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Join Date: Nov 2014
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Former Ascend (340 and 170) owner here. I love their accuracy and neutrality, and for mixed HT/music usage I'd highly recommend them.
However, if you CARE more about music than HT even though you use your system for both (this describes me), then you might want to try a less accurate yet more "musical" and "involving" speaker---I'm referring to the intangible qualities of the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 which I currently use. (Google up the pro reviews for them.) For the music I listen to---jazz, classical, acoustic and vocal-dominant alternative/rock---they have a lush and lovely, laid-back quality that makes me want to sit and listen to them for hours at a time...which I never experienced with the Ascends. Yes you do give up a little treble detail (they have a roll-off which is very forgiving of poor recordings and low-bitrate content such as streaming music) and transient speed however; to some people this comes across as a "veiled" or "dark" sound which they dislike...so as with most things audio, it comes back to your subjective preference in the end.
Music Direct is closing them out for about $300/shipped new, or $225 "demo" (I'm using quotes because mine appeared to be brand new, immaculate wrapping, zero scratches/marks, and still requiring the usual 20-30 hours of break-in time). They have the same 30 day money back policy as everyone else.
For your center, you can go with a completely different speaker for maximum detail/clarity during HT (I used to own the Ascend 340 center which I loved, but this time I went cheap with a $100 BIC FH-6 horn-loaded center at 1/3 the cost and 90% of the performance) since the center does 75% of HT content (mostly dialogue), and for surrounds you can go with something smaller and less expensive like the NHT SuperZero ($100/each on Amazon). As long as you volume match your center to your L/R speakers, the conventional wisdom that "you MUST match your front 3 speakers as closely as possible" doesn't really apply unless you are one to deliberately listen FOR subtle timbre discrepancies during brief scenes in blockbuster action movies with front-panning sound effects (assuming you're watching those movies on a DVD or Blue Ray rather than a cable or streaming signal which usually don't have the full surround audio content).
Plus I do all my music listening in 2-channel anyhow (much more natural soundstage)...so this mixed-front setup reallyprovides the best of both worlds!
Last edited by Zorba922; 08-06-2015 at 01:26 PM.