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Speakers for HT and music, 4000 budget - Page 2

post #31 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by holt7153 View Post

What's next on your audition schedule?

Given how much I enjoyed the Ascend w/ RAALs, I'm interested in trying out some others with ribbon tweeters. DALI Ikon 6/7 and maybe Mentor 5 (its above my budget, but if I love them, I'll wait til I see a used set). And of course Salk SongTowers!
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

During your auditions, any EQ or processing going on? Mid-bass can be pretty room dependent too.

Are you saying that proper eqing will help to tighten up slop, or that it can induce slop?

For the Ascends, I listened both with and without Audyssey MultEQ turned on, and I heard the same effect with that Chopin piece. But that isn't to say that Audyssey necessarily was correcting properly for any modes that might have existed in the guy's livingroom where I was doing the listening. The livingroom was large and was obviously used for activities other than listening to music. The speakers were placed fairly close to the wall, closer I suspect than Ascend recommends. There were no wall treatments.

For the Dynaudios, I'm sure they were EQed. The salesrep in the store I went to had me wait outside his demo room for 10-15 minutes while he mucked around with the speakers while playing music. When he finally let me enter, the speakers were placed several feet into the room, and the chair where I was to sit was directly centered, about 7 ft from the speakers and about 4 ft from the back wall. I also noticed room had several treatments. So the Dynaudios clearly had the benefit of a better acoustical environment (and possibly better eqing).
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post

Are you saying that proper eqing will help to tighten up slop, or that it can induce slop?
For the Ascends, I listened both with and without Audyssey MultEQ turned on, and I heard the same effect with that Chopin piece. But that isn't to say that Audyssey necessarily was correcting properly for any modes that might have existed in the guy's livingroom where I was doing the listening. The livingroom was large and was obviously used for activities other than listening to music. The speakers were placed fairly close to the wall, closer I suspect than Ascend recommends. There were no wall treatments.
For the Dynaudios, I'm sure they were EQed. The salesrep in the store I went to had me wait outside his demo room for 10-15 minutes while he mucked around with the speakers while playing music. When he finally let me enter, the speakers were placed several feet into the room, and the chair where I was to sit was directly centered, about 7 ft from the speakers and about 4 ft from the back wall. I also noticed room had several treatments. So the Dynaudios clearly had the benefit of a better acoustical environment (and possibly better eqing).
I am just saying the environment and EQ can do good and bad things.

None the less....glad you look like you are having a good time auditioning.
post #33 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I am just saying the environment and EQ can do good and bad things.
None the less....glad you look like you are having a good time auditioning.

Yes I am smile.gif
post #34 of 43
Thread Starter 
So, for anyone still interested, I've got it narrowed down to Ascend S. Towers w/ Raal and DALI Mentor 6s (which also have ribbon tweets). I enjoyed the DALIs every bit as much as the Ascends. They made a piano sound as life-like as I've ever heard. They also had a truly amazing ability to image. On my Chopin test track, I could actually here the sound move slightly right and left as the piano ran through scales.

I need to reread my Ascend listening notes and try to get back to the place where I was when I heard them. It's too bad I couldn't A/B them directly. I know the Ascends are significantly less expensive, and that may end up being the deciding factor if, after rereading my notes, I feel like its a coin toss.

Incidentally, in the same listening session as the DALIs I also heard KEF R500s. They are obviously very good speakers too, but they sounded a bit edgier (probably because of the dome tweets). I also felt like the piano tones were flatter. Complex chords (eg Dave Brubeck) seemed seemed less articulate (relative to the DALIs). That said, I wouldn't dissuade anyone from trying these speakers. Like the Dynaudios, they had a sound that would probably appeal to a certain type of listener, just not me.

