Ascend Sierra-B&W 805S-Swan D2.1SE-Tyler Acoustics Ref Monitor - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since three of the speakers are here (the Tylers will be ordered next week), and it is 62 degrees and raining, I decided to start this comparison.

As the "rules" for the high end bookshelf comparison are different than the budget shootout, a new thread seemed prudent.

All speakers will be run as full range speakers, and there will later be some blind comparisons between them all.

So far, I have been doing some casual listening, and have had a few people listening/commenting between them.

I also have been allowing each speaker ample break in - with the B&W's getting 50 hour's worth of demanding music over the past 2.5 days.

For a starter, I thought some bass measurements would be in order ... the graphs shown are for 36 and 45 Hz into a single speaker, with the microphone set at 2 meters from each.

The speakers were set in the identical location, and when I heard audible chuffing, bottoming, or any other distress, I stopped the test, and captured the screeen just before audible artifacts were evident.

Test equipment includes TrueRTA software, M-Audio Mobile Pre-amp used as sound card, and ACO Pacifica Model 511E calibrator/Goldline TEF-04 microphone.

Here are the graphs (I have not even reviewed them yet, so no comments will accompany them):

Ascend Sierra @ 36 Hz:



Sierra @ 45 Hz:



B&W 805S @ 36 Hz:



805S @ 45 Hz:



Swan D2.1SE @ 36 Hz:



D2.1SE @ 45 Hz

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post #2 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 10:08 AM
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Interesting results Craig. Looks like they had similar output, except for the Swan leading by 4dB at 36hz.

The B&W looks to have the lowest THD. I'm guessing the reason the B&W couldn't go higher was port noise?
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post #3 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The B&W's driver started making a fluttering sound on the 36 Hz signal, and bottomed on the 45 Hz signal.

Right now, I have the Sierras and the B&W's hooked up, and am listening to Roger Water's "In The Flesh" SACD ... I am running them blind, but it is pretty clear which speak is which ... the B&W's are much more forward, with less apparent bass, than the Sierras.

IMO, the $900 Ascends are definitely in the same league as the $2230 dollar (street price) B&W's.

It was also interesting ... I looked at several stores, and was told both $2500 and $3000 for MSRP on the B&W's ... with one store selling a pair for the $2230 with no knowledge it was being used in a review.
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post #4 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 10:38 AM
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The one place I heard the 805S had them priced at $2500. I wasn't buying them, so I don't know what kind of negotiations were available. The store guys were actually more favorable to the Dynaudio Focus 140's at $1800.

Don't forget, with shipping the natural Sierras are "only" $825 shipped. How much was shipping on the D2.1SE's to Erie?

Do you have a picture with them all next to each other so we can get an idea of relative size?

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post #5 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 10:41 AM
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Wow, the B&Ws are much more forward. Interesting.
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post #6 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcjago View Post

Wow, the B&Ws are much more forward. Interesting.

That was my experience as well. The B&Ws are also more efficient.

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post #7 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The B&W's are about 1.5 dB more efficient than the Ascends, and the Ascends are about 1.5 dB more efficient than the Swans.

All three, when using a good amp, will deliver all the SPL I can stand from 60 Hz and up ... for early results, the Swans seem to be a little more full range a speaker, but they are also pretty large, with more internal volume, too. Hoffamn's Iron Law comes into play here.

Curtis - I see Ascend still has the introductory pricing intact ... I am calling them $900 because the low end is now, as you mentioned, $825 ... with the high end eventually, if memory serves, going to $986 delivered for Piano Gloss Black after the intro period.

As threads like this have a fairly long "shelf life", $900 is a good "middle" ground...
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post #8 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Curtis ... Shipping on a pair of D2.1SE's is $45. For the purpose of this series of tests ... I am calling the Ascends $900, the Swans $1000, the B&W's $2230, and the Tylers $2200 ...

I hope that works for everyone.
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post #9 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub View Post

Curtis - I see Ascend still has the introductory pricing intact ... I am calling them $900 because the low end is now, as you mentioned, $825 ... with the high end eventually, if memory serves, going to $986 delivered for Piano Gloss Black after the intro period.

Ahh....got it, I was thinking more "now" pricing of $824/pr for naturals and $884/pr for piano blacks. If I remember correctly, the introductory pricing on on the 340's never changed until the 340SE's came out.

