Wave Crest Audio HLV-1... Ascend designed budget bookshelf - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 86 Old 05-23-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Checked my email this morning and received a Memorial Day sales email from Ascend Acoustics. At the bottom was a short paragraph describing a new product designed by Dave (Ascend) and sold through a new company called Wave Crest Audio:

"And now for something new...

We would like to introduce something new; an extreme value bookshelf speaker with a warm and engaging midrange response, combined with good bass and detailed highs all in an extremely compact and spousal friendly cabinet.

This new speaker was fully developed by us and is being built by the best OEM's in the business. These are being sold through a new company, please check out Wave Crest Audio"


Here's the link to the product page: http://www.wavecrestaudio.com/products/hvl-1-two-way-loudspeaker-pair

Not much to look at...but given Ascend's track record, and the price... I'm mighty tempted to buy a pair.
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post #2 of 86 Old 05-23-2013, 08:56 AM
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I got the same email today.

Yes, I'm kicking around the idea of ordering a pair as well.
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post #3 of 86 Old 05-23-2013, 10:55 AM
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If anyone is in the Los Angeles area, and would like to listen to the HVL-1, please let me know.

-curtis

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post #4 of 86 Old 05-23-2013, 01:40 PM
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I see the free shipping for Memorial day....hmm:D
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post #5 of 86 Old 06-02-2013, 03:33 AM
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Anybody got these??? If so what do you think?? I am interested and would like to hear some opinions about these speakers
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post #6 of 86 Old 06-11-2013, 12:36 PM
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I too would be interested if anyone has gotten these speakers. I was initially looking at the CBM-170SE but for the price these HLV-1 seem like a heck of a deal.
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post #7 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 10:22 AM
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How do these differ from the Music Hall Marimba's?

Besides finish and port location, they look to be very similar. I would guess that both are using the same OEM.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

EDIT: I own the marimba's and if these improve upon them at all I would jump on them in a heartbeat. Both seem to tout their "midrange."
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post #8 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post

How do these differ from the Music Hall Marimba's?

Besides finish and port location, they look to be very similar. I would guess that both are using the same OEM.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

EDIT: I own the marimba's and if these improve upon them at all I would I would jump on them in a heartbeat. Both seem to tout their "midrange."
Honestly, I do not know if they use the same OEM.

The components do not look similar to me, other than diameter. The dimensions are not the same, and reading the Marimba's specs, the HVL-1 is a fair amount heavier.

We felt, at this price point, a good midrange was hard to find, so we wanted to make sure the HVL-1 had it, as well as being well balanced from top to bottom.

Let me know if I can be of any more help.

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post #9 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Honestly, I do not know if they use the same OEM.

The components do not look similar to me, other than diameter. The dimensions are not the same, and reading the Marimba's specs, the HVL-1 is a fair amount heavier.

We felt, at this price point, a good midrange was hard to find, so we wanted to make sure the HVL-1 had it, as well as being well balanced from top to bottom.

Let me know if I can be of any more help.

After looking through the specs more carefully, I do notice some more nontrivial differences. Even if the drivers are similar (not that they necessarily are), the cabinet is certainly bigger on HVL-1 and any internal damping, crossover, bracing, etc. could be radically different for all I know. I love my marimba's so much that any improvement would be well worth the price of an in-home audition.

Not to mention, I would much rather support the ID model as I have had great interactions with Ascend in the past. Plus any company that posts measurements automatically earns street cred with me!
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post #10 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 11:17 AM
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Just to add, based on the impedance graph, it looks like the crossover is different also. 2000 Hz for the HVL-1 and 2600 Hz for the MHM. So that alone should squash any apparent similarities.

Plus these are $120 cheaper!!!

EDIT: Just checked and my marimba's also do NOT have an internally flared port tube (external only). So that's another + in the HVL-1 column. In fact, the marimba tube looks and feels like an empty toilet paper roll (cardboard). Ignorance was bliss on that regard. eek.gif
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post #11 of 86 Old 06-21-2013, 06:17 AM
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So, what's the story with these.........anyone here order some?

Would love to see some feedback.

For the price + free shipping I'd think there would be some of these out there:confused:
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post #12 of 86 Old 06-21-2013, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTDIGITY View Post

So, what's the story with these.........anyone here order some?

Would love to see some feedback.

