JBL Arena 130 vs... Ascend Acoustics CMT340SE?!? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
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JBL Arena 130 vs... Ascend Acoustics CMT340SE?!?

Whaaaaaaaaat? Who decided to match up a pair of budget JBL's against an audiophile quality pair of Ascends? This dude is absolutely bonkers!

I know what you're thinking, "This guy is pranking us, there is no way he is wasting his time with a pair of trash JBLs?". Well you know what? Here's what I'm thinking, "I wonder how a pair of budget JBL's would do against a speaker that is considerably better in almost every aspect. Maybe these JBL's are a diamond in the rough and could be a great pick for people just starting and don't want to spend $600 on a pair of Ascends." Makes sense right? I'm doing this for the guys (and/or girls) who are just starting out and want some help deciding on the pair of speakers that will mark their entry into the world of Audiophiliacs.

So here I am, sitting at my desk, writing a full comprehensive write up just because I care. Enjoy! Oh and if you have any questions or suggestions, let me know, I will be more than happy to help.

If you would like to skip the intro and discussion and all that other blah blah blah and get straight to the comparison, scroll down past the dashed line.


Intro:

This thread will be dedicated to comparing and contrasting a pair of $300 budget JBLs (Arena 130's) and a pair of $600 Ascend Acoustics' (CMT340SE). To start, I would like to discuss objective observations of these speakers. For the sake of saving my keyboard from an endless flow of CMT340SE and Arena 130, I will be referring to them through out this review as Ascend's, 340's, and CMT's, and JBL's, Arena's, and 130's. Respectively.


For starters, the Ascends's feature two 6.5" composite polygel woofers, proprietary to Ascend, and a 1" soft dome tweeter, rear ported.

They measure 21" x 7.5" x 10.5" with the included grille on.

They are rated for 240 watts rms and a peak of 400 watts, bi-ampable.

Sensitivity is 90dB/watt/meter in an anechoic chamber and 92dB in room.

Frequency response of 48-24kHz +/-3 dB in an anechoic chamber and 45-20kHz +/-3 in room.

They weigh 26 pounds each.

Built and braced with 5/8" MDF.


First Impressions: These things are HEAVY. I think the package weighed at least 50lbs. It wasn't easy getting it inside my room that's for sure. Package was in pristine condition, double boxed with plenty of foam to protect the individual speaker. I don't know what kind of finish Dave uses but I like it. It's like a semi-textured satin black. Feels nice to the touch. Anti-fingerprint and I'm sure its very durable. The polygel woofer in the 340's threw me for a loop. The black horn looking think in the middle is solid. Doesn't move with the cone. Almost like it's part of the speaker basket (Maybe it is lol). The woofer cone feels nice to the touch, also textured, similar to a grainy feel like someone sprinkled a very small amount of sand on tape. Decently sized rear port on the back along with some identification stickers placed on the back by Dave at Ascend. Oh and the ginormous bi-amp terminal which surprisingly isn't all that terrible. It's very cleanly designed and unobtrusive to the rest of the rear.


The JBL's feature a single 7" polycellulose woofer and 1" soft dome tweeter, rear ported.

They measure 15"x 8-17/32" x 10-5/8" with the grille on.

They are rated for 125 watts rms, unknown peak (Estimated 250).

Sensitivity is 87dB/watt/meter, unspecified testing environment.

Frequency response of 55-40kHz

They weigh 13.5 each.

Unknown MDF thickness.


First impressions: Well... to begin, the box arrived with a GAPING hole in it. I could see the speaker through it and I sure was worried. Upon opening of the box however, I could see that it was packed extremely well and the hole was of nothing to worry about. When I opened them up and unwrapped them here's what I thought, "Well the piano white sure is an interesting finish". Upon closer inspection, it appears to be a grainy white oak finish on the sides with the top being non textured. It's starting to grow on me if I was being completely honest. It's a nice change in a world of satin black and loud and exotic wood flavors. Removal of the grille was something else lol. It took me a good 2 minutes to take ONE of the grilles off. It was pretty stuck but I'm not mad. Ensures that they don't come off in transit and become damaged or damage the speaker itself. One thing I noticed is that the grille actually "clicks" in. It's a little weird but again, I'm not mad. The front of the speaker sure is an eye-sore. The black dome tweeter, surrounded by the wave guide, added to the large black woofer on a background of straight white isn't easy to look at. Not to mention the 6 BLACK peg holes for the speaker grille. But this review isn't about how speakers look, its about how they sound. The rear includes the single 5-Way binding posts. Very solid construction. Banana plugs click right in, and with some oomph. The rear port is even bigger than the 340's port and is flared widely. Lots of air must be moving in and out of this thing.

