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I compared the Ascend RAAL towers to the F208 in my room, both sighted and blind over a period of about 3 weeks. The F208s went back, I strongly preferred the Ascends in both sighted and blind testing.

Of course this will not be the case for everyone......
.... Do you have a write-up of your comparison by the way?.........
Yes, I too would be curious to read that. More specifically, how you performed your blind testing. Which isn't easy with speakers.


Not looking to find a, "GOTCHA!" in your testing method though they may very well be one or more of those given the challenge of blind speaker testing performed on an (assumed) relatively casual basis.
 

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Regarding ribbons, they have very little moving mass and have very good transient response. Anyone who has listened to an Audeze LCD-4 or Stax SR-009 or 007 know that they sound very, very different from your typical dynamic driver with it's heavy voice coil. You either love that sound or hate it.

I would note that Audioholics considers the Salk Silk the best bookshelf speaker in the world--their opinion--which uses the same 70-20 RAAL tweeter in those Ascends. My opinion is RAAL ribbons sound amazing the closer you listen to them, ideally 2 meters or less. Their vertical dispersion leaves something to be desired though, so I have some reservations for home theater. But I think they make for great nearfield monitors, and can reproduce string instruments with a smoothness that I've never heard from a dome, same is true for the LCD-4/SR-009, I've never heard any dynamic driver, even the Focal Utopia beryllium driver come close--IMO the moving mass is just too high on the dynamic driver.

Hi Revel owners/fans! Both Revel and Ascendspeakers seem to be highly recommended brands around AVSForum. In researching these, I stumbled on this quote by the owner of Ascend Acoustics:



I am highly skeptical of this claim: it is extraordinary at best (if true), and inflammatory and insulting at worst. If true, this claim would imply that the Ascend Sierra Tower RAAL ($2700/pair) would beat the Revel F206 ($3500/pair) in just about every way, since apparently the clarity and detail is superior (until you exceed the Revel Ultima series, apparently), and the quoted bass extension of the F206 (as opposed to the F208) is virtually identical to the Sierra Tower.

Given this quote/claim by such a well-known and respected figure, I'm actually quite surprised that I see very little comparison here or elsewhere between Revel and Ascend (the only thing I could find in searching this whole thread was some frequency response graphs here between a Revel F12 and Ascend Sierra 1), and no significant response to his (inflammatory? extraordinary?) claim here.

The reason this interests me so much is because I've actually been considering the purchase of a Revel F206 or Revel F208, or possibly an Ascend Sierra Tower RAAL, if it genuinely exceeds the Revel F206's performance. But it's very difficult for me to trust this claim at face value. Also, it appears that whenever someone asks on the Ascend Acoustics forum about comparison to a Revel speaker, the above quote from David Fabrikant is provided as the final nail in the thread's coffin, to be interpreted as authoritative proof that Ascend destroys anything from Revel under $20,000!
I'm not sure what the context of the quote is, but David does qualify the statement that it depends on the use case. I think if he's talking about the sound quality of the highs, then it's a reasonable statement to make for a world class ribbon tweeter that costs upwards of $1k/pr. I mean if you take a poll on DIY audio on which tweeter would they rather use on a project--a pair of SB Acoustics aluminum tweeters or the RAAL 70-20, I think the latter would win out.
 

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Hi, I do not have any direct experience with that Emotiva Amp, however, I did notice it has a Class "H" topology which the AudioControl Savoy G3 I own also has. The ATI NCore is a "D" Class and I actually own several of both the 200W RMS and 500W RMS versions. In my experience the ATI has a more consistent power output when compared to the AudioControl. I'm not sure if that's true of all "H" Class amps or just the AC in particular but I'm actually in the process of changing it out for another ATI NCore. The ATI also gives off almost no heat and the chassis size is much more compact which is helpful in that you can almost stack multiple amps and your processor when configuring without much concern for heat or rack/cabinet space. I have had Pass Labs amps in the past and, for me, the ATI is a tremendous bang for the buck that I have no regrets moving to. I think the audio quality and performance is solid at that price point.

