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post #91 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 03:22 PM
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Due to our descriptions of the Ascend speakers causing controversy, I will not be commenting on their sound again until we hold our next GTG, which should be end of April or mid May. Even though I've said it was probably room related I am still catching flack, which I do not appreciate. Until the next GTG, ta ta.

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post #92 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Due to our descriptions of the Ascend speakers causing controversy, I will not be commenting on their sound again until we hold our next GTG, which should be end of April or mid May. Even though I've said it was probably room related I am still catching flack, which I do not appreciate. Until the next GTG, ta ta.

Thanks for the comparisons. I'm curious what the smoothing was on the measurements?

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post #93 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TJHUB View Post

I have heard Nuance's SongTower RT's on many occasions. I'd say they are VERY close to producing the same sound quality that my HT2-TL's produce not including the bass for obvious reasons. I can honestly say that I would never prefer the Ascend Towers over the SongTower RT's. The SongTowers have a much smoother and cleaner presentation than what I heard from the Ascends.

There were without any doubt some room issues going on, and I was not used to the front end electronics. Again, even my speakers were not sounding anything like what I'm used to hearing. I'll be able to really give an opinion once the Ascend's make it to my house.

Do you think that is due to the soft dome vs. ribbon tweeter that produced such different characteristics? Have you ever heard the normal SongTowers without the ribbon tweeters? If so, how do those compare?

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Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Due to our descriptions of the Ascend speakers causing controversy, I will not be commenting on their sound again until we hold our next GTG, which should be end of April or mid May. Even though I've said it was probably room related I am still catching flack, which I do not appreciate. Until the next GTG, ta ta.

What a bummer. Speakers are all about personal preference; especially with these caliber speakers, one can't really go wrong with either of them. The proof is in the measured frequency response. It's really too bad that sometimes you can't even openly voice an opinion these days.

Does anyone know if the SongTowers Dave purchased were ribbons or the regular ones? It's interesting to see such drastic differences in experience with these two speakers.

Also, can someone list the electronics used in this GTG and the ones TJHUB use so we have an idea what else could be causing such a huge discrepancy in sound.
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post #94 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Due to our descriptions of the Ascend speakers causing controversy, I will not be commenting on their sound again until we hold our next GTG, which should be end of April or mid May. Even though I've said it was probably room related I am still catching flack, which I do not appreciate. Until the next GTG, ta ta.

Speaking (typing?) as one who is very interested in the new Ascend towers, I'm grateful for your contributions here and on the Salk thread, and look forward to your impressions at the next gtg.
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post #95 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 03:54 PM
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Hopefully we will figure out what is going on.

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post #96 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by yelnatsch517 View Post

Does anyone know if the SongTowers Dave purchased were ribbons or the regular ones? It's interesting to see such drastic differences in experience with these two speakers.

Dave didn't purchase them, but they were the regular (soft dome tweeter) version.

Yes...very drastic differences. You heard the Sierra-NrT at my place. I really think the mids on the Tower are a noticeable improvement over it, but toneally they sound very similar.

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post #97 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:02 PM
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[quote=yelnatsch517;20256337]
Quote:


What a bummer. Speakers are all about personal preference; especially with these caliber speakers, one can't really go wrong with either of them. The proof is in the measured frequency response. It's really too bad that sometimes you can't even openly voice an opinion these days.

This is true that when an honest opinion is given that some can take offense to those thoughts. I think we all have SQ preferences in what we like from a speaker as well as specific brands. That can sometime cause tension when a specific speaker is not preferred by some but is by others. The bottom line is if you like the SQ of your speakers and no one else does so be it.

Quote:


Does anyone know if the SongTowers Dave purchased were ribbons or the regular ones? It's interesting to see such drastic differences in experience with these two speakers.

I believe the SongTowers that Dave had on hand at Ascend were the standard dome tweeter which would make sense with the Towers having a dome tweeter.

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post #98 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

This is true that when an honest opinion is given that some can take offense to those thoughts. I think we all have SQ preferences in what we like from a speaker as well as specific brands. That can sometime cause tension when a specific speaker is not preferred by some but is by others. The bottom line is if you like the SQ of your speakers and no one else does so be it.

Agreed, but in this case, when words like "harsh" and "echo" are used in another thread, it attaches negativity instead of preference. It could be the room, but it did not seem to have the same effect on the Salks....of course there are different room interactions.

but if that is what was heard...then I truly think something was wrong with the speaker based on what I heard.

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post #99 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:15 PM
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[quote=Bill Mac;20256450]
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Originally Posted by yelnatsch517 View Post


This is true that when an honest opinion is given that some can take offense to those thoughts. I think we all have SQ preferences in what we like from a speaker as well as specific brands. That can sometime cause tension when a specific speaker is not preferred by some but is by others. The bottom line is if you like the SQ of your speakers and no one else does so be it.



I believe the SongTowers that Dave had on hand at Ascend were the standard dome tweeter which would make sense with the Towers having a dome tweeter.

Bill

No offense taken here. No attacks intended. Just throwing a possible reason for the major difference in the two speakers. Just my thoughts. I have no dog in the hunt!

Nuance, if you say you have heard many speakers with and without dedicated mid drivers, so be it. I have no reason to doubt you. Having heard many myself I am naturally curious about the reasons for the difference. I am not in the $2K+ tower speaker market, so it's just interesting for me to follow what develops here.

