Originally Posted by Newbie01
Looking for a set of surrounds and had my eye on the 170 SE...anyone hear these and any of the Aperion offerings? Any input would be great!
I had recommended the HTM-200 SE to you in another thread when you asked about another relatively small speaker, but if you wouldn't mind accommodating the 170 SE, then that would work great, too (I use this model for surrounds myself). They're a bit more full-sounding (in the bass and mid-bass) than the 200 SE, especially when playing loud, although the 200 SE holds up fine for surround duty and is easier to mount. The 170 SE works with the same OmniMount 20.0 that is often recommended for the 200 SE, but it stresses the mount, forcing you to tighten it down very hard, or else it will slip; the Pinpoint AM-40 has a much easier time of it, by the way, but it's a large and visible mount.
Originally Posted by ProfD
Another question. People have said that these speakers can actually "sound bad" if you are playing a "bad quality recording" because these speaker faithfully play the sound very close to the original quality.
Yes, this is correct, and unfortunately much pop or rock music--especially newer material--is at least slightly badly mastered (and many are very bad), with compressed dynamics (not talking about lossy data compression) and excessively pumped up loudness that makes them clip and sound grating through revealing speakers (look up "loudness war
" for more information). But this is not limited to Ascend speakers, of course--any high quality speaker will reveal to you flaws in the recording and mastering of soundtracks, as well as flaws in poorly encoded (now I am talking about lossy data compression) music files.
By the way, in many cases the effects of the loudness war can be largely, if not completely, avoided by going back to vinyl records, whenever possible. No, I'm not saying that it is a superior medium to CD or even other digital formats, because frankly it is decidedly inferior to CD and even well-encoded MP3s
, for that matter, but records are usually mastered significantly better. Even some MP3s can sound better than the corresponding CD because they were made from a different master, although I doubt this is common. What I do know for sure is that I have some records and for that matter DVDs that contain music albums that sound MUCH better than the respective CD releases, due to the loudness war's effect on the latter.
Originally Posted by ProfD
Does that mean that internet radio like Pandora actually sounds worse when listening through these speakers than it would if you were listening through other still good but not as good speakers?
Pandora's current encoding is pretty decent for what is, and will really only sound bad when the original recording does, so I wouldn't be concerned about that. As for poor recordings, I think they're as tolerable as they were before, or maybe slightly less because I can compare them to good recordings and clearly hear how bad they sound, but I think it's a worthwhile tradeoff for better, more detailed and realistic sound with good recordings. A speaker that hides how bad a recording really is must necessarily make good recordings sound pretty dull.
By the way, since you also asked specifically about the PS3, I think that games these days have pretty good sound (better than most pop/rock CDs), so you can put those fears to rest. And movie sound quality has gotten better, so you'll benefit from that, too.Edited by Robert Cook - 2/25/13 at 5:29pm