Recommendations for towers, center and surrounds on a 4k budget? Svs, GoldenEar, Kef? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Recommendations for towers, center and surrounds on a 4k budget? Svs, GoldenEar, Kef?

Hi everyone,
I'm a new member of this forum as well as relative new to setting up audio systems.
Untill now I had my electronics hooked up to a logitech z5500 thx set which always did a pretty good job since the room size was only about 14 by 12.

Since we're moving in a little while, I want to use the occasion to upgrade to a dedicated 5.1 system but I have a few issues on which I would like to get some input from much more experienced audiophiles :-)

For now my budget is 3500-4000$/€, this should include all speakers except for a sub. I had my mind pretty much set on the svs ultra towers, bookshelves and center. But after reading some more reviews, the Goldenear speaker line also really caught my attention. The Triton Three towers, Aon3 bookshelves and Supercenter XL would be on budget. Another possible contender is the R-series from Kef. Lookwise I would definitely prefer the svs speakers over the kef's and the tritons but the sound is really the most important thing to me. Note that I don't include a subwoofer, for now I have a SVS SB12-NSD sub and I want to integrate that in the system and add a second woofer in the future or replace it with a more powerful one.

I'm planning to setup the system in the attic, this space measures roughly estimated 26 by 18. I have added a picture of the attic, what you see is about 18 by 16; the room extends for about 8 more feet behind from where this picture is taken. The soundsystem will be used for gaming, movies as well as music so the more allround the speakers are the better.
So here are my concerns: is this room too big for this setup? I will only use half of the attic space for home cinema, other half will get another purpose but the sound will of course be travelling through the other area as well. If the size would be too big and if I would be acoustically better off using one of the bedrooms as a home cinema, I will but it certainly would be more practical if the attic would work out.

Can anyone with experience with any one of these speaker sets give me their opinion whether these speakers will sufficy in this space or maybe recommend an other set up all together?
I have found a dealer nearby who has both GoldenEar as Kef speakers so I will make an appointment to listen to both soon. Svs speakers are a bit harder to listen to since they only have online dealers.

All your input is highly valued! Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 08:49 AM
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One thing you'll hear often on this forum is to demo the speakers in your home, not in-store. There are too many variables in the store (their own room treatments, room dimensions, etc.) Most dealers will let you do an in-home demo.

Now, for some anecdotal info from when I recently purchased some bookshelf speakers (you mentioned the Aon 3, which I demoed in-home): I tried several different bookshelf speakers, including the Aon 3, and for me, in my space, the B&W CM1's were clearly superior to the Aon 3's. Better midrange, more bottom end, cleaner highs. Again, though, that was in my space - your mileage may vary.

Can't comment on towers since my space is better suited for bookshelves.

Also, SVS usually allows free in-home demo with free return shipping, so you should be fine there if you want to try them out.

Panasonic TC-P60ST60, Pioneer SC-1523-K, Oppo BDP-103D, Pioneer PL-550 + Cambridge Audio Azur 640P, B&W CM1 (fronts), B&W CM Centre, Athena Point 5 Mk II (rears), Hsu VTF-2
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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That sounds pretty logic, I'll follow that approach. First go to the dealer, hear some speakers over there,  decide which ones I prefer most and ask if a home demo is possible with those speakers.  After that I can still order the svs speakers on trail if I'm still in doubt. I really like the design of the svs line but performace and sound quality are definitely the most important factors.

The store is also a b&w dealer so I'll make sure to ask after your bookshelves as well.

I can't spend this budget on speakers any time soon again so I just want to make sure to get the most value for my budget. To do that it looks like I need to be a bit more patient and wait untill we moved in there ;-)

Thanks for your advice!
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 01:01 PM
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If you decide you like a set after demoing from the dealer, ask if they'll sell you the demos. They often will, and it'll save you some money.

Panasonic TC-P60ST60, Pioneer SC-1523-K, Oppo BDP-103D, Pioneer PL-550 + Cambridge Audio Azur 640P, B&W CM1 (fronts), B&W CM Centre, Athena Point 5 Mk II (rears), Hsu VTF-2
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 02:06 PM
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Also if you are looking at the Kef's, check out the LS-50's.
I heard them recently and loved their sound for the size/price.
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 02:25 PM
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+1 for SVS Ultra speakers.

I purchased a very nice center channel from Best Buy for my theater but something kept telling me to try SVS so I purchased their Ultra center and did a side by side test. 24 hours later I was standing in the return line at Best Buy. SVS speakers are very well designed and have a very rich tune that blends perfect with dual PB12 plus subs.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 06:55 PM
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I recently upgraded to the SVS Ultras (2 bookshelves, center, 2 surrounds) and they are fantastic. I can definitely give them a recommendation to try out and I'd imagine the towers are pretty awesome.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-28-2014, 07:35 PM
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I can't comment on any of the options you listed, but if you're willing to try an internet direct company, I can recommend Ascend Acoustics. I have their Sierra towers and center with 340's as surrounds which you could do for just under $4k including shipping and tax. I can't tell you how happy I am with them. I'm not sure where you are located but if you go to their forum, you can request a demo. You can search the forums here, too, if you want to get a feel for how they stack up with other brands and experiences.
-Sheep
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-29-2014, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll make sure to ask about demo models and prices, I'm always in for saving money ;-) As long as this doesn't compromise the warranty; you can expect speakers in this price range to last a really long time but I just want some ease of mind for the years to come.


I found those Kef's LS50's on the dealer's ex-demo webpage and there's currently a discount of 200€ off compared to a brand new set.


Sounds familiar about wanting to hear the svs'es, I've got that same recurring feeling ;-) But I'll go and listen to some other speakers in the store first and decide from there.


I'm still curious on the sound charasterics of those folded ribbon tweeters from GoldenEar, I wonder on how they sound like compared to conventienal tweeters. I'll make an appointment for next week in the store since they only do personal demo's but that's a good sign showing that they're willing to take the necessary time for a demonstration.


If custum support is on the same level as store dealers, I'm not affraid to buy online. I believe both svs and ascend got that base covered but I'm unsure whether Ascend will ship to Europe.. couldn't really tell on their website..


Anyway, I'll keep you updated on how the demo went and which speakers I will be ordering.


Thanks again for the feedback so far!
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-30-2014, 07:18 PM
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Didn't realize you were in Europe. I know there are several people not in the US who do own Ascends from posts in the forums, so I'm sure they ship internationally. Their customer service is top notch, but it's hard to know what they can do for a customer overseas cost effectively. It couldn't hurt to ask, though.

Good luck in your search. The research and anticipation is 1/2 the fun.
-Sheep
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-31-2014, 05:35 AM
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fwiw, I would also recommend the kef ls 50's in your attic situation. 3 for the front and a pair of kef q 100's for rears .enough money left over for that second svs sub.

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #12 of 24 Old 08-02-2014, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh ok, I couldn't find any shipping info on their website but I can always ask what their conditions are for shipping to foreign countries. There might be taxes involved if the speakers arrive in Europe but not sure on that. And like you say, the hunt is a pleasurable part but the quantity of speakers in this price range is a bit overwhelming to narrow it down quickly too ;-)

Looks like I have to be a bit more patient, I've contacted the dealer yesterday but he has his annual vacation during August. This does give me some time to create a good demo cd :-)

He will contact me somewhere this month though to do the demo. For now the demo includes the Golden ears, Kefs and another, unexpected contender.. the tiny towers from Sonus Faber. He has a demo set which are 1180, new they're priced at 1650€ so that could be also a good deal. From the specs I shouldn't expect excellent bass from those but I'm really looking for solid and pure mid and high frequencies since the lower frequencies can always be covered by the sub I own.

If I should really like the toy towers, do you think its a good idea to use these as fronts as well as surrounds? I would still be under budget with 2 pair of these. Or is it better to have more power coming from the fronts and use monitors for the surround channel?
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post #13 of 24 Old 08-02-2014, 05:26 PM
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I would say if money is no object, have the surrounds match the fronts, but since you are on a budget, I would get the best matching front stage I could afford and a lower level surround recommended as a good cheaper alternative by the same manufacture. Surrounds simply don't get as much use. Most music is 2 channel and movies are primarily from your center and L/R.

I would not buy towers that do not have a matching center. By matching I mean the same components, the same crossover(s), the same materials, the same volume (cubic meters), etc., ie. the center has the same design goals as the towers. A well designed center that matches your l/r will disappear on the "stage". This would be far more important to me than matching the surrounds.
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post #14 of 24 Old 08-04-2014, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I also thought that the fronts are the most important pieces of a surround setup but I wasn't sure on that so thanks for clearing that up for me Sheep.


The toy series from sonus also includes a center (500 €) and bookshelves (700€ for a pair, stands not included). The center has the same tweeter and 2 midrange drivers as the tower. The bookshelf has also got this tweeter and midrange driver. Both lack the 180mm woofer that's housed in the tower. Only difference is their output. Where the tower has an output of 35-200 Watts, the center and surrounds have an output of "only" 20-100Watts. Here's a link to the pdf file with the specs. http://www.technologyfactory.eu/data/mediablocks/Sonus_Faber_Toy.pdf


Since the drivers and materials are all the same, it should bring a harmonious sound. I was just wondering if you were to use towers in the back as well, that it might bring more sound in the room since their output is bigger? But I'm unsure if that's a good approach. Or is that just overkill for surrounds as they're not so much used like you mentioned above Sheep?
The good thing is that these speakers (whether its 4 towers and a center or 2 towers, surrounds and a center) should leave me with more money for a new receiver or a subwoofer. But lets first experience how they stack up against the Kefs and goldenEars :-)
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post #15 of 24 Old 08-04-2014, 08:18 AM
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Below is a link to a discussion that identifies what I would be concerned about with a center that doesn't match the L/R in frequency response. I am not familiar with that SF line, but if the L/R are 3-way and the center only 2-way, the concern would be more significant. Essentially, you will be forced to choose a different crossover for your center channel than you L/R or raise the crossover on your L/R to match the capability of your center. This adds a host of potential issues with dialogue, pushes the upper range of your sub, and could cause the center to be a noticeable weak point when action scenes sweep from right to left.

This could be compounded depending on the bass management options of your AVR/pre/pro.

Center Channel Frequency Response?

Note, these are just potential concerns and many, many people do just fine w/ the smaller center. I think you can do better in the price range you listed (as I did) so I would keep looking. Maybe Sonus has a beefier center in the next step up, for example, that would allow you spend more on the front 3 and use the bookshelves as Surrounds and still be at/under budget.
-Sheep

Edit: Another option I failed to mention is buying a 3rd tower to fill in for the center. Many people have chosen to go this route frustrated by trying to find matching centers. This can create it's own set of problems depending on your TV and TV stand/cabinet, but it's worth investigating.

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post #16 of 24 Old 08-09-2014, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that link, I read through the discussion a couple days back and now I have a bit more insight on crossovers; I wasn't aware that near the crossover point the speakers will actually overlap the frequencies. I think I understand your concern about those crossovers of the entry line sf speakers better now.


I looked at the specs of the Sierra towers, horizon center and Sierra's 2 bookshelves a bit deeper and although these are more expensive then those sf's, I'm also confident that the sound will be more advanced throughout the soundspectrum so that would be worth the extra cash.



I've contacted Ascend through e-mail this tuesday to find out if I can also trial their speakers here in Belgium. No reply from them yet so I'll send a new mail this evening or post the questions on their forum.
Just out of curiosity, do you have the nrT or RAAL ribbons in your speaker setup? I would like to have all my speakers to be fitted with those RAAL ribbons but that would exceed my budget significantly. It all depends on the shipping cost to ship them overseas.
Maybe I'll go for just the towers and center for now and order the surrounds later. Or save up a couple more months and get all the speakers at once. I know you can always upgrade the tweeters later on but that would be rather expensive to send them back to the factory and I don't want to fiddle with the speakers myself.


Interesting idea to use a tower as a center! Unfortunetaly a third tower isn't an option in this space really so I will have to go with a horizontal speaker as a center.
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post #17 of 24 Old 08-09-2014, 10:11 AM
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Yes, unfortunately, Ascend can be slow to respond to email, but once the ball gets rolling they are fantastic to deal with. I am certainly happy w/ my purchase from them and I'm afraid only familiar with U.S. companies and stores, but I'm sure there are other options if shipping or something else makes them unrealistic...the primary goal being to have a closely matched L/R/C, not necessarily a sale for Ascend. I definitely think you are on the right track, though. I am by no means an expert (more like a novice), but I did a lot of reading and followed the advice and couldn't be happier.

I have nrt in the L/R. The RAAL was not available when I bought the towers. By the time the center was designed and available, so was the RAAL. I did opt for it in the center. There is a difference between the 2 tweeters. As many have said, the RAAL has an very natural airy quality that makes higher vocals light and crisp, symbols sizzle (in a good way), and horns sing. For me, though, upgrading the towers was not something I was interested in. I very, very rarely listen to multi-channel music so the center is not on when I'm listening to music. I mostly listen to rock, techno/electriconic, etc, so the qualities that shine on the RAALs would be mostly wasted on my listening habits. The nrt tweeters are no slouches either, though.

Yeah, the space issue on the center is tough. That's why so many speaker companies make smaller, less robust centers. The Ascend center is huge. It has the same volume as the towers, so it is (essentially) the same size as the towers, just in different directions with a horizontal orientation.

Another option since you will have a sub is 3 high quality bookshelves. Many people go this route, too. Some have even used all Center channels.

Edit: Just saw this on their forum. They are closed for the next 2 weeks. The DaveF who made the post is the owner/engineer. http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...ompany-holiday

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post #18 of 24 Old 08-10-2014, 03:41 AM
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The OP location, is Belgium.

So he/she has to be carefull of the shipping charge since lots of the free shipping, only aply to the US.
Some of the sugestions may or may not have a European dealers/distributer.

I think, this should be kept in mind before making sugestion.
Yes the OP can buy from an ID company, but it would be pretty well a decive one.

My only recomandation is for the OP to do lots research and reading before buying, if He/She get something from an ID company.
Lots of them are more than worth it!
So purchasing from them could good be a great choice.
But like I said, a one way trip and final decision.

Ray

Edit, I see it was mention that the OP leave in Europe

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post #19 of 24 Old 08-10-2014, 05:21 AM
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Sierra 2 towers would be a purchase you probably would never want to return. I've been researching speakers just under that price range. And if I had a bigger room I'd probably up my budget for those. But my room is only 13x11 so no need to go that big on my part. I'd love to hear those play a good blu ray movie though, just once.

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post #20 of 24 Old 08-12-2014, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh ok, if they're on a yearly holiday now, that explains why I didn't get a very rapid reply. Thanks for that information!


Although the company has its annual holiday, Dave did reply to me yesterday :-) All the conditions of the speakers remain the same as US residents so that's good news. I also asked if they might have ex demo's or returned speakers after a trail, he referred to the b-stock site which unfortunately doesn't have any of the speakers I'm looking for right now.


I did a simulation on the UPS website to get an idea of the potential shipping costs and it would set me back half of my budget lol. And there's still my concern about import taxes as well once they arrive in Europe. All luxury goods here have a tax rate of 21% so that also might add an extra grand to the total cost. So I'm very curious to find out if these numbers are correct and hopefully Dave can fill me in on those details. Fyi Darth, I'm moving to a house only 5 miles away so I will still have to clear the same issues ;-)


Since I will have to clear out these points above first before I can make any decission, I'll contact another hifi store to listen to some speakers because I've read/compared so many specs of speakers that before I can rule out any, I will have to start listening to them now I think. I will keep reading and searching here on the forum for other contenders besides the ones we already lmentioned here.
Keep you guys posted and cheers!


Btw, I'm no stranger to rock and electronic either but I can very much appreciate other genres as well ;-)
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post #21 of 24 Old 08-12-2014, 09:48 AM
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Darth makes some good points. I'm just speaking from my experience. The 2 companies Ascend works with for cones and ribbons both have distributors in Germany and I was able to locate a couple of speaker manufacturers there using the parts from them, as well. A speaker is much more than the sum of it's parts, though. A lot of engineering goes into the construction, shape, baffle, crossovers and crossover points, etc., so I wouldn't assume because they use similar parts they are the same, but it does open up some options for more local internet direct companies if you find the local hi-fi store is lacking in selection or is overpriced.
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post #22 of 24 Old 07-23-2015, 02:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've visited this forum and I believe it's time for a long overdue update here :-)

Last year in september I did a brief listening test in a store to some Kef LS50 speakers which for its size impressed me but I didn't want to make a decision yet so some time later I visited a nearby audio store which only worked with appointments and had some really, really high-end audio gear. The owner was very friendly and took his time to listen to what my needs were and made some suggestions that fitted my budget.

He demoed the Goldenear Triton's Three's to me which I really liked at first. Wherever I positioned myself in the room (and even in the room next to it), I noticed that the sound didn't sound totally different or much weaker then when sitting straight in front of them, which I really loved. I immediately knew that whatever speaker I was gonna pick; it would have ribbon tweeters, to me it just sounds more natural and therefore better to me. He left me in the demo room and told me I could put on any vinyl I wanted to and play with the volume as much as I wanted to. There was a lot of jazz and easy listening music in the lp box. I appreciate that music too but after a while I asked him to bring me some rock and electronic music records which is more my music of choice. Now I could hear and feel the bass of those speakers as well, which was quite impressive for just two tower speakers and no subwoofer. An hour later I left with the thought that I possibly found my new set of speakers. In the end I didn't buy those, although I still think they are really good speakers, I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to have integrated subwoofers in my front speakers. Sure they sounded pretty balanced; with 'regular' 2 or 3 way speakers you can always add a more powerfull subwoofer if you feel the need for more bass compared to the Goldenear's you need to upgrade the complete tower speaker in order to do that.

Unfortunately only a few weeks later I had a massive ear infection which ripped my ear drum within hours. It was very painful, although I had many ear infections and numerous tubes placed in my ear drums since my childhood; this was the most painfull experience with my ears I had to date. Ever since I suffer from tinnitus to a point which I really got depressed, couldn't shift my focus from it, couldn't catch any sleep.. It wasn't a very joyful period in my life and it seemed that throwing that kind of money towards speakers was a big waste since I could only focus on the buzzing noize in my head. Even today I still experience tinnitus 24/7. I'm still seeing ent specialists and later this month I'm having a MRI scan and visiting a clinical which gives trt training. Although I'm not giving up on medical science yet to cure me, since a couple of months I've learned to deal and live with it better to a point where I decided to go ahead and buy the speakers I was looking for. After all I always loved to listen to music and it has always been a big joy in my life.

Throughout all these months I did have a lot of contact through e-mail with Dave Fabrikant from Ascend Acoustics. He truelly is a nice, open person who listens to you and doesn't want to force you into making any decisions or making a purchase. The more questions I asked him, the more he answered me with his expert advice and asked me questions back to make sure we were 100% on the same page. I've checked my email and I've counted 40+mails between us, just to show he had a lot of patience with me and is really very supportive towards new, potential customers.

After all of our conversations and all of the positive feedback I read online about Ascend speakers I decided to take the leap of faith. In my case it really was a leap of faith and a big gamble since I had no opportunity to listen to the speakers first. Dave assured me all of the trail conditions were the same for US residents as well as for foreign customers. However, living in Europe, the shipping cost to return them and not being sure I would be able to recuperate the import taxes once I sended the speakers back; meant I would lose a lot of money if I wasn't happy with the speakers.
I did have to make a bit of a compromise though, in 6 months time the Euro-coin lost a massive 35% in value towards the US dollar which meant that my same budget(4000€) was now worth 'only' 4400$ instead of almost 6000$ half a year earlier! This translated into Sierra's 2 for fronts and Cb-170's as surrounds instead of Sierra RAAL towers as fronts and Sierra 2's as surrounds.
Since the speakers arrived I did have some issues with my electronics, first my SVS sub broke down twice in a couple of weeks time. SVS Europe was however extremely supportive and provided me with replacement parts within a week. Just like Ascend, I'm very pleased with their high standards of customer support. So if customer support is important for you I can highly recommend both companies to you! I'm happy to report that since then the subs works fine again. I didn't miss the subwoofer a lot when listening to music since the Sierra's provide more bass then I expected but some music really asks for a bigger bass impact and I'm very satisfied with the soundstage since the sub is part of it again.

