Search for an LCR upgrade for ~$3000 - Ascend, Zu, Tekton, SVS or other? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello more knowledgeable people than me -

Perhaps I can glean some information to help me upgrade my current Energy RC-70/RC-LCR front 3 setup.

Usage: almost exclusively home theater

Room size: (10 to 12') wide x 17' long x 7' high opening onto another room and hallway of approximate equal size. Distance from LCR to MLP at the moment is just over 10 ft.

Current gear (standard "decent" HT fare):
Energy RC-70
Energy LCR
2x Energy V-S
2x Energy RC-R
2x Energy V-mini (heights)
SVS PB-12 Plus DSP
Denon 4311
Emotiva XPA-3 (powering LCR)

On the radar: HSU MBM-12 for some better "slam"

Primary reason to upgrade: Energy LCR not up to snuff IMO. Wanting to purchase that set of speakers that will last me years, before, um, other priorities take precedent. smile.gif

Additional info:

- For about $3000 (tax not incl) I feel there are several good contenders that, importantly, provide a matched LCR setup for HT: Zu Omen, Ascend Sierra Tower and Horizon, SVS Ultra, Tekton Enzo (with matching center pending)
- It's definitely not an ideal setup/room currently, although it's not bad. I haven't taken any measurements, since I haven't researched what I need to get that going. Room treatments may in the future to help out, but I plan on only being at this place for another couple years, if that....So, these new speakers would have to be suitable in a (hopefully) larger room in the future. Hence towers not bookshelves
-
Will the Zu's be dynamic enough for HT to warrant the upgrade? Are they more suitable for 2-channel music? Is the single driver more suitable for smaller rooms/smaller distances to MLP such as mine?
- Will the Ascend towers be dynamic enough to warrant the upgrade? (by all rights the Horizon should be plenty good - it's probably the best center of the bunch). Are they more suitable for 2-channel music? MLP distance too small for "all those drivers" to integrate properly?
- Is the SVS center a weak link? (The towers may also be too big for the room - see below)
- Are Tektons all they're cracked up to be, especially for HT? (there's probably not gonna be a lot people out there who've heard the Enzo's though). MLP distance too small for "all those drivers" to integrate properly?
- Aesthetics will play a part in all this, for better or worse

- It may come down to doing an A-B test between a couple of them - while utilizing some return policies of course - but I'm very much trying to avoid going through that hassle. Instead, I'd prefer to make the best educated decision I can based on some input, and enjoy the sh*t outta of them

- Eliminated: Considered Aperion Grand Verus', but not sure they're quite on par with the other options listed. Other offerings from Tekton might be cheaper (Lore's, Lore-S') but don't offer a matching center.

- I have been partial to the Ascends' for quite some time, but am slightly afraid they're built more for musical accuracy than HT, and will lack some punching power (and therefore, not be worth it)

-Some pics and CAD models of my current setup and various options listed:

Current setup, minus the heights I added a month or two ago:

Reverse angle of HT room (sub has been moved though):

Basement Isometric (CAD) from above:

Current setup: Energy's (CAD)

Reverse angle of HT room, with current placement of sub (CAD)

Ascend Sierra Towers and Horizon (CAD)

SVS Ultras (not sure I modelled the towers quite right) (CAD)

Tekton Enzo (no clue about the center yet) (CAD)

Zu Omen (CAD)


I'm looking for feedback, listening impressions, general advice, ANYTHING that may help me make this decision easier. Thanks. This is an A-1 site.

Steve
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post #2 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 12:28 PM
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For 100% HT, I would not be looking at tower speakers. I would get speakers made to cover to 80HZ, that had good sensitivity and put the money toward a better subwoofer system. Something like Klipsch KL-650-THX speakers. Pair those with a pair of subs like PB12-NSD's and you would have a vey dynamic system. The SVS PB12-NSD uses a very highly regarded driver, the Peerless XXLS.

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post #3 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 12:59 PM
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What about JTR Speakers.

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post #4 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

What about JTR Speakers.

That's definitely a possibility. Though, the OP will have to "up" his budget a little bit and get three Noesis 228HT's to start and then get the JTR surrounds and a newer sub later.

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post #5 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I've taken a look at the JTRs previously - way too damn ugly and utilitarian for my taste. Like I said, aesthetics will play a part in this decision, for better or worse smile.gif

To the first poster - already have a good sub: SVS PB12-plus. Second one down the road....maybe.

