***The Official Ascend Acoustics Sierra Thread*** - Page 145 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #4321 of 4329 Old 09-26-2016, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by avdoc View Post
I am about 2 weeks into my Horizon with RAAL trial period and wanted to give my thoughts. The speaker was shipped across the country and arrived unscathed. The finish is nice (satin dark cherry) and almost matches my Cordovan Cherry Power Sound Audio S3000i Subwoofer. I am coming from a Klipsch Reference RC-64 II center. The Horizon is not nearly as efficient (to be expected) so I had to bump up the level by 6dB using a SPL meter. While the Horizon is nice, detailed and smooth up top without being bright as compared to the Klipsch and the new Emotiva center I also demo'd. Voices were mostly intelligible, but I was initially very disappointed since the Horizon had a very pronounced boxy coloration to voices and a pronounced bass hump that did prevent some understanding of dialogue. I have recently gone back to my Magnepan mains and surrounds (matching 2.5 RT), so no doubt my perception of the coloration was exacerbated by the total lack of such in the Magnepan system. However, the coloration was most definitely there and I actually was planning to send the Horizon back and I had already ordered a Magnepan center when it occurred to me that I could plug the ports on the Horizon. I did that last night and it almost completely eliminated the boxy coloration. Since the Horizon is rated down to 40 Hz and I've got it crossed over at 80 Hz I doubt I'm missing much down low, but I'm planning to run a frequency sweep with my SPL later with and without the ports plugged to see what I'm missing. Has anyone else plugged the ports on the Horizon. I honestly couldn't have lived with the Horizon with the ports open. I know Ascend has port plugs for their smaller speakers, but didn't know if they had them for the Horizon. My new Magnepan center (new to me, it's a CC3 that is spec'd to go down to 80 Hz unlike their newer models that have much higher low-end response) should arrive on Friday, so I should have time to compare and decide whether to keep the Horizon before my 30 days runs out. However, after all the rave reviews here and elsewhere I was very surprised at such an obvious flaw in an otherwise nice speaker.
Oh, and I would say the other disappointment for me was that the speaker is not bi-wireable. While not a fatal flaw, and I don't bi-wire my speakers, I know that many purchasing speakers in this price range would expect it and I was surprised it was lacking. I was also mildly disappointed with the binding posts. They are offset to one side of the speaker in the rear and there is no plate, the posts are just sticking out of the back of the speaker like they were an afterthought. Again, not a deal breaker for me but I was very surprised that they weren't more substantial. The Klipsch and the Emotiva both had nice recessed bi-wirable plates and the Emotiva only costs $250.

Hi avdoc,

I am sorry to hear you are having some issues with the Horizon.


Regarding the binding posts, I am quite familiar with those pre-fabricated plastic terminal cups you speak of, as used on your Klipsch and the other speakers you have tried.. These are used on the majority of speakers these days, we use them on our 340’s, 200’s and 170’s. These terminal cups are a cost savings measure, you yourself can purchase one for about $6.00 (they come with the binding posts), or about a buck a piece for bulk purchases in China. They are a cinch to install, just cut a big opening in the back of the speaker and screw in the terminal cup, same as the Klipsch:




Most manufacturers crossovers are actually small enough so that the crossover itself mounts directly on to the other side of the cup, allowing even greater cost savings.


The binding posts we use in our Sierra line typically retail for about $25/pair in bulk purchases, they are of the highest quality and require a considerable amount of labor to properly install.


We went with this higher performance option for a few reasons, even though it costs us nearly 10x more.


1. Terminal cups are typically 3mm thick and are made of rather inexpensive plastic. To use one of the typical bi-wire units, you need to cut out nearly 20 square inches of the cabinet to properly install one.


http://www.parts-express.com/parts-e...-post--260-304


With a speaker cabinet that is specifically designed to be as inert as possible (our entire Sierra line), there is no way I would be willing to sacrifice some cabinet integrity to use one of these. There is a huge difference in stiffness and resonance control between 20mm thick layered bamboo and 3mm thick plastic and by using binding posts in the manner we do, it keeps as much of the cabinet integrity intact as is possible.


