Axiom Speaker Company VP150 Center Channels

Axiom Speaker Company VP150 Center Channels 

DESCRIPTION

This audiophile center channel needs only a moderately-powered amp to fill a large room, without being overpowering. Capable of the incredible sound pressure levels needed for realistic reproduction of Dolby digital/DTS encoded materials. Triple 5.25" woofers and dual 1" titanium tweeters ensure that the dialogue is smack in the center of the action. Features our proprietary anti-standing wave cabinet. Measures 7.5" high by 27.5" wide by 7.5" deep. Can be inverted for low installation. Beautifully finished in Black Oak or Boston Cherry, or over 100 custom finishes available in Axiom's Customize Yours store.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 23  
[May 18, 2020]
Scruffdawg


Strength:

It has a wider sweet spot than all of the center channel speakers I've owned over the years.

Weakness:

The only draw back, to this speaker, is the grill cover. Hard a heck to get off and on. I have the v2 series VP150.

Price Paid:
275.
Purchased:
Used  
Model Year:
2010
OVERALL
RATING
4
[Apr 21, 2005]
terror_beast
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Extremely accurate (to a fault - ie. no high frequency roll-off), detailed and clear. Efficient, dynamic and well made.

Weakness:

Unforgiving of poor room acoustics and placement. Absolutely requires acoustic room treatment and even THX equalization (or equivilant) to avoid sounding bright or even sibilant.

I felt it necessary to add a few comments for this product. I spend a great deal of time listening to various home theater gear. If I had an unlimited budget, I'd have no problem in exceeding it :p But I am rather the reverse; I have a very limited budget for new gear and thus, I make careful decisions when I lay down my cash for new items. Axiom Audio has earned my respect and won my hard earned dollars by offering high levels of performance and extremely high value together with excellent service. Many others have also found this to be true. Axiom's bookshelf, tower and especially their spectacular QS surround speakers have all found nearly universal praise. But Axiom's center speakers have received more negativity. That negativity almost led me to purchase Ascend Acoustic speakers instead of Axioms. The fact of the matter is that I hold Ascend in the highest regard and wouldn't hesitate at all to recommend their speakers as they are excellent. I likely would have bought Ascend were it not for the costly shipping and brokerage fees I would have paid to have their speakers delivered to me in Canada. In the end, Axiom's free shipping saved me a sizable amount of money and was a deciding factor in my final purchase. Based purely on sound, BOTH Axiom and Ascend speakers offer superb performance. A slight difference emerges though and the Ascend speakers reveal themselves to be extremely neutral, while the Axiom speakers are a tad more forward. But let's move on to the point of this review. The VP150 has been criticized for having sibilance (over-pronounced "s", "sh" sounds,) a lack of bass and poor off-axis response with too great a degree of timbral change. The simple fact is that I can totally understand how people may have heard this from the VP150 speaker, but these are not inherent characteristics of the speaker itself. The VP150 is an unforgiving speaker, not only of source material and the equipment upstream, but of room acoustics and placement as well. Axiom designs their speakers for flat frequency response in an anechoic environment, not an adjusted response for estimated room acoustics. What Axiom delivers with the VP150 is a technically and mathematically well designed speaker. But unlike Paradigm, Axiom has not adjusted the output to compensate for what they can only guess to be YOUR room's acoustics. The result is simply this: if you have not treated your room acoustically with absorption and diffusion panels, you will likely find the VP150 sibilant, bright and/or harsh. Unlike most speaker companies, Axiom does not roll off the high end frequencies. Nor does Ascend, which is why both sound very detailed. But Ascend's cross-overs have been designed to partially compensate for room boundary reflections, leading to what sounds like a more spacious and even sound in most untreated rooms. That spaciousness actually collapses a little in a properly treated room and the CMT-340c and VP150 sound much the same. As for the complaint of little bass from the VP150; I can only say that Axiom plainly states the -3 dB point at 85 Hz, which is JUST low enough to blend with a subwoofer crossed-over at the THX spec of 80 Hz. And speaking of THX - there is indeed a reason why they include their own brand of processing on THX approved receivers and pre/pros. One of the key features is THX equalization, which largely reduces high frequency output. The reason for this is because movie theaters require boosted high frequency levels to overcome the damping of so many human bodies in the theater. When this boosted high frequency soundtrack is played at home, it is overbearing. BUT most speakers roll-off the high frequencies anyway! Many people have wondered why THX equalization even exists because they have never heard these boosted high frequencies. The VP150 plays these boosted high frequencies with no manufactured roll-off of their own, leading to the sibilance and brightness many people describe. Engaging THX equalization finally makes sense and the result is very pleasing. Finally, poor off-axis response is also the result of an acoustically untreated room in most cases. Within a 30 degree window, each tweeter has no timbre change in a room without wall and ceiling reflections. Part of the problem is that the Axiom tweeter actually has a very wide cone of relatively flat frequency response, leading to cancellations and peaks in an untreated room. All-in-all, this is a fabulous sounding speaker, but only in the proper environment. Given proper room treatment and placement, the VP150 delivers extremely clear and articulate sound with superior detail and even response within 15-20 degress to either side of the speaker.

Similar Products Used:

Ascend CMT-340c, Paradigm CC-370, Polk CSi5 & LSiC and many others in store demos and auditions.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 21, 2005]
Oskins
AudioPhile

Strength:

Good looking design, fit and finish are excellent, sound is natural and linear

Weakness:

None

As a professional musician, I am very careful about the recordings I buy and the speakers I use to play them on. After auditioning several speakers, I finally settled on the VP150 (2005 Model) for my center channel (paired with M60s for mains, QS8s for surrounds, and an EP350). I was amazed at how natural-sounding the speaker was, without any of the unnatural suppression of a lot of competitors' centers. It really highlights the quality of my recordings.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 15, 2005]
douga
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Each and every word is centered where it belongs

Weakness:

none

This Center is part of my Axiom Epic 80 System. Clear, concise, and authoritative, this center has changed movie watching forever. Dialog is so crisp and intelligible, I can't believe I strained through Bose-powered movies for so long! Finally, I hear everything!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 13, 2005]
GeneticDrift
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Thin design some my need for placement.

Weakness:

Un-natural vocals, overbearing S's, Horrible off-axis response.

I would like to start by saying I really did want to like this center, unfortunately as you will read below it didn’t meet my expectations. There were a couple issues with this center: Upon first hooking it up I noticed the sound was similar to the sound you would get if you talked into a metal trash can. The sound was tinny and un-natural, S’s were not anything you could miss in dialog and were overbearing. The second problem I encountered with this center was the off axis listening. When immediately in front of it sound was totally different than if you moved into my side recliners, it sounded like you had just placed a pillow over the speaker, the distance is only about 6 ft. This is something I had read about but I still felt compelled to try it, as I said I really wanted to like this center. This is where the troubleshooting began. I first called axiom and spoke with their tech, they informed me they had heard a few instances of this but could offer no real solution other than to return it. Compelled to sort this thing out I tried changing the settings from small to large in my receiver, also trying every combination of crossover point imaginable. While setting it to large did take some of the tinny characteristic away from it, it still was unacceptable. I did notice that when I blocked the center of the 3 drivers that it did seem to help the off axis a bit so again I called axiom and stated my findings. I was informed they could send me a different resistor do decrease the signal to the center driver. While I appreciate the effort on axioms part there was just too many problems with this center to keep, I could not justify spending 385.00 for a mediocre sounding speaker, a speaker that would actually gave me listener fatigue (read headache) after just 20 minutes. I promptly returned it to axiom. The story does have a happy ending, I since purchased the Paradigm CC-370 and couldn’t be happier!

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
[May 29, 2004]
metalaaron
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

decent for the money fits well on top of any tv

Weakness:

sibilance listener fatigue risky design

within 1 - 2 months i was able to do more critical listening. the soundstage was missing at different positions on the couch. mainly the the vp150 was not able to handle the dynamics of 5.1 very well. at least not compared to other center channels.

