My feedback abt NHT Absolutes(and question about Ascend) - AVS Forum
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks,

I have been listening to the NHT Absolutes(center and fronts) for about 3 days now, driven by Denon 1712. Here are my thoughts:

1. They are 'absolutely' a vast improvement over my 10yr old Energy Take 5 speakers. However, I have to admit I'm not quite blown away by the sound.

2. For movies (LOTR blu ray), I find that the sound from the center channel is somewhat inconsistent...sometimes it quite clear and loud, other scenes its subdued (though still clear). Not sure if this is a problem of the Audyssey EQ setting

3. I find that even with the 1712(which replaced a 1612), I have to go to maybe level 45-50 on volume dial to get a good sound (on a scale of 0-99). with the 1612, i had to go to 60 or so. I guess I had expected to get that nice, rich sound at lower volume settings. I noticed that in the Audyssey EQ setting, the 'day' setting sounds worst, while 'midnight' sounds best.

Ok, my questions:

1. Is my expectation too high, and this is the best I can get with the ABZ? Maybe I need to go up to a Center 2 to get better sound?

2. Do the speakers needs more breakin time? So far, they've gotten about 30 hours

3. Would a Ascend CBM-170+CMT340SE center combo sound better?

4. Would a Ascent HTM200SE+CMT340SE center combo sound better?

5. Between 3 & 4, is #3 the clear winner?


I know this is a lot of questions for a small setup like this, but I have another day or two to finalize this.

Thanks.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:23 AM
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I would turn the Audyessy EQ off for now. A 3 way center, can do
an overall better job. Having 49 steps left on the volume is not bad.
As far as speakers, it all comes down to you.

Also, watch out for people who guarantee - that one speaker will sound
better than another, if they have not listened to that speaker, and some
tend to promote this way.

If you make a change, do not go smaller in woofer size.

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Old 05-10-2012, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysq View Post

Hi folks,

I have been listening to the NHT Absolutes(center and fronts) for about 3 days now, driven by Denon 1712. Here are my thoughts:

1. They are 'absolutely' a vast improvement over my 10yr old Energy Take 5 speakers. However, I have to admit I'm not quite blown away by the sound.

2. For movies (LOTR blu ray), I find that the sound from the center channel is somewhat inconsistent...sometimes it quite clear and loud, other scenes its subdued (though still clear). Not sure if this is a problem of the Audyssey EQ setting

3. I find that even with the 1712(which replaced a 1612), I have to go to maybe level 45-50 on volume dial to get a good sound (on a scale of 0-99). with the 1612, i had to go to 60 or so. I guess I had expected to get that nice, rich sound at lower volume settings. I noticed that in the Audyssey EQ setting, the 'day' setting sounds worst, while 'midnight' sounds best.

Ok, my questions:

1. Is my expectation too high, and this is the best I can get with the ABZ? Maybe I need to go up to a Center 2 to get better sound?

2. Do the speakers needs more breakin time? So far, they've gotten about 30 hours

3. Would a Ascend CBM-170+CMT340SE center combo sound better?

4. Would a Ascent HTM200SE+CMT340SE center combo sound better?

5. Between 3 & 4, is #3 the clear winner?


I know this is a lot of questions for a small setup like this, but I have another day or two to finalize this.

Thanks.

Here is a thread from the Ascend forum comparing the NHT classic 3...vs. the Ascend Sierra 1's ....not exactly apples to apples in this case but it will give you some sense of what you could expect with the Ascends....

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?t=4996

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Old 05-10-2012, 09:26 AM
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Audyssey did a phenomenal job in creating a flat fee response at the listening position. I had spikes and dips all through out. If your going to use Audyssey make sure you read the faq on this forum and do it right.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:49 AM
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The Absolute Zero and Absolute Center speakers are low sensitivity so they're going to need a bit more power...

I have the Zero's, and think they're great little speakers for what they are. However, I wasn't satisfied with them as mains in my living room system since I felt they just didn't give a big enough soundstage. They are just too small of a speaker to give what I wanted. The Absolute Tower or Classic Three on the other hand can deliver for me. Of the 2, I prefer the Three's, since they are a little more polite on the top end, and have just a bit of warmth on the bottom end. The Towers though, put out a very nice soundstage and are a big step up over the Zero's.

As far as the centers, I haven't heard the Absolute Center, but have a 2C and it is a very solid performer, and probably the best center channel I've owned - although the Boston VS325C is up there too... not sure which I like better just yet.

As far as the HTM-200SE - I had those too at one point... and just my opinion, but I'd take the Absolute Zero. You may not agree.

No one can tell you which IS better between Ascend and NHT - they both make very good products... and it's going to come down to your personal preference.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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hi Jim,

thanks for the quick reply. The Absolute center 2 and the Ascend 340 are both 3 way speakers, correct? Latter has the bigger woofer though (6.5" vs 5.25" for C2).

