Finally, after waiting a long month and having my finances get sorted out, i placed the order last week and the rest of the sound system arrived Thursday (QS8s, EP350, VP150), just in time before i had to send back the m22s i was using for trials against the m60s.
Once the QS8s arrived, i had the thought to try them against the m22s in the surround speaker positions. This would give me an idea of how the QSx quadpolar design may provide a different surround experience than the m22s direct radiating design.
Some quick background on my setup:
Onkyo DS797 receiver
Panasonic CV52 dvd
Ultralink 10ga wire all around, finished with soldered AMX banana plugs
Some test material included the likes of Patricia Barber, Holly Cole Trio, various choir and pipe organ and others (chek the posts on "Just for the fun of it"). The dvd movie used to test movie surround was U-571, chapter 13 during the "depth charged" scene.
Both myself and my fiance sat down to do the listening tests to several songs and the dvd scene in 3 DSP modes: Dolby Pro Logic II-Music, Dolby Pro Logic II- THX Cinema 5.1, and All Channel Surround.
Both the m22s and QS8s were placed in the same position, slightly behind and alongside the listening position and toed in about 20 degrees.
AMIE AND FORUM CO. THIS IS A LINK TO VARIOUS VIEWS OF MY BASEMENT SETUP. PLEASE DISREGARD THE MESS OF MY HOUSE AND MY WEBSITE (work in progress as always). Also take note of the VERY minor flaws that allowed me to pick up the QS8s and the VP150 through the Factory Outlet. To say it was a steal is an understatement!!
One of us sat and listened while the other person changed the DSPs around and muted and changed the banana plugs b/w the 2 speaker sets. Neither the VP150 nor the EP350 speakers were used in these tests so we could listen only to the 4 speaker surround setup. Many systems do not have centre channels or often the centre channel is the last item purchased for the system. We wanted to assess just the surround effect that is generated by the 4 primary speakers and without interference from heavy bass (hence the EP350 was not hooked up).
Here were the results:
My fiance picked out and preferred the QS8s 4 times out of 5. I picked out and preferred the QS8s 3 times out of 5.
In order to keep this review from getting too long, i will summarize what we thought about each:
M22s-music-all channel surround-too prominent in the rear, took away from mains but produced a totally enveloping sound
M22s-music-DPL II-slightly less prominent, still very enveloping
Overall m22s for music- position is critical, adjustments may be necessary with the receiver if the speaker positioning is limited in a room, but a very full and surrounding sound that can completely immerse the listener from all sides.
QS8-all channel surround- nice, even sound dispersion, instruments seemed more localized to the sides towards the front rather than directly from the speaker
QS8-DPL II- far more subtle surround sound, music very evenly dispersed and stage recordings sound superior (clapping sounds coming from the sides and back instead of just from the front or rear)
Overall QS8s for music- superb for stage and acoustical performances, nice addition to mains for additional effects but not as immersive as the m22 direct design
M22s-dvd-all channel surround- very strong sounds taking too much away from the mains, but all surround sounds are clear and concise which normally would be over shadowed by strong dialogue coming from the mains
M22s-dvd-DPL II Cinema- surround sounds still very strong but far less than the all channel DSP mode, repositioning the speakers or adjusting options with a good receiver should work well
QS8s-dvd-all channel surround and DPL II Cinema- both surround DSPs sounded excellent with the QS8s dispersing sound beautifully so we could not localize any single source for the sounds in the room
Overall performance for movies- we found that the QS8s simply dispersed sound ALOT differently yet in a way that helps to fool your ears into not knowing exactly where sounds are eminating from, but instead only the general direction. This to me is what i'm looking for in home theatre system. The illusion of sounds echoing around the listener depending on their location within the movie itself.
This is not to say that the m22s were not admirable performers. If you are looking for a larger sound or a more immersive music experience and have the space to tweak your speaker positions or have a receiver that can tweak speaker placement options, then the m22s (or another direct radiating model) is probably what you would prefer.
For me and my fiance though, the QS8s were what we were looking for and believe they are superior in the role of providing true "surround" sounds.
For Home Theatre, it is the QS8s.
For home Stereo, you can go either way depending on how you like to hear surround music, as immersive and full or as more subtle additional background effect to the mains.