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Thread: Tower speaker help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
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    Default Tower speaker help

    Somewhat new around here. I’ve been hanging around the forums and reading reviews and have a few of questions.
    I’m looking for a substantial upgrade for my speakers (Music only). I currently own Polk LSi’s towers (3- 7.5” woofers; 2- 5.25” mid range and 1- 1” tweeter) driven by NAD C375BEE. Looking at moving them to my HT room and finding very good tower speakers for music listening. The Polks sound good but they are really more geared for movies and I want to hear what the next “level” is. Currently looking at Martin Logan Motion 60XT’s and Def Tech BP-9060ST. Of the two, the Martin Logans sounded better to me. The Def Tech’s were way too bright…
    Since I can not listen to the Sierra Towers, I have the following questions:

    Are the Sierra Towers better than the ML’s?
    Is the ribbon tweeter worth it for music? ( I listen to all kinds of music, rock, classical, new age, chill jazz)
    Are the Sierras better than the Polks I own?
    I have a hard time believing that (2) 5.25” woofers on the Sierra towers can sound better than (3) 7.5” woofers of my Polks. (the same for the midrange) Can someone comment?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Just outside Pearland, TX
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Quote Originally Posted by robpar View Post
    Are the Sierra Towers better than the ML’s?
    I have not heard the MLs, but when I was shopping for bookshelves when I bought my Sierras, the MLs were not competitive. However, that was a while ago. My understanding is that the current 60XTs are pretty good, though, so that may have changed.

    The one thing I always keep in mind that some % of what you pay for a speaker like ML goes to support a dealer network. That has upside—it means you can find a dealer and go listen for yourself. But it also has downside; lower overhead for ID makes means more of your money supports engineering, not marketing.

    That might not mean anything, though—it all depends on your preferences. If you really like the MLs, that's really important. Buying something you like is kind of the point, right?

    Are the Sierras better than the Polks I own?
    I have never heard anything by Polk that is remotely competitive with anything of similar price by Ascend, but admittedly I haven't heard the most recent generation of LSi towers. I also haven't heard a lot of buzz for the Polks, though, which isn't a great sign, but maybe they're diamonds in the rough.

    I have a hard time believing that (2) 5.25” woofers on the Sierra towers can sound better than (3) 7.5” woofers of my Polks. (the same for the midrange) Can someone comment?
    Woofer size does not equate to sounding better overall. Can the Polks move more air? Probably. Does moving more air mean they sound better? Not at all. SQ is a function of a lot of things, and woofer size is only one of a whole host of other factors.

    Referencing my own experience: the bass is better (clearer, more detailed, lower extension) on my 5.25" Sierra bookshelves than it was on the competing Paradigm bookshelves, even though the Paradigms have 7" woofers. (This is not to cast aspersions, the Paradigms are very good speakers and were definitely my second choice.) Similarly, the bass from my 8" Emotiva subwoofer is substantially better than from any number of well-known 12" subs from the likes of Dayton, Klipsch, BIC, etc.

    That said, the Polks do advertise lower extension than the Sierra Towers (22Hz vs. 34Hz), and that part probably is a function of woofer size. For most music in your genres, I don't think sub 40Hz is really where it's at (if you were a big EDM or hip-hop fan it might be more of a thing). So I wouldn't be evaluating speakers solely or even mostly on the basis of bass extension, but YMMV.
    Last edited by SunByrne; 10-02-2017 at 02:43 PM.
    Sierra-1 NrT in study, Sierra-1 in office, HTM-200s in kitchen. Brother owns CMT-340s and dad has a pair of CBM-170s.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    25

    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    I had polk monitor 70 series2 for 3 years. Then i upgraded to polk lsim 705 and had it for 2 years.
    Then i bought sierra 2 and a svs sb16 sub and recently out of curiosity i bought sierra tower with raal.

    i listen to music 70% of time and movies/tv 30%. I can tell you clearly that even though polks are good, sierra 2 is totally in a different league. Its amazingly good for music. I can not imagine any other speaker better than it for music. I home demoed multiple speaker brands (svs, b&w etc) but sierra 2 is just WoW!! You cant go wrong with it. It has superb clarity, vocal, imaging, midrange, highs, bass and everything else. I listen to all genre of music from rock, pop, classic rock, metal etc and it performs amazingly well for all types of music. I will strongly suggest you to get sierra 2. if you are not satisfied you can return.
    Also regarding RAAL, they are very very clear without any harshness. It has an "AIRY" signature which i only understood after listening.
    Do not compare size of speakers to quality. Just listen to sierra 2 and you will understand and shocked.

    i can not comment regarding sierra tower with RAAL which i received 2 days ago. But initial impression is that sierra 2 sounds same as tower and its really unbelievable and shockingly good given the size of them vs towers. Once i have listened to them for 2 weeks, i can give my comments.
    Without any doubt i will recommend sierra 2 to anyone for music (with an amazing good sub).
    Last edited by vicky; 10-02-2017 at 03:10 PM.

