Build Quality, Assembly and Conclusion
There's nothing like real wood to make your home theater system look like as good as it sounds. The curved front face of the BDI Axis furniture holds the Cognac stain beautifully and my samples came without any noticeable flaws whatsoever. One of the units is pictured here at the right, and I hate to say it, but it actually makes my Axiom speaker's finish look pale in comparison.
The solid curved front is not only a nice design element, but it also provides excellent stability for the unit as a whole and allows several units to achieve a nice unified appearance when placed side by side as I did in my home theater room. Because of the required positioning of my Axiom M80ti speakers, the curved front of the Axis 8022 also works well by providing a smooth, curved edge against which the speaker is firing, allowing for greater dispersion of sound versus something more square or angular in design.
The Shelf System
Having four (4) adjustable shelves is a real blessing as you will be able to customize your rack to meet the varying needs of your system. As an added bonus, the shelf screws can be repositioned at will, allowing you to reconfigure whenever you add or remove essential gear (again, we probably do this more than most, but it's a nice feature.) As each of the four (4) adjustable shelves are capable of supporting 75 pounds each, you'll note that the load bearing screws only need to support about 19 lbs each. I personally think the shelves can hold quite a bit more, but fortunately didn't have to test that theory - yet. Both the bottom shelf and the top shelf can hold up to 150 lbs, due to the fact that they rest not on cushioned screws, but the actual steel frame itself. You won't find many audio components weighing more than 150 pounds, so unless you're putting in a Henry Radio amplifier or a Moon Titan, this weight limit should satisfy all but the most demanding people.
Assembly is a snap. Each unit comes in two main boxes. The first contains the wood front and back plus the steel frame pieces, the other contains the glass. Both boxes are exceptionally well-packaged and come double boxed to prevent even the clumsiest carriers from damaging the furniture.
Only an allen wrench (supplied) is needed to assemble the furniture. The process is simple: connect the four attachment plates to the steel frame, and bolt it to the wood front and back. You'll want to make sure you attach the front loosely, so that you have some flexibility when aligning the steel supports to the back wood piece. Once all the screws are started, tighten away! I found that it took about 20 minutes to assemble each piece. When I completed the assembly for each piece, I found that BDI had included an extra screw of each type. This kind of thoughtful thinking can save you an incredible amount of headache when assembling furniture. Anyone who has done a cheap particle board desk or shelf can probably relate to the all-too-common missing screw or anchor dilemma.
I assembled each piece fully before moving on to the next piece. After attaching the frame to the wood front and back, you'll want to place the furniture upright and install the glass. I'd recommend cleaning the glass first with Windex - you won't get another chance to do so this easily. Make sure the bottom glass shelf is inserted correctly, it should rest directly on the steel frame and may be a bit tighter to put into place than the other shelves. There are two padded guides at the rear of the unit, make sure the glass is resting in front of not on top of these guides. The top glass shelf rests directly on the top of the furniture and should extend approximately 1/2" over the front of the unit. The back of the glass will be flush with the back of the steel frame. The final shelves deliver about 19" of useable space for your components. This is adequate and the open design of the furniture allows you to position gear slightly forward so as to not crowd the rear of your devices. This is how I chose to position my setup, rather than cramming my processor and amplifier to the very back of the shelf and possibly damaging or disconnecting cables in the process.
It's Got Wheels!
Probably one of the handiest things to appear on the BDI Axis line of furniture are the rear wheels which allow the units to be rolled in and out of their positions for those times when you need to get behind them and change out some gear or cables. As a person who is frequently engaged in such activities, this feature is worth its weight in gold.
The wheels themselves are made of a durable nylon-like material and have so far been successful at moving over 175 pounds of gear over berber carpet. The trick is pushing up on the front of the unit to tilt it back, then grabbing underneath the unit and pulling it forward the distance you require to access the rear of the shelves. If you have a lighter load you will most likely be able to pull the unit forward from a standing position.
Once I had everything together I took a look at the provided cable routing accessories. The BDI Axis series provides tie wraps that can be screwed to the rear frame of each unit. This would probably be enough for most users as equipment is not switched out all too often (extra tie wraps are provided for future changes/upgrades). For someone who does a lot of equipment swapping, I opted to enhance the BDI system. Taking simple split loom (Home Depot, Radio Shack, online) I drilled two holes at the back of the plastic housing and anchored the loom using the supplied BDI tie wraps. What I ended up with were two split loom runs down each of the vertical steel frame pieces. I ran my power down the right, and all of my audio cables down the left. This results in a super clean look, while also allowing you the flexibility to remove and re-insert cables as needed. Smaller tie wraps will also come in handy as you bundle up any extra cable lengths that could get in the way. The picture above shows a close-up of this design - what you don't see are the more than 10 cables located inside the two pieces of split loom!
I was pleased with the assembly, flexibility, look and functionality of the Axis furniture. I always try to pick out one thing that a vendor or manufacturer can improve upon, but there's not much to criticize here, other than to complain that I had never heard of BDI before! This is quite simply the finest home theater furniture I have ever utilized. As BDI has 5 additional lines of furniture designs besides the Axis, including their just released Icon Collection, I am confident nearly anyone is going to be able to find something that will work for their tastes and home theater needs. Considering that street prices on the BDI furniture may range from $100 - $150 off list price depending upon where you shop, you are looking at a bargain for quality furniture that is as elegant as it is functional.
Other Styles in the BDI Line of Home Theater Furniture
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor
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