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Thread: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

  1. #1

    Default Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    I'm planning on ordering three Sierra 2s for use as an LCR in a 60:40 Home Theater:Music Setup. I do 3.1 for HT and 2.0 for music. However, I was just reading the tower thread and some people have said they're just in another level to the S1/S2 being a 3-way.

    Out of curiosity I spec'd out what it would cost to do a pair of towers (with the NrT tweeter) and a Sierra 1 with the NrT upgrade and it was $380 more (that's factoring in stands to use with the S2 LR channels).

    What would the differences be between these two setups? The RAAL towers are out of my price range, and I don't ever plan on going to 5.1+ so if I buy the S2s I won't someday just use them as surround speakers. But for $380 I am certainly considering this option as I'd say I'm generally biased towards tower speakers in general.
    Last edited by kingcrowing; 01-17-2017 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcrowing View Post
    I'm planning on ordering three Sierra 2s for use as an LCR in a 60:40 Home Theater:Music Setup. I do 3.1 for HT and 2.0 for music. However, I was just reading the tower thread and some people have said they're just in another level to the S1/S2 being a 3-way.

    Out of curiosity I spec'd out what it would cost to do a pair of towers (with the NrT tweeter) and a Sierra 1 with the NrT upgrade and it was $380 more (that's factoring in stands to use with the S2 LR channels).

    What would the differences be between these two setups? The RAAL towers are out of my price range, and I don't ever plan on going to 5.1+ so if I buy the S2s I won't someday just use them as surround speakers. But for $380 I am certainly considering this option as I'd say I'm generally biased towards tower speakers in general.
    Since you don't like using the sub for music, the towers probably make more sense, but I'm still an addict for RAAL sound, so I'm biased in that direction. I think you'd be fine either way you want to go, just matters if you want the silky-smooth-yet-super-detailed sound of the RAALs or the more visceral, slightly less detailed sound of a dome tweeter.

    I think, in your situation, I'd still probably opt for the Sierra-2. You're only losing about 20 Hz of low end at the most, and with room gain you'll probably get most of it back.
    -Alex
    PS4/Nvidia Shield --> Emotiva XMC-1 --> Emotiva XPA-5 --> Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and Horizon Center w/ RAAL tweeters (L/C/R), HTM-200 SE (Surrounds), 2x Rythmik F12 subwoofers

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    If I'm reading you right and the choice is between

    NrT Towers + Sierra 1 (as center)

    vs

    3 Sierra 2's

    I would absolutely go with the three Sierra 2s.

    The biggest reason is because the 3 way Towers really need the 3 way horizon as a center to present a cohesive front sound stage. If you want to go phantom center, that might be do-able depending on where your MLP is. But another thing you will lose is the more precise imaging of the bookshelves.

    The Rhythmik is supposed to be a very musical sub. The three S2s + Rythmik would make for a killer, compact system that sounds MUCH larger than it is.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Yes, that's what I'm considering (with the NrT upgrade for the Sierra 1 center). I sadly just don't have room for a Horizon center (and that just brings the price up too much), and since I don't have an ideal seating layout I can't really do a phantom center very well for home theater so I definitely want one.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcrowing View Post
    Yes, that's what I'm considering (with the NrT upgrade for the Sierra 1 center). I sadly just don't have room for a Horizon center (and that just brings the price up too much), and since I don't have an ideal seating layout I can't really do a phantom center very well for home theater so I definitely want one.
    Three Sierra-2's is the way you want to go, then.
    -Alex
    PS4/Nvidia Shield --> Emotiva XMC-1 --> Emotiva XPA-5 --> Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and Horizon Center w/ RAAL tweeters (L/C/R), HTM-200 SE (Surrounds), 2x Rythmik F12 subwoofers

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Ok cool, that was my plan but since the price was so close I figured it was worth getting a couple opinions!

    That said would the S1 NrT be pretty well timbre matched to the NrT towers? For movies how would the S1 be lacking as compared to the Horizon? Just less volume or would it being a 2-way negatively impact it?

    I've been running a mismatched center for 8 years (B*se 601 Towers with a BIC America 2-way center) and it hasn't bothered me too much so I'm wondering how much I'd notice and if the improved performance of the towers would outweigh the sound stage not being perfect.
    Last edited by kingcrowing; 01-17-2017 at 02:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcrowing View Post
    Ok cool, that was my plan but since the price was so close I figured it was worth getting a couple opinions!

    That said would the S1 NrT be pretty well timbre matched to the NrT towers? For movies how would the S1 be lacking as compared to the Horizon? Just less volume or would it being a 2-way negatively impact it?

