Time to VOTE!! HSU vs Ascend vs Arx - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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It seems like the Horn loader tweeters tend to direct more sound to a specific area, but from reviews it seems Dr. HSU has corrected this more for a wider sound stage in the HB-1 MK2. Sound stage is important to me. I want to be able to sit anywhere in the room and get just about the best sound from that point. I know this is not entirely possible, but close does not hurt wink.gif.

Clarity is also a big deal, but I am sure any of these speaker choices can cover this. As for crossing over would you say that any of these choices have a higher or lower ability to do this? Sorry if I sound like such a newbie to all of this, but I really am biggrin.gif

As for trying the speakers out and auditioning them I am kinda at a loss frown.gif. It would definitely eat into the budget.

Another thing that gets me is the difference in sub woofers from the Hybrid 3 5.1 package from the Ascend Package. By buying the Rythmik lv12r am I down grading from the VTF 3? Or am I purely just losing the ability to shake my house more than what the Rythmik lv12r is capable of doing. Accuracy is also important, I know the VTF 3 has the ability to be changed in many different ways with Q control and such.

Should I even place so much focus on the sub woofer out of these packages (being that they are both good subs) or should most of my focus be on the speakers?

Everyone has such good advise and I am glad to hear from the community on this one!
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post #92 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Nexus221 View Post

Should I even place so much focus on the sub woofer out of these packages (being that they are both good subs) or should most of my focus be on the speakers?
The subs handle at least the same workload as all the rest of the speakers combined, and they contain an amp as well, so at least half of your budget should be applied to subs. I say 'subs' in the plural, as you need at least two for room mode smoothing.
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post #93 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexus221 View Post

It seems like the Horn loader tweeters tend to direct more sound to a specific area, but from reviews it seems Dr. HSU has corrected this more for a wider sound stage in the HB-1 MK2. Sound stage is important to me. I want to be able to sit anywhere in the room and get just about the best sound from that point. !

Horns do a few things, but one of those things can be keeping the off-axis response smooth. Many dome tweeters on a flat baffle have a hard time with this, although it seems like Ascend may be an exception. These are generalizations of course, but anyway, I would trust a horn loaded speaker to have a wider sweet spot than a dome on flat baffle. Coaxial speakers are also known for having a very good off-axis response and therefore a large sweet spot. Planars, on the other hand, are known for having a very small sweet spot. I don't think the HB-1 is doing anything special regarding horns, it is just using the advantages of horn-loading. If you want to know if a speaker has a wide sweet spot, look at the off-axis frequency response charts, because the further they are out flat (30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees), the larger of an area that speaker will sound good.

As for the VTF3 vs the Rythmik Fv12, I don't think the VTF3 will have an advantage in sound quality. I have compared the previous versions of the two models, the Hsu doe get louder and dig deeper, but I wouldn't say it sounded better. Both products have changed from the ones I compared though.
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post #94 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I would trust a horn loaded speaker to have a wider sweet spot than a dome on flat baffle. .
If anything horns have rougher off-axis response than domes, with narrower dispersion at high frequencies. Since off-axis response charts are as rare as an honest politician you'd never know this from looking at manufacturer ad copy, but if you look at driver data sheets from driver manufacturers this is quite clearly seen.
There's no such thing as a free lunch. Horns have higher sensitivity than domes, but they trade off flatness of response and axial response to get it.
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post #95 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 12:44 PM
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The horn is focusing the pattern of the HF driver, depending on the profile of the horn (90x60 is typical). A standard dome on a flat baffle has a "180 degree pattern", which means it's radiating all frequencies in a 180 degree cone up to the point where the driver starts to beam (based on dome size).

These two types of speakers should not be set up in the same manner for optimal listening. Here's a good article explaining proper setup (and promoting controlled directivity)

http://libinst.com/PublicArticles/Setup%20of%20WG%20Speakers.pdf
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post #96 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

The horn is focusing the pattern of the HF driver, depending on the profile of the horn (90x60 is typical).
The quoted dispersion patterns for horns are averaged. And just as direct radiating drivers have a narrowing pattern as frequency increases, eventually resulting in beaming, so do horns. You can see that on the beamwidth chart here, for example:
http://www.faitalpro.com/products/files/FD371/8/FD371_datasheet_8.pdf

While quoted as having a 40 degree pattern it varies from 170 degrees at 2.5kHz to 30 degrees at 20kHz. That's actually quite good for a horn loaded tweeter. As should be expected with one that retails for $160 it has better dispersion characteristics than most.
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post #97 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Bill, Have you heard the Ascends or HSU or Arx speakers? If so what were your thoughts on them?
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post #98 of 154 Old 07-07-2013, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

The quoted dispersion patterns for horns are averaged. And just as direct radiating drivers have a narrowing pattern as frequency increases, eventually resulting in beaming, so do horns. You can see that on the beamwidth chart here, for example:
http://www.faitalpro.com/products/files/FD371/8/FD371_datasheet_8.pdf

While quoted as having a 40 degree pattern it varies from 170 degrees at 2.5kHz to 30 degrees at 20kHz. That's actually quite good for a horn loaded tweeter. As should be expected with one that retails for $160 it has better dispersion characteristics than most.

