Dahlquist or Axiom?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by RobCole, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. RobCole

    RobCole Extra

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    Bleh. I just posted a very long topic, with tons of details, and it was not allowed because I can't post a URL to a picture of my living room. :|

    Here's the synopsis, since I can't write up the whole thing again.

    I'm upgrading my system:
    Denon 3802, Velodyne CT-120, Acoustic Research 215PS rears, 225PS center, 318PS front towers.

    Specs: 70% music, 30% HT. Listen to a lot of acoustic music (Martin Sexton is a good example) with a fairly large amount of range; also watch TV in PLII, and watch both documentaries and action films -- so range is important.

    Upgrading the speakers -- had settled on Axiom M60ti's, VP150, and QS8's, but now (due to talking to Marc from Audioshop) am wondering if I should consider Dahlquist...and if so, what should I consider? I'm concerned about the apparent brightness of the M60's, as well as the fact that they have apparently raised prices significantly in the Canadian market (doesn't affect me, since I'm from Seattle).

    Hope these details are enough -- my room is 15x12 right now; a picture can be seen at pichosting.pcthike.com/randomrob/P4120002. Hopefully that will work since it's not being parsed.

    I'm mainly wondering about what I should consider in the Dahlquist line to be similar in quality to the Axiom's I was considering. I can't quite afford the QX10's, unfortunately. [​IMG]

    thanks,
    Rob
     
  2. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    hey Rob,

    What speakers have you heard and liked?

    I have heard the M60's. It is one hell of a speaker for $800/pr. I heard them in my home hooked up to my HK525, and at a friend's with Rotel seperates. Great clearity and detail. For me, the treble was a bit much, but others love it.

    Sorry...I have not heard the newer Dalhquists.
     
  3. RobCole

    RobCole Extra

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    I've listened to Polks and Klipsch at my local CC, and liked the sound of both; I was considering returning to look for an open box special of sorts when I started doing research, and stumbled across both of these companies. I've sent a friend Marc's way (he ended up buying a set of Take 5's, which he has been happy with), and so I've gathered a bit of respect for him. I wish there were somewhere near Seattle I could hear the Axiom's, as I am a bit concerned with people's opinions of "too much clarity/brightness." I have an offer right now that could get me QS8's + M50's (for less brightness) + a VP150 for around $1300, which is a nice price, but I'm hemming a bit more now that I've heard Marc's revised opinion of them.

    Rob
     
  4. RobCole

    RobCole Extra

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    Oops. Should add that I've listened to my uncle's system, which is Vienna Acoustics, and I really liked it. Not too bright, very clear, good bass, very accurate reproduction of sounds...that's where I first watched the Matrix. [​IMG]

    This system (mine) won't be cranked much, until I can build myself a media room. Regardless, I'd like to purchase it with future upgradability in mind.

    Rob
     
  5. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Have you gone to the Axiom forum to see if there is someone in your area that will let you listen? They have set up something along the lines of audio envy to let people listen first.
     
  6. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Rob,

    The M50's supposedly do sound different than the M60's...and I do not see as many raving reviews for them.

    Head over to Axiom's own board, and you will get some good help.
     
  7. RobCole

    RobCole Extra

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    No one in the Seattle area is demo'ing the Axioms. I've posted there, but wanted to see if I could get a little less pro-Axiom words, so I asked here as well. [​IMG]

    Rob
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Hey...take a trip to LA...I can hook you up with M60's, M80's, and my Ascends!
     
  9. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    RobCole,

    You're in luck as I own all Axioms (M50s, VP150, QS8s and M3s) and have heard the Dahlquist QX9s!

    I originally bought my Axioms (all but the QS8s...I added those later) two years ago from Marc at Audioshop. This was at a time when Axioms were fairly new on the scene. They got some good reviews and the price was *definitely* right, so my interest was piqued. As it turns out, I ordered them sound unheard. When they arrived, I connected them to my Yamaha receiver and was quite pleased with their sound. While they were somewhat bright at first, they settled in quite nicely. Once broken in, I can describe their sound as clean and detailed without the harshness that can plague titanium tweeters. Some may say that they are a bit forward, but I like how they sound. However, they really started to sound their best when I upgraded to a Denon 3802. I'm not sure, but perhaps it had something to do with the Denon's warmth and/or it's power capabilities. Either way, I liked what I heard. I then bought a stereo amp to power the fronts. Again, the Axioms showed their stuff and seemed to revel in the extra power that they were getting from the separate amplification. They played louder and cleaner. Fast forward two years...while I have upgraded just about every piece in my system and have all of my gear in a dedicated HT, I still have the same Axioms and they still continue to perform well.

