Originally Posted by TXBDan
Interesting, I ruled out the Ascend CBM-170s after reading the audiosciencereview review.
I wouldn't take that website very seriously if I were you.
1. Anybody who claims that this hobby can be "science" is full of sh*t pushing their own agenda, or hopelessly simple-minded. Certain "objective" criteria can be applied to separate the indisputably BAD speakers from the good to excellent ones, but most of what makes one person prefer one speaker over another is 100% SUBJECTIVE personal tastes in both sound and their particular usage habits (whether they listen at low, medium or high volumes; whether they're doing mostly HT/TV or music, and if music then what specific genres they listen to).
2. Anybody who actually believes that measurements are anything more than a STARTING POINT in the speaker selection process is hopelessly simple-minded. Further, measurements can easily be fudged and/or screwed up depending on the conditions under which they're taken. Just like most specs, there is no industry wide standard or watchdog regulatory body to make sure that everybody is playing with the same toys. Again, many grains of salt.
3. I have owned the Ascend 170SE, and I have heard plenty of "bright" speakers. I despise "bright" speakers, other than for HT usage...for music, they are a form of torture as far as my ears are concerned. The 170SE are *not* bright, nowhere in the same league of "bright" as entry-level Klipsch, Polk, or Def Tech. I'd call them "neutral" bordering on "clinical"---a speaker that rewards a really good recording and ruthlessly reveals a poor one.
The fact that the reviewer provides zero commentary on how the 170SE actually *sounds* to his ears with any specific pieces of music, speaks volumes. Then he stupidly uses the infamously warm-and-wooly but mid-bass heavy Pioneer BS22 as a comparison in full channel mode...well DOH, guess which one is going to sound "better?" The 170SE like the 200SE were both designed to be used WITH a subwoofer...that's why it has much higher sensitivity than the Pioneer. A large part of my motivation for getting rid of them was a desire for a more forgiving speaker since much of my listening is with lossy streaming music.
Based on all of the above, I would happily trust these people's independent measurements of the 170SE over that of the ASR guy: