Axiom Audiobyte Audiophile Computer Speakers - Testing the Audiobytes and Final Thoughts

Article Index
Axiom Audiobyte Audiophile Computer Speakers
Audiobyte Amplifier and Subwoofer
Audiobytes Overview, Specs and Test Setup
Testing the Audiobytes and Final Thoughts

Testing:

Unless you have a lot of studio equipment, a sound chamber and a great reference mic, testing a set of speakers is a little subjective.  What sounds good to one person may be fraught with issues to another person.  I'm not a hardcore audiophile, but I do like good sound and have invested in a Creative X-Fi Platinum that I use over any on-board solution.

It is important to set up your computer to work with these speakers.  If you currently have a 5.1 set or are using headphones, you should make sure that your computer is ready and willing to go with a set of 2.1 speakers.  You may have to change some audio settings of if you have a "smart" on-board solution with jack sensing, you should be good to go.  Either way, make sure you have the right audio profile applied.

 

Music Testing:

Almost everyone I know listens to music on their PC.  That is why man invented the hard drive; so that we can hoard, store and listen to thousands of songs.  "Turn Your Lights Down Low" by Bob Marley sounded virtually perfect.  The instruments were clearer than I've ever heard them and while the bass guitar was a little weaker than I'm used to, it was adequate and well balanced.  "Classical Gas" by Eric Clapton is hard for many speakers to reproduce accurately but the Axiom Audiobyte speakers did a fantastic job and this song was so clear that it almost brought a tear to my eye.

Music that has a little more punch like "Rawkfist" by Thousand Foot Crutch, "Everything" by Pillar and "I'm So Sick" by Flyleaf sounds good, albeit with less bass than other speakers produce.  Right from very low listen levels of 35-40dB through 85-90dB these speakers sounded almost perfect when listening to a wide variety of music.  They fired perfectly until we hit around 95dB where the entire audio started to clip in and out.  After doing a bit of research and troubleshooting, I unplugged the subwoofer and the issue went away.  The passive powered subwoofer draws too much power at very high volume levels for this little amplifier.  With the subwoofer unplugged these speakers will easily hit 100dB - although they start to distort over 95-97dB.

 

Movie Testing:

I had these speakers for several months and got a chance to watch several movies using these.  I almost made it through the Resident Evil Trilogy on Blu-Ray.  I did get to finish LOTR: Return of the King, Live Free or Die Hard also on Blu-Ray.  These movies sounded very well on the Audiobytes and in a small room they are more than adequate for watching movies on your computer by yourself or with some friends.  Again, the bass won't blow you away, but the sound quality and detail is amazing in a movie like Lord of the Rings.  All the little metallic sounds as well as water effects are very detailed and crisp.

 

Game Testing: 

There was a time that I did all my gaming on my main computer hooked to my nice Logitech Z-5500s, but time has changed things and my main workstation is no longer a gaming rig.  Now I do all my personal gaming on a test rig using a set of headphones or the Edifier e3350 Speakers.  I made sure that everything was set up correctly in Windows and in the games and let fly with some UT3, CoD4 and Crysis.

Overall game experience was quite positive.  The dual 6.5" drivers in the subwoofer has enough punch to make games sound pretty good and when UT3 calls you a "Rocket Scientist" or "Flak Master" in the nice deep voice of the narrator it bodes well with my ego.  Stereo separation is also good and you can clearly hear the direction of the enemy and can anticipate their arrival with a nicely timed shock-combo in the doorway.

Call of Duty 4 is equally enjoyable and the detail of the audio is incredible.  From the rapid burst of the P90 at close range to the constant cacophony of grenades on Wet Work, the sound is crisp, clear, detailed and beautiful.   Overall gaming performance of these speakers is very good.  To really enjoy the speakers you must lay prone and get a nice clean headshot with a sniper rifle.  The reload sound is amazing.

 

Final Thoughts:

The Axiom Audiobyte speakers with EPZero subwoofer are certainly not for everyone.  These speakers sit in a niche market that attracts audiophiles or audio connoisseurs if you will.  The sound quality is impeccable and the clarity is amazing.  While there certainly are many other companies that offer louder speakers for less money, they certainly don't sound near as nice.  Axiom is committed to quality audio - not hype and flashy packaging like other companies.  It's an amazing thing to listen to audio that you've listened to dozens of times before and are able to pick up new sounds and details that you've never heard before.  This is possible with the Audiobyte speakers from Axiom.

While the bass won't blow you away, it is accurate, well balanced and very clear.  Songs like "Classical Gas" don't resonate horribly and are flawless - as they are meant to be heard.

Because I always want more, I'd love to see an actual wood or high quality composite dock connector for an iPod as well as a switchable connection between the iPod and the speakers.  In my opinion this would give these speakers greater curb appeal and more functionality on the desk.

Pros:

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Nice finish on all speakers
  • Good cord length
  • USB port for charging portable music player
  • Detachable speaker grills


Cons:

  • Less bass response than expected
  • Fairly pricey

 

In reference to the bass issue, I talked to Ian and he replied:

Q: I know many other speakers shake the walls when they are cranked up listening to bass-heavy music, but the Audiobytes do not.  Why? 
A: The Audiobyte sub (the EPZero) is designed to be linear in response.  Commonly computer speaker systems have what we call one note subs.  This type of design focuses all the energy around creating a heavy peak over a narrow frequency band.  A linear sub will not pound unrealistically at a few frequencies but will rather play back the source material as it was recorded.

 

 BCCRating

 Top Pick

 

We were able to sit down with Ian and his associates at CES and wanted to chat with them again to discuss our hands on experience with these speakers.  Please check the "Comments" section for a complete Q&A with Ian from Axiom Audio. 

I'd like to thank Axiom for sending us the Audiobyte speakers - we had them as long as possible to continue enjoying the great sound they produce.