This week at CES we got to sit down with some of the team from Axiim. They had their recently announced Link on hand, along with all of their new wireless speakers…and of course the 4k Q media center.
Axiim makes a home theater audio system that takes all of the hassle, and all of the wires, out of the process of setting up a surround sound speaker system. We reviewed their first Q Media Center along with a 5.1 arrangement of their XM speakers about a year ago. The Q is a very small audio video receiver with six HDMI inputs. It communicates completely wirelessly with the subwoofer and satellite speakers. Each speaker in the system has an internal amplifier, so you just plug them into a nearby power outlet and you’re good to go—it doesn’t require the headache of running speaker wire to every speaker.
Axiim was pleased to confirm that the 4k Q and the new WM line (their premium line) of speakers are now shipping to those who pre-ordered. When we mentioned that one of our biggest gripes with the first generation product was the remote control, they had some good news to share about the new version. The remote with the 4k Q uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) now. They’ve also put a dedicated BLE chip into the 4k Q. These two upgrades will combine to greatly increase battery life and reliability while decreasing latency for the remote.
The Axiim Link is a unique new device that they are still working on. It works like an audio/video receiver, but instead of having a few HDMI inputs, it just connects directly to an Xbox One or Windows 10 PC via USB. The Link then sends audio from the Xbox or PC to Axiim’s (or any other company’s) WiSA-certified speakers wirelessly.
The Link will be launching at the same time as their new entry-level line of speakers from Axiim. This new line, designated with LX branding, uses slightly small speakers and amplifiers. To give new customers a quick-start solution, they will be offering a bundle that includes the Link and enough speakers for a 2.1 arrangement. The system can be easily expanded with additional speakers. The Link, like the Q, supports up to 7.1 speaker pass through. While they wouldn’t dive fully into the topic of pricing, the Axxim team did say that a Link bundle with a 5.1 speaker arrangement would retail for less than $1000.
When we first reviewed the Q, our biggest concerns were lack of support for 4k UHD and HDR content and the inability to support immersive audio formats like Atmos. With the Axiim 4k Q they’ve already solved the first set of problems. We couldn’t get Axiim to confirm that they will eventually support Atmos, but another vendor was showing an upward-firing Atmos speaker designed by Axiim. It seems safe to assume that it’s at least something they are investigating.
Axiim’s high-end WM line of speakers and the 4k Q media center are shipping currently. The Link and LX line of speakers should be hitting the market in the third quarter of 2018. For more details and pictures of the three series of speakers, take a look at the Axiim CES Press Brief (PDF).
For more discussion of this product, check out the latest episode of the Entertainment 2.0 podcast. We covered this, and many other new announcements, in our weekly entertainment technology show.