Okay with that out of the way, I can talk about the testing setup. It isn't optimal, but it is functional and will do the job. I have both sets of speakers on top of the cardboard stacks (Flooring that has yet to be put in lol). JBL's were given pole position on the outside because i thought it would be better to see the JBL's full potential as I'm sure the Ascends would win, even not at full potential. I am using an Onkyo TX-SR313PRO Amplifier (60wpc) instead of my newer Onkyo TX-NR656 (100wpc) because I prefer the sound that the 1990's Onkyo produces. It's nice and warm, and I like to think much higher quality than the digital amps being made right now. Wires are bare into the amplifier and banana plugged into the speakers. I used an AUX to RCA cable to connect my phone for listening. I used Spotify Premium with the highest quality possible (320 kbps) streaming. I'm 96" away from each speaker. The Ascends are 48" apart and the JBLs are 66" apart. Ear level is roughly 40". Everything checks out? Okay great, now on to the listening portion.



--------------------------------------------



I'm going to divide this part into 4 sections: Ascend Review, JBL Review, Aspects, and Conclusion.


Ascend Review:

Well a graph can only go so far to explain just how amazing this speaker is. Ascend Acoustics is centered around having the flattest, most neutral sounding speakers possible. To create a monster of a speaker that reproduces music like no other. And all things considered, Dave hit the bullseye with this one. I teared up listening to Frank Sinatra's "(Love Is) The Tender Trap" because of how vibrant and real the instruments are. The soundstage that these bookshelves create is phenomenal. The separation of instruments and vocals is second to none. I could close my eyes and see Frank Sinatra singing in front of a stage with the band behind him and be able to place each instrument and band member in a seperate spot. That's just something you can't do with every speaker. And a testament to the quality and realness of this speaker was playing a common rap song that is found on the radio. Many mainstream rap songs are overproduced, muddy, and imbalanced. Boy did these Ascends just rip that song in half. It was as if they were asking, "What are you listening to dude?". But when you circle around to a quality song, recorded properly with real instruments, it provides a definition only found when you are listening to the REAL thing. There is no coloration, no harshnes, not even any warmth which is incredibly hard to properly control. Simply? The 340's give it to you with no bullsh*t on the side. They hand you the steak raw, and if you don't like it the way they served it, they tell you to get out of their restaurant. A favorite song of mine that I like to use as a baseline for all of my speaker testings is "What's on your mind (Pure Energy)" by Information Society. It is possibly one of the most dynamic songs I have heard by far. It has THE cleanest kick I have ever heard, with plenty of highs to follow. When I played this song on the Ascends at normal volume, I was underwhelmed. Extremely underwhelmed. I wondered what happened to the vibrant highs and smooth lows. Then I turned the volume up. And up. And up. And up. These speakers were CRAVING wattage. They laughed at the initial amount of power I gave them and decided hog all of the dynamics that I was used to until I let them peer pressure me into cranking the volume up. And when I did? Wow factor. Pure wow factor. The kick, the highs, the separation and sound stage, it was all there, and with a VENGEANCE. These speakers, even as efficient as they are @92dB/watt, they want you to turn them UP. And you can do so with ZERO harshness or fatigue. They hold their composure so well, it's beyond me how they can do this. Many speakers out there tend to compress the bass as the volume gets turned past their comfort zone and the harshness of the tweeter comes out. But these? These you can crank to 11 and both the bass and the treble will stay accurate, even asking to be turned to 12. If I had to describe these speakers. they would be like that one friend you have that is constantly hopping rooftops and doing wheelies in the middle of the road. They are fun, they like to get loud, and they are STILL musical. It's hard to find a speaker with this combination of attributes but Dave did, and this is why I am beyond satisfied with my Ascend CMT340SE's.


JBL Review:

While the JBL's are no pair of Ascends, they are still insanely fun to listen to. I'm going to try my best not to cast the JBL's in the 340's shadow, but no promises. The first thing I noticed with these JBLs is the very, VERY, low bass extension that this single 7" woofer could provide. Whatever JBL did to this 7" woofer, they need to do it with all of their speakers they sell. It had that trademark JBL sound, nice full lows with punchy mids. JBL has always took pride in their bass and it shows in the 130's. But beyond the bass, the most important thing for this pair was their RIDICULOUS ability to image. JBL is owned by Harman which also owns Revel. Revel must have given them their designs for wave guides because this tweeter is something special. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing the imaging was. When i was listening to "Nocturne en mi bémol majeur opus 9 n°2: Ballade en Sol Mineur No.1" by Frederic Chopin, I actually teared up. I... it... it was if... oh man. It was if Frederic Chopin was physically sitting IN FRONT of you, playing the piano, facing the other direction. You could see each note on the piano, and when it was played, every note was always from the perfect spot (I have a piano to verify this). I could even hear Frederic Chopin softly exhaling ever so slightly to the right of him. It was beautiful. I have never heard a speaker that could image so well. The Ascend's cannot even image this well. I will say however, I gave the JBL's the advantage by placing them on the outside to give them a better stage. While it may matter, it doesn't take away from the fact these can image beyond belief. Now for the slightly bad. The JBL's have great bass, but they give it away too quick almost. What I mean is, is that they come off as a warm speaker and are pretty bassy for the size but that quickly disappears as the woofer runs out of xmax quite quickly and distortion occurs. They sound very full and give plenty of tactile response at low-medium volumes, but you cannot crank these to 11 as you can with the Ascends. This would be one of the speakers I mentioned earlier that cannot hold their composure well. You can turn down the bass and get close to 11 but that's no fun because the treble becomes too strong and harshness takes over. But these are fantastic speakers either way. Who cranks their music to 11 anyways? 10 is plenty for a party. Edit: @zieglj01 mentioned a coarseness with the JBL 130's and I couldn't agree more. I'm disappointed I overlooked this. When listening to "Beyond" by Daft Punk (I absolutely love the R.A.M album by the way) there was something off about the sound when compared to the Ascends. I couldn't put my finger on it the night of the review but Zieglj01 put it in words. The Ascends came out as the "nicer" speaker to listen to. I had just thought it was me being biased towards my Ascends but it is 100% true. The 130's tweeters aren't as refined as Ascends and the highs come out as less smooth. Think of CD vs Vinyl. I also want to note how the JBL's sound physically smaller. Listening to Frank Sinatra's "Theme From New York, New York", he sounds considerably smaller when projected across the room. And I don't mean small as worse sound from the JBLs (Tinny or flat) I mean when you close your eyes he sounds like a smaller man than he would through the Ascends. A little odd right? The tweeter is even higher on the JBL's than on the Ascends. Same with the instruments, small trumpets and drums compared to large trumpets and large drums through the Ascends. Maybe Frank Sinatra is indeed smaller than I thought and this might the one part where Ascends actually "lie" to you and make the person they are playing bigger than they should be.


Winner of each aspect in a speaker:

Highs - Honestly? I feel like it's a toss up here. The Ascends have the better tweeter quality going for it, but the JBL's just image SO well. It's like having a lot of pizza vs a little bit of sushi. Depending on the person or time of the week you could go either way.

Lows - When listening below reference volume, JBL's are the winner. That 7" is just magic for some reason. The tactile response is so elevated vs the Ascends for some reason. I think it has something to do with the extremely large port. But once you start getting that itch for LOUD music, Ascends take it all the way home. They pack quite a punch but are pretty reserved until you hit that one spot on the volume. Then they unleash the wrath of Dave.

Mids - I do not have a well enough trained ear to differentiate mids. Maybe I do but I'm not fluent in describing the differences between them. Sorry. Just look at the graphs or something

Sound stage - Ascends. By Far. They filled the room twice over with brilliant sound. It was almost like we had 5 channel stereo filling the whole room with sound. And its directional. Its not just blasting uncontrolled sound all over the place. It was a wall of sound coming from these two fantastic bookshelf speakers.

Imaging - The JBL's clearly had the lead here. I hope I made it VERY clear. The imaging was very good from the Ascends, but the JBL's are a full head above. It's an experience to say the least.

Separation - Ascends. Listening to that big band behind Frank Sinatra was just incredible. Each instrument had it's own spot but it had depth. Similar to the piano experience with the JBLs, but the depth factor is undeniably important.

Conclusion:


Ascend Acoustics CMT340SE (Baseline)

Performance = 5

Value = 5

Personal Enjoyment = 5

Sound Signature = Neutral

Recommended? Yes


JBL Arena 130

Performance = 4 (At low-medium volumes. 3 Otherwise)

Value = 8 (When priced at $99. 3 Otherwise)

Personal Enjoyment = 4

Sound Signature = Warm

Recommended? Big Yes (When priced at $99)

While the Ascends are the clear winner, I want to note something that is probably the driving factor behind this whole write up. I want to note that these JBL's can be had for $99. "Hold up Russell, 90... 9... dollars...?". Yep... it's crazy, I know. New A-Stock too. So by mentioning this, I want to talk about price to performance ratio. These JBL's are the second highest "Value" speaker I have listened to. While it may not be a fantastic speaker at the normal msrp of $300, when it's priced for $99, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value pick. Maybe the Sony Core's could hold a candle to these JBL's, but as of now? These JBLs right here are my top value pick. If someone asks me what the best performing speakers are for the least amount of money, I'm going to check JBL's website and if they are on sale, tell him these JBL Arena 130's are the best you can do. I would not, however, recommend buying these at full price. These JBLs are a great speakers nonetheless and I'm super stoked about their performance. While it may be able to be improved upon, when sold for $99, I was more than surprised by their ability to keep up with the Ascends for the most part.