For the price + free shipping I'd think there would be some of these out there:confused:

I plan on ordering a pair of these as soon as I can unload my other speakers. I just have too many at the moment.

I'm especially curious as to how these compare to the CBM-170SE's.

I might order both to evaluate myself.
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post #13 of 86 Old 06-21-2013, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post

I plan on ordering a pair of these as soon as I can unload my other speakers. I just have too many at the moment.

I'm especially curious as to how these compare to the CBM-170SE's.

I might order both to evaluate myself.

Which speakers are you replacing?
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post #14 of 86 Old 06-21-2013, 05:52 PM
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Which speakers are you replacing?

Energy RC-10's, Monitor Audio BX1's, and Music Hall Marimba's.

I figure once I sell 2 out of 3 then i'll order these.
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post #15 of 86 Old 06-25-2013, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTDIGITY View Post

So, what's the story with these.........anyone here order some?

Would love to see some feedback.

For the price + free shipping I'd think there would be some of these out there:confused:

I think these speakers are going to surprise a lot of people wink.gif As I understand it, there are quite a few pairs out there already...

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post #16 of 86 Old 06-25-2013, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascend View Post

I think these speakers are going to surprise a lot of people wink.gif As I understand it, there are quite a few pairs out there already...

Could you elaborate on any differences in design philosophy (technical or otherwise) as compared to the CBM-170SE, for instance? Would it be worth auditioning both?

I was all set on ordering the 170's but now...

I also still need to shed some excess speaker weight first mad.gif



I'm really looking forward to hearing these. I just need to decide if I should order both (decisions, decisions...)

EDIT: And don't you dare tempt me with the Sierra-2!!! biggrin.gif
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post #17 of 86 Old 06-25-2013, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l0nestar8 View Post

Could you elaborate on any differences in design philosophy (technical or otherwise) as compared to the CBM-170SE, for instance? Would it be worth auditioning both?

I was all set on ordering the 170's but now...

I also still need to shed some excess speaker weight first mad.gif



I'm really looking forward to hearing these. I just need to decide if I should order both (decisions, decisions...)

EDIT: And don't you dare tempt me with the Sierra-2!!! biggrin.gif

The CBM-170SE uses better components throughout and is simply a better loudspeaker than the HVL-1, but it is also considerably larger.

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post #18 of 86 Old 06-25-2013, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascend View Post

The CBM-170SE uses better components throughout and is simply a better loudspeaker than the HVL-1, but it is also considerably larger.

Thanks for the quick response!

Great point on the difference in size.
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post #19 of 86 Old 07-06-2013, 12:57 PM
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Hi folks,

I purchased a pair of these in May soon after they were announced. After several weeks of listening, talking with Curtis about technical specs, and writing down my thoughts, I'd like to formally post my review for those considering this new loudspeaker. As the usual disclaimer, the thoughts that follow are my own. I have tried to present an honest and personal opinion of every aspect of this new product. I have no direct affiliation with Wave Crest Audio or Ascend Acoustics other than being a happy customer. I was neither paid nor compensated for purchasing and reviewing these speakers. I haven't posted here on AVS until now, but some may recognize me from the Ascend forum or Emotiva Lounge.

I hope you enjoy reading about my experience as much as I enjoyed writing about it.



Wave Crest Audio HVL-1 Review



Introduction

I subscribed to the Ascend Acoustics mailing list a while back. A few times each year, I receive information about holiday sales, inventory updates, and general news about the company and current products. On May 23, 2013, I received one of these newsletters announcing summer sales and combo deals. At the end of the newsletter, the following text jumped out at me: And now for something new… At first, I thought it was the formal announcement of the highly-anticipated Sierra-2. Instead, it was news of “an extreme value bookshelf loudspeaker” with a few descriptors like “…warm and engaging midrange,” and “…detailed highs,” and “…built by the best OEMs in the business.” So this is a new Ascend product, right? Not exactly. Without a moment’s hesitation, I clicked on the included hyperlink and jumped to www.wavecrestaudio.com. I spent the next 20 minutes perusing every pixel on that website. A few days later, I ordered a pair of the HVL-1 loudspeakers, figuring I was probably among a handful of folks to experience a brand new product from this newly-announced company.

