Axiom Epic 80-500, comment/review.

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by jman54, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. jman54 Audiophyte

    jman54
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    5 years ago, I bought the Axiom Epic 80-500 system (5.1 with a 500w sub, 2- M80's, 2-QS8 surround, 1-VP150 center) . The sub has been nothing but trouble. It is very boomy no matter how I adjust it or where it sits. My solution has been to just keep it at a very low volume, I have wondered if there is just something wrong with it because reviews all say it sounds great. but this is the least of my issues, a year after purchasing, the sub just stopped working so I called Axiom and was told the spade connectors had probably come loose from the speaker terminals inside (A known issue), which ended up being the cause. After that the connectors again came loose, so many times I lost count. Problem is that you just cant tighten them too much without the terminal twisting on the speaker and then pulling on the soldered wire underneath that leads to the voice coil. Another year later, I started having problems with the trim and crossover controls on the sub woofer, there would suddenly be no sound from the sub, until I turned the control knobs back and forth a couple times and would then start working again (Cheep controls). It was just too much trouble to keep this thing working so I just unplugged it and besides it really never sounded that great for music anyway. I did recently email Axiom support thinking maybe they had some sort of a solution like maybe a new amp or a speaker terminal kit with lock nuts or something, they never even replied. The M80's have very clear sound but are a little bright. I can usually compensate with the EQ settings on my preamp and fortunately I have presets. I was thinking I could correct the brightness by altering the crossover or adding some volume control for the mid-range and tweeters but maybe that will be my next project.
    When I bought this system, Axiom recommended a Sherwood Newcastle amp with 140w per channel, I ended up buying a Yamaha surround amp that was also 140w x7. Recently I bought a pair of 1000w mono blocks from Emotiva, to run the front speakers, was a considerable improvement thru the entire listening range, I hear lots of new sounds, better detail plus more of a punch. I think that Axiom should tell customers up front that you really do need some power to realize the full potential of these speakers, 140w is OK but 1000 is way better and when your spending that much money... If I had it to do again, I would probably keep shopping or build something myself. They are reasonably priced and I suppose "you get what you pay for".
  2. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

    agarwalro
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    The M80 are rated at 89dB/W/m. Should not be too dependent on big watts. I'm not sure if the Sherwood Newcastle is comparable to the Yamaha in terms of power delivery, even if they both are rated at 140W per channel. But, of things improved for you, that's what matters.
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  3. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    Honestly, it's time to get a better sound system. The sub isn't worth keeping. Why go through the hassle just for poor sound when you can just go get a decent sub or two rather cheaply? No speaker should need 1 kW amps to sound good. Amplifiers shouldn't make a difference anyway. Sell the speaker set, sell the sub, sell the amps. Get a system with decent sensitivity that measures well. Here are some speaker lines that measure well: JBL LSR, Emotiva Stealth, KEF Q, Pi Three, Klipsch THX Ultra, Mackie HR (also Genelec 1000, JBL synthesis, and Procella- if you have the money for those). Some subs that measure well: Hsu, SVS, Rythmik. To keep the boom down, get two subs and place individually them for the flattest frequency response at the listening position.
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  4. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

    agarwalro
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    I'm not sure i read that you're looking for upgrade suggestions. If you are, (since the M80 speakers are not the issue) first look into sub options.

    Do you prefer plug and play or DIY? What would your budget be?

    SVS, Hsu Research, Rhythmic, Outlaw Audio, Funk Audio, Power Sound Audio make good subs.

    Parts Express has good DIY sub kits.
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  5. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Agreed. Upgrade the sub, since that seems to be the complaint, and you should be good to go.
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  6. jman54 Audiophyte

    jman54
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    Yea the sub needs to go! I was looking at it again after I wrote this last night and just realized it's junk. The driver has no name on it, the binding posts are held with a 3/8" nut, underneath next to the coil, you cant get to the nut without a very long wrench inserted thru the cage on the far side of the speaker, replacing the driver would be a better option but then I see the amplifier has the same loose post issues and the cabinet itself is mdf... what am I thinking, this is junk, who builds something like this... GRR!
    I was looking at a site named parts-express.com and they have drivers and DIY parts at really reasonable prices. I would love to build a couple small sub cabinets. Also looked at some drivers at scan-speak.dk (I read scan speak was good someplace). I have a learning curve to deal with but if I can find drivers that play nice together and can get the enclosure dimensions, should be able to make something better than what I have (hopefully way better). Not sure about the budget, I'm retired but can probably do $2k for a pair of fronts and sub. I've been happy with the preamp (rxv3800) and just got the amps which so far I also like. I listen to rock and pop, like base and strong punch especially in the drums. Not much for rap or the boom I hear in subs playing it so maybe this axiom sub was a bit much for my taste, I need it to blend well with my music without giving me a heart attack.
    I'll keep reading and thanks for the great advise.
  7. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

