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post #181 of 229 Old 09-04-2019, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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So I just listened to Totem Forest Sig ($5500) and Spendor D7 ($5300) - both towers, both were excellent . Very different speakers. Totems super holographic, vocals and instruments definitely recessed but the soundstage was deep and everything was 3d and super enjoyable in a relaxing way, magical might be the right word? Still could turn it up and get that detail but a different presentation, unique for sure. The spendors Were much more forward and detailed, but at the end of the day might be technically neutral? But just very dynamic, detailed, full sounding, got more goose bumps from these. The imaging wasnt nearly as good as the totems though. I would be happy with either of these! Apples vs oranges. Was hoping to hear the 702s2 back to back with these but they didnt have them....The spendors reminded me of focal electra 1038s i heard a month ago (10k retail, now 7k as a closeout). Electras took bass and detail to another level but they were actually too detailed for my sensitive ears, and massive..Dont love the cosmetic either I will also say that I may prefer both totem and spendor to the confidence 20 (standmount).
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post #182 of 229 Old 09-04-2019, 04:46 PM
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Now...what if I told you that a good subwoofer (two is better), properly integrated, will take bass to yet another level, beyond what any floorstanding speaker you'll audition is capable of?

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post #183 of 229 Old 09-05-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boca Vista View Post
So I just listened to Totem Forest Sig ($5500) and Spendor D7 ($5300) - both towers, both were excellent . Very different speakers. Totems super holographic, vocals and instruments definitely recessed but the soundstage was deep and everything was 3d and super enjoyable in a relaxing way, magical might be the right word? Still could turn it up and get that detail but a different presentation, unique for sure. The spendors Were much more forward and detailed, but at the end of the day might be technically neutral? But just very dynamic, detailed, full sounding, got more goose bumps from these. The imaging wasnt nearly as good as the totems though. I would be happy with either of these! Apples vs oranges. Was hoping to hear the 702s2 back to back with these but they didnt have them....The spendors reminded me of focal electra 1038s i heard a month ago (10k retail, now 7k as a closeout). Electras took bass and detail to another level but they were actually too detailed for my sensitive ears, and massive..Dont love the cosmetic either I will also say that I may prefer both totem and spendor to the confidence 20 (standmount).
There is a phenomena @Soulburner is alluding to above (I think), which I believe (in retrospect) is what lead me to making the wrong speaker purchase about a year ago (the B&W 702 S2) based on in-store listening tests I did: Specifically, the bass response of speakers can have a huge impact of how we perceive the overall sound quality, and rightly so! Bass is extremely important, and is IMO even undervalued by some audiophiles (the crowd that says "true audiophile purists listen to music in pure stereo, with no subwoofer, for the best music experience" -- which isn't true).

However, the problem is: The influence of bass on our perception of a speaker's quality can overshadow other very important quality features, when the reality is you don't have to make any such compromise: You can and will get the best of both worlds (quality and quantity deep bass, and the rest of the frequency spectrum) when you integrate a subwoofer or two into your setup (which FYI is sometimes actually cheaper in total vs a single tower speaker pair that tries to achieve the same bass extension).

Again I'm going to bring up the Ascend RAAL Sierra Towers, not because I'm pushing it as the right choice for you necessarily (though I am a fan obviously), but because I've listened to it for many hours side by side with the Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 (which I still own and have), in multiple configurations:

1. Comparing without subwoofer, running both speakers full range
2. Comparing without subwoofer, but with a high crossover to artificially remove bass frequencies from both speakers so as to somewhat objectively compare everything else independent of bass extension
3. Comparing with subwoofer enabled on both speakers (same goal as (2), but can be tricky because the optimal subwoofer integration for each speaker is different)

The results to me reliably show that comparing different speakers without a subwoofer integrated (which is usually how it's done during in-store listening tests, at least) is an extremely unreliable way to judge the relative quality of speakers which have different bass extensions (and all speakers will have at least some difference there).

