Letters To Us
I bought the axiom3Ti's partly on the strength of your review, and on the first day of listening so far, have been disappointed.
The speakers have a high end screech. Is this because I'm using a solid state amplifier?
The speakers do have their strong points. Songs and voices are very distinct and clear. However, when I play symphonic music, the high end screech sets my teeth on edge. I have resorted to turning the treble down on my receiver to make things listenable, but this is clearly a poor solution.
I'm surprised you made little mention of this in your review. Is this because you only tested the speakers with tube amps? On the other hand, should I keep on testing the speakers in hope that they will break in? After all, it's only been one day of listening, about 4 hours worth.
If the screechiness continues, however, I'm going to return them. I guess the main question I'm asking is: will breaking them in longer take away the screech, or will that be a lost cause?
Lionel Wong, M.D.
I did listen to the Axiom M3Tis with a typical off the shelf Sony SS receiver, which did little to show off their charms. But then nothing really shines with this receiver. With a 22 kHz high end, the Axioms can be sweet on the high end. With the tube amps that I used to evaluate the Axiom M3Tis, I thought the speakers had some of the best treble I have heard on cone speakers. I found them very smooth, with an excellent balance of detail and sweetness and a detailed presentation throughout the mid-range. I did allow for a 5-6 kHz bounce for my listening room reflection. All the speakers that I have measured in this room exhibit this bounce. However, I find this bounce annoying only on my big old horns. So it could be my middle aged ears.
The speakers may need a break-in period. Check with the manufacturer to see what they recommend. Or not. You may never like the way they sound with your equipment. If so, you should not hesitate, but send them back within the return period. Yours, in listening,
An absolutely wonderful, engaging, readable review (of the Meadowlark Blue Heron). Kudos. This piece offered me insight into possibilities, so pardon me if I steal a little of your method for presenting insight....
Jerry, thanks for the kind words. You're welcome to any inspirations that happen, unbeknownst to me, to escape from my writing. On the other hand, maybe Steve should be paying me more....
All the best,
Great article on copy-protected CDs. You hit all the right points. The new
Celine Dion is called something else [ear floss?]. Actually if you check the package I believe it may be an audio disc or something like
that. Time to support the little labels that care about music and their
customers. For one, I'll be boycotting Sony, SACD and DVD-Audio... anything
copy-protected. I'll spend my chuckles elsewhere...
Glad you enjoyed the article. PLEASE make copies of the flier available in the article and post them where ever you legally can.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Just writing to let you know that I think you nailed the Axiom 3ti SE's. The best review of these very popular speakers yet! I have had a pair for a few months now and have really fallen in love with them...the longer you have them the more you like them. Yes they are colored (what speaker isn't?) but to replace them I know I would have to spend 4 to 5 times their price to get a much better midrange and upper-end. I have even found that in my room they ARE capable of 3D imaging. But my room seems to be a perfect match for these little guys. I must try the ASL wav-8 amp with them...at this price it just might be the best bargain speaker/amp match up of the new millennia.
Again, GREAT review.
PS...any chance of a Axiom M50 review from you?
Thanks for your thoughts. You are so right, Mark. It is a GREAT review! Seriously, I did enjoy their sound. I have requested both of the larger brothers from ASL and Axiom, but have received nothing yet, although both say models are on the way. Yours, in listening,
Just read your review of the Blue Herons. Seems like you loved them. Curious, did you buy them?
No, I haven't decided to buy them yet, although they are still a strong possibility. I still have a couple of other things I want to listen to first.
I just received a pair of the above amps from Jack Elliano. I just want to let you know how much I am enjoyed the music coming from them (I listen to all kinds). Right now, I have them hooked up to a pair of Silverline Audio Sonata IIs (at 95 dB/meter/volt), although my ultimate plan is to have them drive some 32" wooden horns with TAD 4001 drivers.
I believe the quality of sound is incredibly beautiful over the entire extended frequency range. What's more the 45s seem to really have wonderful bass. The resolution is really impressive and the noise floor is really low. I am really impressed by (1) how this amp can drive speakers that one would have thought to be insufficiently efficient and (2) how inexpensive it is to go to half-silver OPTs for 45s (especially when compared to 300B
You should talk to Jack again!
Thanks George for the kind words. Glad you are enjoying them. Have still not heard another amp that allows so much musical information through.
Can you please explain the "hybrid" SACD you claim the 9200 plays? Is it the
SACD only two channels?
John S. Yohanan
When the Toshiba model SD-9200 plays a "Hybrid SACD" disc it is reading the CD layer of the disc, such as is now common with Telarc recordings. The CD layer is the top layer. The SACD layer contains both a separate stereo recording in the inner area and a multichannel (middle area) complete recording with as many as six separate channels.
A multichannel SACD player can play back any of the versions on the "Hybrid" disc. A stereo SACD player can play back either the stereo SACD version or the CD version. As all of this implies, the versions are not necessarily essentially identical or computer "fold-down" derived versions. The CD version can be based on the DSD studio master.
