Purchased Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers/Horizon. Am I crazy, or is my room bad? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 268Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 322 Old 08-10-2015, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
SchattenJager's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Purchased Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers/Horizon. Am I crazy, or is my room bad?

I purchased Sierra Towers and Horizon with RAAL tweeters after reading all of the rave reviews and comments here and elsewhere, and after a couple of weeks of off-and-on reviewing, I'm wondering if there's something wrong with the room or setup.

Equipment:
  • Denon AVR-3312ci
  • Ascend Sierra RAAL Tower (x2)
  • Ascend Sierra RAAL Horizon
  • SVS PB-13 Ultra
  • Onkyo HT-S770 (L/R) for comparison
  • Pioneer PDP-5080HD

I set them up so the mains are about 7.5' apart and 12' from the listening position. I calibrated them with Audyssey MultEQ XT using two listening positions (the two seats of the parallel loveseat).

Audyssey put the L/R at -1.0dB and -2.5dB, respectively. It put the sub at -4.0dB. It wanted to cross over the mains at 40Hz, but I didn't feel that was right, and set it manually to 80Hz.

The first thing I did was compare them to the crapbox Onkyo HTiB speakers I've had for about 15 years, the HT-S770. I streamed lossless music from my PC using Foobar2000 and switched back and forth using the 3312's A/B function, changing from a 2.1 DSP to Direct. I made sure to use various tracks I knew to be high quality and was familiar with. Diana Krall's The Look of Love, the live version of Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over, etc.

I was surprised to hear the mid-bass to be about equal between the two pairs, in loudness and quality. The lower bass was considerably better coming from the Sierra Towers (in fact, I could barely hear a difference when I turned the sub off).

What astonished me, though, was that the highs were much smoother coming from the Onkyos. I felt the Sierras were harsh, almost staticy at first. The Onkyos employ soft dome tweeters. Maybe I'm just more used to that sound. This is the first time I've experienced ribbon tweeters.

I also noticed that the soundstage wasn't much improved over the Onkyos. The perceived width was similar, with decent imaging from both that made it seem like the sound was coming from the center. I expected to be enveloped by the Sierras much more, with live music having that feeling like you're actually there. I didn't really feel that with either. It still felt like sound coming from speakers.

I could say that vocals were a little more prominent with the Sierras. The Onkyos had a bit of sibilance issues where hard S-es and T-s ended up sounding like SH and TH. The Sierras didn't have this problem.

For movies, I thought the two were about equal with dialog a little more clear from the Sierras, with the Horizon tackling that duty. Clear dialog was one of the main reasons for my upgrade, so I'm relatively happy here. However, I don't feel the 'presence' improved much, which was also something I was looking for.

My wife thinks I'm crazy for spending as much as I did when she feels the old speakers were 'just as good'. Which is insane, given that the Onkyos were part of a $400 set (including a sub and receiver) purchased a decade and a half ago.

That leaves me wondering if there's something else going on. Given the glowing critiques the Sierras have received when compared to much better speakers than the Onkyos, I am having a hard time believing my own ears.

Below are some photos of the setup (sorry for the mess) after I have removed the compared Onkyos (which were placed on the inside). Can anyone see any glaring issues with the room/placement? I also plan on getting some acoustic treatments to place behind each main speaker and on the right wall at the first reflection point, and a bass trap in the corner the sub is in.

Close up of the front:


Panoramic (the Onkyos I used to compare are sitting on the left side here):


Behind the listening positions:
oneeyeblind likes this.
SchattenJager is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 322 Old 08-10-2015, 03:25 PM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Zorba922's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 13,683
Mentioned: 249 Post(s)
Tagged: 4 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7684 Post(s)
Liked: 5841
I'd experiment with:

1. Turning off Audyssey and just comparing the speakers in a Pure Direct mode, all sound processing and EQ/tone turned off.
2. With the subwoofer on, and then off.
3. With the crossover point at 80, then 60, then 40Hz.
4. With different sources, including CD, DVD, and BR.

Also, I would maybe add an extra 2-3 feet between the towers so that you create more of an equilateral triangle with the listening position.
Cinepro, oneeyeblind and kenoh89 like this.
Zorba922 is offline  
post #3 of 322 Old 08-10-2015, 03:50 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
dsrussell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Corona, CA.
Posts: 5,836
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2263 Post(s)
Liked: 3110
Are you crazy? Not at all. No matter how well a speaker is regarded by others, it may not be the best speaker for you. That is why personal auditions are so important. You have 30 days to try these out, so do give the speakers some time and if you don’t like the sound of the tweeter, EQ them down a bit. Try minor location adjustments (nearer to wall, farther from wall, different toe-ins, no toe-in, etc. Follow what Zorba mentioned. Also note that not all ribbon tweeters are the same, but check each tweeter closely to see if one is giving you a problem (anything can happen during shipping and ribbon tweeters are notoriously fragile). I have ribbon tweeters on my Maggies and they are wonderful, airy and gives chills when the music soars.

