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Hi all, Long post. But hopefully will help with other people's dilemmas.


I am looking to find some advice before my brother buys his basement home theater surround package. I am the AV geek of the family (and electrician) and have helped him thus far with his 7.1 channel build in his basement. He is in the finishing stages and is anxious to pull the trigger on some gear.


The room is 14.5' x 30' x 8' The seating position will be approx 14' from the front wall which will have a 100" diag screen lit by an Epson 8350 projector. Behind the sofa will be an open area with a pool table and rear surrounds on the back wall. The system considered will have Floorstanders, with a center, wall mounted Dipoles for surrounds and direct radiating rear surrounds; as they are approx 15 feet behind the sofa.


He is currently looking at ordering the Marantz SR6007 AVR to drive the system as an separate amplifier is out of his price range.


His budget for speakers was established at the Epic M80-800 price of around $5500 (ep800 sub included) with added M22s for rear surrounds.


I would like to offer him solid alternatives before he commits to this package. The candidates are:


Axiom M80

PSB Image T6

KEF Q900

Klipsch RF82 (unlikely contender)

Energy Connoisseur CF-50


The subwoofer choice obviously is contentious... I am trying to talk him out of the Ep800. Two smaller but beefy subs would be better for his room dimensions I think.


Any input would be greatly appreciated.... as I will be spending a lot of time there and will be living vicariously through his system until I can do my own build. LOL.



Thanks in advance.
 

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I would take just about any of those options over the Axioms. PSB would be at the top. You can find much cheaper subwoofers that will outperform the EP800 as well as have better drivers, amp, and a much much better built cabinet. Axiom subwoofer never get recommended on this forum or really any others except for the Axiom forum. They under perform, under built, and just over all out dated compared to the current ID offerings. I owned Axioms and I sold my Axioms and have no regrets in selling them.


For the $2500 asking price of the EP800 you could get dual HSU ULS 15s, a pair of SVS PC12 Plus (one would probably outperform the EP800), JTR Captivator, Seaton Submersive, Funk Audio 15.0, 15.3, Rythmik FV15HP.


I would add Aperion Grand Verus to the list http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/verus-family

Arx speakers (which replaced my Axiom setup) http://www.theaudioinsider.com/manufacturers.php?mPath=13

And Swan/HiVi http://www.theaudioinsider.com/index.php?loudspeakers=swan-diva&cPath=21_22
 

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I just saw/heard the new Ultra speakers from SVS at the RMAF. They were excellent in sound and build quality. I believe they will be released sometime in November. They were, IMO, at least as good as the Versus Grand towers. No specs of third party reviews or measurements yet, but SVS is usually good about sending their stuff out to reviewers.


The PSB and Kefs you mentioned are both often recommended on these forums.
 

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Has he been able to actually listen to any of those speakers and compare them? That is the first step. My personal opinion is that I like PSB and Kef vs Axiom and Klipsch, but that is just me. I totally agree on the subwoofers, the Axiom's are not bad, but there are much better bang for the buck subs out there.


I would also look into brands like Paradigm, Goldenear, Definitive Technology, etc as well. Tons of options here, and he has a solid budget.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer  /t/1433941/basement-build-axiom-m80-vs-kef-q900-vs-psb-image-t6#post_22494891


I just saw/heard the new Ultra speakers from SVS at the RMAF. They were excellent in sound and build quality. I believe they will be released sometime in November. They were, IMO, at least as good as the Versus Grand towers. No specs of third party reviews or measurements yet, but SVS is usually good about sending their stuff out to reviewers.

The PSB and Kefs you mentioned are both often recommended on these forums.

The new SVS speakers do look good. They usually create 5.1 and 7.1 packages with their subs at good prices. I think they look a lot like the Kef R series.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk  /t/1433941/basement-build-axiom-m80-vs-kef-q900-vs-psb-image-t6#post_22494905


I totally agree on the subwoofers, the Axiom's are not bad, but there are much better bang for the buck subs out there.

I think EP350 and EP500 are the only worthwhile Axiom subwoofers. EP125 and EP175 are way too expensive and are really only good for maybe a PC setup or soundbar. EP600 has really high distortion numbers, weak under braced cabinet, port chuffing at higher volumes, and DSP that really dampens output, all those draw backs for close to $2k tells me its no where near its asking price, that and it hasn't gone through any thorough revisions since its introduction in 2004. EP800 isn't any better except for no port chuffing. The build quality of the EP800 is bottom of the list in its price range, its almost embarassing to ask $2500 for it.


