If I had to describe it in a word, that word would be "pandemonium." That was what seemed to be happening in the audiophile community as Ascend Acoustics announced their new "reference" bookshelf speakers, the Sierra-1's. Long time lovers of the brand were putting their beloved speakers up for sale with the Sierra-1's on pre-order. Sight unseen, ear unheard, the Sierra's were being compared and debated against speakers many times their price. As bookshelf speakers go, they aren't the cheapest but this is definitely a case of "you get what you pay for." And you're getting a lot. The bass and treble extension seems out of place in the same box. Usually you hope for one or the other. In this case, you get both and in a bookshelf package.
Discuss "Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 Bookshelf Speaker Review" here. Read the article.
Great review as always!
You mentioned the Usher 520s but never, at least I didn't see it, mention how the Sierra's compared to them?
Also you weren't completely happy with the Sierra's midrange, was that because of the bass heaviness and it's masking effect or was there something else?
One more question if you will, have you heard the NHT Classic Three's. If so any thoughts on how the Sierra's and Three's would match up?
Thanks for the timely review,
Hug It Out *****
Wow, great review! So that was what all the hoopla was about.
They sure do look better than the plain-jane 340se.
I read that they are not cheap and that you get what you pay for. How much is that, exactly?
Dynaudio Focus 140, Era D5 LCR Center + Era D3 surrounds, SVS PB12-Plus, Integra DTC 9.8, Rotel RMB-1075, Toshiba Regza 52", Bell HD-PVR Satellite, Panasonic BD35, Escient Fireball, SMS-1, Panamax 5300EX.
Some people are like Slinkies. They serve no purpose but still put a smile on your face when you push them down the stairs.
What's odd, is that when I heard the Sierra's, the bass was tight and very accurate. And I thought I heard the midrange just fine.
When doing reviews, do you just take them out of the box, plug them in, and listen? Or do they get fully calibrated, then reviewed? The only thing mentioned that I saw was the positioning, ie: toe'ing them in.
The SPL vs Freq graph looks very similar to what was posted on Ascends website. The 3khz dip is there. Though above that (4khz+), the Ascend graph is pretty flat, where Tom's graph had it higher. Could this be because of the environment it was tested in? in a chamber vs in a real room?
Decent review. I am still on the fence, it seems like they are up there with the RBH's MC-6C's, and the Ushers. I look forward to the bookshelf shootout.
I snagged a pair of the naturals on the day they came out and have never looked back. Great speaker and huge sound in a small hefty package. I'm in the process of building matching stands right now. I'm using the Sierras in a dedicated 2-channel no-sub setup in our office. Fantastic laid-back sound and very detailed and articulate. Plenty of bass for a small to midsized room with no need for a sub (for music at least). Only caveat is that they aren't terribly efficient. I'll consider adding a 2-channel amp at some point in the future. Right now I'm using a Pio Elite 55txi to power them. I've been very happy with their performance and people never cease to be amazed at the quality and quantity of sound these speakers can put out.
Is the shootout Tom mentioned involves blind test? In that case, it would be really interesting to see whether the testers can identify the recessed midrange of Ascend Vs the midrange of s520. Same thing with the Bass accuracy. Tom loves s520 way too much :-) At least he admitted that the comparison was not blind.
User is getting good reviews everywhere, I'm going to audition it at a dealer in next few days.