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#189754 - 12/28/07 03:37 PM My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46PCi
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
So, our basement is getting completely redone so my dad's setup is scattered about upstairs. Why not hook it up all in my room and test it against what I have?

I'm in the process of moving a lot of crap out of my room (haven't really unpacked from college yet)...but when I do, I'll move it all in. Note that this is a small, 11x15 room, so nothing is really going to be pushed to its limit to be loud.

So, to lay out exactly what I'm going to test:

- M22's vs M60's as mains - A/B testing with music and movies
- QS4's vs QS8's as surrounds - testing with movies and music in surround modes
- HSU STF-2 vs SVS 16-46 PCi in movies and music
- Maybe a sound review of the Yamaha RX-V557 vs the HK AVR 247 if people want me to

Everything will have the same interconnects, if that matters.

This will all be run from my RX-V557 with my computer as a source via SPDIF. I have music in FLAC format.

The tests I plan to do are this:

M22's with sub vs M60's with sub
M22's with sub vs M60's without sub
M22's without sub vs M60's without sub

QS4's vs QS8's with surround materials

HSU STF-2 vs SVS 16-46 PCi paired with M22's for music
HSU STF-2 vs SVS 16-46 PCi during a movie with M22's

I'm sure this probably will be interesting to some people...the only matchup I really don't have is the VP100 vs VP150. Unfortunate.

Since this is for the benefit of others (I guess for the fun of it myself, too) I'd like to open it up to people if they want me to test anything specifically before I set this all up and take it down. Let me know if any of you are interested in the HK AVR 247 vs the RX-V557 in terms of sound and I'll see what I can do to cram it in here to do one big test. The testing will be done probably starting tonight through tomorrow.

Of course, everything will be well documented and I'll have lots of pictures!

_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#189755 - 12/28/07 03:42 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46PCi [Re: danmagicman7]
EFalardeau Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 3270
Loc: Laval, Quebec, Canada
This sounds like a great evening ahead! Can't wait to hear a QS4/8 comparison.
_________________________
E = MC2 = ((2M80 + VP180 + 4QS8)/(EP800 + EP500))^(ADA1500 x D2v)
Audiobytes! 2M22! 2VP150!

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#189756 - 12/28/07 03:53 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46PCi [Re: danmagicman7]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Sounds like fun. The sub comparison will be interesting.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#189759 - 12/28/07 05:28 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
chesseroo Online   crying
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4801
Loc: western canada
 Originally Posted By: danmagicman7

So, to lay out exactly what I'm going to test:

- M22's vs M60's as mains - A/B testing with music and movies

Now if you throw the 'blind' and level matched part in there, i'll be very interested to hear/read the outcome.

 Quote:

- QS4's vs QS8's as surrounds - testing with movies and music in surround modes

I somehow doubt you are going to see much difference here at all especially if these are level matched.

 Quote:
- HSU STF-2 vs SVS 16-46 PCi in movies and music

These are always fun.
I recommend you unplug all other speakers when you do the sub switching and really just listen ONLY to the sub sounds.

 Quote:
- Maybe a sound review of the Yamaha RX-V557 vs the HK AVR 247 if people want me to

Ahem...AHEM...hackkk....hackk.
Damn, sorry, just choked on a small bone.

 Quote:
Everything will have the same interconnects, if that matters.

Well you may as well put the details out there anyway eh?
;\)
 Quote:

This will all be run from my RX-V557 with my computer as a source via SPDIF. I have music in FLAC format.

Why not use the original source material?

The tests I plan to do are this:

 Quote:

QS4's vs QS8's with surround materials

Same as the sub tests. Unplug all but the surrounds at some point and give them both a listen switching back and forth.
Hearing only the material the surrounds put out while watching a movie is darned interested and provides a great perspective of the sound material mixed for the surround channels only.

 Quote:
Of course, everything will be well documented and I'll have lots of pictures!

Can never go wrong with pictures.
I love A/B tests.


_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#189775 - 12/28/07 06:32 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: chesseroo]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Chesseroo, thanks for the input. I'll see about getting the HK receiver up here for some listening too. ;\)

I think listening to the M22's vs M60's both matched with a sub would be a great test...it'd be hard to do blind though :)...I'll think about it.

Actually, for the QS8's/QS4's I was planning on actually setting them up on soup cans on my desk and doing A/B testing straight from the receiver by hooking them up as "mains".

I guess I could use original source material...but it's digital..and FLAC is really an exact copy of it...so doubtful that will notice *much* of a difference. Definitely better than plain MP3's anyways.

I do have a DVD-Audio disk I can try too...it's blue man group.

It turns out I could probably have this set up in my room for a while since our basement isn't going to be complete any time soon.


