XL-S or Ascend Acoustics

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by steveKlein, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. steveKlein

    steveKlein Agent

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    I'm debating between these brands and can't decide on which will serve me better.

    I'm comparing the whole XL-S 5.1 package (about $800 shipped) versus an Ascend Acoustics package that would consist of:

    2x CBM-170 SE (Fronts)
    1x CBM-170 SE (Center)
    2x CBM-170 SE (Rear)
    1x Hsu STF-2 or PB10-NSD (from SVSound) (Sub)


    The XL-S is system is probably $500 or more cheaper than the other package I've built... but these are the last speakers I plan on buying for 15-20 years, so I think it may be worth the money to get the Ascend Acoustics stuff... but only if it really is better than the XL-S offering. What do you guys think?

    For the record, I'll be using this 90% HT, 10% music and running it all through an Onkyo 703 receiver.

    I'm also looking at the SV SBS-01 package. It looks a lot like the Ascend package, but for a couple hundred dollars less.

    Advice?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    One thing to note, the X-LS don't have a grille, so what you see is what you get.

    For the Ascends, I'd recommend looking at the 340C for a center.

    I haven't heard the X-LSs yet, but they were co-designed by the guy who designed the speakers I currently own (GR Research), and they use similar drivers and tuning as his speakers. They may be on the more laid back side while still detailed, which I like personally, and I expect these guys will be quite good.

    I've heard the Ascends and they are also very good speakers, though I'd say the two will have a different sound to them. The Ascends are extremely detailed, almost analytical, so they will reveal everything - both good and bad. They are a bit on the bright side, but not harsh by any means. I like these speakers.

    The SBS package is pretty good also, though I don't think it will be quite at the level of the other two; close but not quite. For a mostly movie system in a small to medium room though, I do think these guys can hold their own quite well.

    In all honesty, I don't think you could go wrong with either set. How big is your room? There's a fair amoutn of difference between the STF-2 and PB-10 (I've owned the VTF-2 and PB-10)
     
  3. steveKlein

    steveKlein Agent

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    The room is primarily 16x11 with 10' ceilings, so pretty small, but it is also open to a ~50 square foot foyer and a ~125 square foot dining room.

    You can see the exact floorplan here:
    http://www.bristolsouthside.com/rushton.htm

    I'm leaning towards the Ascends package, even though my system will be primarily a movie watching/tv watching/game playing area. From what I've heard the speakers are just awesome (but really, anything would blow me away; I still think my Kenwood HTiB is pretty darn great).

    Now my only question is which Ascends package would you advise:

    CBM-170s for the fronts, center, and rears
    or
    CBM-170s for the fronts, CMT-340 for the center, and HTM-200s for the rears

    I don't think I've got the money to upgrade the center to a 340 and keep the rears at 170s. I've heard the HTM-200s are still VERY serviceable speakers though.

    And just to confirm what you said... you are saying to definitely go with the PB-10 sub over the Hsu STF-2?
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I would definitely go with the PB-10. In terms of sound, you have to consider pretty much the entire open area that it will operate in, so the kitchen, dining and living area would all be included. I had the PB-10 in a larger area than that and it did very respectably.

    I think the Ascends would be a good choice. I don't see an issue with going with the 340 center and 200s for rears, though if you have room for a 170 as a center, it isn't a bad idea either. The 340 will buy you some sensitivity, a bit more dispersion and a bit more bass, which can be beneficial in a center. Another 170 for a center should still work very well though. I use identical speakers all the way around too, it's a great way to go.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Double post
     
  6. Colin Runner

    Colin Runner Agent

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    Have a hot finger there J. Garcia? [​IMG]

    Remember that the center channel is very important for movie dialog and some 5.1 music modes. Stepping up to the 340 and downgrading to the 200 will probably yield the best sound quality for HT. It really depends on what you're after. I don't think you can go wrong at this point, good luck!
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yep, a little trigger happy...[​IMG]

    If you're going to take a step down, I'd do it on the surrounds. They are less important at first and they are probably one of the easiest things to upgrade going forward. Having a good front stage is more important than having the best surrounds.
     
  8. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    hello Steve

    Do you have an on-line link to XL-S speakers?

    googled and nothing found.

    thanks
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  10. SkiingNinja

    SkiingNinja Second Unit

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    Sorry about the sold out status [​IMG] More are due in a couple week and we have added grills. I'll post a photo if anyone is interested!

    Sean

     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'd like to see them with grilles!
     
  12. Brian_cyberbri

    Brian_cyberbri Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    That VTF-2 you had, was it an old down-firing version? From the pics you have, it looks like it wasn't the newest design.

    On the thread on AVSForum (Ascend SE Owner's Thread) where Steve was asking for the same kind of advice, I also suggested the UFW-10 and UFW-12 as good choices.
     
  13. SkiingNinja

    SkiingNinja Second Unit

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    Here is a shot from during prototyping:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. SkiingNinja

    SkiingNinja Second Unit

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    I don't have a final shot yet...sending out for photography as soon as they arrive... but I do have a shot from the new factory in South America...this shot shows the grills as well as the new tower version of the x-ls (x-sls) in a several finishes we are toying with...

    [​IMG]
     
  15. SkiingNinja

    SkiingNinja Second Unit

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    steveKlein,

    In the end, you can't go wrong with either Dave and co. @ Ascend make a great speaker!
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Sean, those grilles look very nice!!

    Brian, yes it was the older version of the VTF-2, but there was no change to the tuning of the cabinet. The MkII with updated driver and amp still will not extend below 20Hz with any authority.
     
  17. Eddie Horton

    Eddie Horton Stunt Coordinator

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    To the OP, I'd go with the 340C, 170's for l and r, and 200's for surrounds if budget constraints prevent you keeping the 170's for surrounds if you get the 340C. The 340 center is worth the extra cost. By the way, I sent you a PM. I live just north of Birmingham and would be willing to give you a demo of CMT-340's, CMT-340C, CBM-170's, and an HSU VTF3-MkII.
     
  18. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    That's a good point regarding the 340C for the center. You never want weak sound for the movie dialogue and skimping on the center channel could lead to that.
     

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