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Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE vs Arx A1b

post #1 of 152
Thread Starter 
I'm not looking for which is better, but rather how the sound characteristics of each compare as well as pros and cons.

I want to pair my new Denon AVR-1712 with two front bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer for a 2.1 setup that I will use for movies, video games, and music. My room is 11'x11'x8'

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3Orion View Post

I'm not looking for which is better, but rather how the sound characteristics of each compare as well as pros and cons.
I want to pair my new Denon AVR-1712 with two front bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer for a 2.1 setup that I will use for movies, video games, and music. My room is 11'x11'x8'


My thought...............get both and a/b demo them..........they both should have a 30day trial period, so you should just be out shipping costs back..........then you have the best answer..........what sounds best for your room and to your ears smile.gif

That's what I'm doing after 2 weeks of reading too many posts on this and other forums...........can't decide on paper, so will decide in real-life situation..........who knows, I might keep both and use one pair for fronts and the other for rears or in the bedroom........
post #3 of 152
And I will post my experiences when all is done biggrin.gif
post #4 of 152
Stage 1 - The Ordering


Ascend - spoke with Dina (12/17, around 100 pm Pacific) on their long distance line ( no 800 number). Very pleasant, working with another customer so she called back some 20 minutes later. Quick ordering process, final sum noted, mentioned their 30 day trial period and their 1 year upgrade policy (if you wanted to upgrade to 340's, Sierra, etc., you can ship the 170's back and use the full purchase price towards the upgrade). No hassles.( Plus, Dina was a little under the weather - good trooper smile.gif ).

Arx - tried to speak with Arx/ Audio Insider right after taling to Dina - answering machine obtained - left message. Jon Lane left e-mail message early next morning ( 12/18) awaiting ( next) phone call. Spoke with Jon briefly later ( 11 am Pacific) - suggested ordering online as it is a more efficient process for them. Did so through Audio Insider's website - also ordered pair of D-stands for the speakers. Easy process, no problems.
post #5 of 152
Awesome. Keep us informed after you've had a few weeks to demo them. Really between the two bookshelfs you can't go wrong, both are nice speakers.
post #6 of 152
yep, i will be interested to hear how those speakers do in a head to head!
post #7 of 152
Keep in mind, folks, that i am NOT the prototypical AVS Forum guy here...........just an average Joe ( Bill, actually) who wants good audio at an affordable price ( affordable being the relative term).

Both products have been shipped.......awaiting arrival biggrin.gif
post #8 of 152
No you don't have to be a pro or typical AVS guy. Just create a thread later and just give your own opinion on each. Strong/Low Points: Bass, Highs, looks, ect... Well you don't have to if you don't want of course but its always nice to read peoples thoughts on different speakers,especially when your comparing a pair or more together at the same time.
post #9 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

Keep in mind, folks, that i am NOT the prototypical AVS Forum guy here...........just an average Joe ( Bill, actually) who wants good audio at an affordable price ( affordable being the relative term).
Both products have been shipped.......awaiting arrival biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

No you don't have to be a pro or typical AVS guy. Just create a thread later and just give your own opinion on each. Strong/Low Points: Bass, Highs, looks, ect... Well you don't have to if you don't want of course but its always nice to read peoples thoughts on different speakers,especially when your comparing a pair or more together at the same time.

Just try to be fair with the comparison. Dont for example run audyssey for the 1st speaker, and then connect the 2nd speaker without re-running audyssey. Or if you dont run an auto setup at all, try to level match the outputs of each speaker. If you dont have an spl meter you can try to do it by ear with white noise, just take note of at what volume the speakers sound the same with white noise and make sure you keep the same difference for each speaker whenever you swap. Louder sounds better.
post #10 of 152
Most important...take your time, and have FUN with it all!
post #11 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Most important...take your time, and have FUN with it all!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post


That's what the wife says..........wink.gif


Just try to be fair with the comparison. Dont for example run audyssey for the 1st speaker, and then connect the 2nd speaker without re-running audyssey. Or if you dont run an auto setup at all, try to level match the outputs of each speaker. If you dont have an spl meter you can try to do it by ear with white noise, just take note of at what volume the speakers sound the same with white noise and make sure you keep the same difference for each speaker whenever you swap. Louder sounds better.

Will plan to do exactly that.........any thoughts on where to obtain an spl meter??
post #12 of 152
My first comment directed towards cschang's post got into the Jay1 quote...........bummer.
post #13 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

any thoughts on where to obtain an spl meter??
The cheap meter that is popular is available at Radio Shack.
post #14 of 152
What's your component list, pagman1?
post #15 of 152
^^^^ Uh. oh, found out by the big guy..........wink.gif I was going to post this eventually, but....this is a good time as any....

Receiver: New Denon 2112ci

Speaker wire: 12 awg from Monoprice

Stands: D-stands ( 24.5 inches high )...........may need to adjust some( tilt) when listening....

Blu-ray/CD player: New Panasonic DMP-BDT 220 ( no SACD support, I know........I'm NOT the true audiophile, remember?)

Room: 15 x 15 x 8 ft, carpeted.......open to 15 x 10 area of kitchen ( with kitchen extending back another 8 ft or so), linoleum......don't have a drawing app

( this room will eventually house a Panasonic 50 inch plasma( ST version)........when Sears gets it in)

( yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and I've been VERY GOOD this year biggrin.gif )

Hope this helps................
post #16 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

The cheap meter that is popular is available at Radio Shack.