Music area: Magnepan 3.6, McIntosh MC2205 amp & C48 preamp, SVS SB13-Ultra, Oppo BDP 95, dbx 3BX, and assorted equipment.
Movie area: EMP Tek E5Bi (were rebadged to R5Bi), RBH/EMP Tek R55Ti, PSA S3000i, Denon X2000, Oppo BDP 83.
dsrussell is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 322 Old 08-10-2015, 04:04 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
RayGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 7,506
Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3086 Post(s)
Liked: 2870
Well, you've been listening to the same speakers for 15 years ... think your ears are used to hearing the sound of the Onkyos? Maybe?

In addition to the above excellent suggestions, I would submit that the speakers are new and probably need a little break-in time. Run them while you are at work at moderate volume for a number of days, then re-test. You may find that some of that harshness you are now hearing is gone. Once the break-in period is done, spend some time just listening. Let your brain adapt to the new sounds it is hearing for the first time. Also, play a bit with speaker position and seating position, as well.

I would also submit that the additional treble being reproduced by the RAAL (that wasn't present in the Onkyos) may be highly affected by the room. I note a lot of bare walls, with nothing to either diffuse or absorb the treble energy. Consider some temporary sound absorption for the walls ... hang some bath towels, or blankets on the side walls and perhaps some behind the speakers, as well.

Patience .... high quality components require more careful placement and configuration to sound their best.
darthray, Djoel and ahblaza like this.

Last edited by RayGuy; 08-10-2015 at 04:12 PM.
RayGuy is online now  
post #5 of 322 Old 08-10-2015, 04:41 PM
Advanced Member
 
HOTDIGITY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: SouthWest of Cleveland, OH
Posts: 781
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Liked: 90
In addition to the other suggestions, here's a few more to make your head spin some more!


It appears to be your basement, but I'm not sure if you have a drop ceiling. If you do, you can experiment by hanging blankets from it between the panels and grid, letting them hang down. Try some along the sides, behind the speakers and behind your listening position. If you don't have a drop ceiling you could try putting those removable 3M hooks on the walls to hang from. Try to eliminate the first reflection points along the sidewall(s), and any excessive slap echoes.


Next, if you can decrease the distance of the listening position to the speakers or increase the distance between the front towers to get the two distances as close to each other as possible, that would help. Also, play with toe-in. The RAAL tweeters used on these have less horizontal and vertical dispersion compared to a dome tweeter.


As suggested, I would switch off all EQ and play them free and clear.


Have fun!
HOTDIGITY is offline  
post #6 of 322 Old 08-10-2015, 04:59 PM
Advanced Member
 
TKNice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 518
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked: 119
Interesting. I recently bought Sierra 2s (the bookshelf version of what you have) and I was blown away by their realism, clarity, and imaging compared to my old speakers. I run mine in reference stereo mode which, as others have said, has no EQ or filtering going on. What kind of music are you testing?

I am loving Pandora and Apple Music discovery these days. Every well recorded track I come across with real instruments sounds amazing. If this is not the case for you after a few weeks, I'd send them back.

Video: JVC RS540 w/Anamorphic Lens & 122" 2.35:1 CIH
Audio: Marantz SR7010 / XPA-3 / UPA-7 Sources: Nvidia Shield / Xbox One X
7. Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 EX (L R C), Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE (side & rear)
2. Subs: SVS PC-2000 & eD A3-300 12" / Sensory: Aura Pro Bass Shakers
4 HTM-200SE for Atmos/DTS:X Theater Pics / Desktop
TKNice is offline  
post #7 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
SchattenJager's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
I'd experiment with:

1. Turning off Audyssey and just comparing the speakers in a Pure Direct mode, all sound processing and EQ/tone turned off.
2. With the subwoofer on, and then off.
3. With the crossover point at 80, then 60, then 40Hz.
4. With different sources, including CD, DVD, and BR.

Also, I would maybe add an extra 2-3 feet between the towers so that you create more of an equilateral triangle with the listening position.
I'll definitely do some more testing, but I have listened quite a bit in Pure Direct. I think Audyssey really helped my room, because Pure Direct makes it sound a bit thin and anemic.

I've also tried it with and without the subwoofer. As I mentioned, I can barely tell a difference with music when it's off vs. on, because the towers to such a good job producing the bass. It makes me wonder if I bit off more than I needed with towers, given that I have a good sub.

I'll do some more experimenting with the crossover. Like I said, Audyssey wanted to set it to 40Hz, and knowing that THX recommends 80, I set it to 80. I like the idea of my sub handling as much as possible because it's so capable, but I'll try lower and see how it sounds.

