Ascend SE Owner's Thread - Page 25 - AVS Forum
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:41 PM
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Look........when you respond to these things, it just perpetuates LeeLee's cause, what ever that is? I have no problem with the way my speakers look, I did not get out calipers, rules, micrometer's, etc. to see how they measured up. To me, they look good. If LeeLee has a point, then it must be an issue only with him or maybe even a few others, however it does not diminish my own high regard for these speakers. And as stubborn as I am, it only makes me more resolute to defending them. Now that is the final answer........
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:58 PM
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One millimeter off?
That's it... I'm canceling my order! I will not tolerate such shoddy workmanship... especially when they try to hide it behind the grill! Cheats!



shane

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Old 05-09-2006, 03:07 PM
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I think that it says a lot about the quality of the Ascend sound when someone buys the 170s, finds what they consideres flaws in the build quality or apperance, but yet orders ther 340s and is excited about hooking them up, and is selling thier old speakers.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:42 PM
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Dizziness, sweating palms, and accelerated breathing...

Just received the UPS notice. The following is on the way:

2x 340SE with stands
1x 340SE Center
4x HTM 200 with omni-mounts

Order placed March 15.

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Old 05-09-2006, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridetheducati View Post

Dizziness, sweating palms, and accelerated breathing...

Just received the UPS notice. The following is on the way:

2x 340SE with stands
1x 340SE Center
4x HTM 200 with omni-mounts

Order placed March 15.


What? I placed my order on March 12th and have not heard a thing

I better give Dave a call.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:31 PM
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Just sent an email thinking they won't see it until Wed, but Dave wrote back that mine will be shipped tomorrow. He must be working late to catch up on all the orders. Thanks Dave
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebr View Post

You call it poor quality control, but I think it has been established earlier in this thread that is not the case. It is a conscious business decision.

So if it is a business decision to accept poor quality control, it ceases to be a poor quality control issue? Great! Did Yugo owners get that memo?

Tolerances, when specified in an engineered design, is meant to guarantee that something will fit/work given the reality that nothing can be perfect - it is a metric for pass/fail, it is *NOT* meant to give leeway for sloppy manufacturing. If 1/16th of an inch is specified, then that means the cuts can be off by that much and the system will still fit/work - but it is not an excuse to then have 1/16th of an inch error on every piece that comes off the line - you still strive to achive the best result possible within the constraints. I have had 3.5 pairs of Ascends in my hands now and every single one of them had a poorly done tweeter cut-out. You don't design mediocrity into your process - you aim to eliminate it but with a realistic threshold for pass/fail.

As an electrical engineer, if I designed a 9v power supply with a +-0.3V tolerance allowance and the products that came off the line consistently were 8.7V or 9.3V, I would be very concerned.

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That 1 millimeter is invisible (hidden behind the grill) and makes absolutely no audible difference in the performance of the speaker (unless, of course, you are able to hold your head steady within 1 millimeter of space). Therefore, the decision was made to spend no further time, effort or money on such things. Instead, David concentrates those resources on the things that he believes will make these speakers the best sonic quality in their (or even higher) price range.

Most professional engineers I know would never use "out of sight, out of mind" as an excuse. You don't know who is going to see it, even if it is burried inside the cabinet. And if someone ever took apart something I designed/built, I want that person to see the work of a capable professional.

In any case, tell me when you go to your buddy's house to see his new speakers you don't ask him to take the grill off. I know my friends do that when they come over to my house, and I do the same when I go to theirs. High quality drivers are visually appealing to guys like us.

Anyway, I'll post pictures if anyone wants to see them. Otherwise, I've made my point and I'm receiving familiarly cool reception from Ascend owners/fans as I expected. Unless something new comes up for discussion, I'll leave it as it is.
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:14 AM
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Well....how do they sound?

