Audition of 4 mid-priced HT speakers - Page 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 89 Old 07-08-2017, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by socalsharky View Post
I have run the initial HT auditions of the Martin Logans, Chanes, and SVS Ultras, in that order. I used scenes from Gladiator, Avatar, Star Trek (2009), and Star Wars Episode 3. Everything was pretty much matching the results of the 2.0 testing, until I got to the SVS Ultras. They were noticeably stronger, with better vocals than the Chanes and ML's. I haven't tested the Ascends yet.

After testing the SVS however, I realized that I had not rerun the YPAO calibration between speakers. All of the music 2.0 tests were run in Pure Direct mode, which bypasses all of the EQ, so that was not an issue. But I am wondering if the lack of rerunning YPAO is effecting my HT tests.

@mpk1970 did you re-calibrate your Denon by rerunning Audyssey (sp?) between each round? What differences did you see between the Chanes and SVS Ultra during the movie testing? The other issue is I did a thorough break in on the Chane L/R, but my center has only about 5 hours on it.
During my testing I never ran Audyssey til after...I wanted the natural ability of the speakers to show their strengths/weaknesses

You are hearing right with Ultra's in HT. Both Ultra's and JBL 230s were very dynamic in HT brining their A game with explosions and just the whole vibration, low end etc....they jump out big time.
What I did notice is lack of detail and clarity in those other moments like voices, backgrounds, at higher volumes. Most movies like Star Wars we play at higher volumes and I noticed some lack of clarity. I used A2.4s at center which performed very good with SVS. I wish SVS not so bright and screechy at high volume with music, and could handle highs better because I woulda kept them with Chane's A2.4 as center. But end of day, Chane's just performed very good in every single category. In HT, as break in developed Chane's became much better and more dynamic. Also helps that I'm running dual HSU VTF2 MK5 subs

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post #62 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
[With speakers other than Chane] What I did notice is lack of detail and clarity in those other moments like voices, backgrounds, at higher volumes... In HT, as break in developed Chane's became much better and more dynamic.
This has been my experience also. At normal volume levels, the Chanes and other higher cost speakers may have the exact same great sounding attributes, but push the volumes to the extreme and the Chanes keep their composure where the other speakers lose their composure. The Chanes produce much less listener fatigue than other speakers when pushing the boundaries.

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post #63 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
I wish SVS not so bright and screechy at high volume with music, and could handle highs better
Ah, wish you had tested the Klipsch RP speakers too, I would've been very curious to see how those 2 compare in the treble department. Also wonder how you might have found the SVS Primes in comparison as well, since I found them to be unlistenable with musical peaks esp. involving female vocals---but had read that the Ultras were supposedly free of that.
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post #64 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Ah, wish you had tested the Klipsch RP speakers too, I would've been very curious to see how those 2 compare in the treble department. Also wonder how you might have found the SVS Primes in comparison as well, since I found them to be unlistenable with musical peaks esp. involving female vocals---but had read that the Ultras were supposedly free of that.
The RPs are on sale at Crutchfield now.

Yes, a HSU, Chane, RP HT shootout seems like a natural for some adventuresome AVS member as all three are touted for their ability to play loud and clear.

Can't be me though as I can't afford a divorce!
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post #65 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Ah, wish you had tested the Klipsch RP speakers too, I would've been very curious to see how those 2 compare in the treble department. Also wonder how you might have found the SVS Primes in comparison as well, since I found them to be unlistenable with musical peaks esp. involving female vocals---but had read that the Ultras were supposedly free of that.
Zorba--being our resident female vocal specialist, and given the fact that SVS and Crutchfield offer free (or very low cost) shipping both ways, I nominate you for this testing!
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post #66 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 09:51 AM
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Chane thanks the OP for his efforts and his articulate report. We're honored to have been selected as a member of the group. Thank you!
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post #67 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by socalsharky View Post
Zorba--being our resident female vocal specialist, and given the fact that SVS and Crutchfield offer free (or very low cost) shipping both ways, I nominate you for this testing!
Not a bad idea - could help things from drifting too.
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post #68 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post
Chane thanks the OP for his efforts and his articulate report. We're honored to have been selected as a member of the group. Thank you!
Jon--I sent you an email regarding the trial period. I need a few more days if possible. Thanks!
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post #69 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 10:00 AM
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Jon--I sent you an email regarding the trial period. I need a few more days if possible. Thanks!
I just replied. (Kindly check spam too if you would.)