Well. There it is. Everything I possibly have to say about both the Ascends and the JBLs. I really enjoyed this. Thank you for taking the time to read this article if you did indeed and didn't just skip to the bottom lol. I hope it helps someone out! If you are local to Sonoma County and would like to have a listen for yourself, these JBLs wont be here long before I find another household for them or just return them

P.S. Sorry that I only did music testing. I'm not one for movies or tv so I didn't feel the need to try them out that way. I'm sure both would perform really nicely. Especially with a sub. I will also be going back into the review and making edits when appropriate. Will very likely be adding new speakers into the comparison or making a new thread completely.

BONUS!!! Courtesy of @gajCA 's Umik, I now have some in-room REW sweeps! Enjoy. Hope it adds a bit more authenticity to my review and helps out the people looking into either of these speakers. Sorry, my notes per each photo are inconsistent, but each sweep was done in stereo, with my Onkyo TX-NR656 (Yes, I know, not my original Onkyo TX-SR313 amp that I used for listening) at 50% volume. All are 1/24 smoothed. If you would like 1/3, 1/6, or 1/12 smoothed graphs, please PM me and I'll sweep some for you

DOUBLE BONUS!!! Once again, courtesey of @gajCA , I now have "Anechoic" measurements of both the JBL and Ascends. They are accurate to 150 hz according to math, 250 is the "to be safe" number. These should be extremely accurate, I even measured them to be 1 watt/1 meter/2.83 volts. Enjoy! Oh and they aren't smoothed one bit...
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Last edited by Russdawg1; 12-21-2018 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Even more review has been added :) AND NOW: In-room REW sweeps, courtesy of GajCA :) AND EVEN NOW: "Anechoic REW sweeps, again, courtesy of GajCA :)
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post #2 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 06:02 AM
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Great read! Surprised what JBL has managed to put together for $99, I dislike the appearance but perhaps a black cabinet would be better.

It sounds like they would do very well in a smaller room where you likely wouldn’t crank them as high, and it’s also good to find a budget warm sounding speaker.

I probably would have swapped the right speakers so that they were at an equal distance apart, but probably not a huge difference in sound.

Thanks for the write up!


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post #3 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 06:06 AM
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Good comparison and review. I wonder how the Ascend would match up against the JBL Studio 230. I haven't heard either but was always interested in the JBL Studio line

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post #4 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 06:27 AM
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Nice review and glad that you enjoyed them -- but our ears are a little different -- they are a little coarse and grainy and hard sounding to me for music -- but they do throw a wide soundstage. they are more suited for movies to me. as far as the Sony, they are my go to speaker for music at a budget friendly price, but for mainly movies the JBL for a budget friendly price. The audio world is interesting. Continue to enjoy your adventure.
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post #5 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 06:57 AM
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I want the Ascend acoustics CMT-340s. Have for a long time now. I didn't really find about them till after I put my Def Tech HT together. Eventually I will replace everything with Ascend acoustics.

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post #6 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hetfieldjames View Post
I want the Ascend acoustics CMT-340s. Have for a long time now. I didn't really find about them till after I put my Def Tech HT together. Eventually I will replace everything with Ascend acoustics.
You are showing symptoms of an audiophile
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post #7 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 07:21 AM
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You are showing symptoms of an audiophile
Man I have had this cold for 20 years. I just can't shake it. My credit cards thank the audio industry for making them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

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post #8 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 08:04 AM
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you found another audio bargain.. that jbl sounds like a fun listen..ascend makes nice stuff, i could live with the 340's i think..i think you may have found , with the jbl's what i found with the sony's, there are nice SOUNDING speakers out there at ultra budget prices... audiophile snobbery aside i would put the core's up against most $300 speakers and bet that they would come out on top (if i got to pick the $300 "victims")..and that's coming from a guy that used to hustle golf as a big part of my income , so i have a fair idea how to win a bet (especially a sucker bet).. i would think you think the same thing of the jbl's.. i have the ascend cbm 170 classics and they too are very neutral and revealing...

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post #9 of 261 Old 12-01-2018, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
Good comparison and review. I wonder how the Ascend would match up against the JBL Studio 230. I haven't heard either but was always interested in the JBL Studio line

So I’m actually punching myself because I was almost able to grab a pair of Studio 230’s, B15’s (Arena 120’s), Studio 235c, and an Emotiva BasX S10 sub for $300. I messed up by asking the guy if I could listen to them before buying (he was offering to deliver) and he said no and took offense for some reason. And he was being an idiot when I asked why not. Anyways, I found these, super happy still.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
Great read! Surprised what JBL has managed to put together for $99, I dislike the appearance but perhaps a black cabinet would be better.

