NHT vs Ascend Acoustics vs nOrh vs Energy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott L, Jul 26, 2001.

  1. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I'm looking to spend no more than $1500 on a 5.1 speaker system. I've been browsing through many threads here and found these 4 are the best values for my price range.
    1) Energy Encore
    2) NHT superones/zeroes & Supercenter (I know they are disctontinued but you can still buy em)
    3) Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 w/Hsu VTF-4 sub
    4) nOrh 5.1
    I haven't auditioned any of these, and the only audio shop I can think of only carries NHT. Any personal recommendations/new suggestions?
    Thanks.
     
  2. BillG

    BillG Agent

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    I've only heard the NHT speakers, so take this with a grain of uncompared salt...
    I used to use a set of NHT SuperOnes as my surround and center speakers, mated to a pair of 1.5 as the main. They were simply wonderful for their size and price.
    I've graduated to NHT 2.9 mains, an AC-2 for the center and the 1.5s moved to the rear. The SuperOnes are now a bedroom system and still sound very good.
     
  3. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    As a former NHT 2.5i, 1.5, and AC-1 owner, and current nOrh 4.0, 7.0, and 9.0 owner, I can tell you with certainty that the nOrh 4.0 speaker package is FAR better than the NHT packages. Not even a little close. Put my NHT stuff up for sale immediately after a friend demo'd the wood 5.1/4.0 setup from nOrh. Ended up getting the marble 4.0's. The marble and ceramic 4.0's are even better than the wood 5.1 and 4.0 setup. Simply amazing - I really don't know how they put out a speaker that is this good at this price. . . . Haven't heard the Ascends, so can't really comment there. . .
    ------------------
    "Remember Sammy Jenkins"
     
  4. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    I agree with Tyson. I have heard the NHTs, but I own the Norhs. I have wood 4.0's with the 4.1 prism center. The soundstage is much wider than the NHT offered (even the new SB2s), much more detailed and full-bodied sound. I haven't heard the others, but for the price, you just can't go wrong with Norh.
    There is a nOrh forum over at Harmonic Discord (http://www.harmonicdiscord.com/forums/) that I have found extremely helpful, but I discovered it after I had already ordered my nOrh package.
    I kid you not when I say these perform like MUCH more expensive speakers.... And they LOOK good too!
    John
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  5. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Scott,
    One more thing... since you are in NoVA, I'm only 2 hours South of where you are. If you'd like to drive down on Sunday (or some other day we could arrange on the side), I'd be happy to demo my stuff.
    I currently have:
    Mains: nOrh 4.0 wood drums (walnut)
    Center: nOrh 4.1 Prism (walnut)
    Surround: nOrh 4.0 wood drums (walnut)
    Subwoofers: Twin SVS 20-39 CS
    Receiver: Onkyo 787
    Today, Fedex is supposed to deliver a black marble center channel (4.0 drum) that will go into the front center position, so hopefully by Sunday I'll have a 6.1 setup arranged, mounted, and calibrated.
    Interested?
    John
    PS. Contact me at work today, or home over the weekend if you're interested.
    Work: john.gates@capitalone.com
    Home: gates_1@msn.com
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  6. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    Scott,
    I can tell ya that you owe it to yourself to listen to the nOrhs, you won't be sorry!!
    Also John has the 4.0 package in wood and in a week or less(I hope) I should have a complete prism package from nOrh myself (6.9s and 4.1s). I strongly urge you to take a short drive down here to see myself or John and I think you will be very pleased.
    Also to let you know we are having a Local HT Meet at my place on 8/25/01 at 1pm you and your family are welcome to attend. We would love to see you there.
    Greg
     
  7. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    Beside you could go with the nOrh 4.0 package for $850 (I believe) or the 5.1 system for $950 and with the extra cash score a nice SVS sub. This combo by far IMHO gives you MAJOR BANG for MINOR BUCKS - more than any other combo that I am aware of.
    In reference to the NHTs, the only other speakers on your liste I have heard, all I can say is that the soundstage, detail and depth of sound was no where near what the nOrhs provide. Again these are my opinions only.
    Greg
     
  8. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Like several others, I'd rank the 4.0 system at the top, followed by the Ascend/HSU one. The ceramic sounds exactly like the marble (from what others have said) yet costs half as much. Doubtful you'll be able to better than that for $850. Then you could get one of the SV subs and you'll be all set. Big bang, little buck. Best money I ever spent.
     
