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**Official Ascend Acoustics Tower Thread** - Page 6

post #151 of 1484
I'd love to know how they compare to the RC-70's myself.
post #152 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by yelnatsch517 View Post

Thanks, I'll see if when we have time and let you know.

I just have a couple questions:
What are the crossover points?
I see only 1 set of binding posts so am I right to assume there's only 1?
What's the time table for full production ramp up?
Are there combo discounts like the existing Ascend products?
What's the recommended min. distance from side/back walls to set these towers?

Might be better to call or send Ascend an email with these questions, but here is some help...

The crossover points is not an easy one to answer because of the OPPIX design, the same design that is used on the Sierra...you can read about it here:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages.../srm1tech.html

Dave has also posted that the Tower can be ordered with dual binding posts if desired (at an extra cost of course).

Looking forward to meeting you for a listen to my Sierra-1's.
post #153 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicHSAD View Post

I'd love to know how they compare to the RC-70's myself.

Judging by what I have read about the RC series, and my experience with other Energy speakers, the Tower is in another league.

But like always, ymmv, and I hope you get a listen for yourself.
post #154 of 1484
Wowsers B !!!!!

Those are beautiful looking.... Finally the day has come !!!
Congrats...

post #155 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warpdrv View Post

Wowsers B !!!!!

Those are beautiful looking.... Finally the day has come !!!
Congrats...

Thank you sir! They were well worth the wait. Can't wait for you to check them out, although I think you will miss our little GTG on 4/2, some vacation or something
post #156 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Hey folks,
The WI audio boys are at it again. We plan to hold another little GTG auditioning my new Ascend Tower speakers among maybe some other speakers at my place in East Troy, WI.

We are shooting for Saturday April 2nd around 12:00.

Please let me know if you might be interested. I prefer to keep it geared towards speakers only so we do not have to worry about switching around cables, wires, amps, preamps, etc.

I will be running the speakers off my Parasound 2100 preamp and proceed Amp 3 using a squeezebox Touch as the source.

Please PM if you are interested in attending.

So far I know Nuance and TJHUB plan on attending again as well.
I will update this thread on what speakers will be here as the date gets closer. (Im trying to talk either nuance or TJHUB to bring their Salks along)...Hint....hint

Thanks,
Brandon
post #157 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by merrymaid520 View Post

Hey folks,
The WI audio boys are at it again. We plan to hold another little GTG auditioning my new Ascend Tower speakers among maybe some other speakers at my place in East Troy, WI.

We are shooting for Saturday April 2nd around 12:00.

Please let me know if you might be interested. I prefer to keep it geared towards speakers only so we do not have to worry about switching around cables, wires, amps, preamps, etc.

I will be running the speakers off my Parasound 2100 preamp and proceed Amp 3 using a squeezebox Touch as the source.

Please PM if you are interested in attending.

So far I know Nuance and TJHUB plan on attending again as well.
I will update this thread on what speakers will be here as the date gets closer. (Im trying to talk either nuance or TJHUB to bring their Salks along)...Hint....hint

Thanks,
Brandon

Hey Brandon,

I wish I was closer as I would love to be there to hear the new Towers and meet the gang from WI. Maybe someday I will make it out to the land of cheese. That would be great if you could get a pair of SongTowers to do a direct comparison to the Towers. A death match so to say. Enjoy!

Bill
post #158 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by merrymaid520 View Post

I will be running the speakers off my Parasound 2100 preamp and proceed Amp 3 using a squeezebox Touch as the source.

What kind of files through the Squeezebox?
post #159 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Costs of flights are cheap, come on out

You know we would like to have you out for one of our GTG's!

I am not sure if Terry(TJHUB) or Brandon (nuance)would be willing to bring along their salks or not due to their size/transporting. I would love it if they could though. I think many folks looking for towers from the online vendors would be curious on the results.

Shoudl be a blast! Stay tuned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

Hey Brandon,

I wish I was closer as I would love to be there to hear the new Towers and meet the gang from WI. Maybe someday I will make it out to the land of cheese. That would be great if you could get a pair of SongTowers to do a direct comparison to the Towers. A death match so to say. Enjoy!

