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Well I just took the plunge and ordered the EX upgrade kits for my Sierra 2's. I contemplated sending them back to Ascend for the upgrade, but ultimately it sounds like a fairly simple swap and alleviates me from having to get everything boxed up and ship them.

I'm excited to see what they bring to the table vs the standard 2's. I'm using my set up for more movies these days so I am hoping they will add to that experience as well. My little ones don't give me much time to sit down and enjoy an album/cd for more than 3 minutes. lol

I'm fairly married to this particular speaker as I have a custom console designed around them so I figured I might as well have the best one in there that I possibly can. lol That was my reasoning anyways.
 

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Well folks, I took delivery on my Sierra RAAL Towers and Center-Oriented 2EX on Monday, and I completed installation and my "first pass" placement and XT32 calibration last night... they are joined by a pair of HTM-200SE's and a Rythmik F25 that have been sitting at my house and eagerly waiting to meet them for a month or so now.

At least in terms of raw dollars this represents putting considerably more "skin in the game" for me:
(2018 ----------> 2019)
Onkyo TX-NR809 w/ MultEQ XT and 135 wpc @ 8ohm-------> Denon x4400h w/ XT32 and 125 wpc @ 8 ohm
Polk Monitor 70 Series II ----------> Sierra Tower w/RAAL
Polk CS10 Center -----------> Sierra 2EX w/ Center-Oriented RAAL
Polk Monitor 35B -----------> HTM-200 SE
SVS PB-1000 ----------> Rythmik F25

The Onkyo NR809 and SVS sub are already installed in the basement. The Monitor 70's will soon be joining them for my 2.1 setup downstairs, bumping my RBH r5Bi's bookshelves (which I *really* like, particularly in terms of price-to-performance) and Polk HTiB RM-6750 "sub" from the basement to a new 3rd floor 2.1 setup that I am slowly going to build out and upgrade over the next few years...

The Polk Monitor 35B's (old Living Room Rears) are now hooked up in my 3rd Floor Loft (currently acting as a play-room for my 2 elementary-aged kids) to my old basement AVR (a low-end entry level Pioneer I bought 6 or 7 years ago), primarily tasked with providing 3rd-floor-music, when desired, for my whole-home-audio (Roon via Chromecast Audio). Such is the fun/enjoyment of "upgrade paths" where new gear allows old gear to be an "upgrade" in a new room :). For the past two months, the new HTM-200SE's have posted up there, just as a place to futz with them and use them while I waited for the Front 3 to arrive, and this is the thing I wanted to focus on for this first post regarding my experiences with my new Ascend gear...


At $300, the HTM-200SE's are *significantly* more detailed and nuanced, with better clarity, than the Polk Monitor 35B's that they have now traded places with. There is certainly a price difference here (I think I paid ~$125 or so for the Polk's), and this shouldn't be surprising... the fact that a pair of $300 Ascend's outperform a $125 pair of Polk's does not suprise me. I expected it. But the EXTENT to which the Ascend's are cleaner, clearer, and more detailed, is what blew me away... The value proposition with regard to where you're at on the Law of Diminishing Returns curve down in this area just cannot be overstated. Now the Polk's are ported and definitely play lower with more authority. The HTM-200SE's need a sub. Because they were destined for near-wall duties Dave recommended them over the (more-highly-regarded?) CBM-170's, and I took his rec. But this thread has had a fair amount of chatter about the great value proposition and price-to-performance of those 170's, and there seems to be very little talk about the HTM-200's, so when I had what was probably a pretty unique opportunity to use them in a 2.0 arrangement for nearly 2 months while I waited for other gear to arrive, I thought it might be worthwhile to provide just a bit of a write-up on just how fantastic I thought they sounded compared to the Polk's they have swapped places with... A really great product, particularly assuming you have a sub; they *need* a sub more than most bookshelves do (XT32 calculated a crossover for the HTM-200's of 90 Hz in my room; I bumped the cross-over up to 80 Hz for the Monitor 35B's after XT32 had indicated that they were good-to-go down to 60 Hz).


Dave got back to me stating that the 2ex is more dynamic but the duo has clearer dialogue...hard choice. I think dynamic is damn important for a center channel especially when teaming up with the towers. Towers are so dynamic, it would be hard to keep up. Also the regular 2 has super clear dialogue for me already. 2ex it is then.
I would guess that the 2ex would also be able to play louder..I guess I have another question...