I've mostly been listening to streamed FLAC, with a couple BDs thrown in (The Dark Knight and Toy Story 3 so far). I'm relying on my consoles (PS4 and XBox One) for CD/DVD/BD playback. I have a couple SACDs that I'd like to try out, but haven't been able to find my PS3 cables since I moved (I've been in this house about 2 months now). Hoping to find that soon.
SchattenJager is offline  
post #8 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
SchattenJager's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
Are you crazy? Not at all. No matter how well a speaker is regarded by others, it may not be the best speaker for you. That is why personal auditions are so important. You have 30 days to try these out, so do give the speakers some time and if you don’t like the sound of the tweeter, EQ them down a bit. Try minor location adjustments (nearer to wall, farther from wall, different toe-ins, no toe-in, etc. Follow what Zorba mentioned. Also note that not all ribbon tweeters are the same, but check each tweeter closely to see if one is giving you a problem (anything can happen during shipping and ribbon tweeters are notoriously fragile). I have ribbon tweeters on my Maggies and they are wonderful, airy and gives chills when the music soars.
I've had the speakers for over two weeks, but I've been so busy (just had twins. ) that I've only been able to put in about 6-8 hours so far. I really need to put in more time to make sure these are the speakers for me before time is up.

I've experimented a little bit with positioning and toe-in, with no change in how they sound at the seat, but I'll experiment some more. I didn't think about damage, but the tweeters don't look or sound damaged at a glance. I'll look at it a little closer to make sure.
SchattenJager is offline  
post #9 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 08:01 AM
Member
 
Dk3y's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Chicago
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Liked: 41
Room treatment can make a huge difference in creating better sound and that can really make sierras shine. But then, your onkyo speakers can sound better too with the same treatment.
oneeyeblind likes this.
Dk3y is offline  
post #10 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
SchattenJager's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Well, you've been listening to the same speakers for 15 years ... think your ears are used to hearing the sound of the Onkyos? Maybe?

In addition to the above excellent suggestions, I would submit that the speakers are new and probably need a little break-in time. Run them while you are at work at moderate volume for a number of days, then re-test. You may find that some of that harshness you are now hearing is gone. Once the break-in period is done, spend some time just listening. Let your brain adapt to the new sounds it is hearing for the first time. Also, play a bit with speaker position and seating position, as well.

I would also submit that the additional treble being reproduced by the RAAL (that wasn't present in the Onkyos) may be highly affected by the room. I note a lot of bare walls, with nothing to either diffuse or absorb the treble energy. Consider some temporary sound absorption for the walls ... hang some bath towels, or blankets on the side walls and perhaps some behind the speakers, as well.

Patience .... high quality components require more careful placement and configuration to sound their best.
Very true. I suppose it's safe to say I've been seriously institutionalized with the Onkyos after having them for so long, although I've done auditions with other speakers at audio stores and could hear a marked improvement. That makes me wonder if it's my room.

I've been torn on how to feel about break-in. Some people say it's psychological, or your brain just getting used to it, while others say it's mechanical. Maybe I'll just let them go for a while and see.

I definitely need to consider room treatments. I plan on getting some panels, but I'll experiment with blankets/towels for now (good suggestion, didn't think of that!)

I've marked the places where I plan on placing panels. Let me know if this looks right:

SchattenJager is offline  
post #11 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 08:16 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Elihawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
Posts: 6,128
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1969 Post(s)
Liked: 2129
Talk to Dave at Ascend Acoutstic...he will have some good suggestion and try some of the suggestion above. As pointe dout, you spent a lot of time listening to one speaker with a dome tweeter, so your ears/brain are adjusting. Ribbon tweeter, IMHO, excell fot music. So when the twins are sleeping, put in something that you love, turn the volume up just a little, so as to not wake the young ones, (i like to turn the lights off) and just listen to the high end. If it doesn't wow you, by all mean return the speakers! The high end on my Philharmonitor-BMR made an immediate impact!
oneeyeblind likes this.

Set up #1: EMP e5Ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, SVS NSD SB12 sub, Marantz Slimeline 1504 AV receiver
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and EMPtek10i10i sub, Denon 1910 AV receiver
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only, Yamaha RXV-363 AV receiver
Elihawk is online now  
post #12 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 08:30 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
cesar123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Land of Entrapment
Posts: 1,080
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 390 Post(s)
Liked: 579
For acoustic treatments, I always recommend checking out RealTraps and GIK Acoustics.
oneeyeblind likes this.

Yippee-ki-yay...
cesar123 is offline  
post #13 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 08:44 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Mr.SoftDome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 1,556
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 667 Post(s)
Liked: 541
Here's a thought. Maybe you just aren't into them. This is what happens sometimes when folks follow the crowd.

Even now the responses are its your room, it's your lack of panels. It's your lack of run-in.