Edit: For level matching...since I have the ability to turn on my "A" Mains or "B" Mains either simultaneously or actually playing together through my Yamaha...I was going see if there was a pink noise SPL difference between the M22's and M60's at different levels. If so, do the switching to get the correct dB difference on the receiver figured out. Does that seem good?
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#189790 - 12/28/07 09:58 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
 Originally Posted By: danmagicman7

Actually, for the QS8's/QS4's I was planning on actually setting them up on soup cans on my desk and doing A/B testing straight from the receiver by hooking them up as "mains".

I guess I could use original source material...but it's digital..and FLAC is really an exact copy of it...so doubtful that will notice *much* of a difference. Definitely better than plain MP3's anyways.

Edit: For level matching...since I have the ability to turn on my "A" Mains or "B" Mains either simultaneously or actually playing together through my Yamaha...I was going see if there was a pink noise SPL difference between the M22's and M60's at different levels. If so, do the switching to get the correct dB difference on the receiver figured out. Does that seem good?


I like the idea of using the QS's as mains for a comparison, certainly makes it easier to ensure full osund output through them. Maybe try them as surrounds a swell to see which you prefer as a surround.

FLAC is not an exact copy, only an copy of the disc in waveform would be an exact copy, but FLAC does appear to be a nearly identical copy.

And yes there is a difference in SPL output from M22s to M60s by about 2db so you will need to make that adjustment. The extra bass from the M60s makes the difference. Mojo and I did a comparison back in late October(?) between the M80s, M60s and M22s and we discovered the SPL differences, or was it the M80s by 2db over the rest? Any way you will need to make a slight adjustment of some sort.
_________________________
Jason
-----------------
TTTHHHPPPPPTTTT!

My HT

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#189822 - 12/29/07 07:07 AM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
DaveG Offline
aficionado

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 868
Loc: WI
I'm looking forward to seeing your test results.
_________________________
Dave

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#189882 - 12/29/07 04:11 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
zhimbo Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 138
Loc: Hanover, New Hampshire
 Quote:
FLAC is not an exact copy,


The "L" in FLAC stands for "Lossless". It's 100% identical to the original when played (just not when stored).


Edited by zhimbo (12/29/07 04:11 PM)

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#189894 - 12/29/07 06:03 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
 Originally Posted By: jakewash
FLAC is not an exact copy, only an copy of the disc in waveform would be an exact copy, but FLAC does appear to be a nearly identical copy.


FLAC is like a zipped wave file that can be played. If you zip (compress) a file, then unzip(uncompress) it, it's the same file as the original, same with FLAC. FLAC can just be played with the "unzipping" done on-the-fly.
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#189900 - 12/29/07 09:31 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3292
Dan,

This sounds like a lot of work but I know many of us will look forward to reading your impressions.

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#189967 - 12/30/07 01:50 AM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: zhimbo]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
 Originally Posted By: zhimbo
 Quote:
FLAC is not an exact copy,


The "L" in FLAC stands for "Lossless". It's 100% identical to the original when played (just not when stored).


I always thought it was lossy, learned something new. Guess I should have resesarched it before sticking my foot in my mouth

Dan how goes the testing?
_________________________
Jason
-----------------
TTTHHHPPPPPTTTT!

My HT

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#190043 - 12/30/07 05:14 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
It's coming along. I'm still getting everything set up :).

Currently, the entire family is taking an afternoon nap. I guess I'll have to wake them up for dinner. ;\)
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190044 - 12/30/07 05:17 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Depth charge scene from U-571 would work well or Master and Commander!
_________________________
Jason
-----------------
TTTHHHPPPPPTTTT!

My HT

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#190047 - 12/30/07 05:30 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
You guys are going to love the stands I...uh...created. I think I'll be giving mapleshade a run for their money. \:D
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190065 - 12/30/07 06:30 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Quit posting and get busy on that review \:D
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#190073 - 12/30/07 06:52 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Wid]
nitrojiber Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 27
Loc: GA
Come on... I am dying to hear your review!

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#190079 - 12/30/07 07:37 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: nitrojiber]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Subs = Calibrated
Mains = Completely level tweeter level and dB setting
Receivers = Both Set up

QS's will be set up and listened to later

We are GO for testing \:\)

I'll do a lot more tomorrow when people are out of the house and the music and room can really roar.

I did some pre-testing and am a little surprised by the results - I couldn't resist.

I would post pictures...but that's half the fun of the review \:\)
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190136 - 12/31/07 03:48 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Here's an update:

Receiver vs. Receiver comparison is done. I just did music testing, but also have a lot of gripes/complaints of the benefits offered by one not offered by the other...etc.

M22/M60 music comparison is getting there.

