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Thread: Introducing the Sierra-LX!!!

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Introducing the Sierra-LX!!!

    I am most pleased to announce the completion of an exciting new project!!

    *Note: Please use this link to place a pre-order: Sierra-LX pair

    Things here at Ascend might have appeared to be quiet, but the truth is we have been fully focused on intense R&D for quite a long while now.

    This project started well before Covid hit and has taken so many twists and turns, changes for the better, it became hard to keep track of everything.

    Our Sierra-1 was released 15 years ago, it quickly established itself as a new performance benchmark being continually compared against speakers costing 2-3 times as much and coming out on top in direct comparisons. Even today we still receive much praise on the performance of this speaker and there hasn’t been a single change since the day it was released. It was and still is a speaker that performs well in every category, for all music genres and all types of movies. The Sierra-1 is suitable for critical listening while also being a fun speaker.

    Fun - a characteristic for a speaker that seems to have been lost in these days of critical listening and measurements.

    For the 15th anniversary of the Sierra-1 it was our intention to release an updated version. We were thinking Sierra-1EX, with improved mids and deeper and punchier bass. We had several fully designed functional prototypes and I liked them all. Every design was an improvement over the original, but I found these versions to be too similar to our Sierra-2EX.

    It wasn’t our goal to surpass the Sierra-2EX, but rather offer something distinctly different that would appeal to a larger audience. Dome tweeters have their appeal and dominate the market by a large margin.

    The Sierra-1EX just didn’t cut it considering ~ $200 more would get you Sierra-2EX.

    As I have done far too many times in the past, I scrapped everything and decided to start over. I often forget I can do this and must remind myself that this was why I started Ascend Acoustics over 23 years ago.

    So back to the drawing board…

    Many more posts coming so stay tuned!
    Last edited by davef; 03-19-2022 at 09:32 PM.
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    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    The first step in starting over was to redefine and further clarify the performance goals for this new speaker.

    I officially started in this industry back around 1983 or 1984 as an audio salesman at an “insanely” popular audio chain (curious if anyone will get my reference.) My interest in engineering soon led me into the tech department where I would troubleshoot / diagnose / repair defective speakers and electronics. Somedays I would be on the floor selling, other days in the service area. Regardless of my duties for that day, when it came time to close or when there was nothing to do, I would lock myself into the dedicated sound room and have at it with a huge selection of electronics and speakers. To this very day, I can easily recall the emotional involvement, my physical reactions and the near instant mood change that turning the volume up, WAY UP would bring.

    These were the days before there were subwoofers, and CDs were just starting to hit the shelves. Back then it wasn’t about ultimate detail, accuracy, measurements, it was about volume levels while staying clean, slam and lots of it, midbass punch, a big room filling sound and of course, deep bass that you could feel. ZZ Top was incredibly popular back then, and I would pop in my cassette tape, switch over to a powerful SAE amplifier and run it through some EPI 100’s, some massive Fisher D-15’s or my personal favorites for capturing that energy, some Cerwin Vega DJ speakers. We also carried ESS speakers (the first implementations of AMT tweeters) but while these sounded clear and detailed to me, they lacked that fun factor.

    I always left those sessions energized and happy, - always.

    I will never forget those times and few speakers these days generate that type of reaction. Much like being at a live concert event where no one is even thinking about measurements, resolution or accuracy. It’s all about energy, emotion, and that elusive “fun factor.”

    This industry is changing fast and possibly not for the better. Are listeners becoming too focused on measurements? Too focused on achieving the perfect in-room frequency response or hearing every possible detail or nuance such that the listener can’t just sit back and enjoy the music or movie soundtrack? Does the listener become energized, emotional – does he or she leave the room feeling happy?

    With that in mind, and with the assistance of our many partners throughout the world - it became my obsession to offer something a bit different than the typical Ascend product, and possibly any other speaker out there right now. The #1 performance characteristic being capturing that fun factor.

