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ascend acoustic 5.1 setup review

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Well I finally got the final set of speakers to complete my first real home theater system.
They were a pair ascend acoustic cmt340SEs. They took about a week from the time I orderd them to actually receive the package. I had high hopes for theese speakers because I was previously using there younger brothers the 170SEs as fronts and thought they were nice performers for a bookshelf.

As I unboxed the package I looked for any signs of damage and found noon. The speakers were in perfect condition. They were boxed conveniently so I could open the box and tip it upside to release the speakers. I didn't want to kill a ton of time looking them over just yet I wanted to get theese babies hooked up!

The speakers come bi wire ready, however I chose to just take the standard rout. I hooked them up with 14ga wire directly to my Yamaha Avr. After wiring I got the speakers set up on shelves (until I make stands) where I liked them. I steeped back to take a look and realize they looked a lot nicer than I imagined esspecially with grills off. They are perfect size speakers if your more of a fan of seperat subs instead of running full range towers for fronts.

Before anything I let the speakers break in by running them full range and playing some light background music. Theese speakers play very well at low volumes. Even at low volumes I hear sharp highs and solid mids and very well blended yet noticeable
Low end.

After breaking the speakers in I did a little 2 channel music listening. First I listend to some tool while using the speakers full range. I instantly noticed a larger soundstage. I also noticed they have the effect to sound live. The speakers fill my 16x22x9 room with ease.all the lyrics were balanced very nicely with the rest of the music, not one overpowered the other it was perfect. I turned them up to about -17 on the Avr and noticed at that levelthey seem to come to life a little more. The bass was more punchy and noticeable. There was a boost in fullness I don't really know how to explain but it sounded awsome.

When I had my deftech 600 satellites as rears and the cbm170s as mains I liked to a little 5ch music listening. It made me feel submerged in the music and I couldn't quiet get that feeling with cbm170 regaurdless of volume. I decided to put in some rage against the machine and see what 5ch sounded like on the new setup. Don't get me wrong it sounded seemless 5ch with all 8 6.5inch woofers, however when I fliped it back to 2ch I started to smile! The 340s were phenomenal in the 2ch mode. They added a layer that was definitely a step up from what the 170s could do as mains. I decided it was time to crank it up so I kicked to a level higher than I would ever use it -10 on the reciever. I couldn't belive what I was hearing! I was blown away by the amazing sound! they handled everything flawlessly and gave me a feeling they had more headroom left to.

I also played a little Nirvana 2ch. It was the unplugged DVD version. The 340s are incredible
At reproducing the acoustic guitar and electric extrmly accurately and realisticly. The mids transfer with grace up into the highs. I did notice the tweeter to be more presents or bold sounding compared to the 170s. I think the tweeter seemed to be one the biggest differences between the two. The tweeters on the 340s also seemed to have a slitly more open 3d effect and perhaps was more seperated from the other sound but in a good way.

Here is a list of things that I like about the 340s over the 170s
1) the 340s are much more effective at 2ch listening
2) the 340s have a much larger soundstage
3) 340s have a stonger more noticable tweeter(seems more effective for movies IMO)
4) they are fully capable of being set to large when playing movies or just lisetening to 2ch full rang
5) IMO they look nicer, tougher and just plain bad ass compared to the duller looking 170.


I'll move to home theater. For ht ill be reviewing my 5 ascends as well as the sub and how the rythmik sub performs with the ascend speakers.

For movies I have my speakers all to small with an 80hz crossover. 60 also.sounds good. And if you want, the 340 mains can performed full range without breaking a sweat.

First movie was lord of the ring 1 bluray. This movie really had a way of showing off how seemlessly the speakers worked together and how they are truly capable of theater like sound but even higher quality IMO. Again the 340 sounded so big and bold and put out a large soundstage to give a theater like feel. I played scene 8 on disc two with the cave troll. It was amazing. The lv12r performed flawlessly with every bit of lfe that was thrown at it. It blends so well with ascend speakers that it almost takes turning the sub off to realize what your missing without it. In all honesty IV never heard a mixed sub/speaker brand that blended so well together. Very impressive! The seas tweeter also shined here with Smooth sharp reproductions of swords and armour calashing.

