Axiom Audio - Home Theaters Axiom AudioFile Newsletter
Published Monthly Since 2002
Issue 99 | September 2010
Axiom's Anechoic Chamber

In This Month's Newsletter

Axiom AudioFile Newsletter Continues

Message from Ian

30th Anniversary!The 30th Anniversary Party was a truly wonderful experience for me and for the whole staff at Axiom. The opportunity to meet so many of you was excellent, with a few of you travelling from as far as New Orleans, Tacoma, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Prince Edward Island, and more! It meant so much to us that you joined us.

For those of you that couldn't make it, in addition to the numerous posts and pictures on our message boards, Doug Schneider from SoundStage! has posted two 2-minute videos on the get-together:

Anniversary Video One
Anniversary Video Two

We first met Doug Schneider at the launch of our ecommerce website in 2000, and it was great to have him here to meet all of the guests as well.

Pictured from left to right, Jakeman, Ian Colquhoun, SonicFox, and Alan Lofft

Thanks again for joining us!

Axiom AudioFile Newsletter Continues

News From Axiom's Founder, Ian Colquhoun

Price Increase October 1st

A big advantage of buying directly from Axiom is that you are truly buying direct from the manufacturer. We are not a middle man or a simple box stuffer but a fully integrated manufacturer that includes the manufacture of all of our own drivers, cross-overs, amplifiers, cabinets, and even plastic parts.

Over the past few years, and especially in the past year, we have been experiencing increases of all of our base raw materials like steel, aluminum, and plastic. In light of this we need to make a modest adjustment to our prices. The average increase works out to be 2.5%. It has been since early 2007 that we last made a price adjustment and we have made numerous improvements to the products since then along with suffering the general rise in raw material costs.

To see a list of the new prices, click here. Remember, you can lock in the current prices by ordering before October 1st, taking advantage of our layaway program, or for our US customers, by using Bill Me Later.

Axiom AudioFile Newsletter Continues

Featured Article

Alan LofftThree Home Theater Sound Enhancers You Can Try This Weekend

by Alan Lofft

Home theater fans, audiophiles, and newcomers alike all have one goal in mind: to make their home theater or reproduced music sound better. It's the engine driving most of our loudspeaker and equipment purchases, which is hardly surprising. After all, it's an amazing era we live in where a savvy consumer can assemble some good loudspeakers, an amplifier and CD/DVD or Blu-ray player and achieve sound reproduction or home theater that can often rival or surpass the real thing, and do it in the comfort of your own home.

However, not all sound enhancers require huge outlays of dollars; often a simple tweak of existing equipment, a modest purchase, or simple adjustment can make substantial audible improvements — and I emphasize audibility as the criterion by which any proposed upgrade should be judged.

Frequently (with a couple of exceptions I'll get to later) it's through no intrinsic fault of the newly purchased audio-video equipment, but rather just plain old mistakes in system setup.

Here are three sound enhancers that will audibly improve your surround or musical experience:

1. Adjust the Height, Location, and Type of Surround Speakers

Axiom's QS8 Surround Speaker placed on a side wall. It may seem obvious, but if you have the surround speakers in a 5.1-channel system behind you, try moving them to the side walls and getting them 2 feet or more above ear level. It's the surround output from each side that our hearing is most sensitive to (our external ears are on each side of our head and focused forward). 'Surrounds' are often mistakenly called 'rears' - and that's where they often end up - on the rear wall. Moving them to the side walls and slightly behind the listening area will markedly improve listeners' impressions of depth and ambient sound in movies and music.

If you have a larger room, you can add a second pair of surround speakers for the rear wall, which will complete the 7.1-channel setup and likely enhance the experience even more. If you're using direct-radiating rather than a multi-directional (quadpolar or bipolar) surround speaker, consider switching from direct-firing to quadpolar surrounds, which are extremely effective at spreading ambient surround information throughout the room.

