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In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
#331294 12/13/10 02:41 AM
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cb919 Offline OP
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OK, I finally got around to doing a direct comparison of the two speakers for center channel duties. See this thread that got the whole thing started for me.

I have been happily listening to my in/on wall system for the past ~2 years now. After reading the debate and discussions of horizontal vs. vertical center channels I had to try it for myself in my listening environment.

Starting off I recalibrated my system just to make sure everything was properly level matched and set with my standard in/on wall VP150. I then replaced it with the in/on wall M2 and performed calibration again. I had to bump up the center channel level for the M2 by 3 db which makes sense looking at the specs between the speakers. So, for switching back and forth between speakers I always changed the center channel level to match the speaker being used. Although this has nothing to do with real life listening, I already noted that the pink noise from the receiver for level matching had a much closer 'tonal match' to the left and right channels. Also note that I keep the EQ defeated on my receiver which is personal preference. i tried to keep the comparison as uncoloured as possible.

So, on to the real world then. My wife was interested in this so she actually sat with me and helped me with the comparison.

Music:
I listened to DM and TR at Radio City on Blu-ray. I noted that the the VP150 kept Dave's voice very anchored in the center and had a 'raspier' sound compared to the M2. I found the M2 created a more seamless soundstage with the front L&R channels.

Also listened to Alice in Chains "Your Decision' from the Black Gives Way to Blue album. (Thanks to Riker for introducing me to that album!). Both my wife and myself noted a 'fuller' sound and no noticeable off axis changes. I have one chair that's quite far to the right side of the room so my wife and I took turns between that seat and the sweet spot in the center. Again the VP150 sounded thinner and definitely did not fare as well in the bad chair.

Ok, M2 is winning so far, now on to movies.

We used the new Star Trek movie on Blu-Ray to evaluate any changes in dialogue between the two speakers. Started with the intro scene and then also went to the hangar scene where they are boarding the shuttles from Star Fleet Academy to go to their assigned ships.

In both cases we again noted that the dialogue was more intelligible from the M2 in both seating positions, although it was a larger difference again in the bad chair. Two particular things stood out however.

First, the horns that play during the opening Paramount scene as the scene fades into the space action - this had a far more natural and impactful sound with the M2 over the VP150. There's also a part where a woman gets sucked into space through a hull breach - just before she gets sucked out she screams amid the rest of the explosions that are happening. My wife turned to me and said she hadn't noted the scream with the VP but heard it with the M2. I heard it both times but I would agree it was clearer with the M2.

So, to sum it up, the VP150 is not bad by any means, but compared back to back with the M2 in my room with my equipment the M2 is clearly preferred.

I think this is a record long post for me!


Dan
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1
Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
cb919 #331298 12/13/10 03:19 AM
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Very interesting report Dan, and not very surprising in light of the design problems that horizontally configured speakers face. If otherwise of similar overall capability, a vertical speaker would exhibit an advantage.


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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.


Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
JohnK #331301 12/13/10 03:57 AM
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Nice review Dan, thanks for taking the time to do the testing and report. smile
Sounds oddly similar to my M2/VP150/VP180 findings. wink

So Dan, are you going to be swapping out the IOW VP150 for a permanent IOW M2 center in light of your findings?


Jason
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Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
jakewash #331326 12/13/10 03:17 PM
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cb919 Offline OP
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Jason, yup my findings were similar. I read your thread and comparison with great interest. Unfortunately a VP180 is just not in the cards for me.

I have been running the M2 for the last week ever since it was delivered, but did not get down to the back to back comparison until last night. There were a lot of subtle differences I did not mention to try and keep my 1st post readable. Specifically I did not bias my wife one way or the other, so I was pleased when we both had very similar opinions on the 2 speakers.

Yes, the i/o M2 is staying so now I have to figure out what to do with the i/o VP150. Drywall repairs and painting will be commencing this weekend. Actually that may motivate me to finish off the trim and closet doors in my HT as well! whistle


Dan
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1
Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
cb919 #331330 12/13/10 03:56 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to do and write up your comparison. Your findings match my comparison of the M2, M22 and M80 with a standard VP150. I think you said it best here:

Quote:

this had a far more natural and impactful sound with the M2 over the VP150.



3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1
Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
cb919 #331331 12/13/10 04:15 PM
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Excellent post and one that continually verifies the findings that I have experienced with different horizontal center channels over the years in comparison to a regular vertically oriented speaker in that position. It just seems no matter how you slice it, voices just seem more natural with the vertically oriented box. Regardless of any advertising claims, it didn't matter how much money one spent either. I have a $1000 Totem sitting in my basement because it just wouldn't cut it. It is still a small horizontally oriented box with all its limitations.

One thing I have found and Alan Loft has mentioned this in a previous article, is that horizontal centers, including Axioms, are also much more susceptible to timbre changes when the speaker is moved to a different position which can be a real pain when you are trying to get as close a match as possible tonally to your L/R speakers.

In the end, if one wants to still use a horizontal center, usually because of practical space issues, the only way one gets around this problem, is getting a large full-range piece like the VP180 or equivalent OR smaller vertical as described.

I am wondering, for power issues, has anyone tried or have in place TWO M2s for center channel use and how do they sound compared to just one?

Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
jakewash #331333 12/13/10 04:42 PM
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Very nice comparison, Thanks.


Bruno
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"The problem is choice..."
Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
grunt #331334 12/13/10 04:47 PM
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cb919 Offline OP
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Dean, that was probably the most telling part of the whole comparison - the loud brass horn section at the start of the Star Trek movie. Unbelievable how different the speakers sounded on that particular part. Shelley (my wife) actually turned to me and asked how a speaker 1/4 the size of the 150 could sound better. Anyway, I am now a believer in the vertical center channel.

Casey, I think in order to run 2 M2's you'd need to locate them above and below the screen, not side by side or you start creating a horizontal array again. I could be wrong but that seems logical in my head. confused


Dan
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1
Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
cb919 #331335 12/13/10 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: casey01

I am wondering, for power issues, has anyone tried or have in place TWO M2s for center channel use and how do they sound compared to just one?

Fred is I believe using over and under M2s as a center for his M80s.

Originally Posted By: cb919

Dean, that was probably the most telling part of the whole comparison - the loud brass horn section at the start of the Star Trek movie. Unbelievable how different the speakers sounded on that particular part. Shelley (my wife) actually turned to me and asked how a speaker 1/4 the size of the 150 could sound better. Anyway, I am now a believer in the vertical center channel.

Dan I would add that it’s not just any vertical center channel but an Axiom M2 which IMO is simply a fantastic little speaker that compares favorably to the M22 and even the M80 when crossed over to a subwoofer.


3M80 2M22 6QS8 2M2 1EP500 Sony BDP-S590 Panny-7000 Onkyo-3007 Carada-134 Xbox Buttkicker AS-EQ1
Re: In/on wall VP150 and M2 comparison
grunt #331336 12/13/10 05:33 PM
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cb919 Offline OP
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Very true indeed Dean. I am often amazed at how great my system sounds. I have now found a way to make it sound just that much better. M2 - the little speaker that could!


Dan
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1
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