i have had my axioms m22s for over 4 months now... happily connected to my yamaha rx-v530 receiver and into my computer... along with the svs sub. i figured i was in audio bliss.... until last week.
last week, being bored and off from work and my friends and girlfriend at work, i decided to bring my m22s to the local audioshop, TWEETER, for a shootout between the seemingly VAUNTED m22s and the local selection they had there. i walked in quite proudly with my axioms arm in arm. i met with Dave, the salesperson with whom i have done a lot of business with in the past (klipsch speakers, yamaha receivers)... and i asked to demo the boston acoustics, the sapphires, the polks, and the sonus fabers bookshelves.... all against my axiom m22s in typical AB format.
well.... let me tell you this -
boston's sound fuller but maybe a little boxy coloration was present... not really impressed by the midrange especially at $800 a pair.
the sonus - i didnt really find striking, very balanced though and better overall than the m22s, i wasnt surprised... at $1400 a pair, the sonus had BETTER been the better speaker.
the sapphires were... umm... garbage... regardless of price.
onto the polks...
the rti - surprisingly the rti bookshelves (and the floorstanding speakers too) had a larger, wider horizontal soundstage than the m22s - the m22s sounded compromised next to the rtis. the rtis in general (the 4 and the 6) extended lower and, thus, sounded a bit fuller than the m22s did. the midrange was a little more prominent in the m22s and beat the rtis in this aspect hands down. also, the rti's tweeter, i felt, was the weakest link in the rti arsenal. the highs became overbearing at times... and was very sibilant (the "t" and "s" were OVERpronounced) to the extent that i had to have Dave turn down the speakers. this match went to the axioms, which had a much sweeter high end, despite lacking the lateral soundstage relative to the rti 4 and 6.
then, on came the lsi demo. first up was the lsi7... soundstage opened up real wide... i mean... REALLY wide... far far greater than my axioms could ever accomplish. the midrange was at par with the m22s - very detailed and succinct... everything was there, if it was on the recording - the lsi was able to reproduce it and shoot it out with the utmost precision and imaging.... wow indeed! the bass of the lsi7 totally gave the axiom m22s a spanking in the rear end. the lsi7 had approximately 2/3 to a full octave of extension over the m22s (which at this point confirmed my suspicions of the m22s having a rather ANEMIC bass response). there was a guitar riff on a song (i forget the name, something about "i can be your bodyguard, i can be your long lost pal.. i think, i cant remember - famous 80s song though, wonderfully mastered)... the m22s reproduced the riff, but the lsi7 REPRODUCED the riff with EMOTION! my god... i was stunned. lastly, the lsi7 had better highs... yes you heard it, BETTER highs, the Vifa 25XT ring radiator is AMAZING!!! no wonder av123.com's Onix Reference and Rocket Speakers use it (not to mention krell and nohr as well)... god, this thing isnt overbearing at all and yet, is as detailed and precise as the metal dome (aluminum or titanium in this case) tweeters!! the sibilance was controlled on the lsi7, in fact, the m22s became sibilant far before the lsi7 ever did.
needless to say, the m22s lost handily to the lsi7s... by a great margin as well.
the lsi9 were next up on the demo... and this even upped the slaughter... in fact, pretty much annihilated the m22s. i dont think that you would even need to hear another recap of a slaughter.. lets just leave it at slaughter... picture the m22s being ripped to its separate components kind of slaughter.
i was so shocked that i forgot to AB the lsi7 verus the lsi9 to hear the differences between the two. btw, i should go back today and check out the differences between the two.
i also compared the lsi7 to the paradigm reference 20s ($800/pr), the paradigm reference signature 2 ($2300/pr), and the BW nautilus 805 bookshelf ($2000/pr). and surprisingly enough, the polks RAN with the big boys! lateral soundstage may have been a wee better on the paradigms but not by much... and the polks recoup this loss by having a superior tweeter which handled the highs far better than even the paradigm s2 flagship 2-way bookshelf could!! amazing!
the polk lsi 7 even handily gave the bw nautilus a run for its money, and in the end, i felt that the lsi7 had a more natural and balanced sound relative to the nautilus. 700$ versus 2000$ anyone??
i think though, that the lsi7 lacked the extension in comparison to the bw and the paradigms... just by very little... im sure the 9s out-extened the three big boys.
i would love to hear the lsi9 in direct AB comparison with the great Paradigm Signature 4... now this would be interesting....
anyway, i bought the lsi7 and am awaiting its arrival... once it gets here, i shall compare it to my m22s on my own system and the final decision will be made. most likely, i will end up selling the OVERHYPED m22s (psh.. i am so angry that i bought into all the axiom hoopla and reviews ) and buying another pair of Lsi speakers... perhaps another pair of 7s or perhaps the 9s.
a full lsi speaker set paired with an svs sub... this should make for an even better computer speaker system dont u think? :D
lastly, thanks for reading my short review..... does anyone have any comments on the real differences between the lsi7 and the lsi9? i looked on the polk site for detailed specifications and i found out that by looking at the crossover details, the lsi9 has a separate drive solely for sub 200hz freq... i assume this would mean that the lsi 9 would have better bass extension and overall output?
also, is there any discernable tonality difference between the two? is the lsi9 more airy? does it reproduce more midrange?
i may just have to go to Tweeter today to find out.