Really just interested in replacing the front 3. I don't believe it's as crucial to match the surrounds, and the one's I have I'm perfectly happy with.
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post #6 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

That's definitely a possibility. Though, the OP will have to "up" his budget a little bit and get three Noesis 228HT's to start and then get the JTR surrounds and a newer sub later.

Or get three JTR Single 8HTs. Good fit with the budget.

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post #7 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveo1717 View Post

Hello more knowledgeable people than me -

Perhaps I can glean some information to help me upgrade my current Energy RC-70/RC-LCR front 3 setup.

Usage: almost exclusively home theater

Room size: (10 to 12') wide x 17' long x 7' high opening onto another room and hallway of approximate equal size. Distance from LCR to MLP at the moment is just over 10 ft.

Current gear (standard "decent" HT fare):
Energy RC-70
Energy LCR
2x Energy V-S
2x Energy RC-R
2x Energy V-mini (heights)
SVS PB-12 Plus DSP
Denon 4311
Emotiva XPA-3 (powering LCR)

On the radar: HSU MBM-12 for some better "slam"

Primary reason to upgrade: Energy LCR not up to snuff IMO. Wanting to purchase that set of speakers that will last me years, before, um, other priorities take precedent. smile.gif

Additional info:

- For about $3000 (tax not incl) I feel there are several good contenders that, importantly, provide a matched LCR setup for HT: Zu Omen, Ascend Sierra Tower and Horizon, SVS Ultra, Tekton Enzo (with matching center pending)
- It's definitely not an ideal setup/room currently, although it's not bad. I haven't taken any measurements, since I haven't researched what I need to get that going. Room treatments may in the future to help out, but I plan on only being at this place for another couple years, if that....So, these new speakers would have to be suitable in a (hopefully) larger room in the future. Hence towers not bookshelves
-
Will the Zu's be dynamic enough for HT to warrant the upgrade? Are they more suitable for 2-channel music? Is the single driver more suitable for smaller rooms/smaller distances to MLP such as mine?
- Will the Ascend towers be dynamic enough to warrant the upgrade? (by all rights the Horizon should be plenty good - it's probably the best center of the bunch). Are they more suitable for 2-channel music? MLP distance too small for "all those drivers" to integrate properly?
- Is the SVS center a weak link? (The towers may also be too big for the room - see below)
- Are Tektons all they're cracked up to be, especially for HT? (there's probably not gonna be a lot people out there who've heard the Enzo's though). MLP distance too small for "all those drivers" to integrate properly?
- Aesthetics will play a part in all this, for better or worse

- It may come down to doing an A-B test between a couple of them - while utilizing some return policies of course - but I'm very much trying to avoid going through that hassle. Instead, I'd prefer to make the best educated decision I can based on some input, and enjoy the sh*t outta of them

- Eliminated: Considered Aperion Grand Verus', but not sure they're quite on par with the other options listed. Other offerings from Tekton might be cheaper (Lore's, Lore-S') but don't offer a matching center.

- I have been partial to the Ascends' for quite some time, but am slightly afraid they're built more for musical accuracy than HT, and will lack some punching power (and therefore, not be worth it)

-Some pics and CAD models of my current setup and various options listed:

Current setup, minus the heights I added a month or two ago:

Reverse angle of HT room (sub has been moved though):

Basement Isometric (CAD) from above:

Current setup: Energy's (CAD)

Reverse angle of HT room, with current placement of sub (CAD)

Ascend Sierra Towers and Horizon (CAD)

SVS Ultras (not sure I modelled the towers quite right) (CAD)

Tekton Enzo (no clue about the center yet) (CAD)

Zu Omen (CAD)


I'm looking for feedback, listening impressions, general advice, ANYTHING that may help me make this decision easier. Thanks. This is an A-1 site.

Steve

If the center bothers you, get the ascend sierra horizon. I'm sure it won't disappoint. smile.gif the paradigm studio centers are huge too.

[HT]

Energy RC-70 Rosenut
Energy RC-LCR Rosenut
Energy Veritas 1.0CM
SVS PC12-NSD
Pioneer SC-1522-K

 

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Pics of my setup

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post #8 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post

For 100% HT, I would not be looking at tower speakers. I would get speakers made to cover to 80HZ, that had good sensitivity and put the money toward a better subwoofer system. Something like Klipsch KL-650-THX speakers. Pair those with a pair of subs like PB12-NSD's and you would have a vey dynamic system. The SVS PB12-NSD uses a very highly regarded driver, the Peerless XXLS.

