Well, the day has finally come. The QS8's are up.
I started this love affair 4 years ago with a pair of m22's as mains and a VP150. Last year, the m22's were upgraded to m80's, and the m22's went to the back to act as surrounds. As of yesterday, the m22's are now 'homeless' and the QS8's are up.
Factory outlet ordered on March 5, shipped on March 20 (almost a week ahead of schedule), and delivered on March 22. Talk about fast shipping. Go Fedex. These are the first factory outlet speakers I've ordered from Axiom. Like most, I am very impressed with their quality. To be fair and honest, however, I have found 'the flaw' in one of them. As far as I can tell, one QS8 is perfect. On the second one, one of the rear brackets is slightly (and I mean slightly) crooked. I'm using the stock mounting brackets, and it took just an extra moment of 'fidgeting' to get it to seat properly on the 'T'. No big deal what-so-ever. It's up, it'll come down if/when I eventually move.
After recalibrating my system, my wife and I sat down to put the QS8's through their paces. We started off with a little multichannel SACD music. A Telarc SACD Sampler, to be precise, as this album's tracks are specially picked to show-off multi-channel sound. Some tracks are almost mixed like a movie, with ambient effects in the rears, while other tracks have elements mixed hard into specific channels. I had some reservations about how the QS8's would work with highly directional sound. Very impressive. We immediately noticed that 'enveloping' quality of the QS8's that are so widely praised. The speakers utterly vanished into the space of the room and greatly increased the depth and spaciousness of the performance. One track in particular is recorded in a small club, with the audience mixed to the rear and the performers on the front channels. Magnificent. The ambience of being IN that club was astounding. Rather than two distinct rear channels, the QS8's filled in the middle and it really sounded like we were actually there. So much so that my cat even noticed the difference. No really. Someone drops a glass or a plate in the audience mid-way through the performance. The cat, perched on a chair across the room, perked up his ears and looked at a space between the QS8's when it happened. That's pretty incredible.
Then we put on a DVD. Specifically, Master and Commander. For those that don't know, the opening scene of M&C has a fantastic naval battle, filled with both wall-cracking cannon fire and enormous amounts of rear-channel fill in of ocean, rigging, foot steps, shouts, etc. In a word, it was stunning. I can't really say much that hasn't been said before. The QS8's made the scene feel more real than ever. The creaks of the ship, the wood shattering from cannonballs - all of that was seamlessly painted behind and around us. Somehow there even seemed to be rear-channel depth to the scene. That is, voices shouting right behind the camera angle sounded much closer than the waves crashing against the ship further away. I hadn't really ever noticed that before. Pretty amazing. Zero directionality. Pure envelopment. Fabulous!
My M22's worked pretty well as surrounds, but now I totally understand why Axiom makes QS8's. Different ballgame completely. The M22's are still great speakers, but they are what they are. They're now going to be a second stereo-only system in another room, where they will shine. The sense of scale and the utter dissapearance of the QS8's into the background is incredible. These babies are worth every penny. I can't believe I waited this long to buy them!
Thanks again, Axiom!
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office