If Axiom doesn't want to revise/improve there subwooofer offerings than a slashing of prices is need IMO to have them have any respect or even be considered in today market. I say any where from 20-40% off would make them competitive again. But they just recently raised their prices again for the second time in a year so I think the products will stay the same with no improvements but just keep going up in price.
 

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Given your skill level, you could get far better HT performance with DIY at a much lower cost than what you have listed. Check out the site below for some great options:




Speakers:

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/plastic-seos-12/seos-speaker-kits.html


Subs:


you supply the driver

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/flat-packs-1/subwoofer-flatpacks-1.html



The DIY forum here at AVS is full of knowledgeable people willing to help:

http://www.avsforum.com/f/155/diy-speakers-and-subs




If you decide you don't want to be bothered with speaker assembly then just get 7 of these and you will still have about 2 grand left for a killer sub.:

https://www.chasehometheater.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=142&redirected=1&Itemid=142




You really should concentrate on high sensitivity designs as the seating is 14 feet away and you said you will be depending only on a AVR for power needs. You don't want distortion or compression compromising the theater experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for your input. The links will keep us busy with a bit more research. Great stuff! Accessories for less is a good find.


Interesting to hear opinions about Axiom products in general. I've spent some time at their forum and have to say it does seem like the kool aid is passed around there quite a bit. It used to be my dream to own their flagship system a few years ago. Kinda like when a kid puts a pic of a bike above his dresser and saves his flyer route money... lol.


I was looking for some enthusiast opinion to cast doubt on an all out Axiom splurge and now I've got some solid contenders to offer up. Any more input would be greatly appreciated on sub choices.


The reason the KEF and PSB options are so attractive-- availability. I am in Canada so the internet direct stuff isn't always ideal.....a costly audition to ship back.
I'm thinking the PSB or KEF options could be paired up with a SVS sub at this point. He isn't really as into all this as much as I am so I've got to keep it short and sweet with the auditions. A short short list so to speak.


Side note from memory: Stereophile's recommeded products lists the KEFQ900s as a class "B Full Range" while the PSB Image T6 classsed as "C Full Range." The PSB Synchrony Ones are classed "A Full Range." Is there any value in this or is it rather arbitrary?


I'll try to plead my case to my bro and maybe post a pic or two once all finished up.


Thanks!
 

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I would go DIY for myself, as I could pour over every detail and combo option. I've looked into the Zaph audio designs etc. Since this is for my bro, it has to be as convenient as a microwave dinner. The key is getting it to "taste" better. lol.
 

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i cant offer any expertise as far as speaker choices, because i went more of a budget route. but, i do have a speaker placement idea. instead of putting the rear surrounds so far back, maybe consider doing a couple ceiling mounts closer to the couch, maybe next to the pool table or over the pool table. i am quite jealous of his room. here is a picture of what i have done as my rear and side surrounds. mirage speakers.


 

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What a nice clean job on your ceiling speakers. Good planning. We piped the speaker runs with 3/4 EMT conduit so we are kinda fixed on positions without some serious fishing. We had originally planned the rears to act as a zone 2 option for his pool table area then changed it later..... All good. Will still sound great I'm sure.
 

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oh, i see. does that receiver have audyssey or something similar? if so, im sure you are right, good luck and post some pics when you are done. i always like seeing other peoples' setups
 

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About 5-6 years ago I bought the Axiom M80 (v2 I believe) package (minus sub) and to be honest, I've never really been happy with it. o be fair, they've never failed, but as some others have mentioned, they just don't "wow".


Even though I know I have an older version and Axiom has made improvements with the v3 line, I'm calling it with Axiom and moving on (hopefully) greener pastures.I'm also looking at the same (KEF, PSB, Aperion) as potential replacement options.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by whostolemynick  /t/1433941/basement-build-axiom-m80-vs-kef-q900-vs-psb-image-t6#post_22497989


About 5-6 years ago I bought the Axiom M80 (v2 I believe) package (minus sub) and to be honest, I've never really been happy with it. o be fair, they've never failed, but as some others have mentioned, they just don't "wow".

Even though I know I have an older version and Axiom has made improvements with the v3 line, I'm calling it with Axiom and moving on (hopefully) greener pastures.I'm also looking at the same (KEF, PSB, Aperion) as potential replacement options.

