One more tidbit before the main event.
I now know why Axiom doesn’t recommend Yamaha (they do have a Yamaha rack amp in their demo room). According to Tom, Yamaha tends to redesign their amps for every new series. One series, they come out with a great, beefy amp that can handle the 4 ohm loads that the M80s demand, the next... He suggested that if I was set on a Yamaya amp. I should not buy it before it has been reviewed somewhere.
Now on to the Auditioning. First up was the M60 vs M80 (dumb, dumb...). I started with the debut ELP disk I just picked up.
I have read comments from several people here that the difference between the M60 and M80 is subtle but noticeable. I noticed it immediately. It took me a while to characterize it, but it was very definite and, to me, not subtle.
With piano and any of the higher notes on an organ, there was not much difference. I really noticed the it with cymbals. There was much more detail. It was not as obvious with the vocals, but they just sounded a little clearer. The M80s also definately went lower. I really noticed it with the low pipe organ stuff on track 4.
Same with the Dire Straits Live at the BBC. I didn't really notice much difference with the lead guitar, but again, the cymbals really jumped out at me. Its like they separated from the background. The kick drum was quite noticeable as well.
Same again with Peter Gabriel, Security - track 1. The mondo drumming at the end really jumped out.
Don't get me wrong, the M60s sounded very good. The M80s were better.
Next up, M22 +ep 400 sub vs M80. We started the sub of low, turned it lower, and then turned it to minimum.
Though the winner here was very clear, this was an interesting listen. There was a BIG difference between the vocals on the two. With the M22 and sub, the vocals jumped forward (literally) but were not as clear. ELP track 4 was a different story. The bass REALLY opened up with the M22 + sub. Flipping back and forth was cool. Flip to the M80s, the vocals and upper end open up, flip back, the bass really opened up. What a difference!
M80 definitely wins.
Next, M22 + sub vs. M60. This one wasn't so obvious, in fact, I'm not sure which I like better. The vocals did that forward thing with the M22s and there was more bass, but there was something nicer about the overall effect of the M60. Better imaging???
Somewhere in here we swapped in the ep350. As I mentioned in the ep350 V2 vs V3 thread, there was a big difference. The 400, though much smaller, packed a lot more punch.
On to 5.1 music. I wanted to hear the difference for myself. I chose the Straits live because it was recorded in a concert hall so there should be more surround stuff for the processing to pick up.
Debbie: "Now did you want to try the M22 or..." Me: "lets just go with the M80s"
WOW... WOW! Talk about open up!! Its like the stereo speakers just unfolded themselves into a band in concert. They just... opened up. Very cool.
On to Movies. I popped in disk 2 of The Fellowship and went to the mines of Moria. Now, I've never really noticed the surround stuff that much in the theatre, so I was very surprised at what I heard. I stopped for the conversation about Mithril and Gandalf spoke. Holly hand grenades Batman did this room just get a lot bigger? The helmet falling into the well was really cool. Cave troll and ork bashing? No 5.1 no whumping and thumping no oompf. Same with the Balrog. I like this 5.1 thing at home!!
And the Winner is???
Damn you Jason!
See, I'm on to you. Innocently popping up on every thread I happened to be reading with that "you really should listen to the M80s" comment. You've brainwashed me.
Now I can never find true happiness unless I get the M80s...