If you’ve done any internet research on high-end loudspeakers, then you are no doubt already familiar with Axiom audio. For those not yet in the know, Axiom Audio is an Ontario, Canada based speaker manufacturer that just happens to be celebrating its 30-year anniversary. Axiom began in a garage one day when chief designer Ian Colquhoun crafted his first pair of speakers, then grew over time as a new-found company developed one award winning product after another. Roughly ten years ago, Axiom launched its website, began selling products directly to customers all over the world and changed the game for speaker makers everywhere. One of the pioneers of the Internet-direct selling model, Axiom bypasses costly distribution and sales channels and is able to offer a high-quality product at prices that defy convention.
Axiom offers a broad array of speakers and subwoofers that include everything from in-wall and on-wall products to floor-standing speakers of titanic proportions. Here, we review Axiom’s Epic Grandmaster 500 system which includes their M22 bookshelf, VP150 center channel, QS8 surrounds and the EP500 DSP subwoofer.
Out of the Box
Since Axiom is an internet-direct speaker maker, they ship all of their products from their manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada. For that reason, product packaging is extremely important. No one wants to spend considerable bucks on a speaker system, wait a week or so for it to arrive then find out that their gear has been damaged in transit. To avoid this issue, Axiom has done a top-notch job of isolating and padding their speaker boxes to ensure safe transit.
Beyond the foam padding we found each speaker cinched up in black cloth sacks. As we disrobed each speaker, we noted that our review system came with a real Rosewood veneer dressed with a satin finish. By default, Axiom’s speakers are priced with either Boston Cherry or Black Oak vinyl finishes but, for an additional fee, Axiom offers a myriad of very attractive finishing options for their entire line of speakers. You may choose from 15 custom vinyl finishes or opt for one of six different real wood finishes with your choice of satin, semi-gloss or piano gloss. There is also an option for a solid, high gloss piano black finish. Custom finished speakers are made to order, so delivery will be extended out anywhere from 10-20 days beyond the normal shipping time frame.
The quality of the Rosewood finish was excellent. Be aware, however, that the real wood finish options come with a bit of an upgrade fee. For this system, real wood finishes add $755.00 to the asking price; $1211.00 for the Rosewood version that we received.
Features and Design
All of the speakers in the Epic 500 system (save the subwoofer, of course) use the same 5.25” midrange driver and 1” titanium dome tweeter, albeit in various configurations.
The M22 bookshelf speaker combines two of the 5.25” drivers with one tweeter in a tall, slim, rear-ported cabinet. It is rated to play down to 60hz, and measures 19.8″ x 7.3″ x 8″ and 16 lbs.
The VP150 center channel is comprised of three, center mounted 5.25” drivers with two tweeters on the far side of its sealed cabinet. It is rated to perform down to 85hz and measures in at 7.5″ x 27.5 ” x 7.5 and 21.8 lbs.
The QS8 surrounds are cleverly designed in a trapezoid shaped cabinet with one of two 5.25” drivers on the top and the other on the bottom. Each tweeter is positioned on opposing faces of the trapezoid, thus aiming sound left, right, up and down. The speaker is rated to play flat down to 95hz and measures in at measures 8.25″ x 11″ x 6” and 13.5 lbs. Each QS8 comes packed with a wall mount kit that positions the speaker flush against the wall. Given the nature of the design, the speaker really should be placed on the wall. To stand mount it, one would need to come up with a clever stand solution, since the driver at the bottom needs to be able to play into the room, not into the base of a stand.
The EP500 DSP subwoofer is built the old fashioned way: with a big driver, big cabinet and big amp. The 19.5″ x 15″ x 19.5”cabinet is vented on the front and houses a single, 12” woofer and a 500 watt RMS DSP controlled amplifier which add up to a combined weight of 72.6 lbs.