Sierra Tower vs Salk Song Tower (both RAAL) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 03-16-2012, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Guys,

I'm in the process of building a new office building so I can design my own office room with room treatments etc. I'm thinking about a 21'x13' Cardas "golden ratio" room (unless you guys can give other ideas) and there are 2 speakers choices:

Ascend Sierra Tower vs Salk Song Tower Supercharged

Both speakers are the RAAL tweeters upgraded version. Looking at the freq graph they're both very flat with similar freq response. Focusing on sound quality and performance, which one would be a better? Pros + cons? The Sierra seems much more efficient but I'll be using the new NAD C390DD integrated. If anyone has actually heard these side by side I appreciate the input. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 06:20 AM
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I'm interested to as well as philharmonic 2's in a speaker shootout.

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post #3 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 10:01 AM
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Both are great fantastic speaker but ido think the SCST are superior to the sierra tower base on the woofer and midrange material. ScST also dig lowe.
My experience with ascend sierra 1 and ST is that the ST are more resolving/detail. Sorry no experienc with wat you mentioned.
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post #4 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

Both are great fantastic speaker but ido think the SCST are superior to the sierra tower base on the woofer and midrange material. ScST also dig lowe.
My experience with ascend sierra 1 and ST is that the ST are more resolving/detail. Sorry no experienc with wat you mentioned.

Ricardo, we need to get you a listen to the Sierra Tower to dispell your belief on driver materials...there's a lot more that goes into a design of a driver.

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post #5 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 10:36 AM
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Ricardo, we need to get you a listen to the Sierra Tower to dispell your belief on driver materials...there's a lot more that goes into a design of a driver.

^

Being a fan of HiVi drivers, which are relatively cheap compared to most other drivers in the high end range, I agree 100% with this.

However though, I'd lean towards the STSC.

As tdo also pointed out, the Philharmonic 2/3 is a really good contender as well. I'm really curious about the Phil 3 vs the STSC. They both look to be amazing speakers.

 

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post #6 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Khaos View Post

^

Being a fan of HiVi drivers, which are relatively cheap compared to most other drivers in the high end range, I agree 100% with this.

However though, I'd lean towards the STSC.

As tdo also pointed out, the Philharmonic 2/3 is a really good contender as well. I'm really curious about the Phil 3 vs the STSC. They both look to be amazing speakers.

I can understand that...they are fairly more expensive.

It will be nice to hear and compare all of these offerings. The Phils are pretty large though, I could not fit them in my space. I think the ST is at my max. Is the STSC larger? I read it was "resized"?

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post #7 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I can understand that...they are fairly more expensive.

It will be nice to hear and compare all of these offerings. The Phils are pretty large though, I could not fit them in my space. I think the ST is at my max. Is the STSC larger? I read it was "resized"?

Any difference in size is trivial. I really think the Phil 3's and STSC's are in different markets. The Phil is for people with space who want full-range bass without a sub and who don't require a small footprint and a disappearing presence. The STSC's are for people who are looking for elegance and very clean sound, but without true deep bass capabilities at high volume. At least that was the design intent.
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post #8 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 11:35 AM
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Any difference in size is trivial. I really think the Phil 3's and STSC's are in different markets. The Phil is for people with space who want full-range bass without a sub and who don't require a small footprint and a disappearing presence. The STSC's are for people who are looking for elegance and very clean sound, but without true deep bass capabilities at high volume. At least that was the design intent.

Thanks Dennis. I knew they don't really sound the same.

Not sure why you say the size differences are trivial, but the Phil is much larger...isn't it? I know the standard Songtower is larger than the Sierra Tower, but too a much lesser extent.

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post #9 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Thanks Dennis. I knew they don't really sound the same.

Not sure why you say the size differences are trivial, but the Phil is much larger...isn't it? I know the standard Songtower is larger than the Sierra Tower, but too a much lesser extent.

I'm assuming he meant the difference in size between the Songtower and Songtower Super Charged was trivial...
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post #10 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 11:47 AM
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I'm assuming he meant the difference in size between the Songtower and Songtower Super Charged was trivial...

Ahhh.....that makes more sense. Thanks.

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post #11 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 01:27 PM
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I think unless one has heard both the SongTower and the Ascend Towers in a direct comparison it is hard to say which will be best. I believe both are excellent speakers and that more of a preference (looks, finish options and SQ characteristics) would be the deciding factor between the two speakers. In other words IMO I do not feel one speaker will excel over the other. I think the standard ST with the RAAL would be a better comparison than the STSC. The STSC is quite a bit more expensive than the Ascend Tower. But even with the big price difference the Ascend Towers could compare very well to the STSCs. I think we will know quite a bit more after the WI GTG next month. Not to put any pressure on the gang from WI.

