Towers vs. Surrounds; Axiom vs. Pinnacle

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Carlyle, Jan 18, 2002.

  1. Carlyle

    Carlyle Auditioning

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    I'm a first-time poster--long time lurker. I listen probably 80% home theater, 20% music. My music tastes lie towards the classical and jazz bent.

    I live in a po-dunk town with no high-end audio/home theater shops. Most folks around here think good speakers are what you buy from Wal-Mart as opposed to what's available from K-Mart. But, alas...not me. So I'm relegated to researching on the 'net and mail-order.

    As it so happens, I was able to pick up a Sony SA-WM40 sub at the local furniture store for a great price...$89. Seems that it had been in stock for soooo long the manager was willing to make a deal. "None of my customers want this high-quality type of speakers, you know," he says to me. High-quality, my old grandma's eye. None-the-less, I snatch it up, based on the reviews on this site and others. I know it's not a great sub, but it's better than what I had. This leads me to...

    I'm in the market to upgrade my Audiofile Home Theater brand speakers. I've got a set of their M6.5's running through a 12" passive sub as mains, a TV4.5 as center, and three SAT4's across the back in a 6.1 setup with the Sony sub mentioned above running off a Sony ES STR-DA5ES receiver. The Audiofile speakers seemed like a great bargain at the time I purchased them, 8 year ago, but the company is long out of business and I'm hankerin' for something better. I've got to keep it under $2000 and thought I'd stay with the new Sony SA-WM40 sub for now and up-grade it later. I'd prefer to purchase the mains, center-front, and surrounds now. I'll add a center-back later as well.

    Before I talk about specific brands, I've got a question. My HT room is 15x22x8. The TV is sitting in the center of the 15' wall. I figure I have room for towers in the front and either towers or bookshelf speakers in the rear. As it turns out, the wife has placed three six-foot bookshelves right where the surrounds and center-back need to go. Currently, I have the three bookshelf speakers sitting on the top of the bookshelves. Works fine. But I do have space, along the two side walls, to place tower speakers and still have the center-back on the bookshelf. I don't know if it's worth the extra money to use slightly smaller tower speakers as side surrounds or to stick to bookshelf/surround speakers. I'm open to suggestions and advice as to the two brands/four combinations I've listed below.

    I've been drawn to the Axiom line, based on so many good reviews on the 'net. I can't audition them, obviously, so I'd have to buy them blind. I've priced out a set of their factory outlet speakers (I've got three small kids, so nicks and scratches are inevitable). I've thought a good setup would be M80's for mains, M60's for surrounds, and a VP150 in front. I can get these for a total of $1800. Later I'll add a VP50 or VP100 for the center-back. Or I could drop the M60's and replace them with QS8's for the surrounds. This also drops the price to $1536 and would allow me to pick up the center back now, instead of waiting.

    I can't decide which of these options I want...towers for surrounds or bookshelfs/surrounds for surrounds...what to do.

    So, undecided, I happen to walk into the one local hi-fi fix-it shop on a whim. What's this??? Decent speakers??? Much to my surprise, the owner has started carrying the Pinnacle Classic Gold line. Wow.

    So I sit down and listen. Double wow. These are good. He's got Aerogel mains, Reference surrounds and the big Classic Gold center hooked up with no sub to demo. These really sound good...I can't believe it. The bass really amazed me, with no sub involved. The shop owner says he demoed the Pinnacles at a trade show and ordered a pair for his own home theater system and ended up liking them so much he started carrying the line. I ask him price and he comes back with $1900 for the whole set (Aerogel, Reference, and big Center). He says if I'd rather have bookshelf surrounds, he'll replace the Reference's with Classic Gold Mini-Monitor's and drop the price to $1600. I run home to check out this brand/price on the 'net and the deal seems too good to be true.

    So here I am in a further quandary. I've got the money burning a hole in my pocket, I don't know if I should pay the extra for tower surrounds as opposed to bookshelf/surrounds for the surround speakers, and now I've got another brand to worry about.

    I find many Axiom reviews on the net, but only a few Pinnacle reviews. Well, Pinnacle is a smaller company and maybe that makes a difference in their exposure to the press, etc.

    I sure like how the Pinnacle sounds...I can't imagine the Axioms being better, but maybe they are.

    On the other hand, I went with a small company last time, Audiofile Home Theater; they folded up shop, and my current speakers are now worth nothing--I'd rather not repeat that.

    So...here I am looking for advice.

    Thanks for reading this long diatribe and I hope for you all to straighten me right out...
     
  2. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Carlyle, I actually have the Clasic Towers which were pinnacle's flagship speaker when I bought them back in '96. They're great towers and as much as I would like an excuse to upgrade, I erally don't have one. The Aerogels have been touted to be even better so I think you'll be happy with them for a long time. Another positive point for the pinnacles is that they are very efficient and use quality drivers and tweeters (especially with the Aero).

    $1900 for a pair of Aeros and the classical center is a solid deal...I was lucky to get my classic gold centre from an auction site for only $400. If I were you, I'd check pinnacles website and call a few dealers in your region for price comparisons. You may still be able to shave off a couple hundred $'s if money becomes the deciding factor.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
     
  3. Carlyle

    Carlyle Auditioning

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    I must have not been too clear...in amoungst all the words I wrote.

    I was quoted $1900 for a pair of Pinnacle Classic Gold Aerogel, a pair of Classic Gold Reference, and a Classic Gold Center...5 speakers total.

    This price sounds better and better...
     
  4. Michael Botvinick

    Michael Botvinick Stunt Coordinator

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    I have also hear great things about pinnacle and axiom ( I am considering purchasing the axiom di-pole rears). ALso check out Swan Diva and nOrh and Ascend speakers. They also get great reviews and are well priced. The nOrh look real nice also.

    If you are planning rear channels keep in mind that I have two rears that are on the wall near the ceiling on the sides and rear center channel that can be wall mounted or on a stand.
     
  5. Carlyle

    Carlyle Auditioning

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    More info...I stopped by for another test-listen at lunch and it turns out that the local shop with the Pinnacles in stock is NOT an authorized Pinnacle dealer, although the flunky that helped me this time insisted they were. According to the nice girl on the other end of the phone line at Pinnacle, purchasing from a non-authorized dealer voids the 10 year warranty.

    Well, as much as I would like to take exception with such a policy, it does give me reason to think why I am getting such a good price...

    And more reason to look at the Axioms.
     
  6. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    I don't know the Pinnacles at all myself but can vouch for the Axioms as outstanding value in an accurate type of speaker. They are the top selling brand in our shop.
     
  7. PeteG

    PeteG Agent

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    I started picking up pinnacle's in 96" now I
    have all 7chs driving classic gold series speakers
    and have never wanted to upgrade. But with some
    amps they will sound bright.
    Pinnacle Speakers
     
  8. Jimmy Kilgour

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    Carlyle,

    I have been the very,very happy owner of a pair of Pinnacle's Classic Gold Aerogel Towers for over a year now (along with a Classic Gold Mini-center and BabyBoomer sub).$1900 is a fantastic price for all 5 speakers (the Aerogels go for $1200-$1300 alone).I also bought mine cheaper from unauthorized dealers-but in owning stereo/HT equipment for almost 25 years I have never damaged a speaker.My feeling is if you buy a quality speaker and never abuse it (too little power or too much power)you should have no warranty issues.Good luck what ever you decide.
     
  9. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Carlyle,

    $1900 for that package is an insane price! And I agree with one of the other posters, If you use your HT equipment sensibly you will hardly ever need a warranty. Maybe you can draw up a warranty agreement with the store.
     

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