I say this, because in every test I've done using methods (2) and (3), the Ascend RAAL Towers win in every song I've ever tried, not just to me, but a few others who've compared. Yet, when I test in mode (1), the difference in bass extension can dominate the subjective sound quality of many songs (especially songs with important bass presence), to the point where some songs sounded better on the B&W 702 S2, but (after enough comparisons) clearly only because of the better bass extension. In fact, some songs were a tie as well because the bass was clearly deeper on the B&W 702 S2, but the treble and midrange was clearly incredibly better on the Ascend's -- for the same song. For these songs and in modes (1) or (2), neither speakers fully satisfied, since both were clearly missing something (which you may not have been aware of, if you hadn't heard the other).

Yet when a subwoofer is added and integrated well (so the bass is the same), there is nothing missing on the Ascend's, but the B&W's vastly inferior treble and somewhat inferior mids become the highlight of any comparison. Similarly, using a crossover to remove the bass frequencies from both, the conclusion that the Ascend's are much better is the same (it's just neither speaker is as pleasant to listen to when deep bass is removed).

The reason I say this is just to hopefully caution you against making the same mistake I did in any of the speakers you compare. In my case, I compared the B&W 702 S2 to other speakers I probably would have actually preferred (though not Ascend's since they're internet direct only), but for a few reasons primarily related to bass extension, the 702 S2 ended up sounding better in-store (even though this wasn't the right decision for me).

That said, if you do end up preferring the 702 S2's to anything else even independent of bass extension and listening to a wide range of music genres, maybe that will vitalize the used market so I can sell mine quicker Otherwise, if you want me to provide some links to tracks that will particularly highlight some of the 702 S2's flaws compared to other speakers, I can do that too.
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post #184 of 229 Old 09-05-2019, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Del Boca Vista View Post
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Originally Posted by RMW1982 View Post
Advice from someone (me) that has owned A LOT of speakers and ended up spending lots of money buying and selling trying to find “end game” speakers...be sure you know what you’️re trying to improve upon before trying to find something better than what you have. If you are happy with the Buchardts, liked them better than the R3s and almost as much as the much more expensive Dyns, why not just keep them and enjoy the music?



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Excellent point as are the last few suggestions. One thing I did like about the floorstanders was taller soundstage. Even though i was getting less detail and transparency with the Evokes, the I felt it more viscerally, which is an appeal of floor standers
A few things just to touch on, the older designed Dynaudio speakers, the woofer designed like the S40, it uses a 3” voice coil so the bass was very punchy at low levels and as you turn them up, they can be overdriven, only happened to me on one song but every time I played that one song with my Focus 160s. The new Dynaudio drivers (contours & evokes) have 1-1/2” voice coils but longer excursions and play bass at a higher SPL without issue of potentially bottoming out.

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post #185 of 229 Old 09-05-2019, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boca Vista View Post
So I just listened to Totem Forest Sig ($5500) and Spendor D7 ($5300) - both towers, both were excellent . Very different speakers. Totems super holographic, vocals and instruments definitely recessed but the soundstage was deep and everything was 3d and super enjoyable in a relaxing way, magical might be the right word? Still could turn it up and get that detail but a different presentation, unique for sure. The spendors Were much more forward and detailed, but at the end of the day might be technically neutral? But just very dynamic, detailed, full sounding, got more goose bumps from these. The imaging wasnt nearly as good as the totems though. I would be happy with either of these! Apples vs oranges. Was hoping to hear the 702s2 back to back with these but they didnt have them....The spendors reminded me of focal electra 1038s i heard a month ago (10k retail, now 7k as a closeout). Electras took bass and detail to another level but they were actually too detailed for my sensitive ears, and massive..Dont love the cosmetic either I will also say that I may prefer both totem and spendor to the confidence 20 (standmount).
I have a buddy that has Totem Forrest Sigs, Totem Fires and Mites, Dynaudio Contour 30s, Dynaudio X18s, & X12s. He won’t tell you he has a favorite but he listens to the Contour 30s and the Fires the most.