HSU/SVS music comparison is getting there...it's pretty decisive towards one or the other at this point, but I'm holding out for the other sub. It looks like I'm going to have to do another comparison in the basement to test how they sound in a bigger room with different...characteristics. That's all I'll say now.

QS4/QS8 isn't done at all...I'm only going to test these with music I've decided in an A/B comparison. It isn't worth it throwing the QS4's up on the wall, then the QS8's up against the wall, since only the woofer is different. If anyone has any complaints, let me know and I'll see what I can do to accommodate.
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190143 - 12/31/07 04:21 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
chesseroo Online   crying
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4801
Loc: western canada
 Originally Posted By: danmagicman7
Here's an update:

Receiver vs. Receiver comparison is done. I just did music testing, but also have a lot of gripes/complaints of the benefits offered by one not offered by the other...etc.

M22/M60 music comparison is getting there.

HSU/SVS music comparison is getting there...it's pretty decisive towards one or the other at this point, but I'm holding out for the other sub. It looks like I'm going to have to do another comparison in the basement to test how they sound in a bigger room with different...characteristics. That's all I'll say now.

QS4/QS8 isn't done at all...I'm only going to test these with music I've decided in an A/B comparison. It isn't worth it throwing the QS4's up on the wall, then the QS8's up against the wall, since only the woofer is different. If anyone has any complaints, let me know and I'll see what I can do to accommodate.


It really takes quite awhile to do it all doesn't it?
Listening fatigue while testing sets in awfully fast.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#190252 - 01/01/08 05:36 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: chesseroo]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Pictures



The oh-so-glorious wall of speakers. Notice the milk crate stands :-) I put lots of books and stuff (look closely) under the milk crate stands so that the weight of the speaker was mostly resting on the books to minimize vibrations. I did testing without the milk crates and noticed no acoustical differences other than the height of the sound. It really was necessary for me to get the M22's and M60's completely level.

Lots of equipment in the room...notice the headphones!




In this corner, an M60 powered by Sony IEM's and an M22 powered by Sennheiser HD 25-1 II's




In this corner, an M22 powered by Sennheiser HD 595's and an M60 powered by Etymotic ER6i IEM's.




HSU STF-2 and SVS 16-46 PCi unpeacefully coexisting.




The listening room.




QS4's and QS8's mounted atop Chunky soup cans. Mmm...chunky.

It's taking me a long time to write up everything so...hold your horses...it's coming.
_________________________

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190253 - 01/01/08 05:39 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Teaser \:D
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#190256 - 01/01/08 06:24 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Wid]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7400
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Geez, c'mon Dan!!!

We're waiting. . .(impatient sigh) ;\)
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#190257 - 01/01/08 06:26 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: St_PatGuy]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11171
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
He's trying to be a master of suspense, but that just makes me imagine him in suspenders while he types up his comparison.

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#190258 - 01/01/08 06:34 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: St_PatGuy]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Ok...Ok...Here's half the review :-)



Yamaha RX-V557 vs. HK AVR 247

So, it's been said that Yamaha's are a more "neutral" sound and the HK's are a more "warm" sound. Let's test that assumption.

How I tested this is I literally unplugged the banana clips from the back of the yamaha then plugged them into the HK. I thought about connecting both the yamaha and the HK to both of the binding posts on the M60, but I didn't want to blow anything up, so I didn't.

To test the claim of the Yamaha's being more "bright" and forward and the HK being more "warm" and laid back...I picked some source material that I noted to sound pretty bright on my axioms. I switched back and forth and back and forth and back and forth between the HK and the Yamaha. The chips, voices, and high end sounds sounded just as "bright" on both of the receivers. I sat and listened for specific low and high sounds, tried to memorize them, then went back and listened to them again on the other receiver. I could hear no difference. I really was trying hard to listen for differences in "brightness" or "warmness" or what have you, but I found none.

On a non-sound basis, since the HK had an OSD function for it's menu system, they decided to completely neglect the ability to adjust any setting via the display on the front of the receiver. With my yamaha, I can change anything through the little screen on the front with relative ease. With the HK, not so. In comparison to the Yamaha, I found the general use of the HK to be much more confusing, especially when it came to sound field programs.

One thing I found on the HK that really set it off for me was that the "tone" controls are turned ON by default. There were some subwoofer settings and sound field settings that I couldn't change, and in frustration I went to the manual only to find I needed to turn the tone controls off. When I switched the tone controls on and off, I noticed that there was a huge improvement in sound quality when the tone control was turned off, even when the tone controls were set to 0db for treble in bass when the tone control was on. Yamaha will automatically bypass the tone circuitry when you set the bass and treble to 0db (you can actually hear it make an internal "click" when this happens). In addition, there isn't a huge difference in the sound quality when the tone control is on for the Yamaha. So Harmon Kardon, for that, you get a big slap on the wrist. Bad.

