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Salk Songtower v. Sierra Tower

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
So I am down to these two in setting up a new L/C/R.

Is anyone able to offer pro's/cons for each in a home theater only (ie no music) setup?

thanks in advance,

'Ski
post #2 of 32
I did a fairly exhaustive search and narrowed down my recent upgrade to these two as well. In terms of pros and cons I found plenty of pros but not many cons. What I didn't find was many direct comparisons between the two from proper in-home auditions. The only one I found was from an AVSer who said he had a tough time picking the "better" speaker as both were outstanding, and the major difference was that the Ascend Horizon center was quite a bit better than the Songcenter (to his ears).

Here are a few areas where I found differences between the two brands, which may or may not be important to you (none pertain to SQ):

-availability/lead time for ordering
-cancellation/return policy
-craftsmanship/finish options
-cost for upgrades (RAAL, etc)
-cost for additional surrounds
post #3 of 32
I've heard them both recently. In my humble opinion - I thought the Song Towers were better at soft(er) music and the Ascend Tower was well rounded and good at both HT and Music (especially genre’s with percussion). The Ascends had a bit more edge and hit harder. Ascend has a pretty capable center channel called the Horizon which in my opinion is far better than the small Song-Center. For the center channel alone I would choose the Towers.
Edited by Del Cosmos - 8/4/12 at 7:36pm
post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

I've heard them both recently. In my humble opinion - I thought the Song Towers were better at soft(er) music and the Ascend Tower was well rounded and good at both HT and Music (especially genre’s with percussion). The Ascends had a bit more edge and hit harder. Ascend has a pretty capable center channel called the Horizon which in my opinion is far better than the small Song-Center. For the center channel alone I would choose the Towers.

Dome or Ribbon(RAAL)

I listen to more aggressive rock and love my Sierra Towers...I've also read some of the views from others which try and distinguish them apart by calling the ST as more mellow with softer music and perhaps...why I chose the Ascends. I've gone through a few HT systems in the last 2 yrs and the Ascends I can highly recommend because the Horizon/STC... is simply amazing.smile.gif
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
thanks for the input thus far. I had a chance to demo the songtowers a few days ago - they sounded really, really great, but I found the bass just a little lacking (I plan to run without a sub for a while). That has gotten me interested in the next step up in the Salk Line, the HT1-TL series coupled with a HTC center. Anyone want to offer their take on these two?

I'm hoping to find a places in the twin cities area where I can audition both the Sierra'a and the HT1-TL's, but anyone with any opinions?

any input appreciated -
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

I've heard them both recently. In my humble opinion - I thought the Song Towers were better at soft(er) music and the Ascend Tower was well rounded and good at both HT and Music (especially genre’s with percussion). The Ascends had a bit more edge and hit harder. Ascend has a pretty capable center channel called the Horizon which in my opinion is far better than the small Song-Center. For the center channel alone I would choose the Towers.

Hi,
just wanted to be clear, what did you mean by edge? You mean the Sierra has an edge over the Song or they sounded edgy?

Thanks
post #7 of 32
Both are fantastic speakers so definitely audition both (I see you've already heard the SongTower's). You can find direct comparisons to both in the SE Wisconsin Speaker thread here on AVS.

Happy listening.
post #8 of 32
I think for the same money, the Supercharged Song Towers would be better than the HT1-TL. I recently got a pair, love them so far. With my budget and needs in mind, Jim didn't even mention the HT1-TL. The HT2-TL would be a step up from the SCST, but more expensive and more sensitive to room placement according to Jim. The bass is amazing for 2 6" woofers. I also had him make me up a supercharged CC custom fit to my needs.
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

thanks for the input thus far. I had a chance to demo the songtowers a few days ago - they sounded really, really great, but I found the bass just a little lacking (I plan to run without a sub for a while). That has gotten me interested in the next step up in the Salk Line, the HT1-TL series coupled with a HTC center. Anyone want to offer their take on these two?
I'm hoping to find a places in the twin cities area where I can audition both the Sierra'a and the HT1-TL's, but anyone with any opinions?
any input appreciated -

Since you say this is for HT only why would consider running without a sub?

