18/08/2014 Axis Voicebox Loudspeaker Reborn

Posted by Jason.sexton | Comments Off on Axis Voicebox Loudspeaker Reborn

Len Wallis himself on the re-emergence of a much loved speaker icon…

While working in retail it is not often that we get the opportunity to see how the other half of the industry works, the half responsible for actually creating the products that we then take to market. We have been afforded this opportunity recently as we watched the re-birth of the Axis VoiceBox loudspeakers.

While it is not a household name Axis Loudspeakers have been around since 1992, and has always been the brainchild of designer John Reilly. The brand achieved considerable critical success during the ’90’s, receiving numerous ‘Best Buy’ awards and being named as ‘Manufacturer of the Year’. The product was distributed throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Due to an economic downturn in Asia during the late ‘90’s production of the range was halted in 1997.

In recent years John decided that the time was right to re-launch Axis – but on a more ambitious scale.  This time John’s goal was to produce a world product – something that has not been successfully done by an Australian company since Duntech – again late last century. To this end he has been working with another well-known Australian speaker designer (and former competitor) Brad Serhan. Brad has had a long and illustrious career spanning thirty years designing speakers in Australia. John (who has Australian/Chinese heritage – and who shares his time between the two countries) is manufacturing the product in China. This is one of a growing number of products that is alerting the world to the fact that when done right Chinese factories have the capability to produce product to the very highest of standards – the finish quality on the Axis VoiceBox is second to none!

We have been very fortunate to be able to track the progress of this project – Brad and John have, from time to time, used our facilities to listen to and tweak their new product. It is fascinating to hear the effects that the smallest of changes to cross-over or cabinet design can make to the final result. At times we thought they had absolutely nailed the design, only to have them return with an improved version.

The Axis VoiceBox may not appeal to everyone. It is a small speaker, and as such is not designed to play at extreme volume levels or with thunderous bass. However it is a design that appeals to me. I have always been a fan of good quality bookshelf speakers, reaching back as far as the legendary Rogers LS35A and the Epos ES14. If your interest extends to a speaker with exquisite detail, impeccable tonal characteristics and spooky imaging this may be the product that you are looking for. I find this to be a very engaging speaker, and in many ways reminiscent of another favourite Australia high-end bookshelf speaker, the Duntech DSM15 – which I understand Brad also had a hand in designing.

The Axis VoiceBox will sell in Australia for $2,295/pair. This represents excellent value, and I understand will be below the asking price on overseas markets. I did come across a very complementary review of the earlier version of this speaker where they were selling for $2,500 the pair.

John’s goal of a global speaker may be bearing fruit. While the product is only just now coming to market they have already secured a high profile distributor in the US – Colleen Cardas Imports

– Len Wallis,
August 2014.

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