It sounds like they would do very well in a smaller room where you likely wouldn’t crank them as high, and it’s also good to find a budget warm sounding speaker.

I probably would have swapped the right speakers so that they were at an equal distance apart, but probably not a huge difference in sound.

Thanks for the write up!


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That’s actually a really great idea, I should have done that. Darn. They look good standing like they are now though lol

And I have a small room to test them out in, my room, but I didn’t feel like subjecting them to that. My room is cube shaped and it made my Ascends sound terrible compared to how well they sounded in our front room. Pulling them off the wall did so much to improve the sound. I don’t think there was a single aspect that didn’t improve.

But yes they do fantastic when you don’t need to crank them up. If you cross them with a sub I’m sure they could do high volumes perfectly fine. That 7” woofer has so much excursion, but like I said it runs out so quick. I did most of my testing at 20/40 on the Onkyo which was right before the JBL’s ran out of juice so I tried to get it to give me all it’s got for a closer comparison.

And yes, the white is ugly as hell to basically everyone. But that’s why they were on sale for $99

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
So I’m actually punching myself because I was almost able to grab a pair of Studio 230’s, B15’s (Arena 120’s), Studio 235c, and an Emotiva BasX S10 sub for $300. I messed up by asking the guy if I could listen to them before buying (he was offering to deliver) and he said no and took offense for some reason. And he was being an idiot when I asked why not. Anyways, I found these, super happy still.




That’s actually a really great idea, I should have done that. Darn. They look good standing like they are now though lol

And I have a small room to test them out in, my room, but I didn’t feel like subjecting them to that. My room is cube shaped and it made my Ascends sound terrible compared to how well they sounded in our front room. Pulling them off the wall did so much to improve the sound. I don’t think there was a single aspect that didn’t improve.

But yes they do fantastic when you don’t need to crank them up. If you cross them with a sub I’m sure they could do high volumes perfectly fine. That 7” woofer has so much excursion, but like I said it runs out so quick. I did most of my testing at 20/40 on the Onkyo which was right before the JBL’s ran out of juice so I tried to get it to give me all it’s got for a closer comparison.

And yes, the white is ugly as hell to basically everyone. But that’s why they were on sale for $99
don't feel bad about some c/list "retail clown" acting the idiot , you probably saved yourself a headache...

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you found another audio bargain.. that jbl sounds like a fun listen..ascend makes nice stuff, i could live with the 340's i think..i think you may have found , with the jbl's what i found with the sony's, there are nice SOUNDING speakers out there at ultra budget prices... audiophile snobbery aside i would put the core's up against most $300 speakers and bet that they would come out on top (if i got to pick the $300 "victims")..and that's coming from a guy that used to hustle golf as a big part of my income , so i have a fair idea how to win a bet (especially a sucker bet).. i would think you think the same thing of the jbl's.. i have the ascend cbm 170 classics and they too are very neutral and revealing...

HAHAHA “Speaker Hustling”. That would be interesting for sure. I actually want to pit the Cores and the JBL’s against each other but we have too many pairs of speakers in the house right now (According to my parents that is ) From all the positive reviews and common suggestions, I think it’s well within your right to say that the Sony’s could take down $300 speakers. I feel like these JBL’s could do that but they are a $300 speaker themselves so it’s not THAT amazing lol. But yes Ascend makes for some really “raw” audio. They tell it how it is, and I love them for that.

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Nice review and glad that you enjoyed them -- but our ears are a little different -- they are a little coarse and grainy and hard sounding to me for music -- but they do throw a wide soundstage. they are more suited for movies to me. as far as the Sony, they are my go to speaker for music at a budget friendly price, but for mainly movies the JBL for a budget friendly price. The audio world is interesting. Continue to enjoy your adventure.

I meant to write about that. I noticed something and drafted a paragraph for it but I didn’t include it because I thought I sounded crazy. The Ascends are obviously the better speaker and when you place the JBL’s right next to it and play the same song it’s clear that the Ascend’s sound “better” even considering the bass difference I noticed. I’m going to add that part back in. Thanks @zieglj01 .
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don't feel bad about some c/list "retail clown" acting the idiot , you probably saved yourself a headache...

Hah, ain’t that the truth. I asked about what looked like a scratch on the center speaker and he gave me hell for it and I was like oh. Okay then. He hasn’t sold them as of now and it’s been a good month or two. Wonder why they haven’t sold
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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Reconing of Cerwin Vega L-9's in progress. Will the old dog with the big 10" woofer be able to best the new dogs with 6.5" woofers? Find out soon!

I was going to bring out the Klipsch KG4.2's to compare but I don't think its very fair to have a 95 dB/watt/meter speaker with 10" woofer and 10" passive radiator in a cabinet 4x bigger than the Ascends in this competition The competition will be much closer between the Ascends/JBLs with the Cerwins however.