Many years ago and not this brand I was new to this and everyone stirred me towards an ID brand. Greatest thing since Bacardi/Coke. Better than speakers twice their cost etc etc..

Bought them. Didn't care for them and everyone on line telling me they need to run-in. It's my room etc. I was a bit clueless back then and convinced myself it was me being a newb.

I kept them. Missed the return window and still hated them. If anything came out of it I learned to trust my own ears. It got me on a path to go audition speakers and discover what I really liked.

Trust your ears. Panels and some run-in will help but the sonic overall character of the speaker will not change so drastically that you will go from ehh to yippee. What you are hearing is an overall flavor of the speaker. Things will help with run-in etc but you will not go from strawberry sound to a chocolate sound if you know what I mean. Bass may tighten up and imaging may improve with panels.

Don't talk yourself into something because folks on-line are telling you your doing all wrong and be patient.

Good Luck

Rick

Last edited by Mr.SoftDome; 08-11-2015 at 08:56 AM. Reason: spelling
Mr.SoftDome is offline  
post #14 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
SchattenJager's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post
Here's a thought. Maybe you just aren't into them. This is what happens sometimes when folks follow the crowd.

Even now the responses are its your room, it's your lack of panels. It's your lack of run-in.

Many yeRs ago and not this brand I was new to this and everyone stirred me towards an ID brand. Greatest thing since Bacardi/Coke. Better than speakers twice their IAd cost etc etc..

Bought them. Didn't care for them and everyone on line telling me they need to run-in. It's my room etc. I was a bit clueless back then and convinced myself it was me being a newb.

I kept them. Missed the return window and still hated them. If anything came out of it I learned to trust my own ears. It got me on a path to go audition speakers and discover what I really liked.

Trust your ears. Panels and some run-in will help but the sonic overall character of the speaker will not change so drastically that you will go from ehh to yippee. What you are hearing is an overall flavor of the speaker. Things will help with run-in etc but you will not go from. Strawberry sound to a chocolate sound if you know what I mean.

dont talk yourself into something because folks on-line are telling you you doing all wrong and be patient.

Good Luck

Rick
That's a good point. The last thing I want is to be stuck with expensive speakers I don't like. I will do what I can to improve the environment in the time-frame I have, but if I'm still not satisfied, I will return them.

If you don't mind me asking, what speakers were you talked into that you ended up hating? And what did you replace them with?
RayGuy likes this.
SchattenJager is offline  
post #15 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 09:09 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
ousooner2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 2,486
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 292 Post(s)
Liked: 179
1. Spread them out more. Try to get around 10' apart or wider since you're 12' away
2. Use ALL positions (8 total on MultEQ XT I believe) on your AutoEQ setup.
3. Play with the spotting. Don't toe them in as much, try a little more, etc.

Let them play for awhile and your ears adjust
Muza and oneeyeblind like this.

Currently Auditioning: Klipsch RP-150M
SOLD: EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
FOR SALE --- 1 EMP Tek/RBH Sound e1010i sub: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-au...al-10-sub.html
ousooner2 is offline  
post #16 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 09:18 AM
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 850
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 698 Post(s)
Liked: 360
The reason those speakers have the "rave reviews" on forums like this, is that people who have very little experience with audio buy them and think they're amazing, then spread their opinions all over the forums like wild fire, even though they have very little to compare to. The internet direct companies are becoming a poison that is putting a low ceiling of recognizable quality on the industry.

For some reason it's "cool" to like these small companies that sell direct and "uncool" to like the companies that have years and years of R&D put into their speakers. There's nothing about Ascend speakers that makes them a "deal." Go borrow a pair of similarly priced towers from a local dealer and compare. Or keep what you have, and waste time trying to add room treatments to make them sound acceptable. Sounds like a nightmare. Room treatments should enhance a setup you already love, NOT "fix" what a speaker lacks.

Can't wait for the internet direct lemming backlash on this post.
Contuzzi is offline  
post #17 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 09:42 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Zorba922's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 13,683
Mentioned: 249 Post(s)
Tagged: 4 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7684 Post(s)
Liked: 5841
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contuzzi View Post
The reason those speakers have the "rave reviews" on forums like this, is that people who have very little experience with audio buy them and think they're amazing, then spread their opinions all over the forums like wild fire, even though they have very little to compare to.
Yes, there are starry-eyed newbies in the ID customer base.

And there are starry-eyed newbies who walk into a Bose store, a Best Buy Magnolia store, or a (dwindling number of) audio boutique stores, who get similarly taken there. You don't seem to complain so much about that phenomenon, however. Why's that?

There are also lots of people with prior audio experience who become vocal supporters of the ID business model.

And there are starry-eyed newbies who start with ID speakers then go out and listen to non-ID speakers and conclude that (gasp!) their ID speakers actually compete pretty well on a price-performance level.

