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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,


My wife and I have been speaker shopping. Were trying to get the best FL/C/FR speakers (to our ears) that we can for about 1500.


In exploring the forums it doesn't take long to stumble across acsend and rockets.


I'm not looking for reviews (the reviews are a mile long list of 5 out of 5 ratings). No doubt these speakers are good (at least to many peoples ears).


I often hear the acsend 340s are comparable to the paradigm 40's (which my wife and I enjoyed alot).


Now seeing that the 340s are half the price of the studio 40's. I'm wondering if I'm not being duped by some large internet conspiracy.


Whats the catch???? I understand that direct from factory to my house is going to reduce cost, but not by half!


My wife and I don't believe it. There has to be a catch.


btw - what would the rocket equivalent of the studio 40's be?


Thanks,

disbelieving speaker shopper.
 

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No catch....they are comparable, but the 340's do not have as much bass extension as the Studio 40's, which is negated with a good subwoofer. If you look at the cost/quality of materials, it is easy to see that Ascends do not have nearly the markup as the Paradigms. Find out how much the dealer cost is on those Paradigms, and then factor in the cut for the distrubutor and/or manufacturer.


On the Rocket end of things, look at the RS550.


The only way to believe is to try. But if you do not like the internet direct model, I don't blame you for not trying.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by cschang
No catch....they are comparable, but the 340's do not have as much bass extension as the Studio 40's, which is negated with a good subwoofer. If you look at the cost/quality of materials, it is easy to see that Ascends do not have nearly the markup as the Paradigms. Find out how much the dealer cost is on those Paradigms, and then factor in the cut for the distrubutor and/or manufacturer.


On the Rocket end of things, look at the RS550.


The only way to believe is to try. But if you do not like the internet direct model, I don't blame you for not trying.
Authorized dealers are generally able to mark up by 100%. There's your 1/2 price.
 

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The catch is that the Ascend is going to be in a rather plain jane box. The other catch is that your not paying the 40% or so markup that the Paradigm commands in a highly restricted dealer distribution network. Oh, and the only way to hear them is by taking a shot and having them shipped to your door.
 

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You're also not paying for Ascend ad(s) in or on the back cover of every audio/HT mag printed.


You can try the Ascend Forum to see if there is someone in your area willing to let you listen to theirs.
 

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LOL use your eyeballs man, the Paradigms look 3x more expensive don't they?


Soundwise I bet they are real pretty competitive, but even the Paradigm drivers look spectacular. I bet Ascend pays more for their drivers though ...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by srohde
Now seeing that the 340s are half the price of the studio 40's. I'm wondering if I'm not being duped by some large internet conspiracy.


Whats the catch???? I understand that direct from factory to my house is going to reduce cost, but not by half!


My wife and I don't believe it. There has to be a catch.


btw - what would the rocket equivalent of the studio 40's be?


Thanks,

disbelieving speaker shopper.
Pretty funny. I was thinking exactly the same thing! Seems like same group of folks respond to any threads regarding Ascends, so I was becoming suspicious too. I imagined a secret network of AVS member secretly paid (or receive free goods) by Ascend to post glowing responses about their product. But, as I kept reading, I noticed their comments seemed quite candid about how the Ascends compare to other brands too, which made me think otherwise. Also, check a recent thread started by gertjan (sorry, don't have the link) which seemed like an honest review of the 340s.


Nevertheless, I may have been duped (which I highly doubt) but my non-audiophile ears are quite happy with the setup (4x 170s + 340c + Hsu), so that's what matters to me. BTW, since I'm still in 30-day return period, may go 340 across the front instead.
 

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" BTW, since I'm still in 30-day return period, may go 340 across the front instead"


I wouldn't.


Check out the Ascend site and the plethera of other-than-AVS review links.


audioreview.com has 80 5-stars. That ain't all just us.


The 170s are the pride of the line, really.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JohnR_IN_LA
LOL use your eyeballs man, the Paradigms look 3x more expensive don't they?


Soundwise I bet they are real pretty competitive, but even the Paradigm drivers look spectacular. I bet Ascend pays more for their drivers though ...
Ascend designed their own woofers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sketcha, From what I could find in comparison of 170s and 340s is that the 340s have a better tweeter. They also produce a fuller sound. They also have a wider soundstage.


So, why do you recommend the 170? Is it because you think the difference listed here are not worth the extra money? or is there something else I am missing?


Thanks
 

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I own the 340s, 170s, and 200s. The 340s are the best to me. I had the 170s for nearly 2 years before getting the 340s. The second driver and upgraded tweeter in the 340s do convey more.
 

