ArX, Ascend, or KEF - Narrowing down my search - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-13-2013, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, I've been looking around some more. I at least have my rough sizes and sub nailed down. Below are some of the configurations I'm considering. I'm leaning towards the KEF because of the front ports, but I can swing something with back ports. I would probably buy the KEF from Acessories4less, which seem to be certified/refurb... the other setups would be new. Kind of worried about the " Cosmetic Imperfection" descriptions from A4L of the KEF.

Wondering what you guys think about the below configurations. You guys have been great help so far, thanks!

Room: 12.4 ft x 12.4 ft which opens into a dining room.
Speaker Location LR SRSL: Located closer to the wall, but I can manage 1ft clearance from the back of the speakers if I go back port.

My A/V: Yamaha RX-V673
Subwoofer: HSU VTF-2 MK4


KEF setup
LR - KEF Q300
C - KEF Q200c or KEFQ300 (Can I lay the q300 on it's side?)
SRSL - KEF Q100

ARX Setup 1:
LCR - ARX A2B
SRSL - ARX A1B

ARX Setup 2:
LCRSRSL - ARX A2B

Ascend Acoustics Setup:
LR - CMT-340s
C - CMT-340C
SR SL - CBM-170
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-13-2013, 05:35 PM
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Well I don't know about the Kef or Ascends. But the Arx is fantastic speakers. The only drawback right now is the A2b center isn't instock yet. All three have different sound signitures with the Arx tending to be neutral to laid back with great sound staging (wide imaging). You would be hard press to find a bookshelf in the Arx A1b price range that using the quality of components it does. Heavy cast alloy woofers, high quality crossovers, heavy solid cabinets.

This is a good thread to read for the Arx A1b and Ascend 170SE http://www.avsforum.com/t/1446006/ascend-acoustics-cbm-170-se-vs-arx-a1b
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-13-2013, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I started looking at HTD today, which also have front ports... like the KEF series. they also have Dipole surrounds which I have been considering, but don't know much about.

Ugh, this search is going to drive me nuts, so many options. I'm pretty sure any of these options will be leaps and bounds better than what I currently have though.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 05:35 AM
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I suggest that you go with the KEF speakers. They have been one of Britain's top speaker companies for 50 years, and they make some very good products.

The other company that makes excellent front-ported speakers is Monitor Audio.

Putting the Q300 on its side would probably not work well. I suggest that you use the Q200C
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 05:43 AM
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The Ascend CMT340 is an excellent speaker. haven't heard the other systems you listed, but the 340 is excellent. Good base, good midrange and excellent highs- in other words, a very balanced and crisp speaker which will play well, soft or loud and is good for music and HT!

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 08:03 AM
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The Arx are rear ported but they come with port plugs to run at 80hrz sealed. With the ports open the A1b is flat to about 48hrz to 20k +/-2db. You really only need about a few inches away from the port and wall 6-10" would be fine. That goes for probably most rear ported speakers, the Arx Ascends ect... You don't need several feet between the port and the wall. And just because a speaker is front ported doesn't mean that it would work close to boundries, some speakers regardless of port location still sound best away from the walls in more open speaces.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoul View Post

I started looking at HTD today, which also have front ports... like the KEF series. they also have Dipole surrounds which I have been considering, but don't know much about.

Ugh, this search is going to drive me nuts, so many options. I'm pretty sure any of these options will be leaps and bounds better than what I currently have though.

For what its worth as far as bookshelf speakers go, I am extremely happy with my HTD Level 2's they have great detail, the imaging is suprisingly good, and they have a great natural sound. They get quite loud as well, I'm actually going to be brining a pair of my HTD's with me to a loval AV store to compare them to the KEFQ300's the B&W 685 along with their smaller counterparts.. the Audio guru of the store has never heard of them and wanted to check them out.

Granted everyones ears are different, but I'll be happy to let you know what I think.

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post #8 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Putting the Q300 on its side would probably not work well. I suggest that you use the Q200C

Why do you think that? It's a coaxial driver... It would move the driver off center of the screen if one centered the cabinet below the screen... but I fail to see other reasons why it would not work.
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Why do you think that? It's a coaxial driver... It would move the driver off center of the screen if one centered the cabinet below the screen... but I fail to see other reasons why it would not work.