Thanks too everyone for the suggestions. I'll post again once I've made up my mind.
post #35 of 43
have you heard the ascends without raals?
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post

Today I heard Dynaudio Excite X36s. On the plus side, they differentiated instrumentation (e.g. picked out the the keys and guitar in Stevie Wonder's "I Wish", differentiated cello from male vocal in Mozart's Requiem "Confutatis maledictis" chorus) extraordinarily well. Midbass was the opposite of muddy. In that vein, they were superior to the Ascends playing Chopin's Etude #1. But they lacked the energy that I've grown accustomed to with my Def Techs and that the Ascends also possessed. They had a much more of a clinical sound, not very suitable for rocking out except on tracks that have been 'over mixed' (kind of ironic, given their name). As for the highs, they couldn't come close to the Ascends w/ RAAL, e.g. the life-like piano sparkle.
While I really liked the Dynaudio's mid-bass, overall I don't think they are what I want. But I can clearly see why Dynaudio has a great reputation. For some people, these might be perfect.
as a dynaudio owner... Im not big on the X36s, they sound a little flat to me. Although a little outside your budget the Focus 260s would probably be more your flavor. Even the 160s might be worth the audition.

Ive heard the Mentors as well, they are a very nice speaker. cant say anything about the ascends tho.
post #37 of 43
Since you are buying a center channel also, I am curious about the Ascend Horizon versus Salk SongCenter comparison.

Is this factoring into your decision?

These two speaker lines are now at the top of my list. Curious to see what you decide.
post #38 of 43
I'm in a similar boat, and I live in Los Gatos, so I'm glad that I came upon your thread. Were you able to listen to the Salks? My current considerations are Ascend, Salk, and Philharmonic.
post #39 of 43
All good for audition:

Salk
Philharmonic
Ascend
Revel
KEF
PSB
Focal
Dynaudio
NHT
TAD 2201 ($1691/pr, MSRP $3,000) - all the other TAD speakers are way too expensive $30,000 - $80,000/pr. biggrin.gif

Some stores local & Internet will allow 30 day return policy.

BTW, I think your NHT 200wpc amp is all you will ever need (unless it breaks). It will sound as good as any amp out there. The biggest difference will be the speakers, processor setup (RC vs Direct mode), speaker placement; amps will not differ significantly at all.
post #40 of 43
I really think you should seriously consider Klipsch Reference. The Rf-82 ii system is simply breathtaking.

http://www.klipsch.com/rf-82-ii-home-theater-system
post #41 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

All good for audition:

BTW, I think your NHT 200wpc amp is all you will ever need (unless it breaks). It will sound as good as any amp out there. The biggest difference will be the speakers, processor setup (RC vs Direct mode), speaker placement; amps will not differ significantly at all.
What if he ends up with very inefficient speakers? You don't know that his amp is all the amp he'll ever need. Transient peaks can cause power spikes well over 200 watts. The more power the better, especially for inefficient speakers in large rooms and when the LP is a decent distance from the speakers.

Nice speaker recommendations by the way; all are good choices IMO.

P.S. You're probably right about the amp, but best not to state an opinion so factually.
post #42 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hi folks, sorry I've been AWOL for the better part of a month. Finished and submitted my dissertation, which I discovered is only possible if you lock yourself in a room WITHOUT an audio system smile.gif

There are a lot of comments above that look informative, including several suggestions of other speakers to consider. Since my move to the east coast is coming up in 10 days, I'm going to drag this process out a little longer.

Re Salks, yes, the center channel is factoring into my decision. But so far I'm going off of others reviews only, and far be it for me to rule them out because others say the Ascend center is better. If I find someone willing to give me an audition, I'll give them a fair shake.

Re Dynaudios, I'll try out the focus line. They may exceed my budget new, but if I love them, I'll wait til I find a good used set.

Thanks again to everyone who is posting. If I don't respond immediately, don't take that as a sign that I've lost interest. I plan to try as many of the speakers as you suggest as possible, in my home where possible. And I'll probably give the Ascends a 2nd try. Looking over my listening notes, I reacted more positively to the Dalis than to the Ascends, but a month passed between the auditions, and who knows how the stress associated with writing my thesis was affecting me.

Finally, I'm glad to hear your opinions that my NHT amp is capable of driving any of the speakers under discussion.
post #43 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder240 View Post

Re Salks, yes, the center channel is factoring into my decision. But so far I'm going off of others reviews only, and far be it for me to rule them out because others say the Ascend center is better. If I find someone willing to give me an audition, I'll give them a fair shake.
Jim is usually happy to setup people looking to audition with owners willing to let people come listen.

There is also a return policy on standard finishes.
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