I heard a pair of Salk open baffle floorstanders just before winter began last year. Very nice. Nothing negative to say based on my initial audition. The guy actually drove to Michigan to personally pick them up in a snow storm, with his wife!
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post #100 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Hopefully we will figure out what is going on.

Curtis, the pic you posted on the Salk thread is a broken link but from your description, the towers were obviously closer to the walls when you heard them than at the gtg discussed in this thread. I really do wonder whether this is merely a baffle step issue and that perhaps Dave has designed the towers for optimal performance closer to the walls than is typical for tower speakers, allowing for the fact that they will often be incorporated into HT systems where space is usually "tighter".
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post #101 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryMB View Post

Curtis, the pic you posted on the Salk thread is a broken link but from your description, the towers were obviously closer to the walls when you heard them than at the gtg discussed in this thread. I really do wonder whether this is merely a baffle step issue and that perhaps Dave has designed the towers for optimal performance closer to the walls than is typical for tower speakers, allowing for the fact that they will often be incorporated into HT systems where space is usually "tighter".

Not so sure about that, but I am sure Dave will answer. I heard the Songtower in the same position...and there certainly nothing drastic in that baffle step would change in regard to "harshness" and "echo". Dave has also posted pseudo-anechoic measurements on the Ascend forum.

Try this link:
http://changpics.smugmug.com/Other/A...8_HwVgR-XL.jpg

I fixed the link in the Salk thread.

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post #102 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:26 PM
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That link works much better... thanks. The towers in the pic look to be about the same distance from the walls as I would likely place them, so the fact that they were so well received under those circumstances is promising.

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I am sure Dave will answer...

I'm counting on it.
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post #103 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kwarny View Post

Thanks for the comparisons. I'm curious what the smoothing was on the measurements?

That's a bummer man. But I don't blame you.


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Originally Posted by yelnatsch517 View Post

Do you think that is due to the soft dome vs. ribbon tweeter that produced such different characteristics? Have you ever heard the normal SongTowers without the ribbon tweeters? If so, how do those compare?

Also, can someone list the electronics used in this GTG and the ones TJHUB use so we have an idea what else could be causing such a huge discrepancy in sound.

I would guess the soft dome tweeter may very well have been the issue, possibly not. I'm not a speaker designer, but maybe Dave F. can comment?

I have never heard the SongTowers with the dome tweeter. The only pair I have heard are Nuance's ribbon tweeter version. I have heard them many times and in different rooms. I would like to hear the standard version one day.

I have spent the 2 years putting together a setup that I think is about as good as it gets within my budget. There were times I was very unhappy and really struggled. Then I stumbled upon a mix of gear that just works very well together:

Source: Squeezebox Duet (stock) with glass toslink cable
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Agreed, but in this case, when words like "harsh" and "echo" are used in another thread, it attaches negativity instead of preference. It could be the room, but it did not seem to have the same effect on the Salks....of course there are different room interactions.

Curtis:

I consider you a pretty good guy and a great contributer to this forum for many years. I too heard what Nuance is trying to describe. I haven't gotten over to that other thread yet, but I will. There was sort of an odd distortion to the upper midrange. It was not evident in every track, but it was in many. It was worse when we first arrived, and moving the speakers seemed to cut it back some. To me it was like the tweeters were a little soft and the upper midrange came off a bit harsh. Maybe it's not the "midrange" and more the lower treble? I just don't know. What I do know is what I heard, and Nuance heard it too.

For the record, I will state this AGAIN: my speakers didn't sound right either. They sounded very different and nothing I'd write home about. Did I like them over the Ascend's? YES! Do I think the Ascend's were good? YES! Would I pay an extra $2k for the Salk's over the Ascend's? YES!!

I'm sorry Brandon, but I have to make this statement because it's being drawn out. I do believe a large part of the issue is Brandon's front end electronics. He runs the analog outs of his Squeezebox Touch. I tried the Touch and didn't like it at all. I thought the analog outs were harsh and had a collapsed sound stage (much of what I heard at the GTG). Tonally, the Touch is only OK. Brandon has a nice preamp (Parasound 2100) and as I used to own one, I don't think that's causing any issues. I don't know about his Proceed (spelling?) amp. I was in the camp at one time that a well made amp is fine; not any more! My setup really came together with my final electonics purchase, my Odyssey amps. But that's a long story for another thread.

Nuance and I discussed this at length. We both had a very hard time truly judging the speakers at the GTG because of all of this. I really want Brandon (Merrymaid) to hear my speakers at my house as well as his Ascend Towers. For me, I'll be able to describe the differences in detail when that happens.

For Brandon, I can see why he likes the Ascend Towers very much. They work well with the type of music I think he listens to most. They are a HUGE improvement over the original Sierra-1's he previously used. I do think he needs to improve some of his front end electonics, but every time he tries something, he doesn't hear the improvement. I'm fairly certain I would. Take that for what you will.

A lot of answers will come from the next GTG. Maybe everything will change. Who knows?
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post #104 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 06:36 PM
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Oh great, now I have to go back on my statement to not talk about the speakers, but for good cause. Let me explain.