I just checked, shipped to me (I think it varies per location), the D2.1SE's are $973/pr. Shipping was only $24.

edit: Craig....just read your post above..works for me.

For kicks...take a picture of the three speakers on that ED sub!

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post #10 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When the Tylers arrive, I will get pics of all four on top of the A7-900.

I also have a new Ad Line for the Elemental Designs guys ...

"More bass, but we take all your space".

Think Dr. Hsu will mind ?

Sorry, I could not resist.

It is time to golf ... more later !!!
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post #11 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub View Post

It is time to golf ... more later !!!

Ooooo....the weather must have let up! Get out there!

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post #12 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

That was my experience as well. The B&Ws are also more efficient.

I was with Curtis at the session, and I totally agree with him in terms of them being forward.

One would have to be deaf to be unable to hear the difference between B&W and Sierra.

craigsub: what is the time difference between switching speakers and level matching?

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post #13 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I just checked, shipped to me (I think it varies per location), the D2.1SE's are $973/pr. Shipping was only $24.

Correct; quotes vary per location and are fed direct from the shipper in real time based on our intentionally underestimated product weights.

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post #14 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 12:09 PM
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Well I hope the Swans do well because I already drank the kool aid ordered a pair one week ago. This should be fun test.
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post #15 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mziegler View Post

I was with Curtis at the session, and I totally agree with him in terms of them being forward.

One would have to be deaf to be unable to hear the difference between B&W and Sierra.

craigsub: what is the time difference between switching speakers and level matching?

0.01 seconds ... I have a remote switcher which also allows for level matching of up to 4 pairs of speakers.
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post #16 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 02:56 PM
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Craig, forgive me if you've mentioned this somewhere before and I missed it, but what amp are you using to power the speakers in this comparison? And while I'm asking, what pre-pro?

Thanks for your efforts!
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post #17 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As of now, I am using the Emotiva LPA-1 and LMC-1 ... I also have a McIntosh MA-6900 which can be swapped into the system, and probably will be at a later date.
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post #18 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub View Post

As of now, I am using the Emotiva LPA-1 and LMC-1 ... I also have a McIntosh MA-6900 which can be swapped into the system, and probably will be at a later date.

My boys! That's what I have (as you know). Well that puts a lil cream in my coffee doesn't it!
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post #19 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 03:38 PM
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Could someone please delight me how to read the graphs? The Verticle is sound level in dB (loudless) it seems like, but what is the horizontal? And what do people mean by "forward" or "flat"?

Thanks much for the help!
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post #20 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub View Post

0.01 seconds

!!!!

Very cool.

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post #21 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 03:46 PM
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Craig,
Awesome tests as usual. I, as well as many others I am sure, appreciate the time and effort it takes to put this sort of thing together but I see you are testing some $2000.00 monitors as well.

I wondered if the Revel M22 would be good fit in your testing? They can be had for $995.00 plus shipping here

Again, thanks for the effort
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post #22 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

Could someone please delight me how to read the graphs? The Verticle is sound level in dB (loudless) it seems like, but what is the horizontal? And what do people mean by "forward" or "flat"?

Thanks much for the help!

Horizontal is the frequency. The main peak is the frequency of the test tone, either 45hz or 36hz.
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post #23 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

Could someone please delight me how to read the graphs? The Verticle is sound level in dB (loudless) it seems like, but what is the horizontal? And what do people mean by "forward" or "flat"?

Thanks much for the help!

You're right, vertical is dB (loudNESS, or volume). And as xcjago said, horizontal is the frequency of the tone being tested. Someone else pointed out that the B&Ws seem to have less THD, or Total Harmonic Distortion, at these frequencies than the other two. In the graphs you'll notice the peak is at the fundamental frequency, or in other words the frequency of the tone Craig played to test the bass response. But you'll also see a smaller peak in each graph at double the test tone's frequency, which is musically speaking one octave higher. So in the 36 Hz graphs, there's a smaller peak at twice that, or 72 Hz. That's because the speaker's cones are resonating at not only the fundamental frequency, but also at harmonics of that frequency, starting with one octave up. If the graphs showed a wider frequency response, you'd probably also see smaller and smaller peaks at regular intervals going up.