    Based on my near 40-years of experience with loudspeakers, I characterize a fun speaker no differently than designers did back then, when most speakers were voiced by ear.

    • Power handling, the ability of the speaker to handle huge amounts of power, thus producing high SPL’s while remaining clean without dynamic or thermal compression.

    • Slam, the ability to physically feel the pressure waves produced. In more modern terminology – massive midbass punch.

    • Deep bass, no additional description needed

    • A big room filling sound. This requires wide dispersion, both horizontally and vertically.

    In addition to that fun factor, this new speaker must also have the following characteristics in order to bear the name Ascend Acoustics (not necessarily in the below order)

    • Smooth detailed highs, no harshness or listener fatigue.

    • Accurate transient reproduction, little stored energy.

    • Transparency, reductions in resonances for not only the cabinet itself, but also for the transducers. The speaker is producing what it is being tasked with, being sure no extraneous and distracting additional sounds are manifested.

    • Compact size, like all Ascend speakers – as space becomes a premium few consumers have the room these days for large speakers.

    • Good on and off-axis measurements.


    With our goals now firmly in place, it was at that point that this project became incredibly challenging. Achieving a few of these performance goals was no problem but reaching all of them began to seem like an impossibility. How could we possibly reach all of them? I had already made up my mind that this was going to be all or nothing.

    Sampling process began for woofers and tweeters and the more I sampled, the more convinced I became that this project was going to end up in my speaker museum, with dozens of other cancelled projects.

    It was no problem finding a dome tweeter with high power handling, but very few had high power combined with the dispersion I was after and most had high resonant frequencies (a low resonant frequency would be needed so the woofer can be crossed to the tweeter at a lower frequency to improve overall directivity). Even more difficult was finding a suitable woofer; deep bass, excellent midbass, high power handling but for use in a small cabinet?

    I was about to give up...

    And then things took another dramatic turn….
    Last edited by davef; 03-12-2022 at 10:42 PM.
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    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    Enter the Klippel NFS!

    Exactly one year ago today, we made the largest single investment in our R&D capabilities imaginable. A hugely expensive (over $100K) advanced acoustic measurement and analysis device called the Klippel Near Field Scanner. Very, very few audio manufacturers own one and I am most proud to say that with our NFS and combined with our other measurement gear, Ascend Acoustics has one of the most advanced acoustics labs on this planet.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS4IWrYUWrQ

    https://www.klippel.de/products/rd-s...d-scanner.html

    https://www.klippel.de/fileadmin/kli...r%20System.pdf

    The NFS has gained a lot of popularity recently with 2 reviewers now publishing NFS data for an ever-growing database of speakers. The NFS has also gained quite a bit of notoriety – not at the fault of the device, but for what it is being used for. I am not going to get into that discussion, but I will say that the NFS was designed as an R&D device, producing the highest resolution, true anechoic 3-dimensional near-field and far-field response measurements. When properly configured and with enough experience, the data it can produce is leagues beyond any other acoustic measurement device and the capabilities of the NFS in the hands of an experienced engineer are near endless.

    I recognized these capabilities immediately during a zoom meeting with a Klippel employee who demonstrated the software to me.

    The NFS also gives us the ability to deeply analyze an individual transducer, to truly “see” what makes it sound good or bad, where improvements can be made.

    Now armed with the one of the most advanced acoustics labs on the planet – we took a different approach to the design of this new speaker.

    We made yet another costly investment with Klippel and added additional software modules. One of these allows us to export complex data in various formats. It is one thing to look at a measurement but having the ability to access the raw data gives the engineer the ability to take that data and further analyze it however the need. The capabilities here are limitless.

    At this point and to keep this exciting, I will make the following statement:

    This new speaker is the first and only internet direct audio loudspeaker fully designed and optimized using the Klippel NFS…
    Last edited by davef; 03-14-2022 at 10:15 PM.
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    The Tweeter


    A typical full scan on the NFS takes 4-6 hours, our NFS has scanned at least one individual transducer or completed speaker per day since we completed assembly. Once I became fully confident in its usage, it was time to use it to analyze the best measuring ribbon tweeter, the RAAL 70-20xram. Results in hand, it was then used to analyze the best dome tweeter on the planet, the SEAS White Diamond Tweeter. It was my intention to use this data to generate specific performance parameters to define our goals for the tweeter.