I second this idea. I have the Ultra towers and really like them but your room would require putting them in the corners and the bass would be boomy if you ran them set to full range or large. You could set them small, but then why not just get bookshelves? I would also add that since your screen is pretty high, why not forget about a center and get three matching bookshelves? That would give you a seamless front stage. Center speakers are generally more money and have more sonic compromises to allow them to fit horizontally under or over a TV.

Three Ultra bookshelves = $1500 or three Ascend Sierras = About the same.

Actually, since to already own an SVS PB12 plus, just go with three Ultra bookshelves and add another sub. Total of $2,900. All risk free.

The SVS Ultras are a lot newer than the Sierras. I have never heard them directly to compare. Rumor is that a new Sierra bookshelf might be coming out in the fall, FYI.

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post #9 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 02:22 PM
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Go with your gut and try the Ascend Sierra Towers and Horizon Center (with a projector, I wouldn't go with a glossy finish on the front speakers) if you're worried about looks... don't bother with the RAAL ribbon tweeter upgrade for home theater usage. I'd say they're a definite improvement over the Energy's for movies and music.

If you want pulse pounding theater sound (loud and punchy), most speakers available that fit that category are going to look utilitarian. That's just the way it is.

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post #10 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I second this idea. I have the Ultra towers and really like them but your room would require putting them in the corners and the bass would be boomy if you ran them set to full range or large. You could set them small, but then why not just get bookshelves? I would also add that since your screen is pretty high, why not forget about a center and get three matching bookshelves? That would give you a seamless front stage. Center speakers are generally more money and have more sonic compromises to allow them to fit horizontally under or over a TV.

Three Ultra bookshelves = $1500 or three Ascend Sierras = About the same.

Actually, since to already own an SVS PB12 plus, just go with three Ultra bookshelves and add another sub. Total of $2,900. All risk free.

The SVS Ultras are a lot newer than the Sierras. I have never heard them directly to compare. Rumor is that a new Sierra bookshelf might be coming out in the fall, FYI.

Hm, interesting. I think I'd have heartburn going from towers - Energy's or otherwise - to bookshelves though. Seems like a step backwards. I'd like these to be the last ones I buy for a zillion years, if humanly possible. And, like I said, these new speakers will find their way to a bigger room in a new house eventually; one more suited for HT.

I followed and have re-read the thread on your quest for your new speakers. Very helpful smile.gif Too bad you didn't get to audition the Ascends; selfishly, it would've helped me.

Truth be told, I hope this thread helps many more than just me of course.
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post #11 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 02:36 PM
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I second this idea. I have the Ultra towers and really like them but your room would require putting them in the corners and the bass would be boomy if you ran them set to full range or large. You could set them small, but then why not just get bookshelves? I would also add that since your screen is pretty high, why not forget about a center and get three matching bookshelves? That would give you a seamless front stage. Center speakers are generally more money and have more sonic compromises to allow them to fit horizontally under or over a TV.

Three Ultra bookshelves = $1500 or three Ascend Sierras = About the same.

Actually, since to already own an SVS PB12 plus, just go with three Ultra bookshelves and add another sub. Total of $2,900. All risk free.

The SVS Ultras are a lot newer than the Sierras. I have never heard them directly to compare. Rumor is that a new Sierra bookshelf might be coming out in the fall, FYI.

He's worried about aesthetics too. A bookshelf under the screen might sound better but it looks weird as well. A nice horizontal center tucked under the screen looks much better. Any of the beefy centers with the tweeter on top of the mid should work fine. Same argument for floorstanders. They just look better smile.gif

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post #12 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Go with your gut and try the Ascend Sierra Towers and Horizon Center (with a projector, I wouldn't go with a glossy finish on the front speakers) if you're worried about looks... don't bother with the RAAL ribbon tweeter upgrade for home theater usage. I'd say they're a definite improvement over the Energy's for movies and music.

If you want pulse pounding theater sound (loud and punchy), most speakers available that fit that category are going to look utilitarian. That's just the way it is.

Fair assessment. "Pulse pounding" isn't exactly a necessity; certainly right now in a townhouse with neighbours on both sides it isn't.