Bill
post #160 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

What kind of files through the Squeezebox?

FLAC of course

Did you doubt me?

post #161 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by merrymaid520 View Post

FLAC of course

Did you doubt me?


Cool...I just ripped 10 discs the other day. Thinking about trading the Sonos for a Squeezebox Touch...although that would require other changes.

Wish was Wisconsin was within driving distance...and warmer.
post #162 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Cool...I just ripped 10 discs the other day. Thinking about trading the Sonos for a Squeezebox Touch...although that would require other changes.

Wish was Wisconsin was within driving distance...and warmer.

I even ripped some of my old DVD-Audio discs into 24/96 FLAC files and they play just fine as well on the Touch. I think it makes a great server, much easier than CD's. I did try the PS Audio DACIII with it and felt I could not really tell much of a difference so I sold the DAC.

Ya, bummer you and Bill live on opposite coasts. I even have really good micro brews for those attending We are almost above freezing today, the suns out, thats not enough?
post #163 of 1484
[quote=merrymaid520;20206326]
Quote:


Costs of flights are cheap, come on out You know we would like to have you out for one of our GTG's!

I will definitely come out but I'm with Curtis as it will have to be in the summer or the fall. Maybe I could squeeze in a game at Lambeau even if it was preseason as it would be cool to visit Title Town. But by the looks of it there might not be a season at all.

Quote:


I am not sure if Terry(TJHUB) or Brandon (nuance)would be willing to bring along their salks or not due to their size/transporting. I would love it if they could though. I think many folks looking for towers from the online vendors would be curious on the results. Shoudl be a blast! Stay tuned.

I would be concerned as well transporting my STs. Either way I'm sure Terry and Brandon will be able to offer some comparisons between the Salks and the Towers. I will look forward to everyones impressions of the Towers. Have a great time!

Bill
post #164 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I would be concerned as well transporting my STs. Either way I'm sure Terry and Brandon will be able to offer some comparisons between the Salks and the Towers. I will look forward to everyones impressions of the Towers. Have a great time!

Anything but bookshelf speakers are tough to transport. Comparisons are tough too without A/B switching and then add different rooms....IMO, tough to get useful comparison info.

59 degrees and partly sunny...but we had some rain earlier, and probably more tomorrow.
post #165 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Anything but bookshelf speakers are tough to transport. Comparisons are tough too without A/B switching and then add different rooms....IMO, tough to get useful comparison info.

59 degrees and partly sunny...but we had some rain earlier, and probably more tomorrow.

Yup, towers are tough to transport but it can be done Also you are right, trying to compare speakers on different occasions in different rooms is not easy nor all that accurate.
post #166 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Ascend Tower Review

Its been a week and I felt it was time to post some more formal thoughts on the Towers. I have been spending each night after work listening to various tracks, movies, trying different configurations, locations, etc. After about a week of tweaking and of taking measurements using my RS SPL meter and REW, I have them dialed in as best I can for now.

First off I want to say I am not overly experienced in writing my thoughts down in regard to audio reviews. I am not one to go out to various A/V stores and listen to various speakers from different manufacturers. I have instead gone the Internet direct route based on all of the positive reviews from all of you over the years. Plus, I just don’t feel as comfortable going into these stores and sitting there for quite some time listening to music other folks in there may or may not like including the sales folks. To summarize my musical (speaker) resume it would include the following:
Most of the Ascend Acoustic models from the little HTM-200SE’s to the Sierra-1 Nrt’s and everything in between.
Boston Acoustic Towers from about 10 years ago (VR-950’s or something)
Salk Song Towers (Ribbon Tweeter)
Paradigm S8’s, their matching bookshelf, and the Studio 100’s and matching bookshelf as well.
AV123 Towers speakers, 850’s maybe?
Dynaudio Contours (don’t know model)
SVS MTS line of Towers and Bookshelf’s including both first and 2nd versions
Emotiva Bookshelfs
Various other smaller speakers from some of the previous GTG’s I have attended.

On to the goods! I will start out by describing my setup so everyone knows what they are being run off of.
Proceed Amp 3 – 150w @ 8ohms for front three speakers, 250w @ 4ohms per channel (the Towers fall somewhere between 4-6 ohms so I imagine they are being fed over 200w easily)

Parasound 2100 2ch Preamp with HT bypass

Squeezebox Touch - as source playing mostly FLAC files.

