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SVS sbs-01 Vs. Ascend 170se or 340se


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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 15 2006 - 05:01 PM

What is everyones opinion on Ascend Speakers? I have read numurous reviews on the SVS SBS-01 speakers and everyone say they are the best thing since sliced bread. I own a SVS PB10 and I know the same quality has to be in the SBS-01 speakers. After checking out the SPL graphs on the Ascend website, the 170se and 340se are very comparable to the SBS-01 system for approx. (+/- $100) the same price. So far I have tried Polk speakers and found them to be bright for my taste. I also tried JBL, but found them to to muffled sounding. I would like to upgrade my L/C/R or all 5 speakers for $800 or less. I just can't decide on which one to go with. At the moment I have narrowed my choices to SVS and Ascend unless someone can come up with something in that price range.

Thanks in advance.
Some old Sony speakers all around at the moment
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#2 of 23 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted May 15 2006 - 11:12 PM

I have read numurous reviews on the SVS SBS-01 speakers and everyone say they are the best thing since sliced bread.


I own a set and I haven't seen a review that said that.

I think the 340's would best the SBS setup. There's a guy over at AVS who directly compared the 170's (I think . . . or maybe it was the 340's) to the SBS setup and he preferred the Ascends.

The price of the 340's would be more than +/- $100 from the SBS setup. If you had 340's across the front and the 200's in the back it would be >$1000 not including a subwoofer. Add in the PB-10 and that setup is $500 more than the SVS 5.1 system.

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Jacob C

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Posted May 15 2006 - 11:21 PM

The ascends are very good. I have not heard the sbs. Most things I have read indicate the ascends are better but you could very well prefer the sound of the sbs speakers. The ascends are VERY clear without over emphasising the high frequencies. Darn good speaker.
Jacob
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#4 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 16 2006 - 01:42 AM

Seth: Ok maybe I exagerated a little bit, LOL. After reading a few threads I think the 340se would be overkill for my situation. The 170se L/C/R and surrounds would be acually be about $200 more than the SBS-01 5.1 system. but I'm willing to spend that much if they are worth the extra $$$. Thats the problem I had with the Polks, they didn't sound $700 better than the Sony's I had. The SBS-01 were originally my first choice then I reading about other choices. What size room do you have and do the SBS-01 fill it pretty good?

Jacob: How would you compare them to Polks? The Polks were very clear but for taste the highs were to bright.
Some old Sony speakers all around at the moment
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Toshiba 46" RPTV

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted May 16 2006 - 06:20 AM

There have been a few people on AVS that have compared Ascend CBM-170's and SBS-01. All preferred the 170's. The SBS-01 is more comparable to the HTM-200.

Quote:
I think the 340's would best the SBS setup. There's a guy over at AVS who directly compared the 170's (I think . . . or maybe it was the 340's) to the SBS setup and he preferred the Ascends.

http://www.avsforum....ad.php?t=647862

I would love to hear the SBS-01's, if anybody in the Los Angeles area has a pair and would allow me to listen.....I would be much appreciative. I could also bring a pair of "classic" CBM-170's and possibly a pair of Onix X-LS's.
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#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Jacob C

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Posted May 16 2006 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony_C
Jacob: How would you compare them to Polks? The Polks were very clear but for taste the highs were to bright.

Which line of polks? If you are talking the Monitor Series I remember thinking them lacking in overall clarity. It was almost like there was some kind of distortion throughout the entire range. I did not like them at all. I have not listened to the polks for about a year so I don't remember the specifics but the ascends are much better than the monitors.

I have not heard the RTI but the LSi is a pretty nice speaker. I hope that helps is been a long time.

Just to clarify the distortion was not glaringly obvious but it masked a lot of detail.
Jacob
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#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 16 2006 - 10:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob C
Which line of polks? If you are talking the Monitor Series I remember thinking them lacking in overall clarity. It was almost like there was some kind of distortion throughout the entire range. I did not like them at all. I have not listened to the polks for about a year so I don't remember the specifics but the ascends are much better than the monitors.

