New Gear: Axiom VP160 Center Channel

Designed specifically as a companion to the M60 floorstanders we looked at a year ago, Axiom's new VP160 Center Channel is a 43-pound behemoth aimed at solidifying the reproduction of speech and anything else that might be in the center channel of your preferred home-theater content. Using the same drivers - a pair of 6-inch woofers, a 5.25 midrange unit, and a 1-inch tweeter - as the M60, though in a slightly different layout and flanked by a pair of Axiom's corrugated "vortex" ports. The midrange driver and tweeter are placed at center, at an angle to the woofers. Power handling (and indeed all specs) as well as finish offerings are on par with those of its floorstanding cousin, making for simple integration of the VP160 into your existing Axiom system. Custom options (such as an inverted driver configuration for low placement below a display and an in-cabinet version, as well as finish matching to your supplied paint samples) are available at extra cost.

The VP160 costs $570 (tax- and duty-free to the U.S, by the way) and is available direct from Axiom only. Shipping is free within North America, even to Alaska and Hawaii (which you'll appreciate, given the speaker's weight), and the company offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money back guarantee (though you'll have to pick up the return freight).