The next movie was Jack the giant slayer on bluray. The scene where the bean first grows is a heavy hitting tornado of sounds from low to high. I could only get this to about -16 on the across before I gave up. This scene is loud! The entire system shrugged this scene off with no problem. The sub kept up with the fast strong lfe with no problem and produced a realistic ground and couch shaking effect biggrin.gif the speakers all did great at at picking out every little detail of this scene with incredible accuracy. There is no doubt theese speakers like to be played loud. No matter the volume the speakers never seemed strained or close to being maxed out. They don't seem to loose any controlled when driven hard.

Altogether I would refer to theese speakers as neutral, accurate, non fatiguing even at high volumes, large soundstage.

The bottom line is theese are some serious speakers for a very reasonable price tag. They likely will be more than enough speaker for all but the most demanding of audiophiles. I highly recommend theese speakers to anyone looking for a serious ht sound with aresonable price tag. They continue to impress me every new movie I through at em. Obviously I'm very fond of the overall blending of a rythimk sub. I'd highly recommended one with any ascend speaker setup. The blend is literally seamless its amazing.

Any questions feel free! This is. Noob review so I wanst able to word everything how guys like Jim do but it should give u a decent umdertanding of how the system performs. Any questions felt free.
post #2 of 65
Enjoyed reading your review, very nicely done.
You have a very nice system there and should
Give you many years of enjoyment.

Ascend makes great products as well as Rythmik.
Good choices.
post #3 of 65
Good review, the more I read about these speakers, the more convinced I am to get them. If you didn't already have your CBM-170s as surrounds, would you still buy the 170s or would you buy another pair of CMT-340s for the rear?
post #4 of 65
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys!

I think the 170s are more than enough for surround duty. Even in a 7.1 system. In all honesty there prabably overkill in my sized room. I bet I would be happy with HTm 200. With this being said I still would recommend spending the extra coi
n on the 170. I like the idea of having matching woofers all around.
post #5 of 65
Great, thanks for your reply. I will probably end up making that move as per your recommendation. My receiver is the Yamaha RX-A820. It's lonely without speakers!
post #6 of 65
Thread Starter 
Ya and don't forget that 170s and 340s are on sale right now. I think like 50 bucks off the 170 and 68 off the 340s
post #7 of 65
Brilliant, I just called Ascend, the sale is on until July 4. Just gotta get the boss's approval. smile.gif
post #8 of 65
Nice review. smile.gif

Now how long before the 2nd LV12R wink.gif
post #9 of 65
Thread Starter 
Thanks bud!!!
post #10 of 65
Thread Starter 
And prolly wont be getting another lv12r, looks like ill have to settle for an fv15hp next!wink.gif Dave said the two blend very nice. Maybe in a year or so when I get the upgrade bug:)
post #11 of 65
Great review. I've been trying to choose between Klipsch br-61 II, Def Tech Sm450, and some Ascend audios for my 2.1 setup that I plan on expanding to a 5.1. Your review, among others, but yours especially has convinced me to order some 170's. They'll be sitting on my desk on either side of my monitor for now as fronts in 2.1. I've been trying to decide weather to get the 170's or 340's but I think the 170's will do nicely for near range and great for surround backs when I expand to 5.1. After that, I assume I'll be getting the 340's or possibly sierra's if I can be convinced to do so.

Thanks again for the review!
post #12 of 65
Just ordered my 170s. I can't wait to get them. I hope I can get the 340s before the price goes up, but if not, oh well. I'm getting this setup piece-by-piece.
post #13 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jewbacca1 View Post

Great review. I've been trying to choose between Klipsch br-61 II, Def Tech Sm450, and some Ascend audios for my 2.1 setup that I plan on expanding to a 5.1. Your review, among others, but yours especially has convinced me to order some 170's. They'll be sitting on my desk on either side of my monitor for now as fronts in 2.1. I've been trying to decide weather to get the 170's or 340's but I think the 170's will do nicely for near range and great for surround backs when I expand to 5.1. After that, I assume I'll be getting the 340's or possibly sierra's if I can be convinced to do so.

Thanks again for the review!

No problem glad to help! I'm sure you'll enjoy them!smile.gif
post #14 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevypower View Post

Just ordered my 170s. I can't wait to get them. I hope I can get the 340s before the price goes up, but if not, oh well. I'm getting this setup piece-by-piece.