In general, Yamaha, in my opinion, had more superior sound field programs, and it was much more "clear" what you were doing (even from the tiny screen on front) than with the HK. My opinion. So, I'm glad I got my Yamaha. The only thing HK has a one-up on the Yamaha is the ability to set individual crossover settings for speakers. That's really it. Oh, yea, Yamaha has an included A/B switcher for main speakers too. Without that, I couldn't have done this review.

Ok, enough with the receivers. The sound was really the same.

HSU STF-2 vs. SVS 16-46 PCi

Music Sub Performance

Let me point out a big difference between the HSU STF-2 and the SVS 16-46 PCi (besides the fact that one is a box with a 10” woofer and the other is a towering cylinder with a 12” woofer) – the HSU has a woofer that directly throws sound waves into the floor while the SVS has a wood base that the woofer encounters first before hitting the ground. With my room, at least, that means the wooden floor vibrates a whole lot more with the HSU than the SVS. Because lots of homes have wooden floors on the first level, I decided to disregard this facet since I’m reviewing the sound of the sub, with all of its characteristics. To follow up, I’ll do a review in my basement about a month from now.

To start off, I’d like to say that neither the SVS nor the HSU was a slouch with music. Both sounded great. So, when I’m saying one has “more” than the other, it’s by a small margin. Either would definitely not disappoint in a setup. However…one had a definite edge when it came to music.

First, I tested out some bass-heavy rap/R&B/rock music. To boot, this was a remix version of a rap/R&B/rock album. That means lots of funky deep bass electronic keyboard sounds that sound...to me..."yummy" when they are reproduced just right. In addition, there is plenty of tap-your-foot “kick” factor that the beats have, so perfect testing material for a sub.

The STF-2 gave me the room-shaking bass I have been accustomed to for two years on these tracks. I knew all the deep bass grooves inside and out, and the yummy, funky electronic sounds sounded yummy indeed.

The 16-46 PCi lacked the kick and yummy texture that the STF-2 provided by a hair. There was just a little something that was missing. Since the whole floor shakes with the STF-2, I sat on my bed Indian style to take the “thump” factor out of the equation. The SVS still just didn’t sound as fun and punchy as the HSU did. In the beginning I calibrated the subs so they were the exact same SPL, and even then I found that I was turning the receiver subwoofer volume way up with the SVS to try to achieve the same “punchiness” as the HSU. However, once I got to a volume that I liked that almost achieved the same “punch”, I noticed that there was waaay too much bass going through the air. My ears felt that the SVS was turned up way too high.

I double checked the SPL readings between the two subs, and found they were still the same, so this confirms the “punchiness” wasn’t related to a volume difference.

To make sure this wasn’t a placement issue, I switched the sub positions. The 16-46 PCi sounded a hair better in its new spot, but the HSU sounded even better in its new location! So, it was obvious to me that the HSU had an edge.

Throughout my testing of other types of music, acoustical, rock, and alternative, the two subs were much closer in performance, but to my ears the HSU was still better. In the many breaks I took over the 3 days of testing, when I came back into the room for a listening session I completely forgot what sub was hooked up. There were times when I thought to myself “something is wrong with the bass, it doesn’t sound as good” then I’d look over, notice the 16-46 PCi was hooked up, then switch to the STF-2. The STF-2 just sounded more textured and blended better with either the M22’s or M60’s.

The one thing that the 16-46 PCi did do very well was the kick drum. On one song there was a kick drum beat that really shook the room with the SVS. While the 16-46i had more “impact” to the kick drum because of its low bass response, the STF-2 wasn’t far behind.

While on the note of low bass response, if you listen to pipe organ music, the 16-46 PCi would probably pull the STF-2’s pants down, but I don’t know anyone who listens to pipe organ music on a regular basis, so if you listen to normal music(sorry pipe organ music fans) I’d say the STF-2 is much more enjoyable.

You could say that I am biased because I have had the STF-2 for two years, and I’m used to that sound. However, I feel that if the 16-46 PCi sounded better I would have thought it did. In fact…the movie section shows my lack of bias, I guess.

So, in conclusion, I found the HSU STF-2 to be more textured, punchy, and fun to listen to than the SVS 16-46 PCi. I felt that the 16-46 PCi took more of a “back seat” approach to the bass. While it didn’t feel like anything was lacking when listened to alone, the STF-2 had much better punch than the 16-46 PCi did, even though the 16-46 PCi had a deeper bass response. In non bass-heavy music this difference is not as noticeable, but when bass heavy music comes out, the STF-2 really shines and calls attention to the bass line of a song without being overpowering. I was impressed with this little sub compared to a much bigger competitor.