-curtis

Owner of Wave Crest Audio
Volunteer Mod at the Ascend Acoustics Forum
Like all things on the Internet, do your research, as forums have a good amount of misinformation.
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:17 AM
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Lee lee, if you know these things exist on these speakers, what made you still purchase a set?
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:46 AM
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When I was a younger man I dated this beautiful bartender. She was a little bit off too, but despite the crazy she performed like a finely tuned sports car. So I think that LeeLee is saying in a subconscience sort of way that the Ascends are really great

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post

So if it is a business decision to accept poor quality control, it ceases to be a poor quality control issue? Great! Did Yugo owners get that memo?

Tolerances, when specified in an engineered design, is meant to guarantee that something will fit/work given the reality that nothing can be perfect - it is a metric for pass/fail, it is *NOT* meant to give leeway for sloppy manufacturing. If 1/16th of an inch is specified, then that means the cuts can be off by that much and the system will still fit/work - but it is not an excuse to then have 1/16th of an inch error on every piece that comes off the line - you still strive to achive the best result possible within the constraints. I have had 3.5 pairs of Ascends in my hands now and every single one of them had a poorly done tweeter cut-out. You don't design mediocrity into your process - you aim to eliminate it but with a realistic threshold for pass/fail.

As an electrical engineer, if I designed a 9v power supply with a +-0.3V tolerance allowance and the products that came off the line consistently were 8.7V or 9.3V, I would be very concerned.

Most professional engineers I know would never use "out of sight, out of mind" as an excuse. You don't know who is going to see it, even if it is burried inside the cabinet. And if someone ever took apart something I designed/built, I want that person to see the work of a capable professional.

In any case, tell me when you go to your buddy's house to see his new speakers you don't ask him to take the grill off. I know my friends do that when they come over to my house, and I do the same when I go to theirs. High quality drivers are visually appealing to guys like us.

Anyway, I'll post pictures if anyone wants to see them. Otherwise, I've made my point and I'm receiving familiarly cool reception from Ascend owners/fans as I expected. Unless something new comes up for discussion, I'll leave it as it is.

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Old 05-10-2006, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post

As an electrical engineer, if I designed a 9v power supply with a +-0.3V tolerance allowance and the products that came off the line consistently were 8.7V or 9.3V, I would be very concerned.

If we were dealing with electrical current, I'd share your quality concerns. However, since we're dealing with such a small amount of "error" in MDF, I'm willing to accept it at this price point.

I know enough of operations management to know increasing the quality level to meet your specifications would probably take the speaker cabinets out of the target market that Ascend is aiming at. As you try to further attempt to perfect a widget, the costs to do so exponentially increase to a point where it isn't worth pursing the "perfection".

For the record, I do not own any Ascend speakers, but eagerly awaiting the arrival of a 340c se.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:06 AM
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The more proper analogy would be if your electrical circuit delivered a bang on 9.0000000000 volts every time but the circuit board (which is hidden in a cabinet) varied by 1mm in size on each unit.

However, Amerikes was right, it is useless to argue with you about this so I'm done.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:10 AM
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Sadly, I'm returning my 3 170 CBM SE's. At low moderate levels they sounded great but when pushed to 85db, upper-mids and lower highs became harsh and fatiguing (to me). Example, Diana Krall or Nora Jones when pushing the upper notes of their range. I will say that I A/B'd them against new B&W 805's and they held their own remarkably well except for the "harshness". The A/B test was through a Rotel receiver and my own setup is B&K separates with 200w/channel. The 170 also felt a little "small" for a center in HT mode. BTW, I though the build quality was fantastic. After reading LeeLee's comments, I was dreading opening the box

bob
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicforme View Post

If we were dealing with electrical current, I'd share your quality concerns. However, since we're dealing with such a small amount of "error" in MDF, I'm willing to accept it at this price point.

I know enough of operations management to know increasing the quality level to meet your specifications would probably take the speaker cabinets out of the target market that Ascend is aiming at. As you try to further attempt to perfect a widget, the costs to do so exponentially increase to a point where it isn't worth pursing the "perfection".