    With the RAAL 70-20xram, the key performance metrics being its wide and exceptionally linear horizontal dispersion combined with a near perfect transient response. With the White Diamond, key parameters are no breakup modes/ringing in the audible range, low distortion, excellent on-axis linearity (near complete reduction of back-wave radiation). The diamond dome is so stiff that it operates within its piston range throughout the entire audible band, this provides major directivity benefits.

    Data was then sent to various tweeter manufacturers, I figured if they wanted our business, they would come up with something that would meet or come close to at least most of the performance specifications I was looking for.

    We have been promoting true ribbon tweeters for a while now, but there should be no question that dome tweeters have a huge place in the market, and for good reason. Many consumers prefer the dynamic capabilities, greater room filling sound (much wider vertical dispersion), the brighter and less subtle high frequency reproduction, and improved separation when producing highly complex passages. Because of the high-power handling requirement combined with that room filling dispersion, I knew our only choice would be a high-quality dome. Obviously, the SEAS diamond would be perfect for this, but it was also my goal to retail this new speaker at an affordable price and to come in slightly less than the Revel M106.

    My biggest concern would be somehow coming close to the near ideal horizontal dispersion the RAAL 70-20xram provides. Perhaps something would be close enough?

    In the meantime, I strongly considered using the highly regarded SEAS 27TBCD-DXT, of which I have many samples. This tweeter has a specialized wave guide and ticks many of the boxes I required, but the high frequency response narrows a bit too much and inductance is higher than I would like (lacks a copper sleeve in the motor assembly). This was the backup though.

    I received several more tweeter samples from various manufacturers, nothing met as many of my requirements as the DXT. As such, I eventually settled on using the DXT, and this was fine – it is an excellent tweeter and highly respected in the DIY crowd. I just wasn’t all that excited about it.

    This project then took another turn due to an email I received from my friend and the then CTO at SEAS, Claus Futtrup. SEAS had a new tweeter that would meet or exceed every performance specification I specified. I had very strong doubts about this, but I had them send me samples.

    Samples in hand, I was impressed with the build quality and overall look. Removing the face plate revealed a very large and tuned damping chamber which lowers the resonant frequency and better absorbs the dome’s back-wave energy. I also noticed a large copper cap over the pole piece which significantly lowers inductance for better transient accuracy and extends the high frequency response while also lowering distortion. The dome itself is an anodized metal alloy, more specifically – aluminum and magnesium.

    I have avoided metal domes in the past due to the majority having a resonance mode in the audible frequency range (ringing) – which leads to listener fatigue. This is where the advantages of Beryllium and Diamond come in. However, I knew our tweeter would require a very stiff dome to meet the dispersion requirements. The stiffer the dome, the higher in frequency the dome will continue to act like a piston and according to the specifications, the breakup modes on this new tweeter were above the audible range.

    Another interesting aspect of this tweeter is that it uses a titanium former rather than the more common aluminum or Kapton formers. This is a feature normally reserved for very high-end dome tweeters as titanium formers provide better overall damping (it is non-conductive, so the magnetic field does not affect it) and titanium is much stiffer than any other former material which greatly improves power handling. Titanium formers optimize the energy transfer from the voice coil to the dome itself, something where true ribbon tweeters have a huge advantage as there is no voice coil. The former is a thin cylinder that the voice coil windings are wound around, it is a key component.

    On the specification sheet I was sent, long term power handling is listed at a remarkable 180 watts, with peaks up to 240 watts. That is as high as I have seen for a dome tweeter. Fs (resonant frequency) is listed at a very low 800Hz.

