Articles

  •  
     
     
     

     

6 Moons Review

see what 6 Moons have said about axis voicebox.

Some Australians would affirm it. The Golden Age of Australian audio design lasted roughly the decade from between the late 1980s through the late ‘90s. Companies like Duntech, ME, Orpheus, Sonique and Richter Acoustics among others (Halcro came to notoriety somewhat later in the very early 2000s) were extremely successful on the home front whilst many made substantial inroads in the global market. Amongst the successes was a small loudspeaker design outfit headed by passionate music lover and musician John Reilly called Axis Loudspeakers. The company offered a comprehensive line-up of superb sounding reasonably priced speakers that met with resounding local success (Australian Loudspeaker Manufacturer of the Year 1996 and the recipient of a front cover with Australian Hi-Fi magazine with the byline "Best design in Oz?") as well as in parts of Asia.

There were stand mounts and floorstanders as well as HTLS, a dedicated home theatre range. The most north-pointing product of the Axis compass then was the decidedly upmarket LS88, a high-end multi-way with beautiful aesthetics. Axis speakers were available via a wide network of Australian retailers and the company made some progress in certain overseas markets. Then, quite suddenly it seemed, Axis Loudspeakers evaporated from the local scene.
As it turns out, the company in fact had only gone dormant whilst Reilly regrouped, established a new factory and engaged a designer to team up with. The new partner is none other than Brad Serhan, one of Australia’s leading lights in loudspeaker design. As a now freelance engineer, Serhan was single-handedly responsible for an astonishing number of designs, from budget to high-end, for a whole swag of Australian audio companies. Serhan’s finely developed craft in conjunction with long-term audiophile and musician Reilly and the latter’s extensive manufacturing and retailing experience make for a killer doppelgänger team. Not to mention the fact that over decades—even as friendly competitors—these two affable gentlemen have evolved heightened listening and speaker tuning skills.

So once again Axis (for short) joins the loudspeaker fray, this time with a seemingly simple mini monitor of very high quality. The new VoiceBox S features a Fountek 50mm/2" true ribbon tweeter supported by a 133mm/5.25" Nomex/paper mid/woofer in a classy and diminutive enclosure measuring 182x195x313mm (WxDxH). A perforated metal grille attached via small magnets serves purely cosmetic purposes and should be removed for critical listening. Axis quotes a frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz +/-2dB (microphone on tweeter axis) and 45Hz to 20kHz +/-3dB (1/3rd-octave pink noise) which is decent low-end extension for a speaker of this size. The other side of the coin is a lowish 83dB sensitivity but mated to a flattish 5Ω impedance.

The speaker’s power rating is 100 watts. Reilly and Serhan are pedantic to the nth-degree when it comes to crossover design. I’ve known them to agonize for many many hours over minute component value changes. Here they’ve come up with a highly refined 18-element electro-acoustic Linkwitz-Riley 4th-order type crossed at 3kHz.

The beautiful round-edged enclosure ports out the rear via a shaped nicely profiled vent (no cheap plastic inserts here) whilst the exemplary multi-coat black piano gloss finish is mirror-like in its polished sheen. The enclosure is strongly built and seemingly well-braced. Knocking on the cabinet sides only serves to illustrate its solidity. A narrow and long metal plate adorns the rear panel inscribed with the Axis logo, the speaker model name and Chinese characters depicting the words Love of Sound. Binding posts are good-quality generic gold-plated types. The cabinets are protected by an easily removed clear plastic skin when delivered in the well-cushioned single box for the pair.

The Chinese characters are also a bold statement about the pride of building high quality kit in China. John oversees his own Chinese factory in Shenzhen and in fact lives there for part of the year whilst also traveling numerous times between Australia and China for shorter stays in between. Being pedantic about quality, John maintains strict control over all aspects of the manufacturing process and the results serve as solid examples of a Chinese factory’s capability to produce world-class products. I asked both John Reilly and Brad Serhan for their independent views on what they were looking to achieve, musically speaking, with their new collaborative design:

click here for full review::