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Need stereo speakers to complement Orbit Shifter sub

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I have an Orbit Shifter on the way soon, and I need to find a stereo pair of speakers to complement it for 2.1 audio. Right now I'm looking at Ascend Sierra Ribbon Towers. I hear the Salks compete with them, but from what I understand the Sierras have more drivers for a wider frequency range. It seems Philharmonics compete with these too.

Let me know your thoughts on what I should look at.

Another thing is that I run all my audio out of a computer with an RME soundcard with 1/4" TRS outputs, so I can also consider active speakers. I do have an old Carver amp that I got at a garage sale that I could use to begin with. SSPs are expensive, but amps included with active speakers will increase the price too. Thoughts on which is preferable?

I have a PS3 that I could use for a Blu Ray player if I ever want to do 5.1 in the future, and that would require an SSP, but I could also buy a Blu Ray computer drive and (hopefully) do the processing in software and run all the audio out of the soundcard, which has 8 outs.
post #2 of 25
This monster http://jtrspeakers.com/portable/orbit-shifter/?

The sub runs up to 120 Hz, so you'll be able to integrate basically anything (almost all speakers are capable of going low enough to crossover with that sub). I wouldn't worry about frequency range. Everything you are considering will play well below 80Hz, and the sub will pick up everything from 80Hz down.

The only thing you might want to consider is SPL. Your sub will do 139db. Do you have an environment where you will be running it that loud? If so, matching is a matter of finding speakers which can get that loud; and those are a relative rarity. You'd be looking at "High Sensitivity" speakers. Mostly pro-gear. It won't be any of the three brands you just listed.

If matching 130db is not the concern: I cannot speak positively enough about the Salk line. They are some of the best I have ever heard. I have not heard the Philharmonics personally, but I have heard very positive things about them from people who seem to share many of my tastes.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jerry,

I won't be running it that loud for now, although I do like bass heavy electronic music at club levels. I will have a larger room in the future though.

Have you compared the Salks and the Ascends, and if so what did you prefer about the Salks? From what I've read it seems they're similar and they use the same RAAL tweeter. In the threads I've read people like the Ascends better, but maybe it is due to the wider frequency range which would be taken care of by the sub.
post #4 of 25
I'm afraid I don't have experience with the Ascend speaker line. I am aware of them, but have not had the opportunity to audition.

I have extensive listening experience in general, and was so impressed with the Salk SCST's and SS8's when I got to hear them recently at a GTG that I bought the SCST's that Jim had brought with him (would have gotten the SS8 had I had the funds). They were truly impressive speakers. I cannot recommend them enough (again with the caveat that, while loud, you will not get nearly 139db out of them)

I've been told that Jim Salk will allow returns (read: will let audition) speakers using standard veneers (Custom veneers are non-returnable: but used Salks are selling 75%-100% of new). I assume Ascend also has an audition policy; so if you are willing to eat shipping on the one you decide to send back, you could try both. (also: Jim is a custom builder and you could discuss a high-volume speaker build with him if that interested you).
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jerry,

I spoke with Jim and someone from Ascend. Jim was very cool and very knowledgeable. He told me that high sensitivity speakers don't sound as good, I guess particularly in my price range, so I think I'll skip those. I have some old Klipsh speakers, and I can see what he means going by that horn sound.

At this point I'm leaning towards Ascend. There are some comparisons between the two company's products here: http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?t=5090 Granted it is at the Ascend forum, but the reviewer who directly compared the two wasn't an owner at the time of review.

I would like to audition before purchasing though. I live in the SF bay area if anybody has Salks or Ascends they're willing to let me audition.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

I would like to audition before purchasing though. I live in the SF bay area if anybody has Salks or Ascends they're willing to let me audition.
I would be best to post this in the individual Salk and Ascend threads, and Ascend's forum. Both brands have owners in the SF Bay area.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that tip. I also just stumbled upon some reviews for Tekton Pendragons. Anybody heard those? The reviews I'm reading make them seem incredible.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

Hi,
I have an Orbit Shifter on the way soon, and I need to find a stereo pair of speakers to complement it for 2.1 audio. Right now I'm looking at Ascend Sierra Ribbon Towers. I hear the Salks compete with them, but from what I understand the Sierras have more drivers for a wider frequency range. It seems Philharmonics compete with these too.
Let me know your thoughts on what I should look at.
Another thing is that I run all my audio out of a computer with an RME soundcard with 1/4" TRS outputs, so I can also consider active speakers. I do have an old Carver amp that I got at a garage sale that I could use to begin with. SSPs are expensive, but amps included with active speakers will increase the price too. Thoughts on which is preferable?
I have a PS3 that I could use for a Blu Ray player if I ever want to do 5.1 in the future, and that would require an SSP, but I could also buy a Blu Ray computer drive and (hopefully) do the processing in software and run all the audio out of the soundcard, which has 8 outs.