2. Additionally, using these cups requires one of 2 types of connections. Either placing very thin wire through a very small hole on the connection tab of each post and then soldering, or by using a crimped fastener. Both of these types of connections work just fine, but by using our type of post, we make a direct connection between the binding post and the crossover, and the connection made is of significantly larger surface area and is sandwiched between two lock washers and a nut that is firmly tightened down. It is a considerably more electrically stable connection and avoids a soldered or a crimped connection.

3. The crossover used in the Horizon is huge, it could not possibly fit onto the back of one of these terminal cups.


Additionally, the posts are offset to one side due to the unique multi-chambered design of the enclosure. It is not possible for us to place them in the middle of the cabinet, if we did – they would then be located in the air-tight separate enclosure of the midrange and as such, connecting them to the crossover without causing air-leaks would then be problematic as the crossover could not be installed in this same enclosure space (the space is too small).

I think you will find as you move up in pricing with speakers, you will actually find less usage of these prefabbed terminal cups.

The more important issue to discuss is the issue you are having with performance. You mentioned cabinet resonance and a bumped up bass response, but I assure you – neither actually exist. The Horizon has a very natural bass rolloff starting at ~50Hz. The full range frequency response can be found here: http://www.ascendacoustics.com/image...orizonfull.gif


The cabinet is also one of the most inert speaker cabinets I have ever designed, and due to the use of bamboo, cabinet resonances would be up high in the frequency range (well above 2kHz) and not anywhere near the frequencies you are having issues with.


Cabinet resonance would also not disappear by plugging the ports.


The Horizon is a near full range center speaker, capable of deep bass. By plugging the ports as you have, you dramatically change the bass response of the speaker in 2-ways. First, the speaker will now start to rolloff at ~100Hz and the slope will now be shallower as compared to when the ports are in play.


As I mentioned, the Horizon does not have audible cabinet resonances nor a bass bump in the low end response, but – this does not mean that the combination of the Horizon and your room is not exciting specific room modes as the speaker is reproducing deep bass which the other speakers you tried did not. Ports produce output by way of resonance, they are, in fact, a Helmholtz resonator. We could not achieve this deep bass response without the use of such a resonator and near full range performance was our goal for this speaker.


Moving forward, I have a few suggestions…

1. Take the room measurements you mentioned with and without the ports being plugged and let me take a look at these.

2. Let me know the actual dimensions of your room so I can calculate your room modes.

3. Unplug the ports and set the speaker to small with a 100Hz crossover – how does it sound now?

4. Just for fun, move the speaker to the left or right side – run it full range – any change?


5. Are you using any type of room EQ? If you are, you need to make sure that you redo the measurements since you are now using a different center speaker. Also try turning it off and having a listen.


Let me know how things go, we are here for you…

David Fabrikant

audio professional and soft spoken representative of www.AscendAcoustics.com


Last edited by Ascend; 09-26-2016 at 06:32 PM.
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post #4322 of 4329 Old Today, 09:36 AM
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I have a question for those of you that currently have the Sierra Towers (with NrT or RAAL) what speakers did you have previously before switching to the Sierra's? Also what do you feel is better about the sound you get from the Sierra's compared to your previous speakers.
Just trying to see what these towers can be compared too and are better than.
Really interested in trying them out.

Thanks

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post #4323 of 4329 Old Today, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rustolemite View Post
I have a question for those of you that currently have the Sierra Towers (with NrT or RAAL) what speakers did you have previously before switching to the Sierra's? Also what do you feel is better about the sound you get from the Sierra's compared to your previous speakers.
Just trying to see what these towers can be compared too and are better than.
Really interested in trying them out.

Thanks
Before my Towers with RAAL tweeters I had Magnepan Tympani 1D planar speakers and Klipsch RB-15 bookshelf speakers before that. The Sierra Towers blow them away in every aspect, especially the Klipsch speakers, which were harsh, shrill, and shouty with a narrow soundstage. My old maggies were great for massive soundstage and beautiful sparkly sound, but they really lacked dynamics and needed gobs and gobs of power to make them work.

The Towers are incredibly detailed while still being smooth as silk, which is something I have yet to find elsewhere. I have tinnitus so the Klipsch speakers had to go and this is just worlds better in every way. Even the HTM 200 SE speakers beat the everliving snot out of any Klipsch speaker I've ever heard, hands down.

The only speakers that really seem to compete with the Sierra Towers cost at least 3 times as much. Some of the higher end Focal and Revel models have been compared to the Sierra Towers several times and one guy even auditioned Focal Aria 936s that he got for really cheap but ended up keeping the Sierra Towers. That really says quite a bit.