So, it's a far less simplistic picture than what you're providing.

Of note, the people who complain the most about the ID model are usually the brick and mortar audio dealers, who know full well that they simply cannot compete. I'd like to assume that you're not one of them.

Last edited by Zorba922; 08-11-2015 at 09:58 AM.
Zorba922 is offline  
post #18 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 10:02 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Squirrel!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,776
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 823 Post(s)
Liked: 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dk3y View Post
Room treatment can make a huge difference in creating better sound and that can really make sierras shine. But then, your onkyo speakers can sound better too with the same treatment.
This was the exact thing I was going to post.

When I went from some decent bookshelves (ID, no name - comparable to the Onkyo speakers) to my MartinLogan Preface with planar tweeters, my experience was the exact opposite of the OP. The sound quality improvement was instantaneous. A revelation, one might say.

I personally believe you need more in that room. Wall treatments #1 . Add some more furniture/reposition what you have already.

I wasn't real pleased with ribbons I have heard. Planars on the other hand is just absolute heaven to my ears. But then others like ribbons better. YMMV.
oneeyeblind likes this.

Main: Mitsubishi 73736|OTA|fireTV|Sony BDP-S1100|Denon AVR4311CI|MartinLogan Preface|Phantom|MartinLogan Encore TF|1-1000watt & 1-500watt DIY 12" Subs|2 Bass Shaker|APC H15 Power Conditioner|Harmony Hub|Sennheiser RS 160|SMSL B1 BT Rx|Linksys SE2500
MBR: Vizio VF550M|OTA|fireTV3|Sony BDP-S1100|Denon AVR-X1000|Chane A1rx-c|Dayton SAT-BK|MartinLogan Dynamo 300|Belkin PF30|Harmony 550
Squirrel! is offline  
post #19 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 10:09 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Squirrel!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,776
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 823 Post(s)
Liked: 514
Quote:
Sounds like a nightmare. Room treatments should enhance a setup you already love, NOT "fix" what a speaker lacks.
I agree. It IS a nightmare. I put together a fantabulous budget system for my son that includes a Denon X1000 and Philharmonics Affordable Accuracy Pioneer towers and stock Pioneer bookshelves for surrounds. The sound is horrendous. While I KNOW it should sound awesome (and for the most part it does) it sounds terrible due to the echo. 2 story high ceilings, no carpet, open into a VERY reflective, tile floored kitchen/dining room, and you have an acoustic mess that only room treatments will be able to correct. I feel the OP basement room is similar in the reflections he is getting from how clean/clear the RAALs are.
oneeyeblind likes this.

Main: Mitsubishi 73736|OTA|fireTV|Sony BDP-S1100|Denon AVR4311CI|MartinLogan Preface|Phantom|MartinLogan Encore TF|1-1000watt & 1-500watt DIY 12" Subs|2 Bass Shaker|APC H15 Power Conditioner|Harmony Hub|Sennheiser RS 160|SMSL B1 BT Rx|Linksys SE2500
MBR: Vizio VF550M|OTA|fireTV3|Sony BDP-S1100|Denon AVR-X1000|Chane A1rx-c|Dayton SAT-BK|MartinLogan Dynamo 300|Belkin PF30|Harmony 550
Squirrel! is offline  
post #20 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 10:23 AM
Advanced Member
 
zpatter1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 810
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 390 Post(s)
Liked: 229
If you don't like them more than HTIB speakers, send them back. Whether they are great speakers or not isn't the issue...when you spend that kind of money YOU should love them. You shouldn't need to add acoustic treatments to like the speakers more than 15 year old HTIB speakers. Play with positioning, sure, but don't spend money on treatments until you find speakers you love and will keep.

Also, if you always use your subwoofer, there is no need for floor standing speakers. Save money and get bookshelves or spend the same and get even better bookshelves.
oneeyeblind and Kini62 like this.

Front L&R: Polk RTi A3 (cherry finish)
Center: Polk CSi A6 (cherry finish)
Surrounds: Polk FXi A6 (black finish)
Subwoofer: Dual Sealed SI-HT 18" with iNuke 3000dsp
Receiver: Yamaha RX-V673
TV: 55" LCD
zpatter1 is offline  
post #21 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 10:28 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
fookoo_2010's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,187
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked: 119
Most likely it is the room. The bare walls don't help and exacerbate the audio with too much reflection. One needs a mixture of absorption and reflections that don't necessarily have to be with expensive room treatments. The room just seems to be too bare.
oneeyeblind and Squirrel! like this.
fookoo_2010 is offline  
post #22 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 10:47 AM
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 850
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 698 Post(s)
Liked: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Yes, there are starry-eyed newbies in the ID customer base.