    Wow – if these specifications hold true, this is a remarkable tweeter. Time to scan it…

    I received 7 of these tweeters in total, and it was my intention to scan every one of them to establish a baseline average.

    I set up the NFS to scan tweeter #1 overnight. I was looking forward to seeing the results in the morning because now I was genuinely excited.

    Morning came, the scan was finished, and I set the Klippel software to run the calculations on the data (about 30 mins on average). Had some breakfast and coffee and then….

    Shock! Literal shock!!

    I was stunned at the results so before I got too excited, I started testing tweeter #2, tweeter #3 etc. There was very little variation between any of them. After a few days of testing, there was no doubt that the tweeter for this project was found. Not only did this tweeter meet every performance specification I set, but it surpassed each of them as Claus had assured me. The final nudge was that this tweeter, in stock format – fits into our existing cabinets with zero modification to the tweeter or cabinet!

    With that in mind, I want to share with you the horizontal contour plot of the RAAL 70-20xram. I know I have posted this before, but here it is again. It really doesn’t get any better than this, and the very slight high frequency narrowing above 10kHz is a good thing, as it leads to a more preferred in-room response.


    Now look at this new dome tweeter from SEAS:


    This is flat-out stunning for a dome tweeter; it nearly matches the horizontal dispersion of the 70-20 ribbon! I am not even sure how SEAS accomplished this, certainly a combination of many different factors and some magic – but the claims they made were spot on. This is the widest dispersion dome I have yet to measure, I would classify this as being +/- 80 degrees, and extremely smooth and linear.

    Here is the contour plot of the white diamond tweeter:


    It is very good, but not quite as wide as this new tweeter. Not only that, I also measured even lower distortion compared to the white diamond. To be clear, I am not stating that this new tweeter is a “better” tweeter, but in many of the specific aspects I was looking for, it is.

    We have made a few minor customizations to the stock version, but little changes were needed.


    Meet the SEAS 27TAC/GB, otherwise known as the Titan!

    LXTweetercompletemed1.png

    This remarkable tweeter features the following:

    • Anodized aluminum/magnesium dome enabling pistonic behavior throughout the audible range
    • Titanium former for improved damping, better transient response, and massive power handling
    • Copper cap in the magnet system for lower inductance and reduced distortion
    • Large damped and tuned rear chamber for absorbing back-wave energy and lowering the resonant frequency
    • Integrated hexagrid protects the dome while improving dispersion
    • Very high power handling and a low Fs
    • Excellent directivity

    Somehow, this tweeter combines some of the best characteristics of the SEAS White Diamond and RAAL ribbons. It isn’t as ribbon-like as a RAAL, nor is it as transparent and detailed as the White Diamond, but rather it is an interesting combination of performance characteristics that make it quite unique. In many ways, it is a ribbon-like dome tweeter, or dome-like ribbon tweeter, the perfect compromise in the middle of those two very different top-of-the-line tweeters.

    It was at this point that my excitement towards this new project began to build…
    Last edited by davef; 03-16-2022 at 02:03 AM.
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    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    The Woofer


    Woofer selection was a bit easier. Much like our EX woofer, I had SEAS build a custom model for us based on specific specifications:

    • High power handling
    • Best-in-class bass extension and midbass
    • Specifically tuned for our Sierra-1 / Sierra-2 cabinet and port tuning
    • Stiff cone for true pistonic behavior to better match the directivity of the tweeter at crossover
    • Copper shorting rings for reduced inductance and lower distortion
    • High excursion


    I wasn’t too concerned with the upper mids / lower treble response like I was with the EX woofer since I can cross the tweeter quite low compared to the Sierra-2EX ribbon tweeter. With that in mind, I wanted SEAS to focus on dynamics, directivity, and bass.

    As it turned out, SEAS also had a new 6" woofer as part of the Titan series, it is basically an improved version of the highly regarded L16RNX, the L16RNX3. This new version has a higher performance lightweight aluminum cone, titanium former and increased excursion.