Take as much time as you need. You're probably aware how I feel about getting a speaker worked in well, so we try to be flexible...
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post #70 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I just replied. (Kindly check spam too if you would.)

Take as much time as you need. You're probably aware how I feel about getting a speaker worked in well, so we try to be flexible...
Got it Jon. Thanks for your understanding.
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post #71 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by socalsharky View Post
Zorba--being our resident female vocal specialist, and given the fact that SVS and Crutchfield offer free (or very low cost) shipping both ways, I nominate you for this testing!
I agree 100%

Let's go @Zorba922 can't wait

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post #72 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Ah, wish you had tested the Klipsch RP speakers too, I would've been very curious to see how those 2 compare in the treble department. Also wonder how you might have found the SVS Primes in comparison as well, since I found them to be unlistenable with musical peaks esp. involving female vocals---but had read that the Ultras were supposedly free of that.
From what I remember, I do not believe Ultra'S kept their composure with female voices when volumes started getting higher. I'm not talking 90db ++ levels, I'm talking high 70s, low 80s db
Tad bit muddy, hissy, distortion not bad ever so slight but noticeable.
What's funny the exact same with JBLs 230.
I don't know if there are two brands and speakers that are more closely aligned than JBL 230s and SVS Ultra's.
If you blindfolded people, some would tell you the JBLs are the ULtra'S and the other group would say the Ultra'S are the JBLs
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post #73 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 06:28 PM
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I think @Zorba922 is like one of my buddies when we are at a club/bar, when it's his turn to buy the round of drinks, all of a sudden he wants to leave. Strange.
Notice Zorba not around on this thread now LOL

Cmon Zorba, call Cructhfeld, get those speakers in for an audition this week

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post #74 of 89 Old 07-09-2017, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
I think @Zorba922 is like one of my buddies when we are at a club/bar, when it's his turn to buy the round of drinks, all of a sudden he wants to leave. Strange.
Notice Zorba not around on this thread now LOL

Cmon Zorba, call Cructhfeld, get those speakers in for an audition this week
lol, had to entertain the missus today...we're about to knock off for the night finally, thank gods.

Yes, very tempting proposition...I was already thinking about trying the JBLs when they get back in stock at the JBL website in August so that I'll have JBL's free return shipping. Plus will have more free time on my hand then...so stay tuned!
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post #75 of 89 Old 07-10-2017, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by socalsharky View Post
Given their price, I wasn’t overly impressed with the ML speakers. Further, I noticed the off-axis response was poor. I believe that this is a function of the tweeter design and is specific to the XT series. They may be better with home theater, but definitely do not excel with rock music.
Next up: Chane
Forgot to ask, did you toe in the MLs?

They really benefit from toe in.

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post #76 of 89 Old 07-10-2017, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Forgot to ask, did you toe in the MLs?

They really benefit from toe in.
Yes, all 4 sets were toed in. I can see why you say this. The MLs had the worst off-axis response of the group.
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post #77 of 89 Old 07-10-2017, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
The RPs are on sale at Crutchfield now.

Yes, a HSU, Chane, RP HT shootout seems like a natural for some adventuresome AVS member as all three are touted for their ability to play loud and clear.

Can't be me though as I can't afford a divorce!
If there is someone with the Chanes and/or RP HTs in the Philadelphia area, I can ante up the Hsus.

Otherwise, I'm with you. Another several boxes of speakers show up at my doorstep anytime soon and all the sudden my keys and the garage remote will stop working overnight.
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post #78 of 89 Old 07-10-2017, 02:09 PM
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If there is someone with the Chanes and/or RP HTs in the Philadelphia area, I can ante up the Hsus.

Otherwise, I'm with you. Another several boxes of speakers show up at my doorstep anytime soon and all the sudden my keys and the garage remote will stop working overnight.
It is nice when folks have their general area in their information or signature as that would facilitate some sharing of speakers........................and beer!