Yes I had V2 Axioms as well and they never provided a wow factor especially for movies. From what I've heard the V3s only real improvement is magnetic grills and a slight crossover tweak, i've also heard from someone that the newer V3 drivers are even cheaper quality than the V2 drivers. Not sure who to believe but Ian stated once that the only difference between V2 and V3 is cosmetic, but then Amie said that the V3s have a sound quality upgrade compared to the V2s.



I would put Aperion on the audition list for sure, "free" shipping both ways, means you can order a set and not out a $100plus for shipping.
 

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Keep in mind that some people seem to have certain speaker brands on and endless search and take any and all opportunities to bad-mouth. Just like in politic, you need to not only do your research by asking questions and reading, but then also research the people providing you with information as well. If you see a lot of information leaning hard one way or another, but coming from one or two sources, does that make it completely true for everyone? Heck no.


Not saying that people shouldn't have their own opinions or that the O.P. hasn't asked for opinions, but I don't see any horrible brands/models in the mix. For me, I don't like Klipsch because I find that their designs that use horns are a bit too harsh, but I know other people that are MORE than happy with them.


There are so many other factors than just sound too. What do they look like? That is a big one when spouses get involved. None of the O.P.'s options are extremely "sexy" looking, but some are slightly different in design or finish options that may play into the decision.


Then there IS the performance of the speakers and the room that they are going in to. If you have a room with some null cancelation at mid-range frequencies, you will get a dip in the vocal range, so in music or movies, the dialog/vocals may be difficult to hear. But if one of the brands has an inherit spike in the same frequency range, it may negate that null in the room and sound good. The room is a factor as well as the speaker performance is what I am saying. Some people can take a "bright" speaker, and those high ends are compounded or reduced depending on their room characteristics, so on and so forth.


Don't forget a proper calibration too. With it, good speakers can become great, and great speakers can become outstanding.


Obviously we would all love (ok, maybe not ALL of us) to be able to sample the different brands within our specific home installation setups, but we can't always do that without some substantial money being laid out for it. That is why people come to sites like this to get other people's thoughts and experiences. I just caution people looking for insight in this area because you run into a lot of people with very limited actual experience with different speaker brands/models (or their experience is outdated from when they bought, or whatever) and for those that had a bad experience and like to slam a company as their way to "get back" at them or whatever their motive. It doesn't mean that they should completely move on and forget, but again, a grain of salt with their comments are in order. As an interesting note, one of the posters in this thread has 23% of their post (gotta love a quick search) where they specifically talk about one particular speaker manufacturer. Sure, some of theire early posts are praising the products, but there are a MUCH larger number of all out bashes of that same company. There is a LOT to the backstory there that would just derail this thread, so I will leave it out. That would seem like someone who went from very happy to very bitter towards a company and thus they reflect it online.


I am not defending any speaker company here, and I am certainly not saying that all of the positive OR negative comments above are invalid. I am just saying to look at all of the factors and make up your own mind. Get your research, and weed through some of the noise. Heck, maybe WhoStoleMyNick has some digging that he has done with the brands he is looking in to, even if he is bailing on one of your original choices. He could possibly point you to some of his research or vice versa. Then you can compare that information to other information about Axiom and get almost a full set of options.


Collaboration and common sense SHOULD go hand in hand. A lot of people LOVE to collaborate, but not everyone takes that information and adds common sense.


Good luck! These are exciting times! Stressful sometimes, but fun as well!


PS. Personally I have heard Klipsh, Paradigm, QEF, Axiom, B&W, and Martin Logans. They were all in different rooms, and at different price points. I settled in on what I liked, and have been happy. Then I aded some accoustical treatments and a proper calibration just this year after a long time ownership, and they are even better than I have ever imagined that they could be. I have a coworker who has some cheap Yamaha speakers in his theater, and another coworker that has some (ugh) Bose cubes. They are full of "wow" effect since they are both paired with nice subs (even the Bose guy at uses a separate sub) so you get the low tactile feel of the sub, with the crisp details of the highs which is what most people perceive as being great sound. They are both missing a lot in the middle, but they find their setups to seem very impressive, even if they are missing a whole bunch of the frequency spectrum. Everyone's ears are different, and everyone has different amounts of money to spend. These two guys like the same high/low with no middle sound, but paid a greatly different price to get it.
 

