Whoa - a rare Audio Note speaker... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Jimmy C
07-11-2005, 01:50 PM
... review from "Positive Feedback". It was the new AX-2 Sigs, circa $1K. An upgraded version of the stripper AX-2. Where's RGA? I would post a link, but I don't know how...lol - without my wife, anyway!

While "not a great" speaker, they did seem to like it. I suppose "musically satisfying" would be the theme. It's nice to know that it's quite sensitive, as well as being able to integrate with a decent sub (REL Strata... like mine :^).

I would love to have these in my bedroom (get yer mind out of the gutter) against my Studio 60s... see what is gained/missed. Then again, I don't have quality tubes (or SS, for that matter!) making music, but it WOULD be fun! As much as I like the the 60s (for the money, anyway - $1K) I would probably prefer a quality 2-way in my small(ish) bedroom.

The "little guys" are the ones to hear... Joseph, Alon (Nola), Spendor, Harbeth, Revel, Piega, Ref 3A, DeVore (here in N.Y. - Brooklyn - but haven't heard yet!), Genesis, ... etc. Not necessarily "'lil guys" , but many times hard to find. Always fun to listen to.

Where's all the dealers :*?

07-11-2005, 06:06 PM
My dealer prefers the cheaper version than the one Positive feedback reviewed.

"In my opinion, the best word to describe the sound of the Audio Note AX-2 Signatures is "balance." From top to bottom, these little speakers never give any reason to single out a specific area for comment, and that is a very good thing."

Basically what I would say. I'm surprised he had so much difficulty -- I had fine results with my amp and it works very nicely with relatively inexpensive Jolida amps apparently. it doesn;t like SS but then good speakers should show up the failings of SS -- and this speaker does just that.

07-12-2005, 04:21 AM
The AX-2 I've seen sold for $700 cdn....not a bad deal at all IMO, they're a bit better than a few $800 speakers I've seen from some larger, more popular speaker companies.

I swear those AX speakers use the legendary Vifa D19 tweeter....damn good look-alike if not.

07-12-2005, 10:21 AM
The drivers are from Vifa. They are hand made in denmark. I have not heard the $1000.00US signature version reviewed. I heard the $600.00US version with chipboard. My dealer prefers the cheaper version for some reason so it would be advisable to hear the cheap one. My side by side comparison with the 705 --- if all were equally priced I would buy the AX Two -- and it's not particularly much of a horserace. FWIW that does not say as much about the AS Two as it does for the 705 because I also like the Dane 42 which is about $750.00US better as well.

In my review of the AX Two and Audience 42 one will note my comments and ratings were similar. It's funny the 42 needs bigger powerful SS amps to drive it properly, while the AX two can be driven with anything but apparently more picky than my results. I shall try the speakers next time on other budget and SS gear. If this is the case then i will probably like the AX Two even more than I already do because that would mean it really does show up the weaknesses and or differences of fed information and meets the company goal of comparison by contrast. I assumed due to price I would not really need to listen in that way - now I will.

07-12-2005, 02:18 PM
Thought so, is the woofer the coated paper from Vifa too? Geez, I think I have a few of those not being used too...maybe I'll try cloning one. Any idea on the thickness of the cabinet?

07-12-2005, 02:51 PM
I believe both drivers are from Vifa. Only the tweeters in the J and E are from Foster/Tonegan with SEAS drivers. The K down use Vifa.

You would have to check on AX two drivers because AN does have them custom created and with the K they have the ferro-fluid removed and a different ferrite magnet used and different wiring than the "off the shelf" version. The web-site says next to nothing about the AX Two other than it is a 'general purpose" speaker. They provide no information about the speaker.

I e-mailed Peter to find something out which is how I know where they were made.

The site just says "2-way folded parabolic rear loaded quarter wave quasi horn, ¾” tweeter, 5” bass driver, 90dB efficient"

It is designed for small rooms and for near-field listening which is how I happened to audition them.

07-12-2005, 03:46 PM
There isn't really an off-the-shelf driver out there so to speak. Just a bunch of variations of various aspects, some similar to what you describe, some quite different...I suppose the very original D19 could be considered the off-the shelf version.
Often times modifications are done to existing drivers for speaker makers to reduce cost, or do small cosmetic changes. Like everything, there's disagreement whether they are "better" or not. Depends on the application. AN probably requested parameters to suit their design goal. My design goal would be to capture 90% of the performance for 1/4 the price, maybe tailor it to my preferences (I'm told I like bright speakers). Maybe I'd get lucky and do a bit better.

