No Hype – This is the Real Deal
Although the company has been making loudspeakers for more than 20 years, Canada’s Axiom Audio is still relatively little known. In years past, this may have been due to limited distribution channels. But now, in the Web era, Axiom has taken to direct marketing online. And the word is starting to get around and create a buzz.
The word is, Axiom makes really good-sounding speakers and sells them for surprisingly low prices. You’ll find comments and testimonials sprinkled around the Internet alluding to “high-end” and “audiophile-quality” performance at everyday prices, $400 speaker pairs that are the equal of competitors’ models costing in the thousands.
Well, I’m not especially fond of slippery terms like high-end and audiophile, so I won’t go there. But after spending a couple of months with the Axiom Epic Grand 5.1 surround package, I’m here to say: it’s no hype, the Axiom’s really are an exceptional value in home theater and hi-fi loudspeaker systems. They sound very good indeed, and you will have to spend a lot more money to get a 6-speaker set-up that sounds better.
The Epic Grand Master package is one of nine 6-speaker (including sub) home theater ensembles on offer from Axiom today, ranging in price from less than $1,000 US (the Epic Micro Home Theater) to nearly $2,500 US (the Epic 80 Home Theater). The packages are put together from a full speaker line that includes 5 bookshelf models, 4 floor-standing tower designs, 4 center-channel speakers, 3 multipolar surround models, and 3 powered subwoofers.
The Grand Master sits in the middle of the range. The main left and right speakers are the Millennia M22 bookshelf design, which sells separately for $448/pair (US). For rear surrounds, you get Axiom’s top-of-the-line QS8 quadpolar speaker that radiates sound in four directions, priced separately at $558/pair (US). In the center, it’s the VP100 ($264 US), with the mid-line EP175 powered subwoofer ($568 US) bringing up the bottom. Add it all up, and you’ll see that the package price of $1,784 (US) saves you more than $100 off the price of the individual components.
All of the full-range speakers in the package are built around the same two rather esoteric drivers: a 5-1/4″ aluminum-cone woofer, and a 1″ ferrofluid-cooled, titanium-dome tweeter. They also each use variations of Axiom’s distinctive, angular, wedge-shaped boxes, which the company refers to as Anti-Standing-Wave cabinets.
The sub is a conventional front-firing unit, with a 10″ aluminum-cone driver in a dual-ported cabinet. The sub is powered by a built-in 175 Watt amp, and comes with the usual connectivity features — line-level and speaker-level inputs, output level and phase-reverse controls, and a variable low pass filter to tailor frequency response in configurations with amplified signal pass-through to the main front speakers.