I want to momentarily withhold comment on my experiences thus far with the Front 3; it's too early. Most of my time with them to-date has been spent reconfiguring my room (moving the Center Speaker from above to below the TV; cutting and running new wires for the Front Left-Right; unboxing/unpacking; wrestling with my wall-mounted surround speaker brackets; etc), and not much time has been spent yet truly listening and enjoying.


But I did want to mention that the XT32 calibration I ran with the new gear calculated a +6.0 trim on my Center-Oriented 2EX RAAL, with a 0.0 trim on my one front Tower RAAL and a -1.0 on the other. It's not ideal, IMO. I'd been hoping it'd need to be boosted less. TBD on how happy I am with what I'm hearing while my Denon gives them that boost, but just a data point I'd thought I'd share... but it's the situation I'm stuck with because:


Or if you have the Towers, maybe you could save up a bit and get the Horizon, for the best of both worlds :) It will keep up. I am really amazed by the Horizon, and it may be my favorite speaker of them all (due to its greater emphasis than the towers on mid bass vs extension, since I have subwoofers covering the extension).
It's not the extra couple of hundreds, it's the space. It's just too big for my current setup.

Yep! Ditto...

My wife let me bring a 170 lb Rythmik F25 and a 75" Sony x940E into her living room (not my basement... and yes, that's cliche, but it's how we do things)... and all she has asked in return is that I make sure it all fits/works on-or-around this piece of "home entertainment furniture" that we bought 10ish years ago that she likes... my equipment and enthusiasm for this hobby has outgrown that thing over the last 10 years. My TV is too large for the "hole" and the new tv now sits out in front of the hole, overlapping the glass doors to the sides (to show off your DVD collection, obviously... because it was made to appeal to someone in 2006). And the "space" to put other A/V equipment, particularly a Center Channel, is large by "normal people" standards... but is no where NEAR big enough for a Horizon. My only options would be on top of the whole thing (tweeter would probably be ~7 feet off the ground, and the speaker occupying the space my wife likes to set up her favorite Nativity decorations come Christmas time) or literally on the floor in front of it... both of which are a no-go for obvious reasons. The Center-Oriented Sierra 2 (or 2EX) or a Luna Center are my only two options if I wanted to match the Front Left-Rights with a RAAL Ribbon... I might be able to fit a Center 340SE if I didn't, but the 21" width would be *really* tight/close, and I think might be too big by approximately a 0.25" (but I'd want to remeasure)... But the Horizon is too large for my setup in pretty much every dimension.
 

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@psuKinger: The 6db trim level you’re seeing should not be surprising at all, since Ascend’s specs state the “in-room sensitivity” of the 2EX to be 86db and the Ascend Tower to be 92db — a difference of exactly 6db!

You’ve probably heard that “80% of movie audio content comes from the center channel”. This is why you want your center channel to be no less efficient than your front LR speakers: Because otherwise, your SPL level for movies must be limited to the lowest common denominator (which in this case is your bookshelf center channel, where pumping too much power into it to keep up with the towers may cause damage).

The increased capability of your front LR towers is not going to be safely usable for movie playback. That said, maybe you’re okay with this, maybe not. If not, I’m sure Dave would be happy to swap your 2EX for a Horizon if you decided to do so 🙂

Personally, I never understood why, when spending this much on speakers, one would opt for a compromised speaker choice just to fit the shape of a 10 year old piece of furniture probably worth less than one of your RAAL tweeters.

I do understand that finding a suitable replacement that fits a large center channel is tedious, but ultimately you’ll have to decide on whether the effort is worth it. And I do understand that WAF doesn’t always make sense, so in the worst cases there, I suppose nothing I say can really help you.
 

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My recent experience with a 5.25" sealed surround speaker left me with the feeling that I prefer a speaker with better midbass performance so all speakers sound at least somewhat "complete" so they can hand-off to the subs.

Do the HTM-200's sound full from 80-200 Hz? Will they blend well with subs?
 

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Speaking of bass performance: I may have accidentally caused the Sierra 2EX woofer to max out momentarily. It seems to be fine now, but it leads to a very interesting question: What's the point of trying to achieve such deep bass extension from a single 6" woofer, when it means you'll need a subwoofer anyway to play any songs loudly that contain prominent bass content?