You can pick and chose an example for just about anything... That driver would clearly be a poor choice for controlled directivity

Obviously I was generalizing my statements.

Here we have extremely good pattern control

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post #99 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexus221 View Post

Bill, Have you heard the Ascends or HSU or Arx speakers? If so what were your thoughts on them?
.

Here is a new just posted review of the Arx A1b http://www.affordableaudio.org/
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post #100 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

If all else is equal a chamber will result in lower Fs, and that will usually result in a loss of sensitivity at the upper end of the band width. Rule # 1 of loudspeaker design is that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Using a chamber will allow the tweeter to operate more smoothly to a lower frequency, but the trade off is that you will lose something at the other end of the spectrum. For that reason rear chambers are more commonly seen used in midrange drivers than tweeters, and tweeters tend to be crossed over a full octave above Fs, well above where the impedance peak is an issue.

Hey Bill -- not in my experience...

Nearly every top performing dome tweeter available (SEAS Excel, Scan Speak, Eton, Morel, Dyn.. etc.) use damping chambers behind the diaphragm and the main reason is typically not to lower Fs (although that is a beneficial consequence), but to better damp/eliminate the backwave produced by the dome, which improves clarity / detail / time domain response.... We have dozens of various SEAS prototypes here, exact same builds but some w/ and some w/o chambers and I have never measured any differences in the upper end of the spectrum. That stated, chambered tweeters typically use larger domes and the larger dome (as compared to a smaller dome) will typically have reduced sensitivity at the upper end of the spectrum, but far greater dynamic capability.

That stated, the backwave produced by the diaphragm -- which will bounce off the magnet behind the dome and project back through the diaphragm (a few milliseconds behind the direct sound), can add to the upper end sensitivity when evaluated over a larger time domain, but as you know, that is not something we should be hearing... There can also be differences if the air space behind the dome is air-tight (sealed), but few if any dome tweeters are built this way these days as it is too problematic and not necessary with the many advances in diaphragm materials...

However, we all have different experiences and preferences when it comes to loudspeaker design smile.gif
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post #101 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 07:15 PM
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It seems all 3 choices are very good. I may have missed it, but I don't think anyone has expressed "why" they prefer one over the other (well, except for Brian, but we all know what that's worth). So back to square one. Being the HB-1 MK2 and CMB-170 SE the most popular, and according to my research, here are the characteristics I gathered when compared the 2:

HSU:
Wider soundstage, More Dynamic, Better for HT application, More sensitive, Nicer Finish/Looks, More difficult to set up (for sweet spot) , Not as seamless surround, Smaller sweet spot but lesser off-axis loss, probably sound better in medium sized room than it does in smaller.

Ascend:
More musical, a tad more neutral, easier to set up (for sweet spot), better surround integration, bigger sweet spot but may incur greater off-axis loss, not as dynamic. Probably has an advantage in smaller rooms.

Both offer good small to medium room SPLs and good bass when paired with a sub.


Please feel free to dissect or trash these comparisons. Hope it helps to get back in the discussion.

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post #102 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 08:55 PM
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Based on the manufacturers specs, HSU is not more sensitive. HSU HB-1s are measured "92 dB / 1m / 2.83V in Half Space", whereas Ascends are measured "89dB @ 1 watt/ 1 meter" in full space. You have to subtract approximately 3db from the HSU specs to equal the full space measurements. And this is assuming that both manufacturers are measuring correctly (I would give them the benefit of the doubt unless independent measurements confirm that).

Meanwhile, what we have learned from these discussions is that almost no one has compared the two of them head to head. It would be a big assumption to describe one as more dynamic than the other or one more musical without hearing them in the same room with the same media, and at the same SPL levels.
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post #103 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 10:09 PM
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The only thing closer to a head to head that I found was from "a review" from "a guy" in Amazon. He compared those and other speakers to the Cambridge S30. Sure, not the most reliable, but at the very least he sounded like he knew what he was talking about, so I extrapolated from there. A bit of a stretch, I know, but at least it gets us back to the topic, which is to offer points of reference that can help guide the OP.