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...3140#post53140
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post #4324 of 4329 Old Today, 10:20 AM
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You can see I'm a big Ascend fan - that being said I've always wanted to give these a listen.

http://philharmonicaudio.com/slims.html

Dennis does a lot of work for Jim Salk, and those two make some very nice speakers most of which are out of my price range If I wasn't a fan of Dave, Denise, Jim and Selah Audio would be a few I would look to assuming one isn't interested in higher efficiency speakers. By the way you can find deals on the Focals - easily - so the MSRP may be 3 times more but the actual cost is very similar if not less. There was a great thread earlier this year with someone who had bought the Focals and Ascend towers:

A newbie review thread - Ascend Sierra Towers vs Focal Aria 936

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post #4325 of 4329 Old Today, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sludgeogre View Post
Before my Towers with RAAL tweeters I had Magnepan Tympani 1D planar speakers and Klipsch RB-15 bookshelf speakers before that. The Sierra Towers blow them away in every aspect, especially the Klipsch speakers, which were harsh, shrill, and shouty with a narrow soundstage. My old maggies were great for massive soundstage and beautiful sparkly sound, but they really lacked dynamics and needed gobs and gobs of power to make them work.

The Towers are incredibly detailed while still being smooth as silk, which is something I have yet to find elsewhere. I have tinnitus so the Klipsch speakers had to go and this is just worlds better in every way. Even the HTM 200 SE speakers beat the everliving snot out of any Klipsch speaker I've ever heard, hands down.

The only speakers that really seem to compete with the Sierra Towers cost at least 3 times as much. Some of the higher end Focal and Revel models have been compared to the Sierra Towers several times and one guy even auditioned Focal Aria 936s that he got for really cheap but ended up keeping the Sierra Towers. That really says quite a bit.

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...3140#post53140
Thanks for the response will read that link.

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post #4326 of 4329 Old Today, 10:58 AM
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You can see I'm a big Ascend fan - that being said I've always wanted to give these a listen.

http://philharmonicaudio.com/slims.html

Dennis does a lot of work for Jim Salk, and those two make some very nice speakers most of which are out of my price range If I wasn't a fan of Dave, Denise, Jim and Selah Audio would be a few I would look to assuming one isn't interested in higher efficiency speakers. By the way you can find deals on the Focals - easily - so the MSRP may be 3 times more but the actual cost is very similar if not less. There was a great thread earlier this year with someone who had bought the Focals and Ascend towers:

A newbie review thread - Ascend Sierra Towers vs Focal Aria 936
Thanks for your response, some of those other brands that have been compared to the Ascends are too much for me, I found out the hard way that when it comes to speakers cost/looks/brand don't mean its a great speaker. I previously owned a paid of Paradigm Studio 100 v5s and they were expensive and beautiful rosewood but after having them for awhile they just weren't that great, they were LOUD but there was no detail.
I want to play my music loud but also hear every pin drop when watching a movie.

Thanks.

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post #4327 of 4329 Old Today, 11:08 AM
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Thanks for your response, some of those other brands that have been compared to the Ascends are too much for me, I found out the hard way that when it comes to speakers cost/looks/brand don't mean its a great speaker. I previously owned a paid of Paradigm Studio 100 v5s and they were expensive and beautiful rosewood but after having them for awhile they just weren't that great, they were LOUD but there was no detail.
I want to play my music loud but also hear every pin drop when watching a movie.