And there are starry-eyed newbies who walk into a Bose store, a Best Buy Magnolia store, or a (dwindling number of) audio boutique stores, who get similarly taken there. You don't seem to complain so much about that phenomenon, however. Why's that?

There are also lots of people with prior audio experience who become vocal supporters of the ID business model.

And there are starry-eyed newbies who start with ID speakers then go out and listen to non-ID speakers and conclude that (gasp!) their ID speakers actually compete pretty well on a price-performance level.

So, it's a far less simplistic picture than what you're providing.
Of note, the people who complain the most about the ID model are usually the brick and mortar audio dealers, who know full well that they simply cannot compete. I'd like to assume that you're not one of them.
Your analysis of my post is pretty short sighted. Why would I complain about Bose, when the internet is full of information against Bose? And as much as I think Magnolia at Best Buy is a joke -- how exactly would someone get "taken" by buying something there? They don't have junk, they just don't have knowledgeable staff. *EDIT: I just thought of some way they could sway you wrong -- expensive HDMI cables, etc. But again, I don't see how this has anything to do with my original argument.*

The problem is that I've heard MOST of the highly regarded ID stuff, and find almost all of it is NOT a deal. Oh, and no to your last point. Although I would think anyone in the industry would have the MOST experience truly sitting and listening to all different kinds of speakers and setups over the years. I'd be much more inclined to trust them than someone online who needs to constantly go out of his way to promote an ID company for whatever reason.

It's funny how brands like Emotiva and SVS are SUCH a steal, yet they're selling retail now with full margin. I wonder which ID company will be next and somehow retain retail margins even though you "saved so much" and got such good value ordering manufacturer direct.

All I have to say to the original poster is, return the speakers while you can. Or regret it later when you are stuck with them.

Last edited by Contuzzi; 08-11-2015 at 10:56 AM.
Contuzzi is offline  
post #23 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:03 AM
Advanced Member
 
SyntheticShrimp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 534
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 241 Post(s)
Liked: 212
I suggest you at least try the new speakers without Audyssey engaged. A lot of people have drunk the marketing koolaid on it, but especially in the case of the Ascends it does more harm than good.
RayGuy likes this.
SyntheticShrimp is offline  
post #24 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:22 AM
AVS ***** Member
 
mthomas47's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 8,488
Mentioned: 378 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5656 Post(s)
Liked: 11224
Like several of the other posters, I believe that room treatments would help your overall audio experience. But I don't know that they will compensate for speakers you may not happen to like. Before concluding that, however, I would, as others have suggested, keep working with the Sierras. Separation in sound is largely a matter of speaker separation, relative to the MLP. An equilateral triangle is probably best, but if you can't quite achieve that, I would still spread the fronts further apart. 7.5' is very close together, particularly from 12' away. At 10' or 11' of separation, you should hear a good deal more separation in the sound. Try temporarily eliminating your center and developing a phantom center. That should help you with toe-in. In your photos, it looks as if the speaker to the left (facing the display) is toed-in more than the right speaker. It sometimes takes some effort to find the ideal toe-in for a speaker.

With respect to your crossovers, I would, as you say, just experiment to see whether you can hear any difference. If not, 80Hz is a good default. You said that your subs don't seem to be doing much. A lot of people find that they enjoy setting their subs higher than where Audyssey sets them. Starting from -4, you could run your subs 4-6db hotter with no problem. If you want to go hotter than that, I would recommend increasing the gain on your subs, re-running Audyssey, and keeping your sub volume controls in your AVR at 0 to +3 at the most. Ed Mullen of SVS specifically recommends starting with the gain high enough to give you very low initial numbers during calibration--think -9 or -10, to give you lots of adjustability without exceeding 0, or a couple of decibels above that, in your AVR sub volume.

As several other people have suggested, I also would try listening to the speakers both with and without Audyssey for a while. Audyssey should definitely help with bass, and with clearer mid-range, but it can exacerbate high frequencies if you don't have the tweeters pointed where they need to be, for instance. Once you decide whether or not you like the speakers for themselves, good calibrations, like room treatments, can augment your experience. But good calibrations can take some practice.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Mike
oneeyeblind likes this.

GUIDE TO SUBWOOFER CALIBRATION AND BASS PREFERENCES

* The Guide linked above is a comprehensive guide to Audio & HT systems, including:
Speaker placements & Room treatments; HT calibration & Room EQ; Room gain; Bass
Preferences; Subwoofer Buyer's Guide: Sealed/ported; ID subs; Subwoofer placement.

