I'm narrowing it down! (Speaker selection continued) - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Which would you choose?
Salk Sound 3 20.00%
Ascend 2 13.33%
Philharmonic 3 20.00%
JTR 7 46.67%
Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 25 Old 11-05-2013, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I have, come to conclusion, that the larger companies simply do not provide the amount of quality that some of these less well known brands do for the money.

I am now down to four different brands.

1) Salk Sound
Song Towers standard veneer $1999 a pair, with RAAL tweeter at $700 plus Song Center standard veneer at $795 plus $350 for ribbon tweeter. = around $3850

2) Ascend
Sierra Tower Piano Black gloss $2098 a pair, with RAAL tweeter at $700 plus Sierra Horizon Piano black at $1098 plus ribbon tweeter at $350. = around $4250

3) Philharmonic Audio
Phil Slim standard cabinet at $2700 a pair(with RAAL tweeter standard), plus Phil Center at $795 with standard ribbon tweeter. = around $3500

4) JTR
Noesis 228HT, $1199 each. = around $3600

Would love it if you guys shared your impressions of these speakers in comparison to each other, especially if you have heard them in the same setting, and had time to evaluate them. Thank you!

Also if you are anywhere in Alabama if you could let me know if you are willing to demo any of these speakers, and just maybe I can hear them!

I've gotten so much feedback and advice, thank you all for that. Your recommendations have led me here. smile.gif

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post #2 of 25 Old 11-06-2013, 01:43 AM
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First of all, if you aren't using a subwoofer, scratch the JTRs off the list, they don't have enough extension to be used without a sub. They are a very different kind of loudspeaker than the others, I don't know why you have them grouped together.
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-06-2013, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

First of all, if you aren't using a subwoofer, scratch the JTRs off the list, they don't have enough extension to be used without a sub. They are a very different kind of loudspeaker than the others, I don't know why you have them grouped together.

I am using a subwoofer.
And fair enough, the JTR's are in here, well, because they've just been highly recommended on here, And they would be in my price range. I'm open to all of these speakers. I don't know how different they sound, as I've never had any experience with any of them.
I've heard different things, such as the Salks/ascends/Philharmonics are more detailed, but that the JTR's play louder. And then others say the JTR's are just as detailed. Plus, I really was influenced by Carp's experience with them, verses the other speakers he has listened to/owned.
I'd imagine they would sound quite different, as the others go down to around low to mid 30's Hz, and the JTR's have a horn, verses a ribbon.
That's all why they're in my group, because I don't which to choose, and I was hoping for more information and clarification to help me decide. smile.gif

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post #4 of 25 Old 11-06-2013, 10:21 AM
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Is there any one thing that is sort of a "must have" capability? Do either movies or music have a higher priority? Do they have to look pretty? How did you narrow the dizzying amount of choices down to those four speakers?

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post #5 of 25 Old 11-06-2013, 10:52 AM
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The only speaker which has no measurements represented is JTR. All the others measure superbly. JTR would definitely have an advantage in dynamic range from that bunch. If you are going to be relatively close to the speaker, you won't need JTRs dynamics. On the other hand, in a large room it will have a definite advantage. Between the others, I would go for the Philharmonic, its off-axis response is terrific. Just compare the Phil slims to the Ascends at 60 degrees.

If it were me at this price range, I would be choosing from Pi Threes or Fours or JBL LSR6332 monitors. The JBLs measure impeccably. Plus, they will have a great dynamic range. Not quite as good as the Pis or JTRs, but I am guessing significantly better than the Phils, Ascends, or Salks. The 6332s are what Harman uses in their reference room; that is a big deal. They are also THX pm3 certified, meaning they can be used to create THX soundtracks on; again, a big deal. A set of three would be $4650, but you could probably haggle that price down some. Only problem is, like the JTRs, they are not very pretty.

As for the Pi speakers, they will have huge dynamics, especially with the Four Pis with upgraded drivers. The Four can be upgraded to the JBL 2226 woofer, purportedly one of the best 15" mids available at any price. The Pis measure great on and off axis as well, although they don't quite have the off-axis excellence of the Phil Slims, but they are terrific nonetheless. Measurements can be seen for the Threes here and Fours here. One nice thing about the Pis is they are 8 ohm speakers, look at their very friendly impedance chart. That plus their high sensitivity means any receiver could power them with ease. No separate amp needed.

I would say if your listening position is close to the speaker, Phil Slims. Its measurements are stellar and Dennis seems like a great guy. If it is far in a big room and you crave monster dynamics, I would go for Pi Fours with upgraded drivers. Wayne is also a very accessible and friendly guy. For mid field perfection, accuracy, and big dynamics, the JBL 6332s. That is just what I would do, but all your choices are going to be winners.
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-06-2013, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Player3 View Post

the JTR's play louder.

Are you planning on playing music outdoors or in a stadium @ 130dB or something?

If you have an SPL meter, see how loud you ACTUALLY listen.

The Peak Volume in 2.0 music I've listen to at home is 94dBC or 85dBA.