    I've been running a mismatched center for 8 years (B*se 601 Towers with a BIC America 2-way center) and it hasn't bothered me too much so I'm wondering how much I'd notice and if the improved performance of the towers would outweigh the sound stage not being perfect.
    All of Ascend's speakers are pretty similar in timber and accuracy, from what I've seen. I mean, my HTM-200-SE's match really well with my RAAL towers, so I think the NrT Sierra-1 will be totally fine as far as matching goes.

    The Horizon is just a stellar center channel design. It anchors dialog very well, and it projects a very authoritative sound. Three way center designs can also sound a bit meatier and natural when it comes to how voices come across. I haven't heard the S1 so I can't really comment on how it sounds compared to the Horizon, but I do know how fantastic the Horizon sounds.

    To me, a key design feature of the Towers and Horizon is that the internal cabinet volume is the same and the drivers are an exact match across them, so the sound that they put out is completely seamless. Effects that pan across the screen seem like they're happening in front of you, and surround music sounds like a real, live band in front of you. I haven't heard that same kind of performance from systems with 2-way centers or systems with mismatching drivers unless you EQ the crap out of it, but that isn't ideal at all.

    Going with three S2's will give you that same kind of effect in movies, where everything sounds completely natural. It'll sound so natrual that you'll barely be able to tell that the center channel is even on, because everything will be so seamless. The toss up here is that you're doing mixed music and movie watching and you don't use a sub for music, so the towers would be a better choice for 2.0 listening. Do you want music to have a little more low-end and impact with the Towers, or do you want a completely seamless soundstage with flawless imaging for 3.1 movie viewing and music? With that said I'd still go with the Sierra-2's. You'll lose a very slight amount of soundstage and impact, but you'll gain RAAL tweeters, seamless soundstage, great imaging, and unbelievable levels of detail. I really think the RAALs are worth it.

    It also sounds like your setup might not be completely ideal, and the Sierra-2's are easier to place and less picky about placement than the Towers.
    -Alex
    PS4/Nvidia Shield --> Emotiva XMC-1 --> Emotiva XPA-5 --> Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and Horizon Center w/ RAAL tweeters (L/C/R), HTM-200 SE (Surrounds), 2x Rythmik F12 subwoofers

  8. #8

    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Unfortunately my setup is far from ideal in my current apartment so my placement options are fairly limited. Again all this info is making me lean more towards the Sierra 2s, and with the 30 day trial period I can always upgrade if they don't carry enough oomph for me. Also since I can get the natural Sierra 2s for 15% off still that makes that setup ~$700 cheaper than the towers even with the TP-24 stands...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcrowing View Post
    Unfortunately my setup is far from ideal in my current apartment so my placement options are fairly limited. Again all this info is making me lean more towards the Sierra 2s, and with the 30 day trial period I can always upgrade if they don't carry enough oomph for me. Also since I can get the natural Sierra 2s for 15% off still that makes that setup ~$700 cheaper than the towers even with the TP-24 stands...
    That is a very strong case for going with three Sierra-2's. I really think you're going to be wowed by them. I highly doubt they won't carry enough oomph, it's just that the Towers are going to have a little more of it. The Sierra speakers are so easy to drive it's not like you need a cadillac 1000 watt amp to get good slam from them anyway.

    You can always upgrade your L/R speakers to Towers in the future and put the Sierra-2's in surround duty as well, especially if you move into a more ideal space in the future.
    -Alex
    PS4/Nvidia Shield --> Emotiva XMC-1 --> Emotiva XPA-5 --> Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and Horizon Center w/ RAAL tweeters (L/C/R), HTM-200 SE (Surrounds), 2x Rythmik F12 subwoofers

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sierra Towers + Sierra 1 NrT Center vs Sierra 2 LCR

    When people say the towers are harder to setup than the bookshelves what does that mean?

    I don't really want to do 5.1 so I want to buy one set that will last me a long time. In the future I'm hoping I'll only have a bigger living room not a smaller one, so I'm thinking towards the future.

    All that said, I haven't been dreaming of new bookshelves for the past half decade, I've been dreaming of new towers. I'm sure the S2s sound amazing but I already feel like I'm going to want towers before even ordering them. I spent some time reading NrT tower reviews and people seem very happy with them and coming from 30 year old B*se towers with disintegrating woofer surrounds I think anything from Ascend will be a big upgrade.

    I totally think having three matched speakers is ideal for HT, but when watching movies or TV (mostly comedies/dramas on Netflix, not the type of content that gets awards for audio production) I'm not so focused on the audio as long as the dialogue is clear. I'm more concerned with being able to put on a rock record and jam out with a beer and I just feel like the extra bass & mids on the towers will make that part more fun.
    Last edited by kingcrowing; 01-18-2017 at 09:58 AM.

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