Ascend CBM-170s: really worth $330? Comparable to larger, cheaper speakers?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by MichaelDDD, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hi there,

    I'm new to this "kinda high-end" stuff, so please bear with me. [​IMG]

    I've been looking at the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170, currently retailing online for $328/pr. I have read the reviews...all glowing; a good sign. I understand what "flat frequency response" means...but I still have to wonder about the $328 price. They seem..."small."

    I know they will not put out anything below 80Hz with any oomph. That's what a dedicated sub is for.

    Will they put out an amount of sound equal to larger, but much cheaper speakers? Such as the Kenwood towers I have now? The Kenwoods have 8" midbass', 5.25 mids and a 1" tweet. They have a decent midbass "punch" attributable to the 8" midbass'. How much "oomph" can a 6.5" driver have?

    I'm considering buying four of the CBM-170s and Ascend's CMT-340C center channel to replace the matched (but not HTIAB) Kenwood speakers I have now. I know the Kenwoods are "mass produced junk" but they sound decent when paired with a good amp and relieved of anything under 80Hz or so.

    Do these compare? I like a lot of output. The ability to play loudly and cleanly is important.

    I know the Ascends are good speakers; but I'm wondering for the $900 it would cost for a matched 5-piece set if I could do better?

    I'm planning on pairing whatever speakers I buy with a
    SVS-PB2+...so bass isn't a worry. [​IMG] I'll be buying that tomorrow...speakers I'm undecided on.

    Thanks for your patience and opinions/advice.

    Mike D
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The Ascends are worth every penny. I can’t comment on all larger, but cheaper speakers, but I have not heard larger, cheaper ones that I preferred.

    I do not own Ascends, btw.
     
  3. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I agree with Lew.

    Do you like how the Kenwoods sound? Have you heard bookshelf speakers that you do like?

    The Ascends will not sound like the Kenwoods, and probably not fill the room with sound like the Kenwoods either. The sound they will put out will be accurate.

    The best thing to do, after you get the sub, get a pair of CBM-170's and try them yourself.

    BTW, I do own Ascends. CMT-340l/r mains, CMT-340c center, CBM-170 for surrounds and a Hsu VTF-3.
     
  4. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hi Curtis...is this the same Curtis from the Ascendforum? [​IMG] I think you just replied to my thread over there. Neato. [​IMG]

    Honestly, I think the Kenwoods sound OK. As stated earlier, I've very limited experience w/"good speakers." I've heard some Polks/Klipsch but not for extended periods of time.

    I think that I'm more enamored (bewildered?) by the volume of the Kenwoods...lotsa sound...not particularly great imaging or soundstaging even though I set them up with a measuring tape to ensure all front speakers are equidistant from each other.

    I guess I have a lot to learn. :b

    Being that I can't listen to them in person, I am just afraid of buying them "ear unseen" then after a few weeks saying "these aren't that great."
     
  5. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Being that I can't listen to them in person, I am just afraid of buying them "ear unseen" then after a few weeks saying "these aren't that great."

    That is what the thirty day in your home trial period is for. If you try just a pair to start with and don't like them you are out less than $20 in shipping charges.
     
  6. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hmm. That's fair. [​IMG] I guess I'll just have to make up my mind. Thanks much.
     
  7. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  8. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Understood. It may be time for a change though. [​IMG]
     
  9. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    I think big 3 way speakers are an anachronism. In most cases you can get better sound from a modern 2 way, with the exception of low end bass. In most cases you can get better low end bass from a subwoofer. Bookshelf speekers won't 'rock the house' like a honking pair of 3 way towers, but a sub WILL. A good pair of bookshelf speeker will play plenty loud and leave the house rocking to the sub. Yes, you lose the option of going Analog Direct to your mains. Yes, you take a quality hit... if you've got about 5 grand in seperates and high end full range speakers. In most 'po folk' setups (like mine) you'll get significantly better sound with a good pair of moniters and a good calibrated, well integrated sub, with your receiver on bass management duty.
     
  10. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate your opinion. I think I'm going to give the Ascends a shot (just waiting to hear back from them as to the Impedance of the CMB-170...they say it's 8 ohms, users say 4 ohms)

    Compared to what many folks here have, my current towers could hardly be consdiered "quality." :b

    Aural Nirvana, I'm on the way. [​IMG]
     
  11. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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  12. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  13. David*RT

    David*RT Stunt Coordinator

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    High end is relative. If you compare these to dept. store speakers, they are definitely high end.

    If in high end we're speaking $5000 VMPS RM40's then no. Nobody needs to be this extreme though. Also there is a definite law of diminishing returns. Ascends break the barrier of excellent performance per buck.

    The Ascends are exceptional speakers. It is perhaps the best $300 money can buy for speakers.

    If one ties it to an SVS sub as MichaelD is thinking of doing, then we're talking EXCEPTIONALLLL! [​IMG] Not only will he then have super clean DEEP bass that's world class, but some of the cleanest, realistic monitors you can have without going bankrupt!

    Man! SVS and Ascends! That is quite a system! The Kenwood speakers would be brought to their knees! All you need now is a QUALITY amp to make them sing!


    Btw, with speakers and subs, remember that several hundred hours are usually needed to break them in. The cones need to be loosened so they can give their FULL impact and performance. Give ANY speaker a good break-in with music before critically analyzing them. When you go to work, just leave the speaker and sub on at the loudest volume you can get away with..........One technique is to have the speakers facing each other and then throwing blankets over the speakers to muffle the sound. Thi stechnique has been used by many an audiophile.
     
  14. David*RT

    David*RT Stunt Coordinator

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    Also remember to get an SPL meter from Radio Shack to set up your system. This is an ABSOLUTE necessity.

    You can buy it for ~$60. You can also return it once you're done with it if want to go that route. [​IMG]
     
  15. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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  16. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  17. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    I already own a R.S. DB Meter. You cannot set up anything w/o one!

    When I said "hi-end" I was mainly inferring "hi-end for me." :b

    Thanks for the info; lots of good opinions and "tuttelage" here. [​IMG]
     
  18. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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  19. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, Chris. You're right. I'm doing more research every day...learning a lot.

    David*RT: I almost forgot to say "thanks" for the break-in tips. [​IMG] Do you face the speakers at each other so the sound waves cancel each other out and hopefully nobody hears much outside the room?
     
  20. Ben_wood

    Ben_wood Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael, I also am a very satisfied Ascend owner. I used to own a pair of large tower speakers (JBL L150), but I love the way the Ascends are so accurate. Send David F. an email and he'll do his level best to answer any questions (Ascend's customer service is also superb!). [​IMG] And visit us often on our own forum.
     

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