If you are worried about loudness, also check out the Klipsch KL650 THX Ultra2 certified speakers. They retail $3K/PR, but street prices are a lot less than that.

They are certified by THX Ultra2 for rooms bigger than 13' listening distance. They measure +/-1dB FR, which is better than about 99% of speakers out there. They have been measured by both Audioholics and Home Theater Magazine.
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-06-2013, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Player3 View Post

I have, come to conclusion, that the larger companies simply do not provide the amount of quality that some of these less well known brands do for the money.

Based on what?

Actual individual parts/components analysis?

The aftermarket speaker drivers are better quality than proprietary drivers from Revel, KEF, B&W, Focal, etc.?

Aesthetics?

Actual listening comparisons?

Are you comparing ID prices to MSRP of B&M or actual street prices?
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-10-2013, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, quick update, I'm actually going to have to post pone my speaker upgrade due to finances. On the brightside, I'll have plenty of time to research further. Thank you again for all your help. It's been immensely beneficial to me. smile.gif

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post #9 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Between the others, I would go for the Philharmonic, its off-axis response is terrific. Just compare the Phil slims to the Ascends at 60 degrees.

This made me curious. Are you comparing horizontal off-axis response between Phil Slims and regular Ascend Sierra Towers or the RAAL ones?
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kisakuku View Post

This made me curious. Are you comparing horizontal off-axis response between Phil Slims and regular Ascend Sierra Towers or the RAAL ones?

I have found that comparing the slims graph to the Sierra Raal makes it difficult and not appropriate. The sierra raal polar graph doesnt have the db, so is hard to indicate how much the sierra are rolling up top. What ive found is from Rick Craig website who uses both the raal 70-10 and 70-20, and it seems that the raal 70-10 has a greater dispersion and rolls slightly higher then the 70-20.
But picking a speaker base on dispersion is crazy.
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post #11 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 01:42 PM
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I have found that comparing the slims graph to the Sierra Raal makes it difficult and not appropriate. The sierra raal polar graph doesnt have the db, so is hard to indicate how much the sierra are rolling up top.

Well, if we're talking about the same PDF linked on the Ascend Sierra Towers product page, you can sort of figure out the the y-axis values as each of the frequency response curves is shifted about 3db vertically relative to the previous one. I'm not sure that is even necessary as we're talking about a relative drop in response anyway. However, I don't know if shadyJ's conclusions are based on the RAAL Towers polar response graphs and not on the NRT ones.

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Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

What ive found is from Rick Craig website who uses both the raal 70-10 and 70-20, and it seems that the raal 70-10 has a greater dispersion and rolls slightly higher then the 70-20.

Dispersion differences between the two make sense in light of their widths.
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post #12 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kisakuku View Post

Well, if we're talking about the same PDF linked on the Ascend Sierra Towers product page, you can sort of figure out the the y-axis values as each of the frequency response curves is shifted about 3db vertically relative to the previous one. I'm not sure that is even necessary as we're talking about a relative drop in response anyway. However, I don't know if shadyJ's conclusions are based on the RAAL Towers polar response graphs and not on the NRT ones.


Dispersion differences between the two make sense in light of their widths.

Yes, the same pdf file for the sierra raal. The y figure is not accurate to illustrate the db in response for the particular off axis. We need the 60 degree response relative to on axis to come up with a difference.
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post #13 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

Yes, the same pdf file for the sierra raal. The y figure is not accurate to illustrate the db in response for the particular off axis. We need the 60 degree response relative to on axis to come up with a difference.

You kinda lost me there. Those curves are basically describing a 3D surface, and we're seeing its projection onto a 2D plane. The actual response is not down 36 dB at 60 degrees, you just need to shift the curve this much to have it match the depicted y axis.
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post #14 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Kisakuku View Post

You kinda lost me there. Those curves are basically describing a 3D surface, and we're seeing its projection onto a 2D plane. The actual response is not down 36 dB at 60 degrees, you just need to shift the curve this much to have it match the depicted y axis.
Of course they are not 36 db down. Without an overlay, all we can say that the 60 degree off axis is different then the on axis, but no way saying what and where the difference are.
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post #15 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 03:27 PM
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Of course they are not 36 db down. Without an overlay, all we can say that the 60 degree off axis is different then the on axis, but no way saying what and where the difference are.

And what I'm saying is sure you can because there is a labeled y axis on that figure. For any frequency you can mesure the distance between the corresponding points on the 0 and 60 degree plots, divide it by the scale of the y axis and subtract ~36 dB to account for the shift. Annoying, but definitely doable.
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post #16 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Kisakuku View Post

And what I'm saying is sure you can because there is a labeled y axis on that figure. For any frequency you can mesure the distance between the corresponding points on the 0 and 60 degree plots, divide it by the scale of the y axis and subtract ~36 dB to account for the shift. Annoying, but definitely doable.

Im kinda lost. How do you measure the distance between two points of a frequency response at two different axis?
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post #17 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 04:19 PM
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Im kinda lost. How do you measure the distance between two points of a frequency response at two different axis?