Working to get those Sony's inside the door, even if it's only for a day
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Reconing of Cerwin Vega L-9's in progress. Will the old dog with the big 10" woofer be able to best the new dogs with 6.5" woofers? Find out soon!

I was going to bring out the Klipsch KG4.2's to compare but I don't think its very fair to have a 95 dB/watt/meter speaker with 10" woofer and 10" passive radiator in a cabinet 4x bigger than the Ascends in this competition The competition will be much closer between the Ascends/JBLs with the Cerwins however.

Working to get those Sony's inside the door, even if it's only for a day
if needed , they(the core's) will probably be on sale again before / after xmas...

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if needed , they(the core's) will probably be on sale again before / after xmas...
Hmm, I'll see what I can do. Do you think it's extremely worth it to compare these two? It think would be a fantastic fight to see who is the better budget choice. I'm not sure my ears are that trained enough but I'll try. I have until January to return these JBL's which is cool.

On a side note, the Cerwin L9s are HOT when you crank them up. SSSSSSSSSSSSSS everything It'sssssssss almosssssst like the tweeterssssssssss are blown or ssssssssomething. I had to cover them with ssssssssome extra jacketsssssssssss to tame the harsssshnessssssss.

It makes me a little sad because these are the only speakers that can take the extra volume with plenty of bass from the 10" which I successfully reconed first try (Can I get a pat on the back lol). Even more than the Ascends. They keep going but the tweeter is actually where they start to crumble
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Hmm, I'll see what I can do. Do you think it's extremely worth it to compare these two? It think would be a fantastic fight to see who is the better budget choice. I'm not sure my ears are that trained enough but I'll try. I have until January to return these JBL's which is cool.

On a side note, the Cerwin L9s are HOT when you crank them up. SSSSSSSSSSSSSS everything It'sssssssss almosssssst like the tweeterssssssssss are blown or ssssssssomething. I had to cover them with ssssssssome extra jacketsssssssssss to tame the harsssshnessssssss.

It makes me a little sad because these are the only speakers that can take the extra volume with plenty of bass from the 10" which I successfully reconed first try (Can I get a pat on the back lol). Even more than the Ascends. They keep going but the tweeter is actually where they start to crumble
i think you *might * like the core's a lot.. it's hard to tell , but they would be an interesting contrast to the jbl's.. don't do it if it's going to screw up your xmas budget though..

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On a side note, the Cerwin L9s are HOT when you crank them up. SSSSSSSSSSSSSS everything It'sssssssss almosssssst like the tweeterssssssssss are blown or ssssssssomething. I had to cover them with ssssssssome extra jacketsssssssssss to tame the harsssshnessssssss.
(
Cerwin Vega's can be a nasty sounding speaker -- the tweeter can be gritty and sharp with the sssszzzz -- I use to own the L7 -- also the midrange is limited as it can tend to sound weak and not rounded and full -- there is the lack of a smooth crossover between the woofer and tweeter. But there are a lot of CV fans

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Cerwin Vega's can be a nasty sounding speaker -- the tweeter can be gritty and sharp with the sssszzzz -- I use to own the L7 -- also the midrange is limited as it can tend to sound weak and not rounded and full -- there is the lack of a smooth crossover between the woofer and tweeter. But there are a lot of CV fans

That’s what I chalked it up to, integrating a 10” woofer can be hard especially with a smaller than 1” tweeter (I think they are 0.75”), even a 6.5” has issues at the higher bands. But they are cool though for how old they are. However the KG4.2’s by Klipsch I have are clearly better, don’t think it’s worth the write up. Almost have a headache from these but these I can sell to my friends for good money because they care about loudness over quality lol. They would probably take these over the Ascends if I was being honest.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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i think you *might * like the core's a lot.. it's hard to tell , but they would be an interesting contrast to the jbl's.. don't do it if it's going to screw up your xmas budget though..

Haha no I’m not worried about Christmas, doubtful I’m even going to get anything, but my parents are going to give me hell for having 5 sets of speakers in the house, in the same room, at once lol. But yeah I think it might be the way to go.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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I wonder what would happen if you listened blind.

The JBL is a far more advanced acoustic design on paper. Who knows how it was voiced, though? It could very well have “showroom voicing” instead of neutral voicing.

The Ascend is very flawed design that measures as badly as one would expect for such a foundationally flawed configuration. Look at the midrange rise at 45 degrees off axis on their website! That characteristic midrange mushroom cloud is one of those things that can’t be unheard once one has heard speakers that better track the recording.

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I wonder what would happen if you listened blind.

The JBL is a far more advanced acoustic design on paper. Who knows how it was voiced, though? It could very well have “showroom voicing” instead of neutral voicing.