I was listening to a song on my Mackie MR824 monitors (which I use as desktop PC speakers) which I observed to have particularly nice sounding bass (and strong without distortion). Out of curiosity, I turned off the subwoofer attached to my Sierra 2EX speakers and played the same song. At lower volumes, the song sounded much better on the Sierra 2EX of course ($1500 vs $500, so it should). But at louder levels (peak of 87db A-weighted or 97db C-weighted), the Mackie MR824 handled it without breaking a sweat, and sounded great with no noticeable distortion -- but when I tried it on the Sierra 2EX, I started to hear a rattly sound on the bass beat (the driver bottoming out, I assume), so I quickly reduced the volume.

Ascend makes incredible speakers, but don't think they can defy the laws of physics. The Mackie MR824 has an 8" woofer (with no phase plug), which means it has over ~180% the surface area of the 2EX. It also rolls off the bass earlier and quicker, resulting in a speaker that's much more durable and capable of being driven loudly for very enjoyable bass performance without a subwoofer.
 

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So this comes to the question: What is the point of a speaker with a 6" woofer (or effectively less if you subtract the phase plug) trying to achieve such a deep level of bass extension, when that risks damaging the speaker if you play some kinds of music reasonably loudly without a subwoofer crossed over?

I would much prefer dedicating the excellent performance of this woofer to midbass, and letting a subwoofer take over below that. Maybe that's precisely what happens when crossing over to a subwoofer, but I don't know enough about speaker design to say confidently that there is no possible compromise to midbass performance when a speaker is tuned to extend so low.

And for speakers designed to be enjoyable standalone without a subwoofer (via more woofer surface area and/or excursion), I would still generally prefer that mechnical ability to be spent on more midbass, than "wasting" it on sub-bass that only a large subwoofer will really be able to competently handle anyway.

What's also a little scary is that you can't just use your ears or even an SPL meter to decide what's a reasonably safe SPL level for playing a wide range of music on speakers like the Sierra 2EX (or any small bookshelf speakers designed to extend into deep bass): Whether you will overextend the woofers at a given SPL level depends entirely on the bass content. For example, when crossed over to a subwoofer to handle the bass, the Sierra 2EX has absolutely no problem competently playing music loudly up to 100db (and when you observe the drivers, there is no sign of extreme strained excursion of the woofer, as there is without the subwoofer).

I say all this because, if someone new to audiophile speakers asks me for beginner speaker recommendations, I can't really find myself recommending any 6" bookshelf speakers. When someone asks me to recommend an entry-level pair of simple speakers they'll be happy with for just about any audio content imaginable (e.g. they don't want to have to deal with a separate subwoofer purchase, and just want an entry into great sound) I still can't find anything better than recommending active studio monitors like JBL JLR308 or Mackie MR824 (depending on your preference, after listening to both).

In this sense, I wonder if the CMT-340 SE may actually be a better speaker recommendation for most people who don't have a subwoofer, than the 2EX?
 
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97 db is well into the threshold of hearing damage, so if you are already deaf, might as well get PA speakers with that line of reasoning.
You are incorrect. A-weighted SPL is used to assess hearing damage risk, not C-weighted SPL (which is the measurement you seem to have cherry-picked without comprehending what these terms mean):
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/loud.html

A-weighted SPL exposure at or below 85db or below is generally not considered a risk, even when exposed continuously throughout the day. 87db A-weighted SPL (which I quoted) is marginally above this level, and even conservatively is very safe to listen to for hours at a time.

Even if it was 97db A-weighted, this still would not cause hearing damage until around 30 minutes of exposure. But again, this is not the case, and the SPL I measured was 87db A-weighted. If you do not understand why the C-weighted measurement was so different (and why it was particularly relevant to my post to include both it and the A-weighted SPL), then I advise you do a bit more research before criticising my post.
 

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So this comes to the question: What is the point of a speaker with a 6" woofer (or effectively less if you subtract the phase plug) trying to achieve such a deep level of bass extension, when that risks damaging the speaker if you play some kinds of music reasonably loudly without a subwoofer crossed over?



I would much prefer dedicating the excellent performance of this woofer to midbass, and letting a subwoofer take over below that. Maybe that's precisely what happens when crossing over to a subwoofer, but I don't know enough about speaker design to say confidently that there is no possible compromise to midbass performance when a speaker is tuned to extend so low.



And for speakers designed to be enjoyable standalone without a subwoofer (via more woofer surface area and/or excursion), I would still generally prefer that mechnical ability to be spent on more midbass, than "wasting" it on sub-bass that only a large subwoofer will really be able to competently handle anyway.



