In-Home Speaker Reviews {Emotiva/HSU/Ascend/SVS} - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 92 Old 06-19-2009, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Glad you are enjoying the system


Palladia, FiOS channel 711 here in the LA area, is in 5.1.

OOOps...sorry
well I guess there are some channels but I was surprised most if not all are 5.1.

The channels I listened to were in the 1800 range and they all looked to be stereo. I am always surprised how different songs can vary so much in the transmitted quality as well
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post #92 of 92 Old 09-12-2010, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Muzikal-JRNE View Post

Hello everyone. I just thought I would introduce myself on my first post here. (Skip to the next paragraph if you want to go directly to the start of the speaker comparison. I promise it will not hurt my feelings : ) I have been a home audio enthusiast for over twenty years and dabbled in car audio SQ (sound quality) competing when I was in college. I played oboe and saxophone for 8 years, but had to stop when working on getting my engineering degree was taking up all of my time. I listen to the best high end systems whenever I can, and am always on a never ending quest to find the best audio values in different price ranges. My favorite high end speakers are Martin Logan electrostatics and the Paradigm Signature series. I have enjoyed reading and learning on AVS forum, and now hope I can contribute back to the community and share my experiences with you all.
Cheers, Joe


I thin the asced cmt-340 is a step higher in class than the other speakers and therefore made the comparisons not really fair


For the past month I have been on a mission to find the best less than {$250/each} speakers for my family room music/home theater space. They will be replacing my previous Definitive Technology BP8B mains/LCR-2002 center setup. I will be running the speakers with a subwoofer. Making use of the 30 day in home trials being offered I decided to audition the top (4) I.D. speakers that I could find. I tested all of the speakers in pairs, and used a 100W/ channel stereo receiver to power them. All tone/processing adjustments were set to zero for testing. I spent at least 4 hours of critical listening with each speaker.

I will list the speakers in the order that I received them:


Emotiva ERM-1 {$358/pair shipped}

(I received an unexpected surprise of a 10% off speaker package discount on the ERM-1 speakers. I did not show up when I placed my order online, but I was adjusted on the invoice that was sent to be by Emotiva the next day.)

These speakers appear very high quality and well made. The black satin cabinet is silky smooth, solid and seamless. The multi-way binding posts and tweeter/boundary dip switches are high quality as well. These speakers feature useful and functional switches for tweeter level (-2db/+0db/-2db) and boundary compensation (Off/On). I started my listening session with the tweeter level set to zero and boundary compensation off.

The ERM-1's sound very clear and natural. The main thing that struck me when listening to these speakers was the amazing soundstage and depth that they brought out in almost all recordings. The depth and space around the music was natural and pleasing. The ERM-1's have excellent power handling and output capabilities. I just kept turning up the volume and they kept delivering more clean uncompressed/unstrained sound.

On some mediocre quality source material (such as standard definition satellite TV) these speakers did tend to bring out a slight harshness that I found fatiguing. In my room I determined their useful lower extension limits to be around 100Hz which is a little higher than my preferred 80Hz crossover limit when using my subwoofer. These speakers definitely need to be used with a subwoofer (I listened extensively with and without a sub), and integrate well with it.


HSU-HB1 mk2{$334/pair shipped}

These speakers have a nice black satin finish and solid feel to them. Their magnetic grill is robust and stays in place nicely. With the speaker grills off, I positioned each HB1 toed in (as per recommended by Dr. HSU) so that I could just see the outside face of each speaker. It is said that with the horn design this more extreme toe-in than normal creates a wide sweet spot and excellent imaging, and it does. The HB1's have a very well balanced frequency response and sound excellent. These are also the only speakers out of the group that I could happily listen to without a subwoofer. They will still greatly benefit from a good subwoofer, but have enough low end extension and output to be enjoyable on their own.

Now their Achilles Heel the speaker grill kills the sound! The fabric is very thick and durable, but it just makes the speaker sound like well someone put a thick piece of cloth over it. There is an upside to everything though. Out of all of the speakers in this group the HB1's are made for being used without their grill. The tweeter is deeply recessed into the horn and it has a clear protective cross-hair shaped cover over it (I would not be worried about curious little fingers being able to press in the tweeter). With its magnetic grill design there are no post holes, and everything looks nice and clean.


Ascend CMT-340 SE B-Stock {$488/pair shipped}

These speakers do not have the smooth satin black finish of the other speakers in the group, and they feel less solid with the knuckle rap test than the others. They do have basic but clean fit and finish. I will say that I was a little worried about ordering a B-Stock item, but I could not find anything cosmetically or sonically wrong with either speaker. I would not hesitate to recommend someone ordering B-Stock from Ascend.

The CMT-340 SE speakers sound fantastic. They are noticeably the most efficient speakers of the group and have great dynamics. They have descent bass extension (second only to the HB1s) and at the other end of the spectrum, a detailed and revealing top end.

The midrange is very nice and clear, but at the upper end (500Hz - 2000Hz) it is about 2 or 3db above neutral, and can present itself as being a little forward/bright sounding. It would though be a simple fix for me to equalize it out using the built in Audyssey EQ in my receiver.


SVS - SCS-01(M) {$371/pair shipped}

These speakers have a nice black satin finish and solid feel to them. They have a similar [W-T-W] design as the CMT-340s, but are asymmetric in the fact that the tweeter is offset from the long axis centerline of the cabinet.

The SCS-01(M) speakers sound very good with their grill on or off, and have a well balanced frequency response. I did a lot of A/B comparisons between the SVS and Ascend speakers. The SCS-01 held its own very well against the more expensive CMT-340s, and sounded very similar across the most of the frequency spectrum. At the very ends of the spectrum the Ascends held a slight edge over the SCS-01s due to the CMT-340s larger woofers at the low end, and its slightly extended response at the highest of frequencies. All in all the SCS-01s did extremely well.

One thing that was apparent during the A/B comparisons was that the sensitivity of the SCS-01s was about 3-4db less efficient than the CMT-340s, which were the most efficient speakers of the group. During my evaluations I never got to a point where I couldn't just turn up the volume a little more to reach the levels that I wanted, but it was an apparent difference nevertheless.


Conclusions:

What my month of evaluating these speakers showed me was that the level of performance available today from these modern, relatively inexpensive speakers is astounding! Each speaker has its strengths and represents an amazing value. The Emotivas offer a soundstage, clean dynamic levels and a variety of useful custom adjustments that is to be reckoned with. The HSUs with their grills off have an exceptionally balanced frequency response and can be enjoyed with or without a sub. The SVSs are the jack of all trades and offer value and versatility that others should strive for. And last but not least, the Ascends offer a bit of magic that makes you forget about the equipment, settings, levels and transports you into the world the sound came from.


P.S. I could keep going on more about the speakers, or go into the recordings and test CDs I used, but I thought I would keep the specifics for any particular questions people might have. So please feel free to ask away. Now I am going to take a break from this addicting forum and go listen to my Ascends : )

Hope you find this post helpful.

Joe

I think the CMT-340 is a step above the others and therefore made th comparison not really fair, The 170 made the the right speaker for the group
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