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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Internet Favorites Comparison

Background: Hometheatershack did some shootouts and we bought so many floorstanders within 2 years(without hearing, just to audition) so I thought why don’t we do some back breaking exercises and share our own comparisons using models that I think are far more interesting. By interesting I meant the most talked about, raved, hyped among both bribed err paid professional ads [cough] reviews and biased fanboys. We’re not in the audio biz, we’re no fanboys, and we buy all these speakers simply due to curiosityand sometimes admittedly misleading reviews. Also admittedly as room decors. We don’t think anybody else have done this aside from dealers or sponsored events. We listen to the speakers extensively both critically and casually for days at a time to compare just 2 speakers which is why it took around 4 months to get this done. Basically we go about living our normal lives while sometimes changing them around and noting the differences. Sometimes for music, at times for movies. At the final comparison we pooled all the speakers together and did critical.

Anyway we tried to be honest, blunt, and at times it’ll probably sound like we’re just rambling but we have no time to be professionals.We have also talked to or personally know the actual owners/founders of these speaker companies (yes including that old famous one) and all in good terms but we’re not in the audio business. You guys really just want to know how these speakers compare to each other in an honest comparison coming from current owners and that’s what we’re trying to represent. We’re not going around forums trying to feel better about our new purchases, talking crap about the replaced speakers or ones far more expensive. We rarely sell our purchases and we just donate them as we’re not emotionally attached to any (They’re quite cheap compared to our other hobbies). We don’t put glowing reviews then put up the speakers for sale like so many others do back in Audioreview.com days. In this comparo, price has nothing to do with performance and hard to gauge as there are discounts or additional costs such as shipping them through different countries that skew the real costs of ownership. So price will be completely ignored. We try to describe them as how different they are from each other, not which one is better as most of the time they’re not. So if you’re looking for more of a certain characteristic over another speaker listed here you can use this as a semi-guideline. We also apologize that despite this being a science forum this post probably lacks a lot of scientific measurements. Feel free to take a tablespoon of salt, add tabasco, a shot of whiskey, etc.

All speakers bought brand new directly from manufacturer as most are ID. Even the KEF was though the country distributor not dealer. Should be better than test or used units of questionable history. All broken in by playing 12 hours a day for 1 month with the exception of the Salk which is only 2 weeks.

Finally unless coaxial we omit including dome tweeter based speakers which we do own (the usual names up to $90K, not ID). We believe they are technically and sonically inferior to planar + ribbon for music playback regardless of being made of diamond, Be, unobtanium, etc. So if you guys want comparisons for those speakers you’re gonna have to buy and do it yourself.

Setting:

17x20 treated room. Speakers were put in against the longer wall which I know isn’t ideal. the same place with extreme toe ins; left speaker pointing to left ear, same as right. That’s the recommended toe in for Triton 7 and I believe the same for the other speakers as well for the purpose of this comparison. 2.5 meters distance between speakers and to the listener. We leveled match using an SPL meter.

The NAD amp has built in equalizer but we won’t use it even if we admit that all these speakers sound way better with flatten freq. It’s just too much variable for this purpose.

Supporting equipments:

- NAD C390DD (v2.87) Direct Digital Amplifier
- 44/16 FLAC song files in USB stick
- Bluejeans 10 gauge Belden 6’ speaker cables

That’s it! We want to keep things as simple as possible without any interference from other equipments. The C390DD is arguably the most advanced direct digital amp in the market right now. Basically a DAC powerful enough to drive speakers. Even more so than NAD’s own M2 as you can customize a lot of things including impedance compensation filter and USB flash direct input which as far as I know it’s the highest model direct digital amp with that feature. We can easily use some Krell Master Reference blocks, MF M6i Integrated, and Cary tubes but we haven’t hooked them up for years simply because the NADs are way better. Unmeasurable distortion of the C390DD means we can all worry less about the amp and focuses on the speakers themselves. Same reason why I don’t use a player and just directly play the FLAC on the amp using a flash stick. Direct amp – cables – speakers, it doesn’t get any simpler. If music is art and it’s played through colored components, then we’re getting nothing more than an imitation.

