After UPS played that cruel little trick (late train. Ya right
) and delayed my speakers for a day, I finally got them this afternoon and have been putting them through their paces.
My initial if not fully formed thoughts after a few hours of music listening, in stereo with my 340SE's set to full on my HK 630:
They are very neutral, which at first made them seem a tad laid back, but the more I listened, my opinion of them began to cement as to their being very accurate. They play whats there without adding anything. It took me about 3 songs to get acclimated. After that I was loving it.
Bass. They're definitely not lacking. Tight and punchy, I was impressed with their handling of the double bass in the Dream Theater and Mudvayne tracks I listened too. Clearly defined and impactful. Flea's sick bass lines in BSSM also sounded great, with plenty of pluck and pop to them. The speakers also sounded very good on more boomy bass material. While I prefer to drown in bass, the 340SE's did a commendable job filling my 12x22 room in bass while playing some Bjork tracks off of Homogenous, and listening to the first track off of Perfect Cirle's 13th Step. Since these are going in a dedicated HT, I'm still in the market for a sub, and depending on what I get, I might use it for the more bass heavey music I listen to, but for everything else, I think the 340SE's do the job just fine.
The clarity and imaging of the speakers is also impressive. While I've done basically no calibration yet, and so can't really speak to the full imaging capabilities of these speakers, I was impressed with what I got just hooking them up on the quick. Listening to some of my old favorite acoustic stuff I had once taught myself to play and have since forgotten brought them back clearly to my minds eye, to the extent that I was able to visualize without trying exactly how the songs were played on the guitar. Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake. I could hear if they were finger picking or using a pick. I could hear the metalic scraping of the string against the fret as the guitarist formed a chord for christ's sake!
It was impressive, to say the least. I also broke out in laughter while listening to "Sit Down" off of Hail to the Thief. There's that chirping beeping synthesised effect at the beginning, and the 340SE's threwh out such a clear, fully formed image of that effect that I couldn't help but imagine this noisey little robot in front of me, telling me to "sit down, stand up" in it's beepy robot language.
Until I get these fully set up, I won't comment on how far the sound stage extends past the edge of the speakers, but in the middle, there's a lot going on, with a lot of depth.
All in all, I'm very pleased with these speakers. I've waited months since I preordered, and it was well worth the wait. I auditioned everything I could get my hands on, and these guys are keepers. I'll definitely be rounding out my 7.1 setup with Ascends, and will probably go with a HSU sub from them too.
ps Please chalk up the length of this post to my enthusiasm after just getting new speakers, and not to some delusional notion of mine that I have something to say.