Thanks.
No problem, you're welcome. That is an extremely reasonable statement in my mind. Based on what you said I think that the Sierra Towers are the speakers for you. I was blown away by all of the detail I was missing in movies, especially some of the screw ups that make it to Blu-Ray (screams and shouts that clip for the most part). My Dad used to own a $100k+ home theater with a 7.1 Triad speaker setup. It was incredibly dynamic and fun, but not nearly as accurate or detailed as my Sierra speakers. That pin drop level of detail really makes for some intense, goosebump-inducing listening sessions.
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post #4328 of 4329 Old Today, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by avdoc View Post
I am about 2 weeks into my Horizon with RAAL trial period and wanted to give my thoughts. The speaker was shipped across the country and arrived unscathed. The finish is nice (satin dark cherry) and almost matches my Cordovan Cherry Power Sound Audio S3000i Subwoofer. I am coming from a Klipsch Reference RC-64 II center. The Horizon is not nearly as efficient (to be expected) so I had to bump up the level by 6dB using a SPL meter. While the Horizon is nice, detailed and smooth up top without being bright as compared to the Klipsch and the new Emotiva center I also demo'd. Voices were mostly intelligible, but I was initially very disappointed since the Horizon had a very pronounced boxy coloration to voices and a pronounced bass hump that did prevent some understanding of dialogue. I have recently gone back to my Magnepan mains and surrounds (matching 2.5 RT), so no doubt my perception of the coloration was exacerbated by the total lack of such in the Magnepan system. However, the coloration was most definitely there and I actually was planning to send the Horizon back and I had already ordered a Magnepan center when it occurred to me that I could plug the ports on the Horizon. I did that last night and it almost completely eliminated the boxy coloration. Since the Horizon is rated down to 40 Hz and I've got it crossed over at 80 Hz I doubt I'm missing much down low, but I'm planning to run a frequency sweep with my SPL later with and without the ports plugged to see what I'm missing. Has anyone else plugged the ports on the Horizon. I honestly couldn't have lived with the Horizon with the ports open. I know Ascend has port plugs for their smaller speakers, but didn't know if they had them for the Horizon. My new Magnepan center (new to me, it's a CC3 that is spec'd to go down to 80 Hz unlike their newer models that have much higher low-end response) should arrive on Friday, so I should have time to compare and decide whether to keep the Horizon before my 30 days runs out. However, after all the rave reviews here and elsewhere I was very surprised at such an obvious flaw in an otherwise nice speaker.
Oh, and I would say the other disappointment for me was that the speaker is not bi-wireable. While not a fatal flaw, and I don't bi-wire my speakers, I know that many purchasing speakers in this price range would expect it and I was surprised it was lacking. I was also mildly disappointed with the binding posts. They are offset to one side of the speaker in the rear and there is no plate, the posts are just sticking out of the back of the speaker like they were an afterthought. Again, not a deal breaker for me but I was very surprised that they weren't more substantial. The Klipsch and the Emotiva both had nice recessed bi-wirable plates and the Emotiva only costs $250.
I am surprised you found it necessary to block the ports considering they are front ports. I don't like rear ported centers that I have tried in my setup. I usually end up sticking a sock in them and running Audyssey that way.

I have been on the fence on whether to buy the S2 or Horizon. Right now I am using a big vintage Boston Acoustics sealed center and it works great.
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post #4329 of 4329 Old Today, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rustolemite View Post
I have a question for those of you that currently have the Sierra Towers (with NrT or RAAL) what speakers did you have previously before switching to the Sierra's? Also what do you feel is better about the sound you get from the Sierra's compared to your previous speakers.
Just trying to see what these towers can be compared too and are better than.
Really interested in trying them out.

Thanks
My last two sets of speakers were Energy RC 30s+10s+LCR and Axiom M22+M2s and Q4s.

The difference between the RCs and the Axiom was not dis-similar...both had a good sound stage but did so in a slightly different manor. The 22s I would characterize as neutral but forward. Most case scenario when folks compared the Axiom signature vs that of the digms...most found them to sound similar...I've not heard the Studio line but from my recollection with the Axiom vs. Monitors they sort of resembled one another...whereas the RC's sound was warm or exaggerated less waning over time to my ears...both had a decent sound-stage and imaged well...thou my room did suffer from some reflections.

First...auditioning the Ascend S1 NrT...I knew they were different...sound-stage felt larger, dynamics+clarity, generally improved overall...but my defining moment with the S1 Nrt...was due to their ability to separate and pinpoint individual instruments throughout my room...the heightened or improved imaging did feel weird at first...not sure what to think...really?

I ran, the S1's for about 7-10 days... hope here was to cleanse my listening or auditory palate...it wasn't until I returned to my others speakers, I notice the significant loss in sound-stage making the other speakers expendable...Great thing about Ascend they gave me a full credit after 6 months...using their upgrade promo at the time...I upgraded to the Towers...Ive become a big fan of Dave and his design philosophy...

Btw...you had Axioms iirc...I see you still have the Qs...excellent surround speakers...

Re,

Bill

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