A good solid upgrade in sound quality - that'll still have some good dynamics - is the main objective.
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post #13 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:08 PM
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I have Ascend Sierra-1s with the NrT tweeter and they lack nothing for movies, with a good sub, I was planning on buying the towers or LCR horizon but their bookshelves Sierra-1s do movies so good I'm really questioning if I'm really missing anything. So your looking at the Sierra Towers? I'm willing to bet they won't lack anything for movies and if they do you can return them.
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post #14 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:11 PM
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Also if your not looking at the raal upgrade I would also look at Aperion Verus Grand
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post #15 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:27 PM
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LOL....

I've been going through this exact same predicament....looking for an upgraded LCR setup. This is for my new HT which is currently under construction.

I had my sights set on the Tekton Pendragon, but I've read a lot of people are not getting their Tekton speakers in a timely order. Some people have waited over 6 months and complained that Eric was not upfront/honest on the delivery time!!! Google it.

I currently have the following on my list :

Paradigm Studio 100 + CC690
Klipsch RF-7II + RC-64II

Considered Zu Audio Omen Def + Center.

I'm looking for LCR's for 70% movies + 30% music. My new HT will be on the large size (22x27x10) so I was looking for something efficient too.


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I have Ascend Sierra-1s with the NrT tweeter and they lack nothing for movies, with a good sub, I was planning on buying the towers or LCR horizon but their bookshelves Sierra-1s do movies so good I'm really questioning if I'm really missing anything. So your looking at the Sierra Towers? I'm willing to bet they won't lack anything for movies and if they do you can return them.

As was mentioned, this is my "gut feeling": that the ascend's are the best bang for the buck in my price range. So you get great HT/movie performance from the Sierra-1's eh? What are you comparing them too (ie. what did you have before? Anything?)

I'm considering adding the HSU MBM for some more midbass slam, but unsure if I'll need it with the towers.
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post #17 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:35 PM
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What about KEF speakers.

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post #18 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Also if your not looking at the raal upgrade I would also look at Aperion Verus Grand

Ya, I've seen the Aperions mentioned in the same breath as some of the other options. After reading into it a bit, I would say they're a half step behind the ones I listed at the top. They were certainly on the list to begin, but I had to start narrowing it down somehow smile.gif

I'm not totally discounting the RAAL; I think it might be worthwhile particularly for the center channel. But I figure I gotta settle on the ascends first, then decide if the 350 for the ribbon is worth it.
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post #19 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:41 PM
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Or get three JTR Single 8HTs. Good fit with the budget.

And he could get them finished in a nice custom veneer finish.
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post #20 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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What about KEF speakers.

Yep I read up on the Q900s a bit, I think it was. To be honest I kind of forgot why they're not on the shortlist. Maybe I just felt there were better options to be had at the same price point, after doing some reading. And they were a little less...sexy...that some of the others as well.

Do you have experience with the KEFs? The in-line tweeter design seems like it gets its share of accolades.
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post #21 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 03:56 PM
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well honestly from your list the only speakers that look nice are the energy .

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post #22 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So you want something sexy biggrin.gif then in this case you don't need a speaker lol.

Zing.
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post #23 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 04:29 PM
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Hm, interesting. I think I'd have heartburn going from towers - Energy's or otherwise - to bookshelves though. Seems like a step backwards. I'd like these to be the last ones I buy for a zillion years, if humanly possible. And, like I said, these new speakers will find their way to a bigger room in a new house eventually; one more suited for HT.

I followed and have re-read the thread on your quest for your new speakers. Very helpful smile.gif Too bad you didn't get to audition the Ascends; selfishly, it would've helped me.

Truth be told, I hope this thread helps many more than just me of course.

Where are you crossing your towers right now? The sub you have will provide better bass up to 80hz than your current towers, so your system currently would perform best if running towers as small, using 80hz crossover. If running towers with 80hz crossover you are not using the lower potential of the towers and because the towers were designed to play lower, they gave up sensitivity to be able to do so. Means you lost sensitivity for something you are not even using. That is why you would be better off with a speaker designed to go to 80hz and get a second sub.

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post #24 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Steveo1717 View Post

Hm, interesting. I think I'd have heartburn going from towers - Energy's or otherwise - to bookshelves though. Seems like a step backwards. I'd like these to be the last ones I buy for a zillion years, if humanly possible. And, like I said, these new speakers will find their way to a bigger room in a new house eventually; one more suited for HT.

I followed and have re-read the thread on your quest for your new speakers. Very helpful smile.gif Too bad you didn't get to audition the Ascends; selfishly, it would've helped me.

Truth be told, I hope this thread helps many more than just me of course.