I agree with Terry (TJHUB); couldn't have worded it better myself. Please know that overall the speakers were pretty darn good, and a drastic improvement over the Sierra1-'s. The echoness could very well have been the very low high frequencies and I was just struggling to determine the difference due to the room interaction. My ears aren't perfect. As I've continuously stated, the room was most certainly at play; I am not bashing the speakers. If the echo/harshness was in fact the lower HF's, that would make a lot of sense since the tweeter is a dome and its dispersion most likely interacted with the room in a different way than the LCY ribbon tweeter. This would also explain why the Salk's didn't suffer from this oddity. As most of you already know, ribbon tweeters have less vertical dispersion than dome tweeters, so it's very possible the ceiling in Brandon's home was reeking havoc on the lower treble. Remember, as I clearly stated before, moving the speakers closer together drastically reduced the effect, but didn't completely alleviate it. I am confident that the speakers will sound completely different in Terry's larger, treated room.

And now for the most important parts of this post:

If you're looking to the opinions of the members of this GTG (or any forum) to base your purchasing decisions on, stop right now! You just cannot do that, and you really need to audition the speakers yourself, even if it is in someone else's home. No, it won't tell you how they'll sound in your room, but you'll somewhat get an idea. Do not buy blind - that's my advice.

If you've pre-ordered the Sierra Towers do NOT cancel that order. The speakers are good performers in their respective price range, and you owe it to yourself to try them out. Ascend offers a 30-day trial period, so what's not to like? Go for it! Had Brandon not ordered a pair and lived so close to me, I might have snagged a pair down the road for comparison purposes. The cost of shipping is well worth the chance to audition speakers in your own home. It's a no brainer IMO!

Okay, so to clarify, the reason I went back on what I said was to once again plead with you folks NOT to take much stock in our results from this past weekend. Terry's Salk's sounded nothing like they do in his house (I've heard them many times)
, and my SongTower's sounded completely different the last time I took them to Brandon's home.

Brandon, I didn't dislike the speakers at all; I disliked what the room was doing to them. I heard amazing potential, which was smeared by the room interaction IMO. That's why we played with placement so much when we arrived (it was evident upon first firing the speakers up that the room was at play in a negative way). And look what happened - things sounded better. I meant what I said when I stated they are an awesome speaker. Really folks, in a foreign environment ANYTHING can be at play and have a negative impact on sound. I cannot pinpoint what it was at B's home, but something wasn't right, and as I've clearly stated, it was probably the room. This will be confirmed soon, possibly April 30th (so far Brandon, myself (the other Brandon) and Terry are all available that weekend).

I hope this all makes sense and that you definitely give the Ascend Towers a listen, and Salk's stuff, of course. Remember, even if I don't like the Ascend Towers at the next GTG, you might love them. You all know that I love my ST's, but you might hate them. So you owe it to yourself to audition the Ascend's if you're interested; the Salk's if you're curious; ANY speaker that you desire. You never know which will blow your mind.

That is all.

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post #105 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJHUB View Post

Curtis:

I consider you a pretty good guy and a great contributer to this forum for many years. I too heard what Nuance is trying to describe. I haven't gotten over to that other thread yet, but I will. There was sort of an odd distortion to the upper midrange. It was not evident in every track, but it was in many. It was worse when we first arrived, and moving the speakers seemed to cut it back some. To me it was like the tweeters were a little soft and the upper midrange came off a bit harsh. Maybe it's not the "midrange" and more the lower treble? I just don't know. What I do know is what I heard, and Nuance heard it too.

For the record, I will state this AGAIN: my speakers didn't sound right either. They sounded very different and nothing I'd write home about. Did I like them over the Ascend's? YES! Do I think the Ascend's were good? YES! Would I pay an extra $2k for the Salk's over the Ascend's? YES!!

I'm sorry Brandon, but I have to make this statement because it's being drawn out. I do believe a large part of the issue is Brandon's front end electronics. He runs the analog outs of his Squeezebox Touch. I tried the Touch and didn't like it at all. I thought the analog outs were harsh and had a collapsed sound stage (much of what I heard at the GTG). Tonally, the Touch is only OK. Brandon has a nice preamp (Parasound 2100) and as I used to own one, I don't think that's causing any issues. I don't know about his Proceed (spelling?) amp. I was in the camp at one time that a well made amp is fine; not any more! My setup really came together with my final electonics purchase, my Odyssey amps. But that's a long story for another thread.

Nuance and I discussed this at length. We both had a very hard time truly judging the speakers at the GTG because of all of this. I really want Brandon (Merrymaid) to hear my speakers at my house as well as his Ascend Towers. For me, I'll be able to describe the differences in detail when that happens.

For Brandon, I can see why he likes the Ascend Towers very much. They work well with the type of music I think he listens to most. They are a HUGE improvement over the original Sierra-1's he previously used. I do think he needs to improve some of his front end electonics, but every time he tries something, he doesn't hear the improvement. I'm fairly certain I would. Take that for what you will.

A lot of answers will come from the next GTG. Maybe everything will change. Who knows?

Thanks TJ...I appreciate that description.

What anomalies did you hear with the Salks in this situation?

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post #106 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Thanks TJ...I appreciate that description.

What anomalies did you hear with the Salks in this situation?

A lack of clarity mainly, but also limited sound stage and a little separation. The overall tone seemed off as well. I didn't detect any distortion sounds like was coming from the Ascend's though.

I think Nuance is right, the room was part of the problem. We know this because moving the speakers closer together seemed to clean them up a bit. We started the whole day trying to find the best spot for the speakers knowing that there were room issues from past GTG's. I thought we did a good job. What's funny is that there is no obvious room issues that I could identify. Brandon has a beautiful home and the room is of decent size. I'm surprised it seems to have issues.