07-12-2005, 08:25 PM

I think the Ax-Two's would sound better than the Studio's in your small room, at least as far as acoustics go. Awhile back I exchanged a few email's with Peter and his approach to room acoustics really caught my attention, since im in a terrible small square room (10x10). I dont really want to quote his whole response because im not sure he would want that, but here is what he said that caught my attention-

" 2.) Move the speakers as close to the room boundaries as possible, this way
the reflections from the walls can be controlled in such a way that the
mid/high reflections are short enough to be within the threshold of our
hearing, this way they become indistinguishable to our hearing system from
the direct sound."

From what I remember, he says his speakers do this by creating a uniform dispersion pattern, therefore eliminating peaks and dips causes by having wall boundaries so close.

I'm curious to how these speakers would compare to my PSB Stratus Mini's ( which are fantastic speakers, just not built for corner placement like the AN's) in my small , problematic room. If these types of speakers dont work in my room, then its on to headhones I go.

Like you, I dont have a dealer thats close. The closest Is I believe 300 miles away. This is the reason I haven't heard them yet.

If you get a chance to hear them id be curious to how they handle a small room, and close to wall placement.

07-12-2005, 11:07 PM
Yes his corner speakers have apparently resulted in a reflected wave that arrives at the ear so fast after the direct wave that it is inaudible to the human ear...and it will work in ANY room at any distance provided two things. A) that it has a corner and B) that the room size falls within the internal volume of the room in which the speaker was designed to operate in. But what owners have found is that the room's walls play a factor as ther eis prodigious amounts of low frequency from the larger models. i am currently experimenting with several room treatments and will attempt some bass traps behind the speakers to see what kind of results I will get. I don't think they really need a lot here as it appears from reviews that whether or not you do what Peter says and no matter how big the room whether treated or not whether 25 foot ceilings or 8 feet whether the speakers are 20 feet apart or 8 feet apart listening int he far field or nearfiled in a heavily damped room like mine or one that is open like in some showrooms the results are very very similar but care is need to get it right in whatever room it's in.

The AX Two is meant to be in a small room of 10X10 or so and listened to in the nearfiled (which is why many people like them as high end computer speakers (I think it's overkill for the computer but many people listen to music and watch movies on their computer these days) Brian B of Venus hi-fi apparently gets great results with entry level Jolida gear but Soundhounds will be or already has dropped the Joilda line so I can't try it.

My auditions with the AX Two have not been in the corner and about 3 feet from the walls but still in the corners. I listened with Rotel and Audio Note amplifiers and one other I can't recall at the moment. The review seemed to place the speaker in a room it wasn;t designed for. It consistantly amazes me how supposedly professional reviewers do not pay any attention to manufacturer recommendations. I mean one reviewer reviewed my amp with Thiel speakers and wonders why when pushed the frequency extremes run into trouble. Despite the fact he loved the amplifier it's a bonehead thing to do and rather unfair review if the results were negative.

I know a fellow in Victoria who just got back from visiting Peter at his home in England. I have a few pics sent to me of his listening room and gear -- I have been asked not to post the pictures or detailed information of the new cabinet material they might be experimenting with for the cabinets, but let's just say they will be probably the priciest material I have ever seen for cabinet materials completely dwarfing Russian Birch Ply as a per sheet cost of more than 10 times or so per sheet. But it will depend on whether the material actually sounds good or not, but I'm interested.

I have to laugh that one picture has an amplifier on top of a case full to the brim with LP's. LP's and cd's all over the room disheveled. Like him or not there is no question that the man loves music and listens to music on the stuff he makes...and few are as knowledgable about classical music as he is. He designs it for himself and if you like it great, if not fine.


It's a shame you can;t try one someplace. Headphones can be a good alternative but it's ultimately a compromise in many other ways. If you can I would look into the AKG 1000 which is basically like attaching speakers to your head. They require a real amplifier not a headphone amp and you can actually use a subwoofer with them. I heard a set a customer brought to Soundhounds to show the salestaff how neat they are and I tried them (I had briefly several years ago). This time they were hooked up to the speaker terminals of an expensive Australian SET amp and the sound was absolutely amazing. Comfortable as well.

You know what you could do is look for the Snell Type K NOT the K/II on Ebay. Kevin Voeks' versions are apparently disasterous when he took over after Snell died at the age of 38. You'd probably get the K for dirt cheap and Peter would provide info on getting them spruced up to a close AN K variant at not much cost. You could probably get the Snell K plus the revamp for about what the AX Two - runs I suspect. You'd still want to run a tube amp.

07-13-2005, 01:22 AM

It's funny that you mention the room treatments because the feeling I got from Peter was that his speakers are more forgiving to room deficiencies. Not only with wall reflections, but also with the bass ( I guess having them in the corners make its easier to load and control the bass?) saying that moving the speakers away from the walls caused "horrendous problems as a result, viz all the tube traps
and room "correction" systems being offered as a remedy to an essentially
insolvable problem." I guess his thinking is that why use room treatments, when you can avoid the room problems in the first place by making a more room friendly speaker? It's kind of hard to believe a speaker can basically ( but not completely) eliminate the room from the picture. Id have to try it for myself, and would make for an interesting test.