    agarwalro
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  8. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    DIY is a great way to get a lot of bang for minimal bucks. I think a couple Dayton kits will far outperform the Axiom sub, not just in output but sound quality. Also check out Dayton's speaker kits, which look very good as well. The UA721s at parts express in particular look like high performers; the high quality drivers certainly suggest as much. For speaker kits, also take a look around Madisound as well, they have some interesting looking kits there. Also look at DIYSoundGroup, in particular their SEOS kits which have an enormous amount of praise within the DY community. Along those lines, check out the Pi speakers which are all sold in kits as well. They have excellent measurements to back up their performance.
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  9. DannyA Audioholic

    DannyA
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    Sorry to hear so many problems with the sub. It sounds like you have some ideas for a replacement though. I wanted to comment a bit on your setup and the 1000w mono blocks. I'm not sure if the "Bright" sound is good or bad for your music but here is my experience.

    I also have a Yamaha RX-V3800. It is a very nice AV receiver. I've always thought my system had a "bright" sound in a good way but I wanted a bit stronger mid and bass. My mains and center have built-in powered subs. I like this because I can bring out some of the deeper sounds or tone it down if needed. The built-in subs by no means replace a good stand alone sub(s). I initially started out with the receiver and the two mains due to space restrictions. I added the center, surrounds and sub recently so I had some tuning to do. Once I had a few tuning concepts down (thanks to this site!), I was able to bring out much more mid and even gained a few db in the process. Adding the sub (PSA XS-15, great sub btw) probably made the biggest difference. I was able to turn down the gain on the subs in my mains and center as I was over compensating for the lack of low end. The sub took care of that. The reason I say all of this is because at one point a had the treble adjustment turned all the way down trying to tame the brightness. Problem solved. My system is tuned for my music ear and I love rock. That leads me to ask about the 1000w mono blocks. Are they the XPR-1s? If so, they are pretty pricey at $1500 each. Do you think they are worth the price? I'm not sure I could justify that price if I didn't get better sound AND get a few more db. I really am intrigued. My system gets pretty loud already so I would I'm not sure I need that much more db but sound quality alone could get me looking at options. Just curious if you think it is that much better.

    fwiw, YPAO did work very well for my music tuning.

    Pioneer PDP-5020FD
    Yamaha RX-V3800
    Samsung BD-F5700 Blu-ray Player
    Sony - PS3
    Definitive Technology BP7006 Mains
    Definitive Technology CS-8060 HD Center
    Definitive Technology Pro Monitor 1000 Surround
    Power Sound Audio XS 15 Subwoofer
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  10. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    You may want to see if Axiom will trade up the amp in your sub. The V1 EP500 had a brickwall filter below 20Hz which caused excessive group delay and may be partly responsible for your sonic issues. I believe they have since then removed the filter and also improved the reliability of their amp. You can also look at adding another brace and more dampening material since you seem like a very handy DIY type of guy.

    Alternatively you can probably find a buyer for your speakers/subs on Ebay, Audiogon or the Axiom forum and start all over which is kind of a fun thing to do anyways. Good luck.

    Our Room Size Rating Protocol along with the downloadable spreadsheet of measurements at the end of this article should help you make an educated decision should you decide to purchase a commercially made subwoofer.

    http://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/subwoofer-room-size
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
    gene,
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  11. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Here's another great choice for DIY subs: Rythmik Audio • Subwoofer enclosure plans Sounds like you'd probably lean toward a sealed sub as they are a bit more punchy with less extension so they will be less likely to give you a heart attack :) I've heard the F12 kit from a member here, which I believe was replaced by the DS1200, and I was pretty impressed. I also used one of their sub amps with my former 15" sonotube (Adire Tempest) sub and it was an excellent product.
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  12. jman54 Audiophyte

    jman54
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    The Emo amps I bought are XPA-1 (not the XPR), they are on sale for $800 each. they are rated 500 @ 8 ohm & 1000 @ 4 ohm, my M80 speakers are 4 ohm/400w. they do not seem to increase volume at my normal listening level but Im sure they could if I turn it up. The benefit to these big amp is that they seem to provide ample power to the M80's and it sounds better thru the entire listening range with better detail, more punch and the bass in the M80's sounds like I am using a sub. The 3800 has programmable 7 ch EQ per speaker, I have the fronts band 1 set to 49 HZ & turned up to 5 (out of 6), the bass definition is very good. The M80's do a great job with bass down to the 30HZ or so, I will have to blend them into my sub when I get one.
    For the M80 speakers I found a huge improvement from these amps and was worth the money although probably a little overkill. As for the bright in the M80's, if I sit in front of one of them, the bright is in the 2 tweeters only, not so bad that I would turn the treble down that much, it's a little bright. The M80's have very clean sound with great detail but not sure if I can tune out the bright without compromising detail. I suppose I could open them to see how they are wired and crossed over, perhaps a minor change or even different tweeters. I think I'll save that thought as I think the Axioms are mediocre, Im pretty sure I can get a DIY kit that's way better. I have gotten amazing advise from this post, now lots of homework. What did we do before the internet... oh yea the library.
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  13. billy p Audioholic Ninja

