|Axiom M80ti Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Saturday, 01 January 2005|
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I began my listening with U2’s album War (Island – Mobile Fidelity). “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is a song that begs to be played loud. As I cranked the system up, I paid close attention for any shift in the M80s’ tonal balance, compression, or even a change in the soundstage, yet they held solid, lacking any sense of dynamic compression. We were off to a good start, with the M80s sustaining solid volume levels over a substantial period without fatiguing me. Most notable on this listening session was that the highs remained extended and open and the cymbals never became harsh in any way.
Moving on to the track “New Year’s Day,” Bono’s voice remained clear, with no signs of sibilance or chestiness. On both songs, I found that the M80 Tis were able to accurately reproduce voices and instruments without problem throughout most of the frequency range. The volume of the bass response was impressive for a speaker this size, missing only the lowest frequencies that you will most assuredly reinforce with a subwoofer. While the volume of bass was energizing, the M80tis’ low-frequency response was the one area where I wished for tighter driver control. For example, in the above U2 tracks, the bass guitar was lacking some detail and quickness. This was also noticeable on “Fallen Angel,” the opening track of Robbie Robertson’s self-titled CD release (Mobile Fidelity). This track has a lot of bass that I have heard reproduced tighter in the $2,500 and above class. The Axioms did, however, portray the dynamics and large-scale image of this track very nicely.
Dorian Michael’s Acoustic Blues album provides very well-recorded blues (AIX Records, DVD-Audio 96kHz/24bits). The track “Very Blue Hawaii” has extremely detailed guitar and piano that the Axioms replicated well. The speakers nearly disappeared into the soundstage with just a few hints from the piano track as to their location. On the track “Broad Street Blues,” the Axioms again rendered a full and wide soundstage with natural tone and good string detail. On this track, the speakers disappeared completely and there was no veil whatsoever between the music, my ears and my soul.
The benefits of high-resolution recording continued when I listened to John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom (Classic Records DAD format). The title track “Boom Boom” had good image depth. Hooker’s voice was well reproduced, with a good sense of body and good imaging. The imaging always performed well above what you’d expect of speakers in this price class. The M80tis were easily able to get out of the way of the music and, for the most part, there were no signs of speaker localization.