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post #79 of 89 Old 07-10-2017, 04:13 PM
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If there is someone with the Chanes and/or RP HTs in the Philadelphia area, I can ante up the Hsus.

Otherwise, I'm with you. Another several boxes of speakers show up at my doorstep anytime soon and all the sudden my keys and the garage remote will stop working overnight.
At least you will have great speakers

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post #80 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Leon O View Post
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Also, what about sibilance? How did the cymbal brushes on the title track, "Come Away With Me" sound?
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It sounds like sibilance is an undesirable characteristic. In "Come Away With Me" sibilance would show up as the smeared sound of the cymbal brushes, rather than the distinct "SS-SS" sounds?
Recently I have specifically been trying to evaluate the sibilance of the Emotiva B1s that have an AMT tweeter that is similar to the one in ML speakers. On the Norah Jones (and Dianna Krall & Roger Waters) vocals, many of the S's are harder and might be considered sibilance. When I specifically listen for these harder S's I hear them. However, as I begin to enjoy the other details of the music, I quickly forget about the hard S's. BTW, this morning I was listening for sibilance from the 32" TV while on the elliptical; by paying attention to it, I noticed sibilance on nearly every S from a female voice during one commercial.

For my tastes, moving forward I am going to except that an S is created by the air passing between the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Some vocalist are more controlled than others at controlling the amount of S hiss. An accurate recording will capture this ssss sound. Also, a harder S may intentionally provide more impact....

So, MY standard has become that some S hiss is the result of an accurate reproduction of the recording. In contrast, if the S hiss seems more exaggerated than real life and remains prominent throughout a listening session, then I will probably consider the speaker to produce too much sibilance for my tastes (i.e. it's acceptable if it ceases to be a distraction, and it is not acceptable if it remains a distraction). YMMV

BTW: Socalsharky if you haven't heard it yet, you may enjoy Mark Knopfler's The Ragpicker's Dream. It's a great recording that provides a tremendous sense of airiness. The guitar player is pretty good too
Sibilance in a recording can come from a million places. It may be the way a vocalist enunciates, or it may be the particular characteristics of a microphone, or how close the vocalist was to the microphone, or especially how much/what type of vocal compression was added during/after the vocals were recorded, as well as the filters used to minimize that sibilance, as well as how the track was mastered, and on what equipment.
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post #81 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 11:21 AM
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Sibilance in a recording can come from a million places. It may be the way a vocalist enunciates, or it may be the particular characteristics of a microphone, or how close the vocalist was to the microphone, or especially how much/what type of vocal compression was added during/after the vocals were recorded, as well as the filters used to minimize that sibilance, as well as how the track was mastered, and on what equipment.
I agree, which is why any evaluation of sibilance I now conduct will include a large sample of material with which I am familiar. If a speaker polishes away the sibilance of Diana Krall and Norah Jones, then the trade off will be the polishing away of other details that are important to the recording. Although I enjoy both Diana and Norah, I do find their recordings and/or announciation tend to exaggerate S's on most of their songs.

For a different take on female vocalists, Diane Schuur might be a worthy addition to the lineup; her range is a bit higher and does not come across as husky either Diana Krall or Norah Jones. In particular, in Heart to Heart Diane Schuur performs with B.B. King. At first listen Diane didn't sound as deep and husky as I thought she should. However, when B.B.'s baritone came in, there was definitely no depth lacking in the lower vocal range.
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post #82 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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The Home Theater (HT) portion of the testing is now complete. My comments are below.


But before I get to that, I went back and reviewed all 4 sets of speakers using “Come Away With Me”. Zorba suggested that this track was a good way to identify sibilance. The cymbal brushes that are present throughout this song are in the frequency range that could cause such a problem. With the Chanes, the cymbal brushes were slightly distinct, but not an extremely well-defined SS-SS-SS, as Zorba described. The SVS and Ascend were similar, but slightly less distinct. I would describe the ML’s as somewhat more smeared. I would like to point out that none of the 4 speakers were significantly different from the others. Any differences were very minor to my untrained ear.


