Axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System
This podcast is going on eleven years and one thing that we have heard from the beginning is that there are too many wires required to setup a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater system. Wireless has always been the dream but it's never been good enough. That is until today!
The Axiim Q is a multi-channel wireless HD audio/video system that is WiSA compliant and supports up to 7.1 uncompressed 24bit/96kHz surround sound that is simple to setup and use. And right now you can buy a 5.1 system for $1,500 (7.1 for $2,000). This price will go up after the beta period.
It took fifty minutes to get up and running and that included opening the shipping boxes and removing the packaging. The speakers themselves are beautifully built and have some heft to them. The only cable coming out of the back is a power cable. Once you have the speakers placed you connect the AVR to power and a TV and then begin the setup.
First you connect to wifi and then the system sends a tone to a speaker. You identify which speaker it is and bam! Your system is configured. Then you calibrate your speakers. This is the only place where the system is not ideal. You use your phone's microphone to and point it towards the individual speakers as instructed on screen. It is used to determine distance and levels, no EQ. However, nothing will prevent you from using a third party app to determine EQ and then manually set it. There are even EQ presets and to be honest they sounded pretty good. We really don’t think this is a deal breaker at all.
First let’s talk about wireless before we get into the speakers. We could not see any lag in audio and video. If you didn’t know it you would think you were watching/listening to a wired system. During our testing we turned on the microwave and had a home full of wifi transmissions and did not experience one audio dropout. We didn’t hear one hiss, pop, or click! Dead silent when it was supposed to. We had a true 5.1 audio system in a room that was not setup for any home entertainment! The dream was realized.
Axiim is using the WiSA standard:
WiSA defines a set of attributes for Wireless Speaker and Audio technology that combine to deliver unmatched performance and ease of use for the home theater consumer. WiSA technology transmits 24-bit audio at sample rates up to 96k/second, with robust error recovery for uninterrupted listening enjoyment. With extremely low latency and negligible speaker-to-speaker delay, it offers flawless wired-quality performance and reliability.
WiSA technology operates in the relatively unused 5.2 to 5.8 GHz UNII radio frequency spectrum, reliably transmitting uncompressed HD audio from 2-channel stereo to 7.1 surround, along with system configuration and calibration data. Older wireless technologies, by contrast, operate in the same crowded frequency band used by cordless phones, baby monitors, security monitors, wireless Internet hubs, and microwaves—resulting in interference and poor quality audio.
The WiSA Association was created to provide an interoperability compliance program for speaker brands and manufacturers of CE devices. Consumers purchasing products bearing the WiSA logo can be confident that these products will work together flawlessly in the home theater environment. This level of compliance is especially critical for new and emerging technologies such as wireless audio.
What that means is you can buy an AVR from one company, speakers from another, and a subwoofer from yet another. Right now Klipsch, Definitive Technology, and Martin Logan are selling WiSA compliant speakers in addition to Axiim.
From an audio point of view the speakers performed quite well. Ara’s first Home Theater in a box was a Yamaha that cost $1,000 and had terrible speakers that sounded like they were tin cans. This system costs a little more but it is night and day better quality. The center channel measures just 5.8 x 14.1 x 5.7 in (147 x 358 x 145 mm) but produces audio with depth and clarity, and texture of larger speakers. The system comes with a ten inch sealed subwoofer with a frequency response of 20 - 100 hertz. Our test material for the subwoofer was the final boxing match in Real Steel. When the champion is announced and he jumps into the ring we were able to feel the thump as he lands. The Surrounds provided all kinds of ambiance that made you feel like you were part of the crowd. When the announcer did the intro the echo sounded realistic and added to the experience.
We also tested with Lone Survivor because there are a lot of effects that involve bullets flying overhead. The Q System had no issues with this or any other surround material we threw at it. We soon forgot that there were no wires and concentrated on how great a 5.1 system sounded in our living room. A room that only an hour before had no A/V system in it and had no wiring for speakers! We also listened to some music and we felt that it did a good job here too. A little on the bright side at first and then we adjusted the EQ and it sounded richer and fuller.
Many of our listeners have asked us to recommend wireless solutions for their home theater over the years. We have tested and rejected all but a few and the acceptable solutions still required some speaker wire from an external amp. Not exactly wireless! The Axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System is the first one that delivers on the the promise of a truly wireless system that is simple to install, looks fantastic and sounds great! We hate having to send it back! It would be so easy to bring 5.1 to your master bedroom that we are seriously thinking about buying one!