Audition # 5Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 Bookshelf Speakers
These speakers can be summed up in one word: smooth. They are very pleasant to listen to no matter what the material. The tweeter did not sound laid back or lacking to my ears, nor was it bright or overbearing; just right on the money. The only gripe I had with the tweeter is that it didn't have that open airy feel to it. One could blame the lack of airiness on the room interactions...who knows? The Sierra's had surprising tight, musical and impactful bass depending on the source material. I remember checking to see if the subwoofer was on even though I had already been told it was not (it wasn't). They certainly should be paired with a capable subwoofer, but they can handle 2-channel just fine if one is not on hand.
The Sierra's may have that boxy look that some do not care for, but it didn't bother me one bit. The pair in attendance were smothered in the Piano Black Gloss finish and were simply gorgeous. They were my second favorite speaker in the aesthetics department.
When it was all said and done, I really enjoyed the Ascend Sierra's. They sell for $900 per pair and come highly recommend (by me) for anyone looking for a bookshelf speaker at that price point. Is it the best $900/pair speaker I've heard? No. But the minor issues I had with it are easily surpassed by its ability to simply disappear, image like a son of a gun and play all day long without fatigue. It'd be interesting to hear a tower version of this speaker, perhaps with slightly larger woofers and a dedicated midrange driver (the midrange on the sierra-1's were slightly recessed at times, and the thinness could probably be resolved if you cross over to a capable subwoofer).
The Ascend Sierra is highly recommended.
P.S. The Sierra's may not be the best "speakers" I've heard at this price point, but they are
among the best bookshelf speakers.
In fact, I'll go against the group and admit that I even preferred them over the Dynaudio C1.4's we heard (crossing over to a subwoofer may change my opinion, but they were run full range). More on that later.