    To further meet my requirements, the engineers at SEAS recommended using the larger and more advanced magnet system from the L19, (a 7” version of this woofer.) This would provide even more “slam” – which was exactly what I was looking for. Additionally, rather than use the standard aluminum frame, we thought it best to use our custom tooled cast magnesium frame for additional stiffness and resonance control.

    The result was remarkable… very deep bass and midbass punch in a small cabinet combined with exceptionally low distortion and ideal directivity. This unique version of this woofer is exclusive to Ascend Acoustics.

    Many will ask if it is better than our EX woofer used in the Sierra-2EX. There is no simple answer to this, in some ways – yes, in other aspects no. This woofer must be crossed low and while our EX woofer has very low moving mass, this woofer has higher mass and the much larger and more powerful magnet helps to compensate for this. This woofer does have even deeper bass extension, higher power handling and more punch – but we had to make some sacrifices in order to do this, mostly at the expense of sensitivity. For what we wanted to offer for this project, it is perfect.

    Meet what we are calling our LX woofer:

    lxwoofercompletemed.196.png

    The 6” LX woofer offers the following features:

    • Class leading excursion, maximum peak-to-peak travel of a massive 22mm (this is greater excursion than many 12” woofers!)
    • FEA optimized magnet system with fitted copper rings for excellent linearity, high power handling, low distortion and very low inductance
    • Custom cast magnesium basket frame for a stiffer, lighter and less resonant fame allowing for less material behind the woofer cone reducing back-wave reflections for enhanced detail, better airflow and less cavity resonance
    • Titanium former for improved damping, better transient response, and massive power handling
    • Lightweight optimized aluminum cone is extremely stiff pushing breakup modes several octaves above the crossover point.
    • Unique radial reinforced low loss rubber surround reduces radial resonances and prevents surround break up at large excursions
    • 2 layer pure copper 39mm diameter voice coil
    • Woofer cone acts a pure piston throughout its usable frequency band, providing excellent directivity

    This woofer hits hard and is a perfect match with the tweeter. Distortion is kept under control even below port tune frequency.

    Although we have tried, we cannot defy the laws of physics so to reach such deep bass in this small of a cabinet, we have sacrificed about 2dB in sensitivity. This is one of the reasons I required such high power handling.

    With the popularity of high-powered affordable Class D amplifiers, giving this speaker the power it deserves will yield tower-like performance, both in clean uncompressed output, bass extension and midbass punch all from a cabinet at least on average of 70% smaller than most tower speakers. In fact, comparing the NFS measurements of this speaker with other passive bookshelf speakers measured by an NFS, this speaker has class-leading extension. I don’t even see anything close, and it also surpasses most of the towers that have been measured as well.

    Some will ask why strive for such deep bass when subwoofers have become so prominent. This goes back to my first post about achieving that energy and excitement, about moving air and pressuring a room and this speaker presents a shockingly huge acoustic scale that belies its small stature.

    More coming tomorrow…
    Last edited by davef; 03-17-2022 at 12:36 AM.
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    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    I am most proud to introduce you to our new Sierra-LX!


    We are simply calling it the “LX” for short.


    Besides all the unique characteristics and features we gave this new speaker, perhaps of most importance is the fact that we fully optimized every component and designed a computer optimized crossover to produce class leading NFS measurements. I know these measurements will be heavily scrutinized and analyzed by hundreds, perhaps thousands of people – but I want to stress something very important, these speakers simply sound incredible and there is really nothing quite like them.

    This industry is starting to rely more on measurements than actual listening (where is the fun in that?) and it is critically important to understand that we all hear things differently. These are the best "measuring" speakers I have ever developed, but please just let your ears do the judging, not your eyes.

    Sensitivity is a bit lower than normal for this class of loudspeaker (by about 2dB), but I have stated all along that these speakers want and deserve power. If you have the power, you are in for something special. However, while the lower than typical anechoic sensitivity will likely be criticized quite a bit, with having such wide horizontal and vertical dispersion, measured in-room sensitivity in a typical room ends up being 87dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter, which is quite manageable.