Hope this helps....
Have to agree with @dinamigym comments here. I have an ATI 525NC that drives my 5.2 system with Revel F228Bes and C208. Plenty of power. Besides being highly recommended and having an excellent warranty I really liked the fact that it runs cool and is relative light compared to other amps. I have an old Hafler 500 amp that always ran hot when I played it at high levels for an extended period of time and it was a beast to move around. If I would change anything it would be to get an ATI 542NC and use it to drive the F228Bes. The 525NC would drive everything else. I don't think the 228s need the extra power, a clean 200wpc drives them well, just an upgraditise thing :)
 

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I'm not sure what the context of the quote is, but David does qualify the statement that it depends on the use case. I think if he's talking about the sound quality of the highs, then it's a reasonable statement to make for a world class ribbon tweeter that costs upwards of $1k/pr. I mean if you take a poll on DIY audio on which tweeter would they rather use on a project--a pair of SB Acoustics aluminum tweeters or the RAAL 70-20, I think the latter would win out.


I have not heard the RAAL ribbon tweeter, but I have auditioned a few speakers with ribbons. There are a couple of factors I have noticed with the ribbon speakers I have heard. First, the style of music you listen to primarily can have a large impact on which type of tweeter you prefer. I don’t listen to much classical or jazz, but I love James Taylor. The ribbon tweeters to me sound better reproducing acoustic guitar than any dome I have ever heard. The reason I have never owned a ribbon speaker is that I have never heard one that sounded good off-axis. I loved the way the Revel disperse sound in a room. While there will always be “sweet spots”, the Revel’s have a room filling quality that I like. They also sounded fantastic with the type of music I listen to mostly which is alternative rock, pop and country. The Revels sounded great with James Taylor too!

Again, this is my personal preference. The problem I have with statements like David made is while there are so many measurable factors in what makes a speaker sound great, the two most important factors cannot be quantified:
1) Room Acoustics and 2) a Listener’s Personal Taste.


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Have to agree with @dinamigym comments here. I have an ATI 525NC that drives my 5.2 system with Revel F228Bes and C208. Plenty of power. Besides being highly recommended and having an excellent warranty I really liked the fact that it runs cool and is relative light compared to other amps. I have an old Hafler 500 amp that always ran hot when I played it at high levels for an extended period of time and it was a beast to move around. If I would change anything it would be to get an ATI 542NC and use it to drive the F228Bes. The 525NC would drive everything else. I don't think the 228s need the extra power, a clean 200wpc drives them well, just an upgraditise thing :)


I have an ATI AT528NC and also love it. I still have a Parasound Halo A31 for the front three but ran those on the ATI for quite a while to see what I thought.
The dealer I bought it from ultimately prefers the AT6000 or AT4000 series but still is a fan of 52XNC versions. He is less of a fan of the AT54XNC as it is not as neutral, in his opinion.


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Again, this is my personal preference. The problem I have with statements like David made is while there are so many measurable factors in what makes a speaker sound great, the two most important factors cannot be quantified:
1) Room Acoustics and 2) a Listener’s Personal Taste.


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I used to think this as well, mainly because it’s a statement you see repeated so often by so many, buy I have recently changed my belief, and believe that your statement is mostly inaccurate.

I’ve done a lot of research on speaker lately as I was in the market for an upgrade. Decades of scientific research by Dr Floyd Toole, along with others, indicates that the best measuring and best sounding speakers will sound better in any room compared to speakers that measure poorly and don’t sound as good. So does the room affect the sound? Absolutely. But it doesn’t change the fact that better speakers(based on measurable objective data) will sound better regardless of the room. This does not take Into account outliers, or that a small percentage of folks might prefer less accurate sound such as Bose or highly colored speakers. But it’s the exception and not the rule.

Without the ability to demo in person(which is also not an effective and accurate way to pick) spinorama data is the way to pick. I mean, one also must factor in size, looks, cost, warranty, extension, output capability etc.

But I believe finding a speaker that meets ones requirements above, along with choosing the speaker that measures best, is the best way to narrow things down and get a pair in your house to make sure you like them during the trial period.


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True, but comparisons to the original Ultima series aside, he did specifically claim that the Ascend RAAL Towers beats the Revel F208 in clarity and detail "in his professional opinion". This particular claim is what I'm most interested in either confirming or debunking. These are very comparable speakers as well, aiming for very similar goals.



Fair point, but keep in mind I'm not here to defend Ascend or Revel (given that I've heard neither): I just said that both manufacturers claim to have the same bass extension ratings on their product spec pages (in fact, Ascend claims 1hz deeper bass estension than Revel claims for the F206)! If Ascend's product specs are dishonest or inflated, then that's +1 point for Revel for honesty, and -1 for Ascend for inflating their specs.



