Ascend Acoustics

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Pyruvate, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,354
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Here
    Decided to start an Ascend Acoustics thread since I've had these Sierra-1s playing for about a week and they're very impressive. Thanks to @RKML0007 for the sweet deal, and I'm happy to say that I'm probably done with bookshelves. Picture below are the speakers with my rig. For those who are not familiar with it:

    Sources:
    1) analog - Ortofon OM5e cart > U-Turn Orbit Plus TT > modded TC-750 phono
    2) digital - PC / Toshiba DVD player > Modi Multibit

    >> Parasound P/LD-1100 preamp > Parasound HCA-1000a power amp > Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 Speakers

    [​IMG]

    Previously, I had a pair of Andrew Jones's ELAC Debut B6. They were great speakers for the money, but after my honeymoon phase with the speakers, the flaws became apparent. The worst offender was the shelved highs, which caused classical music to suck; I found myself constantly reaching for the HD650 when listening to classical. Secondly, the soundstage felt constricted, though I kept telling myself it was okay since the depth was extra deep. Fun speakers, nonetheless, but RKM had to give me an offer for the Sierras that I just couldn't refuse.

    Since installing the Sierra-1's, I haven't once reached for the HD650.
     
  2. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,354
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Here
    • Bass contains greater punch and extension than the ELAC B6s. This came as a massive surprise, knowing that the ELAC Debuts are known for their bass. The Sierra-1s are just as bassy, not only that, but noticeably tighter as well. ELAC bass just feels "one-noted" in comparison. Even though still tighter and cleaner than the ELACs, there may be some excess bass bloom. Regardless, no real complaints here.

    • Mids are definitely more clear compared to the B6s. Though, vocals do feel a bit recessed at times, just a tiny bit. Detail retrieval has increased; seems like a veil has been lifted. Compared to the B6 however, the vocals have somewhat less of a presence and feel less full. I'm not sure if this is due to some of the ELACs' bass bleeding into the mids and creating more of a haze/veil.

    • Highs are the real winner for me. Present, smooth, and airy is how I would best describe them. This is where the Sierras are a league or two above the B6s. Classical is now listenable and damn it sounds good. Soundstage width has increased substantially; these speakers don't feel constricted at all, the B6s sound boxy in comparison. Definitely more holographic, thanks to the expansiveness of the stage. However, the B6s feel more deep... though I'm not sure if this is because soundstage has less width and feels deeper relatively.

    • Imaging is more or less the same. The B6s never had a problem imaging, but the Sierras really sound cleaner and less veiled. Less veil always helps with imaging. There's a bigger sweet spot for these speakers. If I find myself off axis horizontally, or even vertically, they still sound amazing. I was stretching earlier on the floor and they sounded almost similar to my "listening spot".

    • Tonally, I feel these are simply neutral. The B6 sounds warm in comparison. I knew beforehand that Ascends sounded pretty neutral and was worried that my Parasounds wouldn't play well with them (Parasounds tend to be neutral, they sound superb with warmer speakers such as the ELACs and from what I read Harbeths). However, the Parasounds are still a great match for them. I knew that my PLD-1100 preamp provides warmth/fluidity to the colder HCA-1000a amplifier, and thus, prove to be a great pairing with the neutral Sierra-1s.

    • Did I mention that vinyl sounds boss on these? The lessened veil truly brings out more of the vinyl magic and plankton. In fact, I feel so spoiled with vinyl being played on the Sierras that digital just isn't the same anymore.

    • Amazing speakers! Not perfect and as described previously, still room for minor improvements. However, I feel that these speakers do a lot of things right; way more things than they do wrong. Seriously, I can see myself being happy with these for a while. They are extremely versatile, play all genres well, smooth, and a pleasure to listen to. I will even say that these will end my search for bookshelf speakers, so I can start saving up for towers... cough @ohmaigulay.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  3. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,354
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Here
    After having spent some time with the speakers, there's actually a slight bass bloom that takes away from the mids (I was correct when I initially felt the mids a tad bit recessed), but I found a possible fix for this: http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?3781-Announcement-A-Sierra-1-add-on-enhancement!

    Ascend offers port plugs (more specifically, the B-type) to help alleviate the bloom, tightening the bass more, bringing some of the mids more forward, all while "improving imaging and soundstage". I am definitely interested in these and will be ordering them soon, stay tuned for updates.

    @Mystic, I saw that you also bought a pair of Sierras and wanted to give you a headsup. Let me know if you share the same experiences.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  4. haywood

    haywood Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Likes Received:
    193
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    You might want to check out Home Depot for pipe insulation since that's what that foam port tube looks like (except for the price).

    Anyway nice pick up, I always liked the original Sierra-1 though I wasn't so fond of the NrT version (too bright for me though obviously that's a matter of taste) and like the Philharmonics better in the Sierra-2's price range.
     