This is also why I'm putting some blame on the electronics used. Some of the sound issues reminded me of things I heard in my room in the past.

I really wish I was better at describing the sound we heard. Just know that it was clear to Nuance and I.
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post #107 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Oh great, now I have to go back on my statement to not talk about the speakers, but for good cause. Let me explain.

I agree with Terry (TJHUB); couldn't have worded it better myself. Please know that overall the speakers were pretty darn good, and a drastic improvement over the Sierra1-'s. The echoness could very well have been the very low high frequencies and I was just struggling to determine the difference due to the room interaction. My ears aren't perfect. As I've continuously stated, the room was most certainly at play; I am not bashing the speakers. If the echo/harshness was in fact the lower HF's, that would make a lot of sense since the tweeter is a dome and its dispersion most likely interacted with the room in a different way than the LCY ribbon tweeter. This would also explain why the Salk's didn't suffer from this oddity. As most of you already know, ribbon tweeters have less vertical dispersion than dome tweeters, so it's very possible the ceiling in Brandon's home was reeking havoc on the lower treble. Remember, as I clearly stated before, moving the speakers closer together drastically reduced the effect, but didn't completely alleviate it. I am confident that the speakers will sound completely different in Terry's larger, treated room.

And now for the most important parts of this post:

If you're looking to the opinions of the members of this GTG (or any forum) to base your purchasing decisions on, stop right now! You just cannot do that, and you really need to audition the speakers yourself, even if it is in someone else's home. No, it won't tell you how they'll sound in your room, but you'll somewhat get an idea. Do not buy blind - that's my advice.

If you've pre-ordered the Sierra Towers do NOT cancel that order. The speakers are good performers in their respective price range, and you owe it to yourself to try them out. Ascend offers a 30-day trial period, so what's not to like? Go for it! Had Brandon not ordered a pair and lived so close to me, I might have snagged a pair down the road for comparison purposes. The cost of shipping is well worth the chance to audition speakers in your own home. It's a no brainer IMO!

Okay, so to clarify, the reason I went back on what I said was to once again plead with you folks NOT to take much stock in our results from this past weekend. Terry's Salk's sounded nothing like they do in his house (I've heard them many times)
, and my SongTower's sounded completely different the last time I took them to Brandon's home.

Brandon, I didn't dislike the speakers at all; I disliked what the room was doing to them. I heard amazing potential, which was smeared by the room interaction IMO. That's why we played with placement so much when we arrived (it was evident upon first firing the speakers up that the room was at play in a negative way). And look what happened - things sounded better. I meant what I said when I stated they are an awesome speaker. Really folks, in a foreign environment ANYTHING can be at play and have a negative impact on sound. I cannot pinpoint what it was at B's home, but something wasn't right, and as I've clearly stated, it was probably the room. This will be confirmed soon, possibly April 30th (so far Brandon, myself (the other Brandon) and Terry are all available that weekend).

I hope this all makes sense and that you definitely give the Ascend Towers a listen, and Salk's stuff, of course. Remember, even if I don't like the Ascend Towers at the next GTG, you might love them. You all know that I love my ST's, but you might hate them. So you owe it to yourself to audition the Ascend's if you're interested; the Salk's if you're curious; ANY speaker that you desire. You never know which will blow your mind.

That is all.

Nicely stated. I completely agree.
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post #108 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh great, now I have to go back on my statement to not talk about the speakers, but for good cause. Let me explain.

I agree with Terry (TJHUB); couldn't have worded it better myself. Please know that overall the speakers were pretty darn good, and a drastic improvement over the Sierra1-'s. The echoness could very well have been the very low high frequencies and I was just struggling to determine the difference due to the room interaction. My ears aren't perfect. As I've continuously stated, the room was most certainly at play; I am not bashing the speakers. If the echo/harshness was in fact the lower HF's, that would make a lot of sense since the tweeter is a dome and its dispersion most likely interacted with the room in a different way than the LCY ribbon tweeter. This would also explain why the Salk's didn't suffer from this oddity. As most of you already know, ribbon tweeters have less vertical dispersion than dome tweeters, so it's very possible the ceiling in Brandon's home was reeking havoc on the lower treble. Remember, as I clearly stated before, moving the speakers closer together drastically reduced the effect, but didn't completely alleviate it. I am confident that the speakers will sound completely different in Terry's larger, treated room.

And now for the most important parts of this post:

If you're looking to the opinions of the members of this GTG (or any forum) to base your purchasing decisions on, stop right now! You just cannot do that, and you really need to audition the speakers yourself, even if it is in someone else's home. No, it won't tell you how they'll sound in your room, but you'll somewhat get an idea. Do not buy blind - that's my advice.

If you've pre-ordered the Sierra Towers do NOT cancel that order. The speakers are good performers in their respective price range, and you owe it to yourself to try them out. Ascend offers a 30-day trial period, so what's not to like? Go for it! Had Brandon not ordered a pair and lived so close to me, I might have snagged a pair down the road for comparison purposes. The cost of shipping is well worth the chance to audition speakers in your own home. It's a no brainer IMO!

Okay, so to clarify, the reason I went back on what I said was to once again plead with you folks NOT to take much stock in our results from this past weekend. Terry's Salk's sounded nothing like they do in his house (I've heard them many times)
, and my SongTower's sounded completely different the last time I took them to Brandon's home.