Also, I was thinking of buying some old Snell K's, since I cant afford the AN version, but then I read that the Snell's werent meant for corner/near wall placement. Maybe they can upgrade it to work near walls, hmm.

But yeah, I dont really want a headphone only system, but I mean sometimes that may be the only route. Id much rather have two speakers singing to me, and being able to share the sound with others.

07-13-2005, 10:37 AM
Yes the Snells were not meant for near walls - Peter changed the port tuning etc but the K was a sealed cabinet so I figure it would work better.

I think I'll try the speaker close to the wall and see if I want to bother with the tube trap. Peter is more concerned with time start-stop anomolies than minor frequency anomolies which is why otherwise very flat measuring speakers i have heard don't sound cohesive. To my ear he's correct.

I am planning to go to the CES in January where he will set-up one of his upper rigs if not the best one so one can hear it in action. I intend to listen to spendor as a a gu8y whio loves AN also seems to like them, I also want to listen to ATC, Harbeth, Elac, VS among some others. Hotels are pricey over that weekend though.

Jimmy C
07-13-2005, 05:18 PM
Yes the Snells were not meant for near walls - Peter changed the port tuning etc but the K was a sealed cabinet so I figure it would work better.

I think I'll try the speaker close to the wall and see if I want to bother with the tube trap. Peter is more concerned with time start-stop anomolies than minor frequency anomolies which is why otherwise very flat measuring speakers i have heard don't sound cohesive. To my ear he's correct.

I am planning to go to the CES in January where he will set-up one of his upper rigs if not the best one so one can hear it in action. I intend to listen to spendor as a a gu8y whio loves AN also seems to like them, I also want to listen to ATC, Harbeth, Elac, VS among some others. Hotels are pricey over that weekend though.

...that's in Vegas, right? My wife and I were just there, and we stayed at the "Tuscany" on Paradise, right near the strip. About $89/per. Book early. Tell ya the truth, I would RATHER be in a smaller hotel as oppesoed to the theme Hotels.. less traffic - and Vegas now has plenty of that! Again, I'm assuming this is where C.E.S. actually is...

If the show indeed IS there, I wouldn't mind a 3-day jaunt...

Dave -

Yeah, some speakers require corner placement... moreso for the AN/old Boston/Snell shaped-box... without a tri-corner, they fall apart. And, geez, Dave... 10'x10'? That's the worst sized room! Square, as well as being small. Did you try caddy-corner, diagonal placement? Worked wonders in my friend's former house... even with the large-ish Paradigm Monitor 11.

My next upgrade will probably be a tubed integrated for my Revels... audio has been on the back burner as of late. The bank and the home is getting most of my disposable income lately... plus, I hafta save for a cold winter - which I'm sure we will get!

Dang those priorities...

07-13-2005, 05:44 PM
The theme hotels are pretyt cheap -- well Monday to Thuirsday I see $45.00 a night thursday to Sunday they run $180.00 -- yikes. I may go with a friend so we may go to the theme hotel Mon-Thurs and an off the strip hotel over the weekend to save money.

07-13-2005, 08:32 PM

Yes, Ive tried the diagonal placement before when I had my old Ascends. It worked pretty good, It tamed the bright highs that I thought were caused by my cdp. After this I realized the importance of the room. Other than that, it basically just cleaned up the sound a little. Unfortunately I can not do this placement at this time because my room occupies a rather large bed. This also gave the room a weird feeling I didnt like too much. My brother might be moving out soon, so maybe ill have a dedicated room again, hmmm.


Just tell the hotel manager that you have a gambling addiction, im sure theyd give u a free room.

07-13-2005, 09:09 PM
if you listen in the nearfield (provided the speakers are meant to be heard that way) then you should still be fine. If your room is well damped -- carpeted, has lots of STUFF in it such a a bed a soft chair (leather or cloth) and if there is a windo has heavey drapes then room probably won't be a problem.

Bright can be caused by a kind of reflected echoey sound from side walls -- if you have paintings that will help. Foam panels on the first and maybe second reflection points on side walls can help alleviate this.

I suspect a reason, and this is a guess, to why the AN speakers work in such a small room is that you in some ways "enlarge" the room by having the speakers very close or pushed back into the corners.

I have heard and read that corner placement speakers should create less uniform results from room to room and yet the opposite is the case with this brand so they must know something others have missed.

Yeah maybe if I shave my head and tell them my name is Gus Hansen world Champion polker player they'd comp me. a room.