Company & Product Overview

According to the website information, Wave Crest Audio aims to redefine value and performance in the $200/pair price range. Loudspeakers in this price range usually compromise on sound quality and/or build quality to keep prices low. It’s not uncommon for these speakers to have poor midrange response in favor of decent bass and/or good high-frequency performance. Worse yet, poor build quality and component selection often hampers total system performance. By working together, an information technology professional and an audio industry veteran believed they could deliver a better product to the market within this price range. And thus, the HVL-1 was born. This debut product focuses on build quality, critical midrange performance, and overall balanced sonics for an incredible $230/pair. If that wasn’t enough, Wave Crest Audio backs their product with a 5-year transferrable warranty. Wave Crest Audio is an Internet Direct (ID) merchant, so trying out a pair of speakers isn’t like going down to the local Hi-Fi shop for an “ears-on” experience. Therefore, customers can buy with confidence thanks to a 30 day evaluation period. Products are shipped out from California within 3 business days.

The HVL-1 is fully designed and engineered in the United States. To keep costs low, the product is assembled in P.R.C to the standards of Wave Crest Audio. The company is very transparent with information regarding the HVL-1’s performance. A visit to the product page offers all the pertinent specs, plus measurement graphs including frequency response, cumulative spectral decay, energy-time curve, and impedance/electrical phase. I have not come across a loudspeaker at this price point offering so much info to validate a product’s performance claims. Many companies choose not to offer this info for a variety of reasons, but in my opinion, it allows educated customers to see the real performance instead of relying on questionable specifications and marketing hyperbole.

Unboxing & Initial Impressions

My pair of loudspeakers arrived nearly a week after being shipped, thanks to living on the opposite side of the continent and transit occurring over a weekend. Finally, not a moment too soon, UPS delivered a large box to my door. It was like Christmas morning and I wasted no time unwrapping my present. Pictures were taken at various points for documentation. Click the images to view the full-sized version.



The box arrived intact with no visible damage. I was very pleased to see the product double-boxed and it’s virtually assured that these should reach you undamaged save for being run over by a train. In fact, I was very impressed with the care and thought involved with packing. I don’t recall seeing a product at this price point so well-protected. One would think I paid three or four times as much based on the shipping materials.











Included with each speaker is a set of four (4) wood screws and four (4) adhesive rubber feet. Based on the cutout in the rubber feet, I suspect one could literally screw the feet to the cabinet. Also worth mentioning is that the HVL-1 doesn’t have any mounting points built into the cabinet, probably to keep costs down.



The HVL-1 comes in one finish—black matte PVC wrap. While it won’t win any beauty contests, I did not find it to be ugly. The unassuming finish should blend well with typical home theater systems, won’t leave fingerprints, and won’t cause annoying reflections from display sources. The finish is quite well done with no obvious seams. While the cabinet finish has definite texture to my fingers, the grill material is one of the softest I’ve ever felt. I found the grill frame to be not quite as robust as other speakers I’ve owned, so use care when removing it (if desired).



One pleasant surprise is the inclusion of high-quality binding posts on the rear. These are the real deal, not cheap push-button tabs or plastic-capped posts. They easily accept 12-gauge bare wire, spades, and traditional banana plugs.





Product & Technical Info

Weighing in at 12 pounds each, the HVL-1 speaker has a nice, solid heft to it. This is no cheap 5 pound speaker. The enclosure itself is constructed from 5/8” MDF with a full shelf brace inside. The speaker takes up about 798 cubic inches. That works out to 12 inches tall, 7 inches wide, and 9.5 inches deep (grill adds ~0.5 inches). It’s small enough to not be an eyesore, but large enough to deliver on the performance goals.

Tucked inside the grill is a custom 1 inch soft dome tweeter and a custom 5.25 inch poly-cone woofer. The woofer is also shielded so it will not affect sensitive electronics like CRT displays. The drivers have a high-quality appearance. Situated just below the woofer is a front-firing port instead of the traditional rear venting. Front porting can be preferable if the speaker must be very close to a wall. Additionally, the HVL-1 port is flared internally and externally to reduce port noise, something not usually seen at this price point.







The HVL-1 states a frequency response of 63 Hz – 20 kHz within +/- 3 dB (quasi-anechoic) and 86 dB sensitivity at 1 watt/1 meter (quasi-anechoic). It also lists 8 ohms average impedance and a power handling of 120 watts (unclipped). Any quality AVR or amplifier should be able to drive the HVL-1 without issue.