Music for Critical Listening (if even matters):
Bliss – Kissing (high end detail)
Bliss – Do You Remember My Name (ambiance)
H Jungle – Wow War Tonight Metropolis Mix (ambiance)
David Guetta – Titanium (dynamics)
Pitbull – Something For The DJs (presence)
Kelly Sweet & Dave Koz – White Christmas (female voice)
Jheena Lodwick - Emerald City (female voice)
Pharos – track 1-3 (male voices)
Trace Bundy – Dueling Ninjas (guitar)


INTERNET LEGENDS SHOOTOUT 2014
Models Currently Owned (purchased in 2013-2014)

Chane Arx A5: I’ve always liked this concept. Use some proven driver designs and reduce cost as much as possible on everything else then make an upgraded model as soon as new tech becomes available. This 1 year old first generation discontinued A5 is basically the prototype of the actual A5 that will be released next year called A5rx-c. This new version is supposed to be “refined” to compensate for excessive clarity. The voicing may actually not be as accurate as this older model that they deemed too revealing.I do hope the new A5 version would have upgraded crossover as the current one is “compromised” to reach the low target price. We can only speculate on the newer model which by the time anyone orders an A5 he’ll be getting the new model. But for the time being we’re stuck with reviewing their first attempt that won the $1k shootout at Hometheatershack. While Arx fanboys are quick to point to that shootout as reference, there’s a thread about the inconsistencies among the reviewers. To us we agreed that this is a very fine speaker in terms of dynamics and effortless top and mid range. Old school audiophile refinement (sweetness blah blah) though is not in its book. Straight in your face presentation with no veiling added by the speaker designer. A plus which turns out to be a slight minus as being not bright but almost. This betrays the sound to the ear as coming from speakers not real instruments. In addition there is also very little ambiance compared to the other speakers, thus revealing the speaker locations. The A5 will be dismissed as a non-audiophile speaker since no spicing of refinement, just brutal attempt at honest playback. Which is a pity since if people listen more into higher res (192kHz) smoother music files the slight harshness would most likely be nonexistent elevating the A5 into one of the better box speakers built for midsize rooms compared to popular brands.

VS KEF R500: A5 sounds clearer with faster bass. Overall initial impact is far more impressive with the A5. Solo instruments sound closer to amplified live performance through the R500. This is the total opposite in terms of character. People who listen casually playing back acoustics may appreciate the R500 more. Rap, rock, home theater, those looking for clarity and more complex music will flock to the A5.

Golden Ear Triton 7: "I don't hear any difference and I'm gonna paint your ears golden." Said my buddy’s wife who earlier had objected at his purchase and sworn she would paint his ears gold if he bought the paid media hyped darling. He got way too many speakers and been loaning them to family members and his offices. His bedroom looks like a storage room with a bunch of towers all over the place. I’m glad I’m not in the same situation. In any case I don’t blame her for not being able to discern as all the speakers we’re comparing are legendary. As a note, I don't like powered speakers but that doesn't add to the fact that I think the 7 is better than the Triton 2 especially at the midrange.The 7 is just more coherent. Expansive but clear sounding and goes deep. It manages to reproduce sound that isn’t too in your face nor too bright (although at the edge). This is crucial as it is what separates reproducing live music vs recording. I can see why it's a very versatile speaker that plays everything well including HT. Looking at the freq graph the 7 is far from an accurate speaker. Indeed the whole point of Golden Ear IMO is the awe factor whereby they focused on 4 areas: deep bass, clear highs, superb imaging, expansive sound. Combine all these together and voila the formula to impress (and sell) everyone’s been wanting for decades. Almost like turning up all the knobs for treble and bass but instead for audiophile characteristics which I’m sure you know not always a good thing. It’s actually a good proven exercise on finding out what today’s public really wants out of a speaker. I expect other brands to follow suit. The 7 is basically like a full planar but actually dynamic. Indeed I sometimes think that they are barely holding on to focus to keep it in the level that I deem still acceptable. This doesn’t go well with some of our friends who prefer traditional accurate coherent speakers. Soundstage is very impressive; I once tried to look for what I thought is a ringing cellphone in a certain location in the room when it’s actually just bells on the background of the music. Similarly when playing movies and doing something else I sometimes got startled at voices that sounded coming from elsewhere other than the speakers. This is the smallest but also the most fun speakers in the bunch. I can throw acoustic then trance or dance music at it without a sweat. Hell actually this speaker lives for those kind of music with lots of background ambiance. Not focused and accurate but plays both music and HT pleasantly so it’s easy to see why just about everyone likes it. My only complaints for music would be picky positioning due to the side woofers and slightly less defined female voices compared to the other speakers here. In fact the 7 is the second least coherent (doesn’t mean it’s not) speakers in the bunch beating only the Newform. Not that “normal” audiences would care or notice unless being in a direct comparison with other technically awesome speakers. Bass is also impressive for the size but not the “thunderous bass waves” some review claimed to be. Maybe if put closer to the side walls... If the new Triton 5 can be more focused while providing tighter + deeper bass than the 7 then it is Goldenear’s ultimate all purpose HT+Music speaker. If you have the luxury for separate rooms then there are better…