Brandon, I didn't dislike the speakers at all; I disliked what the room was doing to them. I heard amazing potential, which was smeared by the room interaction IMO. That's why we played with placement so much when we arrived (it was evident upon first firing the speakers up that the room was at play in a negative way). And look what happened - things sounded better. I meant what I said when I stated they are an awesome speaker. Really folks, in a foreign environment ANYTHING can be at play and have a negative impact on sound. I cannot pinpoint what it was at B's home, but something wasn't right, and as I've clearly stated, it was probably the room. This will be confirmed soon, possibly April 30th (so far Brandon, myself (the other Brandon) and Terry are all available that weekend).

I hope this all makes sense and that you definitely give the Ascend Towers a listen, and Salk's stuff, of course. Remember, even if I don't like the Ascend Towers at the next GTG, you might love them. You all know that I love my ST's, but you might hate them. So you owe it to yourself to audition the Ascend's if you're interested; the Salk's if you're curious; ANY speaker that you desire. You never know which will blow your mind.

That is all.

Great Post B! I will continue listening more and focusing on the areas you and Terry mentioned. I do believe part of it has to be room related so hopefully at Terry's place we shall get a better understanding of how they sound in a different environment.

I also should bring up a point that has not really been mentioned. I may have been accustomed to my rooms "sound" even with my old sierras so the new Towers may have been an improvement(all frequencies), but some of the room anomalies will of course still exist. Being I have not heard tons of speakers in different environments, maybe I am used to this sound even though it may not be "ideal" or even very good at all? When you live in a home with really no placement options, you learn to adjust and live with it no mater what. If you read my first full review of the Towers you will notice I did hear improvements in mid range and the highs over the sierras and so did you two, but the other anomalies may have still existed. If I recall, I bet when you guys heard the sierras, did they have similar issues?

Now you guys have me pumped for the next GTG

Terry,
Regarding my front end, I admit I struggle to notice the subtle differences that may add up to improved soundstage, imaging ,detail, etc by adding DAC's, different amps and so on. I think one needs to try all different kinds of options and really learn how to listen for these changes in hopes of improving the system little by little. I hope your GTG does not end up being an expensive one for me
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post #109 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 08:12 PM
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Great Post B! I will continue listening more and focusing on the areas you and Terry mentioned. I do believe part of it has to be room related so hopefully at Terry's place we shall get a better understanding of how they sound in a different environment.

I also should bring up a point that has not really been mentioned. I may have been accustomed to my rooms "sound" even with my old sierras so the new Towers may have been an improvement(all frequencies), but some of the room anomalies will of course still exist. Being I have not heard tons of speakers in different environments, maybe I am used to this sound even though it may not be "ideal" or even very good at all? When you live in a home with really no placement options, you learn to adjust and live with it no mater what. If you read my first full review of the Towers you will notice I did hear improvements in mid range and the highs over the sierras and so did you two, but the other anomalies may have still existed. If I recall, I bet when you guys heard the sierras, did they have similar issues?

Now you guys have me pumped for the next GTG

Terry,
Regarding my front end, I admit I struggle to notice the subtle differences that may add up to improved soundstage, imaging ,detail, etc by adding DAC's, different amps and so on. I think one needs to try all different kinds of options and really learn how to listen for these changes in hopes of improving the system little by little. I hope your GTG does not end up being an expensive one for me

You bring up an interesting point Brandon. Being used to the sound of your room would play a big role in why you don't notice the same things we do. It may also be the reason why you don't seem to hear differences in electronics if you room is affecting or limiting the differences. This is why it should be very interesting for you to hear your speakers in my room.

As far as the Sierra vs. your Towers, yes we heard issues we related to the room, but the Towers are a clearly better speaker than the Sierra in my opinion. At least in comparison to the original version of the tweeter.

I admit I would very disappointed if you're not completely blown away by the sound of my setup, but it would be in your best interest. For me, once I hear something "better", I can't stop until I achieve it in my own setup. That is rarely easy! So my hope for you is that you don't hear anything better than what you hear at home; or maybe you'll think my setup sucks.
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post #110 of 1777 Old 04-04-2011, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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You bring up an interesting point Brandon. Being used to the sound of your room would play a big role in why you don't notice the same things we do. It may also be the reason why you don't seem to hear differences in electronics if you room is affecting or limiting the differences. This is why it should be very interesting for you to hear your speakers in my room.

As far as the Sierra vs. your Towers, yes we heard issues we related to the room, but the Towers are a clearly better speaker than the Sierra in my opinion. At least in comparison to the original version of the tweeter.

I admit I would very disappointed if you're not completely blown away by the sound of my setup, but it would be in your best interest. For me, once I hear something "better", I can't stop until I achieve it in my own setup. That is rarely easy! So my hope for you is that you don't hear anything better than what you hear at home; or maybe you'll think my setup sucks.

Thanks Terry! That might be the answer as to what I think is "normal sounding" in my room, I feel a little better now...ha!

Actually, I want my Towers to sound better at your place. This way, I know for certain, they have potential and are not flawed. I plan to move someday and can always slowly start tweaking my front end as you have done. I look at the GTG at your place as a great tool for me moving forward. I enjoy the Towers now so if they sound improved in a different environment, its something to look forward to, exciting actually!
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post #111 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 02:06 AM
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Hi Guys,

I know many of you are waiting for some form of response from me regarding some of the comments made.

I am not quite sure what to say only that of the 30+ people who have auditioned the towers thus far (the majority of which were not Ascend or Salk owners), none of the comments we received were even remotely similar to Nuance's and TJHUB's, especially regarding a harsh and echoey midrange. Some of these listeners listened to Brandon's exact speakers as we held them a bit longer than anticipated to accommodate additional auditions.

