Towers vs. Surrounds; Axiom vs. Pinnacle

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

  1. Carlyle

    Carlyle Auditioning

    Dec 18, 2001
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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 Pinnacles sound...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. I am looking for advice.

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

    Dan_Jones Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 1, 2001
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    Its tough to really say without giving them a listen which one you will prefer as everyone has different tastes. For my ears, the Axioms blew me away... very accurate, pristine sound, great imaging, excellent midrange and even solid bass output (and this is going by the M50s).
    Oddly enough I have a Pinnacle Digital Sub 350 which has dual 12" woofers in a 15" cube which is very nice; hits very hard.
    But really, tough to say which would be the better choice. I'd like to say you owe it to yourself to try out the Axioms, maybe through the 30-day trial period (you'd have to cough up shipping though if you weren't pleased though)...
    But anyways, I love my Axioms (M50s, M3s, VP100); good luck with whatever you choose.
    Oh, and one last thing; I assume you're getting the Axiom prices via; there is one other place that I know of, and is the place that I got the Axioms through for less then the direct price at as the currency exchange is often times much better then you're going to get from Axiom directs standard price. Just a though...might save you some bucks.
    Anyways; good luck!
  3. KevinGS

    KevinGS Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 21, 2001
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    I have not heard the Pinnacles but I have to agree with Dan about the Axioms clean, clear sound, it's beautiful.
    I was able to listen to the Axioms before buying since they have B&Ms carry their line. I choose them over Paradigm's Monitor 9 v.2, CC-370 & ADP-370. Why, the Axioms were clearer more precise.
    I have the M80, VP150 & QS8 (have an SVS16-46+ on order).
    My room is 10.5 x 27 x 7.5 and I usually listen to music in 5 channel mode (Denon 1800) but when I switch it over to 2 channel mode, the imaging of the M80s make it sound like there is still a center channel playing.
    Check out the reviews on , I see that some of the Pinnacle owners say the speakers need lots of power to make them sound good, I know that's not true with the Axiom's (I have 70 wpc).
    If you want to lower your cost for the Axioms, they sell blemished models that carry the same warranties as regulars and I have read most people have a hard time finding the blemishes.
    I am sure you will like the Axioms but sounds like you have a tough decision to make but either way will make you happy.
    good luck
  4. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

    Oct 11, 2000
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    I have used Pinnacles for years now and they are still my Main HT speakers. I've upgraded everything around them but just can't seem to part with my Pinnacles just yet.

    They sound great with music but are no slouch with movie soundtracks.

    A very under-rated line of speakers...Made in the USA...near here on Long Island.

  5. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 27, 2000
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    I have pinnacle mains (gold reference tower that I got at Egghead for $500 for the pair on auction-egghead has gone chapter 11), a pinnacle centerwide (which I am considering upgrading to the gold reference center) and two gold reference minimonitors (I could not put towers for the surrounds. They are actually quite efficient. The classic gold towers have a sensitivity of 95db and the minimonitors 92 db and the classic gold center at 91 db. I run them with a Yamaha 793 with 80 watts per channel and this seems to drive them very well.

    Check with Dennis Shepherd at Medical Video Systems for prices ([email protected]). He quoted me a price of $375 for the classic gold center and he might get a break with the whole set). I bought my minimonitors from him and I should say Pinnacle is great to deal with (they are on Long Island).


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