***The Official Ascend Acoustics Sierra Thread*** - Page 184 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #5491 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
Does anyone know why the Sierra Towers (either NRT or RAAL) have such an amazingly flat impedance plot?

Sierra Tower impedance plot (exceptionally flat):
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/image...s/srt/BODE.gif

Vs Sierra 2EX impedance plot (which looks much more like most other speakers):
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/image...RM2EX/BODE.gif

I just noticed this, and the towers seem to really stand out (at least among Ascend’s product line) in this way. Also, what’s the general interpretation/benefit of a flat impedance plot — is it mostly about the ease with which an amplifier can drive a set of speakers without distortion or altered frequency response?

Actually the impedance plots for both are quite similar. They look so different due to the scaling. The Y axis on the S2-EX is 2 ohms per division while the impedance plot for the tower is 5 ohms per division. That said, impedance plots really offer no insight into a speaker's performance provided that they don't show any strange wiggles or aberrations, of which neither of these 2 speakers do. The phase angle plot is actually more telling with regard to how amplifier friendly the speaker is. Generally, phase angles greater than 45 degrees located at low impedance areas indicate a speaker that can be a difficult load for some amplifiers / receivers. Both of these speakers provide a stable amplifier friendly load.

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post #5492 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Lp85253 View Post
question for sierra one owners (the original.. not nrt).. what's your take on the sound signature.. ?? i'm trying to avoid buying speakers that have a "forward" leaning sound.. thanks for any insight...

I would consider the Sierra-1 NrT to be slightly forward sounding, while the Sierra-1 is slightly laid back. Our Sierra-2/2EX would be right in the middle
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post #5493 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
I have placed my Ascend Sierra Towers (RAAL) next to my Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 in the same room (with really good acoustics) and am comparing directly (A/B testing with my receiver’s zone control). (My subs are turned off because I don’t want to have to deal with integration calibration for two different speakers.)

So far, I am finding that the Ascend’s sound higher fidelity in almost every way except perhaps bass. In particular, ribbon tweeter is truly something special (like everyone says I suppose, I don’t think I can go back now). They are so crisp and detailed without any “bite”, aside from some songs that just have too much treble (which only sounds more gentle on the B&W because they are more bottom heavy on the frequency range, so per same mids volume level the B&W have less treble). The RAAL treble is just so amazingly smooth.

Even on songs that I saved for sounding particularly amazing on the B&W’s, I am finding that the Ascend does it better.

So far, the B&W still come out on top for that strong and warm room-filling mid bass, but it’s also possible my ears just need to adapt (and I haven’t even tried equalizing them in this room yet).
Not surprising at all that the Ascend come out clearly ahead of the B&W, but also not surprising it took a little time to get used to the difference in sound. The B&W 702 S2 were reviewed/measured on Stereophile....it amazes me that B&W has managed to gain such a reputation with audiophiles based on looks and name brand alone, as they certainly don't have the fidelity one would expect from a company that is revered by so many. I look at the measured response of their speakers and sometimes wonder if their designers even know how to design a speaker properly? If one gets used to this type of sound, inevitably and unavoidably biased by their looks and reputation, it makes sense that hearing a well designed high fidelity speaker would take some getting used to.
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post #5494 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
Yeah, it’s amazing how important bass extension is for music. I really think people who say “you don’t really need a subwoofer with these speakers” (when referring to almost any speakers, unless they extend completely flat to 20hz) are doing the audiophile world a huge injustice, because most people don’t realize how a significant part of your subjective judgement of a speaker system comes from the bass extension, to the point where when comparing any two speakers, the superior bass extension of one can subconsciously determine your conclusion of the better speaker, despite the otherwise superiority of the other.

Let me explain how and why I went from an Ascend critic to an Ascend fan:

I’m realizing now that this is why I avoided Ascend for so many years (sadly). Many years ago, I listened to an Ascend Sierra 1 someone owned, and I found it to sound not nearly as good as the hype. I found it to sound overall much worse than many other speakers at the same price (like Bowers and Wilkins which I ended up owning for a long time). Now, I am realizing it was all thanks to this horrible audiophile trope of downplaying the importance of deep bass, which I fell for and which lead me to compare speakers subjectively without a subwoofer involved. As a result, the differences in bass extension had the overwhelming influence on my final subjective choice.

And so here I am loving the Ascend Towers, and realizing that all this time, the only reason I didn’t like Ascend as much as other brands, is in fact because I heard and compared them without a subwoofer (yes, Ascend speakers NEED a sub as do all speakers that don’t extend flat to 20hz) vs other speakers I compared to which had a naturally deeper bass extension. In the end, I preferred the speakers with a naturally deeper bass extension, even though I wouldn’t have needed it when paired with a good subwoofer.

And so this mistaken judgement of Ascend I had many years ago, I blame on the IMO wrongheaded audiophile advise that “when listening to music (or comparing speakers subjectively), speakers should be used without a subwoofer”.

The Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 vs Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers comparisons I did without subwoofers demonstrated perfectly just how terrible that advise is, especially on some songs where you’d have both treble electric guitar and very deep bass guitar: On such a song, I couldn’t choose the favorite speaker because the Ascend Towers were so very clearly missing so much of the song in the bass department, and the B&W was so very clearly ruining the sound of the treble electric guitar! But when the subwoofer was turned on for both speakers, the Ascend was immediately the obvious favorite.

No amount of sound quality superiority from the Ascend Tower could make up for the fact that half the song was missing on it!

When the Rythmik sub was added though, it instantly became so clear that the Ascend Towers + Rythmik were better in every way than the B&W 702 S2 + Rythmik. And not just by a little bit, to my ears: it’s a very large, obvious difference. I will have some other people listen as well and it will be interesting to see the impression from “non audiophiles” as well.