The principle I was trying to illustrate is that just because something is within tolerance doesn't mean the process that produced it is healthy. All manufacturing process aims for the center and end up with deviation distributions that is shaped like a bell curve. Some are off to the left and some are off to the right. At some economical point, you make a cut off and declare "anything beyond these limits are faulty parts" - that's your tolerance. But even after you've applied your tolerance, most of the production pieces are clustered around the center at which you've aimed, with vanishingly few pieces as you deviate from the center. The fewer pieces you have at the limits of tolerance, the better your process is, and it is bunk to suggest that it is not cost effective to achieve a level of manufacturing quality that results in very few pieces at the limits of tolerance. QA "best practices" like the various ISO standards and Six Sigma exist for this exact purpose, and none of them is chasing perfection. As I said, I've had 7 Ascend speakers go through my hands and every single one of them had tweeter cutouts that are near the limit of their tolerance. Unless someone is suggesting that Ascend picks out the bad ones to send to me, something is wrong with their process.

There was a joke with the Dell Axim PDAs where one corner of the screen bezel has a slight lift in it; the joke was that the Chinese manufacturer who made it probably has their QA process so optimized that it would be a failure of the process to not have the same "defect" in ever single Dell Axim that came off the line.

Franky, if I didn't like these speakers so much, I wouldn't care to write so much about these issues.
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Old 05-10-2006, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post

Franky, if I didn't like these speakers so much, I wouldn't care to write so much about these issues.

I think that is fair. Can you give equal time to what you do like about them as well?

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Old 05-10-2006, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spongebob View Post

Sadly, I'm returning my 3 170 CBM SE's. At low moderate levels they sounded great but when pushed to 85db, upper-mids and lower highs became harsh and fatiguing (to me). Example, Diana Krall or Nora Jones when pushing the upper notes of their range. I will say that I A/B'd them against new B&W 805's and they held their own remarkably well except for the "harshness". The A/B test was through a Rotel receiver and my own setup is B&K separates with 200w/channel. The 170 also felt a little "small" for a center in HT mode. BTW, I though the build quality was fantastic. After reading LeeLee's comments, I was dreading opening the box

bob

Bob...that's too bad. How large is your room and have you thought about trying the 340SE?

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Old 05-10-2006, 09:09 AM
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Are you guys getting the UPS tracking numbers along with shipping notices?? I got my shipping but no tracking number...Order was placed mid March.

Speakers: Pioneer/TAD S-1EX, S-7EX, Ascend HTM200
Pre/Pro: Onkyo PR-SC5508,Bel Canto Pre-6, Sherwood 972
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spongebob View Post

Sadly, I'm returning my 3 170 CBM SE's. At low moderate levels they sounded great but when pushed to 85db, upper-mids and lower highs became harsh and fatiguing (to me). Example, Diana Krall or Nora Jones when pushing the upper notes of their range. I will say that I A/B'd them against new B&W 805's and they held their own remarkably well except for the "harshness". The A/B test was through a Rotel receiver and my own setup is B&K separates with 200w/channel. The 170 also felt a little "small" for a center in HT mode. BTW, I though the build quality was fantastic. After reading LeeLee's comments, I was dreading opening the box

bob

Will they sound better after break-in?

B&W 805's retail for $2k a pair, right?
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Bob...that's too bad. How large is your room and have you thought about trying the 340SE?

Not that big...... 11x18x8. The 340 wouldn't fit. I only have 20" for a center.


thx

bob
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayson73 View Post

Will they sound better after break-in?

B&W 805's retail for $2k a pair, right?


Thye didn't after 30 days. Maybe the "Classic" tweeter would have been smoother?


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Old 05-10-2006, 09:30 AM
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Nope...the SE tweeter is actually smoother.

Definitely not a big room...85dB should be easy for them. Oh well.

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Old 05-10-2006, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spongebob View Post

Thye didn't after 30 days. Maybe the "Classic" tweeter would have been smoother?


bob

I could be be wrong, but according to the SE release notes, this was the only weaklness in the classic tweater and SE had no such limitation. I need to read the release notes again. I think I read the notes for 340SE but tweater is the same in 170 and 340 isn't it?

Speakers: Pioneer/TAD S-1EX, S-7EX, Ascend HTM200
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
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I think I read the notes for 340SE but tweater is the same in 170 and 340 isn't it?

Almost the same, the magnet is different.