Movie Sub Performance
Again, you all know I’ve had the STF-2 for a long time, yada yada, whatever.

This comparison was over quick. To say it eloquently, the 16-46 PCi pretty much pulled the pants down of the STF-2 and really made it feel “small.” The deep bass response really made a difference.

I only watched one movie – Star Wars: Episode I (Horrible screenplay, great bass sounds) – and that was plenty to make my comparison.

In a word, the 16-46 PCi was awesome. Explosions felt loud and were loud. While the same was true for the STF-2, it just couldn’t keep up with the deep bass response that the 16-46 PCi had. Even in quiet scenes, I was surprised with the amount of bass material I was missing out on.

For example, when the two Jedi first go looking for the underwater city that looks like spheres (I don’t know what it’s called) there is a ton of low, rumbly, swimming underwater sounds that really get cut out when I was listening to the STF-2. The room wasn’t really shaking with the STF-2 on, but when the 16-46 PCi I was surprised with all the subtle deep bass sounds I heard and felt – even in the “quiet” underwater scene.

I was surprised how the lightsabers sounded better with the 16-46 PCi too. Listening to the low sounds they made really showed a difference between the STF-2 and the 16-46 PCi. They just sounded cooler with the 16-46 PCi.

The Podrace scene was another defining moment for the 16-46 PCi. Everything just sounded throatier with the deep engine sounds shaking the entire room.

At this point in the movie I got tired of unplugging the subs and switching back and forth, so I just plugged in both and enjoyed the rest of the movie in awesome subwoofer bliss.

So, in conclusion…it was very clear. While the HSU STF-2 didn’t suck by any means for a movie, the SVS 16-46 PCi just blew it away with the low bass response. There’s a ton of sounds that I was hearing that I didn’t know existed when the 16-46 PCi was roaring. Enough said.

This is probably a lopsided review because the SVS 16-46 PCi ($649) is almost TWICE as expensive as the HSU STF-2 ($349). But it goes to show how HSU subs are just awesome for music. I’d be interested in pitting a comparable model from HSU (Like a VTF-3 MK 3) up against the SVS.


Edit: I did forget to mention that I did listen to the subs with all the speakers off. For normal music, the STF-2 was shaking and vibrating many more things around it in the room. The 16-46 PCi bass sounded a tad "cleaner". But...what really matters is what happens when the speakers are on.



Edited by danmagicman7 (01/01/08 06:47 PM)
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190259 - 01/01/08 06:50 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7400
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Very good, Dan! Appreciate the time and effort you've put into this. I await your impressions of the speakers.
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#190260 - 01/01/08 06:59 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: St_PatGuy]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Very nice job indeed.
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"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#190279 - 01/01/08 07:36 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Wid]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17755
Loc: NoVA
Excellent review. Much appreciated!

I'm really looking forward to your QS4/QS8 comparison.

I'll also have to check my H/K manual to see if I can bypass the tone controls...
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#190284 - 01/01/08 07:56 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Ken.C]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Excellent review. Much appreciated!

I'm really looking forward to your QS4/QS8 comparison.

I'll also have to check my H/K manual to see if I can bypass the tone controls...


TONE OUT means you are bypassing them. TONE IN means the HK has its own tone controls. If you are using the HK for video, it shows up quite often when you change sound field programs - I think.
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190290 - 01/01/08 08:24 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Here it is...enjoy


M22 vs. M60 – Overall Musical Impressions with Sub

The first thing I noticed when I A/B’d between the M22’s and M60’s was the different soundstage and imaging characteristics.

The M22’s sounded up front with clear, accurate imaging right in front of me. At times it felt like the singer was sitting right in front of me on my desk with the M22’s. The soundstage was very upfront and close.

The M60’s were very..very different. When I first heard them I actually thought they were out of phase for a second. While they presented a soundstage, it was much…much more “open” than the M22’s. Things seemed to float outside and above the speakers, but there wasn’t really any precise imaging as heard with the M22’s. With the M22’s it was like, bam, that sound is coming from there. With the M60’s it wasn’t as sharp as that.

If I were to compare the imaging of the M22’s and the M60’s, the M22’s would be a slightly fuzzy laser pointer, and the M60’s would be a tight flashlight beam – that’s how different they were.

While the M22’s and M60’s definitely sounded similar, perhaps the individualistic qualities that came out were very related to the soundfield and imaging, I thought.

In comparison the the M60’s, the M22’s sounded thin, yet precise and pure. In comparison to the M22’s, the M60’s sounded full, warm, and bigger.