    However...

    Several months back, a buddy of mine began looking at speakers. Of course I suggested Axioms. He then asked me to look into some prices for him. I had always kept an eye on Axiom from a far and had noticed that since my purchase, Axioms had gone through roughly 3 price increases. While they were still a decent deal, they were no longer the killer deal I got on them a few years ago. Through word of mouth, I had also heard that Axiom's quality control was not what it once was, perhaps due to the demand. Enter Dahlquist. I had read a few really good reviews of them and the price was right on, so we decided to go with the QX9s with the understanding that they could be returned if not satisfied. Once they arrived, we hooked them up to my buddy's H/K 525. WOW, was I impressed! These things played loud and clean with bass that was deep, but tight. My only caveat is that I think the H/K is a bit too bright for these speakers. They are a bit more forward than the Axioms, so I feel that they need a warmer sounding receiver (such as a Denon or the like) to keep them from sounding too bright and fatiguing.

    Hopefully, I've provided you with some additional information to make your decision. Send me a PM if you have any other questions! And, if you do decide to go with Dahlquist, buy from Marc at Audioshop...he's an honest, trustworthy guy who delivers great service!!! I've dealt with him many a time and he's always been a professional.
     
  10. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Not to dis-credit Ron, but that is two firsts for me. I have never heard of Axiom quality control problems, and that is the first time I have read a post saying an H/K is bright.

    On the flip side, it looks like you have your work cut out in choosing.
     
  11. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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  12. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  13. RobCole

    RobCole Extra

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    Yeah, I definitely feel like I've got my work cut out for me in terms of choosing. I've heard that Dahlquist often beat Axiom in A/B comparisons, but again, that was from Marc (Audioshop). I've yet to hear many people who have heard both -- it seems like Axiom is recommended more often, but that seems proportional to their popularity.

    The choices are:

    M60 - $720 (factory outlet)
    VP15 - $315 (outlet)
    QS8 - $423 (outlet)

    Total cost: $1458USD.

    That would give me the following from Dahlquist (through Marc):

    QX9 - $506.02 (seconds)
    QX20R - $506.02
    QX60C - $361.46

    It seems that the Axiom setup might be better in the way of mid-range, as the M60's have a dedicated 5.25 mid; I'm wondering if the center might achieve more clarity as well, with the dual 1"/triple 5.25" setup. Additionally, I've heard nothing but amazing reviews of the QS8's, but have heard relatively little about the QX20R. So I'm digging here for opinions.

    I'm going to see if Marc has any seconds of the QX20R's or the QX60C's...if he does, then it's possible that I could upgrade to a QX10 front setup, which might push me over to the Dahlquist side. Unfortunately I haven't heard back from him since mid-yesterday; he's either busy or out fishing, not sure which. [​IMG]

    Rob
     
  14. Philip A

    Philip A Agent

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    Hello Rob,

    I'm not going to help you by saying that I've a/b'd Axioms with my Dahlquists--I live in Idaho! So what follows is unabashed Dahlquist admiration.

    I was in the same boat exactly a year ago and went for the Dahlquist set up (10's and 60C across the front and 6's and a 4 across the back; 6.1). I haunted the forums and was impressed with everyone's comments about the Axioms. However, the price difference and the fact that Marc's name kept coming up in only the most positive terms, as well as, Marc saying that people in his showroom were consistently picking Dahlquist over Axiom and Paradigm in sound tests got me to think more about it.

    I like a little more bass (but I also have to have serious highs) and the Dahlquists seemed to have the edge on that according to their specs and the reviews I looked at. Have you read the review of the QX10's posted at the Audio Shop site?

    So, I've had them for one year and I can't tell you how happy I am (including my wife!). I've listened locally to Phase Tech, Def Tech, Klipsch, Infinity, and Polk--not even close. The only other tweeters that I would say are comparable were the old M&K Vifa's I heard years ago.