I have not heard the RTI but the LSi is a pretty nice speaker. I hope that helps is been a long time.

Just to clarify the distortion was not glaringly obvious but it masked a lot of detail.

The ones I had were the Rti4 L/R, the Csi3 center, adn RM101 surrounds.
After reading several comparisons and reviews on both, I am starting to lean towards the Ascend 170se's for the fronts and the 340se for the Center and keeping my bipole sony surrounds. I am thinking the 6.5" woofers will sound more to my taste.
Some old Sony speakers all around at the moment
Onkyo TXSR601 (receiver)
Toshiba 46" RPTV

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted May 16 2006 - 11:12 AM

Woofer size doesn't have that much to do with anything. It is the overall design of the speaker. For now, it should be fine to go with a 170/340 front stage and dramatically improve the sound.

I find most of the Polks to be a bit too bright for my liking except the LSis. The LSis are good speakers, but not really on the top of my list either.

The 170s and the SBS-01s are really not competition for each other, because they don't quite compete in the same price class, with there being an almost 50% difference in price, so I wouldn't really consider a direct comparison of them fair. Having said that, between the two, I'd go with the 170s Posted Image (I haven't heard the SEs yet, but have heard the classic 170s).
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 16 2006 - 12:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Garcia
Woofer size doesn't have that much to do with anything. It is the overall design of the speaker. For now, it should be fine to go with a 170/340 front stage and dramatically improve the sound.

I find most of the Polks to be a bit too bright for my liking except the LSis. The LSis are good speakers, but not really on the top of my list either.

The 170s and the SBS-01s are really not competition for each other, because they don't quite compete in the same price class, with there being an almost 50% difference in price, so I wouldn't really consider a direct comparison of them fair. Having said that, between the two, I'd go with the 170s Posted Image (I haven't heard the SEs yet, but have heard the classic 170s).

So basically it would be safe to say that if I was in the $500-$600 get the SVS sbs-01, and if i'm willing to pay more, get the Ascend 170,340 setup? Thats kind of what I was starting to think.

I guess the reason I was thinking the 6.5" woofers would be more my taste is because so far all the oneIi have auditioned with 6.5" speakers have a certain quality that I like. So far all the 5.25" based center channels I have heard are to high pitched when it comes to dialog and such. that was the biggest difference I heard between the Polk Csi3 and the Csi5.
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#10 of 23 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted May 16 2006 - 02:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony_C
So basically it would be safe to say that if I was in the $500-$600 get the SVS sbs-01, and if i'm willing to pay more, get the Ascend 170,340 setup? Thats kind of what I was starting to think.

Yep.

Quote:
I guess the reason I was thinking the 6.5" woofers would be more my taste is because so far all the oneIi have auditioned with 6.5" speakers have a certain quality that I like. So far all the 5.25" based center channels I have heard are to high pitched when it comes to dialog and such. that was the biggest difference I heard between the Polk Csi3 and the Csi5.

High pitch wouldn't come from the mids, but I think I know what you are talking about. More bass is generally what you are getting with a larger driver in a larger cabinet, but that doesn't always mean "better".
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

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#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 17 2006 - 05:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Garcia
High pitch wouldn't come from the mids, but I think I know what you are talking about. More bass is generally what you are getting with a larger driver in a larger cabinet, but that doesn't always mean "better".

That makes sense. I guess the lack of bass would cause the highs to be more pronounced, which would make it sound more high pitched.

Thanks for the help.
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#12 of 23 OFFLINE   ShaunVanSkiver

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Posted May 17 2006 - 06:34 AM

I have the sbs-01 with the pb12 and would have to say that they are a little bright especially the center channel but with a tweak here and there I was able to bring the bass back up and now I smile from ear to ear every time I unleash them Posted Image if you ask me a receiver will make or break any speaker. I haven’t listened to any thing else so I couldn't compare....but I can definitely say I’m overly pleased with the svs system.