Similar Products Used:

ascend cmt-340c, paradigm reference cc-570, paradigm cc-370

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Apr 25, 2004]
tonygeno
AudioPhile

Strength:

Nice looking vinyl wrap.

Weakness:

See above.

I ordered a set of M2is and a VP150 to try, the idea being if I liked the Axiom sound, I would order a complete 7.1 setup. While I was amazed at the sound of the M2i, the VP150 was totally lacking. It sports a rather odd driver layout with 3 centrally located bass/midrange drivers and 2 outboard tweeters. When moving off axis, I could hear both a change in output and timbre. I have 3 listening seats and the sound was different at each. When trying to calibrate the center using the test tones from my Lexicon MC12, the output level varied from seat to seat. Additionally, the timbre match between the 150 and M2i was very poor.

Similar Products Used:

NHT M5, Vandersteen VCC-5, Infinity 3.5C, Sonus Faber Solo Home, Vienna Acoustics Maestro, Onix Rocket MC200.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Mar 30, 2004]
dlpfan
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

clarity, great midrange performance. Axiom Audio has first rate customer service. Impressive looking, not a regular "wimpy" center channel like the others.

Weakness:

none

Powerful and efficient. I don't have to strain myself to hear dialogue anymore.

Similar Products Used:

Infinity Alpha center, Polk, JBL

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 26, 2004]
keen audio
AudioPhile

Strength:

everything! detailed, detailed, detailed, detailed

Weakness:

A little light on the bass. The family fights over who gets to sit in the sweet spot are over! I actually enjoyed this!

I bought the vp 150 with the grand master set of speakers from axiom. Normally the grand master comes with the vp 100. This center speaker is simply amazing for the price. It is extremely detailed! I want to hear every little thing in movie soundtracks and this speaker delivers! The fact that the tweeters are located on the outside of the woofers also gives this speaker great off axis performance. The entire sofa becomes the sweet spot. I live in Tokyo, Japan. I spend a lot of time in audio shops here. I have yet to hear a center which can compare with the axiom in this price range.(and beyond this price range!) It is also a very beautiful speaker. I have the boston cherry color. It looks great! I have seen better quality wood and vinyl finishes on speakers. All of these speakers sounded terrible! I will take sound quality over appearance any day! Axiom speakers are amazing!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 21, 2004]
Bumkin
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Reproduction of high frequencies.

Weakness:

Unimpressive male vocals, build quality. Psuedo "No-Risk" guarantee from Axiom (which is why I gave it a poor value rating). Also something to think about: Is the free shipping really free? Or is the shipping cost absorbed in the cost of the speaker?

I purchased the VP150 because I was looking for a large center channel, one that would replace my "smaller" Wharfedale Emerald and one with which I didn't have to use the "small" (ie. high crossover frequency) speaker setting on my receiver. After auditioning the VP150 extensively, I felt it could not fulfill that roll. It gave me the impression of a much smaller speaker than it really was. Although female vocals were reproduced realisatically, when watching movies I found myself "squinting" to decipher male vocals. Additionally, I found that the rather bright nature of the VP150 made it difficult to truly enjoy movie dialog. As RonBoster describes, the popping "p's" and abrupt "s's" became somewhat annoying. I also don't agree with others in this forum that say the build quality is first rate. Although it is good, the veneer is not finished nicely at the edges. You may argue "well it is only $350", but my Wharfedale is finished flawlessly, has real wood veneer, sounds better than the VP150 (in my opinion), and is a fraction of the cost of the Axiom. As you may have already guessed, yes, I returned the VP150.. and ended up paying the shipping fees AND hefty brokerage fees to send the speaker back (by no means should you think that the Axiom in-home trial program is risk-free as their web site implies). Although I was hoping to eventually listen to other Axiom products that have received rave reviews, because of this experience I will never buy from a factory direct speaker manufacturer again.

Similar Products Used:

Polk CS245, Wharfedale Emerald, Aura LSC-537M

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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