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gtpsuper24 and whostolemynick I don't know what you boys are smokin but saying M80s don't have wow factor especially for movies is nonsense. What wow you looking for exactly? I can tell you for a fact that my M80s coupled to a good AVR and Amp wow the pants off everyone who hears them both for movies and music. I also have an EP500 (along with a 10" Polk) and it really puts out a clean, controlled very low end with the emphasis and clean and controlled.


Hell Commute, we are talking big investment here. Try and audition each speaker if you can. Most high end audio organizations have some way to audition their gear. Heck, many (I know Axiom does) will even let you return the speakers before 30 days for a full refund if you are not happy. That is what I did when I bought Axiom. I bought and I listened to them in my own home. I also auditioned two (well one officially) and I made my choice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickbuol  /t/1433941/basement-build-axiom-m80-vs-kef-q900-vs-psb-image-t6#post_22498551


Collaboration and common sense SHOULD go hand in hand. A lot of people LOVE to collaborate, but not everyone takes that information and adds common sense.


PS. Personally I have heard Klipsh, Paradigm, QEF, Axiom, B&W, and Martin Logans. They were all in different rooms, and at different price points. I settled in on what I liked, and have been happy. Then I aded some accoustical treatments and a proper calibration just this year after a long time ownership, and they are even better than I have ever imagined that they could be. I have a coworker who has some cheap Yamaha speakers in his theater, and another coworker that has some (ugh) Bose cubes. They are full of "wow" effect since they are both paired with nice subs (even the Bose guy at uses a separate sub) so you get the low tactile feel of the sub, with the crisp details of the highs which is what most people perceive as being great sound. They are both missing a lot in the middle, but they find their setups to seem very impressive, even if they are missing a whole bunch of the frequency spectrum. Everyone's ears are different, and everyone has different amounts of money to spend. These two guys like the same high/low with no middle sound, but paid a greatly different price to get it.

I had Axiom, Paradigm Monitors, HSU, Aperion, Boston Acoustics, Emotiva, Arx, Dayton Audio, JBL, Polk, and Infinity all in the SAME room using the SAME equipment. I've also spent some time with the Ascend Sierras at a co-workers house about a year or so ago. In Store demo time with Golden Ear, newer Paradigms Monitors, McIntosh Line Arrays, as well as some Monitor Audio stuff. I've had some experience with speakers too, to know what sounds good and what sounds bad or ho hum. I can also use my own two eyes to see what has good quality craftsmenship and what looks dated and/or cheap.


By wow factor means something that you can sit back and listen too and then realize that you've just listened to and entire cd or dvd-a and didnt even realize it. My old V2 M22s, VP150 and M2s didn't provide that, frail, clinical, and lifeless and lacks that fullness that most of the others that I demo'd side by side was not lacking. A few of my favorite ones had a much more natural sound to them. Highs were there but not in your face screaming at you and had much better articulation in the highs and mids. The Axioms lacked the same powerful dynamics that a few others had like the Paradigm Titan, HSU, Boston VRB, and Arx. The Axiom tweeter had a overhang or after ring that a few of the other especially the planar in the Arx did not have, it was more on/off and very articulate. The Axioms were not horrible, but definitely not top of the pile great (like a few seem to push).


Listening time wasn't just a few minutes it was days and weeks spent listening to each speaker, some speaker sound great right away. But you do yourself a disservice by not spending time with another speaker your considering. Just doing an afternoon session isn't enough to say this speaker is better than this speaker. Do yourself a favor and put your Axiom's off to the side and find a brand like Aperion Grands for example and try the out in home for the 3 weeks or so without listening to the Axioms at all. Its then that your can pick out the flaws of the Axioms for example. You might find yourself begin to nitpick somewhat on the Axioms, and the same can be said for other speakers as well. You may end up prefering the Aperions afterward or you might send them back.


I realize that my current speakers are not the end all of speakers. And I realize that there are better speakers out there. The biggest issue when Axiom comes up in conversations is the die hard Axiom fans seem to think that Axiom has no competiiton and are equally good compared to other brands. And by saying that Axiom isn't the best of a certain list of speakers like what OP mention makes everyone somehow a troll or just stirring the pot. First you say everyones ears are different and likes what they like. But then when someone says they think Axioms are bright, the Axiom guys call them crazy or ignorant and don't know good speakers. AVS is a great forum and isn't stressful in the least, you just need thicker skin and realize that your Axioms are not the end all and there are actual living people who've owned them and did not like them. You know what? I recommend my Arx A5 towers alot on here and Audioholics and sometimes the OP likes the idea and researches and other times they say pass, no big deal its not the end of the world.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickbuol  /t/1433941/basement-build-axiom-m80-vs-kef-q900-vs-psb-image-t6#post_22498551


Keep in mind that some people seem to have certain speaker brands on and endless search and take any and all opportunities to bad-mouth. Just like in politic, you need to not only do your research by asking questions and reading, but then also research the people providing you with information as well. If you see a lot of information leaning hard one way or another, but coming from one or two sources, does that make it completely true for everyone? Heck no.