Dynaudio Contour 20, Focus 210C, DM 2/6, Hsu VTF3 MK5 HP, Oppo BDP-103, Naim Uniti Star, Marantz SR5010, 60" 4K Samsung LED LCD, XBOX ONE S
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post #186 of 229 Old 09-06-2019, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a buddy that has Totem Forrest Sigs, Totem Fires and Mites, Dynaudio Contour 30s, Dynaudio X18s, & X12s. He won’t tell you he has a favorite but he listens to the Contour 30s and the Fires the most.
I totally believe it, and im guessing the 30 is much better than the 20, and id probably prefer it to the Totems ...
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post #187 of 229 Old 09-06-2019, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Now...what if I told you that a good subwoofer (two is better), properly integrated, will take bass to yet another level, beyond what any floorstanding speaker you'll audition is capable of?
I live in an apt so I just have a mental block which makes me not want to add a subwoofer, even though I know it will round out the sound
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post #188 of 229 Old 09-06-2019, 01:25 PM
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Not sure what an apt has to do with it - if you're concerned about neighbors, you'll have trouble chasing more bass from towers as well. The difference is the sub is more tunable to reduce transmission through the walls. Get a sealed sub, put it on spikes or an isolation pad, and use the rumble filter.
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post #189 of 229 Old 09-07-2019, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Del Boca Vista View Post
I live in an apt so I just have a mental block which makes me not want to add a subwoofer, even though I know it will round out the sound
There are actually wall mountable subs that aren't all that much money.

Monoprice has 8, 10 and 12" models.

https://www.monoprice.com/category/a...ers/subwoofers

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post #190 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 08:54 AM
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FWIW, I have owned all of the following stand-mount speakers:

Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference
Usher BE-718
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2
Dynaudio Special 40
Dynaudio Excite X18
Boenicke W5
Revel M106
Focal Aria 906
Sonus Faber Liuto

Best of the bunch? Sierra 2. And I am currently in the process of upgrading to the 2EX.

For those looking for a budget-friendly amp to drive these outstanding speakers, I would definitely recommend the Nuforce STA200. It's astoundingly good given its price point. For reference, I have owned or currently own a First Watt J2, Pass Aleph 30, Benchmark AHB2, Exposure 3010s2, McCormack DNA 0.5 deluxe and a few others, and this little bastard punches WAY above its weight.
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post #191 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Vingard View Post
FWIW, I have owned all of the following stand-mount speakers:

Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference
Usher BE-718
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2
Dynaudio Special 40
Dynaudio Excite X18
Boenicke W5
Revel M106
Focal Aria 906
Sonus Faber Liuto

Best of the bunch? Sierra 2. And I am currently in the process of upgrading to the 2EX.
Which model of Sierra 2? With dome tweeter or RAAL?

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which model of sierra 2? With dome tweeter or raal?
raal
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post #193 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vingard View Post
FWIW, I have owned all of the following stand-mount speakers:

Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference
Usher BE-718
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2
Dynaudio Special 40
Dynaudio Excite X18
Boenicke W5
Revel M106
Focal Aria 906
Sonus Faber Liuto

Best of the bunch? Sierra 2. And I am currently in the process of upgrading to the 2EX.

For those looking for a budget-friendly amp to drive these outstanding speakers, I would definitely recommend the Nuforce STA200. It's astoundingly good given its price point. For reference, I have owned or currently own a First Watt J2, Pass Aleph 30, Benchmark AHB2, Exposure 3010s2, McCormack DNA 0.5 deluxe and a few others, and this little bastard punches WAY above its weight.
sierra 2 better than Special 40? come on now...
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post #194 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 06:51 PM
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sierra 2 better than Special 40? come on now...
Indeed - I owned the Special 40 for a period and found it to be a tad soft around the edges, not as dynamic/lively as I would have liked.
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post #195 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 06:55 PM
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Which model of Sierra 2? With dome tweeter or RAAL?
sierra 1 has a dome, sierra 2 (100% of them ) have raal..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #196 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Del Boca Vista View Post
I am shortlisting dynaudio special 40, b&w 705s2, buchardt s400, kef ls50/r3. Welcome thoughts on those or any others that I need to know about? I live in an apartment so big bass response is not a priority. Listen to bossa nova, blues, vocal, acoustic rock, some jazz..I have Elac ub5s right now which for $500 are incredible -


Also dont NEED to spend 3k, if a 2k speaker is a big improvement over the elacs then that might be the way to go, but willing to go up to 3, hear only great things about the dynaudios haha...Appreciate any suggestions!