Positioning & Setup

My two listening positions consist of a near-field arrangement at 2 feet and at 6 feet. This is because the speakers rest on a computer desk. At 2 feet, any listening here is mainly background music while working. For regular music and movies, as well as evaluations, the listening position is situated at 6 feet back. The speakers rest on Auralex MoPads to raise the tweeter height by 2 inches and to help decouple the speaker from the desk at certain frequencies. The front left/right speakers are 37 inches apart measured from the center of each MoPad. Normal toe-in is 5 inches, so I started there.





The room itself measures 12.5 feet wide, 10 feet deep, with a sloped ceiling an average of 8.25 feet high. The entire room volume is 1,031.25 cubic feet. The speakers are positioned along one of the 12.5 feet wide walls. The back of each speaker is 14 inches away from the front-facing wall. The speakers themselves are over 3 feet away from a side wall. There is no acoustic treatment in the room except for standard floor carpeting. The wall behind the listening position holds a row of four-post racks (nearly floor-to-ceiling coverage) which store a variety of items including cardboard boxes, plastic cases, and paper-based objects offering a small amount of absorption and diffusion. In other words, it’s noticeably better than a bare, uncovered rear wall. I have plans for treating the room (eventually) with corner bass traps and minimizing first reflection points, but it’s taken a backseat to more important Real Life issues.

For pure 2 channel music (no sub), my usual source device is a custom HTPC running JRiver Media Center. I output bit-perfect audio via a 2 meter Emotiva X Series optical interconnect to an Emotiva XDA-2 preamp/DAC combo. From there, the analog output is sent to an Emotiva XPA-200 stereo amplifier via 5 meter Emotiva X Series XLR interconnects. The final leg from amp to speaker occurs with 6 meter Emotiva XSS 10-gauge speaker cables terminated with banana connectors.

For 2.1 channel music (with a subwoofer) or for movies, my usual source device is a custom HTPC running either JRiver Media Center (music) or CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra 12 (movies). I output bit-perfect audio via a 5 meter Emotiva X Series HDMI interconnect to an Emotiva UMC-1 preamplifier/processor. From there, the analog output is sent to an Emotiva XPA-200 stereo amplifier via 2 meter Emotiva X Series RCA interconnects. The final leg from amp to speaker occurs with 6 meter Emotiva XSS 10-gauge speaker cables terminated with banana connectors.

For the majority of reference music, I sent a full-range signal to the HVL-1 pair to better evaluate overall performance. Later on, I applied an 80 Hz crossover to the HVL-1 and routed the low frequency content to a Rythmik Audio F15SE subwoofer. No enhancements were used on the processor; the signal path was kept as clean as possible throughout the evaluation.

Listening Impressions

This part of the review is the most challenging for me to write, but it is likely the most important. I wanted to clean my aural palette and let my ears become fully accustomed to the sound before making any final judgments. With that in mind, I listened to the HVL-1 non-critically for about 3-4 days to become comfortable with their sonic signature. What struck me during all of this was the well-balanced timbre. Sometimes when listening to a speaker for the first time, something will jump out as very noticeable. It could be “bright” sounding treble, a thinned midrange, or bloated bass. With the HVL-1, nothing drew attention to itself right off that bat, as well as through the entire listening period.

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that the HVL-1 debuted in a newsletter from Ascend Acoustics. For those who may be wondering why (since the HVL-1 is sold under the company Wave Crest Audio), the reason is quite simple: the HVL-1 was fully designed and engineered by David Fabrikant, the owner and designer extraordinaire at Ascend Acoustics. This is important because it sets expectations. Those who know Ascend and Mr. Fabrikant know the passion for excellence. They know the desire to offer exceptional products at remarkable prices. They know it’s about delivering “Good Sound,” a slogan that has become a guiding principle in everything they do. By working together, Curtis Chang (an information technology professional, a long-time customer and supporter of Ascend, and the COO of Wave Crest Audio) and an audio industry veteran (David Fabrikant from Ascend Acoustics) believed they could deliver a better product to the market. So, the HVL-1 has excellent pedigree, that much can be expected.