Actually, I may be able to get a used C2 for about $250 in my area, of course i will need to check the condition first.

Have you(or anyone else) had a chance to compare the NHT Absolutes vs the Ascend combo I mentioned above? In the forum I saw many entries for Hsu system vs Ascend, but not anything similar to what I asked.

One final consideration : If these fronts get mounted on the wall (instead of stands), would the NHT be better than ascend(I read that they are 'rear-ported', so they will need more space at the back)?

i have to agree that the NHTs look very classy, but the Ascend in the 'coffee' color looks very nice too, in spite of the boxy shape
Thanks!
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:57 AM
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I've noticed a funny thing with Dynamic Volume on the midnight setting on certain newer Denon AVRs I've owned (AVR-591 and AVR-891)...

Sometimes, when it was compressing peaks, it's almost like it quieted down everything, dialogue included... This was to the point of downright annoying while watching Saw VI or 3D (can't remember which)...

It must have been source material dependent though, since other times, dialogue seemed unaffected and only loud surround effects were reigned in a bit.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy p View Post

Here is a thread from the Ascend forum comparing the NHT classic 3...vs. the Ascend Sierra 1's ....not exactly apples to apples in this case but it will give you some sense of what you could expect with the Ascends....

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?t=4996

Just to point out, there are also those that like the Classic Three better than the Sierra...

I wish I owned them both at the same time to properly compare them... since I liked the Sierra's quite a bit when I had them a few years ago... but really like the Classic Three's I have now.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysq View Post

hi Jim,

thanks for the quick reply. The Absolute center 2 and the Ascend 340 are both 3 way speakers, correct? Latter has the bigger woofer though (6.5" vs 5.25" for C2).

Actually, I may be able to get a used C2 for about $250 in my area, of course i will need to check the condition first.

Have you(or anyone else) had a chance to compare the NHT Absolutes vs the Ascend combo I mentioned above? In the forum I saw many entries for Hsu system vs Ascend, but not anything similar to what I asked.

One final consideration : If these fronts get mounted on the wall (instead of stands), would the NHT be better than ascend(I read that they are 'rear-ported', so they will need more space at the back)?

i have to agree that the NHTs look very classy, but the Ascend in the 'coffee' color looks very nice too, in spite of the boxy shape
Thanks!

The 340SE is a 2-way MTM...

You might want to ask Dave F. (owner/designer of Ascend) about the rear porting and wall mounting. In my experience, he's pretty responsive to emails and posts at the Ascend forum.

Ascend does make port plugs for the Sierra to address specific placement issues... And the HTM-200SE is sealed, and designed with wall mounting in mind...

But the CBM-170SE and CMT-340SE may not be ideal in a wall mounted scenario... again, best to check with Dave.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysq View Post

hi Jim,

thanks for the quick reply. The Absolute center 2 and the Ascend 340 are both 3 way speakers, correct? Latter has the bigger woofer though (6.5" vs 5.25" for C2).

Actually, I may be able to get a used C2 for about $250 in my area, of course i will need to check the condition first.

Have you(or anyone else) had a chance to compare the NHT Absolutes vs the Ascend combo I mentioned above? In the forum I saw many entries for Hsu system vs Ascend, but not anything similar to what I asked.

One final consideration : If these fronts get mounted on the wall (instead of stands), would the NHT be better than ascend(I read that they are 'rear-ported', so they will need more space at the back)?


i have to agree that the NHTs look very classy, but the Ascend in the 'coffee' color looks very nice too, in spite of the boxy shape
Thanks!

I have not listened to Ascend - however, I respect that company. The 340
is a 2/way.

I am not a big fan of receiver automatic setup options - that is my personal
experience - however, others feel different. I will at times, work on those
frequencies under 200hz.

Sometimes, it is the source that you are listening to - like TV and movie
sources in pro-logic mode. And as always, voices do not speak with the
same tone level. In Blu-ray, EQ can compress the sound.

Bigger woofers are not an overall better guarantee, sensitivity can play
a big part.

When mounting speakers, I prefer sealed or front ported. If you decide
to stick with NHT, and do not get the 3/way center - then look at another
Absolute Zero to use as a center > a good way to go.

Since you are getting ready to move to India, be sure of any new purchase
decisions.

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Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

The 340SE is a 2-way MTM...

You might want to ask Dave F. (owner/designer of Ascend) about the rear porting and wall mounting. In my experience, he's pretty responsive to emails and posts at the Ascend forum.

Ascend does make port plugs for the Sierra to address specific placement issues... And the HTM-200SE is sealed, and really designed as a surround with wall mounting in mind...

But the CBM-170SE and CMT-340SE may not be ideal in a wall mounted scenario... again, best to check with Dave.

@alphaiii: thanks for that info about 340SE being M2M, i did not realise that by reading the info in their website.