You might want to try JBL 530 speakers. You won't find anything better under 7K. They go for $599. JBL is always sold out as they go like hotcakes but you can find them with resellers on Amazon and e-bay.
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post #197 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:03 PM
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You might want to try JBL 530 speakers. You won't find anything better under 7K.
That’s quite the claim, especially when there are now many extremely high value brands out there with offerings in this price range. What have you compared them to personally, to be able to say that nothing under $7k compares?
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Ascend Sierra Towers (RAAL) + Ascend Horizon (RAAL) + 2x Rythmik F18 | Ascend Sierra 2EX + JL Audio E112 | [Selling:] Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2
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post #198 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:13 PM
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sierra 1 has a dome, sierra 2 (100% of them ) have raal..
I got them mixed up with the towers - it is the towers that have the option of dome or ribbon.
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That’s quite the claim, especially when there are now many extremely high value brands out there with offerings in this price range. What have you compared them to personally, to be able to say that nothing under $7k compares?

Admittedly I have not heard them myself however I am basing this on reviews I have seen online from many people who appear to form a consensus.
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post #200 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Vingard View Post
FWIW, I have owned all of the following stand-mount speakers:

Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference
Usher BE-718
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2
Dynaudio Special 40
Dynaudio Excite X18
Boenicke W5
Revel M106
Focal Aria 906
Sonus Faber Liuto

Best of the bunch? Sierra 2. And I am currently in the process of upgrading to the 2EX.

For those looking for a budget-friendly amp to drive these outstanding speakers, I would definitely recommend the Nuforce STA200. It's astoundingly good given its price point. For reference, I have owned or currently own a First Watt J2, Pass Aleph 30, Benchmark AHB2, Exposure 3010s2, McCormack DNA 0.5 deluxe and a few others, and this little bastard punches WAY above its weight.
question: if the sierra 2 was tops (and i won't doubt it after time with the cbm 170 se) how does the sierra 1 stack up against the rest of the competition..??

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #201 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:22 PM
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I got them mixed up with the towers - it is the towers that have the option of dome or ribbon.
cool , not trying to bust your ba**s , just trying to keep folks from getting mis info..
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YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #202 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Shmooz View Post
Admittedly I have not heard them myself however I am basing this on reviews I have seen online from many people who appear to form a consensus.
One thing we all learn about speaker reviews eventually:

1. With almost no exceptions, virtually every speaker review in a magazine or publication will be overwhelmingly positive and make you feel like this speaker is the best speaker in the world — so, better go buy it right NOW! They’re great speaker salesman. The ones who aren’t stop getting free samples of those $10k+ speakers. So in comparisons, they’ll often pick speakers costing much more that sound worse, to make you think it’s the best deal ever. But the reviews are notably absent of mentioning speakers they themselves said (in other reviews) were the best for the price. Then you read another article from them, where apparently now it seems THAT speaker is the best in the world, and you’ll soon notice the pattern.

2. Many people (myself included) will post rave reviews about speakers they have, but ultimately the absolute positivity of these reviews have very little value: where value comes in is when direct and methodical comparisons to other speaker(s) are offered. These don’t need to be double blind controlled studies as some might advocate (though of course that would always be appreciated), but for example I can write in depth about comparison between my Ascend RAAL Towers vs B&W 702 S2 towers, because I can listen to them side by side extensively.

So unless you found accounts of people listening to them side by side with other speakers known well for having exceptional value per dollar, it’s very hard to believe that they could beat many other amazing speakers under $7k (e.g. Ascend Sierra RAAL Tower, Revel F208, KEF’s similar priced towers (I forget the model), or even JBLs own higher end products, etc.)

I’m sure they’re fantastic for their price though, as JBL tends to make great speakers.
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Ascend Sierra Towers (RAAL) + Ascend Horizon (RAAL) + 2x Rythmik F18 | Ascend Sierra 2EX + JL Audio E112 | [Selling:] Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2

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post #203 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:39 PM
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You might want to try JBL 530 speakers. You won't find anything better under 7K. They go for $599. JBL is always sold out as they go like hotcakes but you can find them with resellers on Amazon and e-bay.
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Admittedly I have not heard them myself however I am basing this on reviews I have seen online from many people who appear to form a consensus.
That’s quite the endorsement for a speaker you have never listened to. I especially like the under 7k price point you throw out. How did you figure that?