I found the HVL-1 loudspeaker to share the “house sound” of other Ascend Acoustics loudspeakers I’ve heard: well-balanced and neutral with gobs of resolution and subtle detail. It’s hardly surprising since Mr. Fabrikant designed them, but pleasantly reassuring nonetheless. I’ve found Ascend’s approach to loudspeaker design refreshing in a Hi-Fi age dominated by digital correction systems. Rather than relying on digital processing to “fix” a loudspeaker’s deficiencies, the loudspeaker is designed properly from the ground up within the scope of desired performance objectives. To clarify, I’m not saying digital processing systems are a bad thing. I just think that, sometimes, loudspeaker accuracy is traded for higher output or a “wow” factor like exaggerated bass or treble, especially at this price point (~$200/pair range). Sure, the “wow” sound captures one’s attention, but can become fatiguing over time. With the HVL-1, I found its neutrality and balance very good considering the budget restraints. The frequency response plot for the HVL-1 confirms this to me. There are no large peaks or troughs suggesting poor implementation, low-quality components, or critical design flaws. I cannot remember ever hearing a speaker this neutral and well balanced at this price point. There may be one out there, but I haven’t heard it. And like I said earlier, nothing jumps out and draws attention to itself in a bad way. Everything is well balanced across the entire tonal spectrum. We’re already on the right track…

I tried the HVL-1 in “full range” mode to see how it handled the low stuff. Granted, it won’t have prodigious output with a 5.25 inch woofer, but the cabinet venting helps with that. I found the bass output quite satisfying for music in general. Admittedly, I’m not a bass head, so take that with a huge grain of salt. Most folks will want to add a subwoofer to bolster the low end. However, the quality of the bass is pretty smooth and balanced, not artificially enhanced for “wow” effect. I did not notice any bloating sometimes found with budget ported loudspeakers. The woofer cone appears to be fairly low mass, so it’ll react quickly which can be a boon for overall resolution and transient response. The bass reproduction is distinct and smooth, rather than smeared, bloated, or boomy. Obviously it cannot match the resolution of my Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 reference monitors, but then it doesn’t have to considering the large price gap.

I found the high-frequency performance of the HVL-1 surprisingly articulate. Soft-dome tweeters are a favorite of mine, much preferred over their metal-dome brethren. The custom 1 inch soft-dome tweeter in the HVL-1 is something wonderful. Some of the loudspeakers I’ve heard in this price range suffer from shrill or harsh high-frequency performance. I am quite sensitive to this area along with the upper midrange, but luckily the HVL-1 did not cause any ear fatigue, even after prolonged listening periods. There is plenty of detail and resolution in this “budget” tweeter. Whatever magic potion Mr. Fabrikant added to the mixture clearly worked. Crash cymbals sounded realistic, not overly sweetened, harsh, or bright. Performance with stringed instruments like violins and guitars was very good. Sounds were rendered distinctly with surprising texture and detail. No excessive sibilance or edge. There were no “nails on the chalkboard” experiences either, just a well-balanced loudspeaker doing what it was designed to do.

So what about midrange performance? After all, isn’t the midrange the pièce de résistance touted in the product description? Well, the midrange is there, present and accounted for. It’s neither too much nor too little, and just like the Goldilocks fairy tale, I found the HVL-1’s midrange just right. Some other speakers at this price point (and above it for that matter) do a disservice with critical midrange reproduction, especially voices. Without an accurate and neutral midrange reproduction, voices can sound tinny, muddy, boxy, or can take on a nasal tone. These are all adjectives that describe a colored or altered sound compared to the original source. So is the HVL-1 midrange performance perfect? Of course not, and it shouldn’t be considering the price point. For example, it misses some of the resolution and detail found in the nooks and crannies of a recording compared to higher-performing speakers like my Sierra-1s. What the HVL-1 midrange does give you is the essentials, the meat and potatoes that other speakers often lack in this ballpark. And it does so without calling attention to itself or blowing it out of proportion. Again, I come back to the “well-balanced” nature of the entire loudspeaker. What David and Curtis managed to achieve here is quite remarkable.