You are correct there would be no problem. In fact there is or are no problem(s) with nearly any (conventional tweeter) bookshelf speaker laid over on its side. I use a NHT Superzero laid over and it sounds just like the rest of them. Problems are more likely with speakers that use horns or some type of wave guide.

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post #10 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 05:13 PM
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I've tried bookshelfs on there side and it was kind of meh. It just sounded off to me. The coaxial driver would be fine vertical or horizontal, the Arx A1b would also work alittle better, the planar can be turned sideways if you need to lay it down, but they don't recommend it for that use only that you can do it.
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

You are correct there would be no problem. In fact there is or are no problem(s) with nearly any (conventional tweeter) bookshelf speaker laid over on its side. I use a NHT Superzero laid over and it sounds just like the rest of them. Problems are more likely with speakers that use horns or some type of wave guide.
You will have comb filtering in the crossover region with any two-way laid on its side. Depending on how close the driver centers are, where they're crossed over, and the crossover filter slopes, it may be slight, it may be severe, but it will always be there.

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post #12 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Shady195 View Post

For what its worth as far as bookshelf speakers go, I am extremely happy with my HTD Level 2's they have great detail, the imaging is suprisingly good, and they have a great natural sound. They get quite loud as well, I'm actually going to be brining a pair of my HTD's with me to a loval AV store to compare them to the KEFQ300's the B&W 685 along with their smaller counterparts.. the Audio guru of the store has never heard of them and wanted to check them out.

Granted everyones ears are different, but I'll be happy to let you know what I think.

Thanks for the info.

I also read your VS. Thread, good stuff.
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

The Arx are rear ported but they come with port plugs to run at 80hrz sealed. With the ports open the A1b is flat to about 48hrz to 20k +/-2db. You really only need about a few inches away from the port and wall 6-10" would be fine. That goes for probably most rear ported speakers, the Arx Ascends ect... You don't need several feet between the port and the wall. And just because a speaker is front ported doesn't mean that it would work close to boundries, some speakers regardless of port location still sound best away from the walls in more open speaces.

Yeah, I'm not really worrying about port location anymore.

The only thing that bothers me with the ArX A2B is the placement of the logo. It's fine situated as a center, the logo is at the bottom and centered. I would like to go with 3x A2B if I made the plunge, but the LR seem like they would have funky logo placement. Everything else on the A2B seems to be adjustable though, which is really nice. Meh, I could always go without the grill. Really wish these were in stock.
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I suggest that you go with the KEF speakers. They have been one of Britain's top speaker companies for 50 years, and they make some very good products.

The other company that makes excellent front-ported speakers is Monitor Audio.

Putting the Q300 on its side would probably not work well. I suggest that you use the Q200C

Have you ever dealt with Accessories4less with any KEF purchases? Pretty good prices for the KEF Refurb/Certified. I can get the KEF Q300 (Pair) and the KEF Q200c for $799 out the door.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

The Ascend CMT340 is an excellent speaker. haven't heard the other systems you listed, but the 340 is excellent. Good base, good midrange and excellent highs- in other words, a very balanced and crisp speaker which will play well, soft or loud and is good for music and HT!

I'm looking for a set that sounds pretty good at lower levels, because I'm in an apartment (6 plex). I also have ear sensitivity(Tinnitus) to high volumes, so I'm mostly going to be at low-medium volumes. Most of these speakers seem to fit the bill, but I have heard the KEF can sound "boring" without pumping some power into them. Most of my audio will be Movies/Games/TV, so clarity of voice is a big thing for me. Nothing bothers me more than not being able to hear voice without upping the volume, then dropping it back down because the action scenes get too loud.
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-14-2013, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I've decided to go 3.1 for now, I'm trying to make an educated decision on purchasing dipole/bipole or going with traditional surround.

Definitely going with an HSU sub. I'm thinking the HSU VTF-2 MK4 Subwoofer might be too much for my situation, maybe drop down to the HSU STF-2.

