My name is Eric, and I wanted to introduce myself as a new Usher Owner. I have perused this thread (and many others) for quite some time in search of the right speakers for my needs. After extensive research and listening, I decided on two pairs of Ushers for the home. Since most people have experience with the Tiny Dancers, I will spend more time giving some insight on the Mini Dancer Twos.
Family Room: Tiny Dancers
In our family room, we were previously using a pair of Era Design D14's with an Arcam AVR-350 and other components, but with the birth of our son, we were concerned about him tipping them over. We decided on a pair of Usher Tiny Dancers, and took delivery about 2 months ago. Amazing fit and finish, and wonderful sound.
Basement: Mini Dancer Two
We have a TV viewing environment in the basement. Not a dedicated theater, but an area where we enjoy lots of different media - movies, music, video games, etc. We have a 5.1 setup with the following gear:
Mitsubishi WD-65831 DLP Display (Calibrated)
Anthem AVM-50v processor
Anthem MCA-50 5-channel amp
Oppo BDP-83 Blu Ray Player
Emotiva ERC-1 CD Player (balanced interconnects)
PS3 and Xbox 360
Dish DVR Box
Polk Audio LSI-15 fronts and center (previous)
Speakercraft 8 inch in-ceiling (rears)
SVS PB12 Plus2 sub
RTI T3-V remote
I wanted to get something that would provide a sonic upgrade over the Polks. The Polk is a nice speaker that has served us well, but wanted something a little higher end. I also prefer to listen to music in 2.1, but with a low crossover point to ensure that the sub is handling only the very lowest frequencies.
My auditioning included a number of different brands. I listened to Sonus Faber, Paradigm Signature, Vandersteen, Thiel, Magnepan, Focal, etc. Typical cast of characters. I found 1 of 2 things during my auditioning process - some brands are only good for certain types of music, and some brands were too expensive for the performance that I feel they bring to the table.
I found that lots of brands do some things exceptionally well while doing other things poorly at the same time. I am avid lover of music with extremely varied musical tastes. I might listen to Tracy Chapman, then Rage Against the Machine, then Bon Iver, then Outkast, etc. To give an example, when I played a vocalist on the Vandersteens/Thiels/Magnepans, it sounded great, but the minute I played on hip-hop or rock, I no longer liked the sound. The Paradigm Signature S8, good speaker overall, but I thought it was too expensive for the sound quality (plus being kind of skinny I was worried about tipping). The Focal Chorus had a nice sound to them, but even the largest version wasn't quite large enough for my needs. The Focal Electras sounds great, but the 1038's are very pricey, driving a lower price/performance ratio. On and on I went in my research until I found out about Usher.
The dealer did not have the Dancer Twos, so I took home the Mini Dancer Ones for a multi-week audition. It was obvious immediately that they had a significantly nicer sound quality than the Polk's I have. More precise soundstage, cleaner, warmer, you name it. We enjoyed music of all kinds on the speakers. Initially, I had the speakers toed-in, and frankly didn't think they sounded very good. However, I changed position to have them facing straight forward, and the sound changed dramatically. I thoroughly enjoyed the audition, however I wanted a speaker with more heft to avoid tipping, and capability to go deeper.
I decided to order the Mini Dancer Two's. Initially I wanted Walnut, but it turned out that Birch was the only color in stock. I am SO glad I got the Birch. They are freaking BEAUTIFUL, and should I ever do a 5-channel all Usher setup, the colors will match my current Tiny Dancers.
I won't really write a review per se, just provide some thoughts. First, I know others have said this, but they are NOT small. Definitely a large speaker. For reference, they are the same height as the Paradigm Signature S8, two inches more shallow from front to back, but an inch wider. They weigh in at 90 pounds, so tipping is not an issue.
The sound quality is just sensational. There is absolutely a gain in performance from the Mini Dancer One, although that is a nice speaker in its own right. The thing I like most? Every single type of music - sounds great. When I listen to Terence Blanchard, the horns sound warm, and the instruments sound well-positioned. When I listen to Norah Jones, her vocals are coming directly in front of me, and you can hear the slight "raspiness" in her voice. Last night, listen to Maxwell's "Embrya", and man, just sounded incredible - smooth, rich, just amazing. Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, all sound amazing.
All in all, I am incredibly pleased with the speakers, and they meet every single one of my needs. I currently have the BE-616 center channel on order, so when it comes in I will retire the Polk Center and have the full Usher soundstage up front.
Just wanted to introduce myself and provide some details on the speaker for those of you in the market for a new set of Usher towers. Hope that this information was helpful for you. I will attach some photos later today so you can see the Birch finish on the speakers.