First the disclaimers:
- Different makes of speakers, more than any other component, vary greatly
in how they sound.
- Everyone has personal preferences and likes/dislikes in speakers.
- Everyone listens for, and notices, different things in the music they like.
- I think ID speakers provide a good value in sound quality for their cost.
So, before getting upset about what I, or what anyone, writes about speakers please, please, please, go listen for yourself. These are just my opinions.
Curtis was kind enough to let me invade his home and play lots of my CDs/dvd-a's last week so I could hear the Sierras myself. (Thanks Curtis!!) I'm a big fan of my current Ascend 340s, but then I started reading the descriptions about the new Sierras and how others thought they were a really worth while upgrade, so I had to get a chance to listen for myself.
The short version is that for me personally I'm really excited about the Sierras. I think they are going to be a really nice upgrade for me.
The biggest improvements that I noticed were the definition and incredible imaging/placement of sounds. For 2 channel material I felt that each instrument was placed with great stability and with noticeable depth in the soundstage.
The tracks that stood out the most in my listening were Yello - Fat City, Santana - The Calling, and Gnarles Barkley - Who Cares. Vocals and instruments were so distinct and the imaging was so solid. I also noticed much more depth in each sound's placement. I could even perceive some of "space/ambiance" around each sound. Listening to Santana gave me tingles. I would anticipate the percussive hits and as they would strike they would be so clean/fast/tight/pow-bam. Sorry, I'm not sure what adjectives to use here. (go listen yourself ~2:50 in the track
We then watched some movie clips, and I thought the Sierras really helped in improving dialog intelligibility. I felt that I was able to hear the dialog much better because it seemed easier to "lock onto" and distinguish the dialog from all the other sound effects. Technically, it might be the new tweeter or because of the smooth off axis response?, but whatever the cause, I really liked it.
Lastly we listened to a dvd-a of Alan Parson's On Air for a test of multi-channel music. I wanted to hear if the Ascend 170s would match well enough to the Sierras or if I would need to get 7 Sierras for my surround setup.
While it would be nice if I could do Sierras all around, I thought the 170s matched quite well. The Sierras need space behind them (they're ported) so I was worried about how I would mount them above me and give them enough space. Luckily, I think I can go with the 170s (and not push my budget as hard
For you all in LA, once I get mine and get them all setup you're all certainly invited over to give them a listen yourself.
Woo who, new speakers! Thanks again Curtis.