  4. #4
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    USA
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Quote Originally Posted by robpar View Post
    Somewhat new around here. I’ve been hanging around the forums and reading reviews and have a few of questions.
    I’m looking for a substantial upgrade for my speakers (Music only). I currently own Polk LSi’s towers (3- 7.5” woofers; 2- 5.25” mid range and 1- 1” tweeter) driven by NAD C375BEE. Looking at moving them to my HT room and finding very good tower speakers for music listening. The Polks sound good but they are really more geared for movies and I want to hear what the next “level” is. Currently looking at Martin Logan Motion 60XT’s and Def Tech BP-9060ST. Of the two, the Martin Logans sounded better to me. The Def Tech’s were way too bright…
    Since I can not listen to the Sierra Towers, I have the following questions:

    Are the Sierra Towers better than the ML’s?
    Is the ribbon tweeter worth it for music? ( I listen to all kinds of music, rock, classical, new age, chill jazz)
    Are the Sierras better than the Polks I own?
    I have a hard time believing that (2) 5.25” woofers on the Sierra towers can sound better than (3) 7.5” woofers of my Polks. (the same for the midrange) Can someone comment?

    Thanks
    Hi robpar,

    Welcome to our community!

    Only your ears can determine what sounds good to you but I can tell you that woofer "size" has absolutely no correlation with sound quality. The only characteristic a larger woofer provides is higher efficiency - meaning that it will provide more volume within its rated bandwidth compared to a smaller woofer within the same bandwidth...

    In fact, in most cases - just the opposite is true - you never want a woofer reproducing frequencies whereby the wavelength of the frequency they are producing is smaller than the woofer diameter. In more technical terms, truly high performance speakers should not have any drivers operating outside of their piston range. Among other issues (cone breakup for example), doing so creates what is often referred to as "beaming" -- whereby the frequencies being reproduced higher than the drivers piston range become extremely directional.
    .
    .
    .
    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  5. #5
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    Oct 2017
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Thank you guys.. a couple of more questions:
    Are Sierra 2 a bookshelf version of the Sierra towers?
    So, generally speaking I should try the RAAL tweeter for music? BTW, I also listen to a lot of electronic chill and ambient music.
    As you can understand, spending this kind of money without listening to a set of speakers makes me very nervous so I'm just trying to get as much info as possible. I had not heard about Sierra until about a few months ago so I want to make sure I don't make "lateral move"...
    Thanks
    Last edited by robpar; 10-03-2017 at 07:04 AM. Reason: typos

  6. #6
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    Aug 2017
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Quote Originally Posted by robpar View Post
    Thank you guys.. a couple of more questions:
    Are Sierra 2 a bookshelf version of the Sierra towers?
    So, generally speaking I should try the RAAL tweeter for music? BTW, I also listen to a lot of electronic chill and ambient music.
    As you can understand, spending this kind of money without listening to a set of speakers makes me very nervous so I'm just trying to get as much info as possible. I had not heard about Sierra until about a few months ago so I want to make sure I don't make "lateral move"...
    Thanks
    Yes sierra 2 is a bookshelf.
    RAAL ribbon tweeters are amazing for music.
    I was on same boat as you when i started to research about my next upgrade. I had never heard about ascend because they are internet direct companies and never advertise.

    But as soon as i googled best audiophile speakers and started reading some forums, i found lot of people talking and recommending ascend.
    I decided to get sierra 2 from ascend as its easier to ship and return. I also auditioned many other brands at home for 30 days (svs, b&w, monitor audio etc) and kept returning them.
    As soon as i got sierra 2, even my wife who doesn’t listen lot of music and usually not able to tell difference between speakers sound quality said WOW!! She wondered how come music is so clear like singer is in the room.
    From my experience i can strongy assure you that this will be totally a big tier upgrade from what you have been listening to. It handles all genres of music amazingly well. You can always return if you dont like. But i highly doubt ascend speakers are ever returned 😊

  7. #7
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    Feb 2016
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    Loveland, Colorado
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    28

    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Quote Originally Posted by vicky View Post
    Yes sierra 2 is a bookshelf.
    RAAL ribbon tweeters are amazing for music.
    I was on same boat as you when i started to research about my next upgrade. I had never heard about ascend because they are internet direct companies and never advertise.