Rythmik D-15SE sub EQ’ed pretty flat in room with a Behringer FD and REW.

Ascends bulk 11g speaker wire for front three speakers – nothing fancy here, sorry.

Room is 17’ wide and about 30’ long splitting into an area with a pool table, and it also open up into the Kitchen and hallway. Ceilings are vaulted and peak at about 13’. Speakers are toed in slightly, I sit about 13’ from them, and they are about 9’ apart.

I choose to create a CD / playlist of my personal favorite tracks that I feel were well recorded. I use these 18 tracks for most of the critical listening.
Track list:
Nils Lofgren – Keith don’t go and Man in the Moon
Daryl Stuermer (from genesis) – In too deep & Man on the corner
Dire Straits – Ride across the River
Jesse Cook – Switchback, Virtue, Matisse the cat, Café Mocha
Jack Johnson – Breakdown, Rodeo Clowns, Upside down
Rob Thomas – all that I am
Santana – Corazon Espinado
NIN – Into the void
Fleetwood Mac – Go insane (Live), Seven Wonders, Family Man


To start my review I must publically thank Dave F over at Ascend for all he did for me during the creation of these speakers. I had actually ordered the Salk songtowers and ended up cancelling the order after speaking with Dave one day when he told me he had some Tower ideas being thrown around☺ I opted to wait it out, not knowing it would take over 18 months, but now that I look back, it was well worth the wait. Along the way, he provided me updates and even asked for my feedback(not sure how helpful I was). I probably emailed him weekly asking “are they done yet” ☺ Anyways, he is a perfectionist and made sure every aspect of this design was fully optimized before he would release them. The results definitely exceeded me expectations. Thank you Dave!

Delivery –
The Towers arrived packaged in separate boxes (I took a pic of the UPS truck pulling up just to follow in the footsteps of all the Salk owners over on AC) ☺ Each one double boxed, held in place with foam and wrapped up well.

Finish –

This was maybe one of the largest roadblocks Dave encountered along the way. He originally was shooting for a local CA vendor to do a specific finish and things did not quite work out. He then opted to try another local Guitar finishing company that does a true hand finished Piano Black. The results are stunning! Here is what Dave posted
“This pair is a very unique true piano black. What makes them unique is that they are 100% hand finished, hand buffed Made in the USA - and the finish is a polyester resin based piano black. Most piano black finishes (especially from Asia) are polyurethane. Polyester buffs to a higher sheen and is harder. The finishing on this pair was completed by an experienced guitar finishing company.

Regrettably, this is a very expensive option and will add $700 to the introductory base price of $1898/pair.”

In my opinion, the finish on these look much better than the sierras I have although my sierras were very early run models and things have improved greatly since. They are truly mirror like. Construction - Full bamboo cabinet, which is probably the most inert tower speaker I have felt.

Sound (finally right)
Originally I had them running off my 2100 preamp with a 80hz crossover setting from my previous Sierra setup. Both Dave and others convinced me to run them full range instead (the only other option with the 2100). So I did. If you did not know already, the Towers are a full 3 way speaker design with 2 modified sierra-1 drivers for bass duty only, the same 1” SEAS NrT tweeter used in the upgraded Sierra, and a new 5.25” SEAS midrange driver housed in its own enclosure. With the mid driver in its own enclosure, leaving the 2 two woofers to play deeper bass will not negatively effect the mid range performance, hence me running them full range. With the sierra-1, running them full range with too much bass material will ultimately effect the mids(in a negative way) since the driver has double duty.

First thing I notice, the IMAGING! These things image like crazy and fill my room much better than the sierras. Where as the sierras had a great soundstage and imaged well, the Towers take it to the next level if not more. Vocals float in the air centered between the two speakers while other instruments come from all around. Certain tracks especially the NIN one (why I chose it) is crazy. The opening part has this buzzing sound emanating all around you like surround sound, I had never heard it quite like this until now, very impressed.