Print out the graph, pick a frequency you're interested in on the log of frequency axis. Draw a vertical line from that point until it hits the 90 degree response plot. Measure the angle between the angle axis and the response axis (~20 degrees or so?) and draw a line from the point on the 90 degree response plot parallel to the angle axis. Measure the distance between the points where this line intersects the 0 and the 60 degree response plots. Multiply it by the cosine of the angle you've measured, divide by the y axis scale, subtract 36 dB.
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post #18 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Between the others, I would go for the Philharmonic, its off-axis response is terrific. Just compare the Phil slims to the Ascends at 60 degrees.

Hi ShadyJ,

You are not reading the graphs properly… The off-axis high frequency drop-off of both speakers at 60 degs off-axis are nearly identical. The Phil Slim’s being down about 5-6dB at 10kHz, and the Sierra Ribbon Towers also being down about 6dB at 10kHz. Our graph is a polar response graph, and as mentioned, it is displaying 3 dimensional data in a 2 dimensional graph. Each measurement is shifted in perspective so that each one can be compared to another, without this perspective shift, you would not be able to compare them as they would just be on top of each other. You need to view the graph taking into account the Z axis and the perspective shift. Note, this is just a shift in perspective and has no correlation to an actual amplitude change.

At 60 degrees off, the RAAL 70-20 and RAAL 70-10 are basically identical, and the only factors that can affect this are the cabinet width (of which the Sierra Tower is actually slimmer than the Phil) and if the edges of the cabinets are rounded (the Sierra Tower are, unsure of the Phil’s).

In addition, comparing off-axis measurements from one manufacturer to another is also not valid unless both are using the same diameter microphone capsule and system for determining the off-axis angle. For example, measurement microphones vary in diameter and this will have a tremendous affect on off-axis measurements. We use the ACO Pacific 7012 for these measurements, which is a ½” capsule and is extremely non-directional, making it brutally accurate for off-axis measurements.

We use an automated calibrated turntable which angles the speaker to the exact degree we wish. I am not sure how Dennis measures off-axis, but I have learned through many years of measuring without such a turntable, that simply moving the mic off-axis presents some problems. I have never been able to accurately reproduce Dennis’s off-axis measurements, perhaps, in part, due to the differences I just mentioned.

All that said I believe there is some misinformation out there… When you are looking at an off-axis graph, you are not trying to see which is “flatter”. You want to see a smooth, and linear high frequency roll-off, which increases the further off-axis you go. You never want a speaker with a “flat” power response, that would sound awful. You must keep in mind that the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength and thus the more directional the frequency. In other words, the lows radiate all around the speaker (4pi), while the highs radiate forward (2pi). A speaker with a truly flat on-axis response, must have a declining off-axis response as frequency increases and off-axis angle increases… What you want is a flat on-axis response and a uniform power response, uniform in the sense that the off-axis roll-off is consistent and uniform, without any obvious aberrations. The Sierra Ribbon Tower has one of the best horizontal polar responses I have ever measured, thanks to the wonders of the RAAL 70-20 combined with a slim front baffle and ideal integration with our mid.

Hope this makes sense!

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post #19 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 12:02 AM
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Dave, but you're not accessible, at least that's what shadyj implied smile.gif I vote Ascend just because I'm a happy customer (but who can't currently afford the Tower & Horizons with Raals). If I had the funds I'd like to have a chance to own all four of the mentioned speakers....but early retirement from the rat race has its limitations.

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post #20 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Dave, but you're not accessible, at least that's what shadyj implied smile.gif I vote Ascend just because I'm a happy customer (but who can't currently afford the Tower & Horizons with Raals). If I had the funds I'd like to have a chance to own all four of the mentioned speakers....but early retirement from the rat race has its limitations.

Hmm... I didn't infer that from shadyj's post. I might not be on AVS all that much these days, but that is simply because Ascend takes all of my time. Anyone who has ever inquired with us by email or phone knows that I am accessible nearly 24/7 wink.gif Glad to hear you are happy with your Ascends!!!

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post #21 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 12:37 AM
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Well, in post 5 in his last paragraph, you're omitted from the accessible/great guy comments but maybe he just hasn't had the pleasure as I've had....

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post #22 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 12:43 AM
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Well, in post 5 in his last paragraph, you're omitted from the accessible/great guy comments but maybe he just hasn't had the pleasure as I've had....

I didn't read anything negative about that post, I would just assume that he has had some interactions with Dennis and none with us. I'm fine with it smile.gif

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post #23 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 12:55 AM
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I didn't mean it in a negative way in any case....that's why there was a smiley face there.

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post #24 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ascend View Post

I didn't read anything negative about that post, I would just assume that he has had some interactions with Dennis and none with us. I'm fine with it smile.gif

This. I think any of the speakers the OP is considering will have great customer service. No disrespect intended to Ascend which have a great CS reputation. I only added the compliment about Dennis because I have seen he is very active and helpful in his product forums, and I imagine the same is true for Ascend.
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post #25 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 01:20 PM
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Sorry to cause any concern, just thought it funny at the time Dave was the one who responded instead of Dennis or Wayne...might be my insomnia helping out....cool.gif

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