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Thread: Sierra Horizon and Towers - Are they the ones for me?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    1

    Default Sierra Horizon and Towers - Are they the ones for me?

    I've been looking at Ascend after reading rave reviews online and being a ribbon tweeter fan for more than 20 years.

    I've auditioned a number of LCR speakers to try and find the best fit for my living room/home theatre listening, with 70% music upmixed to 7.2 in PLIIx/30% TV+movies, all in my small apartment fed by a Onkyo 876. My current LR speakers are old Speakerlab S17's that I have redone the passive radiators and driver surrounds, and they have leaf tweeters that I have never found fatiguing to listen too.

    Here is a room layout for reference:
    2017 Listening Room Ascend sm.png

    All of the best speakers I have liked and enjoyed have been ones that prioritize "do no evil" first, i.e. be flat in the range they can support, don't try and go lower than they really can, favour accuracy and low distortion. I've also yet to meet a 2 way MTM center speaker I didn't like, with their comb filtering and lack of clarity, so the search for a good 4 way center was on. Lastly is that even old unassuming Kef C15's I have enjoyed immensely make great music in a den and blow away fidelity wise the garbage bluetooth speakers I hear everywhere.

    Speakers I have listened to multiple times in various store and loved the sound of are the Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 II's but they are a lot of $$$, but I though they sounded "just right", so good that it was a bit dangerous to listen to them a second time as they may have ended up in the car and face the credit card bill later!

    I was generally happy with the KEF R700's (not yet heard the R600C center) but I only heard them in a poor environment but I'm not sure if they are perhaps a bit too laid back and narrow soundstage.

    Paradigm Prestige 75F + 45C these have great soundstage (which I really like) and a wide sweet spot too (also like), but seem shill on some high notes. I was really hoping to like these, and interestingly the larger 95F especially seems a very poor design in that they use an 8" driver as the "midrange", the beaming was very noticeable despite the increased low end authority of the larger drivers.

    The higher end German version Elac's have some great qualities, but no center with a midrange so they were out.

    Focal Aria 926 seemed not well integrated between all it's drivers, and again no proper 3 way center.

    Lastly I tried the Bryston Middle T speakers, and while they initially seemed impressive, after a closer listen they were not the ones either.

    So enter the Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers and Horizon Center all with RAAL. I seem to like the sound of a ribbon, and I want a dedicated midrange esp for the center channel, but alas I have been unable to listen to these in Vancouver BC, but I'm ready to take the plunge.

    Any fellow Canadian Ascend fans have recent shipping advice, or a space near the lower mainland that I would be better off shipping to for pickup across the border?

    Lastly, do you think they are a good fit for the room considering my projector screen width I have to place the left in a corner/near the rear wall (with homemade bass trap there), and all 3 LCR would be near the screen wall too.

    I welcome any wisdom and advice on continuing my audio journey!

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Sierra Horizon and Towers - Are they the ones for me?

    I've listened to the RAAL Towers and the Horizon in person and they are excellent. I personally have the Sierra-2, which are fantastic in their own right. But had I the money and the patience, I might have gotten the Towers/Horizon. The RAAL tweeters are amazing, with extended airy highs, and zero trace of harshness. I read a couple of in home comparisons recently between the Ascend RAAL Towers and both the Kef R500s and some Tekton speakers and the Ascends came out the winner. One of them just posted this update:

    "Just a short follow up now that I’ve had the Ascend Towers for a while. I absolutely LOVE them and am convinced that I made the right choice. I have spent a little more time positioning them and they sound even better than before.

    One of the greatest (and most unheralded) features of these speakers is their flexibility with placement. As a result I was able to move them closer to the front wall (14”) and farther apart with no boominess or degradation of the sound. Of course this served to reduce the resonance (that I mentioned in previous posts) and widen the soundstage dramatically. There is no way that I could have done this with any of the other speakers I tested. Moving the speakers farther apart also helped to tame the midrange which I felt was a touch too forward before.

    When I first received these speakers, I thought they sounded good (obviously, they won the shootout). However, I think some of their attributes reveal themselves slowly over time. For example, people absolutely raved over the RAAL ribbon tweeters when i was reading reviews. I thought they sounded very good upon first listen, but now I almost feel addicted to their sparkling (but never exaggerated or harsh) highs. The natural sounding midrange and super tight bass are also qualities that I’ve come to appreciate more than when I first heard them.

    Anyway, I hope this thread has been interesting and maybe even informative for those who have followed. I have certainly learned a lot along the way!

    Regards
    Huffnagle"

    I'm not sure what's involved with shipping to Canada, but I suggest you give Ascend a call and they can discuss it with you.

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