When switching from the M22’s to the M60’s, I appreciated the warmer, fuller sound, but quickly missed the clarity and upfront imaging that the M22’s gave. When switching from the M60’s to the M22’s, I appreciated the clarity and emphasis on the vocals, but missed the full sound of the lower bass instruments.

So, let’s do a top-down comparison of the tonal qualities of the speakers, putting aside any imaging or soundstage elements.

High end: The M60’s had a tad less “bite” when it came to the high end, but were still very similar to the M22’s. Since it was the same tweeter, not much differed here.

High midrange: The M22’s are definitely more “bright”. Not harsh, but brighter sounding. The M60’s, being more laid back, put less emphasis on vocals and instruments in the high midrange area. During some tracks, I picked up some new sounds I hadn’t heard before with the M22’s. When I switched to the M60’s, I could still hear those sounds, but I had to strain a little more to hear them.

Bass (Low midrange): This is where the M22’s don’t sound as full as the M60’s. Surprisingly, when I switched to some tracks and listened for the bass on the M22’s, some of the bass guitar sounds sounded a hair more textured and tight than the M60’s, but still lacked the full sound. A good example of some low midrange stuff I was missing out on with the M22’s was a cello (or viola, I wasn’t sure) amongst acoustical guitars, piano, and violins. With the M60’s, I could really hear the euphoric depth and warmness of the cello, however with the M22’s some of that was lost.

In light of the M22’s missing much of the low end, to my ears the pure clarity and imaging was a much better tradeoff. With the pairing of a sub, the M22’s by no means had an anemic bass response and do not sound empty or bass-deprived.

With rock music, the M60’s definitely rock harder and sound fuller, but I miss the clarity that the M22’s give the vocals and instruments when listening to the M60’s. So, it’s really a tradeoff of what you like.

For lots of music, the lack of the upfront soundstage of the M60’s compared to the M22’s makes a big difference between these speakers for me. When listening to an amazing acapella song sung by one of my favorite rock bands (great vocal singers), the M22’s pinpointed and effortlessly presented the vocalists in front of me, while the M60’s struggled to present it with the same purity and accuracy that the M22’s did.

So, here are my matchups with and without sub for music listening:

M22’s vs. M60’s (no sub). M60’s are a clear winner here. The bass is definitely a huge plus and the reason for getting the M60’s.

M22’s with sub vs. M60’s. M22’s with the sub were the winner for me. While the M60’s sounded a bit more “full”, but they don’t have the impact that the M22’s have with a good subwoofer.

M22’s with sub vs. M60’s with sub. M22’s with sub are my personal choice. For music, if I were to upgrade, I would upgrade to the M80’s for the clarity they give.

M22 vs. M60 – Overall Theatrical Impressions with Sub
M60’s hands down. They just sounded lusher, bigger and more “theatrical” from the bigger full range sound. Compared to the M60’s, the M22’s sounded smaller for a movie.

QS4’s vs. QS8’s
This one was over quick.
I did a direct A/B comparison between the QS4’s and QS8’s playing as “mains” in stereo with no sub on. First, I turned on the QS8’s, which sounded great. Then, I turned on the QS4’s.

They were much quieter. That surprised me. So, I turned up the volume so they were close to what the QS8’s were playing at. To get to that point, they started to sound strained to produce that sound.

That was disappointing. Whatever I did, they just sounded strained and weaker than the QS8’s. I thought there would be a difference, but not such a big one as that. I really couldn’t believe it.

Could it be that since the QS8’s use the same 5.25” woofer as almost all the other speakers in the Axiom lineup, the QS4’s 4 incher got neglected? I was thinking some sort of tonality change would be present, but there is a serious difference between the QS8 and the QS4. The QS4’s are by no means a crappy speaker they perform their quadpolar surround duties well in my experiences, but compared to the QS8’s…they…well…don’t really compare, especially for direct “non surround” sounds.

My reason for buying the QS4’s is that they are small and more easily transportable, which I doubt is reasoning for many other buyers. For such a small difference in price (~$100), I would have a very hard time recommending the QS4 to any buyer, as sad as I am to say it. Were my QS4’s part of a bad batch or something? Who knows. They were just not up to snuff as the QS8’s. I’d like to give a little recommendation to Axiom to perhaps...look over the 4” woofer again or at least the QS4.

For curiosity’s sake, I did a direct comparison between the QS8’s and M22’s…

QS8’s vs. M22’s
Surprisingly, the QS8 and M22 almost sounded exactly the same. Exact same tonal and sound signature. The QS8’s had a little more high end (two tweeters), less low end, and a diffuse sound. The QS8’s actually sounded pretty good as mains!