Personally, I wouldn't consider an HT-only system without a sub; even if it means reducing your LCR budget, it will be a way better HT experience.

I think you would be better of with Song Surround IIs and a Salk/Rythmik sub.
post #10 of 32
I heard the Dome Version. I'm not saying they sound edgy, but a tad crisp. Perhaps it's the typical Dome sound that I'm acustomed to. Either way they just seemed to do better with modern music/movies. Just my .02, which isnt worth much
Edited by Del Cosmos - 8/10/12 at 9:47am
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
@ rick: I have a SVS pc12-nsd right now, but the wife has mandated its removal due to the water heater like shape. She's ok with box subs though. I think when funds re-accumualte I'll buy a box sub (ie 6-12 months) but in the interim wanted to try to "get by" with towers.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

@ rick: I have a SVS pc12-nsd right now, but the wife has mandated its removal due to the water heater like shape. She's ok with box subs though. I think when funds re-accumualte I'll buy a box sub (ie 6-12 months) but in the interim wanted to try to "get by" with towers.

Again, for HT-only you would be better with SSIIs and a sub than with ST or HT1-TL.

cost A: $2000 for ST, $3500 for HT1-TL

cost B: SSII $1500 + S/R12 $1300, total $2800; $800 more than ST but $700 less than HT1-TL

cost C; ST $2000 + S/R12 $1300, total $3300; $200 less than HT1-TL

Would your wife let you keep the water heater until you can afford a Salk/Rythmik 12 with veneer matching your STs?
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
I forgot to mention, one of the reasons this round of upgrading is happening is that as we're moving to a new house, my wife REALLY wanted to be done with bookshelves on stands (she likes the looks of towers much better).

Hence, she's allowed me to upgrade stuff (a bonus) with the limitations that the water heater has to go, and I gotta do in-walls for the surrounds (am hoping to re-address this point later)

She's a neurosurgeon, so a bit of a perfectionist.

edited to add: another reason I was focusing more on the HT1-Tl rather than the song series is that dialogue clarity is one of the biggest things we're looking for, and to that end I assumed that the HTC/HTC2 center will out perform the song center. Which is also why I really want to find a way to audition the Sierra's - the forum's seem to indicate the Horizon center is amazing.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

I forgot to mention, one of the reasons this round of upgrading is happening is that as we're moving to a new house, my wife REALLY wanted to be done with bookshelves on stands (she likes the looks of towers much better).
Hence, she's allowed me to upgrade stuff (a bonus) with the limitations that the water heater has to go, and I gotta do in-walls for the surrounds (am hoping to re-address this point later)
She's a neurosurgeon, so a bit of a perfectionist.

Sounds like great reasoning for STs and a S/R12 smile.gif
Quote:
edited to add: another reason I was focusing more on the HT1-Tl rather than the song series is that dialogue clarity is one of the biggest things we're looking for, and to that end I assumed that the HTC/HTC2 center will out perform the song center. Which is also why I really want to find a way to audition the Sierra's - the forum's seem to indicate the Horizon center is amazing.

I wouldn't make that assumption, talk to Jim. In the smaller size box the 15s in the SC may actually be happier than the 18s in the HTC.

And if you think you could financially swing HT1-TLs and an HTC then for less money get ST and SC with Raal upgrade and a S/R15 or 2 S/R12s smile.gifsmile.gif

Never heard the Ascends, so I can't comment other than there should are reviewed well here. I just find Jim's cabinetry amazing - and if your wife is a perfectionist she would love the ST/SC/S-R12 combo.
post #15 of 32
I second that comment about the cabinet work on Jim's stuff. He found me an unusual veneer to make my L/Rs, they came out looking great. I had him do the CC in a matte black, again great cabinet work.
post #16 of 32
Ascend will do custom work....if you're seeking something different, outta the norm or unique in style? Fwiw...Salk charges $$ for bamboo construction!