VS Arx A5: +1 vol from A5. 7 has far smoother mids / voices but slightly recessed which turns out to be my only biggest complain. Lower bass than A5 which could be because of the sidefiring bass and having the 7 backing the longer wall. A5 has crisper treble, faster dynamics, vocals more forward / prominent but also vocals are harsher than any other speakers tested here. A5 has the snap, attack and speed over the 7. 7 has superior ambiance and to my ears closer to a live band.A5 definitely sounds more accurate top to bottom but sometimes accurate is boring. It’s almost like planar vs home theater speakers.

VS Newform Research R645v3: Triton 7 has deeper more dynamic bass and more focused / coherent midrange. Newform being a ribbon array sounds more ethereal with better ambiance that really does enveloped the room, creating an overall relaxing sound. Top end sounds different (obvious as ribbon array vs HEIL) but just as good to our ears aka acceptable. This is a toss up and depends on the listener’s taste.

Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower RAAL: Everything coming through the high and midrange are very well defined and coherent but without any irritating edge. Basically a very focused speaker with plenty of detail coming not from edginess but resolution. Instruments and voices are given contour and body. Very neutral top to bottom without the high end roll off and veiling. No noticeable warmth (smearing) and air added to the top. The superfast RAAL needs to be heard in person to appreciate. All the above sums up an accurate speaker both in terms of shown measurement and compared to amplified live music (we go to classical concerts and jazz clubs every 2 weeks). Bass like any other flat measured speakers aren’t apparent to our ears and so a little extra kick for casual listening would be nice (note: not an issue if you don’t mind using the equalizer to pump up the bass). Due to the bass this is suitable for midsized rooms only. Actually that’s only thing preventing this from becoming an all purpose music floorstander for a large room. Otherwise the way it stands now in the market it’s hard to find a better sounding pair of speakers small to medium room application. We think it’s a worthy speaker for a dedicated critical listening room.

VS Triton 7: -3 vol from Triton 7. Sierra has less ambiance and less low end but much more defined instruments, details, and focused voices. Sierra grabs your attention from the first note and holds you immobile, it’s the more refined speakers. 7 makes you look up or turn head when instrument or voice comes out from unexpected locations. But comparing the 7 to a really accurate speaker shows its deficiencies which is usually covered by its wow factor. We prefer Sierra for true music playback but 7 more for movies where we just care about dynamics and enveloping sound.

VS Arx A5: -2 vol from A5. Sierra has more defined high end that’s never harsh while the A5 is a bit flat. Raw open sounding voices with no veiling on the A5 = more immediacy and in room presence than the Sierra. A5’s bass seems tighter and faster, much more exciting. Voices on Sierra is smoother and more refined which is better on low res music files or bad recordings. Sierra also has better soundstage and imaging. It’s easier to pick individual instruments especially when the music gets crowded.

