Since it seems like there are some people who are interested in more feedback from people who've heard these speakers, i'll babble on a little more about my experience with them so far.
After getting a chance to watch a couple movies, I can say that these speakers are really great with sounds tracks as well as music. I'm only using the three 340se across the front ( just placed an order for 2 pairs of the 170 classics for surrounds), but the soundstage is lush enough that the speakers throw a pleasingly holographic image, depending on whats going on in the scene.
I was watching Miike's "The Bird People in China", and there is this stunning flood scene taking place in the mountainous rural regions. I was running the 340se mains at full, with the volume set a few notches higher then usual, and the respectable if unspectacular DD5.1 soundtrack really came to life. It sounded as if the flood was literally flowing over me. I could hear the waves splashing against the banks behind me, the roar of the river downing out the vocals in such an impactful way. It was pretty damn spectacular.
There are numerous village scenes, where the villagers are going about their lifes off screen. Heretofore I had never noticed any of this. But with the 340SE's, people were laughing behind me, a mother was talking to her child to my right, children were playing to my left. I've never experienced anything like it with just three speakers before.
The awesomest thing I noticed while watching that movie though was in the scene when the main characters first get to the village. They see a group of children running down a slope, flapping canvas wings they're wearing. Attached to the wings are these little metal bells. I've never heard a speaker reproduce anything as life like as those bells chiming through the 340SE's. Top left, center left, bottom, slightly right of center, 5' from the speakers, 2'. All over the place. Each bell chime was completely defined and seperate from all other sounds. The patter of the children's feet. The whispers of the main characters, staring in awe and befudlement. I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined $818 worth of speakers could throwing such a holographic image. Couple that with the fact that the soft dome tweaters of the 340SE's were able to reproduce the chiming of the small metal bells as faithfully as I could possibly imagine goes to show that you don't have to have a metal tweeter to acurately reproduce those kinds of instruments. The volume was up very loud, the bells were chiming quite loud, but the sound wasn't fatiguing, and there certainly wasn't anything missing. The bells were just...there. Almost magical.
The sound stage is seamless. Pans are perfect. The three little speakers really are amazing. I could go on and on, but my computer and speakers are in different rooms, and I'm already experiencing some withdrawl, so I gotta go.
Ascend is like aural crack!