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Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE vs Arx A1b - Page 2

post #31 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

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........

So how are things going? I think many are curious to your finding. I really dont think is necessary to have 1-2 weeks for break in.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #32 of 152
Just seen that Jon Lane posted the 1st freq response of the Arx A1b. Though it might be helpful to post here, since this is also about the A1b.

"1w/1m on axis response of the Arx A1b taken perpendicular to the vertical middle of the baffle.
Major vertical divisions are ten Decibels apart and minor divisions are 3.33dB apart. The A1b's response is therefore +/- less than 2dB from the low forties to beyond 20kHz.
The A1b uses a transfer function between the two drivers that renders good off axis power response and an in-phase summation. The speaker's impedance magnitude remains above 6.5 ohms throughout it's range. "





post #33 of 152
^^^ Looks great. Are there numbers for the off-axis response?
post #34 of 152
I haven't seen any off axis or any other kind except for this one. Maybe later he will start to add measurements to the product pages. Off Axis is alittle different since theres so many degrees for off axis measurements.

That is an impressive graph for a $299 bookshelf. Flat to 50hrz, i've had expensive bookshelfs almost twice that price that didn't have much response under 80-90hrz.
post #35 of 152
Since we're posting graphs...wink.gif

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cbm170/cbm170meas.html

Ps: click on the link for a even flatter response using a 10db scale....cool.gif.
post #36 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy p View Post

Since we're posting graphs...wink.gif

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cbm170/cbm170meas.html

Ps: click on the link for a even flatter response using a 10db scale....cool.gif.

Which is flatter than its bigger brother as seen here:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/SRM1/srm1meas.html

And i thin we ask know which one sounds better between the two ascend products. Your point being?

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post #37 of 152
And i think we all know*

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post #38 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by BufordTJustice View Post

Which is flatter than its bigger brother as seen here:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/SRM1/srm1meas.html
And i thin we ask know which one sounds better between the two ascend products. Your point being?
Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk 2

Point being....I didn't see any harm in linking specs/or graphs of the CBM170's considering that topic had come up in a earlier post. Fwiw...I personally haven't heard the CBM170's... so, I can't comment on how they would fair vs. other offerings from AA?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BufordTJustice View Post

And i think we all know*
Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk 2

It would be fair to conclude the Sierras would likely sound better than the cmb170's...but what...if anything do the Sierra have to do with this thread/ or the OP....it's comparing the ARX a1b vs the cbm170's....I'm only here following along the pending review of a member who is comparing the two said speakers in home...cool.gif

And yes....I do own Ascend products...so I have a moderate interest in the results...biggrin.gif
post #39 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy p View Post

Point being....I didn't see any harm in linking specs/or graphs of the CBM170's considering that topic had come up in a earlier post. Fwiw...I personally haven't heard the CBM170's... so, I can't comment on how they would fair vs. other offerings from AA?
It would be fair to conclude the Sierras would likely sound better than the cmb170's...but what...if anything do the Sierra have to do with this thread/ or the OP....it's comparing the ARX a1b vs the cbm170's....I'm only here following along the pending review of a member who is comparing the two said speakers in home...cool.gif
And yes....I do own Ascend products...so I have a moderate interest in the results...biggrin.gif


Don't get all defensive on me. You're the one who made the tongue-in-cheek remark, replete with snarky smiley-faces. I'm merely pointing out that sometimes charts and graphs don't tell the whole story.

Also, I'm highlighting the point that despite graphing worse, the Sierra 1's do offer much reduced distortion, increased detail, and increased refinement....I've heard both. The Sierra-1's sound great and are noticeably better in every observable way than the CBM 170's. According to some graphs, this should not be. But maybe the graphs are not the whole story.

I smell benchracing when I see it. wink.gif

We're all adults here, so don't expect to be able to throw a graph up and make an implication of something being flatter/better based on two admittedly very flat graphs (the Arx A1b and the CBM170)....and all of the sudden everybody else folds their hand. We all have biases and the fact that you like Ascend products is not a bad one...they make great stuff. I'm simply looking forward to the tester's listening impressions....
Edited by BufordTJustice - 1/6/13 at 2:21am
post #40 of 152
I think billy was just posting the cbm graph just for the sake of additional info regarless wether the flat frequency will sound better not.

