All good points in here OP. Both sets are going to be more alike than different. Their responses are very similar. The slight bump at 1.2kHz is VERY narrow and shouldn't really be an issue with the RBH towers. Both are flat as can be for this price and will sound great to the majority of users interested in them.
I was also looking at the Ascend 340 setup a few years back, but decided on the RBH/EMP setup. Reasons? Cost and where they were being set up. Mine are in the main living room so I need something that looked nice as well.
Ascend 340's = $568 (on sale for $500 right now)
Stands = $180
Center = $300
Add another $104 for shipping and I was at $1,152. If you didn't want the stands..$934. Most will need stands though so that will need to be added. With the sale price on the 340's now, you're looking at $1,084 w/ stands & $866 w/o stands
*During the BF sale (not sure if that's still going right now or not), but I picked up a 5.0 (e55's, e56 and e5's) for a good price. Less than they are now!
Compared to the Ascend setup above..
RBH r55ti = $556/pr
(they have clearance up right now for $225/ea...so $450/pr
RBH r56ci = $316
That's $872 shipped or $766 shipped if you went with the clearance r55's.
I didn't want stands with a newborn coming, thought the RBH's looked nicer and they were cheaper. They also the 30-day trial like Ascend so my mind was made up. Doesn't hurt they obviously know what they're doing with the RBH stuff and trickle down tech is likely. I assume that's how they get it priced so low. Honesty, either one will work great. Good luck!