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Thread: AA Sierra-2EX Monitor Review

  1. #71
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    Exclamation Re: AA Sierra-2EX Monitor Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burnes View Post
    My Background: Musician and Engineer. I've played some combination of trumpet, guitar and keyboards since 2nd grade. Engineer is day job: Combination of computer hardware and software design.

    I've had my Sierra 2EXs for 1.5 years now and I thought I'd chime in on their performance. I'll follow Ted's original review format and add my own comments. My setup with the Sierras is Moode Audio running on a Raspberry Pi 4b, streaming into a Topping E30 DAC in pure DAC mode into an Academy Audio preamp then into dual mono Hypex NC400s into the 2EXs.

    I've owned two audiophile monitors sets since I started in the hobby 20 years ago. Both had exceptional imaging, dynamics and richness. The first were Dunlavy SM1 studio monitors. The second were Alon Acarian 1s. The SM1s were the fastest, best imaging monitors I'd ever heard. Amazingly the 2EXs almost exactly match them in that respect.

    The Alon 1s are dipoles and have the most amazing holography with the ability to project the sound stage behind you. With well-recorded live music the 2EXs equal if not exceed them in this respect. I tested the 2EXs with an ambiphonic recording of a nature setting with birds flying around a lake and the room became the lakefront and I was completely surrounded. I could identify individual birds and their species as they slowly flew by. Stunning.

    So in my mind the 2EXs are like a combination of a Dunlavy SM1 and an Alon 1 with tighter, more extended bass -- except, and this is totally subjective, they are more musical. I think its due to that amazing RAAL ribbon tweeter and its almost magical cohesion with the Seas woofer creating accurate sweetness combined with rock-solid pacing

    That tweeter is so accurate, but never harsh. Bells sound exactly like bells. Saxaphones and trumpets are sweet and accurate. I have a few recordings that mix trumpets and cornets and you can clearly hear which is which, who the the manufacturer is and what kind of bell they have (76 LA Benge and 1934 Olds Standard for the curious). Guitars are airy and sensuous.

    I listen to about 70% Jazz/Fusion, 20% Rock and 10% classical. One of the first albums I tested was Bob Curnos LA Big Band performance of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays tunes. It really stretched the 2EXs and they shined. Reproduction of complex human vocals and acapella is amazing in Cadence's renditions of Feeling Groovy and Spinning Wheel. Turn on the 200 wpc NC400s, give the 2EXs enough juice and they rock out without break up (be careful). Spin some Yes/Fragile/Roundabout, RUSH (anything) or early Chicago (Brand New Love Affair, Dialog Parts 1 and 2) and... wow. Energy, dynamics, separation and pace all day long.

    So I love these things more than some relatives. No they aren't free, but they *are* a great deal on a slice of sonic bliss and an example of great craftsmanship so rare these days. Thanks Dave!
    Jim

    Excellent Review and Welcome to the Ascend Acoustic Forum!! After living with My Sierra-2EX these past 2 years, I can appreciate and concur with all of the positive sonic attributes you so well stated!

    These past 18 months, I've introduced component/setup changes that have taken the 2EX monitors to even "greater and on-going consistent" sonic levels of Live-I-Am-There presentations (in the recorded venue). Contributors are a new GaNFET Class-D Power amp Starkrimson, new Speaker cables SP7, directly driving the power amp from my Philips CD880 player variable outputs (no other pre-amp in the component chain), and driving the sub high level inputs (from power amp outputs)! The synergistic balance and combination of these changes constantly blows-my-mind with precise 3D holographics and transient realism that closely replicates live acoustical music!

    With the new Klippel NFS V2 Crossover development and all of the very positive owner reviews, I received my V2 X-Overs and broke them in for 300 hours of music playback. I did find (as Dave and others have stated) the lateral soundstage (left to right) is better defined and more open and the midrange has a little more detailed transients. However to My Ears (and components-room acoustics-genre of music), the V1 X-over offers a soundstage that is at least "Twice as Deep (and as wide)" as the V2, with Precise Instrumental/Vocal Midrange placements that are "Extremely Real and Natural in tonality, timbre, air and transients"!!

    As I've recently mentioned to Dave, The V1 iteration of the original Sierra-2EX, to me, is more musically pleasing. Re-inserting the V1 X-overs back in the 2EX cabinets brought back all the jaw dropping, breath catching, emotionally involving, ho.. sh.., teary eyed, system total disappearance, transported to the venue hall Listening Sessions!! As Dave suggest, these differences I hear may be due to my preference for speakers that are not as neutral (ref:2EX w/V2 X-overs). That may be true, but I Also Do Hear what in my setup Sounds Accurate and Live as per my real world unamplified acoustical performance experiences!!!

    Ted
    Last edited by theophile; 12-25-2022 at 09:55 AM.
    Sierra-2EX V1 Monitors, Axiom EP 500 Sub, Morrow SP7 Grand Reference Speaker Cables, Phillips CD880 XLR Balanced Variable Line Output to Orchard Audio Strakrimson 375w/per ch Stereo Ultra GaNFET Amp..... (Dedicated 2.1 Acoustical Music Listening Room)!

  2. #72
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    Dec 2022
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    Default Re: AA Sierra-2EX Monitor Review

    Quote Originally Posted by theophile View Post
    As I've recently mentioned to Dave, The V1 iteration of the original Sierra-2EX, to me, is more musically pleasing. Re-inserting the V1 X-overs back in the 2EX cabinets brought back all the jaw dropping, breath catching, emotionally involving, ho.. sh.., teary eyed, system total disappearance, transported to the venue hall
    Ted
    Glad that I've got the V1 xovers then.