Now to the OP, how are you doin with those contenders?
post #41 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by BufordTJustice View Post

Don't get all defensive on me. You're the one who made the tongue-in-cheek remark, replete with snarky smiley-faces. I'm merely pointing out that sometimes charts and graphs don't tell the whole story.
Also, I'm highlighting the point that despite graphing worse, the Sierra 1's do offer much reduced distortion, increased detail, and increased refinement....I've heard both. The Sierra-1's sound great and are noticeably better in every observable way than the CBM 170's. According to some graphs, this should not be. But maybe the graphs are not the whole story.
I smell benchracing when I see it. wink.gif
We're all adults here, so don't expect to be able to throw a graph up and make an implication of something being flatter/better based on two admittedly very flat graphs (the Arx A1b and the CBM170)....and all of the sudden everybody else folds their hand. We all have biases and the fact that you like Ascend products is not a bad one...they make great stuff. I'm simply looking forward to the tester's listening impressions....

Wow...talk about getting too defensive...tongue & cheek because I used a "winky"....talk about the pot calling the kettle...sheesh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

I think billy was just posting the cbm graph just for the sake of additional info regarless wether the flat frequency will sound better not.
Now to the OP, how are you doin with those contenders?

Exactly...what harm would come from it..? I can appreicate the fact BTJ has audtioned both and preferred the Sierra but we're comparing speakers costing ~$300.00...if the OP or others wanted a more refined speakers TAI offers those as well. IMO....the poster in question who ordered both speakers...is going about it the right way. Listen for yourself in home and return the ones you prefer less....nothing more, nothing less.
post #42 of 152
Well my post wasn't ment to start a measurement war or who's measurement stick is bigger wink.gif

I didn't post any thing from Ascend because its available right on there product page, for anyone to see. The Arx A1b graph was in the TAI technical subforum and you had to register in order to see the graph. I though it would be beneficial to post for everyone to see.

And yes Billy I though your first post did kind of come off as "Ours is better". WINK WINK smile.gif

But its no big deal. Its up to the OP on what speaker he ends up with by doing what really matters LISTENING to them and not analyzing a graph. And yes I'm in the camp of better measurements doesn't equal better sound. My last speakers measured really well but sounded horrible and had to give them away.
Edited by gtpsuper24 - 1/6/13 at 9:57am
post #43 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

Well my post wasn't ment to start a measurement war or who's measurement stick is bigger wink.gif
I didn't post any thing from Ascend because its available right on there product page, for anyone to see. The Arx A1b graph was in the TAI technical subforum and you had to register in order to see the graph. I though it would be beneficial to post for everyone to see.
And yes Billy I though your first post did kind of come off as "Ours if better". WINK WINK smile.gif

Hi Chad....I can't see how it came off that way...maybe I should have used a smilely or something....my intent was not to incite an argument and distract in any way from this thread. I know your very high on the ARX's...I wouldn't be at all surprised if the member after auditioning returns the 170's...it all boils down to ones personal preference....smile.gif
Edited by Billy p - 1/6/13 at 9:34am
post #44 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy p View Post


Wow...talk about getting too defensive...tongue & cheek because I used a "winky"....talk about the pot calling the kettle...sheesh.

Exactly...what harm would come from it..? I can appreicate the fact BTJ has audtioned both and preferred the Sierra but we're comparing speakers costing ~$300.00...if the OP or others wanted a more refined speakers TAI offers those as well. IMO....the poster in question who ordered both speakers...is going about it the right way. Listen for yourself in home and return the ones you prefer less....nothing more, nothing less.

Your second post below is much more level headed. Your posts did come across as comparative in nature.

I'm merely stating that people asked for graphs and Chad supplied them, then you posted another graph and insinuated that yours was "flatter". I stand by my assertion. Even if it was unintentional, that is absolutely how it came across. You have an Ascend avatar for heaven's sake. I reiterate that you can't make posts like that and not expect static. It's not the end of the world and you certainly didn't insult me or anybody else, nor were you rude. But your post speaks for itself. I'm not getting "defensive". I got "logical".

Again, this is a non-issue at this point, What's said is what is said. Water under the bridge.
post #45 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

My last speakers measured really well but sounded horrible and had to give them away.
There is a whole host of measurements, not just the on-axis FR, that can describe how a speaker sounds.

An on-axis graph by itself doesn't mean much, especially when it is smoothed.
post #46 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

There is a whole host of measurements, not just the on-axis FR, that can describe how a speaker sounds.
An on-axis graph by itself doesn't mean much, especially when it is smoothed.

There are tons of measurements, however none can truly inform as to how a loudspeakers SOUNDS. Only how it should sound. Hence the need to actually listen to them in the room they will be used.

Example: most of Salk's towers have very similar FR graphs (on and off axis)...yet they have different sonic characters.