Home Theater Summary

I tested the speakers using the following scenes:

  • Star Trek (2009) – The opening scene where George Kirk dies and Jim is born during the battle
  • Star Wars Episode 3 – the battle over Coruscant
  • Gladiator – The opening battle scene
  • Avatar – Chapter 2 (the briefing on Pandora) and Chapter 7 (the jungle scene with “rhinos” and the “tiger”)
  • Bloodline Season 3 Episode 10 – the scene at 37:00 where Sally is talking to Kevin and John

After running all four sets through their paces, I would rate them as follows (for HT only):


1. Chane and SVS (tie)
2. Ascend
3. Martin Logan


Identifying specific differences during the HT testing was much more difficult than during the music testing. I can see why those in the know recommend music testing first. It is much easier during the music testing to identify specific sonic characteristics. So much is going on in movie scenes (particularly action movies) that specific differences are hard to identify, and you are left with a more general impression. You can also use the size of your grin during some of the more intense scenes as a measure.


Martin Logan 35XT

The ML’s were just OK during the HT testing. As in the music testing, they certainly were not objectionable in any way, but they also did not excel, at least to my ear. Sometimes the dialog coming from the center speaker was somewhat subdued, and they were not as powerful as the SVS during action scenes. Perhaps if they were in the same price range as the Chane and Ascend, the perceived value would make them more attractive, but at this price point I just couldn’t see it. They were the first to be boxed up and sent home.


SVS Ultra

The SVS speakers made the best first impression of the bunch. They were especially great with the helicopter that opens Chapter 7 of Avatar, and with the battle scenes in Star Wars and Star Trek. They are very powerful, and in these scenes the dialog was clear and relatively distinct. I did notice some brightness during the scene from Gladiator, but it was not excessive. These speakers are definitely better for HT than for most music. They were just OK on the dialog in the scene from “Bloodline”. Sissy Spacek’s voice in this scene is very thin and raspy. I couldn’t even understand parts of it when I first watched on another TV in the house. That’s why I chose it for this test. The Ultras did better than my TV on this scene, but still left some parts difficult to hear.


Chane A2.4

The Chanes were nearly as good as the SVS Ultras all of the high energy scenes, and were significantly better on scenes involving dialog. I got the same feeling during some of the scenes as I got when I listened to “Sultans of Swing” in the music audition. Great imaging and a nice wide, well-defined stage. I didn’t break in the center speaker at the same time as the L/R, so when I started the HT test, the Chanes were a little disappointing. But they gradually became better, and finished neck and neck with the Ultras. The Chanes excelled at the dialog during the battle in Gladiator, and were also the best in the scene from Bloodline. Kirk’s commands during the Star Trek battle scene were also very good, as they were on the Ultras. Although it wasn’t part of the test, my first full volume experience with this new media room setup was the scene inside the pyramid from “X-men Apocalypse” with the Chanes and my SVS PB1000 sub. It brought a huge smile to my face.


Ascend Acoustics 340SE

The Ascends performed admirably during the HT test, and were well balanced, similar to the Chanes. As a matter of fact, these two speakers sound like they could be siblings. I had trouble finding many differences between the Ascends and Chanes. The Ascends were not quite so good on the difficult dialog scenes, and very close to the Chanes on the action scenes. Kirk’s voice at 7:05 was not particularly clear. The Ascends were slightly less powerful and dynamic than the SVS Ultras on the scenes from Avatar and Star Trek. They were however, very similar to the SVS and Chane on the battle scene from Star Wars.


Final Decision

In the end, I chose the Chane A2.4. For my ears and my room, they were the best choice. As mentioned previously, cost was not a factor in this audition process. I would have had no trouble spending the extra money for the MLs or the SVS speakers if the performance warranted. The Chanes provided the best overall performance, and really excelled with music and dialog. The dialog aspect was particularly important, as my wife and I watch a fair amount of dramatic TV, and sometime the dialog on these shows becomes hard to hear. But the Chanes are not lacking in the high energy action movie realm either. They are more than adequate in this regard. If that’s all I watched, the SVS Ultras might be the choice for me. They are very powerful and dynamic.