You bought one of the thumpinest (new word?) subs out there and you're looking at Ascends, Salks, and Philharmonics? Why don't you stay with the same company and go with another JTR? -- the Noesis


Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. 
...although I do like bass heavy electronic music at club levels

Perfect!!! biggrin.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. 
...He told me that high sensitivity speakers don't sound as good...

You owe it to yourself to hear these if you believe that! These things will almost certainly destroy any pre-conceived notions you may have had about a 'horn' speaker. If you check out the JTR thread, there is a guy named RMK! that has Noesis and I am pretty sure he's from the Bay Area; I know he's demo'd these and previous JTR speakers to other guys before.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi Aaron, thanks for the suggestion. I thought I read somewhere that the Noesis lost in a shootout, but I haven't found the thread yet. What I did find though were a bunch of people that loved the Noesis, particularly for its ability to get loud without strain....and it's also supposed to be clean and detailed etc.

RMK actually did PM me, so I will take him up on his offer. It's a drive for me, but I should check out these speakers since I may want to buy them. I didn't realize that he had the Noesis. I knew he had Orbit Shifters.

Have you heard the Noesis, and some of the models I mentioned that use the RAAL ribbon tweeter? Regardless of sensitivity, I'm wondering what the difference would be for things like clarity and detail in music. Jim Salk said that in his opinion that RAAL was the best tweeter in the world.

I also found another model that's supposed to be very good that uses it: the Vapor Cirrus. Very expensive for a speaker that size, but it's supposed to be extremely good and can fill a space despite the size.

And as I mentioned I'm also curious about the Tekton Pendragon (maybe the new SE model in particular). The Pendragon is a high sensitivity speaker and seems to be getting rave reviews.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

Have you heard the Noesis, and some of the models I mentioned that use the RAAL ribbon tweeter? Regardless of sensitivity, I'm wondering what the difference would be for things like clarity and detail in music. Jim Salk said that in his opinion that RAAL was the best tweeter in the world.

Not just Jim. Look at PhilHarmonic, Sierra, etc. It's a very highly respected tweeter.

But that doesn't really tell you which speaker will be the best set of compromises for you. If possible: listen to as many as you can.
post #11 of 25
David, can't say I've read about the Noesis 'losing' in a speaker shootout. Like you, most of what I have been reading is about how nearly everybody that hears them loves them. I haven't personally heard them, but I do own BMS 4590 and 4592 coax compression drivers (the 4593's big brothers) and know what they can do. I have not had a chance to hear the RAAL either, but do believe it is a special piece from what I have seen. Many believe a ribbon to have a little too much 'sparkle' on the top; many crave that 'sparkle'. I like ribbons myself and have Magnepan 3.6R's and Carver Amazings for dedicated 2-channel listening (also have Martin Logan CLS electrostats). There are aspects of ribbons and compression drivers that I like, it just depends on what is being played.

I will say that a high-efficiency speaker like the Noesis has dynamics in spades. I've been listening to a pair of Yorkville U15 Unity speakers (Tom Danley patented design licensed to Yorkville) for the last month or so...I bought them for LCR in my HT room, but they do quite well for music as well and with their 98 dB sensitivity can really get down and boogie when you want to do so. I like many different types of music, but find myself mostly listening to electronic stuff and these things are superb for that genre. The Unity's are being used in a system that is normally anchored by a pair of LS-6 line arrays (8 6.5" XBL long throw woofers and 8 BG Neo 8 planars)...these I really like for music -- smile.gif -- they do everything quite well really.

I live in a somewhat remote area of the country and haven't had a chance to hear as many speakers as I would like -- if I want to hear it, I either have to fly to do so or just buy it for myself. smile.gif

Another positive with a high-efficiency speaker is that you will find you can get by with much less amplifier than less efficient speakers. The first couple of days I had my Unitys they sat in my dining room being powered by a 20 wpc Denon mini-system and could get silly loud. smile.gif

I think it's great that you are going to give the Noesis a listen.
post #12 of 25
BTW: The Ascends he originally asked about are $2800/pr.
The Salk's he's considering are $2000/pr - $3500/pr depending on which version.

The 212HT is $4400/pr

Assuming all sensitivities are "in room": the JTR has a 9db advantage at a given power. Certainly its top end is *much* higher.
I can make no comment on sound quality. I'd love to hear it against (say) the Salks when level matched.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys,

Aaron, is there anything else you think I should add to my list?

I think I might have been wrong about the Noesis. I realized they just came out at the beginning of October. It might have been something else I was thinking of, but I can't remember right now.