    But as soon as i googled best audiophile speakers and started reading some forums, i found lot of people talking and recommending ascend.
    I decided to get sierra 2 from ascend as its easier to ship and return. I also auditioned many other brands at home for 30 days (svs, b&w, monitor audio etc) and kept returning them.
    As soon as i got sierra 2, even my wife who doesn’t listen lot of music and usually not able to tell difference between speakers sound quality said WOW!! She wondered how come music is so clear like singer is in the room.
    From my experience i can strongy assure you that this will be totally a big tier upgrade from what you have been listening to. It handles all genres of music amazingly well. You can always return if you dont like. But i highly doubt ascend speakers are ever returned ��
    I can totally relate to this. I was in the same boat, never heard of Ascend, read a thread that got me interested (here), started researching Ascend, was concerned about purchasing speakers that I had never heard, and exchanged some emails with Dave (one of my concerns was about returns). Afterwards I read somewhere that someone considered return shipping cost like a rental fee, which made some sense to me.

    So in March 2016 I purchased a set of Sierra towers and a Horizon all with RAAL since I am almost 99% music. These were replacing my Polk RT3000p towers and CSi-A6 center. I purchased the RT3000p in 1997 and enjoyed them for many years. Each RT3000p base unit has 2 8" woofers and I shared robpar's concern about the smaller woofers in the Sierras. However after listening to the Sierras I found them to be not as loud but more accurate -- the RT3000p sounded bloated in comparison.

    My wife also doesn't "listen" to music, it's more of a background filler for her. But she had the exact same response as vicky's wife.

    So to try to answer robpar's questions:
    Are the Sierra Towers better than the ML’s?
    Sorry, unlike vicky I didn't demo other speakers. I purchased the Ascends with the intent of returning them if I didn't totally love them (I'm an old fart and this will be my last set of speakers). After listening to them I decided there's no way these are going back.

    Is the ribbon tweeter worth it for music? ( I listen to all kinds of music, rock, classical, new age, chill jazz)
    I also listen to a variety of music and as vicky said "RAAL ribbon tweeters are amazing for music." I hemmed and hawed whether or not to go with the RAAL upgrade (I was trying to keep the price down). Since I mostly listen to music, Dave suggested the RAAL but said the NrT would be great too. Decided to go with the RAAL and love them.

    Are the Sierras better than the Polks I own?
    I have a hard time believing that (2) 5.25” woofers on the Sierra towers can sound better than (3) 7.5” woofers of my Polks. (the same for the midrange) Can someone comment?
    I haven't heard the Polks you own, but they certainly sound better than the Polks I had, which in 1997 cost $3000. Almost 20 years later 2016 the Sierra towers w/RAAL cost $2698+shipping. Considering the upgrade in sound quality, detail and sound-stage I call that quite a deal.

    I'm not trying to push you towards the Ascends, but I wanted to tell you my experience since we had some of the same concerns.

    Good luck with your decision!
    Jack

  8. #8
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    Oct 2017
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Thanks again for the comments...
    Should the Sierra towers be or can be bi-amped? I could not tell very well by the images...
    I forgot to mention my speakers are currently bi-amped (NAD C375BEE integrated and NAD C275BEE amp)
    Would they be a good match to the NAD's?
    What would return shipping typically run? (from Atlanta)
    These may end up being my last set of speakers; I can't afford 10K speakers ; )

  9. #9
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    Jun 2016
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    I listened to a lot of speakers including the ML and DT models you mentioned. I prefer my RAAL towers. Speaker preference is very subjective, but I don’t think anyone would disagree that the Ascend towers at least compete with the dealer brand speakers that cost somewhere around 2-2.5 times the price (I would argue they beat them handily - but again, subjectivity)

    Is there no one in your area who can host a demo? Did you ask on the forum? This seems to be a fairly helpful community.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tower speaker help

    Quote Originally Posted by kongar View Post
    I listened to a lot of speakers including the ML and DT models you mentioned. I prefer my RAAL towers. Speaker preference is very subjective, but I don’t think anyone would disagree that the Ascend towers at least compete with the dealer brand speakers that cost somewhere around 2-2.5 times the price (I would argue they beat them handily - but again, subjectivity)

    Is there no one in your area who can host a demo? Did you ask on the forum? This seems to be a fairly helpful community.
    Thank you for the suggestion. i will post to see if anybody has them around here... BTW, can the towers be Bi-amped?

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