Now…where is that tradeup link…
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190292 - 01/01/08 08:39 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17755
Loc: NoVA
Thanks, Dan. Thanks a bunch. Grr... ;\)

But seriously, I'm glad that someone validated what I've been thinking I've been hearing. Fortunately, due to the position of my QS4s, I don't have the option to go to QS8s. Fortunately, I guess...
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#190293 - 01/01/08 08:40 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11171
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Thanks for taking the time to do the comparison, Dan. It's always nice hearing people's impressions of the differences between the speakers in the Axiom lineup.

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#190295 - 01/01/08 08:45 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Thanks for the review and I agree, when the time comes, go for the M80s. I came to pretty much the same conclusions between the M22 and M60 and ended up with the M80s a near perfect blend of the M22s mid and upper claritya nd the lower end of the M60s.

Now for some fun, hook up the M22s in parrallel wit the M60s(dubbed the M82) and you should find a new audio nirvana, at least I did until I thought about kids bumping the towering speaker setup and the M22 falling off the top of the M80\:\(. So I sent the M60s back for the M80s with no regrets.


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Jason
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#190317 - 01/01/08 10:59 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5355
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Thanks, Dan. That was really useful.

One interesting question about the surrounds -- how did the levels you were testing at compare to the SPLs you normally get from the surrounds in a typical movie ? I'm wondering if the QS4s might turn out to be just fine as surrounds even though they couldn't handle the SPLs as mains ?

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#190318 - 01/01/08 11:29 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: bridgman]
HomeDad Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
John, I'm using the QS4's as rear surrounds and are very happy with them, I'm sure they would do well as side surrounds also, being that the SPLs don't often get that high for surrounds.
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#190319 - 01/01/08 11:30 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: bridgman]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
 Originally Posted By: jakewash
Now for some fun, hook up the M22s in parrallel wit the M60s(dubbed the M82) and you should find a new audio nirvana, at least I did until I thought about kids bumping the towering speaker setup and the M22 falling off the top of the M80\:\(. So I sent the M60s back for the M80s with no regrets.


I did that jason, it was great. The imaging was a little weird, but the audio quality was awesome, had both the qualities of them, I enjoyed listening to a few songs like that.

 Originally Posted By: bridgman
Thanks, Dan. That was really useful.

One interesting question about the surrounds -- how did the levels you were testing at compare to the SPLs you normally get from the surrounds in a typical movie ? I'm wondering if the QS4s might turn out to be just fine as surrounds even though they couldn't handle the SPLs as mains ?


It really wasn't that loud...maybe 85 dB? It just sound strained compared to the QS8's...maybe not strained in general. They don't sound bad, I guess.
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190320 - 01/02/08 12:14 AM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
thanks for the reviews !!
I just cashed in my $40 gift certificate and traded in my qs4's for qs8's, then i strolled in hear to see what has been going on.

I'v listened to the speakers you reviewed, although not in an A/B setting, and agree with what you have said concerning m22/m60 and qs4/qs8. I also would say most of what you say concerning qs4/qs8 could also be said concerning vp100/vp150.

basically I had m22,vp100,qs4,ep175.
my brother bought m60,vp150.qs8,ep500
after listening to his system I have upgraded to vp150,ep500,and now qs8. I dont have any plans to upgrade m22 to m60(80) at this time.

the ep500 did a fabulous job filling out the m22's, much better than the ep175. yea there is a major price difference \:\)

the vp150 seems to have more authority than the vp100 it replaced. the dialog seems clearer.

I'm happy with my m22's. they will definitely show the difference in recording techniques. good recordings shine while poor recordings of music I always loved leave me short. I cant say what it takes to make a good recording, but i can hear the difference on my m22's.

overall you cant go wrong with axiom. my advice would be to get qs8 and vp 150, if at all possible they well worth the extra money over their little brothers. I've never heard the ep350, but can attest to my love for the ep500. yea it is expensive, but worth it. Dan did a great job on his m22/m60 comparison, and you cant go wrong either way. m22 with ep500 is great

the upgrade program worked good for me earlier this year, and I am giving it another whirl. thanks axiom

rperkins
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Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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#190329 - 01/02/08 02:14 AM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Randy_Perkins]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
 Originally Posted By: Randy_Perkins

I'v listened to the speakers you reviewed, although not in an A/B setting, and agree with what you have said concerning m22/m60 and qs4/qs8. I also would say most of what you say concerning qs4/qs8 could also be said concerning vp100/vp150.

the vp150 seems to have more authority than the vp100 it replaced. the dialog seems clearer.



I A/B'd the VP100 and VP150 and the differences are less than you make them out to be when directly compared, at least IMO.