Subwoofers: Dual Rythmik FV18
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post #204 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:41 PM
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One thing we all learn about speaker reviews eventually:

1. With almost no exceptions, virtually every speaker review in a magazine or publication will be overwhelmingly positive and make you feel like this speaker is the best speaker in the world — so, better go buy it right NOW! They’re great speaker salesman. The ones who aren’t stop getting free samples of those $10k+ speakers. So in comparisons, they’ll often pick speakers costing much more that sound worse, to make you think it’s the best deal ever. But the reviews are notably absent of mentioning speakers they themselves said (in other reviews) were the best for the price. Then you read another article from them, where apparently now it seems THAT speaker is the best in the world, and you’ll soon notice the pattern.

2. Many people (myself included) will post rave reviews about speakers they have, but ultimately the absolute positivity of these reviews have very little value: where value comes in is when direct and methodical comparisons to other speaker(s) are offered. These don’t need to be double blind controlled studies as some might advocate (though of course that would always be appreciated), but for example I can write in depth about comparison between my Ascend RAAL Towers vs B&W 702 S2 towers, because I can listen to them side by side extensively.

So unless you found accounts of people listening to them side by side with other speakers known well for having exceptional value per dollar, it’s very hard to believe that they could beat many other amazing speakers under $7k (e.g. Ascend Sierra RAAL Tower, Revel F208, KEF’s similar priced towers (I forget the model), or even JBLs own higher end products, etc.)

I’m sure they’re fantastic for their price though, as JBL tends to make great speakers.
opinion on this listening review as it relates to 702 and ascend tower? http://www.windermere.info/speakers.html
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post #205 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by papashango61 View Post
opinion on this listening review as it relates to 702 and ascend tower? http://www.windermere.info/speakers.html
That’s actually the comparison that originally convinced me to buy the Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 in the first place, as I had been contemplating the Ascend Towers at the time as well. I later bought the Ascend RAAL Towers also, and it became clear very quickly that the Ascend RAAL Towers completely outclassed the B&W 702 S2 in terms of sound *quality*.

In the end, it was a mistake to trust that test to guide my purchase, and to a causal reader (including myself at the time) it’s not obvious why this is the case. I understand now, and can explain both theoretically and tangibly why:

When I say the sound quality is better, I mean it sounds better when controlling for bass extension differences, because neither speaker is flat to 20hz and so both need a subwoofer to be “complete”. The B&W has much deeper bass extension (in addition to a non-flat sound signature that artificially boosts some bass frequencies), which makes me and other prefer it in tests on many songs overall when listening without a subwoofer. You would be amazed what differences in bass extension do to our perception of overall sound quality!

Without a subwoofer, I would say it’s a 50/50 split between which speakers are preferred for any given song, but this heavily depends on what songs you’re listening to! Songs with important deep bass presence will not likely be preferred on speakers that don’t reach down to those frequencies strongly, no matter how much better they may be otherwise. It would be very easy to choose a set of songs that make the B&W sound much better, if we’re running both towers alone with no subwoofer.

With a subwoofer integrated with both, everything suddenly changes: Rather than some songs sounding better on B&W due to bass, and some on Ascend due to mids and treble, >95% of all songs sound better on the Ascends, and dramatically so: Because the disparity in bass extension is no longer there to distract, it becomes so obvious how much better the mid bass, midrange, and treble are on the Ascends. Ascends were designed to run with a subwoofer, and even the B&W 702 S2’s (impressive though their bass may be) can’t touch the bass extension and power you get with a proper subwoofer. IMO and according to a few people who’ve compared with me, the superiority of the Ascend over the B&W is not subtle: the difference is huge, especially in the treble. I could rave on and on how beautifully natural and realistic the Ascend sounds across a wide variety of instruments, how it perfectly renders treble string or wind instruments with lifelike detail yet no harshness or fatigue, etc. etc. but I think you get the point.

Now lastly, with a subwoofer, and with selective equalization to make the Ascend frequency response more like the B&W (per the 5% of remaining songs that sounded better on the B&W), the Ascend RAAL Towers have so far won 100% of comparisons I’ve ever done.

I haven’t done this super rigorously, but I’ve done it single blind with a few listeners other than myself (and sighted comparisons myself, but also because the sounds are so recognizably different to me I don’t think even a blind test could entirely remove bias for me).