I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these four sets of speakers. However, the ML’s punched below their weight class. The Ascends seem to be very good speakers; they were just edged out by a slightly better speaker. And the SVS might be better for a dedicated theater room. However, for the price (and even twice the price) the Chanes are heard to beat, at least in this test.

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post #83 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 04:02 PM
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@socalsharky

Excellent work. I've been waiting for the HT audition. Agree with you completely on a couple things

1) It is much more difficult to separate speakers in movies, especially with Subs, but you can hear dynamic, explosive , wide stage with speakers, SVS excels at this in my testing also, but like you said, fell short with dialogue, clarity and detail

2) Chane's A2.4 detail & clarity very very good. That's what they excel at. Once that Center warms up, it becomes even better.

This was a good speaker shootout, very well done. Bravo!!

Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #84 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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@socalsharky

Excellent work. I've been waiting for the HT audition. Agree with you completely on a couple things

1) It is much more difficult to separate speakers in movies, especially with Subs, but you can hear dynamic, explosive , wide stage with speakers, SVS excels at this in my testing also, but like you said, fell short with dialogue, clarity and detail

2) Chane's A2.4 detail & clarity very very good. That's what they excel at. Once that Center warms up, it becomes even better.

This was a good speaker shootout, very well done. Bravo!!
Thanks mpk. Your shootout inspired me to finally get going on mine. How do you like those 2 Hsu subs? Where in the room do you have them placed? Hsu is right down the road, so that may be my next move.
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post #85 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 06:12 PM
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Thanks mpk. Your shootout inspired me to finally get going on mine. How do you like those 2 Hsu subs? Where in the room do you have them placed? Hsu is right down the road, so that may be my next move.
Incredible!!! I have them placed left/right corners
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #86 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 07:28 PM
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Ascend Acoustics 340SE
I had trouble finding many differences between the Ascends and Chanes. The Ascends were not quite so good on the difficult dialog scenes, and very close to the Chanes on the action scenes. Kirk’s voice at 7:05 was not particularly clear.
Wow, you're saying that the Chanes have even better voice clarity than the Ascends??? That's pretty darn impressive! I remember voice clarity as one of the strongest assets of my 340s back in the day.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #87 of 89 Old 07-11-2017, 08:16 PM
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Well, I think that at the budget pricepoint, sibilance may simply be an inevitable fact of life if you want the utmost in treble extension/detail. I would hope that the more expensive speakers with RAAL tweeters like the Ascend Sierra 2 and Philharmonic BMR are able to avoid this trade-off, but I have never researched that.



If your usage will be mostly HT, then yeah I'd start playing movies in 3.1 or 5.1.4 or whatever format you're most likely to be using. Personally I tend towards more character/dialogue driven movies so I listen for voice clarity first and sound effects clarity/dynamics second.



The first 10-15 minutes of "Gladiator" has bits of Russell Crowe shouting commands at his troops as he leads them into a massive battle, see how clearly you can make out his words amid all the battle sounds.


Re: S2 and sibilance

It does not have a hint of sibilance, I have IEMs which I use on a daily basis that are full of sibilance, so I am very well aware of what the ideal amount of treble should not sound like.

The RAAL, simply put, it awesome.


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post #88 of 89 Old 07-12-2017, 09:54 AM
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I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these four sets of speakers. However, the ML’s punched below their weight class. The Ascends seem to be very good speakers; they were just edged out by a slightly better speaker. And the SVS might be better for a dedicated theater room. However, for the price (and even twice the price) the Chanes are heard to beat, at least in this test.
Great job.

Says a lot that the Chanes with their dual 5.3" drivers punched equally with the Ascends with dual 6.5" drivers and the tweeter was slightly better for you.
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Geoff A. J., California
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post #89 of 89 Old 07-12-2017, 12:45 PM
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lol, had to entertain the missus today...we're about to knock off for the night finally, thank gods.

Yes, very tempting proposition...I was already thinking about trying the JBLs when they get back in stock at the JBL website in August so that I'll have JBL's free return shipping. Plus will have more free time on my hand then...so stay tuned!
Will we see Zorba's $1500-and-under Speaker Shootout?
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