I see one 'Ascend SE owners forum' link, but that has 104 pages of posts! I wonder if I will get a quick reply if I post there?
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Just to point out, there are also those that like the Classic Three better than the Sierra...

I wish I owned them both at the same time to properly compare them... since I liked the Sierra's quite a bit when I had them a few years ago... but really like the Classic Three's I have now.

Agreed...its sometimes those little nuances when we listen to speakers that sway us one way or another. In this instance the listener had a slight preference for the Sierra. My take after having read that was not just of being an Ascend owner but another endorsment for Ascend products in general because the NTH by all accounts are excellent speakers and I was curious to read which way he'd go.

Btw...if he decided to return the Sierras I still would've likely posted that link...sometimes any little information can go a long way.

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Old 05-10-2012, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
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And the HTM-200SE is sealed, and really designed as a surround with wall mounting in mind....

Just a point of clarification. While the HTM-200SE works great as a surround and for wall mounting, it was not specifically designed as a surround (although that is how I use mine).

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Old 05-10-2012, 12:56 PM
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Just a point of clarification. While the HTM-200SE works great as a surround and for wall mounting, it was not specifically designed as a surround (although that is how I use mine).

True, they weren't designed for surround use only... wasn't trying to imply that, despite the wording of my post.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
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Agreed...its sometimes those little nuances when we listen to speakers that sway us one way or another. In this instance the listener had a slight preference for the Sierra. My take after having read that was not just of being an Ascend owner but another endorsment for Ascend products in general because the NTH by all accounts are excellent speakers and I was curious to read which way he'd go.

Btw...if he decided to return the Sierras I still would've likely posted that link...sometimes any little information can go a long way.

Yeah, it's an interesting read regardless of the individual's choice... and I don't doubt we're on the same page that both companies make great products... I did find it interesting he described the Three as more forward and the Sierra as more neutral... The Soundstage measurements don't necessarily support that, unless reasonably off-axis... But again, I never A/B compared the two... so I can't say if I'd agree/disagree with his assessment.

BTW, I wasn't so much directing my post at you... just pointing out that there are posts where an individual preferred the NHT, so that the OP would look for those as well. It's definitely useful to read the opinions of those who have heard/compared two speakers... as long as people don't forget that they are opinions.

(On a side note - I want to hear the Sierra's again someday, and pit them head to head vs the winner of my current (and ongoing) contest between the NHT Classic Three and Boston Acoustics VS 260.)

Anyway, didn't mean to take this thread into a Classic Three vs. Sierra discussion... since the OP isn't really looking at either...
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:12 PM
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alphaiii...I always look forward to your thoughts. You have had a fair amount of speakers run through your setup. I also wish you had them all at the same time.

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Yeah, it's an interesting read regardless of the individual's choice... and I don't doubt we're on the same page that both companies make great products... I did find it interesting he described the Three as more forward and the Sierra as more neutral... The Soundstage measurements don't necessarily support that, unless reasonably off-axis... But again, I never A/B compared the two... so I can't say if I'd agree/disagree with his assessment.

BTW, I wasn't so much directing my post at you... just pointing out that there are posts where an individual preferred the NHT, so that the OP would look for those as well. It's definitely useful to read the opinions of those who have heard/compared two speakers... as long as people don't forget that they are opinions.

(On a side note - I want to hear the Sierra's again someday, and pit them head to head vs the winner of my current (and ongoing) contest between the NHT Classic Three and Boston Acoustics VS 260.)

Anyway, didn't mean to take this thread into a Classic Three vs. Sierra discussion... since the OP isn't really looking at either...

Thanks, folks. I've sent an email the technical support at Ascend, hopefully will get an answer soon. Else I'll probably just go for a center 2C, i guess it will be a noticeable improvement over the Absolute Center.

Jim Z, i will turn off audyssey and try again. Actually, I just realised I have so many boxes piled up around the room, maybe that's also causing it to get thrown off. Plus my current sub is really s*it, I guess i'm just going to get one of the Hsu VTFs for now. My only niggling thought is that I would have liked to hear the Hsu Hybrid package somehow, that package certainly looks to be a killer deal (in addition to excellent SQ).
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysq View Post

Jim Z, i will turn off audyssey and try again. Actually, I just realised I have so many boxes piled up around the room, maybe that's also causing it to get thrown off. Plus my current sub is really s*it, I guess i'm just going to get one of the Hsu VTFs for now. My only niggling thought is that I would have liked to hear the Hsu Hybrid package somehow, that package certainly looks to be a killer deal (in addition to excellent SQ).

Room enviorment does play a big part in sound > once you hear good
sound, it can put a desire/hunger to hear more. The NHT will perform
better without the cheap boomy and thumpy subs. You do not want to
hear how many speakers that I have owned.

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:50 PM
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Classic 2 and 3 are both much better designs for center than what you have.

Like previously mentioned, NHT speakers do have very low sensitivity.
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