VS KEF R500: Not much to be said. Sierra beats it in everything especially in the top end and vocal clarity. Not surprising really ribbon vs dome (even if coax). R500’s bass sounds much tighter and more powerful even up to the point of boomy when close to the wall which is impressive given its size. That’s about the only advantage the R500 has.

KEF R500:
The 2nd smallest speakers in the group. R500's bass extension is suprisingly tight and deep for such a slim enclosure. I’d even say the bass is pretty musical. What this very coherent speaker has compared to the others is soul. Basically a rich sounding speaker but far from being revealing and clear on the top end. I’d say it’s the fullest sounding speaker of the bunch with superior off axis performance than most. Then again the Newforms is superior for casual listening even if not as coherent.

VS Golder Ear Triton 7: Drivers integration sounds way better on the R500 probably due to its Uni-Q driver. The R500 simply has FAR more coherent midrange. R500 has deeper fuller sound but also less energy on the high end which translates to sounding rolled off. R500 also has a lot less ambiance and female voices seem drier. R500 has tighter low end than the 7. High end sparkle is obviously more present from the 7 but the 7 is missing a fully defined midrange. Both speakers need to be away from the front wall. Overall we prefer the 7 just because it’s an all around performer. But in certain situations such as a café or lounge, calm relaxing places, the R500 will fit better.

KEF R900: Bought the R series as a complete 5.1 for movies simply due to their even radiation pattern and this is supposed to be the fronts. Probably not the best idea as they’re not the most efficient nor clearest sounding speakers. Need more high end sparkle and forwardness for HT. Basically the same as the R500 and R700 which we’re all familiar with but with more low end grunt. Things sound fuller/heavier with more weight on the voices than the other speakers. I don’t need to elaborate. Hardly the best sounding speaker at any price as some pro reviews claimed. Honestly the R700 is more balanced for music playback.

Salk Veracity ST: Always been curious about how a Salk sound but never got around getting one due to a particularly annoying fanboy. Frankly it’s always been a question of whether these fanboys are doing much good to their beloved. Sometime last year my buddy bought the Veracity ST since he wanted deeper bass than a Sierra Tower or Song Tower but wanted to stick with RAAL. The choice is also due to the fact that this is actually smaller than a Song Tower while having much more bass. Even being the smallest it’s still slightly bigger than the Sierra Towers. As we unpacked the speakers together, the first thing I noticed when we removed the grill was the very slight wrinkle at the bottom and top of both the RAAL tweeters. The RAAL on my Ascends are perfect flat though all my other ribbons in the past are all much more wrinkled. He said Jim verified that this is a non-issue and won’t affect sound quality in any way.

VS Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower RAAL: Obviously lower and tighter bass on the Veracity but never boomy. Jheena Lodwick’s voice in Emerald City sounded brighter on Veracity compared to the very detailed but smooth Sierra. Sierra’s midrange is just perfect. Much more defined without any edge of brightness. My buddy also have the same exact opinion. I know at least 2 other people who said vocals through the Sierras are the best they’ve ever heard coming from any speaker. Having said that, I verified through a headphone, multiple different amps, and other accurate speakers to find out that they all play the song as bright or more as the Veracity. So the Veracity may be the more revealing and/or accurate speaker afterall? Granted the Sierra is over a year old while the Veracity’s only a few weeks old although driven hard with 20-24 hours a day bossanova + club dance music. Need more break-in? Farfetched… The highs are similar between the two speakers which is to say awesome.

VS Golden Ear Triton 7: Veracity has better controlled bass and more defined focused midrange. Everything else is the same as 7 vs Ascend with the 7 having slightly wider ambiance (for better or worse) than the Veracity. The 7 is also slightly brighter and given the not so flat freq response I can tell when certain things sound a bit recessed or too hot.

VS KEF R500+R900: If the only advantage of the R500 is the bass compared to the Sierra then in the face of the Veracity there is simply nothing for it to offer. So I took more time comparing it with the R900 instead and we still prefer the Veracity top to bottom. Ok R900’s bass is massive and can sound louder than the Veracity but it’s not as controlled and boomy in this particular room. The R900’s midrange tone is also too heavy and deep for my taste. There’s a slight midrange brightness that’s similar to the Veracity.

