage and just pure taken aback.

Everyone who dislikes Axiom is just a hater wink.gif

Sorry. I couldn't resist. smile.gif

But when that ad hominem attack becomes the primary defense of a product or product line in lieu of an ability to provide reasonable responses to negative claims about the product, it's an obvious sign that something probably actually is wrong with the product.

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post #25 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Everyone who dislikes Axiom is just a hater wink.gif

Sorry. I couldn't resist. smile.gif

But when that ad hominem attack becomes the primary defense of a product or product line in lieu of an ability to provide reasonable responses to negative claims about the product, it's an obvious sign that something probably actually is wrong with the product.

So when I say "Axiom's M3V3 has some serious crossover issues with woofer beaming and cone breakup and that in its price range theres much better than can be had" and the response is " Your an idiot who probably lives in his mommys basement and your just on some crusade to ruin a great company" Is that what your talking about? tongue.gifwink.gif
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post #26 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

So when I say "Axiom's M3V3 has some serious crossover issues with woofer beaming and cone breakup and that in its price range theres much better than can be had" and the response is " Your an idiot who probably lives in his mommys basement and your just on some crusade to ruin a great company" Is that what your talking about? tongue.gifwink.gif

Might be a little extreme, but yeah.

LMAO biggrin.gif

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post #27 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 05:21 PM
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After reading the SV review yesterday, I listened to 'SADE' (great, dynamic band with lots of percussion & electric bass stuff) followed by some 'James Newton Howard' on my M3s. Both are well engineered older recordings that have a full, seemingly uncompressed mixing (too common today). In my room, they sounded wonderful to me at fairly high, room filling volume.

Funny, I've never ever heard the M3s as being characterized as lacking detail & being kinda laid back. Virtually all other comments are in the opposite vein where they are often accused of being bright. So what the hell gives?

It comes down to the fact that listening is so subjective that one cannot rely on anyone else's assessments - they seem to be all over the map. You have to listen for yourself. I know what I hear & the M3s are just fine & for me represent fine value...

TAM
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post #28 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

After reading the SV review yesterday, I listened to 'SADE' (great, dynamic band with lots of percussion & electric bass stuff) followed by some 'James Newton Howard' on my M3s. Both are well engineered older recordings that have a full, seemingly uncompressed mixing (too common today). In my room, they sounded wonderful to me at fairly high, room filling volume.

Funny, I've never ever heard the M3s as being characterized as lacking detail & being kinda laid back. Virtually all other comments are in the opposite vein where they are often accused of being bright. So what the hell gives?

It comes down to the fact that listening is so subjective that one cannot rely on anyone else's assessments - they seem to be all over the map. You have to listen for yourself. I know what I hear & the M3s are just fine & for me represent fine value...


Its very subjective. But what are you basing your opinion on of the M3s? You're probably just use to the Axiom sound and don't realize it. I never once noticed any tweeter overhang (slight after ring) in the Axiom M22s owning them for around 4 years. After listening to Arx A1s and HSU bookshelfs and a few others (some was worst) for several weeks and then going back to listen to the M22s I noticed immediately the tweeter after ring/hang.

As example, pick up a different set of bookshelfs, what ever brand, Aperion, HSU, Arx, Monitor, Focal ect... Put the Axioms away (I know easier said than done) for about 2 or 3 weeks and listen exclusively to the other bookshelf. Then hook the M3s back up and listen to familar music you did with the new bookshelfs.

Listening for just a short session will never give you a true idea of how good or bad a speaker will sound. Paradigm Studio vs Axiom is a good example. At first most say they sound very similar and are so close why spend the money on the Studios. But some have commented that after extended listening they noticed the Studios having a much more refined and detailed sound than the Axiom. That extra refined sound may be the difference in sitting back and enjoying them vs 5-15mins and you've had enought.
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post #29 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 06:13 PM
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No one likes their product being bashed. I would say pretty much all the ID speakers have their share of equally unreasonable fanboys--true of Ascend, (now defunct) AV123, Hsu, SVS, etc, the difference is Axiom is a lot easier to attack since their speakers have glaringly obvious design flaws.

That said, problems get exacerbated when the designers themselves get butthurt and start posting on the forum, seems really bad and lack of class, not just Axiom, but the I remember D-Sonic was attacking anyone--even their own customers--who were noticing cheap parts being used in the power supply of their amps to save money.
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post #30 of 59 Old 04-02-2013, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by border411 View Post

I just went thru the whole "auditioning phase" for many (and I mean MAAAAANY) speakers in this price range. I even listened to some speakers WAAAAY above this price range. I though the Klipsch RB line was good for music, and great for movies. However, to me mind you, the sound did get a little overbaring after a long audition. The Polks were good all-arounders, and the MA Bronze series where too flat for me (I like a little punch here and there to liven things up as long as it is controlled). What did I finally settle on....PSB Image series speakers. It made the music that I listen to sound the way that I wanted them to. They also worked great for home theater use, once again making the movies sound the way that I like my movies to sound. I think that the test above, like previously mentioned, was cleverly done so that none where clear losers or winners. They described the type of sound they all put out, so people can try to form their own opinions. If I had the room, and for a dedicated HT setup, the HSU's would be a worthy audition.

On a side note, the MA Radius speakers were super small and sounded bigger than they were, but they didnt provide a lively enough (if anyone can possibly understand what I mean when I say that) soundtrack for movies. They seemed to make everything sound "just ok".

One HUGE let down where the Totem Dreamcatchers. For the money they charge for them, and the rave reviews they received, I can honestly say that the speakers that came with my 10 year old HTIB Sony system sounded better.

Heya Border, I wondered what you had settled on, congrats on the decision.

A year or so ago I auditioned 15 or so speakers in this price range, although there were few ID companies represented. Energy RC-10 was a standout, as was my ultimate choice, Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 (which are about to be replaced). A couple of months ago I did it again, budget was $500-1k. So many "sound the same, only different" speakers out there! During this process I talked a Totem dealer into taking a pair of Rainmakers home with me and my experience was similar to yours - they sounded great in the showroom but very disappointing in my big-arsed room. Much better in my office, but too big for the small space. I guess the "beaks" are what make or break them rolleyes.gif The guy dismissed me outright when I returned them with my comments, needless to say I walked out happy. Anyway, once again I also let down the folks at Crutchfield and didn't buy anything, went blind (deaf?) again with a pair of Kef Q300 that should last me a year or so before I get antsy again. I've fortunately been very lucky buying on specs, measurements and recommendations, which is a good thing - there are only so many dozen mediocre speakers one can listen to without becoming disinterested, and I have to drive quite a bit to listen to most anything that isn't carried by Crutchfield (close to me).

I've seen quite a few apparently decent speakers recommended both here and on audioholics that didn't make this review (including a pair that will be delivered to me on Thursday), but very pleased that someone is at least paying attention to speakers in this price range. Hopefully there will be a follow up, I'd even like to see a tiered elimination series of reviews in different prices.

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