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Thread: NrT upgrade completed!

  1. #1

    Default NrT upgrade completed!

    I purchased my base speakers earlier this year, so everything went smoothly, except for the screws looking a bit worn. Found an extra foam ring after I put everything together, which can only mean one thing...

    The screws won't be a problem for me since I can touch it up with some model paints later.

    The sound difference is much larger than I expected.

    Getting a lot more clarity, a bit more transparent openness. It doesn't sound more forward to me so much as it sounds more detailed in resolution. That delicious crispiness I hear out of higher end metal tweeters is nearly there in full, without the fatigue. The illusion of the sound stage is even more present.

    The extra efficiency is noted as my sub needs to be re-tuned in gain.

    I thought the difference would be subtle, but it's not to my ears. The upgrade has been highly worthwhile for me.

    Have to thank Ascend and Dave for the incredible work, and at what I think is a very modest price.

  2. #2

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    Welcome to the club!

    This might be just what the doctor ordered. My little Sierras are all growd up!

    BK

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,629

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    Quote Originally Posted by ediblestarfish View Post
    I purchased my base speakers earlier this year, so everything went smoothly, except for the screws looking a bit worn. Found an extra foam ring after I put everything together, which can only mean one thing...

    The screws won't be a problem for me since I can touch it up with some model paints later.

    The sound difference is much larger than I expected.

    Getting a lot more clarity, a bit more transparent openness. It doesn't sound more forward to me so much as it sounds more detailed in resolution. That delicious crispiness I hear out of higher end metal tweeters is nearly there in full, without the fatigue. The illusion of the sound stage is even more present.

    The extra efficiency is noted as my sub needs to be re-tuned in gain.

    I thought the difference would be subtle, but it's not to my ears. The upgrade has been highly worthwhile for me.

    Have to thank Ascend and Dave for the incredible work, and at what I think is a very modest price.
    This is really great news and thanks so much for sharing. Your description of what you are hearing with the Sierra-1 NrT is precisely what we (the world-class engineers at SEAS and myself) were after with this new tweeter.

    As I have mentioned before, I do not feel this upgrade is for everyone. But for those who want that crispness and detail of fine metal domes, without listening fatigue caused by the ringing present with all metal dome tweeters, the NrT upgrade should definitely be considered.
    .
    .
    .
    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    Finished mine last night. Was pretty easy, took less than an hour. Maybe 35 minutes for the first one and 20 for the second (after the first one, the 2nd is a snap).

    I'm burning these in for 40 hrs before serious listening but the extra detail is very nice. In a few weeks I'll do some compares with my Harbeth P3ESR's and ERA D10's (I have 3 systems).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    Just got my 3-kits in this morning and completed the install over lunch. They went very easily as I must have the newer style of Sierra-1 chasis. After I figured it out on the first speaker, it took about 10-minutes for each of the other two speakers I upgraded. I may go back and upgrade my surrounds to the NrT kit later on.

    My first impressions are positive. I can definately tell superior mid-range clarity and high-end punch. I have no doubt that once I run audissy and dial everything in, there'll be even more significant improvement. Overall, I think the upgrade was worth every penny and I haven't listened to more than about 5-minutes with them in a HT application.

  6. #6

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    I finally got the house to myself for a bit, allowing me to explore some additional rotation on the volume knob for 2.1 music. The NrT benefits & characteristics seem to reveal themselves more at higher volumes. I might actually have a preference for the originals at really low listening levels, but at even modest volume the NrT is coming out on top to these ears. Quick check shows ~70dB on my RS meter. Much more listening and tweaking coming up over the next few weeks.

    Is there anything about the upgrade parts design or measurements that would support my observation?

    BK

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SouthWest of Cleveland
    Posts
    1,513

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    Finished one speaker this evening, then had to stop to watch 2 recorded shows we watch on Wednesdays!

    I have the original cabinets, so they use the old fiberglass in a mesh "sock" type of batting glued to the inside of the cabinet. I managed to rip the mesh trying to pull it out as some spots were heavily glued. Fortunately I have some 1" Dacron batting leftover from my Rythmik sub project, so I cut a piece and used that to replace the fiberglass. The new crossover has a larger footprint than the original. I secured one of the front corners with an original Torx screw, than used #6 x 5/8" long Spax flat head construction screws on the remaining 3 holes. The Spax screws worked perfectly. Keeping consistant pressure while twisting with a stubby screwdriver, they self-tapped and thereaded in with no problem. Wish there was more room thru the woofer opening, but I got-er-done!