This is very interesting, and not what I would expect from measurements or the common sentiment outside of the Ascend forums. Could you perhaps explain in any more depth what you liked more about the Ascend RAAL towers?

I'm trying to find a way to listen to the Revel F206/F208 locally, but they're hard to find as opposed to Bowers and Wilkins (which I already have, as a result), Sonus Faber, KEF, and a few others which are available locally to listen to in the same room. And Ascend's are virtually impossible to listen to since they're internet direct. I own the B&W 702 S2, but am looking for a similarly priced set of other speakers for another room, and I want to try something potentially more neutral than my 702 S2's. The Revel F208 was recommended to me in another thread as something 'better' than the 702 S2 for similar price, which is what inspired my research here.

Purely from online reviews among speakers I've not heard yet, my bias is definitely in favor of the Revel purely from reviews and measurements I've read online, but am open to the possibility that at least some people would prefer the Ascend. I'm just curious why that might be, since the measurements don't seem to bear that out, as others have posted above.

Try Crutchfield, they have been great in letting me try multiple speakers and compare. Then just $75 to send the ones I don't like back. I ended up with the F206. With the investment your are looking to make, small amounts to ship back are worth the peace of mind of knowing that you have exactly what works for you in your room.
 

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Someone asked Dr. Toole about the massless claims of ribbons in the "How to Choose a loudspeaker thread..." post 1418 and said this:

The "quick decay" you speak of is totally predictable from amplitude vs. frequency responses because transducers are minimum-phase devices. Impulse response plots are impressive, but the reality is that humans do not respond to phase shift so these time-domain plots are misleading. We humans do not hear waveforms. I am an engineer and had to learn this myself, fortunately at an early stage.

It is interesting that one of the first loudspeakers I tested in the anechoic chamber at the NRCC in 1967 (52 years ago!!!!) was a ribbon tweeter, the Kelly Ribbon from the UK. I just looked at the measurements in my personal archive. At the time it was promoted for the same reasons that ribbons and electrostatic loudspeakers are today: "massless" diaphragms, "Instant" transient response, etc. etc. It was a learning experience for me, and only definitively provable in double-blind listening tests. Of course, nothing back then was as good as things are now, but the implied superiority simply was not heard. As time passed and measurements and knowledge improved, nothing has changed. There are good loudspeakers and not-so-good loudspeakers, and the method of moving the air has not revealed itself as being the dominant factor. If any one method was obviously superior, it would dominate the products we can buy.

As far as the "massless" consideration is concerned, I have a Tesla S P90D in my garage that accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.2 s. It is a heavy four door, potentially 7-passenger, sedan that is much quicker than most two seat sports cars - and I have owned a few. The secret is in the motor, and that is also the relevant factor in loudspeaker transducers. Ribbons and electrostatic speakers typically have relatively weak motors compared to what can be put behind a cone or dome. In the end, frequency response is king.


When I posted my review of the Mini Phils and the identical DIY version with the same driver and woofer but with a $20 dome tweeter, I got a lot of flack from people who couldn't believe it and I suspect many thought I wasn't being honest but I just didn't hear anything special out of the RAAL. I was also included in the BMR roadshow and that speaker was much better but mostly because of the midrange driver, there was still nothing special above 3k Hz. It all goes to show just how powerful bias can be and is why people should be testing speakers blind.
 

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True, but comparisons to the original Ultima series aside, he did specifically claim that the Ascend RAAL Towers beats the Revel F208 in clarity and detail "in his professional opinion". This particular claim is what I'm most interested in either confirming or debunking. These are very comparable speakers as well, aiming for very similar goals.
I know it's not cheap but doing a direct comparison (blind, level matched and in mono preferably) is the only way to know for sure. I kind of wish John Schuermann or another dealer would do a shootout like this similar to their Salon 2 vs M2 shootout, I think a lot of people would be interested in that.
 

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The Sierra tower, from the measurements on their own website, has worse directivity properties than the F206. The measurements they offer, although useful, are quite limited. I doubt it would beat the F206 in a blind test.
I do not see spin data for the Ascend speakers. The on axis and other measurements they show do not tell enough information.
No they don't. The +/-3 numbers aren't useful at all. The only measurements I see from a quick search come from the manufacturer, where there's a large drop in off axis response around 1-3khz, and then again start from 5khz, which is a bit early. Those dips should definitely be audible. Compare those with F206's measurements which show a smooth off axis response dropoff.
Good thing you're not looking at measurements for the RAAL Sierra Towers. Confused? Well, for some reason the "Measurements" section for the speaker only shows it with the soft dome tweeter. If you want to see the RAAL measurements, you need to click on the "Detailed information" link in the description of the RAAL upgrade option.

