Waxing Rhapsodic

Posted by: whippersnapper

Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/16/12 11:52 PM

After buying my Axioms (M22s, VP150, QS8s), I had to return a woofer from one of the M22s. This was disappointing, but the customer service was every bit a wonderful as I'd been hearing -- no hassle, quick shipment, etc.

Anyway, the woofer arrived a few days ago, installed with no difficulty, and I've finally gotten down to serious critical listening.

I just wanted to have a place to say that I'm a happy puppy! Rock, classical, jazz -- all sound too good to describe. The warmth and clarity are superlative. The words that keep springing to mind are rich, full, clean and crisp.

Thank you, Axiom. You've got another fan-boy!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/17/12 08:07 AM

That's great Whipper! Now delve into your music selection and rediscover gems... though be prepared for a few that might show their flaws as well!

Are you listening to your music in stereo or in surround mode?

What sub? You probably posted it in a previous thread, huh?
Posted by: whippersnapper

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/17/12 02:50 PM

I've listened to some stereo, just for comparison sake, but I can't tear myself away from surround.

With stereo recordings, the really compelling, complexing thing is trying to choose sound modes. My Denon offers Dolby PLIIM and DTS Neo:6M and Matrix Stereo. I've tried them all and am having a devil of time deciding which is "best". I find myself leaning mostly toward Dolby PLIIM. I'd be interested in others' opinions.

My favorite part of the new speakers is the QS8s. I used to run a small set of bipolar Cambridge Soundworks speakers, and the difference is night and day! So much fuller and robust. The experience is substantially more immersive, to say the least.

My sub is a Klipsch I've had since about 1995. Downward firing 12" speaker with a 250 watt amp. I have no doubts that an Axiom would run rings round it, but that's just not in the cards at the moment.
Posted by: J. B.

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/17/12 06:22 PM

in my experience, Matrix Stereo has the same signal going to all channels, so i use it sometimes when i listen to electronic music; then, the sound is spread all around the room, including overhead. i could call it 6 channel stereo sound.

my memory does not last long enough for me to remember differences in sound after i switch from PLIIx Music to Neo:6 Music; it seems to sound quite the same, but i can't be sure.
one advantage of PL is that it can give more than 6 distinct channels compared to a max of 6 channel with Neo.

as a side note, when i play a movie in Dolby Digital 5.1,
i also use PLIIx Movie to decode the 2 back channels for a total of 7+1 channels. Using 5.1, there seems to be a wall 1 foot behind my head and no realistic sound comes from further back. PLIIX Movie solves that to my satisfaction, in effect increasing the depth of the sound stage behind me.
the difference is very easily heard if you play Super 8 (the scene when the train comes from the back of the listener) in 5.1 or 7.1; a world of difference and a much better rendition.

others with more experience than me might tell a different story.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/17/12 11:22 PM

Whip, I've tried mostly DPLIIM and Neo:6M when listening to 2-channel music source material and decided that I had a slight preference for DPLII, so that's what I use now for all 2-channel sources.

As to the Denon "Matrix" mode, I don't use that, but my understanding is that it simply duplicates the front channels in the respective surrounds and also adds an adjustable amount of reverberation. Therefore, it doesn't make use of "real" surround ambience contained in the source material(in varying amounts)in the way that DPLII and Neo:6 do. I'd think that this would be a preferred mode only if the material contained almost no "natural" ambience. My experience has been that all classical material and even most pop items I've briefly experimented with benefit from DPLII.
Posted by: SBrown

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/17/12 11:38 PM

John, If you ever get a chance to listen to "pure audio" mode, like on my Onkyo prepro with the M80's.....that is very ,very nice too.
Posted by: whippersnapper

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/18/12 12:51 PM

Thanks, Guys.
I agree with most of your observations, especially that it's hard to keep a good sonic image in mind during the momentary silense when switching between DPLIIM and DTS Neo:6. Nevertheless, I'm starting to think that the DTS setting sounds a bit "thinner".

Anyway, it's a fun problem to have. smile I think in general I'm going to stick with DPLII M.
Posted by: cb919

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/19/12 08:09 AM

Hi Whipper, I had the same nice-to-have problem and also settled on DPLII processing for 2 channel source material. I played around with various settings like the center width etc... I did post my findings at some point, if I can find it again I'll post the link. The biggest thing for me to make sure it sounds right is to ensure I did not leave my center channel bumped up a couple of dB from movie watching when sitting down to music. blush
Posted by: whippersnapper

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/20/12 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: cb919
The biggest thing for me to make sure it sounds right is to ensure I did not leave my center channel bumped up a couple of dB from movie watching when sitting down to music. blush

I think I've got the speakers pretty well balanced, regardless of mode, thanks to my trusty Radio Shack sound meter. I try not to futz with the settings during playback (movies or otherwise).

I would be interested in your findings on the other settings like center width.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/20/12 10:51 PM

Whip, I leave Panorama turned off. For Center Width, I do think it's better to have some of the center channel material played by the mains, and the default(3 in most receivers) seems to be about right in giving a smooth distribution. For Dimension, in theory this should be adjusted for each source, depending on how much ambience is in the mix. Generally I leave it at one step below the default(usually 3)at 2 to send a bit more to the surrounds.

Incidentally, how was the Mahler 4th Sunday? I assume you heard the Missoula Symphony at the university.
Posted by: whippersnapper

Re: Waxing Rhapsodic - 03/21/12 09:39 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnK

Incidentally, how was the Mahler 4th Sunday? I assume you heard the Missoula Symphony at the university.

Yes, that's where I was and the MSO did a quite respectable job with a piece that's pretty demanding (even if it's one of Mahler's tamer works). I work with the first chair horn player and she had quite the workout. The soprano soloist was excellent. I've been really impressed with conductor Darko Butorac. He's seems to be milking every drop from what is, after all, a small city orchestra.

Thanks again for the insights. That all lines up pretty well with my initial intuition.