Bass – I’ll admit, the sierras have phenomenal bass for such a small bookshelf speaker and only a 5.25” driver. So I had pretty high expectations for the Tower version. I was not disappointed. They are by no means a bass monster, but the bass is very articulate and clean. I can say the bass has more “texture” or detail to it than the transmission line design of the Salks(its easier to remember bass notes over mids or highs) They provide plenty of low end if one chooses to forego a sub. Although I have not heard these directly compared to other speakers, some Towers with larger 6.5” or bigger drivers will probably reach a bit lower. Dave has admitted his design goals were not for extra low bass reproduction. For music, they are more than sufficient, for movies, I still firmly feel a sub is needed to satisfy that extra low material found in many modern Blu ray releases. Lately I have been experimenting with the Rythmik on and off while listening to music. I still prefer the Rythmik playing although without a real accurate sub with servo like the Rythmik, I would lean towards leaving the Towers to run solo. The bass hits hard and low with authority and I have not even come close to their limits.

Power Handling –
Another thing that jumped out at me right off the bat was they require less volume on the preamp, they are obviously more efficient! Plus my amp is probably feeding them quite a bit more juice than the sierras received. So those with mid level receivers, don’t worry, they don’t need much power. Although, they do rate around 4-6 ohms, so make sure your gear can handle it. I have not taken any max in room SPL numbers thus far, but the Towers will blow your socks off if asked to do so. They provide a lot more output than the sierras. I did crank them pretty loud several times and they handled it effortlessly. I know Patrick (warpdrv) can attest to this, the sierras can max out without trying to hard(of course they were being fed over 250w). I highly doubt the Towers will run into this issue, in fact I do not want to find out how LOUD they go.

Mid Range / vocals
This was one of two areas I felt the sierra-1s needed improving on. After first hearing the towers were going to be a true 3-way design, I knew good things were in store. Most of my listening consists of male vocals but so far, all vocals have more weight and detail to them without being “honky” or muddy in any way. The vocals are very airy like and simply fill the room with clean, and very articulate sound. It was much easier to pinpoint the vocals coming out of the sierras when you closed your eyes during listening. Now with the towers, they hover all around from the front soundstage and you don’t get the feeling they are coming from a music “box” per say. I listened to several tracks, which really stood out, and one is the Rob Thomas track I listed. His vocal performance on this track is amazing and the way its portrayed on the Towers is very intoxicating. The vocals move around and it’s a neat experience. I did listen to Stevie Nicks voice on several of the Fleetwood mac tracks and even some Diane Krall not listed above. So far, all sounded improved on over and above the sierra-1 even the Nrt version, which has a little better mid range over the standard version.
After hearing Nuances Songtowers for the first time, I knew what a great midrange sounded like. It was this sound I was hoping for on the new Towers. I cannot say which speaker is better(my audio memory in this regard is not that good), but the Towers provide better mid range and vocal performance over the sierras which I will use as my reference point.

Highs
After first hearing the NrT tweeter on my sierra-1, I was sold. Myself, and a few others I know had always felt the sierra-1 needed a bit more energy and detail up top. I would not call it veiled, but it lacked that sparkle some highly refined tweeters have such as the Be one found in the Paradigm S8’s. The Nrt tweeter is spectacular and closes the gap. I have not heard a ton of soft dome tweets, but this is by far the best one for me to date. Its very airy(sorry to use this term again) and extremely detailed without the negative attributes such as sibilance. Its very snappy if that makes sense. Cymbals and other similar instruments sound much more natural and realistic. The Nrt is far from laid back or veiled, in fact if you prefer that type of sound, you may not like it. I like my highs to be somewhat forward as long as they do not cause any fatigue or harsh sibilance. After hearing live music up close, it always seems the cymbals and etc playing back on my previous speakers could not match the timbre accuracy or “power” of the live performance. With the Towers, I feel like this frequency range is portrayed much more accurately. I will not call them “forward” speakers but rather a very very accurate speaker.
The tracks here that really showed off the Nrt tweeter(and mid woofer) were the acoustic guitar tracks from Nils. This live album was recorded so well. Its unbelievable how realistic the guitar sounds in my room. The intricate plucks, finger sliding, etc is portrayed so well and with so much detail, its very cool. The “Keith don’t go” track is highly recommended if you want to hear some awesome guitar work. Other tracks by Jesse Cook provide some ear candy for highs as well. His work is very unique and it incorporates such a variety of instruments and interesting sound. It really showed off the Towers and their ability to accurately reproduce complex passages. In my mind, I am most critical of a speakers top end as it seems to jump out at me first. Some metal dome tweeters sound too harsh while some soft domes sound veiled. After hearing The Salks Ribbon tweeter, and the Be tweeter form the S8’s, I truly feel the Nrt can hold its own against them.

