I know many of you are waiting for some form of response from me regarding some of the comments made.
I am not quite sure what to say only that of the 30+ people who have auditioned the towers thus far (the majority of which were not Ascend or Salk owners), none of the comments we received were even remotely similar to Nuance's and TJHUB's, especially regarding a harsh and echoey midrange. Some of these listeners listened to Brandon's exact speakers as we held them a bit longer than anticipated to accommodate additional auditions.
Based on anechoic measurements, the midrange is certainly not hot - in fact, the anechoic measurements and the in-room measurements taken at this GTG show an extremely well balanced loudspeaker. I will say that in my own experience, I found the midrange to be slightly more forward than the Song Towers (and I personally preferred it that way) but I have not heard the HT2 speakers so I can't comment on them.
There are two important points that I need to stress --- one is that Brandon is extremely happy with his speakers and the second is a quote from TJHUB:
Originally Posted by TJHUB
I really need to preface my following comments regarding the sound of the Ascend Towers vs. my Salk HT2-TL's by stating that my speakers sounded VERY different in Brandon's room. The room plays a major role in that, but I also feel it has to do with the front end electronics. I've spent a lot of time and money getting my Salk's to deliver a sound that I think is as close to perfect as I'll get with my budget. I am VERY happy with my setup.
I struggled listening to my Salk's due the significant difference in sound.
It is very important to understand that what we are used to listening to becomes our own de-facto standard of what sounds right. Never has there been more evidence of this than here - the exact same speakers but in a different room and different electronics - were now hard to listen to in comparison to what Terry is used to listening to, despite what I would consider as impressive in-room measurements from both speakers.
Based on Terry's comments (TJHUB), things did not sound right to him, especially from his own speakers (of which he is most familiar with). Based on some of Terry's other comments, he has gone to great lengths with his speakers, electronics and room to produce a sound that is close to perfect for his very specific tastes. Based on this, I strongly doubt he would prefer any loudspeaker over what he has now and he shouldn't nor should anyone expect him to.
Attached is an in-room measurement of one of Brandon's towers in our listening room (15 feet wide x 21 feet long) taken right before we shipped them. Microphone distance is 2m and mic height is centered between the mid-woofer and tweeter (ear-level for most listeners when seated). The speaker was positioned 3 feet away from the wall behind it.
You will notice that this measurement closely correlates with the in-room measurement taken at the GTG. It is smoothed to 1/6 octave. The two large dips, one at 70Hz and the other being 2 octaves higher are room related.
Second measurement is anechoic, as taken in our production facility also prior to shipping. Mic distance is 1 meter, also centered between the mid-woofer and tweeter. This response is only accurate down to about 250Hz.
Our measurement gear is true reference quality, consisting of a MLSSA 2000 with RCAI & SPO combined with an ACO Pacific 7012 mic. We used a fully calibrated Earthworks M30BX mic for the in-room measurement, a considerably less costly mic that I feel more comfortable with moving around compared to the ACO
I certainly don't want controversy or any form of conflict with Salk owners - those days of forum bickering bring back bad memories. Anyone is always welcome here at our facility to give the towers a listen and to draw their own conclusions and even take measurements. As mentioned, we have had many listening sessions here with many non-owners of either brands. While not publicized (I try hard to shy away from situations that will most certainly result in online controversy,) the results of these sessions were quite different from this particular session. I do not know if Brandon's room or electronics are either good or bad just as I do not know how well our towers will perform in a room and with equipment that, as Terry stated, has been optimized to bring out the best in his HT2's.
My interpretations of the results were that Brandon loves his speakers (my only concern at this point) and that Nuance and TJHUB were not overly impressed with either the Ascend Towers or the HT2's that day
Having said all that, there is something that does concern me slightly -- and that is with the rather significant difference between the measurements of the left Tower and the right Tower in the 40 - 90Hz range and again in the 400-600Hz range as shown here:
This can certainly be due to room acoustics and I suspect that this is indeed the case, but I would ask that Brandon make sure of it and take measurements of both speakers in the exact same position, just to make sure that something in the crossover did not come loose in shipping. Again, I strongly doubt that this is the case but it is something that should be verified. If it is too difficult, I would like to see these same measurements of the HT2's to see if they too exhibit the same difference between the left and right speaker.
Below are the requested measurements.