Again YMMV....Bill
post #17 of 32
I've been in the market for a lcr as well...for months. Still can't decide on SHO-10s, JTR Triple 8s, or the Sierra Towers with the ribbons. Looking for clarity and detail. I know the Sierras could give me that but are they THAT much worth it over the others?
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 357 View Post

I've been in the market for a lcr as well...for months. Still can't decide on SHO-10s, JTR Triple 8s, or the Sierra Towers with the ribbons. Looking for clarity and detail. I know the Sierras could give me that but are they THAT much worth it over the others?
That is a tough question, because any kind of a value judgement is subjective.

Such as audio preferences themselves are subjective.
post #19 of 32
So what did you end up with ??
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy p View Post

Ascend will do custom work....if you're seeking something different, outta the norm or unique in style? Fwiw...Salk charges $$ for bamboo construction!

Again YMMV....Bill

Hi Billy,
Ascend will charge you extra for custom work just as Jim would, but Jim does seems much justifieable and reasonable for some of his work because he has a team of craftman. Also, If you wanted to wrap a veneer on the bamboo sierra, you will not get a freebie on that. You also wouldnt get a price cut if you wanted MFD cabinet. Just my little perspective.
post #21 of 32
Not a bad choice to be made out of these two, when I upgrade to towers I'll be torn between these two, love the little things on the Salks like the metal name plate really makes them look cool and I like the base plate better. One reason I really like the Salks is that their more of a custom made speaker and made by craftsman, I believe Ascends are made offshore and assembled by a craftsman in USA.

Seeing how they use the same RAAL tweeter, what's the difference between the woofers between the SalkSong Towers and Asecend Sierra Towers? does the midrange woofer make a big/noticeable difference?

Edit: Ascend towers are made in the US and not offshored.
Edited by Ryder125 - 4/9/13 at 2:39pm
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofthecrate View Post

So what did you end up with ??

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449732/review-selah-audio-center-for-salk-songtowers



Quote:
Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

Hi Billy,
Ascend will charge you extra for custom work just as Jim would, but Jim does seems much justifieable and reasonable for some of his work because he has a team of craftman. Also, If you wanted to wrap a veneer on the bamboo sierra, you will not get a freebie on that. You also wouldnt get a price cut if you wanted MFD cabinet. Just my little perspective.

Yup...custom work comes at premium...no matter who it is. I personally don't care for all those burled veneer or fancy finishes...I like a more traditional looking speaker in a solid stain or colour and I would never dream of putting veneer overtop bamboo because the bamboo is the veneer. And that is my perspective....wink.gif
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

I forgot to mention, one of the reasons this round of upgrading is happening is that as we're moving to a new house, my wife REALLY wanted to be done with bookshelves on stands (she likes the looks of towers much better).

Hence, she's allowed me to upgrade stuff (a bonus) with the limitations that the water heater has to go, and I gotta do in-walls for the surrounds (am hoping to re-address this point later)

She's a neurosurgeon, so a bit of a perfectionist.

edited to add: another reason I was focusing more on the HT1-Tl rather than the song series is that dialogue clarity is one of the biggest things we're looking for, and to that end I assumed that the HTC/HTC2 center will out perform the song center. Which is also why I really want to find a way to audition the Sierra's - the forum's seem to indicate the Horizon center is amazing.

I have the supercharged songtower. If you are looking for clarity it has clarity. Jim can make a supercharged song center as well. It also uses w15s the ht1 the w18s. I have not heard the sierra's, but for a while it was on my short list as well.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

I have the supercharged songtower. If you are looking for clarity it has clarity. Jim can make a supercharged song center as well. It also uses w15s the ht1 the w18s. I have not heard the sierra's, but for a while it was on my short list as well.