Note that if you choose 6 channel analog output from the Toshiba's wide variety of choices, excellent HDCD recordings will play back at 16 bit length (like regular CD) instead of their usual 20 bit length with a resultant slight loss of quality. It remains to be seen who will win the SACD versus DVD-A war. I would not bet against the more familiar name of DVD - but who knows, maybe we'll all be losers ultimately.
P.S. The outer section of the SACD layer is reserved for extra data including possibly video, text, or graphics.
Here is a simple tweak that would absolutely change the sonic character of your
hi-fi. We've all upgraded and replaced our cables to the nth times trying to squeeze every little
detail, resolution and nuance of our favorite music/track. And we do get a very minor, I mean minute or little improvement (That's the way I feel anyway.)
What am saying, with all those extra cables lying around costing me big bucks not doing a thing. I thought why not use them. Went out to buy those Y adaptors/splitters( the one's we use if you only have one set of
pre-outs, if you want to bi-amp your
speakers) at my local electronic shop and purchase a few.
Here's how :
1. make sure all your components turned off.
2. get two sets of cable ( four of 1 meter runs) preferably of different types (one coaxial and one of the twisted variety)
3. insert one Y-adaptor to the left output of your pre-amplifier/CD ,get two cables (one
coax, one twisted) next , plug these cables to the Y-adaptor and insert the other ends of the cables to another set of Y-adaptor to the inputs of your
4.do the same for the right inputs and outputs.
5.you should have double runs of left and right cables.
6.thats's it! you're done! now you have what I call bi-wiring your
7.switch on your hi-fi and listen.
Note: you can biwire also other components (DACs, turntables...) to your desire. And ENJOY THE MUSIC!
I have just come across your writings and found them very interesting for a few reasons. First they are quite entertaining, an important point when considering a hobby. Second because you are a doctor - and I am fascinated that you have the ability to juggle the profession and the writing. I am a thoracic surgeon in
Canada. I came by hi-fi honestly, my dad had the big old Altecs (the size of a fridge, with a wire suspended
Thorens and Marantz gear - which unfortunately I did not keep) and a huge lover of music. I bought my first system 21 years ago as soon as I had any money (quad 33 303,
Rega planar and Magnaplanars).
Unfortunately with residency and kids the music stayed but the hi-fi deteriorated. Last year I realized I didn't like listening to the music through my system and was happier in the car, so I figured it was time for a new system. As I wanted in the main room in our house, which my wife had just redecorated, it had one big limitation, it couldn't be anything but beautiful - no small order. The other thing was I was worried about tubes with small kids who tend to break things a lot. My new system consists of an Audiomeca Mephisto II transport and Ekianthus DAC as well as an Audiomeca Romance turntable and arm with Benz Ruby 2 cartridge.
The electronics are the Musical Fidelity Nuvista M3 integrated amplifier (tube preamp transistor output). The speakers are Piega p8 ltd, a ribbon midrange tweeter with cone bass. The interconnects and speaker wires
(bi-wired) are all Audiotekne as are the power cords and line conditioner. It did the trick - it sounds great and my wife loves it. There are still ways to improve it, unfortunately they involve redoing part of the house so I can move the baby grand piano out of the area - but that will be one expensive upgrade - the price of a lot of equipment. The last reason I write is the tweaks you do to
CDs. The one complaint I find even with my simple turntable is that the LPs still sound more alive and 'better' than most
CDs. I suspect with the walker the difference would be very large. I use
Finyl to coat the CDs which I find is better than nothing and am trying new digital cables and interconnects (HMS
Grand Finale) to take the CD to somewhere near that turntable level, but it sound like you may already have found some of the answers.
Does the CD lathe really make that much improvement and is it easy to use? How about the walker
CD solution? It sounds like you are really big on both. Anyways, I hope you don't mind me writing. As mentioned I find your
columns very interesting, keep up the excellent work. Having finally got back into audio I find it amazing how drawn back into I have become, though it does not replace my love of music, it more like augments it. I'm not sure its healthy, though I haven't gone through the kids education fund or anything.
The lathe and the Walker solution are the two best tweaks I know for CD-DVD improvement. Unhappily, they still don't come close to LP, which doesn't come close to master tapes. Happily I am finding the best SACD and DVD-A
discs to sound very close to both. Thanks for the kind words.
Will we see the second part of last months Mapleshade review? Have a great weekend!
Affirmative. I just spend 10 days moving, and in fact sat on the floor all weekend sewing room treatments. The Mapleshade review part II will publish in May.
Great review of the Axions. If you have a chance try the 22's as they are little
honeys... It is interesting that you mention the JMlabs Cobalts as Peak Audio here in Halifax, Nova Scotia flipped over the 1300CDN cobalt 806. They say it has been years since they have heard a
mini-monitor that made them this excited about music...Was this, by chance, the cobalt model you also liked? They are selling very well here....Love musical bargains. Diana Krall, I have all her music....thanks again,
Thanks for wrting. I hope to review a larger Axiom speaker soon. I am not exactly sure which Cobalt models I listened to, yet the uniqueness of their did indeed make me notice them. I would like to review a pair, but I have yet to hear from a representative about getting a review pair. Bargains in
audio are so rare that I too do get excited about them. And yes, I do have all of Diana Krall's music. Yours, in listening,
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