What's also a little scary is that you can't just use your ears or even an SPL meter to decide what's a reasonably safe SPL level for playing a wide range of music on speakers like the Sierra 2EX (or any small bookshelf speakers designed to extend into deep bass): Whether you will overextend the woofers at a given SPL level depends entirely on the bass content. For example, when crossed over to a subwoofer to handle the bass, the Sierra 2EX has absolutely no problem competently playing music loudly up to 100db (and when you observe the drivers, there is no sign of extreme strained excursion of the woofer, as there is without the subwoofer).



I say all this because, if someone new to audiophile speakers asks me for beginner speaker recommendations, I can't really find myself recommending any 6" bookshelf speakers. When someone asks me to recommend an entry-level pair of simple speakers they'll be happy with for just about any audio content imaginable (e.g. they don't want to have to deal with a separate subwoofer purchase, and just want an entry into great sound) I still can't find anything better than recommending active studio monitors like JBL JLR308 or Mackie MR824 (depending on your preference, after listening to both).



In this sense, I wonder if the CMT-340 SE may actually be a better speaker recommendation for most people who don't have a subwoofer, than the 2EX?
You ask a good question and something I was also wondering. Read post 5527 and below as Bruce and Bear make some good points about incorporating a sub to help with the bottom end.

Basically one was pointing out that why have your monitors or towers work hard and possible degrade sound quality in achieving good solid bass when your Sub should be doing all of the heavy lifting.

It seems like the whole point of the EX 2 in my opinion keep in mind was to achieve more low end from a monitor and be much closer to a tower if you dont have the space for towers. I've also heard that a monitor wouldn't necessarily be better than a full range tower if space wasnt an issue.



Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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There seems to be a slight bit of confusion here. The reason why the EX woofer can extend so deep and is so punchy is the same reason as to what makes it such a phenomenal mid-woofer... that is due to the remarkably low inductance, thanks in part to the SEAS Excel motor system combined with a custom former and specially wound voice coil. This same low inductance improves transient accuracy, lowers distortion and improves high frequency extension.

It isn't that we "tuned" the Sierra-2EX speaker to have such deep bass, the deep bass is due to the significant improvements in the woofer's motor system.

The Sierra-2EX does not sacrifice midbass performance for extension, the bass roll off is natural and extremely flat. We can provide a bump in the midbass by changing the port tuning to a higher frequency, but that would also decrease bass extension AND DECREASE power handling at low frequencies. While this seems counterintuitive, you must keep in mind that in a ported speaker (any ported speaker, which includes speakers that use a passive radiator) woofer excursion is lowest at the port tune frequency, and increases dramatically as frequencies below port tune hit the woofer. Woofers essentially become "unloaded" below the port tune frequency, relying solely on their suspension system to limit excursion and bring the woofer back to neutral position, rather than the combination of the woofer's suspension and the air-spring created by the volume of air in the cabinet. The port tune frequency of the Sierra-2EX is ~44Hz. Frequencies much below 44Hz at higher power run the risk of bottoming the woofer, the same for any ported speaker. So for example, if we change the port tune frequency to 55Hz, there would be a rather large artificial midbass boost (speaker would no longer have a flat frequency response), we would lose about 10Hz in extension and now frequencies below 55Hz run the risk of bottoming the woofer....

I will repeat this, the EX woofer was not purposefully designed for deep bass, the deep bass capabilities are the result of designing a woofer that provides significant performance improvements across the board. In order to meet the goals both we and SEAS set out for, it required reducing inductance by over 50%.


But I did want to mention that the XT32 calibration I ran with the new gear calculated a +6.0 trim on my Center-Oriented 2EX RAAL, with a 0.0 trim on my one front Tower RAAL and a -1.0 on the other. It's not ideal, IMO. I'd been hoping it'd need to be boosted less. TBD on how happy I am with what I'm hearing while my Denon gives them that boost, but just a data point I'd thought I'd share... but it's the situation I'm stuck with because
This is almost never a problem. A speaker's sensitivity rating is not directly related to its power handling and/or maximum output capabilities. The sensitivity rating of the speaker determines how much voltage/power from the receiver is required to reach a specific volume level. If your receiver or amplifier is not capable of providing enough power to the speaker to reach the volume level you desire at your listening position, only then does this present a possible issue. Our Duo is a terrific center option as it's sensitivity rating is 2-3dB higher than the Sierra-2EX (I believe I had recommended this to you.) If you have no issues with your Sierra-2EX reaching the volume levels you desire at your listening position, than there is no concern.

