Thanks for the explanation for room sensitivity
I received my piano black B-Stock this past weekend. I think there was an error because they don't appear to be b-stock
Some very light scratches (looked it up with a LED flashlight), but really, for 100$ off I'm actually glad they were b-stock! (anyone wants to see pics?) The finish is really gorgeous, built seems impeccable!
Not much listening time so far and they're far from being broken in (maybe they have 5 hours on them), but imho, they do somehow suffer from diminishing return, but they definitely seem to improve on the 340SE. Obvious improvement areas are bass, imaging, and they seem to also improve resolution, albeit not as evidently as the bass & imaging, somewhat slight
improvement so far (maybe more after break in), I'm guessing this is where the diminishing return kicks in, bass & imaging can be 'easily' improved from 340SE, but resolution is already very good on the 340SE, so maybe a bit less room for improvement there.
Imaging on the 340SE was good, but not really to the level of other excellent imaging speakers (Totem Arros for example), the Sierras really up it up a notch, and really have more precise imaging, and wider, deeper soundstage than the 340SE (maybe one of 340SE weakness if you were to be very severe). The Sierras also seem to have better focus; instruments are more 'precise' in space.
Bass is the other very evident improvement so far, very tight, punchy and goes pretty low. So far I have then on their own (had the 340SE with a 12 inch sealed DIY sub), and they definitely have enough low end to play on their own for pretty much 99% of music. Definitely go low enough to my taste to stand alone. Maybe a bit of issues with my room, as I seemed to have some issues with sub around 80ish hz, maybe some more room treatment/placement would be in order.
Resolution, I haven't done an A/B with the 340SE, but they seem to improve resolution, somehow able to go dig out an extra layer of detail. Not the most detailed system I've heard, but then again it's driven with a QSC1450 pro amp, NAD 541i & Behringer DEQ2496 PRE/EQ/DAC (1000$ total), where the more detailed systems I've heard were on 5000-50000$ worth of electronics... So I'd probably see an improvement when driven with top quality stuff instead of the rather budget components I'm using. Still, definitely excellent detail/resolution, and we're talking <1000$ speakers, not 2500, 5000 or 25000$ like others
Nevertheless, definite improvement over the 340SE in pretty much all fields. One of the 'weird' thing, they seem to be able to somehow resolve up/down soundstage...
Sometimes it seems like some sounds can appear above the speakers!
Some say things like "It's definitely a Totem" about a new Totem speaker for example.. Well this is definitely an Ascend
Very well balanced sound (neutral), very very good resolution/detail, at a very reasonable price! 760$US for (b-stock) piano black? Almost ridiculous.. Killer performance/price ratio, actually cost me almost as much as the 340SE + stands cost me (due to cdn/USA exchange & shipping), I could never find a piano black speaker around here <1000$, and finding one with as good sound on top would be a very challenging and probably expensive task around here...
No sub, for 2ch music, I say the Sierras are easily a better choice than 340SE. With sub, for HT, it becomes a tougher choice, as I don't think most could tell the difference while watching a movie
(and not specifically listening to speakers) as the 340SE are already excellent. If you already have a good sub, the Sierra bass advantage somewhat get reduced importance, and the 340SE upper registers are already really good so both are good choices, I guess it would depend on amplification, budget & style. Well maybe as some have said, maybe a bit clearer dialog for HT... Not sure many non-audio oriented people would notice... Not because there's not a difference to be heard, because they'd listen to the movie, and not the speakers, and the 340SE are also very good at resolving details.
If you really want improved bass and/or imaging/soundstage, I'd say it's worth it, detail/resolution, it seems to improve slightly on my system & in my room, but not drastically, but maybe with better electronics the difference would become more evident, or maybe after break in... There seems to be a difference, but there's not a world of a difference so far, but I think we're at a point where diminishing returns kick in, where adding a lot of $$$ only improves things slightly
in that area.
Probably more to come after more listening/breakin, but so far sooooo good!