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Ascend Owners: Break-in Time?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_Scott, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    just got some Ascends in today, 3 cbm-170 , with one being used as the center channel.
    Right out of the box, i have to say with music at least they are quite impressive.
    being driven right now with just a lowley $200 Kenwood reciever they actually sound great.
    i do however notice some distortion in the highs.

    for those Ascend owners, did you notice much change after a period of break-in?
    if so how much of a change, and how long did it take?


    for HT, i'm less impressed, but can't really evaluate it until i hook up a better reciever.
     
  2. David*RT

    David*RT Stunt Coordinator

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    The distortion is coming from the Kenwood. Remember that the music coming out of your speakers comes from the chain behind it. Crap in = crap out. Simple equation really.
    The Ascends are truly high end. I have mine tied to a $2000 integrated amp. The combo is great! [​IMG]
     
  3. Kevin L K

    Kevin L K Second Unit

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    I'll have to agree with David on this one Paul-- DEFINATELY get a better receiver--the Ascends deserve it [​IMG] Ascend's dome tweeter is VERY smooth and should have NO distortion or sound harsh at all even at high SPLs.I have mine combined with a H/K AVR520--now THAT is a match made in heaven [​IMG] Mine sounded noticebly smoother after aprox 70-80 hrs. Keep us posted. Enjoy.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Before I'll blame your receiver, please share a bit as how it is that you're hearing what you perceive to be distortion? What're you playing...levels, etc. More likely than not, your speakers are already broken in, so this is entirely something else.
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i'm trying to keep the levels fairly moderate-low as i've heard pushing louder volumes is where you get into problems w/ 4 ohm speakers hooked up to recievers specified for 8-16 ohms.
    the distortion crept into the very top-end and wouldn't be enough in any case to sour me on the speakers, as long as i am satisfied with them in HT applications.
    i've just spent a few weeks with a modest Rocket package (250 bookshelfs and 200 center) and that was far and away the best valued system i've heard for HT so far.
    a bit more $ than the Ascends, but i don't see any way that this CBM 170 can approach the 200, even with a much better reciever.
    the 200 center is a full range behemouth that performed the best out of all the centers i looked at, including ones costing more than twice as much (specifically a Thiel at $1400).
    the other quality in the Rockets favor was their more forward sound. they both share soft dome tweeters which is what i was mainly looking for, but the Rockets have a force to them that make them spot-on perfect for HT.
    The ascends would be a much better alternative for me and my situation right now, both finacial and space wise, so i'm just hoping i can get a little closer to that pinacle than i am now.

    i just picked up a HK520 and will see what kind of a difference that makes later tonight.
     
  6. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

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    Paul:

    The break in aspect of speakers is always a debated issue on most forums. Some say it takes .0000001 seconds while others think it takes a prolonged period of time till they break in. Only you can decide that one for yourself.
     
  7. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    actually i'm hoping they don't change too much as time goes by.
    they are already warm enough and laid back compared to the Rockets (which, from what i've read of others experience probably not fully broken-in when i sent them back).
    this was pretty much what i was looking for as far as music, but for HT, well...

    from what i've read and others have told me, the HK is a warmer reciever on its own.
    in any case i just have it to get a better idea of what the speakers are capable of.
    its not the last reciever or apmlification system i will be considering or trying out, and it will be going back to the store in a couple weeks anyway, no matter what.
    the NAD i had briefly sounded great with the rockets. i would be curious to hear what its like with the ascends, but don't think i can get a hold of it again for a demo.
     
  8. Ben_wood

    Ben_wood Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul, from what I've heard from Ascend your new speakers are already broken in. The company says that the vast majority of the speakers that they ship out are for the lack of a better term "freshly manufactured". In other words they haven't been sitting in some warehouse for months waiting to be sold. They have been tested at the plant where they were assembled and very soon thereafter shipped to you - before they had time to "stiffen up".
    By the way I'm the proud owner of 4 CBM-170s on the corners, an HTM-200 center, and a Hsu VTF-2. I've been extremely happy with this setup for both music and HT. I agree with the other guys saying that the problem could be with your receiver. I power mine with a modestly priced Onkyo 595. Anyway, trying a different receiver is a good idea. Let us know what happens.
     
  9. Ben M

    Ben M Auditioning

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    Hi Paul,

    It sounds to me like you might be slightly "clipping" your receiver. That is, your receiver is putting out more power than it is capable and the waveform is being squared at the top and bottom which is distortion.

