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Small floor standing speaker shootout...


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#1 of 640 OFFLINE   Craig Chase

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Posted July 29 2004 - 02:31 PM

Over the past 45 days, we have been trying to organize a speaker shootout. To date we have three definites... and this has involved a LOT of involement from the manufacturers as to which speakers they want to send, the room size, pricing vs. the competition... etc...

So far, for a two channel system, these three companies are involved....

1. Ascend 340's with the matching bases and the Hsu STF-1 for $938 plus shipping.

2. Rocket 550 Mark II, $999 plus shipping.

3. Axiom M-80's for $1100 including shipping.

The review will be done here, with links to other sites welcome.

Also... Jon Lane and Audio Insider have an open invitation, and if anyone else wishes to participate, they are welcome.
Craig Chase

#2 of 640 OFFLINE   jephdood

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Posted July 29 2004 - 07:31 PM

I love these shootouts. And Craig, you've always been very thorough in your past evaluations of various products, so don't take this as yet another criticism of your techniques (I've witnessed before as others have hounded you unfairly when you volunteer your efforts). But isn't it kind of an apples and oranges situation sticking the 340's in there along with the Hsu and comparing them to these other 'smaller' floorstanders? I predict the Ascends with the dedicated sub will probably dominate all the others down low.

Then again, I guess that's what testing is all about. Carry on. Posted Image

#3 of 640 OFFLINE   Craig Chase

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Posted July 29 2004 - 10:54 PM

Jeff, You make a pretty good point. Adding a sub COULD give the Ascends an advantage. But, when you look at the pricing, should Ascend be punished for making available the pair of speakers AND the subwoofer for the same $$$$ the other guys want just for the speakers ?

Another thought... The Axioms and Rockets likely have longer throw drivers and definitely larger cabinets. Taking into consideration the shape of the cabinets, the speakers external volume looks like this (appx.)

Axiom M-80's ... 5700 ^3 in each, 11,400 for a pair

Ascend 34's ... 1654 ^3 in each, 3308 for the pair
Hsu STF-1 ...... 3040 ^3 in ... giving the Hsu/Ascend combo a total of 6348 ^3 in.

Rocket 550 Mark II ... 4644 ^3 in each, or 9288 for the pair.

As you can see, the Ascends still have the lowest internal volume of the three (remember Hoffman's Iron Law about cabinet size) ...

For performance criteria... we will be looking at the following...

1. ETF measured Response above 200 Hz (quasi-anechoic)
2. Bass Extension
3. Best attainable room response
4. Blind tests in mono for
a. Tonal quality
b. Bass extension and accuracy
c. male and female vocals
5. Stereo listening tests for the above three plus
a. Soundstage width and depth
b. Dynamics... especially how well the speaker stays coherent with crescendos such as the 1812 Overture

more to come...
Craig Chase

#4 of 640 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted July 30 2004 - 03:36 AM

Craig....that is another great perspective in the above post. As I posted over on HTS, this will be a lot of fun. I think we can all say we appreciate the work and effort.

You could even bring the pricing more in line if you use the STF-2, the Ascends would then be $1038 with the sub, but I realize you have the STF-1 on hand already.

And you are such a tease....now we got to wait a month...
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#5 of 640 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted July 30 2004 - 03:45 AM

Another thought:

I think you still have the ELT CSe on hand...and UFW-10, that combo meets the criteria.

Also, for grins and maybe a reference, how about your Ref3's?
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#6 of 640 OFFLINE   BryanZ

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Posted July 30 2004 - 04:00 AM

Have to agree with Curtis. If the Ascend/HSU combo is allowed the ELT/UFW-10 combo should be, as it is at the same price point. If you use the ELT-CSE then you should go with the ELT sub.

#7 of 640 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted July 30 2004 - 04:21 AM

I see that some of the folks over at AV123 had the same idea about the ELT-CSe.

Now that I think about it some more....and reading about your discussions with the manufacturers, a lot more work has gone into this than some of us may perceive.

Craig, just do what you want to do, it will be enjoyable reading no matter what you decide to do. We could suggest combos to no end.

Have fun with it, and then we will have fun with it.
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#8 of 640 OFFLINE   Chris Quinn

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Posted July 30 2004 - 04:37 AM

Quote:
If the Ascend/HSU combo is allowed the ELT/UFW-10 combo should be, as it is at the same price point. If you use the ELT-CSE then you should go with the ELT sub.


Aren't the ELT-CE bookshelves and this is a floorstander review?

#9 of 640 OFFLINE   jephdood

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Posted July 30 2004 - 04:44 AM

Right. And what are the Ascends? Posted Image

So far the candidates are not all floorstanders, and I guess it's fair game to review a set of speakers and toss in another manufacturer's sub to cover what they alone cannot?