KEF and Ascend are pretty close in price. Ascend being new, versus KEF being refurb.
HTD and KEF have nice surround options. KEF offering a Dipole surround, while HTD offers a switchable Dipole/Bipole in level two/three.

KEF Q300 (Pair) and KEF 200c will run $799
Ascend x2 CMT-340 SE main, and CMT-340 SE center will run $838
Arx A2b x 3 running $627.
HTD Level THREE LRC runs $498.
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-15-2013, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jfoul View Post

Yeah, I'm not really worrying about port location anymore.

The only thing that bothers me with the ArX A2B is the placement of the logo. It's fine situated as a center, the logo is at the bottom and centered. I would like to go with 3x A2B if I made the plunge, but the LR seem like they would have funky logo placement. Everything else on the A2B seems to be adjustable though, which is really nice. Meh, I could always go without the grill. Really wish these were in stock.

I though the same about the logo. But, it came off easy for me and I moved it to the bottom for vertical use. I use to run the A2s vertical before getting the A5s and now they are being use as vertical surrounds. I will post a picture of the grill with the moved logo and post it day. Also check the Arx forum http://www.theaudioinsider.com/forum/showthread.php?1687-A2b-update/page3 This week Jon Lane will have some updated news on the A2 this week and will post on the Arx forum.
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-15-2013, 06:30 AM
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Are you considering the HSU hb-1/hc-1? They have a horn tweeter which can rotate 90 degrees for horizontal placement similar to the arx tweeter and you can get 5.1 for not much more than 3.1 with arx.


Arx front 3 $627
STF-2 $329
total $ 956


HSU value 5.1 package $1049
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-15-2013, 10:24 AM
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If you compare the HSU bookshelfs as a 5.1 they would be cheaper than the Arx but the HSU center as vertical across the front would be more than the Arx setup. I think the HSU HC-1, Arx A2, and Ascend 340SE would all be in close competition.
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-15-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

If you compare the HSU bookshelfs as a 5.1 they would be cheaper than the Arx but the HSU center as vertical across the front would be more than the Arx setup. I think the HSU HC-1, Arx A2, and Ascend 340SE would all be in close competition.

My fault, did not notice that he had 3 center channels from arx, thought it was a traditional lcr.

HSU would still be a good option if you are set on their sub anyway to get the package discount.
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post #21 of 26 Old 01-15-2013, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jfoul View Post

KEF and Ascend are pretty close in price. Ascend being new, versus KEF being refurb.
Call Ascend about B Stock. Their B stock could pass for A stock from other companies.

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post #22 of 26 Old 01-16-2013, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm now looking at the HSU sets, instead of just the subwoofer. Got to cover all my bases!

I guess one of characteristics I'm looking for in a speaker set, is great clarity at low to medium volume. Maybe the term is sensitivity? I have read reviews on the Ascend, and they seem to be very crisp at lower volume levels.
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-16-2013, 07:00 PM
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OP should read this review

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/HTS340Ascend.pdf

Those Ascends 340 hold their own against the Paradigm Studio 100s in that review...
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post #24 of 26 Old 01-16-2013, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

OP should read this review

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/HTS340Ascend.pdf

Those Ascends 340 hold their own against the Paradigm Studio 100s in that review...

Nice read, thanks.
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post #25 of 26 Old 01-16-2013, 10:09 PM
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OP you might want to look into going with the Ascend Sierra-1... go with a pair of bookshelves now and later buy the center... you'll also have the option to upgrade the tweeters later and a raal tweeter is said to be coming later this year. They have the piano black on sale for $799 for the pair... this is what I'd do if I was you.
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post #26 of 26 Old 01-17-2013, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

OP should read this review

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/HTS340Ascend.pdf

Those Ascends 340 hold their own against the Paradigm Studio 100s in that review...

need to remember you're comparing the Studio 100's from 5 years ago.. IIRC there has been 2 iterations with that series since then in which from what I've read have changed quite a bit.

Regardless, I'm debating on picking up the 340's just to hear them the more I read about them

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