#13 of 23 OFFLINE   SVS-Ron

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Posted May 18 2006 - 02:38 AM

Anthony,

The Ascends are/were great speakers. I haven't heard the new SE's but I have the older 170's and loved them. The SBS-01's stand on their own terms as very powerful, very neutral, and compact/good looking. They are of course less expensive than the oft-compared Ascend 170 line as has been noted.

If you can spend more than $600 on speakers, (and not short change your budget for a subwoofer upgrade some day) going further upscale with the 340's isn't a bad idea (even if you don't need them in your room today). I've used them too and liked them alot (again the older models).

Comparing sound based on woofer size is pretty much futile too as mentioned. Even woofer size can be deceiving. A woofer that uses a fixed "phase plug" loses quite a bit of cone "piston area" compared to one without a plug. Driver size, as with subwoofers is probably the least reliable indicator of how a speaker will perform.

Same with ported versus sealed. Frequency response and a host of other issues are far better predictors of how a speaker will "sound" (and in FR Ascend and SVS are not suprisingly quite close). Both companies rely heavily on listening AND measuring. We have a lot of respect for the objective (vice hype) based marketing at Ascend.

If you try the SBS-01 system and don't feel it's all you want, or at the very least all you can hope for from a $600 set of speakers, of course they'll be fully refunded. Of course too, the only way to know with the high-value brands like Ascend and SVS is to try a set that fits your size, cost, in you own home. None of the ones you are considering will yield anything but great sound I feel. Thousands of the SBS-01's have been sold all over the world, and so few have been returned we don't even track the data.

That they can and do stand up well to such great speakers at higher cost is testament to how serious we consider the competition in this very competitive segment.

Ron
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#14 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 18 2006 - 03:28 AM

Thanks for the reply Ron. The SBS-01 is still in the running for me. Mainly what I am looking for is good deep dialog, thats why I figured the 6.5" woofer was better for me than the 5.25". I like to use a little demo disk I have that has James Earl Jones narrating. I love the way his voice sounds, deep and prominent. My PB10 does a great job picking up the low ends but there is always something missing when using the smaller center speaker. The Polks I had made him sound like a tall squirrel, LOL. It's very hard making a choice based on graphs and user opinions. The money back guarantee from SVS and Ascend is very tempting. Ya'll need to hurry up and get the MTS line going so I can test them out for you, LOL ( I'm not kidding either)
Some old Sony speakers all around at the moment
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#15 of 23 OFFLINE   SVS-Ron

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Posted May 18 2006 - 04:21 AM

Anthony,

Dialogue, even deep stuff from the likes of JEJ, is well above the roll-off of most better speakers, even small ones. You'll want some extension into the 50-80hz range (since even an 80hz bass management setting lets through a good bit of stuff into that range) but I suspect the problems you have had with other mains/centers won't apply to better stuff from SVS, or Ascend for that matter. The sub will largely be taking over in the 80-50hz zone, so sonic clarity on voice is going to be all on the speakers, and again 5.25" woofers versus larger woofers (even if they aren't really "larger" if using phase plugs) will hardly enter the picture as a factor there.

Drop us a line if you want to check some out. I'd forgotten you were a PB10-ISD owner. One thing we've not publicized much (but tend to catch at the point of sale, so to speak) is that returning customers get pre-order pricing on all SBS-01 sets. Meaning $549. Of course we're just a tad biased, but we're not aware of a set of speakers for this price that offers the balanced performance these do for that cost (though you only get that price if you bought a product from SVS already. Otherwise it's a whopping $50 more.).

But it's a big world out there and we only scratch a small part of its collective itch for high quality, affordable audio. Unfortunately there is more junk than good performance in this price point, but suffice it to say you are on to two brands I'm sure will satisfy, regardless of what you decide to spend.

Ron
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#16 of 23 OFFLINE   SVS-Ron

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Posted May 18 2006 - 04:32 AM

PS, The MTS-01 speakers are coming along nicely. Of course we'd all love for them to be selling already but it's not a process that can be rushed. I can say we've cracked open some very very costly sub-components that only volume OEM pricing can even hope to bring to an affordable price point.