Not saying that people shouldn't have their own opinions or that the O.P. hasn't asked for opinions, but I don't see any horrible brands/models in the mix. For me, I don't like Klipsch because I find that their designs that use horns are a bit too harsh, but I know other people that are MORE than happy with them.

There are so many other factors than just sound too. What do they look like? That is a big one when spouses get involved. None of the O.P.'s options are extremely "sexy" looking, but some are slightly different in design or finish options that may play into the decision.

Then there IS the performance of the speakers and the room that they are going in to. If you have a room with some null cancelation at mid-range frequencies, you will get a dip in the vocal range, so in music or movies, the dialog/vocals may be difficult to hear. But if one of the brands has an inherit spike in the same frequency range, it may negate that null in the room and sound good. The room is a factor as well as the speaker performance is what I am saying. Some people can take a "bright" speaker, and those high ends are compounded or reduced depending on their room characteristics, so on and so forth.

Don't forget a proper calibration too. With it, good speakers can become great, and great speakers can become outstanding.

Obviously we would all love (ok, maybe not ALL of us) to be able to sample the different brands within our specific home installation setups, but we can't always do that without some substantial money being laid out for it. That is why people come to sites like this to get other people's thoughts and experiences. I just caution people looking for insight in this area because you run into a lot of people with very limited actual experience with different speaker brands/models (or their experience is outdated from when they bought, or whatever) and for those that had a bad experience and like to slam a company as their way to "get back" at them or whatever their motive. It doesn't mean that they should completely move on and forget, but again, a grain of salt with their comments are in order. As an interesting note, one of the posters in this thread has 23% of their post (gotta love a quick search) where they specifically talk about one particular speaker manufacturer. Sure, some of theire early posts are praising the products, but there are a MUCH larger number of all out bashes of that same company. There is a LOT to the backstory there that would just derail this thread, so I will leave it out. That would seem like someone who went from very happy to very bitter towards a company and thus they reflect it online.

I am not defending any speaker company here, and I am certainly not saying that all of the positive OR negative comments above are invalid. I am just saying to look at all of the factors and make up your own mind. Get your research, and weed through some of the noise. Heck, maybe WhoStoleMyNick has some digging that he has done with the brands he is looking in to, even if he is bailing on one of your original choices. He could possibly point you to some of his research or vice versa. Then you can compare that information to other information about Axiom and get almost a full set of options.

Collaboration and common sense SHOULD go hand in hand. A lot of people LOVE to collaborate, but not everyone takes that information and adds common sense.

Good luck! These are exciting times! Stressful sometimes, but fun as well!

PS. Personally I have heard Klipsh, Paradigm, QEF, Axiom, B&W, and Martin Logans. They were all in different rooms, and at different price points. I settled in on what I liked, and have been happy. Then I aded some accoustical treatments and a proper calibration just this year after a long time ownership, and they are even better than I have ever imagined that they could be. I have a coworker who has some cheap Yamaha speakers in his theater, and another coworker that has some (ugh) Bose cubes. They are full of "wow" effect since they are both paired with nice subs (even the Bose guy at uses a separate sub) so you get the low tactile feel of the sub, with the crisp details of the highs which is what most people perceive as being great sound. They are both missing a lot in the middle, but they find their setups to seem very impressive, even if they are missing a whole bunch of the frequency spectrum. Everyone's ears are different, and everyone has different amounts of money to spend. These two guys like the same high/low with no middle sound, but paid a greatly different price to get it.

Well the OP did say he spent some time following the Axiom forum and came here for some objective opinions....in your post you've taken issue with 2 other posters whos thoughts or opinions are not inline with yours as having an agenda. I myself have listened to some of the brands mentioned here and you've listed above including the Axioms which I audtioned in home and kept for ~6 months....finally opting to go in another route because the Axiom didn't excite me....like they do you or some others who own them....like you said speakers are very subjective and whilst your researching any brand on any forum remenber to keep an open mind....
 
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