That's what I did! I'm glad I did it that way to. The 170s are less of a pain to ship back if u decided u don't like them(which I doubt would be the case) and who's knows maybe they will be enough and u decide not to upgrade to the 340s extra.
post #15 of 65
I think if I love them that much, I would be thinking "wow if these are that good, imagine how good the 340s are!" Then 340s with a LV12R. Oh I am so jealous of you!!! biggrin.gif
post #16 of 65
Thread Starter 
Lol you'll have yours soon enough:)

If I ever decided to upgrade I don't even know what I would look for.
I like the idea of having a seperat sub I can place wherever I like, so I'm not all that intrested
in towers.

I think some larger sierras that have more out than 340s would be the ultimate . Basically a sierra mini tower

It would prolly end up in the $1,200 range but would be bad ass!
post #17 of 65
So I am thinking of ordering a set of Sanus SF-34B stands to go with them, but Ascend says they don't make their 170s mountable, though they do recommend those stands. I'm surprised they don't offer an optional mounting plate. How did you set your 170s up?
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevypower View Post

So I am thinking of ordering a set of Sanus SF-34B stands to go with them, but Ascend says they don't make their 170s mountable, though they do recommend those stands. I'm surprised they don't offer an optional mounting plate. How did you set your 170s up?

What are you looking to get out of mounting them to the stands? If the stands aren't setup so that they are stable, mounting won't help. If you want more stability, you can put sand in the stands.
post #19 of 65
I am going to fill them with stand so the stands won't tip over, but wanted also to mount the speakers so they don't slide or fall off the stands
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevypower View Post

I am going to fill them with stand so the stands won't tip over, but wanted also to mount the speakers so they don't slide or fall off the stands

They are heavy enough that they won't fall off unless you set them without their center of gravity on the center of the stands. If you want to give them a little bit of stick, you could always use blue tack.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

They are heavy enough that they won't fall off unless you set them without their center of gravity on the center of the stands. If you want to give them a little bit of stick, you could always use blue tack.

Awesome that makes me feel a lot better! I might use velcro if I get concerned.
post #22 of 65
I have the exact same setup en route and can't wait to receive it now. Will follow up here once get everything set up!
post #23 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingolfin269 View Post

I have the exact same setup en route and can't wait to receive it now. Will follow up here once get everything set up!

Please do I'd love to hear what ya think!
post #24 of 65
Just came across this review, thanks for sharing. It's making me even more excited as I just received delivery of my ascend speakers today! 340 for LCR and 170 for surround. Klipsch RW-12d for now. Hopefully will have everything setup by this weekend.
post #25 of 65
Thread Starter 
That's gona be a nice setup. Lemme know how the rw12d blends as well as its overall performance with the speakers
post #26 of 65
Just got my 170's in. Paired with a Klipsch sub-10, they sound really, really, REALLY good! Alone they're phenomenal though. I'm actually in love.. Perfect for my near field pc set up too (overkill but awesome). I can't wait to get the 340's, move the 170's to the back, and replace my sub with the lv12r though. Btw.. I like this thread, this is a good thread. smile.gif
post #27 of 65
I finally got my system set up and have been enjoying it for a week or so. All I can say is... wow. I really don't have a point of reference for what a better system sounds like but this is amazing. Everything is crystal clear and the LV12R provides bass that is icing on the cake. I can tell that if I do need to upgrade anything eventually it's going to be as simple as adding an additional sub. Not a bad problem to have in a hobby where it seems like people get the itch to upgrade on a somewhat frequent basis.

Does anyone have good stand suggestions for the 170s? I've got them on some older stands I've had for years but think I'd like to go ahead and upgrade the stands to something nicer as well. Just an FYI, I did buy the Ascend stands for the 340s.
Edited by Fingolfin269 - 7/16/13 at 5:02am
post #28 of 65
My CBM-170SEs are still on the floor. No sub connected. Just a 2.0 setup right now and they still sound friggen awesome. Can't wait to finish the package.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingolfin269 View Post

Does anyone have good stand suggestions for the 170s? I've got them on some older stands I've had for years but think I'd like to go ahead and upgrade the stands to something nicer as well. Just an FYI, I did buy the Ascend stands for the 340s.
Here's a good place to look to get an idea of what you want...

http://www.standsandmounts.com/speakerstands.aspx
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingolfin269 View Post

Does anyone have good stand suggestions for the 170s?

Sanus SF series.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevypower View Post

My CBM-170SEs are still on the floor. No sub connected. Just a 2.0 setup right now and they still sound friggen awesome. Can't wait to finish the package.

I'm sure they'll sound quite a bit better once the tweeters are at ear level and you're not getting an early reflection from the floor.
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