Axiom vs Ascend Acoustics

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DonaldZ, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. DonaldZ

    DonaldZ Extra

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    I'm shopping for a first system, and I've had a chance to audition B&W 600 series, Klipsch RF3, a Mirage pair that I've forgotten...
    I am an ex-two-channel audiophile type, who finds himself watching more movies than any other form of media of late. I do love detail in the music, however. Budget is not unlimited, but may evolve with time if the next few years are good to me. I'm mischievous enough to suspect that this system will eventually end up in the master bedroom, or at least certain parts of it.
    The room is 23 by 27, with a nine foot ceiling, and rectangular in shape. The back wall is awkward for mounting rears due to brick, a door, and a stairwell in the most likely mount spots. Ceiling mounts are an option, but I'd need professional help or careful coaching.
    What might folks think of Ascend with 5 of the CBM-170s and the VTF-2 sub in this setting? Roughly $1500 after stands and wires, I'd guess. I would use stands from Sanus.
    Or, an Axiom system consisting of M60ti fronts, VP150 center, and QS4s on stands. No sub here would put me around $1600.
    Electronics are undecided as there are frankly too many choices. H-K 520, Outlaw 1050, and maybe a Denon offering are on my short list. I'm trying to keep the whole rig below $2200, if possible.
    Thanks for any advice. [​IMG]
     
  2. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    I just picked up a set of Ascends with a VTF-2 and the H/K AVR-520. At the moment I am working on a review of them (amateur one that I'll post up here once complete). I haven't heard the Axioms so I can't compare (if anyone in the Denver, Boulder area wants to bring some over to compare let me know). Without going into too much detail I am very happy with the Ascends and the Hsu and use them for about 50/50 music/movies with the music almost entirely 2 channel.

    For my personal movie preferences I think a sub is needed unless you have truly full range speakers and while the 37Hz of the M60tis is quite good, I like having the extra extension down into the 20-25Hz range.

    Do you have any specific questions about the Ascends, Hsu, or H/K AVR-520? I would be happy to answer what I can.
     
  3. Bry_DD

    Bry_DD Second Unit

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    Can't comment on the Ascends cuz I haven't heard them. I have the Axioms M60 with VP150 and I can't be happier when I got them. Sounds clear and crisp. bass is tight and clean. nice looking speakers too. I have them paired with Denon 3801 with SVS 25-31cs on the low side.[​IMG]
    Hope that helps.
     
  4. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    You should *not* be comparing a system w/ a VTF-2 vs. one that has no sub at all. To me, the choice is clear. Definitely go w/ the Ascend.

    Now, if you were comparing a smaller Axiom setup that included the VTF-2 or another sub, then it gets trickier. But no sub vs. a VTF-2 ??? No contest.

    BTW, I set my friend up w/ 3 CBMs, 2 HTMs, and the VTF-2. He couldn't be more happy. The system absolutely rocks.
     
  5. DonaldZ

    DonaldZ Extra

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    BradJudy: What other receivers did you consider, if any? I've scoured Audioreview.com, and most owners/reviewers seem to be pleased with their Ascends. The H-K is generally loved except for the occasional problem piece.

    The Axioms come recommended from a crowd on another computer-oriented forum where I've been posting for a while. The internet reviews seem to be positive. I suppose I might be better off comparing Ascends to the Epic Master or Grand Master systems. I'd be willing to pair an Axiom system with a non-Axiom sub, if that is a better comparison.

    Are the Ascends enough in the room I'm describing? Are there issues with height of the rear speakers or stands that are recommended?

    Thanks for the replies!
     
  6. Roberto Carlo

    Roberto Carlo Second Unit

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    FWIW, I have the M22TIs and the SVS 25-31. Like you, my principal use was home theater, or so I thought. After twekaing the set up a bit -- nothing onerous, just playing with with sub level and speaker toe-in -- I found myself listening to more and more 2-channel music. And I didn't even spend as much money as you're contemplating. The Axiom/SVS (or, I imagine, HSU) combination is simply that good.

    My .02
     
  7. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    I considered a number of other receivers - nearly bought a Marantz 7200 (I also looked at Denon, Pioneer Elite and Yamaha, but didn't spend as much time on the receiver as I did the speakers). It really came down to the fact that I would have been happy with a number of them and the price on the AVR-520 right now is just too good to pass up (I paid $560 including shipping). So far my only complaints on the 520 are that I don't think the display is very attractive and the remote isn't as good as it could be - both small complaints. It does lack amplification for the second room feature, but has a second remote for the second room. I didn't care much because I have no need for the second room feature.

     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Donald,
    i think your room dimensions are fine for use with the Ascends. i have a set up like the one RichardH described.
    the rears are on cheap shelves (brackets were about $2, wood piece was about $1). they are fairly compact.

    the HK is a solid reciever, and will work fine with the Ascends, however in a side by side test with a 520 and a NAD 761, the NAD , hands down, i thought produced a better sound.
    by comparison, the HK , and the Onkyo i had before it, sounded grittier, and slightly veiled. The NAD produced a more dimensional front soundstage.
    one instance where this really struck out at me, was a scene in Frankie & Johnny, where Michelle Pheiffer is walking past some youths in the street who are pitching quarters into the chalk outline of some murder victim.
    the HK and Onkyo produced the sound of the quarter clinking across the pavement well enough, but with the NAD, i could close my eyes and actually 'see' just where the quarter was going.
    this was just throw away, ambient background noise, not a flashy front channel pan, and if i remember right, the 'quarter foley effect' was confined to the center channel (or seemed like it was). thats what struck me the most- from just one speaker i got a terrific perception of depth and sonic space.
    i played this scene several times on each reciever to make sure i wasn't just trying to convince myself, because of some wierd sub-concious bias against the HK. it wqas very clear, plain and consistent each time.
    i ended up buying a T752, which is like the 761 with a few more surround bells and whistles, for $900 from an online authorized dealer. it 'seems' to produce the same clarity and spatial dimension i heard with the 761, but not being able to compare it directly with any other model, i would hesitate to say its still the best reciever i've heard.
    the 761 definitely was, and thats why i stuck with the same brand.
    no real complaints so far.