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Here's my experience: just finished the in home trial of the Rocket 550 package and Klipsch R35 series speakers. Ended up sending both back - the Klipsch were fatiguing and the 550s just didnt have the highs. I am looking for a speaker that seems alive. No problem returning them, AVS is a great company to do business with, however it cost me $200 to have them shipped to me and $200 to ship them back. I am currently very close to pulling the plug on the Ascends - 2 340s and the 340c. Shipping for those is $38 each way. If I like them, then I will order the stands and a second set of 340 s to fill out my 5.1 system. Aperion offers free shipping each way and Axiom offers free shipping one way. Of course youre paying a bit more for them so the shipping is added in the final price.
 

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Greetings...


This thread caught my attention and since it has been a LONG time since my last post, just thought I would add a few comments.

Quote:
Originally posted by gohd

my non-audiophile ears are quite happy with the setup (4x 170s + 340c + Hsu), so that's what matters to me. BTW, since I'm still in 30-day return period, may go 340 across the front instead.
I am happy to hear that you have been enjoying the system and it is no problem at all if you wish to upgrade the fronts to our 340 mains. Just give James a call ( I will be in and out of the office over the next 2 weeks )

Quote:
Originally posted by srohde

Now seeing that the 340s are half the price of the studio 40's. I'm wondering if I'm not being duped by some large internet conspiracy.
No catch and certainly no conspiracy. An honest product at an honest price. If you would feel more comfortable paying more, we can make special arrangements for you ;)


I can tell you first hand that typical retail margins for loudspeakers is 45-55%. This means that if the retailer charges $1000/pr, they (the retailer) will make $450-$550 on the sale. The manufacturer must then have a wholesale price between $450-$550. If we sell a product bypassing the retail markup while keeping our profit margins the same, we can offer it at about half the retail price. Of course it is more complicated than that but it is easy to see how the net-direct audio industry works.... and it most certainly works.

Quote:
Originally posted by srohde

I'm wondering if I'm not being duped by some large internet conspiracy.
Duped? How so, in what way? You would either be duped into paying too much for a product, or duped into believing you are purchasing a high quality product, which is not.


You are certainly not paying too much for our products. Considering the cost of the high quality products we use and their well documented performance specifications (all by well-respected third parties), we are actually not charging enough (as I have been told hundreds of times). In fact, you would have an almost impossible time building our products yourself (using the same components) for less money, as many do-it-your-selfers would attest to.


Of course, high quality products themselves can't make a speaker truly "sing" without the technical expertise behind them, but if I were out to dupe anyone, wouldn't I use far less expensive parts??? Whether or not YOU like the way they sound is up to you. Which is why I am happy to give you your money back if you don't like them.

Quote:
Originally posted by tonygeno

The catch is that the Ascend is going to be in a rather plain jane box.
Thanks Tony... this is very VERY true. I do forego using a furniture grade finish in order to increase the performance per dollar ratio my products offer.

Quote:
Originally posted by gohd

Seems like same group of folks respond to any threads regarding Ascends, so I was becoming suspicious too.
Hmmm... Ascend owners represent a small portion of AVS members so when someone posts a question regarding Ascend, naturally, the people who own or who have heard Ascend respond. I think it is better that actual Ascend owners respond to a post rather then members who don't own or who have never heard our products. Wouldn't you agree?


Quote:
Originally posted by gohd

I imagined a secret network of AVS member secretly paid (or receive free goods) by Ascend to post glowing responses about their product.
Hype is a funny thing sometimes, especially on AVS. We can go a month without a single Ascend related thread, and then all of sudden there are quite a few of them... I can see how "conspiracy" theories can develop. However, I will go on record and say that we have never paid or offered free product to ANYONE in exchange for posts or reviews. In fact, many of the audio-professionals who have reviewed our product decided to keep the review product. This is hard to believe, but I even made them pay for their product. Even more interesting, at least once per month I receive a request from a potential customer asking for free product or heavily discounted product in return for a testimonial or promise of forum posts etc. Perhaps it is not a wise decision, but these requests are denied.

Quote:
Originally posted by sketcha

The 170s are the pride of the line, really.
Certainly I am proud of my CBM-170s, but my pride and joy really is the CMT-340s, the CBM-170's big brother. My home theater room is finished with 340 mains and center up front, with HTM-200 in rears. Have you heard the 340 mains?