    Pyruvate likes this.
  5. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,354
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Here
    I'll definitely look into the Home Depot idea. Thanks for the input on the NRT version, I was wondering about that too.

    I have even read that many people prefer the Sierra-1s over the Sierra-2s. As for my next upgrade, the philharmonics have caught my interest too. The BMRs look fantastic and I'm very much considering the Philharmonic Slims.
     
  6. ohmaigulay

    ohmaigulay Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    130
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    California
    [​IMG]

    @Pyruvate glad you're enjoying your Sierra 1s and it was offered at an amazing price by @RKML0007. I was tempted myself to grab a couple to create a home theater for my own system.

    Currently I own a pair of Ascend Sierra Towers. I was lucky enough to find them at around half price used and still under warranty and included was a HSU VTF-3 Subwoofer as well. Bass goes down very deep and tight on the towers that I feel the HSU sub, though good as it is, isn't necessarily needed. Contemplating getting the RAAL ribbon upgrade for the towers though I've yet to hear them. Does anyone have the RAAL setup? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.

    Heard the Salk song 3s at the Schiit booth last year at The Show driven by the Rag with Yggdrasil. Personally I feel the Sierra Towers with my old Denon receiver and Modi Multibit are close enough.

    I would like to eventually add a proper preamp and amp to my setup one day. A Freya with a pair of Vidars in mono sure are tempting. As well as an Yggdrasil.. :p
     
    Victor, Lyer25, cskippy and 3 others like this.
  7. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,171
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    U.S.

    Mine haven't been properly set up yet (first set of speakers for me, so it's a lengthy process). Still looking around for an amp, but I think I've settled on the Saga for my preamp.

    Will post impressions when I get everything set up.
     
    ohmaigulay likes this.
  8. StanT

    StanT Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    59
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Colorado
    I bought the Horizon w/RAAL, no room for towers. I can't compare the NRT; but the RAAL is a very sweet sounding tweeter. Very nice highs without any harshness.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,354
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Here
    Is the ragnarok powering those speakers?
     
    ohmaigulay likes this.
  10. ohmaigulay

    ohmaigulay Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    130
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    California
    Nice setup! I've seen a couple of others who ended up using the horizon as their main speakers. I've heard the RAAL on Salks and they are quite smooth. I'm wondering though if they're worth the $700 upgrade. Apparently the Ascend RAAL is a custom model. Right now I'm leaning towards investing on a proper Preamp and Amp for my towers. Waiting on Vidar :p
     
  11. ohmaigulay

    ohmaigulay Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    130
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    California

    I see an Yggdrasil as well!
     
    Pyruvate likes this.
  12. StanT

    StanT Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2017
    Likes Received:
    59
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Colorado
    It is, the Horizons have a 92db efficiency and get ear bleeding loud in a small room when driven by Ragnarok. Probably not enough power for a larger room; but it works well for my use.


    Yep, incremental upgrades were killing me. I'm really liking my Schiit.
     
    Pyruvate likes this.
  13. fierce_freak

    fierce_freak Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Likes Received:
    203
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Western New York
    I have Sierra towers with raal. Love 'em

    I have a horizon for my center. I'd have liked to do horizons for left, right, and center, but I'm a bit width constrained inn the room they're in.
     
    psuKinger, ohmaigulay and Pyruvate like this.
  14. Luigi Pichardo

    Luigi Pichardo Rando

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Virgil, Ontario
    Is there any competition for monoblock amplifiers that stiffen up to the Vidars or are the Vidars pretty much the best value you can get?
     
  15. GanGreinke

    GanGreinke Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Likes Received:
    311
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    New York City
    Monoblock Aegirs?
     
    Luigi Pichardo likes this.
  16. Luigi Pichardo

    Luigi Pichardo Rando

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2019
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Virgil, Ontario
    Ok,

    Would those be compatible with Passive speakers of these specifications? :

    Response +/- 3db 33Hz - 40kHz
    Sensitivity 88db
    Impedance 8 ohms
    Amplification 50 watts

    I know the Vidars are heavily powered for a variety of speakers that need it.
     
  17. jazztherapist

    jazztherapist analrapist

    Contributor
    Joined:
    May 8, 2018
    Likes Received:
    301
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Dark Side of Your Mother, CA
    https://www.schiit.com/products/aegir
     
  18. pippenainteasy

    pippenainteasy Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2016
    Likes Received:
    29
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    USA
    Been an Ascend fan forever. I've owned nearly all their speakers. CBM-170, 170SE, Sierra 1, Sierra 2, Sierra 1 NRT, Sierra 1 RAAL, Sierra RAAL Tower, now I've brought home the 800lb gorilla, the Sierra Diamond ;-)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
    psuKinger likes this.

Share This Page