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Thread: I received my Ascends!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Portland, Or

    Default I received my Ascends!

    Yesterday I got my 340's, stands and VTF3. The packing was impressive, and all components arrived in perfect condition. While some say they don't like the look of the Ascends, I happen to like them. After setting them up, the 340's and VTF3 have a simple, clean and understated look that I happen to prefer. I think speakers should dissapear visually as well as audibly. Walking the walk is much more important to me than talking the talk.

    I set them up in my living room, which is temporarily used for HT. It's not an ideal place due to room size, shape and acoustics. Due to existing furniture, walls and traffic patterns, I don't have enough space to let the speakers breathe. They're within 4" of my TV stand, about 8" from the wall, and just an inch or two in front of the TV. The sub is to the right of the TV, 1' away from the 340.

    I hooked the Ascends up using some spare Audioquest Type 2+ cable to my Pioneer 54tx receiver. I used my Panasonic DVD-S97 as the CD source, connected temporarily via cheap RCAs to the 54tx. I don't have a Ratshack SPL meter yet, so I integrated the sub by ear. It's likely set a bit too hot since I could only listen at low/moderate levels because my kids were sleeping.

    I only got to listen for about an hour. I listened to various tracks from Led Zeppelin III & IV, O.A.R: In Between Now and Then, Stevie Ray Vaughan: Texas Flood, and Jewel's 8/31/02 Portland, Or acoustic concert that I recorded via Audio Technica ES943 cardiods>Sony MZ-R1 minidisc recorder.

    The soundstage was clearly defined, and instrument localization was very good. That said, the image suffered due to my room, speaker placement, and listening position. With the system hastily set up, I wasn't expecting to bring out the best in the Ascends. That will come with time, a room change, and properly dialing in the speakers and sub. What really struck me more than anything was the tonal clarity and effortless delivery of each piece of music.

    Robert Plant's emotional delivery during SIBLY was remarkable, and Jimmy Page's guitar work took on a new level of detail. I find the mix on O.A.R.'s album In Between Now and Then to be superb. Track 2, Dareh Meyod, was amazing. The interplay between guitar, bass, and sax was clearly reproduced without any coloration. Stevie Ray simply jammed. I couldn't believe the detail I was hearing. With my previous admittedly low-end two channel setup, the notes on his fast fret work didn't have the same definition as what I heard last night. Jewel was a real test for me. I find that her voice is wonderful, but at times is edgy in the upper register. Her voice was silky smooth with absolutely no harshness.

    The musical delivery of the Ascend/HSU combo was imho far superior to my favorite b&m speakers in my price range (B&W DM602s3, Paradigm mini-monitors, Definitive Tech BP10B). I still have a lot of setup work to do and a lot of listening to do yet. That said, I am very satisfied and completely comfortable with my purchase at this point. With 29 more days to evaluate, I'm sure I will continue to be impressed. Now I have to milk the 45 day extender purchase policy for the center channel and surrounds.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Syracuse, New York


    Good write-up Jim. Let us know what happens as you get the 340's dialed in.

    "While some say they don't like the look of the Ascends, I happen to like them. After setting them up, the 340's and VTF3 have a simple, clean and understated look that I happen to prefer."

    I posted on this before. The 340 speakers (and stands) are understated. It was the acoustic qualities that I had been reading about that got me to audition the Ascends but first and foremost for my wife was how the speaker and stands blended in with her decor. I get to use the livingroom for the HT but I'm just a tenant. She's the landlord. She felt it was actually an improvement over the smaller speakers and stands that the Ascends replaced. Once she sat down and listened to them, I think she may have let me keep them even if they didn't pass muster on the decor front but it turned out to be a non-issue. They got the thumbs up all the way around. A lotta truth in the old saying, "black goes with everything."


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