What are people's opinions on the QS8's? Are there better alternatives for approximately the same price?
By the way, I have to do bipole speakers (vs. dipole) because of the way my room is setup.
Buy them - full steam ahead! The QS8s are awesome at their intended purpose, as home theater surround speakers. I've auditioned surrounds from many similarly priced high quality names like Monitor Audio, PSB, Kef, Ascend Acoustics, Def Tech, Paradigm, and Goldenear. IMHO the QS8s are the best surround speakers in this price class. They're kind of a phenomenal surround speaker. Placement is really easy with QS8s because of their quadpole design. They are extremely easy to mount, because of their flush-mounted design -- mine are mounted using the simple bracket that comes with the speakers. You don't need (at all) a mounting, swiveling bracket to mount these. And because of that, they look better in most rooms. But the aeshetics is just an added bonus. These mounting issues may seem minor, but they can be a big deal. It's not always possible to get your surrounds in perfect symetry, or at the perfect height or position, and in these cases, the QS8s really shine. Your wife will also appreciate not having two large speakers jutting out from the wall. And the surround sound is their best quality -- the sense of spaciousness, combining an enveloping sound with the clarity of position from the individual drivers, really brings a surround system to life.
I like them so much that I would not hesitate to match them with many another system. Timbre matching speakers is great, and important for music, but the nature of surround sound effects is such that timbre matching for HT isn't as important as having a great surround speaker, IMO.
The only situation where I'd hesitate on the QS8s, or any side-firing speaker or surround-specific design, is if you're planning on listening to a lot of high-res audio in 5.1 speaker mode. This is kind of a non-issue for most people, since hi-res audio is a niche at best. For casual Dolby Pro Logic II listening, I enjoy music with my qS8s as the back speakers, especially classical stuff. There's an airy enveloping quality. But I definitely prefer regular bookshelves for 5.1 music, because you get better imaging from a direct speaker. If like most people you mainly want surrounds for HT, then the QS8s are perfect. I almost never see them selling used, so if you can snag them at a discount price, go for it.
For that matter, Axiom overall makes some great speakers for the money - though their prices have crept up the last few years, kind of negating their value proposition from when the company started and prices were more competitive. I've run a pair of Axiom Audio M60s for many years and love them, as does everyone who looks at them and listens to them. Airy, wide soundstage, intensely accurate. To me, they compare well with Monitor Audio's silver range, though I do slightly prefer the Monitor Audio Silvers, which cost quite a bit more (or used to at any rate). But those Canadians know how to make speakers. If you check out reviews based on frequency measurements, blind listening tests, and unbiased listening, the Axioms almost always do extremely well. It's always a matter of taste in the end, but all of the Axioms I've heard, especially the QS8s, M60s, and M3s, have been well made accurate speakers with a sound I really love.
Did you end up getting the QS8s? If so, care to share your thoughts? Thanks (I'm looking at them for later this year).