    For those who do not understand these measurements, please send me an email. I am literally exhausted and there is enough info out there (Google) to get a very good understanding.

    Enjoy!


    One important note, with the help of SciLab and the key engineer behind the NFS, I introduce a new measurement that no one has seen before, anywhere. I believe this is an extremely important performance metric as it is a comparison of the estimated in-room response that a listener will hear sitting on-axis, +/- 10 degrees horizontally, +/- 20 degs horizontally and +/- 30 degrees horizontally. It is a modern and more accurate prediction of what differences a listener will hear sitting at different off-axis angles, a critical measurement I relied on heavily in the past. Now fully modernized using higher resolution measurements and now processed with CEA-2034 specified weighted-average algorithms to better determine exactly what the listener will hear.


    Sierra LX Off-Axis EIR Response.png

    Accurately calculating the above measurements without the use of the NFS would require 4,800 different measurements, and likely take several weeks, provided someone had the patience and time to even attempt it.

    Note: I have had to change the scale of the graph (rather dramatically) in order to visualize the differences, please take this into account when examining.

    This measurement clearly shows the remarkable horizontal off-axis response of the LX. There is less than 1/2dB of deviation between the different off-axis positions and this is based on accepted science determining what the listener will hear from this speaker in a typical listening environment.

    Note, I don't believe in the value of Harman's "preference rating" and I personally wish it did not even exist, but the preference rating of this speaker based on these measurements is 6.92 with no sub, and 8.62 with sub. Based on these numbers and the science behind it, objectively the LX would be preferred over the vast majority of speakers out there - but please, let your own ears decide rather than evaluating a speaker by a simple number.

    Pricing, specs, availability, pre-order info and a summary coming tomorrow.
    Last edited by davef; 03-18-2022 at 04:12 AM.
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    David Fabrikant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    Summary, Pricing, Specs and Pre-ordering!

    The manufacturing costs for each pair of LX is high. The cost of everything has increased dramatically in only the past 6 months and freight prices in simply getting the components to us is 10 times what it was a year ago (that is not an exaggeration)

    The R&D costs behind the development of the LX? Off the charts.

    To reach the standard industry profit margin (not even including R&D), these speakers need to sell for ~ $1850/pair.

    We have always been about offering exceptional performance at pricing far below brick-and-mortar retail offerings, and typically quite a bit lower than other ID audio manufacturers as well. We manage to accomplish this by having a marketing budget of a massive zero dollars and keeping our overhead as low as possible (I work far too many hours.)

    I have given much thought regarding pricing and what works best of us during these challenging times. I want these speakers out there so we are going to do something innovative and that no other company has ever done, and very few companies could possibly ever offer.

    For what I consider to be a very reasonable fee, we are going to offer, as an option, a full suite of Klippel NFS measurements of the exact speakers that would be shipping to the purchaser (provided in a serialized PDF file.)

    The typical cost of getting this same data here in the US ranges between $1000-$2000 per speaker, plus shipping of the speaker(s).

    We are going to offer this option for $250 per LX speaker. We will also keep the database file of the measurements, organized by serial number, on our server. This adds additional value to the speakers if ever sold and is the absolute best method of evaluating the speaker if it should ever need service. Note, while the speakers are of course covered under our 30-day satisfaction guarantee, Klippel NFS measurements are not refundable.

    I think this unique and innovative option will appeal to many of our customers and is also a way for us to recoup a small portion of the R&D that went into the development of these speakers.

    I am pleased to announce a very limited pre-order pricing of $1398 pair ($50 more for piano black) + $50 flat rate UPS ground shipping.

    Use this link to place a pre-order: Sierra-LX pair

    We expect to begin shipping by the end of this month, as the remaining components we need to assemble are well on their way to us. Like every small to medium sized business right now, we have experienced extensive delays with freight so it is more likely than not, there will be additional delays. Again, all needed components are just about here.