The results are quite consistent: With subwoofer off, it’s a toss-up and depends on your test songs. With subwoofer on and a bit of EQ to fix badly mastered songs, the Ascend RAAL Towers win over the B&W 702 S2 in 100% of the people and songs I’ve tested so far.

Edit: I just noticed that review link did mention turning a subwoofer on and off for some of the tests, but strangely absent from the review seems to be any info on what subwoofer was used, with what crossover, etc. — it’s only a passing mention in one of the tests. I mention this because on my B&W 702 S2’s I had been happy with a 60hz crossover, whereas with the Ascend Towers I find preferred 80hz crossover (with filter slope doubled to prevent localization issues) for the best integrated sound.

Ascend Sierra Towers (RAAL) + Ascend Horizon (RAAL) + 2x Rythmik F18 | Ascend Sierra 2EX + JL Audio E112 | [Selling:] Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2

Last edited by echopraxia; 09-10-2019 at 08:33 PM.
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post #206 of 229 Old 09-10-2019, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
That’s actually the comparison that originally convinced me to buy the Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 in the first place, as I had been contemplating the Ascend Towers at the time as well. I later bought the Ascend RAAL Towers also, and it became clear very quickly that the Ascend RAAL Towers completely outclassed the B&W 702 S2 in terms of sound *quality*.

In the end, it was a mistake to trust that test to guide my purchase, and to a causal reader (including myself at the time) it’s not obvious why this is the case. I understand now, and can explain both theoretically and tangibly why:

When I say the sound quality is better, I mean it sounds better when controlling for bass extension differences, because neither speaker is flat to 20hz and so both need a subwoofer to be “complete”. The B&W has much deeper bass extension (in addition to a non-flat sound signature that artificially boosts some bass frequencies), which makes me and other prefer it in tests on many songs overall when listening without a subwoofer. You would be amazed what differences in bass extension do to our perception of overall sound quality!

Without a subwoofer, I would say it’s a 50/50 split between which speakers are preferred for any given song, but this heavily depends on what songs you’re listening to! Songs with important deep bass presence will not likely be preferred on speakers that don’t reach down to those frequencies strongly, no matter how much better they may be otherwise. It would be very easy to choose a set of songs that make the B&W sound much better, if we’re running both towers alone with no subwoofer.

With a subwoofer integrated with both, everything suddenly changes: Rather than some songs sounding better on B&W due to bass, and some on Ascend due to mids and treble, >95% of all songs sound better on the Ascends, and dramatically so: Because the disparity in bass extension is no longer there to distract, it becomes so obvious how much better the mid bass, midrange, and treble are on the Ascends. Ascends were designed to run with a subwoofer, and even the B&W 702 S2’s (impressive though their bass may be) can’t touch the bass extension and power you get with a proper subwoofer. IMO and according to a few people who’ve compared with me, the superiority of the Ascend over the B&W is not subtle: the difference is huge, especially in the treble. I could rave on and on how beautifully natural and realistic the Ascend sounds across a wide variety of instruments, how it perfectly renders treble string or wind instruments with lifelike detail yet no harshness or fatigue, etc. etc. but I think you get the point.

Now lastly, with a subwoofer, and with selective equalization to make the Ascend frequency response more like the B&W (per the 5% of remaining songs that sounded better on the B&W), the Ascend RAAL Towers have so far won 100% of comparisons I’ve ever done.

I haven’t done this super rigorously, but I’ve done it single blind with a few listeners other than myself (and sighted comparisons myself, but also because the sounds are so recognizably different to me I don’t think even a blind test could entirely remove bias for me).

The results are quite consistent: With subwoofer off, it’s a toss-up and depends on your test songs. With subwoofer on and a bit of EQ to fix badly mastered songs, the Ascend RAAL Towers win over the B&W 702 S2 in 100% of the people and songs I’ve tested so far.