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post #12 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 02:35 PM
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I would love to see these two compared side by side. Like Bill Mac said though the ST RAAL with the ER15RLY's would be better to compare since they are around the same price vs the SCST's. I just read over the last few pages the GTG thread and looks like it'll be the LCY SongTower's that will be there. Too bad noone close owns the RAAL version or the SCST's. Either would probably be too much for Jim to bring along since he's bringing the Soundscape's - which is probably what everyone wants to hear anyway . I'd love to hear them myself.. along with all the other speakers involved. Should be a great GTG!

I don't think you'd be disappointed with any of the 3 choices. But you'll probably be just like me - I own one (RAAL SongTower's) and am extremely happy with them but of course like most of us here I'll always wonder about these great speakers from Salk, Philharmonic and Ascend that we've been seeing over the past year. That's just how it always is There is one thing they all have in common though.. it seems like everyone wants speakers with RAAL's

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post #13 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I think unless one has heard both the SongTower and the Ascend Towers in a direct comparison ...

If possible, a true blind comparison to completely remove any preconceived bias out of the equation altogether would be interesting. I say this because I kind of get the feeling that if one already likes Salk more than Ascend (or vice-verse), that he or she would have trouble admitting if they really thought that the other brand sounded better than the one they already like most between the two.
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post #14 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 03:43 PM
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Just for fun let us say they both sound the same.

Would you then compare aesthetics?

Which one looks better to you?
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post #15 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DLS_222 View Post

I don't think you'd be disappointed with any of the 3 choices.

I agree 100%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 65 Electra Glide View Post

If possible, a true blind comparison to completely remove any preconceived bias out of the equation altogether would be interesting. I say this because I kind of get the feeling that if one already likes Salk more than Ascend (or vice-verse), that he or she would have trouble admitting if they really thought that the other brand sounded better than the one they already like most between the two.

Yes it would be the best way as it is only natural to have bias towards what we own.

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Just for fun let us say they both sound the same.

Would you then compare aesthetics?

Which one looks better to you?

In that case I would chose the SongTowers based on aesthetics. Not that the Ascend Towers do not look great but I prefer the look of the STs. I like the fact that one can chose many different veneer and finish options. The other feature I like that many might not even think is important is that the grilles are attached by magnets. I much prefer the look of the STs and SongCenter with the grilles off. Not having any holes in the face of the speaker is a cleaner look with the grilles off IMO.

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post #16 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

In that case I would chose the SongTowers based on aesthetics. Not that the Ascend Towers do not look great but I prefer the look of the STs. I like the fact that one can chose many different veneer and finish options. The other feature I like that many might not even think is important is that the grilles are attached by magnets. I much prefer the look of the STs and SongCenter with the grilles off. Not having any holes in the face of the speaker is a cleaner look with the grilles off IMO.

To add to Bill's points, the different custom veneer and finish options can cost you considerably more with the Salks, and you could lose the 30 day trial. BTW, you can get custom finishes (dyes. gloss, paint) with the Ascends too...it also costs extra and you lose the 30 day trial.

Since the Sierras have no veneer, the holes where you would place the magnets couldn't be covered. Maybe there is a way to do it from the back side? There was a discussion about magnetic grilles for the Sierra Tower on the Ascend forum a year ago or so.

Oh..and bamboo is a renewable resource.

What I like on the Songtower is the front baffle "face plate" and the different things that can be done with that.

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post #17 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 05:29 PM
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To add to Bill's points, the different custom veneer and finish options can cost you considerably more with the Salks, and you could lose the 30 day trial. BTW, you can get custom finishes (dyes. gloss, paint) with the Ascends too...it also costs extra and you lose the 30 day trial.

Since the Sierras have no veneer, the holes where you would place the magnets couldn't be covered. Maybe there is a way to do it from the back side? There was a discussion about magnetic grilles for the Sierra Tower on the Ascend forum a year ago or so.

Oh..and bamboo is a renewable resource.

What I like on the Songtower is the front baffle "face plate" and the different things that can be done with that.

Curtis,

That is good to know that Dave offers different dyes and finishes with the Towers. I always forget that with the custom finshes you lose the 30 day trial period. I understand that fully as there isn't much demand for Lamborghini racing yellow speakers. I wonder if you could drill for recessed magnets then use plugs to hide the holes with the bamboo? Might be more work than it is really worth it to hide the holes though. Your idea of placing the magnets on the back side of the bamboo might work very well. I wish I was in driving distance to Ascend HQ as I'd love to have a pair of Towers to demo in my system.

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post #18 of 47 Old 03-17-2012, 05:35 PM
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post #19 of 47 Old 03-18-2012, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
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Ricardo, we need to get you a listen to the Sierra Tower to dispell your belief on driver materials...there's a lot more that goes into a design of a driver.

