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Thread: Ascend vs axiom

  1. #1

    Default Ascend vs axiom

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Manhattan Beach, California

    Default Re: Ascend vs axiom

    The CBM-170SE and M22 are comparable, but IMO the Ascend is a better engineered and sounding speaker, as well as components.
    Last edited by curtis; 04-04-2012 at 09:21 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ascend vs axiom

    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?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ascend vs axiom

    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.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ascend vs axiom

    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.

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