The OP decided on a custom CC he had built by Rick @ Selah Audio...this thread was kick started the other night...the link I attached above provided that info.smile.gif There link below has a picture of the finished product..

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449732/review-selah-audio-center-for-salk-songtowers#post_22891926
post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
I ended up with the Songtowers. I never got a chance to listen o the Ascends; I decided to take the approach that whatever popped up on the used market first I would take - those were the Salks.

As Billy_p pointed out, I got a custom Selah center made. I also picked up a Hsu VTF-15H.

I love this setup for movies, and also find myself listening to a lot more 2 channel music as well.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

I ended up with the Songtowers. I never got a chance to listen o the Ascends; I decided to take the approach that whatever popped up on the used market first I would take - those were the Salks.

As Billy_p pointed out, I got a custom Selah center made. I also picked up a Hsu VTF-15H.

I love this setup for movies, and also find myself listening to a lot more 2 channel music as well.

Awesome! Sounds like you are happy with the outcome, which is the big battle in this hobby......being satisfied with what you have.

In my mind, the fact that there are so few Ascend speakers on the used market speaks volumes to the number of satisfied owners.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhuski View Post

I ended up with the Songtowers. I never got a chance to listen o the Ascends; I decided to take the approach that whatever popped up on the used market first I would take - those were the Salks.

As Billy_p pointed out, I got a custom Selah center made. I also picked up a Hsu VTF-15H.

I love this setup for movies, and also find myself listening to a lot more 2 channel music as well.

Congrats - enjoy the new speakers!

FWIW, after I upgraded my HT speakers I also started listening to music more again wink.gif
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

Not a bad choice to be made out of these two, when I upgrade to towers I'll be torn between these two, love the little things on the Salks like the metal name plate really makes them look cool and I like the base plate better. One reason I really like the Salks is that their more of a custom made speaker and made by craftsman, I believe Ascends are made offshore and assembled by a craftsman in USA.

Just a minor but necessary correction,

Aside from our Piano Black Sierra Tower cabinet, all other Sierra Tower cabinets are fully manufactured in the US and are hand assembled by some of the finest and well known cabinet craftsmen in the industry with 35+ years of experience. In fact, these same craftsmen build the cabinets for some of the most renowned and expensive ($30K+) loudspeakers available smile.gif Only our piano black versions come from overseas and is the only reason we can offer them at their current retail price. We also offer a US made piano black but like Salk, it comes at a steep premium as it is simply not possible to offer an affordable US made piano black finish.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascend View Post

Just a minor but necessary correction,

Aside from our Piano Black Sierra Tower cabinet, all other Sierra Tower cabinets are fully manufactured in the US and are hand assembled by some of the finest and well known cabinet craftsmen in the industry with 35+ years of experience. In fact, these same craftsmen build the cabinets for some of the most renowned and expensive ($30K+) loudspeakers available smile.gif Only our piano black versions come from overseas and is the only reason we can offer them at their current retail price. We also offer a US made piano black but like Salk, it comes at a steep premium as it is simply not possible to offer an affordable US made piano black finish.


Interesting because I inquired about the piano black with the center to match but you told me about the price increase. Might be able to get the WAF involved in a grain black or some other sort.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascend View Post

Just a minor but necessary correction,

Aside from our Piano Black Sierra Tower cabinet, all other Sierra Tower cabinets are fully manufactured in the US and are hand assembled by some of the finest and well known cabinet craftsmen in the industry with 35+ years of experience. In fact, these same craftsmen build the cabinets for some of the most renowned and expensive ($30K+) loudspeakers available smile.gif Only our piano black versions come from overseas and is the only reason we can offer them at their current retail price. We also offer a US made piano black but like Salk, it comes at a steep premium as it is simply not possible to offer an affordable US made piano black finish.

Nice! I didn't know that, good to hear! I thought that's how you got the bamboo Cabients under the $2000 mark. Are the Sierra-1 made in the US as well?
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