They're working on a new website, so I presume that will be fixed whenever it launches. They also need to add the other measurements for the RAAL towers.

Would it be great to have more measurements like the spins? Hell yea, but don't discount the fact that Ascend releases more measurements than just about any speaker manufacturer not named Harman.

I've attached the correct measurements (response below 250Hz is invalid).



 

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Yes, I too would be curious to read that. More specifically, how you performed your blind testing. Which isn't easy with speakers.

Not looking to find a, "GOTCHA!" in your testing method though they may very well be one or more of those given the challenge of blind speaker testing performed on an (assumed) relatively casual basis.
I've extensively tested a bunch of equipment and speakers over the years and I don't do write-ups. I think they're pointless. Even though I'm the only person I've seen on AVS post a high resolution hearing test up to 20kHz, I don't trust my ears/preferences and neither should anyone else. During my hearing test, I even had the audiologist randomize the tones, vary the cadence, and repeat most of it multiple times, all so I couldn't subconsciously try to trick it. IIRC, it took about 45 minutes.

I do testing solely to find out what I(and my wife) prefer in our room, that's it. I couldn't care less what anyone else prefers or thinks. Confirmation bias and subjective validation are so powerful that I really try to make it as rigorous as possible, without getting too crazy. The electronics are in another room 35+ feet away, so there's no visual or auditory clues about the test. The blind test is 100% operated by another person (my wife). Speaker profiles are created with and without room correction and can be loaded very quickly. They are manually level matched as well using a calibrated microphone. Since I don't have a fancy speaker rotator, speaker positions in the room are swapped at least once to verify there's not a positioning advantage/disadvantage.

I even cover my ears during a test change until the content starts, so I don't hear a slight increase in hiss from a more sensitive speaker. And there's lots more that I don't feel like spending hours typing out.

The bottomline with the F208 test was I found them fatiguing at my regular listening volumes after 20-30 mins. Now time for some subjective crap.....I found them to be less "clear and natural sounding" than the Ascend towers. Compared to all the other speakers I've tested, the Ascends just sound "right", whatever that means. The F208s sounded pretty good, but I never got those goosebump feelings of sheer joy/ecstasy while watching movies or listening to music. I never thought "Holy Crap, these sound good!!!" like I have many times with the Ascends. That's as best as I can describe it. I can also listen for hours at high volumes with zero fatigue.

There you have it. I tested them awhile back and didn't post about it, because who the hell cares what I prefer with my ears, in my room.

What does matter, is that I found my auditory nirvana, and I hope everyone is lucky enough to find the same.
 

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Well here is what I found when I auditioned the Revel F35 speakers. I also listened to the SVS Prime Towers. The Prime specs say they have a low frequency response of 30 hz +/-3 dB. The F35 specs say 55 hz at -3 dB. When I listened to them both, the F35 had much deeper, fuller and articulate bass then the Primes, yet the specs from the manufacturer’s say the opposite. That is just the low frequencies.

For me, I would never buy a pair of speakers before I listened to them. I don’t trust the manufacturers specs, graphs, etc. I trust my ears more...


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I do testing solely to find out what I(and my wife) prefer in our room, that's it. I couldn't care less what anyone else prefers or thinks. Confirmation bias and subjective validation are so powerful that I really try to make it as rigorous as possible, without getting too crazy. The electronics are in another room 35+ feet away, so there's no visual or auditory clues about the test. The blind test is 100% operated by another person (my wife). Speaker profiles are created with and without room correction and can be loaded very quickly. They are manually level matched as well using a calibrated microphone. Since I don't have a fancy speaker rotator, speaker positions in the room are swapped at least once to verify there's not a positioning advantage/disadvantage.
It sounds like you tested both speakers very well compared to what most people on the forums do and it sounds like you found the best speakers for you. I disagree that other peoples' write-ups are useless though, especially if they do a proper comparison as you seem to have done. Harman has shown that listeners of all ages, genders and nationalities prefer pretty much the same sound signature and also different rooms don't change which speaker is preferred. All I'm saying is peoples' preferences really aren't all that different but our biases certainly are.

