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Speaker System ?: Ascend, Dynaudio, Focal, Vienna, or ?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I’ve been without a HT system for quite some time and am now back in the market for a new one. I was up-to-date on audio products a decade ago, but haven’t kept up since.

A brief history: I’ve had three previous HT speaker systems: 4 B&W DM302s with matching center and a Velodyne sub powered by a Denon receiver (nice sound, but the center was weak and the system struggled at high volumes), 4 Paradigm Mini Monitors with matching center with the same Velodyne sub and Denon receiver (very nice overall, but a bit bright at times) and 2 bi-amped PSB Stratus Goldis with matching Stratus C6i center and 2 Paradigm Mini Monitor rears with no sub and separates (gorgeous sound with some nice warmth).

This new system will be mostly for HT (I have a separate primary music system) and I’m thinking of going with 5 smaller speakers on stands and an SVS PB12-NSD sub due to the “bang for the buck” factor of small speakers and the SVS. (I haven’t heard the SVS sub, but it gets rave reviews, yet I’m open to other suggestions.) Floor standers are a possibility, albeit arguably superfluous since this will primarily be for HT, and decent floor standers aren’t cheap.

Some information about my current HT room and proposed system: The HT will be along a 10’ wall and face an 18’ long room with 12’ vaulted ceilings. The room is open on one side to another room that is 12’ wide and 18’ long with 8’ ceilings. The rooms have wood floors with some area rugs. Pre/Pro will probably be a Marantz AV7005 (it seems like a good value) and I have two H/K PA5800s for amps, although I’ll most likely only use one if I opt for smaller speakers.

I haven’t listened to any of the following speakers yet, but here are the packages I’m preliminarily considering:

5 Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1s (I assume they sell them individually? They have rave reviews and the quality and value looks impressive, but the small woofer makes me a bit nervous.)

5 Dynaudio Excite X12s (I’ve always liked everything about Dynaudio.)

5 Dynaudio DM 2/7s (The real wood veneers of the Excites would be nice, but the DM 2/7s appear to play louder and have larger woofers.)

4 Focal Chorus 806 Vs and the CC 800 V (It seems the cabinets and crossovers are superior to the 700s.)

4 Focal Chorus 706 Vs and the CC 700 V (I wonder how inferior the 700s actually are for HT.)

4 Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand SEs and the Maestro Grand center (I love the veneers of these speakers, but they are considerably more expensive than the other speakers I’m considering and I question if they’re worth it for home theater.)

I’m interested in your opinions on these speaker packages and am open for suggestions on other speaker packages. I’m a big “identical drivers” fan and I’m only interested in speakers made in the US, Canada, and Europe. My budget is somewhat flexible, but I’m looking for value. Thanks in advance.
Edited by Justin Doring - 11/8/12 at 4:48pm
post #2 of 6
I had the Vienna Grand SE, but found this model a little too laid back with voices and the highs were a bit weak. Switched to Golden Ears Aon 2 (far less expensive) and prefer these even though they are not even broken in yet.
post #3 of 6
No need to worry about the woofer on the Sierra-1's. Might be hard to convince you unless you experience them. You are welcome to come to my place in Manhattan Beach for a listen. Also, Ascend is in San Clemente, so you can head there for a listen as well.

The Dyns, Focals, VAs, and Golden Ears should all be pretty easy to find locally for a listen as well.

Have fun with it, and good luck.
post #4 of 6
I have listened to many speakers, including the ones you mentioned, but I am in love with Vandersteen and Gallo Acoustics speakers.

I have had Vandersteen 3A speakers (which run about $4500/pair) for many years at two homes, one of which I sold at retirement, so one set got traded in on a preamp.

I now have a second home again, which is smaller, and the 16"-wide Vandersteens just would not fit, so I had to look around.

I had the PSB Image T6 speakers for a couple of years, and for $1200 per pair there isn't much that will touch them; very very good.

I now have moved up to the Gallo CL-3 speakers, and they are quite amazing. They come very very close to matching the sound quality of my Vandersteens, and cost less than half the price. You can get them factory direct for only $1700 per pair, which is a steal! They also give you a 60-day absolutely free trial; shipping paid both ways if you return them; pretty hard to pass that up!

I'll tell you what, though; I 'll bet no ever has returned them! They are incredible; especially for the money. they are rather amazing in that they not only are incredibly good-sounding, but also are relatively small and will nonetheless put out the full-volume sound of the orchestra or anything else, with very hi-level bass that cannot be believed for their size.

A pair of CL-1 speakers and the CL-C would make up a 5-channel system, and the total price would be $2800 for the complete system.

I don't know of anything that even comes close for less than $4000.

The July/August 2012 issue of The Absolute Sound has a very informative review of the CL-3
Edited by commsysman - 11/8/12 at 10:50am
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I have listened to many speakers, including the ones you mentioned....
Take this with a grain of salt, as for at least one brand you have listed, it's doubtful he heard them (even claimed he went to the shop, only to prove he didn't know where it was). I would not be surprised if were true for others as well.

That said, the Gallos have an excellent reputation.
Edited by cschang - 11/8/12 at 11:55am
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Doring View Post

Hi all,
I’ve been without a HT system for quite some time and am now back in the market for a new one. I was on the cutting edge of audio products a decade ago, but haven’t kept up since.
A brief history: I’ve had three previous HT speaker systems: 4 B&W DM302s with matching center and a Velodyne sub powered by a Denon receiver (nice sound, but the center was weak and the system struggled at high volumes), 4 Paradigm Mini Monitors with matching center with the same Velodyne sub and Denon receiver (very nice overall, but a bit bright at times) and 2 PSB Stratus Goldis with matching Stratus C6i center and 2 Paradigm Mini Monitor rears with no sub and Sherwood Newcastle and H/K separates (gorgeous sound with some nice warmth).
This new system will be mostly for HT (I have a separate primary music system) and I’m thinking of going with 5 smaller speakers on stands and an SVS PB12-NSD sub due to the “bang for the buck” factor of small speakers and the SVS. (I haven’t heard the SVS sub, but it gets rave reviews, yet I’m open to other suggestions.) Floorstanders are a possibility, albeit arguably superfluous since this will primarily be for HT, and decent floorstanders aren’t cheap.
Some information about my current HT room and proposed system: The HT will be along a 10’ wall and face an 18’ long room with 12’ ceilings. The room is open on one side to another room that is 12’ wide and 18’ long with 8’ ceilings. Pre/Pro will probably be a Marantz AV7005 (it seems like a good value) and I have two H/K PA5800s for amps, although I’ll most likely only use one if I opt for smaller speakers.
I haven’t listened to any of the following speakers yet, but here are the packages I’m preliminarily considering:
5 Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1s (I assume they sell them individually? They have rave reviews and the quality and value looks impressive, but the small woofer makes me a bit nervous.)
5 Dynaudio Excite X12s (I’ve always liked everything about Dynaudio.)
5 Dynaudio DM 2/7s (The real wood veneers of the Excites would be nice, but the DM 2/7s appear to play louder and have larger woofers.)
4 Focal Chorus 806 Vs and the CC 800 V (It seems the cabinets and crossovers are superior to the 700s.)
4 Focal Chorus 706 Vs and the CC 700 V (I wonder how inferior the 700s actually are for HT.)
4 Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand SEs and the Maestro Grand center (I love the veneers of these speakers, but they are considerably more expensive than the other speakers I’m considering and I question if they actually sound better.)
I’m interested in your opinions on these speaker packages and am open for suggestions on other speaker packages. I’m a big “identical drivers for all channels” fan and I’m only interested in speakers made in North America and Europe. My budget is somewhat flexible, but I’m looking for value.

Hi Justin,

I noticed you are in Southern California. We have been giving a lot of demos at our facility lately and I welcome you to come have a listen to our Sierra-1. Send me a private message or an email if you are interested and please don't be concerned about the woofer size of the Sierra-1, I think you would be surprised at just how well it performs smile.gif
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