Most of the really good HT systems that I have heard, did not use towers and very few HT systems running full range towers would have been able to compete against any of these good systems. Most of the really good HT speakers are not designed to go deep. Look at Klipsch Kl-650-THX, Klipsch LaScala, JTR, Seaton Sound and Triad. None of these speakers go very low, but they have higher sensitivity and good power handling. They are capable of the dynamics of HT. Once you hear a system like this, you understand what I am talking about.

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post #25 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post

Where are you crossing your towers right now? The sub you have will provide better bass up to 80hz than your current towers, so your system currently would perform best if running towers as small, using 80hz crossover. If running towers with 80hz crossover you are not using the lower potential of the towers and because the towers were designed to play lower, they gave up sensitivity to be able to do so. Means you lost sensitivity for something you are not even using. That is why you would be better off with a speaker designed to go to 80hz and get a second sub.

+1. It sounds like the OP is looking for a real step up in dynamics. The Zu and Tekton might get him there, but they look to have some serious problems. Zu speakers have measured horrifically in the past, and Tekton do not promise great measurements either, given it's oddball design. Those speakers could very well be a step down in sound quality. If it were me, I would go for something like these Pi Threes, which will have massive dynamics, and great performance measurements to back it up. La Scalas would work great too, but on the OP's budget, he could only afford one, not three. I think the OP is stuck on the tower form factor anyway.
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post #26 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Steveo1717 View Post

As was mentioned, this is my "gut feeling": that the ascend's are the best bang for the buck in my price range. So you get great HT/movie performance from the Sierra-1's eh? What are you comparing them too (ie. what did you have before? Anything?)

I'm considering adding the HSU MBM for some more midbass slam, but unsure if I'll need it with the towers.

Since your mostly Movies you NEED a good sub, towers are great for full range music where you don't need a sub but for HT you need a sub a tower woofers just can't bring it the same way a sub can so even with towers you need a sub, a very good monitor speaker with a great sub would be tough to beat, also with bookshelves speakers the LCR all match making it a seamless front stage, which is also another plus for HT. I'm sure some towers like the Sierra towers over the Sierra-1 have an advantage but that's more of a 3 way vs a 2 way speaker but bass shouldn't really be it because for movies you should be crossed over around 80, I'm crossed over at 60. If you can swing the Sierra raal Towers and the raal Horizon I think that's a great buy with your current SVS sub, if your looking for the best bang for your buck I think Sierra-1s LCR with the NrT tweeter paired with your sub or 2 would be very tough to beat.
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post #27 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 06:13 PM
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I have Paradigm Studio 100's, a CC-690 center, and an HSU Research VTF-3 sub. Yes, imagine if you will, towers and a sub! They sound great! I set the bass management's cross-over about where the 100's start to fall off in their bass response... around 40 Hz.... and have really good top to bottom reproduction. Sometimes, depending on the speaker/sub combo, you can get a bit of a gap in the frequency range (the speakers don't go low enough, and the sub doesn't do that great with the mid-bass range). A good tower speaker can fit the bill, especially with music.

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post #28 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

I have Paradigm Studio 100's, a CC-690 center, and an HSU Research VTF-3 sub. Yes, imagine if you will, towers and a sub! They sound great! I set the bass management's cross-over about where the 100's start to fall off in their bass response... around 40 Hz.... and have really good top to bottom reproduction. Sometimes, depending on the speaker/sub combo, you can get a bit of a gap in the frequency range (the speakers don't go low enough, and the sub doesn't do that great with the mid-bass range). A good tower speaker can fit the bill, especially with music.

I had the chance to demo those exact speakers in my theatre room for just over a week and they just didn't do it for me. I really wanted to like them because of the amazing deal I could get them for but in the end I just didn't like their sound.
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post #29 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 08:10 PM
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Maybe he want a tower because many bookshelf cant reach 80hz with authority.

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post #30 of 55 Old 09-01-2013, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

Maybe he want a tower because many bookshelf cant reach 80hz with authority.

I think there are plenty bookshelves that can get lower than 80 w/o an issue.

To the OP, I am not trying to dissuade you from towers. I love tower and their form factor. I was just pointing out another option with three identical LCRs since you already have a great sub.
The tower vs. bookshelf debate is kinda endless around here.

One other piece of advice for you would be to contact Dave at Ascend (the owner) who is not too hard to reach by phone or email and either Mark Mason or Ed Mullen at SVS. Give them your current set up and wishes plus budget and see what they recommend as far as the best way to upgrade (towers plus center vs. bookshelves plus center and a 2nd sub).

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