Based on anechoic measurements, the midrange is certainly not hot - in fact, the anechoic measurements and the in-room measurements taken at this GTG show an extremely well balanced loudspeaker. I will say that in my own experience, I found the midrange to be slightly more forward than the Song Towers (and I personally preferred it that way) but I have not heard the HT2 speakers so I can't comment on them.

There are two important points that I need to stress --- one is that Brandon is extremely happy with his speakers and the second is a quote from TJHUB:

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Originally Posted by TJHUB View Post

I really need to preface my following comments regarding the sound of the Ascend Towers vs. my Salk HT2-TL's by stating that my speakers sounded VERY different in Brandon's room. The room plays a major role in that, but I also feel it has to do with the front end electronics. I've spent a lot of time and money getting my Salk's to deliver a sound that I think is as close to perfect as I'll get with my budget. I am VERY happy with my setup.

I struggled listening to my Salk's due the significant difference in sound.

It is very important to understand that what we are used to listening to becomes our own de-facto standard of what sounds right. Never has there been more evidence of this than here - the exact same speakers but in a different room and different electronics - were now hard to listen to in comparison to what Terry is used to listening to, despite what I would consider as impressive in-room measurements from both speakers.

Based on Terry's comments (TJHUB), things did not sound right to him, especially from his own speakers (of which he is most familiar with). Based on some of Terry's other comments, he has gone to great lengths with his speakers, electronics and room to produce a sound that is close to perfect for his very specific tastes. Based on this, I strongly doubt he would prefer any loudspeaker over what he has now and he shouldn't nor should anyone expect him to.

Attached is an in-room measurement of one of Brandon's towers in our listening room (15 feet wide x 21 feet long) taken right before we shipped them. Microphone distance is 2m and mic height is centered between the mid-woofer and tweeter (ear-level for most listeners when seated). The speaker was positioned 3 feet away from the wall behind it.

You will notice that this measurement closely correlates with the in-room measurement taken at the GTG. It is smoothed to 1/6 octave. The two large dips, one at 70Hz and the other being 2 octaves higher are room related.

Second measurement is anechoic, as taken in our production facility also prior to shipping. Mic distance is 1 meter, also centered between the mid-woofer and tweeter. This response is only accurate down to about 250Hz.

Our measurement gear is true reference quality, consisting of a MLSSA 2000 with RCAI & SPO combined with an ACO Pacific 7012 mic. We used a fully calibrated Earthworks M30BX mic for the in-room measurement, a considerably less costly mic that I feel more comfortable with moving around compared to the ACO

I certainly don't want controversy or any form of conflict with Salk owners - those days of forum bickering bring back bad memories. Anyone is always welcome here at our facility to give the towers a listen and to draw their own conclusions and even take measurements. As mentioned, we have had many listening sessions here with many non-owners of either brands. While not publicized (I try hard to shy away from situations that will most certainly result in online controversy,) the results of these sessions were quite different from this particular session. I do not know if Brandon's room or electronics are either good or bad just as I do not know how well our towers will perform in a room and with equipment that, as Terry stated, has been optimized to bring out the best in his HT2's.

My interpretations of the results were that Brandon loves his speakers (my only concern at this point) and that Nuance and TJHUB were not overly impressed with either the Ascend Towers or the HT2's that day

Having said all that, there is something that does concern me slightly -- and that is with the rather significant difference between the measurements of the left Tower and the right Tower in the 40 - 90Hz range and again in the 400-600Hz range as shown here:



This can certainly be due to room acoustics and I suspect that this is indeed the case, but I would ask that Brandon make sure of it and take measurements of both speakers in the exact same position, just to make sure that something in the crossover did not come loose in shipping. Again, I strongly doubt that this is the case but it is something that should be verified. If it is too difficult, I would like to see these same measurements of the HT2's to see if they too exhibit the same difference between the left and right speaker.

Below are the requested measurements.
LL
LL

David Fabrikant

audio professional and soft spoken representative of www.AscendAcoustics.com

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post #112 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 04:51 AM
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Dave:

Great post. Of course I never expected less as you are a first class guy.

I think you did a great job of summing up what was going on at the GTG. It's no secret, even to Brandon, that Nuance and I struggle with his room. Things always sound very different from what we are used to hearing. Nuance and I have now both had our speakers at Brandon's and we both felt they sounded very different from what we are used to hearing, but none of that changes how different the two speakers sounded in the same location of the same room with the same electronics.

As far as the measurements go, we mainly took the measurements out of loose curiosity and to determine if a nasty bass peak I have in my room is truly room related or somehow speaker related. Frankly we shouldn't post the measurements from our primitive gear. It just seems to stir up too much controversy from the general public and you speaker designers. Nuance and I have discussed this at length, but we really only use our measurements to EQ bass below 100Hz. It should really stay that way. I can also tell you that the difference in the measurements between the left and right speaker is easily room related. The right speaker has a completely different set of boundaries than the left speaker. I get the same type of thing measuring in my room. I doubt that there is any wrong with the Ascend Towers.

One comment that I see all too often with people is that I have assembled a system to my personal tastes. I don't see it that way at all. Maybe that's what happens naturally, but then doesn't that happen to everyone including you Dave? You even stated that you prefer the more forward midrange presentation of your Towers over what you heard in the Salk's. What I want to let everyone know is that what catapulted my setup into pure bliss is finding ultimate CLARITY.