I was curious how the HVL-1 stacked up against the lowest-priced loudspeaker from Ascend Acoustics, the HTM-200 SE ($298/pair). I happen to own four of the HTM-200 SE for my side and back surrounds, so I set up two of them in stereo for a little comparison. Running through my reference tracks again, I found the HVL-1’s high frequencies to seem slightly rolled off and less “edgy” compared to the HTM-200 SE pair. Let me clarify that neither of these speakers would be considered “edgy,” but for the sake of comparison, the HVL-1 didn’t seem to have quite as much energy up top. Some folks may prefer that. However, the HVL-1 seems to have more presence and authority in the low-mid frequency range than the 200 SE. This was more noticeable with male vocals like Josh Turner, The Persuasions, or Muddy Waters. These voices sounded more full and natural on the HVL-1. When it comes to dynamics and transients, the 200 SE pair edges out. Kick drum/toms on the HVL-1 aren't quite as tight or punchy compared to HTM-200 SE, but HVL-1 has more low-end oomph thanks to the vented enclosure and larger woofer. Not surprisingly, the HVL-1 also has deeper extension, so bass response is a little more satisfying. Surprisingly, I found the HVL-1’s imaging slightly less coherent than the HTM-200 SE. The soundstage was not as tightly focused. In fact, during my evaluation I decided to toe in the HVL-1 pair even further from the initial 5 degrees. I preferred the HVL-1 toed in to about 9 degrees. After that, the image snapped into focus at my listening position.

If I had to sum up the comparison between the HVL-1 and the HTM-200 SE, I’d say the HVL-1 is more laid-back and relaxed compared to the livelier, slightly cleaner HTM-200 SE. The HVL-1 is a very well-rounded speaker, and in fact, I actually prefer it to the HTM-200 SE even though it doesn’t quite have all the resolution, detail, and finesse of the HTM-200 SE. This is subtle, but noticeable on some tracks with walking bass, deep brass, and complex strings arrangements. Asking me to pick between the two is difficult, but I really would choose the HVL-1 for a pair of stereo speakers over the HTM-200 SE. Perhaps I can blame that on my adoration of the Sierra-1 monitors (non-NrT) which are, in my opinion, one of the most laid-back and easy-to-listen-to speakers I’ve ever heard. I’ve become accustomed to the laid-back presentation, so that likely influenced my opinion. Another plus for the HVL-1 is that it also provides deeper bass extension than the 200 SE pair, so music is a bit more enjoyable since it’s reproducing more of the audible spectrum. As an aside, I had forgotten how little my Sierra-1 bamboo enclosures resonate compared to traditional MDF. The HVL-1 (and HTM-200 SE for that matter) resonated much more on my desk, even with Auralex MoPads in place. Plenty of loudspeakers use MDF; it was just somewhat amusing to feel vibrations through the desk and keyboard tray again.

For one last comparison, I wanted to pit the HVL-1 against my pair of MartinLogan Motion 4 ($500/pair) that were boxed up on a shelf. I had purchased these several years ago to try out the new “Folded Motion” tweeter from ML, but ended up not liking the sound in the long run. Let’s just say that the HVL-1 versus ML Motion 4 might as well have been comparing apples to oranges. To my ears, the Motion 4 was pretty much all upper-midrange and treble, with severely lacking low-mids and mid-bass compared to the HVL-1. It was a fatiguing sound to my ears after only a short time. I found the AMT implementation on the Motion 4 lacked definition and control. Sometimes it seemed just a jumble of high frequency noise compared to the more articulate HVL-1. I'm loath to describe it this way, but after listening to the Motion 4, the HVL-1 (in comparison) seemed bloated in the midrange and mid-bass regions, with significantly reduced high-frequency response. Knowing that the HVL-1 is, in fact, a well-balanced loudspeaker, this more than raised my eyebrow on the Motion 4 performance. Some folks may prefer the Motion 4’s characteristic sound, while finding the HVL-1 too laid-back and tame. The difference between these two loudspeakers is very significant. Although I prefer the aesthetics of the MartinLogan Motion 4, I’ll take the HVL-1 at day’s end since I believe it’s simply more accurate.

Conclusion

It’s easy for me to like the HVL-1. It’s got excellent pedigree, sounds pretty darn good, and doesn’t require parting with half a grand to get away from “cheap-sounding” speakers. There again, some folks can’t spend half a grand (or more) for quality speakers even if they wanted to. Well, the HVL-1 completely solves that issue from my standpoint. Buying a pair (also available as a single speaker or a set of 5 or 7) will allow the frugal customer a taste of real quality above its competitors. What the HVL-1 may lack in appearance, it more than makes up for with performance. It’s clear that every cent went into what really matters. The result is surprising. The HVL-1 is well-balanced, competent, and delivers a faithful reproduction of music and movies—all for a remarkably low price.

Recommended!