Curiously, I don't know if I didn't search enough, but there seem to be a lack of "Professional" reviews for the Ascends. I don't know if this is on purpose or not, but it certainly doesn't help.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RTJS5HPPB37NR/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B004NDN9NK&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

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post #104 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by hdnewbie21 View Post

The only thing closer to a head to head that I found was from "a review" from "a guy" in Amazon. He compared those and other speakers to the Cambridge S30. Sure, not the most reliable, but at the very least he sounded like he knew what he was talking about, so I extrapolated from there. A bit of a stretch, I know, but at least it gets us back to the topic, which is to offer points of reference that can help guide the OP.

Curiously, I don't know if I didn't search enough, but there seem to be a lack of "Professional" reviews for the Ascends. I don't know if this is on purpose or not, but it certainly doesn't help.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RTJS5HPPB37NR/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B004NDN9NK&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

Huh?

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/proreviews.html

They even have the most important review a speaker can have, one with anechoic measurements

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/ascendacoustics_cbm170.htm
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post #105 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

.

Here is a new just posted review of the Arx A1b http://www.affordableaudio.org/

This is a very favorable but poorly written and organized review. You have to read the entire review very carefully or you will get the wrong impression of these speakers. Another professional review of the A1b and A2b is Jim Wilson's at http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-reviews/65546-arx-a1b-a2b-speaker-review.html
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post #106 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 10:39 PM
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Huh?

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/proreviews.html

They even have the most important review a speaker can have, one with anechoic measurements

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/ascendacoustics_cbm170.htm

Here's something even more interesting, the 170 measured 89db 2.83V in a anechoic chamber. While the HSU does not have a review with the same measurement, this review states 85.7db sensitivity...

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/review-hsu-research-hb-1-mk2
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post #107 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Huh?

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/proreviews.html

They even have the most important review a speaker can have, one with anechoic measurements

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/ascendacoustics_cbm170.htm

My apologies, I meant for the SE's, not Ascend in general. The soundstage one is for the old 170, not the SE, but I'm sure the SE's are improved anyway.
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post #108 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by hdnewbie21 View Post

My apologies, I meant for the SE's, not Ascend in general. The soundstage one is for the old 170, not the SE, but I'm sure the SE's are improved anyway.

It looks like they changed tweeters

I think the most impressive thing about that 10 year old review is the price of the 170 has only gone up $20
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post #109 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 11:08 PM
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More impressive, they are still relevant when we are seeing more speakers popping out, new technologies, and companies refreshing their lines more frequently.
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post #110 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 11:12 PM
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Yes but they need to change that ugly enclosure no offense to me a is big turn off ,unless I want then behind a theater screen.


They are comparing the 170 with the old Energy Connoisseur C-3

energy after that refresh their line with the RC-10 with real wood veneer ,Kevlar cones with ribbed elliptical surround.


I really don't care about the look of the drivers they can still look good with a more attractive enclosure.


I don't take their credit that they sound good, but my wife won't like this speakers in my living room.
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post #111 of 154 Old 07-08-2013, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdnewbie21 View Post

My apologies, I meant for the SE's, not Ascend in general. The soundstage one is for the old 170, not the SE, but I'm sure the SE's are improved anyway.
Reviewers/publications don't seem to want to review a speaker that seems to have been around a while. Especially at that price point
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It looks like they changed tweeters

I think the most impressive thing about that 10 year old review is the price of the 170 has only gone up $20
The tweeters and the woofers are different on the SE.
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Yes but they need to change that ugly enclosure no offense to me a is big turn off ,unless I want then behind a theater screen.
Yeah...been said many times before. I was told by DaveF that the enclosure has those dimensions because it made a measurable difference.
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post #112 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 12:58 AM
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I wanted to get the community average on this one so I would like everyone to vote. I just want to get a feel as to what the community as a whole likes out of the 4 sets of speakers that will be listed for a 5.1 home theater in a 20Wx12Lx7H room. Now I am planning on pairing any one of these sets with a VTF3- MK4 so the subwoofer is all set. After pouring over the forums it seems that they are all pretty even, but now we can truly get a feel for what the majority of the community uses or feels is the best for this price range which my budget is right about $1600.

1. HSU Hybrid 3 5.1 Package of the 4 HB-1 MK2, and 1 HC-1 MK2 with the VTF3- MK4 for $1600 Shipped

2. Ascend CBM-170 SE x 4 Surround and a CMT-340 SE Center

3. Ascend (This blows my budget up) CMT-340 SE x4 Surround and CMT-340 SE Center

4. Arx A2c x 4 Surround and 1 Center

After pouring over the threads for speakers in this price range this is what most comes up and all have good reviews. Everyone states these choices are all solid which is awesome so I really can't go wrong. Now it’s just all about finding out what the AVS community uses or feels is the best at this time. biggrin.gif

All these choices suck. What is with the MTM horizontal center channel love? Let me fix your choices. Vertical bookshelf at center channel for the win.