As I tried various pieces of audio gear, I found that some seemed to present a blurred or distorted sort of sound. This affected the sound in many ways. Sound stage width and depth, separation, and micro dynamics more than overall tonality. As things progressed in a good direction, it became more evident what I was missing. I don't think most people realize what they are missing until they hear it. That's what happens to me. When I found pieces of gear that delivered a blacker background (lower noise floor) with a very clear presentation, things like stage width and depth, separation, and micro dynamics fell into place. When you hear this, the sound becomes amazing and you get a real attachment to it. I can hear the room ambiance and the smallest details that make music more interesting to listen to. These are the things that make up the sound I look for, and that's nothing I think falls into a "taste" preference.

I'm expecting to get the most out of the Ascend Towers in my room. Not that my room doesn't have it's problems, but like Nuance has stated, I have yet to hear a better room. For that, I feel very lucky. I also believe my front end electronics work very well and should bring only good things to any speaker (hopefully).
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post #113 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 06:21 AM
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Dave:

Great post. Of course I never expected less as you are a first class guy.

I think you did a great job of summing up what was going on at the GTG. It's no secret, even to Brandon, that Nuance and I struggle with his room. Things always sound very different from what we are used to hearing. Nuance and I have now both had our speakers at Brandon's and we both felt they sounded very different from what we are used to hearing, but none of that changes how different the two speakers sounded in the same location of the same room with the same electronics.

As far as the measurements go, we mainly took the measurements out of loose curiosity and to determine if a nasty bass peak I have in my room is truly room related or somehow speaker related. Frankly we shouldn't post the measurements from our primitive gear. It just seems to stir up too much controversy from the general public and you speaker designers. Nuance and I have discussed this at length, but we really only use our measurements to EQ bass below 100Hz. It should really stay that way. I can also tell you that the difference in the measurements between the left and right speaker is easily room related. The right speaker has a completely different set of boundaries than the left speaker. I get the same type of thing measuring in my room. I doubt that there is any wrong with the Ascend Towers.

One comment that I see all too often with people is that I have assembled a system to my personal tastes. I don't see it that way at all. Maybe that's what happens naturally, but then doesn't that happen to everyone including you Dave? You even stated that you prefer the more forward midrange presentation of your Towers over what you heard in the Salk's. What I want to let everyone know is that what catapulted my setup into pure bliss is finding ultimate CLARITY.

As I tried various pieces of audio gear, I found that some seemed to present a blurred or distorted sort of sound. This affected the sound in many ways. Sound stage width and depth, separation, and micro dynamics more than overall tonality. As things progressed in a good direction, it became more evident what I was missing. I don't think most people realize what they are missing until they hear it. That's what happens to me. When I found pieces of gear that delivered a blacker background (lower noise floor) with a very clear presentation, things like stage width and depth, separation, and micro dynamics fell into place. When you hear this, the sound becomes amazing and you get a real attachment to it. I can hear the room ambiance and the smallest details that make music more interesting to listen to. These are the things that make up the sound I look for, and that's nothing I think falls into a "taste" preference.

I'm expecting to get the most out of the Ascend Towers in my room. Not that my room doesn't have it's problems, but like Nuance has stated, I have yet to hear a better room. For that, I feel very lucky. I also believe my front end electronics work very well and should bring only good things to any speaker (hopefully).

Sounds like you are taking the best approach to a fair assessment of the Ascends and how they stack up to your reference standard. You spent a lot of time and money to get your system where it is. Taking any one of those components away from the whole will upset the synergy you have established. Switching speakers in your system will give you the best way to evaluate them. Can't wait to hear the results!
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post #114 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 07:01 AM
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Sounds like you are taking the best approach to a fair assessment of the Ascends and how they stack up to your reference standard. You spent a lot of time and money to get your system where it is. Taking any one of those components away from the whole will upset the synergy you have established. Switching speakers in your system will give you the best way to evaluate them. Can't wait to hear the results!
Thank you sir. We (Nuance included) try to be fair and objective with any speaker we listen to.

You are right about upsetting the synergy of a system. In the past, there were times I had great synergy, then made changes and ruined it. Then try to get it back; not so easy. I'm to the point now that I don't want to touch anything for fear of going in the wrong direction.

I am looking forward to our GTG. I hope we all learn a lot.
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post #115 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Great Posts again Dave and Terry!

dave - Terry is right about the right speaker, its close to a corner and over emphasizes the lowers frequencies quite a bit. I know this rather well being my sub was there eary on and since moved it to the other side of the TV where i get less room gain.

Terry - I am looking forward to your GTG no matter the results. I think you guys had me doubting my hearing I have changed my mindset a bit after the GTG and hearing everyones responses since. I truly believe not only does everyone have a "sound" they look to achieve, but this can be greatly influenced by the room and equipment involved as well. We may all like "our rooms" best, does not mean the gear is flawed if someone else does not like it or even that one is right or wrong. Look, my room measured actually pretty well, so again, all down to personal preference and what we are accustomed to.

I dont want to get sucked down a path where I buy all sorts of new gear to try and achieve a sound someone else may prefer over what I like or am used to.

I truly believe this GTG and subsequent posts are an extremely valuable tool for those looking for new speakers. Always, I reapeat always evaluate the gear in YOUR room with YOUR ears! Measurements and others opinions will never be enough to determine if you will like them or not.