(It's also possible that some of these harmonic resonances are room interactions and not just speaker cone resonance, right Craig? Please correct me if I'm wrong about that... I'm fairly sure you don't have an anechoic chamber in your house... YET. )

In a perfect world, a perfect driver would only show a peak at exactly the frequency of the test tone, assuming Craig is using pure sine wave tones. The rest of the graph would show a flat line at 0 Hz.

The definitions of "forward" can be interpreted different ways... Sometimes people mean the speaker has an emphasis in the upper midrange frequencies, which make them sound brighter, bringing out vocals and similar stuff. But I believe the term is really more about the presentation of the material... So a speaker that's described as more "forward" would make it seem as though the vocals and other midrange instruments are more forward in your room, and you're closer to the performers. Whereas a more "laid back" presentation would make it seem like the singers and performers are farther away from you in your soundstage. In other words, a more forward set of speakers places you in the front rows, where a more laid back set of speakers places you several rows back.

Everyone agree with this description? These can be fuzzy terms as they're bandied about in these parts...

Oh, and "flat" simply refers to the speakers' measured frequency response. A flat response, shown by a flat graph in a pink noise test, means the speaker reproduces all frequencies within the audible range at the same volume. In the real world, this is almost never the case, and truly "flat" speakers don't always sound good to everyone. There are many other factors involved, but the frequency response is a commonly used test to get an idea of how a speaker should sound and perform.
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post #24 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 04:36 PM
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LHawes, seriously, your "suggestion" reeks of a classless upbringing

With all the time and money Craigsub spends testing audio equipment and people like you have the nerve to "suggest" what to purchase.....

I still can't believe some of the audio companies aren't comping him properly (although I would hope some are)
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post #25 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 04:39 PM
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also, the revel has reviews all over the place, google is your friend

Craigsub is venturing into unchartered waters so let him do his thing
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post #26 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 04:47 PM
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Well I must be classless too because I've also wondered how the Revel M22 would hold up in Craig's tests. I've never heard it but it gets excellent reviews. Nice attitude you've got there, BTW.

I can't speak for Craig but it seems he does this because he LIKES doing it, not because he thinks he owes us anything, and he seems to appreciate getting suggestions for his next comparison adventure. LHawes thanked Craig at least twice for his efforts! That shows more class than coming in here and insulting someone for participating in this thread with courtesy!
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post #27 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Guys ... It's all good ... and all input is appreciated. After the Usher 520's and the Tylers get here, plus the Acculines, Swan 6.2's ... I will be busy for a few weeks just on this alone.

SO ... while I don't see any other speakers being added for a while (oops ... I forgot about the 6.1's ... Ssabripo strikes again ... )...
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post #28 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfromcanada View Post

LHawes, seriously, your "suggestion" reeks of a classless upbringing

With all the time and money Craigsub spends testing audio equipment and people like you have the nerve to "suggest" what to purchase.....

I still can't believe some of the audio companies aren't comping him properly (although I would hope some are)

dfrom,

Lighten up, it was just a suggestion - like all the other 'suggestions' on what might be appropriate to test.

Didn't mean to offend your classy upbringing, and it seems a bit more classless of you to suggest I was somehow out of line - again it seems as though it was you who is way more out of line than I.

I 'll again thank Craig for his effort and try and ignore your pointless attack.
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post #29 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 07:47 PM
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Craig,

When the Tyler's arrive I hope you also post on the finish, and build quality's of all these speakers. Will you be opening them up, and looking inside? Photo's maybe?
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post #30 of 365 Old 08-19-2007, 07:52 PM
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Not sure if this matters, but I understand the B&W 805s to be front ported. Are the other speakers front ported as well? The 36 hz test tone would probably be mostly port contribution as, at least the B&W, is supposed to be tuned to roughly 42hz. (I believe that below 60hz the port is doing most of the output rather than the mid-woofer, but this is from my experience with the N805, not the 805s)

If the other speaker's ports are facing backwards, is there a chance that their output would register as lower due to your mic being 2m from the front baffle (regardless of port location?)

Or, maybe you are your measurements just getting a somewhat "realistic expectation" of bass from the standmounted speakers as a listener might perceive them?
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