Quote:
Originally posted by srohde

From what I could find in comparison of 170s and 340s is that the 340s have a better tweeter. They also produce a fuller sound. They also have a wider soundstage.
All true...


With rampant corporate greed and fraud, major overseas investments in labor out-sourcing designed to improve corporate profits without any real savings to the consumer, I can see how products that offer real value can generate such skepticism. The answer to todays corporate manufacturing woes (at least in the audio industry) is net-direct. As I said before, an honest product at an honest price. Hard to believe, but undeniably true :)


Thanks for your time!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ascend
Thanks Tony... this is very VERY true. I do forego using a furniture grade finish in order to increase the performance per dollar ratio my products offer.
And in case I wasn't clear, I APPLAUD your choice, because for me sound is paramount. The level of performance offered at the price is amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey David,


Thanks for posting!


When I said I was worried of being duped by a large internet conspiracy, I was really kind of joking... I realize that it would be next to impossible to pull off such a thing.


Although my wife and I were disbelieving of the prices. After reading many more reviews today I am starting to believe this might be for real :). I may just try out a pair of 340s. I am damned curious.


With all the hours I've spent reading reviews and google searching, I think I would have been better off just paying the shipping charges and hearing for myself.


ok, sign me up for a pair! if I don't like them they're coming right back at ya!


--ok, i'll place my order tomorrow.... after i talk to the wife about it ;)
 

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Hi Srohde,


You are very welcome!

Quote:
When I said I was worried of being duped by a large internet conspiracy, I was really kind of joking... I realize that it would be next to impossible to pull off such a thing.
I agree, it would be very difficult to pull off, at least for an extended period of time. Ascend is now five years old.

Quote:
Although my wife and I were disbelieving of the prices. After reading many more reviews today I am starting to believe this might be for real . I may just try out a pair of 340s. I am damned curious.
sure thing, whatever you decide is fine. I just did not want you to draw the wrong conclusions about us.

Quote:
With all the hours I've spent reading reviews and google searching, I think I would have been better off just paying the shipping charges and hearing for myself.
Well, yes and no.. I bet with all the time you spent online researching, you are a lot more knowledgeable now then before, which is always a good thing. The real time saver with all of this is when you are forced to drive to retailers on weekends and listen to teenage salespeople's "pitches". I don't know where you live, but out here in Southern California, gas prices just hit $3.00 / gallon.... ridiculous.


Give us a call whenever you feel comfortable and if it turns out that they are not the loudspeaker for you, I would rather you send them back for return then keep them and be disappointed.

Quote:
originally posted by tonygeno

And in case I wasn't clear, I APPLAUD your choice, because for me sound is paramount. The level of performance offered at the price is amazing!
Thank you Tony, I really appreciate that....
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ascend
Even more interesting, at least once per month I receive a request from a potential customer asking for free product or heavily discounted product in return for a testimonial or promise of forum posts etc. Perhaps it is not a wise decision, but these requests are denied.
I can attest to the truthfulness of this statement. I tried & was denied any freebies (my sorry attempt to save a few bucks). In retrospect, very respectable that Ascend didn't accept. Plus, can they drop their prices any more and still stay in business?


And to all the Ascend fans, I meant no disrespect. It was just my INITIAL reaction as I started my research, which quickly waned as I read more posts & other reviews about their products.
 

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I was curious, has anyone mounted the 340's? I have little kids and want to keep the speakers away from their curious hands... Thanks in advance for your experiences. Also, is there a specific distance from the wall they should be placed?
 

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I think the catch is that you might like them so much that you'll decide to keep them and some $ in your pocket :)
 

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I'll come clean and state that I own five CBM-170s that I have mounted on 30" stands before posting further about how they sound vs. Paradigm Studio series.


I was actually ready to pull the trigger on five Paradigm Studio 20s before trying (and keeping) the Ascends. I can tell you that the midrange of the 170s is even better than the Studio 20s, but I did prefer the Studio 20's tweeter by just a bit. Overall sound quality of the Ascends did indeed impress me more than the Studio 20s though. The Studio 20s and 40s (while excellent speakers) have just a wee-bit of boxiness to them that the Ascends were free of. Imaging and resultant soundstage are spectacular on both the Ascends and 'Digm Studios.


As was stated above, the Ascend enclosures are pretty basic and nothing to write home about. I didn't keep them for their looks though... :D


Note: I also appreciate the savings this presents (basic enclosure), and actually prefer it over the corny 70's style laminate finish of the 'Digm Studio series.


Good luck, and I'm sure you'll love either choice, both sound fantastic!
 
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