Originally Posted by cschang
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:
"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."