Sure, i would love to, but i know i will never have a chance. Im too far away to take advantage of the 30 day trial. The shipping cost would cost too much round trip if i happend not to be a believer
Dont get me wrong, the Sierra tower i think are great speakers and i do understand Dave goals for choosing the type of drivers. Different drivers for different applications. With regard to Sierra1 to ST, i hate to say this but the ST are just more resolving/detail/musical, but the Sierra tower would be a more appropriate comparo. Waiting for the GTC...
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post #20 of 47 Old 03-18-2012, 12:19 PM
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Sure, i would love to, but i know i will never have a chance. Im too far away to take advantage of the 30 day trial. The shipping cost would cost too much round trip if i happend not to be a believer
Dont get me wrong, the Sierra tower i think are great speakers and i do understand Dave goals for choosing the type of drivers. Different drivers for different applications. With regard to Sierra1 to ST, i hate to say this but the ST are just more resolving/detail/musical, but the Sierra tower would be a more appropriate comparo. Waiting for the GTC...

The Sierra-1 vs the Songtower? I didn't realize you were comparing the bookshelf to the Songtower.
Yes, you are at a disadvantage because of distance. Have you heard the Sierra-1 NrT?

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post #21 of 47 Old 03-18-2012, 12:59 PM
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I didn't upgrade my standard sierra to the NRT. I dont think that was necessary. The tweeter is fine, smooth, image very nice and is really non fatiguing. The Hiquphon is more weighty without being fatigue as well. I should have been more specific, the lower midrange and upper bass region of the sierra is what i feel is lacking.
I think tower vs bookshelf on "mine" sierra1 vs ST are still valid. I wasn't implying on how dynamic the ST was or how much deeper it reaches. It is about resolution/ detail which means differences can be heard at low volume. But like i mentioned The Sierra tower would be more appropriate.
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post #22 of 47 Old 03-18-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses guys. So no one has heard a side by side comparo of the two so far? My interest is in the sound quality alone so aesthetics and price don't matter much. Actually the Sierra Towers could be as much as the ST depending on the finish. Both are sized similarly thus why I considered both speakers as opposed to bigger models. I've never heard of Philharmonic so time to research a third option.

Any comments on the room itself?
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post #23 of 47 Old 03-18-2012, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm.... the Philharmonic 2 seems interesting. Cheaper than the rest but dipole design with planar midrange would probably sound similar to ribbon arrays with good soundstage. So the sound should differ much than Ascend or the Salk... No one has it yet?
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I think that this speakers in their price range are hard to beat,the best thing to do is auditioning each speaker and let your ears decide....
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post #25 of 47 Old 03-19-2012, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I think that this speakers in their price range are hard to beat,the best thing to do is auditioning each speaker and let your ears decide....

Which I believe is almost impossible for most of us due to many reasons . Thus the request for help from those who have heard them...

Actually screw it! I'll order both a Sierra Tower and a Phil 2 even though it's impossible for me to return them! Curiosity does kill...
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post #26 of 47 Old 03-22-2012, 09:15 AM
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I think we will know quite a bit more after the WI GTG next month. Not to put any pressure on the gang from WI.

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Actually screw it! I'll order both a Sierra Tower and a Phil 2 even though it's impossible for me to return them! Curiosity does kill...

Well, that'll do it. If you're serious, I am sure either will sell very quickly on the "slightly used" market. I'd bet both Dave and Dennis would help you sell whichever you choose not to keep too.

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post #27 of 47 Old 03-22-2012, 09:19 AM
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I think that this speakers in their price range are hard to beat,the best thing to do is auditioning each speaker and let your ears decide....

I concur. I cannot think of any other speakers in the $3000 or less price range that offer this amount of performance. Mind you, I am judging the Philharmonic's based only on measurements and the neutral sound signature of Dennis' other work.

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post #28 of 47 Old 03-22-2012, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd bet both Dave and Dennis would help you sell whichever you choose not to keep too.

Well I'll be paying $1000 for shipping each speaker here so resale wouldn't be that good but no matter, I rarely sell speakers unless they sucked completely. There's always a place for a good furniture...
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post #29 of 47 Old 03-23-2012, 07:16 AM
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Well I'll be paying $1000 for shipping each speaker here so resale wouldn't be that good but no matter, I rarely sell speakers unless they sucked completely. There's always a place for a good furniture...

I always forget you're in Asia. My bad buddy.

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post #30 of 47 Old 03-23-2012, 04:17 PM
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Which I believe is almost impossible for most of us due to many reasons . Thus the request for help from those who have heard them...

Actually screw it! I'll order both a Sierra Tower and a Phil 2 even though it's impossible for me to return them! Curiosity does kill...

Please keep us updated on your comparison!
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