    that said,
    without a side by side test, i could have easily lived with the HK.

    haven't heard the Axiom, so i can't comment on those.
    i have heard the some B&W 600 series, Mirages, and Klipsches,
    and for just sheer sound (irregardless of cost) i still preferred the Ascends.
    they aren't perfect, but they are frequently amazing.
     
  9. Ben_wood

    Ben_wood Stunt Coordinator

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    Donald, I have a 5.1 system of Ascends (4 170s, 1 200, and a VTF-2) and I'm very pleased with this setup for both music and HT. I have not heard the Axioms, so I can't directly compare them. However I feel confident that you would find the Ascend/Hsu combo a real winner!
     
  10. DonaldZ

    DonaldZ Extra

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    I've reread the CHT reviews this evening. I like their straightforward style. They praise the M3ti's detail resolution and musical ability, and do the same for the Ascend 170s.

     
  11. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Donald,
    that is without a doubt the best thing for you to do.
    i lost about $120 shipping speakers back and forth this summer, but i do not regret it. what sounds best to YOUR ears is whats important, and the price for being satisfied you made the best choice is very small in this circumstance.

    do yourself a favor and try to get several difft. recievers during the course of your audition(s). there is always the possiblity that the speakers you may dismiss early on, would suddenly come alive, and surprise you under different amplification.
    several big chain stores have very liberal return policies and carry several of the recievers you mentioned.
    definately use them!

    also, i would try to find a higher end speaker/electronics dealer somewhere in your area that would let you demo a higher end reciever (or seperates) over the weekend.
    it took me a while to find any in my area (had to travel 50 miles) but it was worth it.
    even if you don't go with a higher budgeted reciever or amp right away, it would be good to know if the speakers you come to like can 'step up their game' when there is even higher quality electronics upstream.

    good luck!
     
  12. JimC_A

    JimC_A Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Axioms in a 6.1 setup consisting of M60's, QS8's, VP150, and the EP175. I have the Yamaha RX-V1300. I couldn't be more pleased with my first system. I would say the more you listen to the better. That seems like a big room to fill. Don't under-buy if you can help it. Build a system that won't leave you wanting to upgrade in a year. Buy it in stages if you have to. Good luck with your hunting.
     
  13. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure I'd recommend the Yamaha receivers with Axiom speakers, because Yammy's are known for being somewhat bright. While I don't consider my Axiom speakers bright, they are quite revealing and I don't think I would want to pair them with a bright receiver. You might want to look into Rotel, Denon, or Harmon Kardon.

    (I'm running M60's, VP150, M3's, and QS8 with the Rotel 1066 and Outlaw 770 amp).
     
  14. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I'd also advise stepping up to the VTF-3 instead if possible due to room size (at first the VTF-2 might be enough but them you might want to experience ref level bass more often...) as the next upgrade (most likely whatever speakers you buy should play ref level) a second sub might be wanted to increase more headroom for the future (assuming you get SAF for such an upgrade).
     
  15. JimC_A

    JimC_A Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasn't recommending a Yamaha. I was simply stating I liked my new setup. Would you say the newest models are known for being bright? My 1300 has a dimmer function.
     
  16. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    I recently upgraded all my speakers to Axioms (M50ti mains, VP150 center, M2i rears) and paired them with an SVS 25-31PCi sub (Onkyo TXDS-656 receiver). I purchased the M50s and M2s off of Axiom's outlet -- the only problem I noticed was a minor discoloration on the lower corner of one of the M50s. The whole system (couting the receiver, which I purchased several years ago) cost about $2000-$2200, and it sounds wonderful. I love the sound from the M50s, and they blend perfectly with the SVS.
     
  17. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    I don't know the Ascends at all but I do know the Axioms rather well.
    If you go with the Axioms, try and consider the QS8Se for the rears as opposed to the QS4Se. The QS4Se uses the hybrid tweeter, which is okay, but not at all the same openess and smoothness as the one inch, pure titanium tweeter used in the M60Tise and the VP150TiSe. Does make for an audible difference.
    I haven't seen any IQ tests on Yamaha receivers to qualify them as officially bright [​IMG]
     
  18. JimC_A

    JimC_A Stunt Coordinator

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    Now THAT was funny Marc...!! (Why didn't I think of it?)
     
  19. DonaldZ

    DonaldZ Extra

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    I don't think that I've got decent mounting points for the QS4 or QS8, unless I use the Axiom 36" stand for the Q speakers. The back wall isn't feasible, and the side walls would place the QS speakers 27 feet apart.

    Today I've been thinking about M3ti for the backs, M22ti fronts, VP150 center, and then a Hsu VTF-2 or an SVS sub. This would come in under budget, and the M3ti could always migrate to the bedroom if I decided that I needed different surround/backs. The M3ti might be mountable on a ceiling beam for a better distance between speakers , and better aim at the primo viewing & listening spot.

    The Ascends are still on the menu, but I'm wondering if anyone has had a chance to compare them other than the reviewers at cheaphometheater.com.
     
  20. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree that buying both and returning one is the wisest course of action. I am still considering doing that myself.
     

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