Well I finally got the final set of speakers to complete my first real home theater system.
They were a pair ascend acoustic cmt340SEs. They took about a week from the time I orderd them to actually receive the package. I had high hopes for theese speakers because I was previously using there younger brothers the 170SEs as fronts and thought they were nice performers for a bookshelf.
As I unboxed the package I looked for any signs of damage and found noon. The speakers were in perfect condition. They were boxed conveniently so I could open the box and tip it upside to release the speakers. I didn't want to kill a ton of time looking them over just yet I wanted to get theese babies hooked up!
The speakers come bi wire ready, however I chose to just take the standard rout. I hooked them up with 14ga wire directly to my Yamaha Avr. After wiring I got the speakers set up on shelves (until I make stands) where I liked them. I steeped back to take a look and realize they looked a lot nicer than I imagined esspecially with grills off. They are perfect size speakers if your more of a fan of seperat subs instead of running full range towers for fronts.
Before anything I let the speakers break in by running them full range and playing some light background music. Theese speakers play very well at low volumes. Even at low volumes I hear sharp highs and solid mids and very well blended yet noticeable
After breaking the speakers in I did a little 2 channel music listening. First I listend to some tool while using the speakers full range. I instantly noticed a larger soundstage. I also noticed they have the effect to sound live. The speakers fill my 16x22x9 room with ease.all the lyrics were balanced very nicely with the rest of the music, not one overpowered the other it was perfect. I turned them up to about -17 on the Avr and noticed at that levelthey seem to come to life a little more. The bass was more punchy and noticeable. There was a boost in fullness I don't really know how to explain but it sounded awsome.
When I had my deftech 600 satellites as rears and the cbm170s as mains I liked to a little 5ch music listening. It made me feel submerged in the music and I couldn't quiet get that feeling with cbm170 regaurdless of volume. I decided to put in some rage against the machine and see what 5ch sounded like on the new setup. Don't get me wrong it sounded seemless 5ch with all 8 6.5inch woofers, however when I fliped it back to 2ch I started to smile! The 340s were phenomenal in the 2ch mode. They added a layer that was definitely a step up from what the 170s could do as mains. I decided it was time to crank it up so I kicked to a level higher than I would ever use it -10 on the reciever. I couldn't belive what I was hearing! I was blown away by the amazing sound! they handled everything flawlessly and gave me a feeling they had more headroom left to.
I also played a little Nirvana 2ch. It was the unplugged DVD version. The 340s are incredible
At reproducing the acoustic guitar and electric extrmly accurately and realisticly. The mids transfer with grace up into the highs. I did notice the tweeter to be more presents or bold sounding compared to the 170s. I think the tweeter seemed to be one the biggest differences between the two. The tweeters on the 340s also seemed to have a slitly more open 3d effect and perhaps was more seperated from the other sound but in a good way.
Here is a list of things that I like about the 340s over the 170s
1) the 340s are much more effective at 2ch listening
2) the 340s have a much larger soundstage
3) 340s have a stonger more noticable tweeter(seems more effective for movies IMO)
4) they are fully capable of being set to large when playing movies or just lisetening to 2ch full rang
5) IMO they look nicer, tougher and just plain bad ass compared to the duller looking 170.
I'll move to home theater. For ht ill be reviewing my 5 ascends as well as the sub and how the rythmik sub performs with the ascend speakers.
For movies I have my speakers all to small with an 80hz crossover. 60 also.sounds good. And if you want, the 340 mains can performed full range without breaking a sweat.
First movie was lord of the ring 1 bluray. This movie really had a way of showing off how seemlessly the speakers worked together and how they are truly capable of theater like sound but even higher quality IMO. Again the 340 sounded so big and bold and put out a large soundstage to give a theater like feel. I played scene 8 on disc two with the cave troll. It was amazing. The lv12r performed flawlessly with every bit of lfe that was thrown at it. It blends so well with ascend speakers that it almost takes turning the sub off to realize what your missing without it. In all honesty IV never heard a mixed sub/speaker brand that blended so well together. Very impressive! The seas tweeter also shined here with Smooth sharp reproductions of swords and armour calashing.
The next movie was Jack the giant slayer on bluray. The scene where the bean first grows is a heavy hitting tornado of sounds from low to high. I could only get this to about -16 on the across before I gave up. This scene is loud! The entire system shrugged this scene off with no problem. The sub kept up with the fast strong lfe with no problem and produced a realistic ground and couch shaking effect
the speakers all did great at at picking out every little detail of this scene with incredible accuracy. There is no doubt theese speakers like to be played loud. No matter the volume the speakers never seemed strained or close to being maxed out. They don't seem to loose any controlled when driven hard.
Altogether I would refer to theese speakers as neutral, accurate, non fatiguing even at high volumes, large soundstage.
The bottom line is theese are some serious speakers for a very reasonable price tag. They likely will be more than enough speaker for all but the most demanding of audiophiles. I highly recommend theese speakers to anyone looking for a serious ht sound with aresonable price tag. They continue to impress me every new movie I through at em. Obviously I'm very fond of the overall blending of a rythimk sub. I'd highly recommended one with any ascend speaker setup. The blend is literally seamless its amazing.
Any questions feel free! This is. Noob review so I wanst able to word everything how guys like Jim do but it should give u a decent umdertanding of how the system performs. Any questions felt free.