Okee doke.

And is there an exact price requirement here?

#10 of 640 OFFLINE   DavidCooper

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:05 AM

This was my post over at the Swan forum....this is my only concern..although I need point out that I think this will be a VERY cool test. I'm not knocking it....just pointing out something here:


One thing to consider is that they are going to be using the 340s with the HSU sub. That will make a big difference in the comparisons I believe. I still think it will be a great comparison....but the Ascend combo is a very unique system that makes it a bit difficult to compare with competeing models. They are not floorstanders...they are kind of like large "bookshelf" type speakers or better yet...center channels on stands!

So the Swan 5.2's WITH a sub would be the better match or maybe even a pair of 2.1's with the same sub used might be a closer match....or even the 4.1's with a sub????

What do you guys think

#11 of 640 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:06 AM

Ascend Acoustic CMT-340m - from the Ascend website:

Quote:
Use with our matching pedestal stands to create the look of a tower speaker, with the accurate midrange and high frequency performance of a high end bookshelf loudspeaker


Posted Image
curtis
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#12 of 640 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:07 AM

The CMT-340m is not really a center channel on stands, since there is a difference in the crossover and the orientation of the tweeter.

But I totally understand your point. I would rather have a good bookshelf speaker and a good sub rather than a floorstander.

I would love to read the comparison, but won't scream is Craig decides to take out the Ascends to make folks happy.
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#13 of 640 OFFLINE   DavidCooper

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:23 AM

Yeah...either way this will be a good comparison. With some interesting results I bet.

I realize the 340 isnt the same as the 340center...but its pretty close. Wasn't it designed to match the front soundstage with the 340 center? Kind of like the Swan C3 and the 5.2.

#14 of 640 OFFLINE   jephdood

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:28 AM

I just think any comparison should be apples to apples. That's all. And I think each speaker in any given test should be able to stand up (literally and figuratively) and do battle on its own. If you want to test bookshelf/sub combo's, cool. I'd love to see how the Ascends and other shelf speakers stack up against each other. But IMO this should be for floorstanders only, by themselves, with some sort of price restriction set.

Thoughts?

#15 of 640 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:32 AM

Yes...the soundstage with 340m's and a 340c is great, but all the Ascend speakers are well matched and integrate seamlessly.

I would love to hear the Swans.
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#16 of 640 OFFLINE   Kincade

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Posted July 30 2004 - 05:59 AM

Craig,

Have you thought about the Dahlquist at all? They seem to be in the same price range as the Axiom, and are definite contenders IMHO.
-kb

#17 of 640 OFFLINE   frank manrique

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Posted July 30 2004 - 06:12 AM

quote:

"Adding a sub COULD give the Ascends an advantage. But, when you look at the pricing, should Ascend be punished for making available the pair of speakers AND the subwoofer for the same $$$$ the other guys want just for the speakers?"

Absolutely not, me thinks... Posted Image

"Axiom M-80's ... 5700 ^3 in each, 11,400 for a pair"

Umm...Craig, isn't more like $1100 for the pair? Posted Image

-THTS

"...hi, my name is Frank...and am an SVS bassaholic"

#18 of 640 OFFLINE   Tony Genovese

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Posted July 30 2004 - 06:25 AM

Quote:
Umm...Craig, isn't more like $1100 for the pair?
He's talking internal volume, Frank.

#19 of 640 OFFLINE   frank manrique

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Posted July 30 2004 - 07:34 AM

quote:

"He's talking internal volume, Frank."

Oops! :b I think you're right, Tony! Thanks...

-THTS

"...hi, my name is Frank...and am an SVS bassaholic..."

#20 of 640 OFFLINE   Craig Chase

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Posted July 30 2004 - 08:22 AM

Tony, That was external volume, and even there I did some estimating on both the Rockets and Axioms as they are either trapezoidal or curved sides... but it will be pretty close. Internal Volume is something each manufacturer is welcome to provide, if they deem it important...

I had also talked to Mark Schifter (via e-mail) as to whether he wanted the ELT's and a sub or the 550's, he preferred the 550's ...

And the Axioms are said to be pretty good in the deep bass... Alan Lofft did question the speaker choices... hopefully my response made sense to him

Regarding cost, it seems pretty fair... And one of the reasons I went with the Ascends in this configuration is it is readily available from their own web site... If you go into the system advisor, you will see the system is $838, plus $100 for the matching stands, plus $62 shipping, for $1000 right from their web site, without resorting to "mix n match" from a seperate source.

As for other manufacturers, they are welcome to contact me via PM ... And are also welcome to participate.

Right now, the criteria is the speaker has to be available as a system, from the company's website, for around $1000...

Posted Image
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