Last edited by mthomas47; 08-11-2015 at 11:28 AM.
mthomas47 is online now  
post #25 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:32 AM
Advanced Member
 
TKNice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 518
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contuzzi View Post
Your analysis of my post is pretty short sighted. Why would I complain about Bose, when the internet is full of information against Bose? And as much as I think Magnolia at Best Buy is a joke -- how exactly would someone get "taken" by buying something there? They don't have junk, they just don't have knowledgeable staff. *EDIT: I just thought of some way they could sway you wrong -- expensive HDMI cables, etc. But again, I don't see how this has anything to do with my original argument.*

The problem is that I've heard MOST of the highly regarded ID stuff, and find almost all of it is NOT a deal. Oh, and no to your last point. Although I would think anyone in the industry would have the MOST experience truly sitting and listening to all different kinds of speakers and setups over the years. I'd be much more inclined to trust them than someone online who needs to constantly go out of his way to promote an ID company for whatever reason.

It's funny how brands like Emotiva and SVS are SUCH a steal, yet they're selling retail now with full margin. I wonder which ID company will be next and somehow retain retail margins even though you "saved so much" and got such good value ordering manufacturer direct.

All I have to say to the original poster is, return the speakers while you can. Or regret it later when you are stuck with them.
Sounds to me like you just want to argue with people. Trolls are Trolls.

Video: JVC RS540 w/Anamorphic Lens & 122" 2.35:1 CIH
Audio: Marantz SR7010 / XPA-3 / UPA-7 Sources: Nvidia Shield / Xbox One X
7. Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 EX (L R C), Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE (side & rear)
2. Subs: SVS PC-2000 & eD A3-300 12" / Sensory: Aura Pro Bass Shakers
4 HTM-200SE for Atmos/DTS:X Theater Pics / Desktop
TKNice is offline  
post #26 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:37 AM
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 850
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 698 Post(s)
Liked: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by TKNice View Post
Sounds to me like you just want to argue with people. Trolls are Trolls.
I guarantee if I didn't happen to offend the speakers you own, you wouldn't have even responded to my post. Since you own the speakers I'm putting down, you decide it's "trolling." Oh well.
Contuzzi is offline  
post #27 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:43 AM
Advanced Member
 
TKNice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 518
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contuzzi View Post
I guarantee if I didn't happen to offend the speakers you own, you wouldn't have even responded to my post. Since you own the speakers I'm putting down, you decide it's "trolling." Oh well.
No, you are certainly entitled to your own opinions about ID companies and their value to customers. I decided it's trolling based upon how you carried yourself up to this point. You called it an argument which says it all. I won't be replying again, except to help the OP.

"..But again, I don't see how this has anything to do with my original argument.*"
oneeyeblind likes this.

Video: JVC RS540 w/Anamorphic Lens & 122" 2.35:1 CIH
Audio: Marantz SR7010 / XPA-3 / UPA-7 Sources: Nvidia Shield / Xbox One X
7. Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 EX (L R C), Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE (side & rear)
2. Subs: SVS PC-2000 & eD A3-300 12" / Sensory: Aura Pro Bass Shakers
4 HTM-200SE for Atmos/DTS:X Theater Pics / Desktop
TKNice is offline  
post #28 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:44 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
dsrussell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Corona, CA.
Posts: 5,836
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2263 Post(s)
Liked: 3110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contuzzi View Post
The problem is that I've heard MOST of the highly regarded ID stuff, and find almost all of it is NOT a deal. Oh, and no to your last point. Although I would think anyone in the industry would have the MOST experience truly sitting and listening to all different kinds of speakers and setups over the years. I'd be much more inclined to trust them than someone online who needs to constantly go out of his way to promote an ID company for whatever reason.

It's funny how brands like Emotiva and SVS are SUCH a steal, yet they're selling retail now with full margin. I wonder which ID company will be next and somehow retain retail margins even though you "saved so much" and got such good value ordering manufacturer direct.

All I have to say to the original poster is, return the speakers while you can. Or regret it later when you are stuck with them.
Obviously you have had some poor experience with I.D. companies. You also paint with a very wide brush in your attacks. The fact is, one has 30 days (or more) to try speakers or subwoofers in the home. In-home auditions are the best way to test speakers … period. The O.P. has had these speakers for two weeks and so far does not like them. Of course the members here will suggest certain things to make sure he has set them up properly and has tried different positioning. If you’ve bothered to read the many threads similar to this, you’d see that these recommendations have often helped. What good are we, and this site, if we told every person just to send them back without offering basic advice. As far as room treatments, it has already been suggested to tack thick towels on some of the bare walls to see if the brightness the OP doesn’t like is helped. Cost is zero and time is minimal. No need for expensive room treatments either way. If it helps, have the wife pick out paintings, decorative art that fits the room scheme and enjoy. If it towel experiment doesn’t help, send the speakers back.

I do agree with you that I’ve heard some very highly regarded (and expensive I.D. speakers) that I simply wouldn’t own. So what? I’ve also auditioned some very inexpensive I.D. speakers that I enjoyed much more than some of the usual commercial suspects at two to four times the cost. It has already been noted by myself and a few other posters that perhaps the Ascends are not the speakers he had hoped for. We all have differing opinions on any speaker, be it I.D. or commercial. That’s a given. And because you have had bad experiences, doesn’t mean we are “lemmings” or are “promoters” if we’ve had good experiences. You have a very offensive tone to your posts, Contuzzi, which is totally unnecessary.