    billy p
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    I'd have to say...I never really thought the tweeters on my Axioms were bright...so...to speak...forward yeah. Hum...maybe at extremely loud levels they'd break up somewhat and sound a bit off...I don't know. Having compared them to other speakers....I never found them to be as refined, transparent or detailed (terms usually asscoiated with brightness ..IMO) as others I've heard/or owned. My current twets sound about the same at low to moderate volume and remain composed even at higher levels without the strain or loss of detail you're speaking of....I suppose a Speaker upgrade could be in order...if you DIY....more power to ya.:)
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  14. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

    agarwalro
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    Jman, do you have hardwood floors with minimal furniture? Sometimes brightness is the result of high frequency sounds bouncing around and not getting absorbed or dispersed quickly.
  15. jman54 Audiophyte

    jman54
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    I originally thought to go to axiom support and did send them an email outlining the sub issues with my EP500.
    My biggest problem is the terminals on the driver, they are a binding post on top with a threaded stud going thru the frame with a plain nut underneath (not a lock nut). the nut underneath is loose, I cant get to it easily but I may be able to buy a long box wrench but there is no clearance to turn the nut so it would have to be tightened by turning the binding post from the top, it's just a really poor design. I contacted Axiom 4 or 5 years ago and they knew right off what the problem was, they told me to open the cabinet and tighten the wires. As I tighten the wires/nut from the top of the post, the entire post turns and pulls on the wire going to the speaker coil so I can only tighten them so much. Anyway I never got a reply from Axiom support, I suspect there is no proper way to fix this without replacing the driver and my guess is they just don't want to go there. It may be the poor sound on this sub is because the wires are loose, maybe only one of the coils is playing. I cant seem to find anyone else that's had this issue but Axiom knew about it, maybe they fixed the design flaw. Axiom really should stand behind their products, I dont want to put any more money into it but maybe I will contact them again and ask for a fix.
  16. exlabdriver Guest

    exlabdriver
    Strange, as Axiom is generally well known for having excellent customer service. With a 5 Year Warranty on that unit, perhaps it would have been wise to pursue it way back when with more vigor.

    I expect that you have a V1 that is long obsolete. The present V3 is a complete revision with newly designed, robust Amps, DSP Control & Drivers all manufactured in-house at their NA factory. One recent post from a user stated that he had about 20,000 hrs of trouble free service from his EP-500.

    As Gene advised, perhaps it would be worth it to pursue it directly with Axiom & in their company forum. Boominess often comes from adverse room interaction. I have 2 of their subs that sound great which in part probably comes from my large, irregularly shaped room.

    BTW - MDF is used extensively in the vast majority of consumer speaker cabinets in a reasonable price range. It is cost effective & often more inert than planks of 'real' wood.

    Good luck in you quest...

    TAM
  17. jman54 Audiophyte

    jman54
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    I have carpet and the room is fairly padded, I don't hear sound bounce. It's not bad and I can adjust the EQ so it's not a problem. when I get close to the speaker, the tweeters are louder than the mids, be nice if I could just turn them down a bit.
    If I bypass the EQ, on some music it's a real problem, others not so bad.
    I read a recent review of the M80 v3 and seemed like the reviewer was looking for bright but then stated it wasn't. I have seen other reviews saying they are a tad bright, maybe Axiom fine tuned them on V3, mine are v2. On one hand this should be exact science, on the other I think not everyone hears things the same and preferences vary. Be nice if there was variable crossover controls for speakers like some subs have.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  18. exlabdriver Guest

    exlabdriver
    Variable Crossovers were all the rage back in the 1980s & then they mostly disappeared. I still use a pair of huge, pristine Sansui PM -C200s with 15" woofers under my computer desk with drivers all over the front baffle, ha! That was the style back then. They have 2 variable crossover knobs on the front baffle as well - Mid Range +1, 0, -1; and High Range 0, -1, -2.

    I set the Mid Range to -1 & the High Range to -2 as Japanese speakers of the day were generally bright, to me anyways...

    TAM

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