Who has Ascends here?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Peter Loan, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. Peter Loan

    Peter Loan Second Unit

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    They are going crazy about these speakers on some of the other boards but don't see much discussion here. I'm thinking about picking up a set of 170s along with their new 340 center. C'mon now, all of you can't have Paradigms (selling mine, look in the hardware for sale section)[​IMG]

    What do you all think of these speakers?

    Oh and sorry for the piss poor grammar in the title.
     
  2. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    I have them and am quite happy - you might have seen me posting over on AVS. There does seem to be a bit of a swell in Ascend talk over there at the moment. Feel free to ask any specific questions.
     
  3. Peter Loan

    Peter Loan Second Unit

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    Brad, have you heard the 340 yet? Is it a definite step up from using a 170 as a center? I do like the idea of using the same speaker for the front soundstage but who knows, the 340 might be that much better.
     
  4. Victor Chan

    Victor Chan Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike,

    I'm the owner of some Ascend Acoustic speakers(www.ascendacoustics.com) (4 CBM-170s and a CMT-340c center) and I would highly recommend them. I was wary of buying speakers online, especially since I did not have the opportunity to hear them. To allay my fears, I took a pair of Ascends with me to compare with a number of speakers from high-end audio shops to see how they stacked up.

    Compared them with the Paradigm Monitor 3s, B&W 601s, B&W CDM-1NTs, Dynaudio Audience 52s and preferred my Ascends to all of these speakers. I would characterize the Ascends as detailed and accurate without being harsh in the treble. At the same time, they were dynamic enough that they definitely captured the immediacy and drive of rock and dance beats. Imaging ability of these things are amazing.

    Here's a thread on another forum that compares the Ascend Acoustics with some other well-regarded online speaker brands including the Axioms (www.axiomaudio.com), Rockets (www.av123.com), and Aperion (www.aperionaudio.com):

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...rocket+aperion

    I doubt you can really do better than the $748 for 5 CBM-170s, or $1198 for a 5.1 setup w/ 5 CBM-170s and a Hsu VTF-2 subwoofer.

    Is it worth it to get the CMT-340c center? I "upgraded" and found that there was but a small improvement in the clarity, but most of the benefits of the new center over the CBM-170 is in the off axis response, where there is much greater dispersion horizontally. If horizontal dispersion is not an issue for you, then I don't think the extra money for the CMT-340c is worth it. I did find that when using a CBM-170 as a center atop a TV, placing it vertical rather than horixontal greatly improved the sound in my situation. So, that's another consideration, if you think that a single bookshelf sticking up on your TV is an eyesore, go with the 340.

    Unfortunately, since you live in CA, you will have to pay sales tax. Input the "xtss" code into the discount code area when you order online, and you'll get free shipping.

    Hope this helps,
    Victor
     
  5. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I've had my 340 longer than almost anyone else outside of Ascend - I received a pre-production model in Jan. I agree with what Victor said about it. It is a minor, but noticable upgrade from the 170 for sound - it would be a big upgrade from using a HTM-200 as a center. In fact, I agree with pretty much everything Victor said including the speaker comparisons.

    While you have to pay sales tax, Ascend is in your neighborhood (if one can call LA a neighborhood). I would send them an e-mail and see if you could stop by and listen to the speakers before buying (although listening in your own home on your own equipment is the best way to go). I haven't met David or Jason in person, but they've always been good to deal with.
     
  6. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Peter,

    I actually have the L/R version of the 340, as well as the center, and using the 170 for surrounds. I used to have the 170's as my mains and the 200's as my surrounds.

    Since you and I are both in the LA area, instead of trying to describe the sound, you are welcome to come over for a listen.

    curtis
     
  7. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Victor,

    I think you need to fix your thread link to AVSForum.

    curtis
     
  8. Jason Garrett

    Jason Garrett Stunt Coordinator

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    I've got 5 of the 170's but I'm a relative newbie to home audio. Not much experience to evaluate them with. I was checking out the Rotel amps the other day at the hi-fi store and they had some B&W bookshelf speakers that the salesman hailed as the best you can buy and I wasn't impressed. They sounded good, but not better than my 170's IMHO. I enojoy female vocalists and they really are spectacular for my needs. I'm very pleased. I just need a sub to go with them......HSU, SVS, or Adire??? I can't decide.

    Good luck in your shopping!
     
  9. Victor Chan

    Victor Chan Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Curtis,

    I remember you mentioning on the AVS forum that the CMT-340 L/R not sounding quite right or cohesive during the shootout at Mad Dog's. What has changed between now and then that you now prefer them over the CBM-170s?

    Victor
     
  10. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Victor,

    Apparently at least one of the speakers I had then had a bad connection in the crossover.

    In my mind, another winner for the guys at Ascend. They may not advertise it because they are selling a lot of 340c's. The cabinets are identical, as well as the drivers, just a small change in the crossover. If you want the speaker, you need to call them directly.

    I just wish I could use the matching stand to make it look like a floorstander. I just don't have the floor space.

    curtis
     
  11. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  12. Jason Garrett

    Jason Garrett Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Lee Bailey

    Lee Bailey Second Unit

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    Jason, it all has to do with what size room are you trying to fill with sound, what volume of sound you want,and how much you want to pay. If your room is 3000 sq ft or under, go with the VTF-2. The PC+ line of SVS can also switch from a high output to deep extension mode through use of plugs for the ports. A 25-31PC+ would probably be enough for your home use.
     
  14. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  15. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    I love my Ascends. I got them for a secondary system and they ended up knocking my Paradigm Mini-Monitors out of the the main system.

    I think the net direct budget speaker shootout that the AVS members did in LA is why there is so much Ascend run on AVS now. That showed a lot of people how good these speakers are and that nothing at that price can compete. I've even seen a post from Mark L. Schifter of Rockets calling them the best deal for the money in the present market. Also remember that people congregate with those of like interests and that happens on the net too. So that is another reason why different boards have their few "favorite" speakers.

    Jason Garrett- I don't think you can go wrong with any of those subs. I'd pick the one that is most aesthetically appealing to you.
     
  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  17. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Lew...what equipment do you have in your setup?
     
  18. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Curtis for my HT I have:
    ·Rocket RS500s in the front (they are rated down 40hz (plus/minus 3dB). In my room they are flat to about 60hz. I got these in preferce to the RS750s, although if I used these more for music rather than HT, I would have got the 750s. I thought that the 550s were a bit more to my tastes for HT.
    ·Rocket RSC200 for the center (rated down to 60hz, which is what I see). This center channel is everything everyone has said. Probably a bit too heavy to put on top of a good many displays.
    ·Rocket RSS300s for the surrounds (also rated to about 60hz and IIRC that is about what I measured). These are dipoles, which I prefer for surround.
    ·No subwoofer. I was all set to go with one from Aidre, but AV123 knocked $200 off their new sub and I have a chance to listen to it this month. The 500s & the 200 handle most everything except the lowest LFE. I discarded a passive sub that I used before I got the new package. It would have not added anything to these speakers.
    ·A fairly ordinary Pioneer receiver that I picked up in Sydney.

    I really like this setup, but in truth there are some others that I liked equally well or very close. The finish on the speakers played a big part in my decision. My wife hates ugly, black boxes (or anything other than fine workmanship in general) and as these were by far the best looking, great sounding speakers (at my price point) that I’d checked out, it was an easy decision.

    Another reason that I would not consider either SVS or Hsu, even though I believe everything I’ve read. Those subs don’t even pass my aesthetic test.

    FWIW, I’m new to 5.1 HT (only had a system for a little over a year), but I’ve listened closely to music for a very long time—but I do not consider myself an sudiophile.
     
  19. Peter Loan

    Peter Loan Second Unit

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    Well I did it. After I posted this, I called up David at Ascend Acoustics and arranged to pick up a a 340 and a pair of 170's for my front soundstage. I've done some light listening and so far, I'm very impressed by these speakers. Exactly the sound I've been looking for...detailed, airy, clean...sound just seems to effortlessly emanate out of these speakers.

    One thing though, these speakers are pretty damn ugly...though plain would be a more apt description. They kind of look like giant computer speakers. The Ascends are the Millennium Falcon of the speaker world, they've got it where it counts. Thankfully, I don't have a wife to convince but when I told my girlfriend I bought a new set of speakers to sample, she did yell at me[​IMG]

    Victor, you were right on about the characteristics of this speaker.

    Curtis, I appreciate your offer, but I don't think I need anymore convincing[​IMG]

    BTW, I'm using the Ascends with a HSU VTF-2 and they blend extremely well together. I've found the HSU to be a good balance between both music and HT performance.
     
  20. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Great Peter!!

    Come 'on....they aren't that ugly!

    Someone from another board put it this way:
    "They are Barbra Streisand of the speaker world. Not much to look at, but one hell of a voice."
     

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