VS Arx A5:

Newform Research R645v3: The smoothest speaker in the bunch which is a stark contrast from the ultra analytical R630 version 1. The tall ribbon array also makes the non-vertical dispersion a non-issue. Sealed enclosure = easier placement but less bass even with the dual 7” woofers. Not much spec information on their website doesn’t help potential customer either. Ribbon integration to the woofer is much better than R630. In any case this is the perfect speakers for those looking for something laid back that throws up a super huge soundstage and ambiance like planar but has the dynamics of a box speaker. A true old school hybrid.



PERSONAL PREFERENCES (aka biased opinion):

Critical Listening Room: Love the midrange of the Ascend. It’ll be the preferred one as long as in a small room or a den. Mid-Large room goes to Salk. Depending on the size of the room between the two. Ultimately given the lower extension of the Veracity, it becomes the all purpose speaker of choice. Personal preference: Hard musics needing dynamics rock, trance, dance, rap, movies etc better with Veracity. Jazz, solo instruments, vocals, opera, basically if you’re an old school audiophile you probably will prefer the Sierra.

HT: The only speaker suitable for real movies playback are the Arx and Veracity. Anything else is too smooth or ain’t dynamic enough. Even the Triton 7 doesn’t qualify. R900 has the bass but lacking the highs making it too polite.

What happens to the rest? Goes into bedrooms, offices, donated to families, etc.


BUILD QUALITY (pricing not factored in):

Chane Arx A5: The lowest quality black oak 90’s veneer finish intentionally chosen to reduce MSRP as much as possible. No issue for me as I paint all my speakers to suit the décor and practically turned this speaker 4-5x more expensive looking. Cable to tweeter was loose during shipping so had to remove the tweeter and reattach. Also one grill tab broken upon unpack, nothing superglue can’t fix. The speakers themselves are super heavy and stiff (unscientific knuckle rap) which means they probably do put major bracings inside and some high quality drivers.

Golden Ear Triton 7: Top sock cover is exactly the same black shiny plastic panel as your Samsung or LG TV (faux piano black) which is better than the old school black oak veneer so commonly glued on cheap speakers like the Arx. Actually it isn’t better than the TVs as I can see some molding drip on one side which luckily isn’t visible unless there’s sunlight. Other than the plastic finish everything else is covered in black socks which is the best way to cover whatever cost savings they applied to the cabinet finishing. The base is black varnished, different from Ascend’s piano black. Despite the number of drivers the 7 is also the lightest of the bunch as I can carry one using one arm. You don’t expect much aesthetics from your $1500 TV right? At least the binding posts are of higher grade than red black el cheapo ones. I don’t know why some reviewer gave it a 4 star for build quality cuz other than the base it’s Best Buy appliance level.

Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower RAAL: Real piano black on bamboo which is supposed to be superior damping to MDF at no extra charge. As good or better than KEF R series overall.

KEF R Series: Black and white paint. Very heavy even though very slim cabinet. Seems very stiff and strong. Very nice magnet grills. Black feet moves around even when screwed tightly; not sure if intentional as not to scratch the bottom of the speakers.

Newform Research R645v3: Cabinet is very inert and doesn’t vibrate much however veneer quality is of very low grade. Actually overall craftsmanship leaves much to be desired with imperfect edges, crack on 1 side, and uneven plastic tweeter grills… looks homemade. But those into Newforms are only for interested in its house sound and won’t matter. We paint them anyway.

Salk Veracity ST: If build quality and material are factored as 50% of the score in rating speakers then the Salk would have won everytime. Ordering a Salk is pretty much commissioning a full custom piece of furniture from the veneer to every little details down to the base spike design. Authentic Made in USA elements such as big bolts and heavy plinths which are usually absent in all speakers of similar price made in China are all here. They were built like a tank and really do seem like they’ll last a lifetime. No other speaker maker in the market that I know of offer such a premium service at such a small surcharge. My buddy and I agreed that we would just get a Salk everytime if we never conduct critical listening and prefer nicely decorated room that’s fengshui compliant and cat proof (not that any serious audiophile would own cats, they’re pests).