Same with this review:
http://www.soundstageav.com/onhifi/20070901.htm

"The Focus 110’s and Sierra-1’s frequency responses and sensitivities are nearly identical, and their build qualities are comparable. The biggest difference is in price: the Focus 110 retails for $1400/pair, or almost twice as much as the Sierra-1 -- a big difference for two such similar speakers. Part of that price difference probably has to do with the facts that Dynaudio speakers sell through conventional channels and are shipped from Denmark; along the way, the price is marked up by the US distributor and the dealer. The Sierra-1 comes straight from the factory. Buying factory-direct has obvious advantages.

Despite the similarity of their specs, the Ascend and Dynaudio speakers differed in performance. Both extended as deeply in the bass, but the Sierra-1 definitely had better control and definition down there, making the Focus 110 sound a touch woolly in the low end. The 110’s rich-sounding midrange made the Sierra-1 seem a bit dry in comparison, but, as with the bass region, the 110 couldn’t convey the Sierra-1’s degree of detail and texture. For example, when I played Bruce Cockburn’s "How I Spent My Fall Vacation," from Humans: Deluxe Edition, I was impressed with how, through the Sierra-1s, I could hear every inflection in his voice as well as the acoustic space surrounding him; I had to strain to hear those details through the Focus 110s, even when I turned up the volume. I heard the same difference with guitar, violin, and drums. Consistently, the Sierra-1 sounded considerably clearer, and revealed quite a bit more detail in the midrange as well as the bass.

The high-frequency performances of the speakers were comparable in terms of cleanness, but I favored the Focus 110’s balance -- it had a bit of sparkle at the very top that the Sierra-1 lacked, which made the 110 sound a touch more lively without being fatiguing. That’s a tough balance to achieve, but the Focus 110 does it well.

But when it came to soundstaging and imaging, the Sierra-1s were clearly superior. They laid out a more holographic stage, with better image specificity and a more credible sense of depth. I suspect that this had to do with the Sierra-1’s superior resolution, which let me more easily detect all the subtle cues and nuances that are crucial for precise soundstage placement and a credible illusion of depth.

If price is of no concern and a combination of sound and smart styling is desired, I could see choosing the Dynaudio Focus 110. I like the Ascend’s bamboo cabinet, but the 110’s smaller, shapelier case and flawless veneer look better to my eyes. And the 110 is a fine musical performer, too -- not as hi-rez as the Sierra-1, but with a pleasing richness to its sound, abundant bass for such a small cabinet, and lively highs.





But when I assessed only the performance of these two speakers, I definitely preferred the Sierra-1. It sounded tighter and cleaner than the Focus 110, particularly in the bass and midrange, and revealed much more detail -- both attributes I favor in a bookshelf design.

When you factor in price, the Sierra-1 is the obviously better deal. Ascend is at an advantage selling factory-direct, but you can’t make any excuses for speakers that aren’t sold that way. This is just the nature of the marketplace today and exactly why some companies are choosing to sell that way -- it makes their products more competitive."
post #47 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

There is a whole host of measurements, not just the on-axis FR, that can describe how a speaker sounds.
An on-axis graph by itself doesn't mean much, especially when it is smoothed.

Agreed there are much more measurements out there. But in the end I will listen with my own ears to tell me what sounds good, mediocre or just bad. Not looking at a graph on the computer.

I don't care if you think it means any thing or not, I posted here to share with everyone else thats interested in Arx and/or Ascend. Not to get into a ******* contest over the merits of measurements or this brand does better because of this or that.

Its not a jabb to any brand or speaker. I noticed it was posted on the TAI forum and remember this thread, nothing more. And the speakers I mentioned that sounded bad but measured well isn't even involved in this thread so that wasn't a jab at Ascend who prides themselves on providing a slew of measurements.
post #48 of 152
I'll add this from the review I quoted as it sums what I am trying to say quite succintly:

"Plenty of speakers costing under $1000/pair match the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 in bass extension, overall tonal balance, and even build quality. What makes it stand out is the clarity, detail, and resolution of its sound -- aspects of performance that conventional specifications and measurements don’t readily reveal, and that you don’t know you’ve been missing until you’ve heard them. Once you do, it’s hard to settle for less. I’ve heard no other two-way speaker at or near the Sierra-1’s price that sounds this clear, detailed, and resolving, which is why I kept comparing it to more expensive speakers that I know well. This level of performance is usually the domain of far more expensive two-ways that cost a few thousand bucks."