Conclusion
Overall as you can tell, I am very impressed with the Ascend Towers. They improved upon the two areas I felt the sierras needed work on(mid range & highs). I feel the 3-way design was crucial in improving upon those areas allowing each driver to focus on what its best at. I know 3-way designs often falter due to poor crossover integration among the drivers, but Dave definitely did his homework here and it shows. I would not have the slightest clue on how to “describe” how the proper blending of the drivers sounds, other than I don’t hear it. Simple as that, they sound like one unit, all playing together in harmony☺ If you were to ask me what I like best or what the biggest difference is between it and other speakers such as the sierra-1, I would say the imaging is phenomenal and the detail and accuracy of the mids/highs is very realistic. I wanted to get this review completed before I host a small GTG at my place next weekend. I will be curious to hear others thoughts on them and if they mirror my own impressions.

Thank you guys for sticking with me as I waited for my dream speakers! I feel very privileged to own the first Ascend Tower speakers.

Brandon
post #167 of 1484
Impressive review-thanks for sharing it and congratulations!
post #168 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Comparisons are tough too without A/B switching and then add different rooms....IMO, tough to get useful comparison info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by merrymaid520 View Post

Also you are right, trying to compare speakers on different occasions in different rooms is not easy nor all that accurate.

Curtis and Brandon,

You guys are 100% correct in that comparisons without the speakers in the same room are not the least bit accurate. I should say that opinions can be offered but not accurate comparisons. I should know this, Audio 101.

Bill
post #169 of 1484
Brandon,

Excellent review! Thanks for taking the time to give us that very indepth review of what looks to be another outstanding speaker from Ascend.

Bill
post #170 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

Impressive review-thanks for sharing it and congratulations!

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.
post #171 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

Brandon,

Excellent review! Thanks for taking the time to give us that very indepth review of what looks to be another outstanding speaker from Ascend.

Bill

Thanks Bill! I cant wait for your thoughts on them sometime soon as well!
post #172 of 1484
post #173 of 1484
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Dave posted an update today:

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...7310#post37310

Beat me to it
Looks like I can send in my Crossovers and NrT's right away for the updates I am pumped!
post #174 of 1484
What other finishes will be available?
post #175 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by ser182 View Post

What other finishes will be available?

Dave lists the finishes and preliminary pricing here:

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...&postcount=206
post #176 of 1484
Dave just posted pictures of the different black finishes.

The all look sweet!!

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...&postcount=251
post #177 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by ser182 View Post

What other finishes will be available?

We will be offering:

Dark Cherry with a satin gloss

Espresso with a satin gloss

Natural finish (same as our Sierra-1 natural, which is just natural bamboo with a lacquer)

Matte Black

Satin Black

High Gloss Black

Hand Rubbed Piano Black

Take care!
post #178 of 1484
Will the Cherry/Espresso/Natural finishes on the towers have black bases/pedestal's, or a matching finish? If black, which black?

I'm looking forward to seeing how the center turns out. These look like a great option, I wish they were coming to RMAF this year.
post #179 of 1484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowmanick View Post

Will the Cherry/Espresso/Natural finishes on the towers have black bases/pedestal's, or a matching finish? If black, which black?

I'm looking forward to seeing how the center turns out. These look like a great option, I wish they were coming to RMAF this year.

In order to keep costs at least somewhat reasonable, the bases are made from MDF. For the Cherry, Espresso and Natural finishes, the bases will be black with a satin sheen. Of course, if someone wanted a matte black or piano black base, we would be happy to accommodate the request

Grille frames and the grille cloth is also black.
post #180 of 1484
I like the matte black option for dedicated home theaters. That is some nice catering to a specific application.
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