I am sorry for taking so long to respond guys; I got very ill Sat night and even worse Sunday. Thankfully I am feeling a bit better today.
The GTG was a great time as always. I agree with Terry that Brandon and Erin are always wonderful hosts, and I've got to give a lot of credit to Erin for actually sitting with us and listening to our madness.
It takes quite a woman to put up with that, so Brandon, you've got a keeper buddy! Our hosts made sure we had a nice selection of the finest brews and foods, including a special pulled pork sandwich recipe that Brandon shared with us (sooooo good). Needless to say we were taken very good care of.
All right, on to the sound. First let me start off by saying the Ascend Towers are an awesome speaker for the money. I'll admit right now that while I liked the original Sierra's overall for the price, there was a slightly odd midrange anomaly (upper mids if I remember, but not too distracting), and the tweeter was definitely not among my favorites. I am happy to say that this has been remedied, especially the tweeter issues (which was too dull and dry on the original Sierras). There was still an echoey/overdone sounding midrange, but it may have been a product of room interaction, as moving the speakers close together with no toe-in seemed to reduce the issue significantly. I don't know what in Brandon's room would cause this issue, but I really think it was the room. Due to this we're going to bring the speakers (along with my SongTowers) to Terry's house in the next coming weeks. Terry's room is the best I've ever heard that isn't a showroom at a B&M store, so it should provide a better means for comparison. I have a feeling many of the anomalies we heard Saturday will be significantly reduced or completely removed from our listening tests. With that said, I'd wager the midrange on the Ascend Towers will still sound a little more "in your face" than the other speakers. Terry mentioned this already, saying the mids had more emphasis, of which I agree with. Comparing in his room should put things to rest, and we'll be able to formulate better opinions.
The Ascends had great punch and bass extension considering their size. The Salks were better, but they should be, as they use a TL cabinet design and have larger woofers. Due to that this wasn't really an apples to apples comparison, so that's the last I'll mention the bass.
All in all I think Brandon's persistence of pursuing Dave to build an Ascend Tower paid off. Brandon knew what he wanted and I think Ascend did a great job of fulfilling it. Based on chatting with B and watching his face as he listened, I'd say the the wait was definitely worth it, and he seemed very satisfied with his new babies.
Concerning the measurements, they were not gated or anechoic. We simply wanted to take an in-room response to get a feel for what we were hearing at the listening position. However, as Terry mentioned, the measurements didn't line up at all with what we were hearing, so I wouldn't put too much stock in them. What you're seeing is mostly room interaction, so... For what it's worth, though, Dennis, REW uses a 256k log sweep from 15-20,000Hz at -12dB. That will probably make a lot more sense to you, as you're the crossover designer.
Here is the averaged in-room response of the left and right Ascend Tower speakers, measured with my gear (Behringer ECM8000 and M-Audio MobilePre USB Sound Card). The average takes the response of the left and right speaker and does just that, averages them. This is suppose to give a better picture of what you're actually hearing when you sit in the LP and listen.