I am glad this discussion has stayed civil, and fortunately we all love the hobby!

Brandon
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post #116 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 12:30 PM
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Great Posts again Dave and Terry!

dave - Terry is right about the right speaker, its close to a corner and over emphasizes the lowers frequencies quite a bit. I know this rather well being my sub was there eary on and since moved it to the other side of the TV where i get less room gain.

Terry - I am looking forward to your GTG no matter the results. I think you guys had me doubting my hearing I have changed my mindset a bit after the GTG and hearing everyones responses since. I truly believe not only does everyone have a "sound" they look to achieve, but this can be greatly influenced by the room and equipment involved as well. We may all like "our rooms" best, does not mean the gear is flawed if someone else does not like it or even that one is right or wrong. Look, my room measured actually pretty well, so again, all down to personal preference and what we are accustomed to.

I dont want to get sucked down a path where I buy all sorts of new gear to try and achieve a sound someone else may prefer over what I like or am used to.

I truly believe this GTG and subsequent posts are an extremely valuable tool for those looking for new speakers. Always, I reapeat always evaluate the gear in YOUR room with YOUR ears! Measurements and others opinions will never be enough to determine if you will like them or not.

I am glad this discussion has stayed civil, and fortunately we all love the hobby!

Brandon

I too think the GTG at my house should prove interesting. What you need to be focused on is how your speakers sound in your room compared to how they sound in my room. Once you have that figured out, we can focus on the WHY. Of course that only matters if you hear something better from them at my house.

I wouldn't spend another minute thinking about any of this. We'll have the GTG and see what happens. In the mean time, the best thing you can do is figure out a few of your favorite tracks and get as familiar with the sound as you can. Then you'll be able to identify differences from room to room.

Maybe you, Nuance, and I should agree on 4 or 5 tracks that we can all use to make our judgments? We talked about doing that in the past. Maybe it's time we actually do it? Thoughts?
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post #117 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Good advice! I will continue to gather a really good understanding of how they sound in my room with just a few tracks and use those ones when I come up for the GTG. I agree, lets each choose maybe 1-2 tracks and we can stick with those at the GTG to make things flow smoothly.

Did we hear if Patrick can make the 30th? A non ascend/salk owner would be of great value as well, plus his company of course

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I too think the GTG at my house should prove interesting. What you need to be focused on is how your speakers sound in your room compared to how they sound in my room. Once you have that figured out, we can focus on the WHY. Of course that only matters if you hear something better from them at my house.

I wouldn't spend another minute thinking about any of this. We'll have the GTG and see what happens. In the mean time, the best thing you can do is figure out a few of your favorite tracks and get as familiar with the sound as you can. Then you'll be able to identify differences from room to room.

Maybe you, Nuance, and I should agree on 4 or 5 tracks that we can all use to make our judgments? We talked about doing that in the past. Maybe it's time we actually do it? Thoughts?

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post #118 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 01:26 PM
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That's a bummer man. But I don't blame you.


He runs the analog outs of his Squeezebox Touch. I tried the Touch and didn't like it at all. I thought the analog outs were harsh and had a collapsed sound stage (much of what I heard at the GTG). Tonally, the Touch is only OK.

I use a Touch and think it sounds really good but I use glass Toslink to a Cambridge Audio DACMagic. I did do a comparison last week between the Touch analog out and then the toslink to the DACMagic and the Digital out to the DACMagic sounds much better than the analog outs. I mean think about it, the DACMagic alone costs about 30% more than the touch and is made to do 1 thing. If I didn't have the DACMagic to compare to I may not have noticed but I do and the differenc wasn't insignificant.
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post #119 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 01:38 PM
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When you live in a home with really no placement options, you learn to adjust and live with it no mater what.

I can move my speakers anywhere I want as long as it's not more than 4 inches either sideways or front to back
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post #120 of 1777 Old 04-05-2011, 03:17 PM
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A lack of clarity mainly, but also limited sound stage and a little separation. The overall tone seemed off as well. I didn't detect any distortion sounds like was coming from the Ascend's though.

I think Nuance is right, the room was part of the problem.

The room is always part of the problem... Too often, it's even the problem...

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For the record, I will state this AGAIN: my speakers didn't sound right either.

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Source: Squeezebox Duet (stock) with glass toslink cable
DAC: Music Hall DAC 25.2 (running solid state modified with a DEXA clock and Burson discrete opamps)
Preamp: Rogue Audio Perseus (stock tubes)
Amp: Odyssey Audio Stratos Extreme SE monoblocks
Subwoofer: Dual DIY 18" LMS-Ultras (EQ'd with a Velodyne SMS-1)
Cables: Reality Cable speaker wires and Sweet Spot Reveal (magnet wire) IC's (yes, cables matter!!)

That tube pre probably also played into it, as it does also add its personal touch to the music no? Curious to see how sunday's GTG goes

Btw, Brandon, are you going to bother to bring the electronics? My guess is that the tube pre does add a flavor to the sound, and might be the most significant sound influencing device in the chain... (Your thoughts on this TJ?) We're talking pretty much top of the line audio here I think, so going from a SS pre to a tube pre might make a significant difference... Worth it to test that theory? I'm not saying the rooms aren't the main reason things might be sounding different, but tubes, eventhough pres usually does to a much lesser degree than amps, does add its touch... (edit: although maybe not that much... "Frequency response 5Hz – 50KHz +/- 1 dB")
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