    Are you hearing this distortion more from music or HT applications? If your answer is clean for music, distortion for HT, keep in mind that you are running multiple channels for HT and the power demands on the receiver are far greater. If your receiver is rated as high as 100 watts / channel for stereo, in HT mode with 5 speakers driven (or even three) expect that power to be cut to at least 1/3 that amount!

    I must agree with the large majority of responses, upgrading your receiver will make a world of difference. As a further note, listening to the Rockets with a NAD and listening to the Ascends off of a $200 Kenwood is not a fair test to compare speakers. Get back that NAD and then have a listen and form a judgement.
     
  10. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Ben,
    the distortion was actually on 2 channel music.
    i may be in the recording, i'll have to give it another listen to makes sure.
    the kenwood reciever is advertised as 100 wpc, but i've read independant tests make it out to be actually around 35.
    yes, comparing the Rockets with the NAD to the Ascends with the Kenwood isn't a fair comparison, but the fact that i seem to get already quite decent musical quality from it w/ the ascends (infrequent instances of distortion notwithstanding) is a huge plus in their favor.
    i don't want to feel like i have to rush out and dump a great deal of money into electronics right off the bat.
    the whole point for me was to find a solution to the problem i was having with the Kenwood speakers.
    they seem to be becoming shrill and are now fatiguing.
    at first i thought it was my dlp projector, but have since realized it was the sound end causing the problems.
    i really couldn't make it thru a 2 hr movie anymore...i want to get up and do something else after an hour.

    the distortion issue i may be blowing up more than is warranted. any problems i heard were not consitent there and could very well be recording related ( i believe it was during the Whirling Dervish track on Ultra Lounges Mondo Exotica)

    now, the biggest problem i have with HT i found with X-Men.
    besides the sounds lacking the crisp crunch i heard on the rockets (the soundtrack on them was almost another physical object in the room...you felt like you could almost reach out and grab it...it had a tremendous physical presance. i LOVED that! the Ascends on the other hand, seem much more like the maggies i tried, in both their good and not so good aspects), there were several instances where i actually had to strain to hear the effects from the speakers.
    especially in the scene with Wolverine first meeting Xavier and the others in his office and the end of that scene where Xaviers voice is in his head and bouncing around the room.
    at normal volume for the rest of the soundtrack, i could barely hear these.

    i should just shut up already and hook up the HK.
    after i log off i'll start going thru the manual.

    i will say, first thing in the morning i plan to be on the phone w/ Dave ordering 3 200's.
    i'm very curious as to how a 200 will compare to the 170 as a center, and am equally curious to how a timbre matched system of 5 quality speakers will sound.
    This was a drawback to the Rockets for me, as i would never have been able to use any of the speakers in the line for rears due to serious space limitation in the back of the room.
    the 200s like like they'll be much much easier to fit in.
    don't think i can swing the HSU sub now, but this isn't a concern as my Kenwood seems to be adequete for the time being .
     
  11. David*RT

    David*RT Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul,
    Don't underestimate the power of the front end. Front end is EVERYTHING.
    Comparing NAD equipment to Kenwood makes a WORLD of difference. I know, since I've owned both.
    I've also owned Diva and Axiom and preferred the Ascends by a good amount. The problem doesn't lie in the Ascends, it lies in the front end.
    Remind yourself that he comparison you did can't be taken seriously as the front end was different between the Rockets & Ascends--yes, the front end is that important. [​IMG]
    You shouldn't feel shorted by the Ascends. In a fair comparison, my top dollar would be in the Ascends as I've listened to so many speakers of these types (into the thousands) by now to make a fair well-informed assessment. [​IMG]
     
  12. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    of course, now i have to retract some of my earlier comments.
    after hooking up the HK520 i find that the Ascends don't seem so warm anymore.
    if anything they are leaning to bright.
    i just spent about 5 hours straight watching movie material, and no real fatigue set in, although few times sounds came across as a little piercing.


    the concerns i had about them for HT (even for a while after they were hooked up to the HK) are starting to fall away.
    i don't think the center is as weak as initially did (i felt this way for a good amount of time even after i had it hooked up to the HK) although i still can't think of it in the same class as the Rocket center.
    The Rocket system was like a 2000 lb gorilla.
    it really made its presence known.
    the Ascends are much subtler almost sneaky.
    i'm becoming much more satisfied with their HT performance.
    as i was listening, the one word the kept coming to mind tonight was... liquid.
     

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