OK, so I finally came home and got to play for a couple of hours with my new toy and thought I would share my first impressions.
Please keep in mind that this is my opinion and I am by no mean an expert or audiophile so my terminology might be very simple. Also I haven't re-calibrated my system yet as my comparison was a direct comparison with the VP150.
First of all, when I got the VP150 about 1 1/2 month ago, I posted on another thread that I found it OK for movies but not too good for concerts. The voice of the singers were "thin" and seemed that they were singing from a further distance. Also the speaker didn't "spread" wide enough and the voices were localized just on the center of my TV. Also, the upper mid bass from a bass guitar was almost disappearing. For this reason, I used to watch concerts just with my mains.
Let me tell you, everything that disappointed me on the VP150 is long gone as the VP180 meets and exceeds my expectations. The sound is full, the voices spread wide and the bass guitar is finally back. What really impressed me was when I set the VP180 to full range. Maybe it's because I don't have a sub yet but WHAO!!!, what a difference even from the VP180 set to small. When at the main listening position, turning on and off the center sounds almost the same when it did not with the VP150. The only difference that I noticed was a difference in sound level, I found the M80s to play a bit louder, maybe being a little bit more "forward", but calibration will probably help at least for the volume level. The vocals spread wide and sound more natural, the singer are right in front of me, the sound stage is just more ..... complete.
For HT, I didn't find the difference so significant, maybe a bit better sound stage, specially when some lower frequencies are sent to the center, and the dialog seemed a bit more natural.
I have to play a bit more with it but these are my first impressions and hope it will help. For me, this speaker is definitely the one to have for people that have M80s, specially for music and is definitely worth the extra $$$. I can now return the VP150 with no doubt in my mind.
Now for the look. YESSSSSSSS !!!! It's big and bulky !!! But if you have the space and are able to convince the wife, go for it.
The magnetic grill is definitely a nice touch and gives the speaker a more modern. Even though I don't put it on, I love it (no holes on the speaker
I was one of the first ones to say that I wasn't a fan of the new drivers. Well at first it looks odd cause I was used to the black and white, but after a couple of hours, I found that the all white looks OK, neither better or worst, just different and I would be fine with either. I think it would have looked better without dust caps all together. What is the main purpose of that anyways?
Now my only problem is that I am a grills off guy and of course, like many, would like my 3 fronts to match. So I am wondering if Axiom will help current customers in any way in this matter, maybe send replacement all-white drivers or if they would give me a good value for my 5 months old M80s, I would replace them once the M80s with all-white drivers and magnetic grills will come out.