MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2008 (#36)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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122 MacDirectory PROFILE AXIOM AUDIO > INNOVATION IN SOUND Axiom Audio designs speakers for people who are "passionate" about sound. The company was founded by Canadian music lover Ian Calquhoun in the early 1980s. After working in retail in the 1970s, Calquhoun realized that a wide inconsistency in sound quality existed between different brands of speakers. The audio redesign idea received a boost when Ian met a scientist (a psycho- acoustician) with the physics department at the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, Floyd Toole, who had similar views and began a scientific program to standardize the measurements of loudspeaker sound quality. Calquohoun decided to join the NRC project, which yielded a number of insights into loudspeaker design, measurement, and listening tests. "Axiom has always stressed a scientific, no-nonsense approach to good loudspeaker design, based on careful measurement followed by double-blind listening tests of prototype speakers, where the appearance, price, size and cost of the speakers under test are concealed from the listeners, to eliminate biases that might otherwise erroneously influence or sway their judgments of speaker sound quality," Calquhoun said. What sets the company apart from other audio equipment manufacturers? It is Axiom's use of the anechoic chamber, a room with no echoes, to get the best results from their products. Lining all six walls of the chamber are large fiberglass wedges that absorb all reflections from the loudspeaker. A speaker is supported on a pedestal in the center of the chamber that can rotate to either side as well as tilt up and down. This is where the initial design and frequency response of the speaker is refined, measured and fine- tuned by its designer. Ultimately, the Axiom home theater hopes to find a niche in the increasingly popular world of high-definition TV and surround sound movie soundtracks where a natural audience exists for the accurate musical reproduction of multi-channel movie soundtracks and recordings. Former audiophile stereo enthusiasts now are moving to dedicated home theater surround sound systems that duplicate the large cinema movie experience or that of the concert hall in their own home. Sound enthusiasts need look no further than their computer to find Axiom products. The company operates solely online, with 24-hour technical assistance via their Web site or telephone. And the site offers tutorials on everything from home theater basics to choosing the right television for the best viewing experience. Axiom even offers a Home Theater Wizard to help customers decide what type of equipment would work best for them. And if you are still confused about configuring a home theate, the Axiom Web site offers customers a link for sending in a photo or floor plan of a room and professionals will recommend the perfect home theater system. Products offered by Axiom include everything from bookshelf-size speakers to outdoor equipment. Some speakers can even be mounted into the walls of a home. The goal of every loudspeaker Axiom produces is accurate, transparent musical reproduction that allows the listener to experience the cleanest, clearest, most realistic music and movies. During 2007, Axiom employees took part in their first interior design show where the company featured its newest wall- mounted speakers that come in a variety of standard finishes and can be ordered in customized colors. Calquhoun has big plans for Axiom going into the future. "We are expanding beyond loudspeakers to high-end electronics, including a just introduced, powerful new 8-channel amplifier, the Axiom A1400-8," he said."And soon to come, we will introduce a companion Axiom Audio-Video Surround preamp/processor. We are also gradually moving into the custom design of home theater systems for builders of new home projects." WORDS BY MARY ROSENTHOL

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