-Jacob
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post #20 of 86 Old 07-06-2013, 01:55 PM
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Wow.....great review and doing so with your initial post here on AVS....well done....Jacob...smile.gif

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post #21 of 86 Old 07-06-2013, 03:58 PM
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Great read. Thanks for the post. I actually really like the look of these. I've never been a fan of fake wood-grain. The grills are pretty unique looking as well.

I love a speaker where nothing jumps out at you. Looks like this might be one those and at a reasonable price to boot.
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post #22 of 86 Old 07-06-2013, 04:22 PM
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Good review!

Looks like the HVL-1 are a good contender for the Cambridge S30. There are always people looking for speakers for under $300, and these should fit the bill nicely smile.gif

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Yes it would interesting how the sound of the Wave Crest HLV1 compares to the Cambridge S30, and also to the Pioneer SP BS-22. Nice to see such great speaker value in the $200 to $300 range these days. Thanks for the review!
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post #24 of 86 Old 07-07-2013, 11:00 AM
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Thanks guys! Much appreciated. You too, Bill, thanks for the welcome. smile.gif

I wanted to evaluate these on the best electronics I had available to see what they were capable of. For regular usage, I've got the HVL-1 pair hooked up to a small Onkyo CS-325 receiver in my Zone 2 setup. Still sounds great!

Last Sunday, I set up a budget 2.1 HT/music system for a friend using a pair of the HVL-1 and a refurbished Denon AVR-1913. I threw in a SVS SB-1000 sub on my own dime to cover < 80 Hz. My friend was completely blown away since she was upgrading from TV speakers. biggrin.gif I demoed Tron: Legacy (Recognizer scene and light-cycle battle) and that was literally a jaw-dropping, show-stopping moment. My Jesse Cook "Free Fall" demo CD was also well-received. Later on, my friend went straight to her movie collection to watch "Marvel's The Avengers" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." cool.gif

We've got another one hooked, lads!

-Jacob
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post #25 of 86 Old 07-07-2013, 02:26 PM
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I've got a pair of S30's as my bedroom speakers. Really tempted to audition these to see how they compare!
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post #26 of 86 Old 07-07-2013, 04:09 PM
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Jacob...thank you for the review, and I am glad you (and your friend) are enjoying the HVL-1
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I've got a pair of S30's as my bedroom speakers. Really tempted to audition these to see how they compare!

You are in SoCal, we are in SoCal, perhaps we can something out. I would love to listen to the S30's.

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You are in SoCal, we are in SoCal, perhaps we can something out. I would love to listen to the S30's.

Sorry for planning work for you by saying this, but maybe you could find a couple of other people and do an entry level speaker shootout. Those always get ignored as choices for meet and greets.
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Quote:
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Yes it would interesting how the sound of the Wave Crest HLV1 compares to the Cambridge S30, and also to the Pioneer SP BS-22. Nice to see such great speaker value in the $200 to $300 range these days. Thanks for the review!

I have owned 2 out of the 3 mentioned (bs22 and s30).

They are quite opposite from what I remember. The bs22 have a relatively laid-back midrange. While, the s30 has a very forward upper mid/lower treble. The s30 is overall the better speaker but it also costs more than twice as much. The smallish mid driver in the bs22 limits its abilities somewhat. It can sound a little restrained and does not like to be driven loud. On the other hand, the crossover is the weak point on the s30. I believe there is a crossover mod somewhere in the forum for the s30 which evens out the upper mid/lower treble peakiness. Both are top-notch in their respective price points.

I would expect the hvl1 to trounce the bs22. The s30 would give a very fair fight. I would bet on the hvl1 but I would love to see someone compare the two. It seems to me that the $200 - $250/pr market segment is very popular and yet somewhat underrepresented.
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post #29 of 86 Old 07-07-2013, 08:27 PM
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Sorry for planning work for you by saying this, but maybe you could find a couple of other people and do an entry level speaker shootout. Those always get ignored as choices for meet and greets.
I don't know if it is a good idea for me to plan or set-up something like this, but I would be more than happy to provide a pair of HVL-1's for an event in the area...or maybe even out of the area.

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post #30 of 86 Old 07-08-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
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Sorry for planning work for you by saying this, but maybe you could find a couple of other people and do an entry level speaker shootout. Those always get ignored as choices for meet and greets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I don't know if it is a good idea for me to plan or set-up something like this, but I would be more than happy to provide a pair of HVL-1's for an event in the area...or maybe even out of the area.

Provided the scheduling works out, we would be happy to host something like this at our facility, give the attendees full control...

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