    A note about reinstalling the woofer: Try to align the rim of the woofer basket as straight as possible while putting it in the opening or it may jam in there crooked. I had to pry the woofer back out and insert the screws by hand to keep it aligned.

    Also, when I went to hook up the speaker wire to the binding posts after the upgrade was finished, I noticed that the posts had turned from tightening the nuts for the crossover leads on the inside so that the wire holes in the posts were not aligned axially with the vertical axis of the speaker any more. I may pull the woofer and Dacron out to try and adjust that.

    After a very brief listen with the NrT on the right and the non-upgraded Sierra-1 on the left, I definitely noticed a clearer sound from the NrT. I will do the 2nd upgrade by the weekend and give further impressions.

    So far I think it was worth the cost after my brief listen.
    Ed

  8. #8

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    I had a few blunders with the upgrade, but nothing worse for the wear other than the cosmetics of the black screws. I knew what I was getting into when I ordered the DIY kit, so I can't really complain.

    I use my speakers in a near-field setup with 80% music, so perhaps the differences are more prominent in my situation with the high and midrange frequencies as they have less room interaction to begin with.

    I'm comparing the NrT to the Thiel CS1.6's I have setup in another room as I did with the stock Sierra-1's. The Thiels are sharp and bright sounding to me. They are not very enjoyable due to the fatigue, but they definitely capture the sizzle off metal instruments as well as strings in crisp definition. The Thiels also image that illusionary sound stage incredibly well, and it's something the stock Sierra's have not been able to replicate to the same degree; they sound a little soft at the top end.

    The NrT gets very close to that bar, without going over the edge for what I can tolerate. I did notice that they require a moderate listening level around 50 db or more to really open up. Any lower and the difference between the stock Sierra-1 and the NrT are difficult to perceive.

    I also did the one-speaker-can't-wait-test, which did yield a slight improvement, but was nothing like stereo with both; the NrTs image much better. Sounds seem to be floating further off to the sides of the speakers as I listen to them.

    I'm ecstatic about the upgrade. It's rare at this price range to spend a few hundred and get anything significant. It's hard to imagine how much better the new Ascend towers will sound (if I can justify purchasing them...). I was happy with the Sierra-1's before, even more with the NrTs, which I wasn't sure was going to happen.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    Did mine last night. I took my time because I was afraid of scratching the cabinets. Everything went smoothly except I wasn't able to get the woofers perfectly centered in the hole.

    Couple things I noticed:
    The nuts on my binding posts were all less than finger tight. The first one came off so easily that I thought I was using too large of a socket, the rest I just spun off with my fingers. Were they supposed to be like that?

    One of my old crossovers has a weird discoloration around one of the screw holes, and the big black thing (resistor?) has a loose flap, like its wrapper is starting to come off. Are these just cosmetic issues or did something happen?
    Here's a pic of the weird discoloration:
    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5001/...12357afb_b.jpg

    My first impression of the actual sound is that it is definitely improved. The differences on Nils Lofgren - "Keith don't go" were the most apparent, with greatly increased detail and sharpness of the guitar. I also listened to a little jazz, which sounded more open, with more precise imaging. I'm always skeptical of listening impressions due to the crappiness of human auditory memory, so I'm not sure if any of the differences I heard were imagined..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    496

    Default Re: NrT upgrade completed!

    I had a few blunders with the upgrade, but nothing worse for the wear other than the cosmetics of the black screws.
    Know what can work wonders? Black marker! Well actually read the context before you try this at home... I built a DIY pair of speakers and turns out Rona doesn't have black screws So I purchased metallic colored screws with slight bluish hue... After a few weeks, I got tired of the screws flashing, and I said what the hell, I'll just try a cheapo black marker... It worked like a charm! So I'm guessing that if some of your black screws now have some "silver shiny" on them, that could work! No idea about the life expectancy of black marker on screws, but chances are that it won't look worst than 'chewed' screws! And if it starts to degrade or something, you can always add another layer. I did 2 black marker layers on my screws, and from 1-2 feet away don't think I could differentiate them from regular black screws... Actually, the light reflection is a little more purplish than white on regular black screws, but it's not a big difference... I was actually surprised it worked so good!

    So it sounds like the upgrade is quite significant, can't wait to get mine!
    Last edited by GirgleMirt; 12-10-2010 at 03:37 PM.

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