So this comes to the question: What is the point of a speaker with a 6" woofer (or effectively less if you subtract the phase plug) trying to achieve such a deep level of bass extension, when that risks damaging the speaker if you play some kinds of music reasonably loudly without a subwoofer crossed over?
You answered your own question :) You simply run the speakers with a subwoofer, which is what we recommend for any home theater system even when using towers -- it goes without say that is for any speaker - including those we don’t manufacture. Doing so allows the speakers to play louder and cleaner without risk of bottoming due to deep bass at loud volume levels, while also enabling your amplifier or receiver to function more efficiently by not having to produce deep bass....

I would much prefer dedicating the excellent performance of this woofer to midbass, and letting a subwoofer take over below that. Maybe that's precisely what happens when crossing over to a subwoofer, but I don't know enough about speaker design to say confidently that there is no possible compromise to midbass performance when a speaker is tuned to extend so low
That is exactly what happens when you cross the speakers over to a subwoofer and that is the correct way to achieve what you are looking for. You aren't wasting the potential deep bass performance of the woofer, as I explained above -- the remarkable deep bass extension of this woofer is due to across the board improvements, which also improve the midbass, mids and upper ranges. This is precisely why I continually recommend the EX upgrade to our Sierra-2 customers who are using subs...

A woofer is going to attempt to reproduce any and all frequencies sent to it, regardless of its design. In theory for a passive speaker, a designer could add a high pass filter to the woofer’s filter circuit to filter out deep bass, but this will require a massive amount of series capacitance which is going to dramatically hurt performance. For active speakers, like the Mackies mentioned, the active crossover likely has a high pass filter on the woofer as doing it actively is simple, it can be implemented at low cost and without compromising performance. Enabling your receiver’s high pass filter accomplishes the same thing, even better actually as you can control at what frequency (and sometimes even the slope) of the roll off.


Hope this makes some sense!
 

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Our Duo is a terrific center option as it's sensitivity rating is 2-3dB higher than the Sierra-2EX (I believe I had recommended this to you.) If you have no issues with your Sierra-2EX reaching the volume levels you desire at your listening position, than there is no concern.
Hi Dave. Apologies in advance, but can you elaborate a bit? Probably just user error on my part, but when I click on "loudspeakers" on your website I'm not seeing one named "Duo"... What am I missing?
 

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Do the HTM-200's sound full from 80-200 Hz? Will they blend well with subs?
I'm not sure I can give you as good of an answer to that as I'd like to; I didn't pair them with a sub. I would think they would, but probably only if you raised the crossover to 90 or 100... But again I'm just guessing based on what I heard in 2.0 and what audyssey calculated for 5.1.

They are a big step up in clarity over the Ported Polk's they have replaced.
 

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So this comes to the question: What is the point of a speaker with a 6" woofer (or effectively less if you subtract the phase plug) trying to achieve such a deep level of bass extension, when that risks damaging the speaker if you play some kinds of music reasonably loudly without a subwoofer crossed over?
I think also it just gives you that option of running them full range at a lower volume or crossing them over to a subwoofer and giving them more headroom.

I currently have speakers that start to roll of pretty hard at 80Hz and I wish they'd go deeper because I'd like to cross my subwoofers over lower for room reasons, it's the main thing driving me to getting new speakers. So depending on the output requirements, someone could either get those 2EXs or get Towers with more sensitivity, but having both go a bit lower in my book gives you a lot more options for room setup since 80Hz isn't a magic number.

But yeah if you like it really loud then a more sensitive speaker might be the ticket for you. Your signature says you have the Horizon center and the Towers for L and R, is this in a different room you got the 2EXs for? Or desktop setup?
 

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Hi Dave. Apologies in advance, but can you elaborate a bit? Probably just user error on my part, but when I click on "loudspeakers" on your website I'm not seeing one named "Duo"... What am I missing?

It isn’t on the website. No worries.

Shoot Dave an email about it.
 

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Thank you Dave! You perfectly answered exactly what I was wondering about here, which I should have more clearly stated from the beginning (to avoid confusion that I was accusing the 2EX of lacking something) as "Will crossing over the Sierra 2EX to a sub still get the most out of this amazing speaker (without throwing away any of the woofer's amazing performance in doing so)?" I'm happy to hear the answer to that is 'yes'!

There seems to be a slight bit of confusion here. The reason why the EX woofer can extend so deep and is so punchy is the same reason as to what makes it such a phenomenal mid-woofer... that is due to the remarkably low inductance, thanks in part to the SEAS Excel motor system combined with a custom former and specially wound voice coil. This same low inductance improves transient accuracy, lowers distortion and improves high frequency extension.

