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Thread: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movies

  1. #1
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    Sep 2020
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    Default Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movies

    Hey everybody.

    Happy owner of Sierra 2EXs here, which are currently in a HT set-up that I also use to listen to 2-channel music. I previously used the Sierra 1-NRTs as my mains. The NRTs are now functioning as surround sound speakers in my set-up (MARANTZ PM8006 running the 2EXs, using a MARANTZ AVR as a power amp to run the surround speakers). It all sounds great, but...

    I've recently had the urge to try out the Towers, but am trying to decide whether to go with the NRT or RAAL Towers. When/if I upgrade, the 2EXs will be moved to a separate 2-channel, secondary system, and the Towers will take over as the mains in the HT system. The 1-NRTs will continue to function as surround sound speakers in the main set-up, which will continue to be for both music and movies.

    Since those Sierra 1-NRTs will continue to function as surround sound speakers, one logical move is to get the NRT-Towers for the fronts. NRTs all around! Good matching, presumably. However, I can afford the more expensive RAAL towers. In my current set-up, having the 2EXs as my mains and the 1-NRTs as surrounds hasn't caused any problems (that I can hear, anyway); even though the RAALs and the NRTs don't technically match, it all sounds good to me. Hence the thought that perhaps I should just go whole-hog and get those RAAL Towers despite the fact that they won't be exactly matched with the surrounds.

    What would you do? Would the benefits of having the NRT-Towers match with my NRT surrounds outweigh the benefits of having the presumably even better RAAL Towers as my mains in the primary system? (One option would of course be to move the 2EXs to surround sound duty to match with the RAAL Towers, but I don't want to do that ... those speakers are so good for 2-channel music and I want to continue to use them as mains in a secondary system...).

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    189

    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    Hi, I really should refrain from this as I donít want to cost Dave money. What I was going to say tho is that unless you need the RAALs wider horizontal dispersion, such as with multiple seats being covered, you may be better off going with NrT Towers. Acoustically thereís very little audible difference between the two.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Manhattan Beach, California
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    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    Quote Originally Posted by choirbass View Post
    Hi, I really should refrain from this as I don’t want to cost Dave money. What I was going to say tho is that unless you need the RAALs wider horizontal dispersion, such as with multiple seats being covered, you may be better off going with NrT Towers. Acoustically there’s very little audible difference between the two.
    In my experience between the two tweeters, IMO, there is a very audible difference.

    That said, some have said they like the NrT more for some particular music.
    -curtis

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    Quote Originally Posted by curtis View Post
    In my experience between the two tweeters, IMO, there is a very audible difference.

    That said, some have said they like the NrT more for some particular music.
    Agreed, there is definitely an audible difference. I went from Sierra-1NrT to Sierra-2 so I can testify to that. The NrT is an excellent dome tweeter and, depending on your listening preferences may be preferred. If you are already happy with the EX's then I'd say stick with the RAAL. The NrT's, in my experience, had nearly zero rolloff at the extremes and gave lots of air and detail, and were very dynamic. The Raal's gave me all the detail and air, but sound "real", or natural. No emphasis or zing. The NrT's could, at times, give some bite. Once I heard the Raal's I knew there was no going back.

    Just my experience/preference. Remember....if you opt for the NrT towers and end up wanting the Raal's instead, there is a significant upgrade fee due to the necessary modifications to the tower cabinets to allow them to accept the larger Raal tweeter.
    Ed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    314

    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    I've never heard the NrT but by all accounts it's a really good dome tweeter.

    You have an opportunity right in front of you tho since you own both, and they're similar models to boot. Do a little shootout and you could see for yourself if the RAAL upgrade is worth the extra cheddar. Make sure you level match tho, because they do differ in sensitivity.

    If you wanna have a little fun and get into it set it up so someone else can switch for you and do it blind. If I had both I'd be tempted to do it just for curiosity sake.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Houston, Texas
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    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    To echo a couple of good points in the reply.
    a) as Pogre suggested, do a comparison in-house as you own both
    b) as Curtis noted, the NrT maybe better suited for some types of music. As I recall from several years ago when I purchased my first Ascends, Dina's opinion was the NrT were better for rock/metal, which is what I listen to mostly. That said, I did go with RAALs as I also listen to jazz, classical, female vocals and would have second guessed myself as the RAALs were intriguing. IMO, RAALs are fine for rock/metal.
    c) you could always give Ascend a call to discuss. In my experience, they recommend what they feel would work best for your needs, which may not necessary be the most profitable speaker for them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    Thanks for these replies, everyone.

    Pogre, thank you for that suggestion. I had been thinking of doing something along those lines, in terms of comparing the two speakers. Perhaps putting the NRTs back as fronts in this system for a bit, just to remind myself how they sound in that role, and then after that I can do a blind test, as you suggest. I've gotten so used to having the RAALs as mains that I've actually forgotten what the NrT sound signature is like!

    And as also suggested, I can experiment with different kinds of music for a little bit since I have both types or tweeters here. I listen to mostly rock, jazz, and some classical. I suspect either choice of tower will be fine in home theater.

    Mag_Neato, thank you for alerting me to the upgrade fee. That's important information.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    30

    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    I have the NRT towers. Similarly to you, I am looking to purchase 2EX for music. Thou for Movies, I would say the NRT are excellent. The Zing, more excitement on top people refer to on NRT believe is beneficially in movies. I have never felt needing more in my NRT for Movies, just a tad for some music listening sessions.

    With that said, did not see what Center channel you are using or are you not using one? That would probably sway things as well.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2020
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    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    Quote Originally Posted by AR2ax man View Post
    I have the NRT towers. Similarly to you, I am looking to purchase 2EX for music. Thou for Movies, I would say the NRT are excellent. The Zing, more excitement on top people refer to on NRT believe is beneficially in movies. I have never felt needing more in my NRT for Movies, just a tad for some music listening sessions.

    With that said, did not see what Center channel you are using or are you not using one? That would probably sway things as well.
    I've always used phantom for center channel and it's always sounded fine to me. I wouldn't be against adding a center channel somewhere down the line, although at the moment it's not a priority.

    I can see how the NrT's zing might be preferential for movies. I will play around with my set-up a bit in the coming weeks and mull over the decision some more ...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Deciding between NRT and RAAL Towers -- Potential upgrade from 2EX for music/movi

    Quote Originally Posted by choirbass View Post
    Hi, I really should refrain from this as I don’t want to cost Dave money. What I was going to say tho is that unless you need the RAALs wider horizontal dispersion, such as with multiple seats being covered, you may be better off going with NrT Towers. Acoustically there’s very little audible difference between the two.
    Sorry choir, but I also do not agree with this. There are very noticeable differences between the 2 tower versions (NrT dome or RAAL). RAAL's are more detailed but more relaxed sounding, the NrT has more energy with a more forward presentation, it attracts more attention to the highs (more "zing") if that is what is preferred.

    These days, less than 10% of our tower sales are with the NrT. And about 1/2 of that percentage eventually inquire about converting to the RAAL version (very expensive to convert afterwards)
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

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