Anyway, the reason I say all this is really to just shoot down the unfortunately common advise of “for best music experience you shouldn’t have a sub turned on”, or “these speakers extend to 30hz so you don’t need a sub!” etc. I know people who say that have the best intentions, and maybe they’re right in some small subset of cases (people who can’t hear bass, don’t listen to music with bass, or have some of those really exotic speakers with built-in subwoofers), but as generalized advise I must protest against it, because it’s probably turning off a lot of newcomers to audiophile speakers.

I say that because when a newcomer hears a great audiophile speaker and find they don’t like it as much as some other lower fidelity setup, they write it off to audiophiles being crazy or weird or just having different ears (some of which may be true to an extent ), but I think most of the time it’s this aversion for some audiophiles to acknowledge the fundamental importance of deep bass replication.

Anyways, rant aside: Ascend and Rythmik are a match made in heaven, to my ears. I am so glad they’re partnered, and I’m so glad I tried Rythmik, then later gave Ascend a second try because of how much the Rythmik impressed me.
This is an excellent experience that reinforces Floyd Toole's research which, in part, concludes that demoing speakers in a showroom is probably NOT the best way to choose the best speakers, but rather relying on factual, objective measurements which reveal a loudspeakers true capability without the inherent bias of sighted testing along with the inaccuracies of comparing speakers with different extension and questionable setup.

Dr. Toole's research indicated that bass extension accounts for 30% of the preference for speakers, although I can see it being higher than that in some cases.
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post #5495 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascend View Post
I would consider the Sierra-1 NrT to be slightly forward sounding, while the Sierra-1 is slightly laid back. Our Sierra-2/2EX would be right in the middle
thanks Dave .. i'm getting closer to ordering something , and the sierra 1 remains my top contender..

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 #5496 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 05:09 AM
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I had a friend over the other day, showed him the Sierra-2ex's and played a song for him. He was unimpressed. Said he had a pair of speakers at home he got for a couple hundred bucks 10 years ago that had a built in subwoofer and glowing lights and that he could actually feel the air move from it. ><.
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post #5497 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by basketcase14240 View Post
I had a friend over the other day, showed him the Sierra-2ex's and played a song for him. He was unimpressed. Said he had a pair of speakers at home he got for a couple hundred bucks 10 years ago that had a built in subwoofer and glowing lights and that he could actually feel the air move from it. ><.
One thing I’ve learned is hifi audio isn’t for everyone; some people just don’t hear the difference, and some people just don’t care even when they do hear it.

But even among those who do care, moving from speakers with a certain bass extension to ones with less bass extension is almost never an entirely positive experience: It makes sense, too, because in a way, the lowest possible quality for a certain frequency is not emitting that frequency at all

If you become accustomed to certain frequencies being present, switching to speakers that don’t play those frequencies at all (or play them very quietly) is going to sound like something is missing (even if the frequencies that are present sound significantly better), because something is, in fact, missing!

Some people say you should just give it time for your ears to adapt, and this is true for differing frequency responses up to a certain point, but not when frequencies roll off entirely. And, it’s very very rare for a speaker that isn’t a subwoofer to extend flat down to 20hz or below.

If you don’t mind that some frequencies are missing, then of course that’s great for you (though, make sure it’s not a case of “you don’t know what you’re missing”), but IMO objectively and subjectively speaking, any audiophile music setup will be incomplete without a subwoofer that enables your system to span at least 20hz-20khz.

This is why I think subwoofers are so underrated by some music audiophiles: If you don’t have one, you aren’t playing the whole signal’s audible spectrum correctly. As a result, it will be no surprise when someone claims a $100 speakers sound better to them than our audiophile speakers, if those cheap speakers in fact reproduce frequencies your hifi speakers do not (even if poorly). In fact, I’m sorry to say but they’re right to say theirs sound better in such cases: If your speakers do not play frequencies their cheap speakers do, then their speakers are in fact better — at those frequencies!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you MUST buy a subwoofer. If you’re okay with a good portion of the audible spectrum being missing from your hifi setup, that’s fine for you. But I am saying that in such a case, don’t be surprised when people prefer worse quality speakers with better bass extension, and also don’t necessarily blame them for having faulty ears or bad taste when it does happen, because they’re also not technically wrong to say they’re “better” in some ways.

(The importance of all this was clearly demonstrated to me when I was comparing my B&W 702 S2 vs the Ascend Towers, as I described above.)
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Last edited by echopraxia; 08-14-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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post #5498 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by basketcase14240 View Post
I had a friend over the other day, showed him the Sierra-2ex's and played a song for him. He was unimpressed. Said he had a pair of speakers at home he got for a couple hundred bucks 10 years ago that had a built in subwoofer and glowing lights and that he could actually feel the air move from it. ><.
From a financial standpoint I wish I had your friends ears.

Subwoofers: Dual Rythmik FV18
Speakers: L/R Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2 - Center - Horizon w/RAAL Surrounds: Sonance VP62R SST/SUR. Vinyl:Rega Planar 3
Video: Sony XBR65X900e 65" 4K - Sony UBP-X800 Blu Ray
Power and Processing: Yamaha RXA1030 - Monolith 7X Amp - Minidsp 2X4 HD/WI-DG
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post #5499 of 5499 Unread 08-14-2019, 09:37 AM
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Interesting! I never thought about it like that, you make some good points. I guess you need the subs to really get the wow factor from non-audiophile junkies. Definitely looking forward to the day I can get a nice sub or two for pairing with these S2Exs.. living that apartment life at the moment so it's not possible for now.

But more than happy with these so far and the best part is I've been able to listen at reasonable volumes without pissing the neighbors off =].
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