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Thread: Sierra 2 first impressions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Sierra 2 first impressions

    I was fortunate enough to listen to the Sierra 2's in another forum member's home. I would like to thank Curtis for opening his doors to me a letting me hear his setup.

    First, I wouldn't say this is not a rave review nor is it a terrible review. It's just one newbie's impression, more of a comparison. So I would encourage anyone reading this read what the pro's have to say and also listen for themselves before coming to a conclusion.

    My current setup is the Klipsch Icon W series, a lower-end, discontinued series offered exclusively by Newegg. The towers have three 5.25" cone woofers and a 1" tractix horn tweeter. The advertised sensitivity on these is 97 dB. Quite high compared to the Sierras.

    I'm the type that does a lot of research before a big purchase (though, I realize I should have done more research before I bought the Icon Ws) But I have literally read every mention of the Sierra's that has been uttered in a forum in the past year. So I had certain expectations. My first impression of the Sierra's was they were a little smaller than what I had pictured in my head. Not a bad thing. They were very nice looking in the natural bamboo finish, although a darker finish would be more appropriate for my room. I did a knuckle rap test on them and they were quite solid as expected. The speakers and MLP were each about 1 foot each closer than my own setup at 7-8 ft, and the listening room was also more enclosed than my own. I have around 2500 cubic feet and it's opened up on one side to the rest of the house.

    Prior to hearing the Sierra's, I had a couple tracks each picked out on a hand full of CD's and had listened to them in pure direct mode every night for a week.

    Beck - Cold Brains
    I immediately noticed the tight punch of the bass, and I would say that it hit harder than my towers do, though I'm not sure which speaker would lead in identical listening environments. Still impressive for the size of these bookshelves. The track starts out spacey with a bunch of psychedelic sounds. In my setup, they kind of fill up the room, hitting you from the sides and the front. On the Sierra's, I didn't get the same feel. The sound effects seemed to be more in the front between the speakers. The singer was dead center in both setups.

    Beck - Sing it again
    One thing that drew me to this song was the naturalness of the first few bass drum hits. You can hear the membrane being struck before the low bass note comes. In my setup, this "slap" seemed more apparent than the Sierras. Although, with the Sierras, I was caught off guard by the beginning of the song when the singer was talking. For a second, I thought someone in the room was talking. Then I realized it was part of the song. I never had this happen with my Klipsch.

    Regina Spektor - Samson
    The high notes on my setup seem a little distorted. They sounded clear on the Sierras. Other than that, I din't notice a big difference.

    Regina Spektor - Edit
    This was the first song that I noticed a strong advantage on the Sierras. In this song, the singer is dead center along with the piano. There is a digitized cymbol that comes in on the left speaker during most of the song. I felt like the sound from the Sierras was quite a bit more focused and crisp than on my speakers.

    Chesky Recordings - Rebbecca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem and McCoy Tyner/Joe Henderson - Ask Me Now.
    I really couldn't hear a difference. I would be interested in a a side-by-side comparison.

    Outkast - The way you move
    There is that room filling sound I was searching for when I was listening to the Beck song. The Sierras are capable, they just need the right material apparently.This is a bass heavy song. The bass was nice, but much nicer when the sub was turned on. I would say the clarity of the Sierras won in this comparison.

    The Sheffield Track/Drum Record
    This was not my track, but one that Curtis popped in. This one amazed me. The drums sounded so natural, I don't know how they could have sounded any more real. Even with the sub turned off, they were incredibly natural sounding. After I got home, I ended up finding a Flac of this and tried it on my own setup. Not even close to the realism that I heard on the Sierras.

    Center clarity
    I did some test listening to the center Sierra 2 to TV and movies at low volume levels. It was easy to hear and very detailed. If I end up getting these, I don't see myself having buyers remorse for not getting a horizon center instead.

    Over-all, I like what I heard, but I may have been expecting too much based on what other reviewers have said about the speakers. Except for that drum solo, which was awesome. I have read that these speakers grow on you as you get used to the sound. I can see myself falling in that category. The towers would probably be perfect for me, but it's just not in my budget at this time in my life. I will most likely order a LCR set of Sierra 2s to demo in my own listening environment when I have a little more cash to spend.I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow on me. Again, thanks to Curtis, and thanks to all of the posters in the forum who help newbies like myself to better understand high quality audio.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Manhattan Beach, California

    Default Re: Sierra 2 first impressions

    Hi Ben,

    It was a pleasure having you over for a listen.

    We need to A/B your speakers with the Sierra 2's....I think that would be very interesting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Sierra 2 first impressions

    I ended up purchasing a set of three Sierra 2's for my front stage, and I thought I would follow up with my impression after having them for a week now.

    I have read posts from a couple other users who were originally unimpressed with the Sierra 2's and then something changed after listening for a few days. They started enjoying the speakers much more. People have attributed this to speaker break-in, playing with position or EQ settings, or their ears getting used to the neutrality of the speakers compared to what they had previously. I can say that I am now one of those people. For me, I believe it was a combination of getting used to the speakers, and discovering well-recorded music that really revealed more of the capabilities of the speakers.

    I have especially enjoyed the last couple evenings exploring music only and not even turning on the TV. Just sitting in the living room listening. I find myself looking forward to the times in my busy schedule where I can just sit and listen for long periods of time.

    For those who are contemplating purchasing these speakers, these are some of the strong points that I noticed in comparison to my previous speakers:
    -Excellent Imaging. These are not nearly as sensitive to directional placement as my previous speakers. I really had to get my old speakers dialed in. The Sierras image well whether pointed straight out or toed in. The singer is dead center and it is easy to detect the placement of the instruments on the stage. In some music, the position of a person or instrument is so focused in space, it catches me off guard and makes me turn my head, as if someone had tapped my shoulder.
    -Low frequency reproduction. Audyssey calibration came back and set my crossovers to 40Hz. This is compared to 60Hz for my towers (with three 5 1/2" drivers). It is impressive how low these bookshelf-sized speakers can go. And the bass is nice and tight. Most of the music I have listened to doesn't even need help from my subs.
    -Clarity. This can be both a pro and a con. They reveal poor recordings more readily than my old speakers, but when a well recorded song is played, it can be so pleasant to listen to. I haven't watched a lot of television lately, but the center Sierra 2 seems to be excellent for dialog.
    -Aesthetics. I have the satin dark cherry, and I really do enjoy how they look. With the grilles on, they are nice to look at, but don't stand out so much. With the grilles off, they make a statement. I have the grilles off of the left and right channel, and just admire them every time I walk by.
    -Movies. Actually I can't comment on this as I haven't watched any movies since I've had the speakers. Plus with a little one in the house, I find it much easier to sneak a song in here and there than to start a movie. I expect good things though.

    At this point I plan to keep these speakers, and don't plan on upgrading for a long time. I think there are improvements to my room that can be done to make them sound even better, so I may focus on that for now. But I think my system is where I want it, which is a nice feeling to have.

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