My only audio experience with Axiom speakers wasn't good. I purchased the Algonquin outdoor model $378 and compared side by side with PSB's CS1001 $550 and Polk Audio's Atrium 7 $500.
The build quality of the Algonquin was very much inferior to the PSB and Polk. The Algonquin cabinet appears to consist of six seperate plastic panels, probably held together with nothing more than glue along the edges, and a single internal brace glued across the middle. The plastic enclosure must be pretty thin given the hollow sound when tapping the side adjacent to the bracing.
Other notes - Algonquin:
- binding posts exposed to the elements
- plastic screens with a few small cracks and globs of glue
- screen held loosely by hard plastic posts pushed into hard plastic opening
- drivers held in place by round-headed metal screws sticking out like a sore thumb, and sheared head from screwdriver slippage
- wall bracket sold seperate $44 wall or $60 ceiling
This speaker reminded me of a plastic model kit that was sloppily put together by a teenager in his dad's garage.
OTOH, both the Polk and PSB exude the build-quality of precision manufacturing. The PSB consists of a very sturdy two piece cabinet. The baffle is attached to the cabinet with several recessed screws. The remainder of the cabinet is a molded, one-piece design. Nothing but a dull thud when tapping on the cabinet. I had the speakers resting on two and half foot metal stands, one of which was knocked over. The only damage was minor scuffing of the plastic.
- PSB utilizes a recessed binding post covered by rubber flap
- ported in the front and port covered by screen (keeps debri out)
- metal screen with edges fitting snugly around the entire baffle and held snugly by non-resonant soft rubber grippers
- includes wall mount bracket
I had read positive comments about Axiom speakers over the course of several years, the clear life-like midrange in particular, and was eager to try out the Algonquins, which are modeled after the M3 bookshelf. Axiom's website includes the quote: "The sound is so good, you'll keep pumping up the volume." Kevin Hunt, Chicago Tribune. That is the worst thing to do with the Algonquins.
At high volumes, the harshness of the treble becomes unbearable and sibilance is very pronounced. The speaker seems capable of pretty high bass output, but the sound was uncontrolled; I would guess as a result of high cabinet resonance owing to its cheap build. The whole range of frequencies seemed to suffer from distortion and lacked detail. I've read that Axiom doesn't filter frequencies on some of the drivers, preferring to let the speaker roll-off naturally.
Not only would I NOT recommend the Algonquin, I would recommend the comparably priced Bose 301 bookshelf speaker to the most reverent Bose-hater instead. In a blind-listening test, I would bet a months salary that the Bose would be chosen. Axiom should be embarrassed to sell this model and the $378 is outrageous. Its hard to imagine asking more than $100 given the overall quality.