1. HSU HB-1 center
2. Ascend cbm-170se center
3. Arx a1b center
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post #113 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 02:13 AM
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I'm voting for Ascend again. My first vote was for the left speaker...

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post #114 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 09:03 AM
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The CMT-340 SE MINI-TOWER MONITOR on the pedestal stand look more appealing , but no bipole/dipole speakers for the walls frown.gif , also I wish they had a better looking finish. frown.gif.


Well the sierra are on another level and they look beautiful.

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post #115 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 09:05 AM
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also I wish they had a better looking finish. frown.gif.

You are just spoiled by the beautiful finish on your Energy speakers smile.gif
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post #116 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 09:53 AM
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Okay for the help of the op this is my choice, 3 CMT-340 SE speakers ,left and right speakers with pedestal stands.

I don't know what to choose for surrounds, I like dipole/bipole speakers specially for movies.

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post #117 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
HSU:
Wider soundstage, More Dynamic, Better for HT application, More sensitive, Nicer Finish/Looks, More difficult to set up (for sweet spot) , Not as seamless surround, Smaller sweet spot but lesser off-axis loss, probably sound better in medium sized room than it does in smaller.

Ascend:
More musical, a tad more neutral, easier to set up (for sweet spot), better surround integration, bigger sweet spot but may incur greater off-axis loss, not as dynamic. Probably has an advantage in smaller rooms.

Both offer good small to medium room SPLs and good bass when paired with a sub.


I am sorry to sound like such a newb at this but when you mean dynamic and more sensitive how does that impact the sound of a movie or Music?

HSU speakers seem to be more towards HT. Also heard that the HSU speakers sounds a little muddy with the grills on which is kind of a turn off. I would rather have the grills on to deter speaker damage.

I am so on the Fence about this! lol I was really leaning towards the Ascend Rthymik combo for the Neutral sound and Accuracy. Looks are not really a big deal to me as long as they look semi good that’s fine. Black matte finish does not bother me one bit.

I should ask the question "Why did you choose your Ascend or HSU speakers" Or would most agree with the review of both speakers that hdnewbie21 gave (which I thank him very much for sharing with me.) biggrin.gif
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post #118 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Nexus221 View Post

I am sorry to sound like such a newb at this but when you mean dynamic and more sensitive how does that impact the sound of a movie or Music?

HSU speakers seem to be more towards HT. Also heard that the HSU speakers sounds a little muddy with the grills on which is kind of a turn off. I would rather have the grills on to deter speaker damage.

I am so on the Fence about this! lol I was really leaning towards the Ascend Rthymik combo for the Neutral sound and Accuracy. Looks are not really a big deal to me as long as they look semi good that’s fine. Black matte finish does not bother me one bit.

I should ask the question "Why did you choose your Ascend or HSU speakers" Or would most agree with the review of both speakers that hdnewbie21 gave (which I thank him very much for sharing with me.) biggrin.gif

The problem you are having is that it's like trying to choose between two restaurants of equivalent quality with fairly similar menus by reading Yelp reviews. Only no good reviews that compare both together. Definitely a difficult task given that trying to describe audio quality is even more difficult than trying to describe food quality smile.gif

Meanwhile, sensitivity is a measurement of how loud a speaker will go given 1 watt of power. So a speaker with a higher sensitivity would potentially get louder with your receiver than one with a lower sensitivity. there's no evidence to support that the HSUs are any more sensitive than the the Ascends (see the discussion above); HSU and Ascend are using different measurement standards, and they are more likely to be the same than different.

Dynamics is how speakers sound as you drive them with lots of power. Without direct comparisons of the speakers in the same room listened to at the same volume, it's also difficult to know the differences between these two speakers in that regard.

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post #119 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 10:08 AM
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Has hdnewbie21 actually heard both speakers, or was he just summarizing the thread?

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post #120 of 154 Old 07-09-2013, 10:09 AM
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More dynamic means it can stay clean at louder playback level, and the peaks will not be as compressed. More sensitive is kind of a corollary, that means it takes less amplification for the same loudness. If you are more into detail, it sounds like you should probably go with the Ascends, but if you are into dynamic range, sounds like you should go for the Hsus. I do own the Hsus, and to my ears the grill makes no difference on the sound. Others I have talked to say the same thing. Personally I leave the grills off, I just think the speakers look better with grills off.
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