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Old 05-10-2006, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I think that is fair. Can you give equal time to what you do like about them as well?

I certainly will talk about their audio qualities after I've done the listening sessions. After all, I wrote far more about the 170SE's sound than I did about its quality. Regardless, I don't really see the point of having to give equal time to the treatment of these subjects. We certainly don't require people who have posted positive comments about Ascends to spend equal time finding faults witht hem.
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post

I certainly will talk about their audio qualities after I've done the listening sessions. After all, I wrote far more about the 170SE's sound than I did about its quality. Regardless, I don't really see the point of having to give equal time to the treatment of these subjects. We certainly don't require people who have posted positive comments about Ascends to spend equal time finding faults witht hem.

I think the perception is you have been more expressive about the cabinets than the sound.

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Old 05-10-2006, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post

The principle I was trying to illustrate is that just because something is within tolerance doesn't mean the process that produced it is healthy. All manufacturing process aims for the center and end up with deviation distributions that is shaped like a bell curve. Some are off to the left and some are off to the right. At some economical point, you make a cut off and declare "anything beyond these limits are faulty parts" - that's your tolerance. But even after you've applied your tolerance, most of the production pieces are clustered around the center at which you've aimed, with vanishingly few pieces as you deviate from the center. The fewer pieces you have at the limits of tolerance, the better your process is, and it is bunk to suggest that it is not cost effective to achieve a level of manufacturing quality that results in very few pieces at the limits of tolerance. QA "best practices" like the various ISO standards and Six Sigma exist for this exact purpose, and none of them is chasing perfection. As I said, I've had 7 Ascend speakers go through my hands and every single one of them had tweeter cutouts that are near the limit of their tolerance. Unless someone is suggesting that Ascend picks out the bad ones to send to me, something is wrong with their process.

There was a joke with the Dell Axim PDAs where one corner of the screen bezel has a slight lift in it; the joke was that the Chinese manufacturer who made it probably has their QA process so optimized that it would be a failure of the process to not have the same "defect" in ever single Dell Axim that came off the line.

Franky, if I didn't like these speakers so much, I wouldn't care to write so much about these issues.

some pics would be great.
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post

The fewer pieces you have at the limits of tolerance, the better your process is, and it is bunk to suggest that it is not cost effective to achieve a level of manufacturing quality that results in very few pieces at the limits of tolerance. QA "best practices" like the various ISO standards and Six Sigma exist for this exact purpose, and none of them is chasing perfection.


Ascend's acct. is likely a drop in the bucket for thier cabinet builder. I don't think Ascend's orders enough cabinets a year to have the bargaining power with their cabinet builder in force them to spend the money to adopt those practices.

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Old 05-10-2006, 06:12 PM
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Also, how do you know what their tolerances are? Maybe the tolerance is 3mm and you've got some that are much closer.

The bottom line is, this is the compromise to get speakers that sound this good at this price point. Not much of a compromise to me, but it seems to be a big one for you so I guess you have to just decide if you can swallow it. If not, you just send them back and pay twice as much for something that looks better but doesn't sound as good. That's your right as a consumer.
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Old 05-10-2006, 09:14 PM
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Just chiming in that I'm rolling around in glee with the addition of my just-arrived-yesterday 340SE center, 170SE rear surrounds and Hsu VTF2-MkII sub to complement my sublime 340SE mains. All that remained of my previous speaker setup has been given the boot by Ascend Acoustics.

Listened to Eagles Hotel California in DTS 5.1, and OH so sweet.

Per the above commentary: there's a noticeable seam on the bottom of one of my 170SE's and a tiny dot of glue, both of which I could give two sheets about. I'm picky about sound quality. If I was picky about shiny mahogany Jim Salk-style build quality...well I would be poorer now, wouldn't I? :-)

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Adam

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Old 05-11-2006, 11:11 AM
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Bummer. My 340SEs just arrived and look at this:



I'm 100% sure I did not do this unboxing them so whoever put them in the box must have had a stray thumb or something. I'm sure Ascend will take care of me, but after waiting 2 1/2 months to finally get them and then have this, well, let's just say its a bummer.
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