I'd be willing to spend $4400 if that's what I need to do, and I'd see if Jeff can give me a package discount. He was very cool and did something for me on the OS.

And yeah, as Jerry said, I'd like to compare them to the other best speakers in my price range when level matched...and I will have to listen to as many as I can, and choose the ones that will be best for my needs. Maybe I can find something ideal that will allow me to have the cake and eat it too.

Edit: I don't feel so concerned about high sensitivity and the ability to use low power amps, unless I'd want to go the tube route or something. I'm not sure of that yet, but what I do want is amazing clarity and detail with no harshness or fatigue, and the ability to get as loud as I need with no distortion.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok, so thanks to Rob I auditioned the Noesis yesterday. I feel pretty positively about the speakers, although I haven't listened to any others. My sense was that there was a lot of detail and accuracy without them being harsh. I think they can also get as loud as I'd ever want for home theater use without any apparent distortion.

It looks like one thing I need to consider is the usable output, especially for home theater, but also for listening to bass heavy music at club levels. The Noesis is rated at 134 dBs in terms of the usable output. I should listen to at least a few others, but do you think I can discard some based on their "usable output" specs? Rob said he used to have $16,000 Revels, and when watching movies they'd end up distorting when pushed too hard.

A few others that were recommended to me are Selah Tempesta, Zu Omen Def (some people like the one with all the upgrades more than the Pendragon. I think they're very similar.), and Dali Mentor 6.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Noesis tomorrow! I can't find anything that competes with them...except for the Seaton Catalysts I guess, but those would be more than I'd want to spend.
post #16 of 25
You had PM'd me about these over at AudioCircle. Congratulation! I think you will really like the Noesis.

Michael
post #17 of 25
Hi David,

Got your PM and based upon the demo and your description of how you will be using the speakers, I'm comfortable that you will be happy with your choice.cool.gif

There are lot's of options and opinions and that can make the purchase decision difficult. For years I was looking for speakers that did everything well and that justified my speaker switching and the associated expense. It seemed that the quest for just the right sound would never end but it did with the purchase of the JTR Triple 12's.

When I "upgraded" from the T12's to the Noesis, it wasn't due to any dissatisfaction with the T12's but was simply curiosity about the better performance the upgraded CD/Horn might offer. For me, the differences are not huge and I would have been happy staying with the T12's but now that I am here, I don't regret the upgrade decision one bit. For me it is the cost of the hobby but at least this time, it wasn't due to feeling like I was not getting what I needed from the speakers. Make sense? smile.gif
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi Michael and Rob,

Thanks a lot for helping me with my quest! I think I'll be very happy too!

I spoke with Jeff today, and I got my CC limit increased. I'll probably call him later today and place the order.

Rob, yeah, your decision path makes good sense. I spoke with a Zu Superfly owner (supposedly those are similar to Omen Defs) and his opinion was that Zus weren't the best for home theater, although they can be good for music once you pair them up with the right equipment.

Someone else at Audiogon said this, "I'm not sure why you were told the Zus would not be good for a home theater (perhaps the Superflys would not, I have not heard them in a theater setting). But I had a pair of Omen Defs that was used for both 2 channel and a home theater setup and they were excellent. I also owned the Tekton Pendragons and they also would work for both very well. I ultimately chose the Omen Defs as I liked their midrange presentation better, but either of those speakers would work very well in a home theater."

I think the Noesis would likely be better though, at least for home theater. Even if I was able to listen to the Superflys, it wouldn't be too loud because the owner lives in a townhome and had to disconnect his sub.

I should probably just go through with the Noesis purchase. They're all I've heard, but based on my research they still seem at the top of the heap for my needs! I'm thinking about Archaea's review of the gunfire scene from Open Range, and how the Noesis blew everyone away with the dynamics. It doesn't seem like the Zus could do the same thing, although I could be wrong.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

Hi Michael and Rob,

Thanks a lot for helping me with my quest! I think I'll be very happy too!

I spoke with Jeff today, and I got my CC limit increased. I'll probably call him later today and place the order.

Rob, yeah, your decision path makes good sense. I spoke with a Zu Superfly owner (supposedly those are similar to Omen Defs) and his opinion was that Zus weren't the best for home theater, although they can be good for music once you pair them up with the right equipment.

Someone else at Audiogon said this, "I'm not sure why you were told the Zus would not be good for a home theater (perhaps the Superflys would not, I have not heard them in a theater setting). But I had a pair of Omen Defs that was used for both 2 channel and a home theater setup and they were excellent. I also owned the Tekton Pendragons and they also would work for both very well. I ultimately chose the Omen Defs as I liked their midrange presentation better, but either of those speakers would work very well in a home theater."