It isn't that we "tuned" the Sierra-2EX speaker to have such deep bass, the deep bass is due to the significant improvements in the woofer's motor system.
I will repeat this, the EX woofer was not purposefully designed for deep bass, the deep bass capabilities are the result of designing a woofer that provides significant performance improvements across the board. In order to meet the goals both we and SEAS set out for, it required reducing inductance by over 50%.
While I do not have a Sierra-2 to compare to, I want to reiterate how thrilled I am with my Sierra 2EX (and thank you for designing it :))! It truly is an incredible speaker.

Just for fun, I compared my Sierra 2-EX's ($1500) side by side against my "old" Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 ($4500 MSRP). With a good subwoofer integrated to both, these little Ascend Sierra-2EX bookshelf speakers absolutely dominate the Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 sound quality in every way. Clarity, imaging, instrument separation, natural instrument tonality, etc. is all so obviously a league beyond the B&W, that it's kind of sad for the B&W (but I didn't know any better at the time when I bought the B&W's).

And it's not just me. I've had a few others compare, and everyone so far agrees that the Sierra 2-EX clearly outperforms speakers costing 3x its price.

This is almost never a problem. A speaker's sensitivity rating is not directly related to its power handling and/or maximum output capabilities. The sensitivity rating of the speaker determines how much voltage/power from the receiver is required to reach a specific volume level. If your receiver or amplifier is not capable of providing enough power to the speaker to reach the volume level you desire at your listening position, only then does this present a possible issue. Our Duo is a terrific center option as it's sensitivity rating is 2-3dB higher than the Sierra-2EX (I believe I had recommended this to you.) If you have no issues with your Sierra-2EX reaching the volume levels you desire at your listening position, than there is no concern.
Fascinating! This is very good to learn, because a lot of the "high sensitivity speaker is best speaker" crowd around here seems to swear by this idea that the only way for a speaker to go loud is with ultra high sensitivity speakers.

I've chatted with some of them here, and showed via specs that the Ascend Sierra Towers seem to be capable of reaching SPL levels beyond rapid human hearing damage levels -- which to leads to the question, what's the point of higher sensitivity beyond that? Usually the counter-argument is that if you're running speakers near their limit during movie playback, you don't want "transient peaks" to push past your speaker or amplifier's capability and induce clipping, which sound bad, and may damage the speakers and/or amp.
 
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I think also it just gives you that option of running them full range at a lower volume or crossing them over to a subwoofer and giving them more headroom.

I currently have speakers that start to roll of pretty hard at 80Hz and I wish they'd go deeper because I'd like to cross my subwoofers over lower for room reasons, it's the main thing driving me to getting new speakers. So depending on the output requirements, someone could either get those 2EXs or get Towers with more sensitivity, but having both go a bit lower in my book gives you a lot more options for room setup since 80Hz isn't a magic number.

But yeah if you like it really loud then a more sensitive speaker might be the ticket for you. Your signature says you have the Horizon center and the Towers for L and R, is this in a different room you got the 2EXs for? Or desktop setup?
Yep, and I fully agree with you here about lower crossovers being ideal for some rooms. I have one such room :). As such, I'm very happy with my Ascend RAAL Towers and Horizon in that room crossed over at 60hz at the moment, whereas 80hz just has never worked out in that room independent of the speakers or subs being used. In fact, I'm arguing exactly this point against the "high sensitivity and 80hz+ crossovers are the best" camp over here in this thread.

Also, regarding SPL: Ideally, I think speakers (at least towers) should be capable of continuous SPL that humans are able to safely listen to for a few hours before risking hearing loss, as well as transient peaks that are similarly safe but may momentarily reach levels which if sustained would cause hearing damage (but it's safe, because it is not sustained). For example, reference level movie audio playback is often like this. Without judging whether regularly listening at such levels is good or not for your ear's long term health, it is nice to be able to reproduce "reference level" movie audio playback from time to time.

As I can tell though, the Ascend Towers and Horizon are perfectly capable of this, at least by my calculations. But I've had people in the 'high sensitivity' crowd tell me that it's not enough, with somewhat convincing arguments like 'you should have 6db extra headroom for equalization' and 'speakers that are linear to SPL louder than you'd ever want are likely to be even more linear and have amazing sound quality at the lower SPL you do want'.

They're interesting arguments, but I don't know enough about speaker design to really debate them. Personally, I'm extremely happy with the Ascend Towers (and Horizon) and both the amazing sound quality and SPL capabilities they have.
 
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