They play at nearly the same SPL and sound nearly identical, with the edge going to the VP150 for a slightly lower FR range. I found the VP100 more desirable for smaller rooms as it played cleaner/clearer at lower volumes, while the VP150 sounded better at higher volumes needed for larger rooms. At this higher volume the 150 started to sound more like the 100.

This is a similar finding to my M60/M80 comparison, in that the M60, when played louder, sounded more like the M80, but the M80 just sounded the same at all volume levels. The M60s opened up and became more airy and detailed while the M80s sound that way all the time.
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#190336 - 01/02/08 07:26 AM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: jakewash]
DaveG Offline
aficionado

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 868
Loc: WI
Thank You for the review, I found your information useful.
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#190409 - 01/03/08 12:21 AM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: DaveG]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Thanks for the positive comments on the review! I really enjoyed doing it.
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190547 - 01/04/08 12:30 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Nachosgrande Offline
local

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 258
Loc: New York
Dan, great job on the review - confirms what I have been suspecting for some time on the M22 vs the M60. I love the combination of clarity from the M22 and enhanced bass from the EP500.

My one suggestion on the Q4 and Q8 is to switch the soup cans from Chunky to a broth. You will get a clearer, more transparent sound, with much less muddiness...as if a veil was lifted over the speakers!
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Epic Grand Master 500 - trying to fit in a VP180!

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#190552 - 01/04/08 12:41 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Nachosgrande]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
 Originally Posted By: Nachosgrande

My one suggestion on the Q4 and Q8 is to switch the soup cans from Chunky to a broth. You will get a clearer, more transparent sound, with much less muddiness...as if a veil was lifted over the speakers!



Haha. Classic. :-)
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#190553 - 01/04/08 01:02 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
Hutzal Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 2102
Loc: Hollywood. (Canadian @ <3)
Nachos,

I disagree with your broth recommendation. The Chunky quality's of the soup are what tone down resonant frequencies coming from the speakers. The chunkyness will absorb frequencies rather than enhance them (as there are no chunks in broth to absorb frequencies).

I have not a/b'd my suspicions, but nonetheless think they are correct \:\)
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#190562 - 01/04/08 03:00 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Hutzal]
Nachosgrande Offline
local

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 258
Loc: New York
Hutzal,

You may have something there. My only concern would be colorations introduced to the sound via the chunks of beef and beans...
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Epic Grand Master 500 - trying to fit in a VP180!

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#190570 - 01/04/08 05:07 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Nachosgrande]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3292
Dan,

Wonderful reviews. Thank you. You've done a particularly good service for many that wonder about the differences between the different QS models.

I also agree with your comments on the 60s vs. 22s. And the 80s really are a wonderful blend of the best that the 60s and 22s have to offer.

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#201541 - 03/23/08 12:58 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: Mojo]
myrison Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 1898
Loc: Austin, TX
I realize I'm quite late to this party, but I wanted to echo my own thanks for the reviews. Very good information hidden in this post amidst the (also incredibly valuable) recommendations for which type of soup can will work best for an A/B test. ;\)
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Epic 80-800: HG Cherry | HT Pics

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#201668 - 03/24/08 01:50 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: myrison]
vassillios Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 597
Loc: Warrenton, VA
Dan,

My only problem with the review of the QS8's vs. the 4's is that you were not testing them for their intended purpose. The surround signals are not going to provide the same levels or frequencies that the main channels provide, hence the QS8's will be able to reveal "more" than the 4's.

I would be interested in a test that used them in their intended purpose.

Having said that, I really enjoyed the rest of your testing.
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Made on a Mac

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#201672 - 03/24/08 01:53 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: danmagicman7]
vassillios Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 597
Loc: Warrenton, VA
 Originally Posted By: danmagicman7
 Originally Posted By: Nachosgrande

My one suggestion on the Q4 and Q8 is to switch the soup cans from Chunky to a broth. You will get a clearer, more transparent sound, with much less muddiness...as if a veil was lifted over the speakers!



Haha. Classic. :-)


I think that the "Organics" can would provide a much more "organic" un-colored, non-hormone sound sound that the Campbell can.
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Made on a Mac

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#201688 - 03/24/08 02:59 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: vassillios]
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Hi,

Also very late to this party. Dan absolutely nailed the differences in the M22s' upper midrange tonal balance vs. the M60s'. Great comparisons.

When I'm up in Canada visiting, I've found that substituting the Habitant brand of pea-soup cans for chunky or any other brand adds a certain "Je ne sais quoi" quality to the QS8s' tonal balance. . .

Alan
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Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#201699 - 03/24/08 04:52 PM Re: My review: QS4vsQS8 + M22vsM60 + STF-2vs16-46P [Re: alan]
DaveG Offline
aficionado

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 868
Loc: WI
Dan, nice review thanks.
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Dave

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