2. Move Your Subwoofer (or Add a Sub)

Every room develops its own particular set of standing waves that generate specific peaks in bass (too much deep bass) or nulls (cancelations where no bass will be heard) throughout the room, and those are dependent on dimensions of the room, which you can't easily change, and the relative subwoofer and listener locations. Too many subwoofer buyers decide in advance where the subwoofer should go in their room, without understanding how that will vary with every different room. You may get lucky, or course, and find that plunking the subwoofer down in a corner just happens to work really well in your room; but that scenario is not typical or common. To find the best sub location and improve the bass performance, do the subwoofer crawl.

Axiom's EP400 in a Custom Oak FinishFinally, if you have not yet added a subwoofer for the deepest bass tones in music and profoundly deep effects in movie soundtracks, consider getting one. A subwoofer will impart the musical foundation to any selection--reggae or Rachmaninoff-- and once you hear it, you won't go back.

3. Listen to Music in Dolby ProLogic IIx, dts Neo:6, or Logic7

I''m always amazed at the willful resistance to multi-channel music listening which I encounter among some otherwise agreeable acquaintances. Our ears and brain are sensitive to direct and slightly delayed sounds arriving at our ears from every direction whether we're at an indoor concert, outdoor event, or small cabaret or club appearance by favorite musicians. Yet plenty of music lovers confine their music playback to stereo: two speakers at the front of the room trying to reproduce all the direct and reverberant late-arriving sounds, associating 'surround sound' with home theater playback of movies. This weekend, do yourself a huge favor and try playing back virtually any stereo CD or 2-channel recording through your AV receiver's decoding algorithm - Dolby Pro Logic IIx, dts Neo:6 or H/K's Logic7 (the latter if you happen to own a Harman/Kardon receiver or Lexicon preamp).

Any of those 'algorithms' will extract the ambient information hidden on stereo recordings and route it to the surround speakers at the sides/rear of your room, restoring the missing reflected sounds which provide much of the 'you are there' realism often lost with pure stereo playback. Note that some types of music may not benefit, but most do. And if you have limited yourself to a stereo-only system, ease up and open yourself to the wonderful enhancement of surround-sound music reproduction.

Did you miss?

Selecting Your Home Theater:

Home Theater Basics

What to Look For When Buying a Receiver

Spotlight on: Home Theater Buying Tips

Choosing a TV

Buying a DVD Player


Do I Need Two Subs?

What's in a Cable?

Cable Quandary: Composite, S-Video, Component Video,
DVI, and HDMI Connectors

Choosing A Home Theater: Ten Mistakes to Avoid

Why Wall Units are the Enemy of Loudspeakers

Going the Separates Route

Beginners' Guide to Home Theater

Budgeting and Building a Dedicated Home Theater Room

Five Steps to Buying a Great HDTV

Ten Things You Need to Know About 1080p

Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music In 5.1!

Blu-ray Settled: Sorting Out the SoundtrackOptions

AV Surround Sound Receiver Buying Guide

Getting Set for Blu Ray

The Tech Talk:

Axiom Speakers and the NRC

Bass Management

Understanding Frequency Response

Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Soft to Loud: The Nature of Power and Dynamic Headroom

Excavating Real Deep Bass

How to Judge Loudspeaker Sound and Accuracy

Describing Speaker Sound

The Inside Dope on Surround Speakers

DVD -Audio vs Super Audio CD (SACD)

Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw

Dolby Pro Logic II

Standard or High Definition--It's All in the Pixel Count!

Analog to Digital TV: How to "Get" HDTV

What Defines a Reference Loudspeaker?

Surround Theory - Surround Speaker Placement

How Much Distortion Can we Hear with Music? (Experimental Study)

A Projection Room for Your Basement Home Theater

Treated vs Untreated: A Comparison of Two Identical Listening Rooms

"Tight" or "Flabby" Bass: Does It Exist?

Understanding the dB

Understanding the "0 dB" Setting on Your AV Receiver Volume Control Display

Ten Things You Always Wanted to Know About Amplifiers

Sorting Out "Impedance"

Down to Earth: Grounding, Hum, and Conflicting Standards

Thinking Digital: How A Digital Amplifier Works

Dolby Height-DPLIIz

All contents © Colquhoun Audio Laboratories 1999-2010