Even when the sub was out of the picture I must say: wow, these speakers are great. No wait, let me rephrase: WOOOOOW, THESE SPEAKERS ARE GREAT!!!!! I remember the first day after setting them up and I really had the time to listen to them. They impressed me so much that I found myself in tears more then once. Of course my tinnitus made me a bit more emotional then normal since it was the first time since long that I could enjoy music; that I could hear anything else then the irritating buzzing noise and that made me extremely happy and gratefull again. The sound is just so detailed, every recording, every movie I played just translates into pure audio bliss. Every instrument is extremely clear, vocals are so crisp, it's very hard to not be blown away by them.

I will write a more detailed review with pictures of my setup on the Ascend Acoustics forum soon and I'll put a link here towards it for the people interested in that. All I can say from my experience is that these speakers are excellent, I haven't had any regrets since having them for 2 months now. Even with my tinnitus, I can enjoy listening to them for hours on end without having ear fatigue or more ear buzzing/sizzling sounds afterwards.

Also a big, big thanks to everyone who posted in this thread and helped me in my search. I'm very gratefull for your input and life in general; even though it can be hard for whatever reason, focus on your goals, enjoy good things in life [like music and Ascend speakers :-)] and most importantly: have fun!

By the way sorry if I misspelled any words, I'm not used to expressing myself in English ;-)

Greets
Kevin

Fronts: Ascend Acoustics Sierra's 2 with TP-stands
Center: Ascend Acoustics Horizon RAAL Ribbon
Surrounds: Ascend Acoustics CB170's
Subwoofer: SVS SB-12 NSD
A/V Receiver: Denon AVR-X2000
TV: RIP Panasonic TH42-PZ85EA Plasma, looking for a 4k led tv replacement
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post #23 of 24 Old 07-23-2015, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deprinsk View Post
Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've visited this forum and I believe it's time for a long overdue update here :-)

Last year in september I did a brief listening test in a store to some Kef LS50 speakers which for its size impressed me but I didn't want to make a decision yet so some time later I visited a nearby audio store which only worked with appointments and had some really, really high-end audio gear. The owner was very friendly and took his time to listen to what my needs were and made some suggestions that fitted my budget.

He demoed the Goldenear Triton's Three's to me which I really liked at first. Wherever I positioned myself in the room (and even in the room next to it), I noticed that the sound didn't sound totally different or much weaker then when sitting straight in front of them, which I really loved. I immediately knew that whatever speaker I was gonna pick; it would have ribbon tweeters, to me it just sounds more natural and therefore better to me. He left me in the demo room and told me I could put on any vinyl I wanted to and play with the volume as much as I wanted to. There was a lot of jazz and easy listening music in the lp box. I appreciate that music too but after a while I asked him to bring me some rock and electronic music records which is more my music of choice. Now I could hear and feel the bass of those speakers as well, which was quite impressive for just two tower speakers and no subwoofer. An hour later I left with the thought that I possibly found my new set of speakers. In the end I didn't buy those, although I still think they are really good speakers, I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to have integrated subwoofers in my front speakers. Sure they sounded pretty balanced; with 'regular' 2 or 3 way speakers you can always add a more powerfull subwoofer if you feel the need for more bass compared to the Goldenear's you need to upgrade the complete tower speaker in order to do that.

Unfortunately only a few weeks later I had a massive ear infection which ripped my ear drum within hours. It was very painful, although I had many ear infections and numerous tubes placed in my ear drums since my childhood; this was the most painfull experience with my ears I had to date. Ever since I suffer from tinnitus to a point which I really got depressed, couldn't shift my focus from it, couldn't catch any sleep.. It wasn't a very joyful period in my life and it seemed that throwing that kind of money towards speakers was a big waste since I could only focus on the buzzing noize in my head. Even today I still experience tinnitus 24/7. I'm still seeing ent specialists and later this month I'm having a MRI scan and visiting a clinical which gives trt training. Although I'm not giving up on medical science yet to cure me, since a couple of months I've learned to deal and live with it better to a point where I decided to go ahead and buy the speakers I was looking for. After all I always loved to listen to music and it has always been a big joy in my life.