Other Towers Currently Owned (traditional dome tweeter excluded):

Newform Research R630v1: 15 years old, far from a perfect speaker but excels in ambiance presentation and high end details like no other speakers until the popularity of RAAL and Heil. In the past have had high end Paradigms, Totems, Ushers, Focals, PSBs, Dynaudio no dome tweeter can beat this speaker. Not sure if even Revel can but maybe a highly efficient one with a very lively presentation can. R630 is simply inaccurate, flawed, yet so charming. Compared to the speakers here, I’d say we prefer the R630 to the R500 simply because of the high end clarity of ribbon hybrid. Other than that since there is now Golden Ear in the market we’d just get the new stuff that’s more accurate with similarly wide soundstage.

KEF Q500-Q900: The entry level to KEF house sound. Horrible uncontrolled bass and almost non-existent highs. Ok midrange. For a sealed box it’s good enough to pump enough volume to fill a large hall which is impressive (read: acceptable for college parties). If you like KEF’s sound go straight for the R series.

Towers Borrowed From Dealer or Recently Disposed:

PSB Imagine T2, Imagine X2T, Synchrony 1, Focal Chorus 836V, Focal Aria 926, Focal Scala V2 Utopia, KEF Blade, Usher Mini Dancer II Diamond, Totem Forest, Dynaudio Contour 3.4, Paradigm Monitor 11, Mission M34i, Infinity R263, Sonus Faber Venere 2.5, Roksan Caspian FR-5, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6, Wilson Puppy 8, Quad Classic 25L, Pioneer Elite S1EX, and some crappy ones not worth mentioning.

Alas never got a chance to borrow a Revel F208 maybe next month if time permits. Will never borrow B&W or other intentionally inaccurate British speakers.

I’m not going to elaborate much. Suffice to say that we thought even the Scala’s midrange / vocal isn’t as good as the Sierra Towers. 926 is too soft and boomy but much better than the older Chorus. The S1EX is legendarily super accurate but lacks the ribbon sparkle and somehow I find it a bit boring. Not that it matters as I was gonna use it for 5.1 replacing the KEF R but there are better choices if strictly for HT. Blades have great imaging but same issue, not an all around speaker (try playing some club dance music). Positioning’s a ***** as well. Usher has some soul if inaccurate and inefficient, but the worst part is the total lack of ambiance which is fine for jazz but death sentence for dance music. Same as Totem though I have to admit it leaves a memorable impression. Dynaudio and Mission are boring. Mordaunt’s banshee shrieks, one of the worst sounding speakers I’ve heard at any price. Quad’s too bright. PSB house sound great for jazz with their signature rolled off high. Paradigm similar impression but brighter, the bad kind of bright. Wilson… one of the most disappointing hype I’ve ever heard. Manufacturers do stick to their decades old tuned sound even if measurements show inaccuracy. We’ve simply became smarter and graduated.
 

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Thanks for the thorough review, it's always nice seeing what people think of different speakers, and especially getting to read comparisons. Ascend really has an impressive speaker there, and getting myself a RAAL speaker has been on my to-do list for a while.
 

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Great write up. I'm looking for new floors and truly enjoyed your perspective. I may try some ascend towers this week, just wish I didn't have to order online without hearing first but you certainly gave a good perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the write up! This has put some speakers on my radar to try out the next time I'm in the market for a switch. I'm curious how the new Triton 5 would fare in your setup.
Would have gotten the 5 if it was announced a few weeks earlier. Honestly I don't know if other than the bass extension the character is drastically different from the 7. Will try to compare 7 and 5 first at the dealer next month.
 

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Really nice summary - I liked the comparisons with speakers...easier to see which ones stood out and why. The Ascend's seem to adding to their well deserved reputation as really nice speakers. Especially with the RAAL ribbons.

