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Looking for quality speakers for 2 channel iMAC set up

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am looking to upgrade my 2 channel system and I am torn on what speakers to get. The Ascend Acoustics CBM-170se are on sale right now, and they seem to be excellent speakers. There are so many options and I am having a hard time pulling the trigger. Can anyone recommend any other speakers in that price range that will be as good or better than the Ascends? I also have limited space, so these have to be around the same size. I will probably get stands for whatever speakers I end up getting
My budget $300-$450
I have a dragonfly DAC connected to my iMAC, and running it to a Emotiva USP-1. This is only for computer music (flac files, etc).
Any advice is appreciated
post #2 of 14
the ascends are very nice sounding speaker.another suggestion on the upper range of your budget are the kef q300 $470 at accessories4less. imo they are a step up in sound quality but for their price difference only you could judge if they are worth the extra cash. just my 2 cents
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately I do not have a way to listen to the ascend in person unless I buy them. I will check out the reviews on the KEF, I may be able to find a place locally to hear them. It really is a tough decision and I realize Im asking a question that is asked everyday all the time here.

I do appreciate the suggestion. I wouldn't considered the KEF's but looking at the Q300, they do look pretty nice.

Any other speakers I should consider?
post #4 of 14
What are you upgrading from and what attributes are missing from these?
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I had a pair of JBL L820's that I used for my 2 channel set up. They were my surround speakers when I had all JBLs, then I upgraded from those speakers and used the L820s. They were pretty good speakers but I know there are better ones for sure. I don't exactly have something that I'm 'missing', but I do want to get the best for the limited budget I have.
I listen to mostly rock, hip hop, hard rock, some jazz etc. I mostly want to hear what others would recommend because I know there are so many options and I want to consider brands I otherwise would miss and all that.
post #6 of 14
I just picked up a set of PSB's new offering. So far, I'm pretty impressed with them. They are very clear, nice soundstage, and light bass (I use them in my office at work). I got them from Crutchfield since I couldn't find anywhere local to demo them and they would take them back if I didn't like them. I've decided to keep them.
post #7 of 14
Here's a few to consider:

Wharfedale Diamond 10.2
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-15479-wharfedale-diamond-102-bookshelf-speaker-pr.aspx

Arx A1b or Arx A3
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/index.php?loudspeakers=arx&cPath=21_32&osCsid=db20e1ddbbc1e37640b629b95a7d6fe6

Cambridge Audio - S30
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CAS30

Monitor Audio BX2
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MRBBX2

FOCAL - CHORUS 705V
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-41245-focal-chorus-705v-bookshelf-speakers-pr.aspx

Behringer TRUTH B2031
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-B2031P-Ultra-Linear-Reference-Monitor/dp/B000LQ2ABK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334189010&sr=8-1


I have a pair of Wharfedale 70th Anniv. speakers for my office at home that I listen to for hours at a time. Silk dome tweeters give a very smooth upper register while the 5 1/4 inch mid woofers play down in the upper 40s - mid range is superb in my setting.

Good luck in your decision.
Edited by citizen arcane - 2/25/13 at 6:52pm
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkotubey View Post

I just picked up a set of PSB's new offering. So far, I'm pretty impressed with them. They are very clear, nice soundstage, and light bass (I use them in my office at work). I got them from Crutchfield since I couldn't find anywhere local to demo them and they would take them back if I didn't like them. I've decided to keep them.

Which PSB's did you get? The new mini monitors?
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

the ascends are very nice sounding speaker.another suggestion on the upper range of your budget are the kef q300 $470 at accessories4less. imo they are a step up in sound quality but for their price difference only you could judge if they are worth the extra cash. just my 2 cents

These KEF speakers really have me intrigued and at those prices I am tempted to try them out. They may be a bit too big, but if the sound is better than the ascends, I can make it work somehow.
I don't know too much about KEF, but I know a lot of people enjoy them. Definitely need to read up on these.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by citizen arcane View Post

Here's a few to consider:

Wharfedale Diamond 10.2
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-15479-wharfedale-diamond-102-bookshelf-speaker-pr.aspx

Arx A1b or Arx A3
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/index.php?loudspeakers=arx&cPath=21_32&osCsid=db20e1ddbbc1e37640b629b95a7d6fe6

Cambridge Audio - S30
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CAS30

Monitor Audio BX2
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MRBBX2

FOCAL - CHORUS 705V
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-41245-focal-chorus-705v-bookshelf-speakers-pr.aspx

Behringer TRUTH B2031
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-B2031P-Ultra-Linear-Reference-Monitor/dp/B000LQ2ABK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334189010&sr=8-1


I have a pair of Wharfedale 70th Anniv. speakers for my office at home that I listen to for hours at a time. Silk dome tweeters give a very smooth upper register while the 5 1/4 inch mid woofers play down in the upper 40s - mid range is superb in my setting.

Good luck in your decision.

Thanks for the suggestions!
I read up on a comparison thread with the Ascends CBM-170se vs the ARX. The ARX looks like a very nice speaker and I would like to try a ribbon speaker, but I walked away from the thread convinced that the Ascends would be a bit better for my set up.
I am very curious about the Focals. I see these a lot on the music direct sites, but I never heard them. Anyone have these or the 706V and care to chime in on the sound quality?
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by volta View Post

Which PSB's did you get? The new mini monitors?

Got the PSB Alpha PS1. They are going for 300 for the pair.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well I went ahead and bought the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170se. I figured based on their rep, that I can't really go wrong. Plus I will be able to evaluate during the trial period. I think I made a good choice, and I'm looking forward to hearing these babies.
Thanks to everyone for their input!


BTW I called Ascend to order these and they did let me know that the sale has ended. The CBM's are no longer for sale.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by volta View Post

Well I went ahead and bought the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170se. I figured based on their rep, that I can't really go wrong. Plus I will be able to evaluate during the trial period. I think I made a good choice, and I'm looking forward to hearing these babies.
Thanks to everyone for their input!


BTW I called Ascend to order these and they did let me know that the sale has ended. The CBM's are no longer for sale.
congrats on your new ascends you won't be disappointed they are some very nice sounding speaks
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks man, I'm stoked to get these speakers. I should have them on Monday. I scored an audio rack and some stands from Craigslist yesterday, so once I put it all together I will upload some pics. Appreciate the feedback!
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