It's tough to say what will make the final cut. Much depends on how hard a bargain we drive with some suppliers and where we finally might just say to hell with it and design our own component (as we've done often, whenever quality or performance or pricing leaves us less than enthused).

We've tightened up the style/design and finish options for the new line but research goes on, and will be done when it's done. I'd say there's still a chance for product to ship this year but it's a results driven process, not one tied to a calendar. If people knew just how poorly some of stuff in the $3K-$4K range really performs you might think we'd be prone to rush our offering for a 5.1 system to market.

So, it's coming, and we will be floating a few sets out to users for feedback in the months ahead, but as you know only a brief "Coming Soon" blurb on the website is there to "hype" things so far. If it was up to us we'd just announce them for sale and be done with it, but we do try to be forthcoming when folks hint at it as you have.

Thanks for your patience, we're pretty methodical around SVS and won't put a logo on a product till we're happy you WILL be happy if you lay down $3K on a system.

Ron
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#17 of 23 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted May 18 2006 - 05:16 AM

Ron,
I have not heard the SBS-01's yet, but have spoken to folks whose opinion I trust, and it sounds like you guys have done a great job with these.

I know we have have been at odds in the past....but I wanted to pass along some praise. KUDOS!
curtis
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#18 of 23 OFFLINE   Anthony_C

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Posted May 18 2006 - 05:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVS-Ron
Anthony,

Dialogue, even deep stuff from the likes of JEJ, is well above the roll-off of most better speakers, even small ones. You'll want some extension into the 50-80hz range (since even an 80hz bass management setting lets through a good bit of stuff into that range) but I suspect the problems you have had with other mains/centers won't apply to better stuff from SVS, or Ascend for that matter. The sub will largely be taking over in the 80-50hz zone, so sonic clarity on voice is going to be all on the speakers, and again 5.25" woofers versus larger woofers (even if they aren't really "larger" if using phase plugs) will hardly enter the picture as a factor there.

Drop us a line if you want to check some out. I'd forgotten you were a PB10-ISD owner. One thing we've not publicized much (but tend to catch at the point of sale, so to speak) is that returning customers get pre-order pricing on all SBS-01 sets. Meaning $549. Of course we're just a tad biased, but we're not aware of a set of speakers for this price that offers the balanced performance these do for that cost (though you only get that price if you bought a product from SVS already. Otherwise it's a whopping $50 more.).

But it's a big world out there and we only scratch a small part of its collective itch for high quality, affordable audio. Unfortunately there is more junk than good performance in this price point, but suffice it to say you are on to two brands I'm sure will satisfy, regardless of what you decide to spend.

Ron
SVS

That sounds good, I was actually going to buy them at pre order price but didn't have the $$ at the time. If I can still get them at $549 for the 5 speakers and you throw a black SVS hat in for free (i'm a hat freak) I may be convinced to try the SBS-01 first, LOL. I like the pen I got from the PB10, but a hat or shirt would be better, think about it as free advertisment, LOL. Serously, I wouldn't mind trying them out at that price. Two questions though, With a flat response like on the graphs, will I have to worry about them being bright sounding? 2nd question, Are ya'll going to offer some kind of trade up/upgrade specials when the MTS line comes out?? That would be a heck of a selling point!
Some old Sony speakers all around at the moment
Onkyo TXSR601 (receiver)
Toshiba 46" RPTV

#19 of 23 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted May 18 2006 - 07:50 AM

Flat would tend to denote that they are neither too bright nor too soft. I didn't find them to be bright at all.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Jeff Adams

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Posted October 20 2006 - 03:48 AM

John,
I have the fronts to the SBS-01 system and love them. I don't find them bright at all. Very neutral and natural sounding imo.

Ron,
Thank you for taking your time with the new MTS-01 system, no need to rush a good thing, better to get it right to keep your SVS fans happy. Although I am anxiously awaiting the MTS system and have been looking at many different lines of speakers including the Ascends, I am going to hold out on a purchase for right now until I see how well the MTS system is. Can you give us a hint at pricing for the MTS-01 L/R towers?
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