August 28, 2008
Axiom Audio’s Epic Midi system is a great “home theater-in-a-box killer” that starts at just $1338 and is built around the small M2 (v2) speakers. To get the most out of it, however, you’d want to opt for the much more sophisticated and powerful EP400 subwoofer - a $600+ premium that lands the system among stiff competition in the $2000 5.1 home theater speaker market. While expensive, the EP400 was the most impressive part of this system and stole the show as it certainly outperformed the expectations we had for what an 8-inch subwoofer could do.
I have to be careful with this review not to completely blow off the M2 speakers. They did great, with accurate sound and good detail and sound-staging. They were, however, so overshadowed by the incredible performance of the EP400 subwoofer that came with the Epic Midi 400 system that it was hard not to keep turning back again and again to the cubic monster sitting on the floor. In fact, all of our listening tests went really well, but the 500W mini monster sub was the defining factor in almost every test.
Build Quality & Setup
There is no question that the build quality of Axiom Audio products is well executed. In fact, the M2’s, weighing 11 pounds each are tight little products that leave little in the way of room for improvement given their price ($280/pair) and finish. The M2s have a single 1-inch dome tweeter and a single shielded 5 1/4-inch woofer in a trapezoidal cabinet that easily passes our patented (not) knuckle knock test. The M2s are unique in that they share a lot of engineering with the well-regarded M22ti speakers. They had a very similar sound but with less output capability and mid-range detail. The high quality binding posts used on the rear of the speakers is above-par and we like Axiom’s “puckered” style of rear port which serves to diffract and disperse the air coming out so as to reduce noise.
Because the speakers are rear-ported, you won’t want to install them (at least not too tightly) into an enclosed space. These speakers are meant to breathe - preferably via speaker stands. As you’ll see below, we used a non-traditional mounting method for these speakers. It worked, but Axiom would do well to bring to market a mounting system or adapter worthy of its little M2 speakers.
While Axiom Audio provides compatible brackets with which to mount the M2s, their Full Metal Ceiling Brackets are truly made to fit best with their QS4/8 speakers. For the M2s, they ended up being a very tight fit and with the net effect of only being able to mount the speakers in a horizontal orientation (which makes the non-rotatable Axiom logo appear sideways as well). To mount the speakers with this bracket we first secured the top part to the ceiling by anchoring it to a joist with two lag-style bolts. Next, the vertical speaker mount was attached to the speaker and secured with the included mounting bolt. Once this was completed we could attach the pivoting piece to the ceiling mount and then lift and set the speaker into the ceiling mounting assembly and tighten the bolts. It’s several steps, but they all make sense and offer you the flexibility to place the speakers in the best possible orientation to the listening position. Keep in mind that if you require too steep of an angle you’ll be hampered by the maximum allowed range of the tilting mechanism before it contacts the ceiling.
Read the complete review at Audioholics.com