    Unfortunately, these forthcoming deliveries have low quantities of the goods (more specifically, the woofers and tweeters). This is because of supply chain issues experienced at SEAS and rather than wait an additional 1-2 months to receive our full supply (a very large order), in agreement with SEAS – I made the executive decision to get a small supply to us as soon as possible.

    Unfortunately, once this small supply runs out (likely within a week from today) – We will have no choice but to increase retail pricing from anywhere from $50-$100 per pair, hopefully not higher than this.

    I will also have to limit these pre-orders to 1 pair per person. If you are interested in a pair + center (single), please send me an email.

    From an objective standpoint, the LX is the best measuring loudspeaker I have ever designed, and one of the best measuring passive speakers on this planet.

    Subjectively, this speaker is just so much fun to listen to. Give it good clean power (and a lot of it) and the sense of scale it produces is huge. It will outperform most tower speakers out there with regards to bass, dynamics and sheer output levels. It sounds incredible with all types of music, and all movie soundtracks regardless of how dynamic. It does equally well at lower volume levels and for critical listening.

    Many will ask is it “better” than Sierra-2EX? In many aspects, yes - in other aspects no. They are different speakers, I never really liked how Audioslave sounded at high volume levels on S2EX, but on the LX, it is addicting - like being at a rock concert.

    At moderate volume levels, with acoustic jazz, strings, piano – the 2 speakers sound very similar with the edge going to S2EX as it sounds a bit more spacious, with slightly better transparency. The LX has deeper bass and more mid bass.

    If you listen to rock, rap, metal, electronic, or want to hit concert level loud volume levels, LX is the far better choice.

    For home theater, LX is obviously the better choice and if you want a speaker that generates a huge room filling sound - provided you have the power, LX by a mile...

    I was running a pair of LX full range in our sound room hitting peaks of 104db at ~10 feet, I ran out of amplifier power or I would’ve gone louder, the speakers showed no signs of strain, distortion or compression. Clean, incredibly dynamic and detailed, no fatigue whatsoever, huge sound and just pure energy, enjoyment and FUN!

    Of course, those are my subjective impressions and I encourage our customers to share feedback with me and publicly because I honestly do not know which is the overall “better” speaker, Sierra-2EX or LX.

    In concluding this project, I would like to mention that the LX is going to be an interesting live experiment for us, the general public, and the industry as a whole.

    The calculated preference rating of this speaker puts it at the top of the list for passive speakers. On top of that, our LX crushes most passive speakers with regards to bass extension and overall dynamics.

    And while I don't believe in Harman's preference rating, and I also don't necessarily believe in Harman's "ideal" for loudspeaker performance, so this should indeed prove to be a very interesting experiment as I always receive direct feedback from our customers.

    Will the LX have a higher satisfaction rate than our Sierra-2EX, Sierra-1 or any of our other speakers? Sensitivity is lower so the volume level of the LX must be increased in order to conduct fair comparisons. Level matching is critical when doing comparisons.

    That stated, with the Klippel NFS, Harman's "ideal" for speaker performance (which was determined in the 1980's) is, IMO as well as other professionals, a bit outdated. It only looks at directivity in 2-dimensions; horizontal angle vs distance (X = variable, Y = 0, Z = 2 meters) and vertical angle vs distance (X = 0, Y = variable, Z = 2 meters) This is because it was designed to use a microphone in a set position, and then a speaker is rotated on a turntable with the speaker placed vertically, and then placed horizontally. This sound field is 2-dimensional.

    There was simply no other way to do it without moving a microphone to hundreds of different positions, a task that I sometimes had to do back in the 90's, a task that I wouldn't wish on anyone. The 2-dimensional turntable technique is what I have been using for decades now, and how I have designed all Ascend speakers - up until now…

    Our NFS changes things, it accurately generates anechoic (or even non-anechoic if need be) response and phase data for any position in space, which is truly what we hear from a speaker in a room. To clarify, in a room – we don’t just hear what sound is produced from the speaker horizontally while vertical angle is 0, combined with sound produce vertically with horizontal angle being 0, we hear everything produced by the speaker at all X&Y angles, for example horizontally at 45 degrees and vertically at 45 degrees (and all combinations thereof.)