I understand not wanting to face the backlash for picking a "winner" though, but I feel if I can maybe help others narrow down their choices by doing it then it can be a positive.
 

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I understand not wanting to face the backlash for picking a "winner" though, but I feel if I can maybe help others narrow down their choices by doing it then it can be a positive.
Yes, especially since he has already picked a winner. Providing more information behind that pick would probably interest many readers.
 

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....There you have it. I tested them awhile back and didn't post about it, because who the hell cares what I prefer with my ears, in my room.
Very impressive effort. Wasn't expecting nearly that degree of attention to detail, so kudos for that. :)

As a hypothetical wishful-thinking type of thought, I'd love to see if you would be able to re-confirm your preference again in the Harman testing facility. Not only your preference but also the seemingly high degree of preference of one over the other.
 

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As we grow old, our hearing suffers a bit, often in higher frequencies. I was looking to find an app that can measure this decline in our high frequency hearing and compensates for it when playing music.

Here is an app I found. Has anyone used this app? What do you think about it's effectiveness? I tried it and found that it does boost higher frequencies for me, indicating that I have some hearing loss in that area. Here it is for others to review and comment.

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-perfect-your-androids-sound-with-neutralizer/
 

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As we grow old, our hearing suffers a bit, often in higher frequencies. I was looking to find an app that can measure this decline in our high frequency hearing and compensates for it when playing music.

Here is an app I found. Has anyone used this app? What do you think about it's effectiveness? I tried it and found that it does boost higher frequencies for me, indicating that I have some hearing loss in that area. Here it is for others to review and comment.

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-perfect-your-androids-sound-with-neutralizer/
Totally unappealing to me. First, it seems to be a simplistic FR compensation which, of course, is easy to do. Second, it requires that you listen on headphones/earphones which, imho, means a complete loss of spatial accuracy. Feh.
 
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There is another thread floating around where a poster preferred LS50's to a pair of M105's, despite the M105's having objectively better measurements. I believe the LS50's were 2-for-2 in that shootout and was also rigorously performed blind.

So either blind testing at home is impossible, or the measurements aren't telling the whole story. If proper auditions can only occur at Harman's anechoic chamber, that's really bad news for most of us.

I currently have a pair of LS50's, Dyn X14's, and a pair of Revel M16's arriving Monday. All roughly the same price but with wildly different implementations.

The M16's have the unquestionably better objective measurements, so I assume they will easily win, but there seems to be something else at play. We shall see. I'm looking forward to blind testing these with an ~80Hz high-pass.
 
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FWIW, today I raised my Voice2 about 5" on some wooden blocks (pieces of 2"x4") to get it closer to the bottom of my TV's screen. This was in response to an observation by @Roger Dressler that it was sitting low. (See pix: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/710918-revel-owners-thread-492.html#post57791432 .) It made a little difference but not as much as I expected; guess I've gotten pretty good at letting the video guide the sound. It is about where I had my last center in height. I've run Dirac Live again and will live with it a bit before constructing a more solid riser (it is a little wobbly on the carpet).

I did notice again that it does not tilt "up" enough for me on the Voice2 stand; I adjusted the front spikes a little higher to point it more directly at the MLP (ear level).

Going to watch a movie tonight. I had just a little time to listen after the cal run this evening and these speakers sound amazing. Just need more time to listen to them...
 

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There is another thread floating around where a poster preferred LS50's to a pair of M105's, despite the M105's having objectively better measurements. I believe the LS50's were 2-for-2 in that shootout and was also rigorously performed blind.

So either blind testing at home is impossible, or the measurements aren't telling the whole story. If proper auditions can only occur at Harman's anechoic chamber, that's really bad news for most of us.
That was me, I've been thinking about it since then but a few reasons I can think of are that maybe overall sound power is more important than on-axis, especially in the case of the LS50 where I point them straight ahead and listen about 15 deg off axis. If we go by only sound power, the LS50 measure pretty well except for the slight peak from 2-3k that makes them sound a bit bright.

The other thing I asked about in the "What science shows..." thread was regarding vertical reflections and how they might be more important than we currently believe. I found this study in the AES directory The Effect of a Vertical Reflection on the Relationship between Preference and Perceived Change in Timbral and Spatial Attributes which showed a majority of people preferred tones with a vertical reflection, even though the vertical reflection was timbrally distorted like all typical line source speakers. I theorized that with coaxial and full range drivers, that will have accurate vertical reflections, it might have an even more positive effect on preference.
 
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