  9. JoelW

    JoelW Stunt Coordinator

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    We've just received a set of nOrh 4.0 speakers this week. In our review, we plan to draw direct comparisons to HomeTheaterDirect Level IIIs, Phase Tech Teatro 4.5s, Ascend Acoustics CBM-170, and the Axiom Audio m3ti (if it arrives in time).
    This is quite a collection of budget speakers, sort of a shoot out of what we think are the best sounding budget speakers out there.
    This shootout is a couple weeks out, just spreading the word.
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    Joel White
    Editor CheapHomeTheater.com
     
  10. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    Very cool. Just one note on the 4.0 as a center from personal experience - make sure to "aim" the tweeter at ear level, especially if the 4.0 center is up higher than the listening position (like on top of a TV). In this case, the back must be raised to the speaker "points" down to ear level at the listening position. Since the 4.0 is a tweeter-over-woofer design, this is critical to clarity. If you sit below it's axis (ie, the tweeter is firing over your head), you will get some muddying of dialogue. Took me a while to figure this out. Oh yeah, I also think they like mid to high volumes much better than low level listening. Very interested to hear what you think. . .
    Did you get the marble, ceramic, or wood 4.0s?
    They need about 80hours breakin before they really open up I have found. . . .
    ------------------
    "Remember Sammy Jenkins"
     
  11. JoelW

    JoelW Stunt Coordinator

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    We got a set of super electric blue ceramics. I've hardly even seen them since we got them in, been a busy week.
    I will say that the first thing I noticed (besides the unusual shape) was their very good off axis sound. Just walking by them in the lab, I was impressed how good they sounded when I was almost directly behind them, much better off axis sound than some of the other speakers in our lab currently.
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    Joel White
    Editor CheapHomeTheater.com
     
  12. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    Joel,
    Thats very true as that is the immediate reaction I had also. I felt as no matter where I was the sound was right where it should be, very nice feeling. I hadn't really seen it to this degree on any other speaker I have heard.
    Greg
     
  13. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    Too bad you don't have an Swan Diva's, like the 2.1's to compare also - I know a LOT of people would be interested in the results of that shootout!
    ------------------
    "Remember Sammy Jenkins"
     
  14. Steve Satch

    Steve Satch Stunt Coordinator

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    Can't wait to read the direct comparison between the nOrh 4.0 and HTD level III (hopefully for music and movies) as those are what I've narrowed my choices to.
    Satch
     
  15. JoelW

    JoelW Stunt Coordinator

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    We've been talking with Swan about getting a set of Diva's, but these things usually take a month to work out the kinks. I haven't heard anything from them in a week or so, if I don't hear from them soon I'll give them another ring.
    I think we'll end up getting a set of review units from them in the near future. I think this "shoot-out" will be very interesting. We've been running the nOrh's 24 hours with a Jazz CD on repeat, but haven't done much official testing. The center channel got lost in shipment and just arrived on Thursday. Its tough to test 5.1 sound when you're missing the center channel.
    I'll be posting a news update on our site as soon as we finalize all the speakers that we are throwing into this head to head comparison, so check back early next week.
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    Joel White
    Editor CheapHomeTheater.com
     
  16. Ian_B

    Ian_B Auditioning

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    Greg S, could you post a review of the Norh prisms when you get them, I'm looking at the 6.9, but can't find a review anywhere. Thanks.
     
  17. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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  18. JoelW

    JoelW Stunt Coordinator

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    Just got word that we can expect a set of Diva 2.1s, a pair of R-3s and a C-3. This could get very interesting...
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    Joel White
    Editor CheapHomeTheater.com
     
  19. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Joel,
    When can we expect to see the results of the "shootout"? I'm very curious, especially about the Swan Diva / nOrh comparison...
    Thanks for the inside scoop!
    John
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  20. JoelW

    JoelW Stunt Coordinator

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    Right now, we're still getting the review units in. We are expecting several of these this week, but that probably means they won't show up until next week.
    We have the nOrh 4.0 and HTD Level III Towers and Bookshelfs in the lab currently.
    We are expecting the following...
    Axiom Audio m3ti Bookshelf Speakers - Just showed up this morning
    Swan Diva 2.1's, R-3s, & C-3s (probably arrive around Aug 8th)
    Ascend Acoustics 5.1 Set (Expected to ship Aug. 1st)
    Also expecting a new Level III sub from HTD and a new sub from Aperion Audio, formerly Edge Audio.
    If you guys have any other speakers you think should be included in our comparison, be sure to send us an email and we'll try to get them included.
    So to answer your question, it should probably be around the 15th of August before this comparison gets finished. In the meantime, we've decided to go ahead and do several independent reviews (i.e. nOrh 4.0 set) and post them before the review. After that, we'll go back and do the shootout with all of the speakers up against each other.
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    Joel White
    Editor CheapHomeTheater.com
    [Edited last by JoelW on July 30, 2001 at 10:11 AM]
     

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