Throughout all these months I did have a lot of contact through e-mail with Dave Fabrikant from Ascend Acoustics. He truelly is a nice, open person who listens to you and doesn't want to force you into making any decisions or making a purchase. The more questions I asked him, the more he answered me with his expert advice and asked me questions back to make sure we were 100% on the same page. I've checked my email and I've counted 40+mails between us, just to show he had a lot of patience with me and is really very supportive towards new, potential customers.

After all of our conversations and all of the positive feedback I read online about Ascend speakers I decided to take the leap of faith. In my case it really was a leap of faith and a big gamble since I had no opportunity to listen to the speakers first. Dave assured me all of the trail conditions were the same for US residents as well as for foreign customers. However, living in Europe, the shipping cost to return them and not being sure I would be able to recuperate the import taxes once I sended the speakers back; meant I would lose a lot of money if I wasn't happy with the speakers.
I did have to make a bit of a compromise though, in 6 months time the Euro-coin lost a massive 35% in value towards the US dollar which meant that my same budget(4000€) was now worth 'only' 4400$ instead of almost 6000$ half a year earlier! This translated into Sierra's 2 for fronts and Cb-170's as surrounds instead of Sierra RAAL towers as fronts and Sierra 2's as surrounds.
Since the speakers arrived I did have some issues with my electronics, first my SVS sub broke down twice in a couple of weeks time. SVS Europe was however extremely supportive and provided me with replacement parts within a week. Just like Ascend, I'm very pleased with their high standards of customer support. So if customer support is important for you I can highly recommend both companies to you! I'm happy to report that since then the subs works fine again. I didn't miss the subwoofer a lot when listening to music since the Sierra's provide more bass then I expected but some music really asks for a bigger bass impact and I'm very satisfied with the soundstage since the sub is part of it again.

Even when the sub was out of the picture I must say: wow, these speakers are great. No wait, let me rephrase: WOOOOOW, THESE SPEAKERS ARE GREAT!!!!! I remember the first day after setting them up and I really had the time to listen to them. They impressed me so much that I found myself in tears more then once. Of course my tinnitus made me a bit more emotional then normal since it was the first time since long that I could enjoy music; that I could hear anything else then the irritating buzzing noise and that made me extremely happy and gratefull again. The sound is just so detailed, every recording, every movie I played just translates into pure audio bliss. Every instrument is extremely clear, vocals are so crisp, it's very hard to not be blown away by them.

I will write a more detailed review with pictures of my setup on the Ascend Acoustics forum soon and I'll put a link here towards it for the people interested in that. All I can say from my experience is that these speakers are excellent, I haven't had any regrets since having them for 2 months now. Even with my tinnitus, I can enjoy listening to them for hours on end without having ear fatigue or more ear buzzing/sizzling sounds afterwards.

Also a big, big thanks to everyone who posted in this thread and helped me in my search. I'm very gratefull for your input and life in general; even though it can be hard for whatever reason, focus on your goals, enjoy good things in life [like music and Ascend speakers :-)] and most importantly: have fun!

By the way sorry if I misspelled any words, I'm not used to expressing myself in English ;-)

Greets
Kevin
Wow, that's quite a story! So glad you are happy with the speakers you finally selected. You took a big chance and were rewarded greatly. I don't think I would have had the stones to do what you did, unheard!

Enjoy your new toys and best wishes for a full recovery!
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post #24 of 24 Old Today, 01:24 PM
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Very glad to hear you are enjoying your purchase! That is quite a journey. Thanks for following up and letting us know. My dad recently went through a bad ear infection (and still is) that has put a damper on his passion for headphones, so I can relate to your story.

I do hope to hear more detail about your impressions and experience. If you post at Ascends, please link it here.

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