The Ascend is very flawed design that measures as badly as one would expect for such a foundationally flawed configuration. Look at the midrange rise at 45 degrees off axis on their website! That characteristic midrange mushroom cloud is one of those things that can’t be unheard once one has heard speakers that better track the recording.

Interesting thoughts. 45 degrees is quite sharp for a listening angle so I don’t think that mushroom cloud is quite relevant. To me at least. Reminds me of people bashing Dennis for his BMRs having a mushroom cloud way outside a reasonable listening angle. I’d love to hear a pair of speakers that doesn’t have this mushroom cloud characteristic. Let me guess, Revel?

How exactly is the JBL more advanced acoustically? Is it because of the wave guide? Personally I thought the tweeter was decent, nothing special compared to the detailing of the Ascends. The imaging was all I was astonished with. The woofer was nice, clean extended excursion, JBL’s specialty, but like I said, it ran out way too quick. “Was like watching a sunset, at noon” ~Stan Lee (ERB)

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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JBL Arena 130 vs... Ascend Acoustics CMT340SE?!?

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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Interesting thoughts. 45 degrees is quite sharp for a listening angle so I don’t think that mushroom cloud is quite relevant.
Do you listen in an anechoic chamber or outdoors? If not, the upper mid/lower treble colorations are heard as reflections.

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To me at least. Reminds me of people bashing Dennis for his BMRs having a mushroom cloud way outside a reasonable listening angle.
I’m pretty sure nobody ever said that about his 3-way. Dr. Murphy once claimed I made that comment, but he was in error. His 6.5” 2-way is different.

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I’d love to hear a pair of speakers that doesn’t have this mushroom cloud characteristic. Let me guess, Revel?
Possibly the JBLs you have!

Yes, some Revels but not all.

KEFs with 5” or 8” Uni-Qs. Not the 6.5 ones.

Monitor Audio had a midpriced 3-way tower that measured very well in Stereophile

Most, possibly all, Tannoys with concentric drivers (some may have voicing deviations from neutral)

Andrew Jones concentrics (TAD, Elac, Pioneer)

NHT Classic Three/Four and probably their replacements

Genelec, K+H, some JBL studio monitors (likely others).


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How exactly is the JBL more advanced acoustically? Is it because of the wave guide?
They both have waveguides. The Ascent has a cheap, crude 180deg waveguide with high diffraction (woofer frames and surrounds, cabinet edges). The JBL at least looks like some thought may have been put into its waveguide design. A polar map or at least a “spin” would verify that, or not.

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Personally I thought the tweeter was decent, nothing special compared to the detailing of the Ascends. The imaging was all I was astonished with.

That may be true, may be voicing differences (the Ascent has an Audyssey-style crappy design compensation midrange notch built in; who knows how the JBL is voiced), or may be listening with your eyes. Measurements or trained listening would uncover voicing differences, blind would remove listener bias.

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Um I don't know much about speaker building and I'm not engineer but I have never heard a bad word about Ascend acoustics speakers. The fact that words like crappy design, and flawed are being used to describe the Ascend acoustics CMT-340s to me sounds like someone has an agenda.

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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
Do you listen in an anechoic chamber or outdoors? If not, the upper mid/lower treble colorations are heard as reflections.



I’m pretty sure nobody ever said that about his 3-way. Dr. Murphy once claimed I made that comment, but he was in error. His 6.5” 2-way is different.



Possibly the JBLs you have!

Yes, some Revels but not all.

KEFs with 5” or 8” Uni-Qs. Not the 6.5 ones.

Monitor Audio had a midpriced 3-way tower that measured very well in Stereophile

Most, possibly all, Tannoys with concentric drivers (some may have voicing deviations from neutral)

Andrew Jones concentrics (TAD, Elac, Pioneer)

NHT Classic Three/Four and probably their replacements

Genelec, K+H, some JBL studio monitors (likely others).




They both have waveguides. The Ascent has a cheap, crude 180deg waveguide with high diffraction (woofer frames and surrounds, cabinet edges). The JBL at least looks like some thought may have been put into its waveguide design. A polar map or at least a “spin” would verify that, or not.




That may be true, may be voicing differences (the Ascent has an Audyssey-style crappy design compensation midrange notch built in; who knows how the JBL is voiced), or may be listening with your eyes. Measurements or trained listening would uncover voicing differences, blind would remove listener bias.

I listen indoors as it is a much more realistic way to test them and review/compare them. The common forumer will not have an anechoic chamber or listen outdoors. If they do indeed have a “showroom voice” so-be-it, that’s how they will sound indoors in the common room.

My mistake on the mushroom cloud statement.

Mind explaining what a “spin” is? Sorry I’m not a veteran in this industry as of now.