Edit: I just noticed that review link did mention turning a subwoofer on and off for some of the tests, but strangely absent from the review seems to be any info on what subwoofer was used, with what crossover, etc. — it’s only a passing mention in one of the tests. I mention this because on my B&W 702 S2’s I had been happy with a 60hz crossover, whereas with the Ascend Towers I find preferred 80hz crossover (with filter slope doubled to prevent localization issues) for the best integrated sound.
i would concur with the assessment that ascend "gets it right" in instrument tonality, even with the cbm 170's.. i listen to mostly streamed music , so there are many bad recordings to deal with , but eq helps a bunch, but the good recordings allow the ascends to shine..they really do sound good with many instruments ..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #207 of 229 Old 09-11-2019, 02:04 AM
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I've recently been playing around with bookshelf speakers and towers in this price range and above, and it has become fairly apparent (as alluded to by posters above) that trying for a bookshelf which has bass extension that matches towers gets you into never-never land.

Due to a post-pub eBay session, I currently have a pair of KEF LS50s and a pair of R3s in my lounge.

For the same reason I recently had a pair of Lyngdorf BW-2 boundary woofers on hand.

These are very slim powered woofers that are designed to go against the wall, and which play happily from 25Hz up to 800Hz, $900 or so each.

I also have my trusty old Velodyne HGS10 sealed servo sub.

The R3s sound better than the LS50s when run full range.

When crossing both at 80Hz to the single Velodyne they are also a tad better (because the LS50s don't quite reach 80hz without EQ) but not as much.

But when you add the Lyngdorf stereo boundary woofers, and cross them at 200Hz or so (with EQ), the LS50s shine. Especially when you stuff the ports so they become sealed.

That combo was better than the equivalently priced GoldenEar Triton 3s I also had in hand and (if you like the LS50 character) would be up there with the KEF References and Blade.

What I would like to see is a really high quality bookshelf that doesn't try to go low via porting or a giant cabinet. A sealed LS50, or a sealed Ascend Luna form factor except with a great mid like a Seas W15.

Something designed to be used with dedicated (but separate) bass drivers.

Using the best drivers (and Ascend pricing as a guide), such a speaker could cost around $1500. The Lyngdorf woofers would take you a bit over $3K, but the Rythmik FM8 is designed to play up to 250Hz and could be adapted.

A DIY version would be trivial. Just use a MiniDSP to do the crossover and EQ for the boundary woofers.

This version of a $3K bookshelf would trounce all those mentioned, and their more expensive tower cousins.
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post #208 of 229 Old 09-11-2019, 04:37 AM
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question: if the sierra 2 was tops (and i won't doubt it after time with the cbm 170 se) how does the sierra 1 stack up against the rest of the competition..??
Each of these speakers has its own merits - none are "bad", per se. For example, the BE-718 was best at imaging, but I found the beryllium tweeter too harsh. The Boenicke was the "airiest" of the bunch, but was slightly anemic in the mid-range. I couldn't really do a best-to-worst ranking - that wouldn't be a fair representation of what each speaker brings to the table. That being said, the Sierra 1 I would describe as being a splendid all-round performer, with few (if any) obvious flaws, but a couple notches below the Sierra 2 in terms of its "all-roundedness".
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post #209 of 229 Old 09-11-2019, 05:07 AM
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Each of these speakers has its own merits - none are "bad", per se. For example, the BE-718 was best at imaging, but I found the beryllium tweeter too harsh. The Boenicke was the "airiest" of the bunch, but was slightly anemic in the mid-range. I couldn't really do a best-to-worst ranking - that wouldn't be a fair representation of what each speaker brings to the table. That being said, the Sierra 1 I would describe as being a splendid all-round performer, with few (if any) obvious flaws, but a couple notches below the Sierra 2 in terms of its "all-roundedness".
very nice , i am a fan of the lower end offerings.. they are a great value .. thanks for the response..... i have read it somewhere that the low end stuff compares favorably to the higher end stuff , bearing in mind the obvious quality of hardware differences...

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #210 of 229 Old 09-11-2019, 07:04 AM
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Each of these speakers has its own merits - none are "bad", per se. For example, the BE-718 was best at imaging, but I found the beryllium tweeter too harsh. The Boenicke was the "airiest" of the bunch, but was slightly anemic in the mid-range. I couldn't really do a best-to-worst ranking - that wouldn't be a fair representation of what each speaker brings to the table. That being said, the Sierra 1 I would describe as being a splendid all-round performer, with few (if any) obvious flaws, but a couple notches below the Sierra 2 in terms of its "all-roundedness".
Regarding harshness, how much did you play with toe angle?
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