Thanks for pulling this together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I need to add that later on we did use the digital equalizer of the amp to room correct it as flat as possible but we didn't take notes or mentioned the changes in the write up. Suffice to say all speakers benefited from it. Some to a greater degree than others which may skew the overall opinion and may make a speaker with a particular flaw sounding as good as a previously preferred speaker. In any case our point is to show how different they are from each other (hopefully as a guide for someone looking for more of a particular character) not which one is better to our ears. At least that's the goal.
 

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I need to add to my comparo above that we did use the digital equalizer of the amp to room correct it as flat as possible but we didn't take notes of the changes. Suffice to say all speakers benefited from it. Some to a greater degree than others which may skew the overall opinion and may make a speaker with a particular flaw sounding as good as a previously preferred speaker. In any case our point is to show how different they are from each other (hopefully as a guide for someone looking for more of a particular character) not which one is better to our ears. At least that's the goal.
Any suggestions between the Salk and Ascend and Triton if I am using a bright amp? I have the new Yamaha 2040 which is certainly brighter than my old Marantz 6006. I am currently running Tannoy S10's which I don't believe are considered bright but I certainly had to adjust the amp to avoid discomfort at high volume. The tannoy's seem uneven to me and not strong in the mid which makes me want to try the Ascends. Any opinion on the best match for the 2040? Thanks for your input
 

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I need to add to my comparo above that we did use the digital equalizer of the amp to room correct it as flat as possible but we didn't take notes of the changes. Suffice to say all speakers benefited from it. Some to a greater degree than others which may skew the overall opinion and may make a speaker with a particular flaw sounding as good as a previously preferred speaker. In any case our point is to show how different they are from each other (hopefully as a guide for someone looking for more of a particular character) not which one is better to our ears. At least that's the goal.
Curious: One setting for all speakers, or individually?

The first post says:

The NAD amp has built in equalizer but we won’t use it even if we admit that all these speakers sound way better with flatten freq. It’s just too much variable for this purpose.
Now confused. Oh well.

--

*Carefully rereads, and is unconfused, and assumes one setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
*Carefully rereads, and is unconfused, and assumes one setting.
The comparo was written without any equalizing or correction. I simply mentioned that later on we did try getting them as flat as possible just to see the potential of each speaker if room corrected. Of course each speaker equalized individually. Lots of work but curiosity kills. I think the KEFs benefitted the most when corrected, to the point of "acceptable" in my book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Any suggestions between the Salk and Ascend and Triton if I am using a bright amp? I have the new Yamaha 2040 which is certainly brighter than my old Marantz 6006. I am currently running Tannoy S10's which I don't believe are considered bright but I certainly had to adjust the amp to avoid discomfort at high volume. The tannoy's seem uneven to me and not strong in the mid which makes me want to try the Ascends. Any opinion on the best match for the 2040? Thanks for your input
Without knowing your room and hearing or measuring it firsthand I wouldn't know whether your amp is too bright for any speaker. The least "bright" to my ears would be the Ascends though I recommend KEF if you're into British speakers. I don't know either what your threshold of brightness is.

Bottomline IMO all speakers should be run equalized flat to the room they're in. Having listened to the CBM-170 at close proximity for a while, flat or accurate happens to sound best to my ears (especially on the midrange clarity). Digital equalization is the cure for brightness or boom or whatever excessive note is plaguing your speaker. Some people of course prefer something else.
 

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Yes,I was referring to the ML's. I understand what your saying,but if its just you or someone else,the off axis treble is a non issue. Too smooth? I'd love an explanation on that one. Lack of focus,not true at all. Put some room treatments behind them like I did and the focus is pin point,and the sound stage is still better than any other box speaker,period. Picky positioning,who cares.
For a guy that just went thru all these speakers and having fun testing them,I'd think picky positioning would be no problem for you. In fact,I'd think you would welcome it.
I just get the feeling your the type of guy that wouldn't even give them a shot. Maybe you should hear them in a good set up and properly positioned,then get back to me. It just feels like you wouldn't give them a chance no matter what..
 
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