I don’t believe I listened with bias in mind, I actually spent a lot of time with the JBL’s before bringing the Ascends out of my room and was quite satisfied with them. It was just when I compared them when the differences appeared. I also closed by eyes when listening and would repeatedly forget which speakers I was actually listening to lol.

The point of this write up/thread was to give a outside perspective from someone who isn’t a heavyweight in the audio industry and to be able to describe what I found in commoner terms. Was simply trying to help people that were considering either speakers by giving them a comparison.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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Um I don't know much about speaker building and I'm not engineer but I have never heard a bad word about Ascend acoustics speakers. The fact that words like crappy design, and flawed are being used to describe the Ascend acoustics CMT-340s to me sounds like someone has an agenda.

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I was thinking about that too, but I respect all opinions, biased or not. And he does have some decent points worth noting. I think my Ascends are fantastic with as little problems as I want to actually notice (my bias) but people with more experience and trained ears obviously are more relevant when discussing speaker qualities.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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I was thinking about that too, but I respect all opinions, biased or not. And he does have some decent points worth noting. I think my Ascends are fantastic with as little problems as I want to actually notice (my bias) but people with more experience and trained ears obviously are more relevant when discussing speaker qualities.
Hey your talking to a guy with an all bookshelf Def Tech system, 3 SM 65s and SM 55 surrounds. I think they sound awesome, others will say not so good. Whatever, the CMT-340s can't be that flawed. Dave is a perfectionist with his speaker designs. I want to redo my home theater in Ascend acoustics but the lower costing ones like these.

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Hey your talking to a guy with an all bookshelf Def Tech system, 3 SM 65s and SM 55 surrounds. I think they sound awesome, others will say not so good. Whatever, the CMT-340s can't be that flawed. Dave is a perfectionist with his speaker designs. I want to redo my home theater in Ascend acoustics but the lower costing ones like these.

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Haha Def Techs are garbage, throw them away immediately lol

Ascends are pretty amazing, I love these things. I plan on making more comparisons. I’m REALLY hoping to get the Sony Cores because I want to decide the true budget king between the two. I also want to give these Ascends a good fight so I’m thinking about going into Best Buy and finding a 2x priced bookshelf pair.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Interesting thoughts. 45 degrees is quite sharp for a listening angle so I don’t think that mushroom cloud is quite relevant. To me at least. Reminds me of people bashing Dennis for his BMRs having a mushroom cloud way outside a reasonable listening angle. I’d love to hear a pair of speakers that doesn’t have this mushroom cloud characteristic. Let me guess, Revel?

How exactly is the JBL more advanced acoustically? Is it because of the wave guide? Personally I thought the tweeter was decent, nothing special compared to the detailing of the Ascends. The imaging was all I was astonished with. The woofer was nice, clean extended excursion, JBL’s specialty, but like I said, it ran out way too quick. “Was like watching a sunset, at noon” ~Stan Lee (ERB)
Toeing in speakers is "normal" and minimizes reflections off side walls as do room treatments.

No idea what a "mushroom cloud" is but the Ascend measures far better 30 degrees than 45 so toe in would make sense.

You didn't KNOW you were supposed to HATE the Ascends, right?

Off topic, you are a young person under 18 from what I gather.

When I was your age everyone had speakers/music setups but that seems to be unusual today for your age group.

What do your friends think of your cabinet speaker addiction?

Geoff A. J., California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Haha Def Techs are garbage, throw them away immediately :roll eyes: lol

Ascends are pretty amazing, I love these things. I plan on making more comparisons. I’m REALLY hoping to get the Sony Cores because I want to decide the true budget king between the two. I also want to give these Ascends a good fight so I’m thinking about going into Best Buy and finding a 2x priced bookshelf pair.
Ha ha yeah I know I should. I would like 3 CMT-340s LCR and CBM- 170s for surrounds.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Toeing in speakers is "normal" and minimizes reflections off side walls as do room treatments.



No idea what a "mushroom cloud" is but the Ascend measures far better 30 degrees than 45 so toe in would make sense.



You didn't KNOW you were supposed to HATE the Ascends, right?



Off topic, you are a young person under 18 from what I gather.



When I was your age everyone had speakers/music setups but that seems to be unusual today for your age group.



What do your friends think of your cabinet speaker addiction?

Oh that makes sense now, but isn’t the frequency response now different from being dead on? I know the CCB8’s and other recommend it because the treble is too strong.

Wait I was supposed to hate the Ascends? Oh darn gotta replace them with some Revel’s now.

Yep still in high school. What gave it away lol other than my constant posting 24/7

It’s extremely uncommon to have anything more than a Bluetooth JBL speaker and maybe a sound bar for fortnite, and I don’t understand why.

Friends think it’s odd but at least I’m not one the ones smoking weed after school and being depressed because they can’t get good grades. I constantly tell them speakers can change ur life but they don’t listen lol.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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