Do you mean this..........http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12680845
post #17 of 152
The digital one should be pretty easy to use. This is the old standby that we had to use before receivers gained auto setup features

http://www.amazon.com/RadioShack-7-range-Analog-Display-Sound/dp/B000A1EHGM/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt
post #18 of 152
Thanks for audio meter suggestion, guys.........

Shipping update: I went online to UPS ( Ascend) and Fed Ex ( Arx) just now........both speaker pairs have been shipped, but they won't get here until after xmas frown.gif
post #19 of 152
padgman1 I'm very interested in a comparison of these two. Both are from well respected internet direct speaker companies but the arx series never really gets reviewed. Ascend is one of the most reviewed internet direct speaker manufacturers
post #20 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncola View Post

padgman1 I'm very interested in a comparison of these two. Both are from well respected internet direct speaker companies ...

+1
post #21 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

+1
You are in Southern Ca...you can call Ascend and head down to San Clemente for a demo.
post #22 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

You are in Southern Ca...you can call Ascend and head down to San Clemente for a demo.

Yeah - in So Cal traffic is king so that's at least 90 min each way. 'Tween being a single parent and a career in post-production I haven't had a 4 hour block of free time in 10 years ; )
post #23 of 152
Because of the Midwest snowstorm, the Arx A1b's won't be here until tomorrow..........frown.gif

But, in checking, it looks like BOTH the A1b's and the Ascend 170 SE's will be here tomorrow ...........smile.gif
post #24 of 152
Stage 2: The Shipping

Arx ships via Fed Ex, Ascend via UPS...........both easy to track online..........Arxs were supposed to be here 12/26, but the Midwest snowstorm delayed that by a day. The Ascend were to arrive originally on 12/27...........

Both sets of speakers arrived 12/27............the Arxs in the late morning, and the Ascends in the late afternoon.........

Both boxes intact.............the Ascends with a small 1 inch dent in one side............no big deal

Both sets of speakers were doubly boxed for protection and wrapped in plastic..........both sets in pristine condition..

The Ascends came with instructions to download the "owners manual" off the web............Jon Lane from Arx emailed me the Arx users guide a few days before the speakers arrived..........

Anxious to hear what kind of sound comes from these apparently small speakers ( at least compared to the floorstanding ones I got rid of).

Also ordered the Swan D stands from the Arx website ( The Audio Insider)............very nice......easy to put together.

Just got the speakers hooked uo to my Denon 2113ci LATE last evening, so will be listening more this evening...........
post #25 of 152
So here's the next questions in this comparison...............

The speakers are attached to the front and surround ports of my receiver............i SHOULD be able to play multichannel stereo through them and then isolate each pair of speakers to listen to each pair "separately"

Please explain to this techno-nobody how to set refenece levels with a RS digital meter to try to compare "even" output levels on each pair........

Any suggestions on types of music/ media to sample...........I will have rock/jazz/pop covered OK..............also some Classical Thunder smile.gif............

Any other suggestions??
post #26 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

So here's the next questions in this comparison...............
The speakers are attached to the front and surround ports of my receiver............i SHOULD be able to play multichannel stereo through them and then isolate each pair of speakers to listen to each pair "separately"
Please explain to this techno-nobody how to set refenece levels with a RS digital meter to try to compare "even" output levels on each pair........
Any suggestions on types of music/ media to sample...........I will have rock/jazz/pop covered OK..............also some Classical Thunder smile.gif............
Any other suggestions??

Just set the levels with an SPL meter using something like pink noise (if there's a better way to do this then hopefully someone will chime in)

Music suggestions
Alice In Chains - Alice In Chains (MTV Unplugged Live) INCREDIBLE album cool.gif
post #27 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

So here's the next questions in this comparison...............
The speakers are attached to the front and surround ports of my receiver............i SHOULD be able to play multichannel stereo through them and then isolate each pair of speakers to listen to each pair "separately"
I'm not sure that will work.
post #28 of 152
It works but it doesn't. Not sure what its called in the Denon but Onkyo has a setting called All Channel Stereo. So you can use your L/R fronts, L/R Side surrounds, L/R Rear Surrounds as 2.0 each at the same time but you can't do it separately without manually disconnecting each one. It wouldn't be surround it would just be standard stereo coming from each L/R pair. So you could use a Surround Sound receiver as to power 3 sets of stereo speakers for each room. But they would all play the same content at same time.
post #29 of 152
I used the main zone for speaker A and surround/presence for speaker B in a zone 2 configuration. This allowed me to switch back and forth(main+zone2) using the same source but you must make sure you've level match as was mentioned eariler and the AIC was a good recommendation...biggrin.gif
post #30 of 152
Stage 3: The Setup

I now have my speakers connected - the Ascends to the front and the Arxs to the surround/ amp assign ports.........have arranged my receiver to play both sets equally for now in a Front B configuration/ both sets of speakers set to large on my Denon 2113ci.........will probably keep it there for 1-2 weeks for breakin purposes...........listening to various media ( CDs, DVDs) is sounding great through both pairs now..............more later in the week........
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