I think the Noesis would likely be better though, at least for home theater. Even if I was able to listen to the Superflys, it wouldn't be too loud because the owner lives in a townhome and had to disconnect his sub.

I should probably just go through with the Noesis purchase. They're all I've heard, but based on my research they still seem at the top of the heap for my needs! I'm thinking about Archaea's review of the gunfire scene from Open Range, and how the Noesis blew everyone away with the dynamics. It doesn't seem like the Zus could do the same thing, although I could be wrong.

You're welcome David. smile.gif

Yes the Noesis do an amazing job with gun shots and explosions but music is another area where they excel. I watched Les Miserables last night and the music was incredibly beautiful. We had a full house (unusual for a weeknight) and everyone commented on how fantastic the speakers sounded. I don't really need that external validation but it is nice to hear anyway.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well, I got off the phone with Jeff earlier and purchased two 212HTs. I'm going to have them sideways since they need to fit under my projector screen, so he's rotating the horn, but if I ever stand them up all I have to do is remove a few screws.

Now I need to find an amp, some in-line crossovers, and maybe some speaker wire (I have some, but it's probably not too great). Let me know if you have any suggestions. I might go used on the amp, since you can find great deals, but I'd be open to spending a little more to get the right gear.

Rob, yeah, you're right. They excel at EVERYTHING! I can't wait to listen to something really LOUD!!!!!!!! (but not "too" loud ;P)
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

Well, I got off the phone with Jeff earlier and purchased two 212HTs. I'm going to have them sideways since they need to fit under my projector screen, so he's rotating the horn, but if I ever stand them up all I have to do is remove a few screws.

Now I need to find an amp, some in-line crossovers, and maybe some speaker wire (I have some, but it's probably not too great). Let me know if you have any suggestions. I might go used on the amp, since you can find great deals, but I'd be open to spending a little more to get the right gear.

Rob, yeah, you're right. They excel at EVERYTHING! I can't wait to listen to something really LOUD!!!!!!!! (but not "too" loud ;P)

Can't really help you out with the in-line crossovers but I have some nice speaker cables and if they will work for you (I think they are 8') you're welcome to them. They are left over from my Revel days. Let me know and I'll bring them down when I come down to the company HQ in Sunnyvale.

Re an amp, used is a good call ... or if you want new, one of these would be economical. They don't need a lot of power ...biggrin.gif
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Rob, thanks! I really appreciate your generosity! Are the cables you mention speaker wires that go from the amp to the speakers, or something like RCA cables that go from the audio source to the amp? I'll have to get some 50 foot audio cables from Monoprice.

Haha, I love that video. I saw it awhile ago and Archaea mentioned it to me the other day since it's his video. I especially like the cat chilling up top.

Seriously, I might get one of those T-amps. Reference levels for $25 is a price that can't be beat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to make sure I get the best amp(s) for the money too, so maybe that can tide me over till I find the right solution!
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by David H. View Post

Rob, thanks! I really appreciate your generosity! Are the cables you mention speaker wires that go from the amp to the speakers, or something like RCA cables that go from the audio source to the amp? I'll have to get some 50 foot audio cables from Monoprice.

Haha, I love that video. I saw it awhile ago and Archaea mentioned it to me the other day since it's his video. I especially like the cat chilling up top.

Seriously, I might get one of those T-amps. Reference levels for $25 is a price that can't be beat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to make sure I get the best amp(s) for the money too, so maybe that can tide me over till I find the right solution!

Yeah, they are 12ga speaker wire. No 50' RCA's although I do have some very nice 3' Blue Jeans audio cables if you need some... smile.gif
post #24 of 25
I don't have the Noesis, but I have the Triple 12's, and I don't have an orbit shifter, but I have dual caps.

I can tell you right now, since your speakers are BETTER than the ones I have, that you are going to be AMAZED with your new toys. Like you won't even be able to fathom how good it is going to sound until you actually hear it.

I listen to a lot of club type music myself and am not really into bands at all, and my setup in stereo sounds like I'm at the club or better, and when I bump it up LLOOUUDD that is absolutely no distortion. And this is just running off of my AVR (Denon 4311ci) without any external amps.

I've had a buddy who has already told me when he can afford to do his basement and get a theater up that he's talking to me about my speakers because he wants his to sound as good as mine. My brother and in-laws have told me the sound in my basement is better than the movie theater. I could go on and on!

Trust me you will be more than happy!
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Rob, I'll PM you!

Purbeast, I actually have heard these at Rob's house, and his system is better than mine's going to be, but they're pretty similar. I'm just going to have 2.1...for now at least! He's got 2 Orbit Shifters (the other kind, not the uprights) and 3 sealed Noesis up front.

Dude, you should sell the Triple 12s to your friend and get the Noesis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wink.gif
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