Graphs is only graphs. They can inform us of sound design principles...and not a whole lot more as far as the listening experience is concerned. I say this as having spent a decade in pro-audio before entering law enforcement. I've played with some awfully expensive toys...they still can't take the place of the man behind the board at FOH or monitor world. Our ears are magnificently sensitive. I do not subscribe to illusion that measurements can take the place of my ears. If some do, that is fine...just don't try and push it onto others.

The fact of the matter is, the CBM 170 and the A1b are both quality speakers of sound design and quality materials. One could certainly do MUCH worse at their price points. I think the OP cant lose regardless of which one he chooses.
post #49 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by BufordTJustice View Post

... The fact of the matter is, the CBM 170 and the A1b are both quality speakers of sound design and quality materials. One could certainly do MUCH worse at their price points. I think the OP cant lose regardless of which one he chooses.

+1 Audition them and/or pick one, then enjoy ; )
post #50 of 152
Stage 4: Impressions ( so far)

I have now had a chance over the past week to hear various audio sources over both speakers. These sources include TV ( sports, movies and drama shows mostly), CD's ( "Quadrophenia", "Kool and the Gang Greatest Hits", and Led Zeppelin IV / Zoso), and Bluray and DVD discs( "The Dark Knight Rises", episodes of BBC series "Copper")........

First off, both sets of speakers are VAST improvements over previous Mitsubishi tower speakers in terms of range, clarity, and volume.......should be, no?

The Ascend speakers, by nature of their increased sensitivity, become louder at the same volume level. They present a wave of sound that pervades the entire room( presence). Dialogue is clear and nuances heard. Bass is noticable, but in the background at all times.....mids and highs are clear and slightly emphasized. No real breakup at louder volumes ( not running at reference levels........my ears, and especially my wife's, are sensitive to overly loud volumes). Piano tones sound realistic as if being played in room. Can definitely locate speakers in space. Electronics in music as well as guitar solos project well and clearly.

The Arx speakers take more"juice" to perk them up. They exhibit a presence at adequate volume, but not a wave of sound like the Ascends. To me, mids and highs are present but somewhat understated. The bass is more pronounced here at all levels of bass and from all sources; bass sounds from "The Dark Knights Rises" resonates from these speakers. Dialogue is not as well heard but nuances are projected OK. Overall, the sound is somewhat restrained here, as if the speakers are holding back some. Very difficult to echolocate these speakers; they blend in well, with TV the sound APPEARS to be coming from it when in actuality, the TV speakers have been turned off. At louder volumes, the sound quality stays the same, no breakup or muddiness.
Piano tones sound real but distant, as if across the room instead of right there.


In the upcoming week, I hope to listen to more variety of music, including jazz and classical, as well as a couple more DVD's

I like both sets of speakers so far.........no preference yet smile.gif
post #51 of 152
Nicely done padgman1!
post #52 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Nicely done padgman1!

+1 Looking forward to hearing more!
post #53 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

Stage 4: Impressions ( so far)
I have now had a chance over the past week to hear various audio sources over both speakers. These sources include TV ( sports, movies and drama shows mostly), CD's ( "Quadrophenia", "Kool and the Gang Greatest Hits", and Led Zeppelin IV / Zoso), and Bluray and DVD discs( "The Dark Knight Rises", episodes of BBC series "Copper")........

First off, both sets of speakers are VAST improvements over previous Mitsubishi tower speakers in terms of range, clarity, and volume.......should be, no?

The Ascend speakers, by nature of their increased sensitivity, become louder at the same volume level. They present a wave of sound that pervades the entire room( presence). Dialogue is clear and nuances heard. Bass is noticable, but in the background at all times.....mids and highs are clear and slightly emphasized. No real breakup at louder volumes ( not running at reference levels........my ears, and especially my wife's, are sensitive to overly loud volumes). Piano tones sound realistic as if being played in room. Can definitely locate speakers in space. Electronics in music as well as guitar solos project well and clearly.

The Arx speakers take more"juice" to perk them up. They exhibit a presence at adequate volume, but not a wave of sound like the Ascends. To me, mids and highs are present but somewhat understated. The bass is more pronounced here at all levels of bass and from all sources; bass sounds from "The Dark Knights Rises" resonates from these speakers. Dialogue is not as well heard but nuances are projected OK. Overall, the sound is somewhat restrained here, as if the speakers are holding back some. Very difficult to echolocate these speakers; they blend in well, with TV the sound APPEARS to be coming from it when in actuality, the TV speakers have been turned off. At louder volumes, the sound quality stays the same, no breakup or muddiness.
Piano tones sound real but distant, as if across the room instead of right there.

In the upcoming week, I hope to listen to more variety of music, including jazz and classical, as well as a couple more DVD's
I like both sets of speakers so far.........no preference yet smile.gif

How far away are you sitting from the speakers? How far apart are they?
post #54 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

How far away are you sitting from the speakers? How far apart are they?



I'm about 7-8 feet away from speakers, and they are about 9-10 feet apart ( necessary because of the large entertainment cabinets I have).
post #55 of 152
Okay. Well done. Nice first review. Just making sure they weren't like 3-4' apart and on a desk or something lol.

So you stated the Ascends were easy to locate and didn't image in the "middle of the tv" like the ARX's correct? Not very good imaging on the part of the Ascends. Does the CBM use the same tweeter as the 340...anyone??
Edited by ousooner2 - 1/7/13 at 11:01am
post #56 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

The Ascend speakers...Piano tones sound realistic as if being played in room. Can definitely locate speakers in space.

The Arx speakers...Very difficult to echolocate these speakers; they blend in well, with TV the sound APPEARS to be coming from it when in actuality, the TV speakers have been turned off. Piano tones sound real but distant, as if across the room instead of right there.

padgman1 I'm also interested in what you meant exactly with the above comments. Would you please expound?
post #57 of 152
What I preceived from his description is that the Arx has a larger soundstage that images right in the center like just one single large speaker. And that the Ascend is more pinpoint as to where the sound is coming from.

I always thought the Arx speakers were always restrained in the treble and there was never anything that shouted at you. Which IMO is a good thing and much easier to listen to for extended periods.
post #58 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3Orion View Post

padgman1 I'm also interested in what you meant exactly with the above comments. Would you please expound?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

What I preceived from his description is that the Arx has a larger soundstage that images right in the center like just one single large speaker. And that the Ascend is more pinpoint as to where the sound is coming from.
I always thought the Arx speakers were always restrained in the treble and there was never anything that shouted at you. Which IMO is a good thing and much easier to listen to for extended periods.

Yup, that's what I perceived also. He was on so I just figured I'd let him reply, but yeah...seems the Arx has a wider stage and what sounds like more depth by his descriptions.

Following up on what gtp said about the treble, there have been a few that have stated the treble in the Impression series by EMP is also every so slightly restrained, but I personally find that most speakers have too much (my opinion). When I heard the p363's they sounded okay, but got fatiguing after a short time. The treble shined over the midrange and that's a big negative for me. I like my midrange to be priority #1. I'd be very interested to hear some Arx speakers, but everyone seems to live on the coasts on these forums lol

GTP...do you know if Jon has any desire to create towers with anything larger than 5.25" mids/midwoofer/woofers? I'm not sure what the xmax of the xbl2-like drivers are. Efficiency is a little higher than the e55ti, but not too much. The killer for me on the Arx's was no "trial period" and the look was a little meh for what I'm going with in my house. Gotta please the girl/soon-to-be-wifey biggrin.gif
post #59 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

GTP...do you know if Jon has any desire to create towers with anything larger than 5.25" mids/midwoofer/woofers? I'm not sure what the xmax of the xbl2-like drivers are. Efficiency is a little higher than the e55ti, but not too much. The killer for me on the Arx's was no "trial period" and the look was a little meh for what I'm going with in my house. Gotta please the girl/soon-to-be-wifey biggrin.gif

Jon has a couple of ideas but has a few other products coming first (A4 surround and Arx subwoofer). So far the two other models would be a Arx Line Array 6ft+ using the midranges from the A5 and a newer higher power handling planar and another larger tower with perhaps a MTM top portion using the planar and A5 midranges and either 2 or 3 6.5" XBL2 woofer. There is nothing concete yet just ideas going around. I mentioned that I like the A5 so much I asked what kind of tower he could do in the $1200-1500 range and he said he might have some ideas.

One way X-max on the XBL2 woofer is around 5mm.

Arx does have a 30 day return policy but you pay shipping. But in reality you pay shipping no matter what, whether they charge it separate or add it into the cost of the product. One thing I don't like about EMP is the fact the discount there stuff so low and so often it ruins the resale value. Yes the Arx look isn't much but its neat and clean and high quality.
post #60 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

The killer for me on the Arx's was no "trial period"

By "trial period" are you referring to the ability to audition them and then return them if you don't like them? The Audio Insider offers that with their 30 day in-home satisfaction guarantee.

EDIT: gtp beat me to it lol biggrin.gif
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