    Even as I type this, a new truly 3-dimensional standard is being developed, of which I have been asked if I would like to participate in.

    In the development of our LX, examining the speaker's response in true 3-dimensional space played a big role, and marks the beginning of a new approach to how we design and optimize our products. Presently, this can only be achieved using a Klippel NFS as the only other possibility would be to having access to an anechoic chamber and someone volunteering to move a microphone to at least 800 different positions, with after each move, walking out of the chamber, taking a measurement, then walking back in - moving the mic again and again. It can't be done....

    I encourage our customers to take part in this live experiment by giving the LX a try, especially if you own Sierra-2EX, Kef or Revel products because I want to gather as much data as possible regarding comparisons.

    As always, I thank you all for your time and wish you GREAT SOUND!




    SIERRA LX SPECIFICATIONS

    Typical In-Room Frequency Response: 28Hz - 23kHz


    Typical In-Room Sensitivity: 87dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter


    Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms


    Max Continuous Power*: 350 watts


    Max Short Term Peak Power*: 500 watts


    Cabinet Detail: Exclusive V-LAM™ construction featuring 20mm thick vertically laminated bamboo, internally braced. Bass reflex via flared rear port


    Tweeter: Customized version of SEAS "Titan" dome tweeter, model H1825 with titanium former, aluminum alloy 1" dome, large, tuned damping chamber and copper cap for reduced distortion and inductance


    Woofer: (1) Proprietary 6” high excursion, high power, aluminum cone woofer, non-resonant cast magnesium basket frame, vented pole-piece, dual layer pure copper voice coil, copper shorting rings, vented spider and titanium former. Custom manufactured for us by SEAS of Norway and exclusive to Ascend Acoustics


    Connections: (2) gold plated all metal 5 way binding posts


    Inserts: (1) 1/4-20 threaded insert


    Anechoic Bass Extension (-3dB): 36Hz (modeled)


    Anechoic Frequency Response: 43Hz - 23kHz +/- 3dB (based on Klippel NFS measurements)


    Anechoic Sensitivity: 83dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter


    Dimensions H x W x D**: 14.25" x 7.5" x 10.5"


    Speaker Weight (each): 22 pounds


    Shipping Weight (pair): 45 pounds


    Minimum Recommended Power at Listening Position for Specific Speaker Distances


    3 Feet or Less: 3 watts minimum


    9 Feet or Less: 33 watts minimum


    15 Feet or Less: 90 watts minimum


    21 Feet or More: 180 watts minimum



    *Unclipped peaks **Grille On

    Last edited by davef; 03-19-2022 at 10:15 PM.
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Stouffville,Ont..
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    Subscribed...
    After thinking about any forthcoming changes to the original S1....will the NrT version be phased out...this was my initial foray to the Sierra lineup...I just love that tweeter and still do to this very day...by just dropping everything and starting anew...is very interesting....for sure.
    Last edited by billy p; 03-12-2022 at 01:01 PM.
    Speakers 5.1.2: Towers & STC(w RAAL), MA CP-WT&CT260
    Sub: Funk Audio 18.0 SantosRW

    Source: Martanz NR1710, Oppo BDP 103D + UBK-90 4K & LG B9 65"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    S.E. La. - USA
    Posts
    295

    Thumbs up Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    Anxiously Awaiting the NEWS, Dave!

    Ted
    Last edited by theophile; 03-11-2022 at 09:21 PM.
    Sierra-2EX, Axiom EP 500, Emotiva USP-1, Emotiva UPA-2, Phillips CD880 (Dedicated 2.1 Music Room)!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Big News! Something New, Something A Bit Different...

    Oh boy…I can feel my wallet opening and my credit card coming out.

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