Music area: Magnepan 3.6, McIntosh MC2205 amp & C48 preamp, SVS SB13-Ultra, Oppo BDP 95, dbx 3BX, and assorted equipment.
Movie area: EMP Tek E5Bi (were rebadged to R5Bi), RBH/EMP Tek R55Ti, PSA S3000i, Denon X2000, Oppo BDP 83.
dsrussell is offline  
post #29 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:48 AM
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 850
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 698 Post(s)
Liked: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
Obviously you have had some poor experience with I.D. companies. You also paint with a very wide brush in your attacks. The fact is, one has 30 days (or more) to try speakers or subwoofers in the home. In-home auditions are the best way to test speakers … period. The O.P. has had these speakers for two weeks and so far does not like them. Of course the members here will suggest certain things to make sure he has set them up properly and has tried different positioning. If you’ve bothered to read the many threads similar to this, you’d see that these recommendations have often helped. What good are we, and this site, if we told every person just to send them back without offering basic advice. As far as room treatments, it has already been suggested to tack thick towels on some of the bare walls to see if the brightness the OP doesn’t like is helped. Cost is zero and time is minimal. No need for expensive room treatments either way. If it helps, have the wife pick out paintings, decorative art that fits the room scheme and enjoy. If it towel experiment doesn’t help, send the speakers back.

I do agree with you that I’ve heard some very highly regarded (and expensive I.D. speakers) that I simply wouldn’t own. So what? I’ve also auditioned some very inexpensive I.D. speakers that I enjoyed much more than some of the usual commercial suspects at two to four times the cost. It has already been noted by myself and a few other posters that perhaps the Ascends are not the speakers he had hoped for. We all have differing opinions on any speaker, be it I.D. or commercial.

That’s a given. And because you have had bad experiences, doesn’t mean we are “lemmings” or are “promoters” if we’ve had good experiences. You have a very offensive tone to your posts, Contuzzi, which is totally unnecessary.
There are also non-ID companies that I feel are a terrible value, as you've said. My problem is that THEY paint the notion that the ONLY choice is to "go ID, and anything else is nonsensical" with a very wide brush. People on here are way too interested in sticking it to big business and buying direct. Which is such flawed logic on it's own.

EDIT: Also, I have heard (as I previously said) MOST of the top rated ID stuff. Seaton subs, SVS's best stuff, HSU's best (owned one! imagine that), Emotiva, Ascend, and Aperion. I know there are a few others but I can't think of them off the top of my head. I guess I haven't heard anything from Funk Audio. So you got me there.

Last edited by Contuzzi; 08-11-2015 at 11:52 AM.
Contuzzi is offline  
post #30 of 322 Old 08-11-2015, 11:50 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 2,623
Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1314 Post(s)
Liked: 2165
I would return them,

If you don't notice any major sound improvement over your HTIB Onkyos, return them! Sure, you can improve the acoustics of your room, get the spacing better, add a touch of EQ etc. but it could be the ribbons are not to your liking. Some speakers are very room sensitive but ribbons are less sensitive generally since they limit vertical dispersion. Yes, I've liked some ribbons in the past (Infinity Kappas and Betas specifically) but overall it is not something I specifically look for in speaker designs.

Back in the '80's, I was involved in repairing a speaker system for a friend of mine. He had some British speakers, Yamaha M-80 amplifiers, 1/3rd octave EQ and M&K subwoofers--very impressive for the time. I asked him about clearing up all the madness and finding speakers to give the sound I like. He told me what his father told him as follows:

1. Listen to many different brands and try to figure out what model of that brand you enjoy the most. Don't worry about the price tag, you are learning--not purchasing at this point.
2. Once you find at least THREE speaker system you like--figure out what they have in common then learn how that design works (read a book)
3. Listen to speakers in your price range that use that design and pick the one you enjoy the most.
4. If you are stuck between two speaker designs as equals, pick the most efficient design.
5. If the speaker sounds bad to you, bring it back and start over.

I ended up liking Infinity Kappa 9, KEF 104.2, Polk Audio SDA SRS and Klipsch LaScala. Basically, sealed box, ported box, passive radiator ported box and front loaded horn. The highs are ribbons, domes or horns so that did not help. Oddly enough, they do have things in common with each other although not on the surface.

Another tip, don't become a fanboy of the brand--I've heard many speakers made by the above 4 brands that sounded terrible--as in, they sounded bad within seconds and time did not make them any better.
oneeyeblind and ambesolman like this.
18Hurts is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Speakers

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off