View Full Version : Ascend vs axiom

Long time paradigm
04-04-2012, 08:52 AM
Has anyone heard both? How do they compare. I have narrowed down my search to these 2 companies budget lines. Ascend 170s vs axiom's comparibly priced bookshelfs

04-04-2012, 09:09 AM
The CBM-170SE and M22 are comparable, but IMO the Ascend is a better engineered and sounding speaker, as well as components.

Long time paradigm
04-04-2012, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the reply. Im leaning toward ascends. I have read some reviews calling them bright. Im dumping my paradigms because I'm over their bright sound. At the end of the day I know I need to use the 30 day return policy on both speakers. Wouldn't the axioms be more bright with metal drivers?

01-07-2014, 01:59 PM
Did you ever pull the trigger on the Ascend CBM 170s or a comparable Axiom? Wish I'd seen this earlier. I own both the CBMs and the Axiom M3s. The M3s are (to my ears) the Axiom speakers most comparable to the CBM 170s.

I have done A/B comparisons with them a couple of times. I'd say honestly you can't go wrong with either one. They are both excellent bookshelf speakers. Not sure I have any original observations on the two, but here's how I'd compare them:

Axioms M3s:

Slightly fuller bass, but only enough to notice in a straight A/B comparison ... the bass is extremely close between the two speakers, and I would not consider this a selling point one way or another
Airier highs on cymbals
Excellent dynamics
Tame mid-range
Slightly wider soundstage maybe ... or could be the airiness
Not bright at all - this is a warm, musical, lovable speaker

Ascend CBM 170:
Slightly clearer mid-range, recognizable on violins and Rufus Wainright
Bit more detail on complex instrumentals, background vocals
Also great dynamics
Bit of that rolled off sound on the highs - easy to listen to ... the Ascends are accurate but warmer than the Axioms - like sharp cymbals (Axioms) vs. hearing the cymbals inside an acoustically sound recording room (Ascends)

So which is better? Really depends on your ears and the situation. As a near-field monitor (at my desk, or even sitting within 5-8 feet), I prefer the Ascends. I also prefer them as HT speakers, either as small fronts or satellites. But I would not hesitate to use the Axioms in either spot. I used the Axioms as kitchen speakers, mounted high on our wall and tilted down. They outshine the Ascends here, just a tad, because of their ability to fill the room with a bit more bass and their wider dispersion. My completely subjective feeling is that I get a little bit more accuracy, and more overall information, from the Ascends, but I get a slightly bigger soundstage filling the room (airiness, bass) from the Axioms. Since my sub and center round things out on HT, that's not a problem there, and in close-in listening, I want the facts, not the emotion.

Incidentally, I also A/B'ed the Ascends against the new Andrew Jones Pioner SP-BS22s. While I preferred the Ascends (better soundstage, more bass, better dynamics, greater overall accuracy), those Pioneers are awfully damn good, and tonally, they sound a lot like the Ascends, with a clear, lovable mid-range and lots of detail, and an overall warm tamped down sound.

01-07-2014, 02:03 PM
PS - One thing though -- the Axioms (IMHO) look nicer, especially if you pick up a customized wood veneer. I wish Ascend could offer a customized CBM-170, given that this is such an awesome speaker. But, I appreciate the simplicity and excellent price of the CBM as it is.