    Musically I'm impressed with the wide sound-stage, clarity, and imaging. I close my eyes and routinely can't help but open them to see where my speaker placement is--and grin when I realize I'm hearing things across the front well beyond the drivers! Bass is fantastic and I know my Yamaha isn't really driving them like they'd like (RX 1200), but still pushes them enough to give me the goosebumps.

    HT is also so fantastic. When the voice comes out of the dark in FOTR it is so real its scary. Surround effects are seamless (Halo XBox, Bourne Identity--in the apartment before the guy attacks) astound you. Explosions and movie music have punch and presence that just make you forget you're in your room.

    So, all this mushiness is probably not helping. But, I'm so satisfied with the Dahls and eager to share the fun that I couldn't stop myself.

    Marc is great--I could not recommend him more highly. He'll get back to you soon I'm sure. Though I understand your impatience (I was dying before I could get them in the house).

    Best of luck,
    Phil
     
  15. FrankHW

    FrankHW Agent

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    I've heard all the Axiom speakers (and own a pair of M40s I'm looking to sell), and recently purchased Dahlquist QX10s. In my opinion, the QX10 is a better buy (especially in factory seconds through Audioshop) than the M80, and sounds simply incredible. The QX9 is probably not far behind, though the M60 might offer a little more oomph in the bass.

    What you might think about doing is getting Dahlquists in the front, and a pair of QS8s for the surrounds (saving $100 that might help you upgrade to the QX10s). The QS8 is an AWESOME surround speaker, and pretty much makes 6.1 unnecessary. I have the QS4s in the back, and don't notice much in terms of tonal shift front to back.
     
  16. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    FWIW, I had a pair of Dahlquist QX'6 for awhile hooked up to an H/K 120 and the speakers were way too bright for my tastes, so I sold them.
     
  17. RobCole

    RobCole Extra

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    So would I not have to worry with using the QS8's as surrounds for timbre-matching, were I to go with a QX10 & 60C setup?

    Rob
     
  18. FrankHW

    FrankHW Agent

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    Timbre matching is not only blown out of proportion in importance, but front to back is almost irrelevant.

    First, unless you are buying identical speakers as surrounds, there will always be a tonal shift because the drivers and/or cabinets and/or crossovers are different. The QX20 uses a 4 1/2 inch woofer and 3/4 inch tweeter, while the QX60 and QX9/10 use 1 inch tweeters and 6 inch woofers. It's impossible not to hear a tonal shift in this situation.

    Secondly, the Doppler effect comes into play in surround sound. That is, sounds moving from in front of you to behind you are going to sound different (think of a car passing by), and are intentionally mastered into the soundtrack accordingly.

    If you were intent on building a DVD-A or SACD library (or listen to most music in DPL2), the argument could be made for proper timbre matching...in which case you should get QX6s as the surrounds which have the identical drivers as your front stage. If it's movies, I doubt you'll have any complaints with the QS8s. Every reviewer raves about them with good reason.

    For interest, I use the QX10s with an Axiom VP150 across the front. While I've occasionally noticed a shift in tone that would be enough to call attention to itself, it's nowhere near significant enough to be an annoyance.
     
  19. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    First, I will disagree about timbre matching. I think it is very important. You need to experience unmatched speakers vs match speakers to appreciate it.



    This does not hold true for speakers. The Doppler effect applies when the source of the sound is moving. It has nothing to do with the reproduction of sound through stationary speakers.
     
  20. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    "I'm wondering if the center might achieve more clarity as well, with the dual 1"/triple 5.25" setup."

    To me, this center is the real deal! The fact that the tweeters are on the outside really helps to provide a wider center fill to where there seems to be no gaps on pans from L-C-R. Plus, it's got the power handling capacity for just about anything you can throw at it.

    "Additionally, I've heard nothing but amazing reviews of the QS8's."

    I'm also crazy about the QS8s. In the past, I was using my M3s in the surround positions (5.1 set up with the surrounds behind me to the left/right), but since I put the QS8s to the left and right surround positions (parellel to the seating position), the surround effect has increased drastically. Perhaps some of this has to do with the age old direct vs. diffuse surround debate, but to me the QS8s really envelop you in a sonic bubble.
     

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