    BTW: I'm setting up a home theater in the basement and after pricing out some high end Klipsch gear i figured I might consider Ascend for the job as it would likely beat the klipsch stuff on price as well as peerformance. One thing that I would really like though would be a Duo / D'Appolito variant of the 2EX for LCR duty. The current Duos are cute but a little small for my space. A 2EX Duo would be like a beefier Dunlavy SM1 and just big enough for my room. Two of the Seas 6" per speaker would support both 2 channel stereo and demanding LCR tasks of home theater. I could use smaller ascends for surround channels.

  3. #73
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    Aug 2003
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    Default Re: AA Sierra-2EX Monitor Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burnes View Post
    BTW: I'm setting up a home theater in the basement and after pricing out some high end Klipsch gear i figured I might consider Ascend for the job as it would likely beat the klipsch stuff on price as well as peerformance. One thing that I would really like though would be a Duo / D'Appolito variant of the 2EX for LCR duty. The current Duos are cute but a little small for my space. A 2EX Duo would be like a beefier Dunlavy SM1 and just big enough for my room. Two of the Seas 6" per speaker would support both 2 channel stereo and demanding LCR tasks of home theater. I could use smaller ascends for surround channels.
    How big is the space?
    -curtis

  4. #74
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    Default Re: AA Sierra-2EX Monitor Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burnes View Post
    My Background: Musician and Engineer. I've played some combination of trumpet, guitar and keyboards since 2nd grade. Engineer is day job: Combination of computer hardware and software design.

    I've had my Sierra 2EXs for 1.5 years now and I thought I'd chime in on their performance. I'll follow Ted's original review format and add my own comments. My setup with the Sierras is Moode Audio running on a Raspberry Pi 4b, streaming into a Topping E30 DAC in pure DAC mode into an Academy Audio preamp then into dual mono Hypex NC400s into the 2EXs.

    I've owned two audiophile monitors sets since I started in the hobby 20 years ago. Both had exceptional imaging, dynamics and richness. The first were Dunlavy SM1 studio monitors. The second were Alon Acarian 1s. The SM1s were the fastest, best imaging monitors I'd ever heard. Amazingly the 2EXs almost exactly match them in that respect.

    The Alon 1s are dipoles and have the most amazing holography with the ability to project the sound stage behind you. With well-recorded live music the 2EXs equal if not exceed them in this respect. I tested the 2EXs with an ambiphonic recording of a nature setting with birds flying around a lake and the room became the lakefront and I was completely surrounded. I could identify individual birds and their species as they slowly flew by. Stunning.

    So in my mind the 2EXs are like a combination of a Dunlavy SM1 and an Alon 1 with tighter, more extended bass -- except, and this is totally subjective, they are more musical. I think its due to that amazing RAAL ribbon tweeter and its almost magical cohesion with the Seas woofer creating accurate sweetness combined with rock-solid pacing

    That tweeter is so accurate, but never harsh. Bells sound exactly like bells. Saxaphones and trumpets are sweet and accurate. I have a few recordings that mix trumpets and cornets and you can clearly hear which is which, who the the manufacturer is and what kind of bell they have (76 LA Benge and 1934 Olds Standard for the curious). Guitars are airy and sensuous.

    I listen to about 70% Jazz/Fusion, 20% Rock and 10% classical. One of the first albums I tested was Bob Curnos LA Big Band performance of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays tunes. It really stretched the 2EXs and they shined. Reproduction of complex human vocals and acapella is amazing in Cadence's renditions of Feeling Groovy and Spinning Wheel. Turn on the 200 wpc NC400s, give the 2EXs enough juice and they rock out without break up (be careful). Spin some Yes/Fragile/Roundabout, RUSH (anything) or early Chicago (Brand New Love Affair, Dialog Parts 1 and 2) and... wow. Energy, dynamics, separation and pace all day long.

    So I love these things more than some relatives. No they aren't free, but they *are* a great deal on a slice of sonic bliss and an example of great craftsmanship so rare these days. Thanks Dave!
    Wonderful review Jim and thank you. I have moved your review into its own dedicated thread. This is generally how we handle review posts.

    The review is here:

    https://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sh...0601#post70601

    Please direct any comments / questions regarding this review at its new location.

    Thanks!
    .
    .
    .
    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  5. #75
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    Default Re: AA Sierra-2EX Monitor Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burnes View Post
    Glad that I've got the V1 xovers then.

    BTW: I'm setting up a home theater in the basement and after pricing out some high end Klipsch gear i figured I might consider Ascend for the job as it would likely beat the klipsch stuff on price as well as peerformance. One thing that I would really like though would be a Duo / D'Appolito variant of the 2EX for LCR duty. The current Duos are cute but a little small for my space. A 2EX Duo would be like a beefier Dunlavy SM1 and just big enough for my room. Two of the Seas 6" per speaker would support both 2 channel stereo and demanding LCR tasks of home theater. I could use smaller ascends for surround channels.
    Hi Jim,

    Please don't disregard the Sierra-2EX V2 upgrade based on Ted's comments. Ted has a good ear, but he also prefers speakers with rising treble, which is easy for me to conclude based on the speakers of ours he loved, and the ones he did not love.

    We have now had over 300+ customers upgrade from Sierra-2EX to Sierra-2EX V2 and so far, Ted is the only customer who actually prefers the original version compared to the V2 (and that is perfectly OK). In fact, we never expected the overwhelming feedback on the V2 upgrade nor did we expect to sell as many of the V2 upgrade kits as we are.

    From a purely objective standpoint, the Sierra-2EX V2 is the better speaker, and to my ears and the majority of our Sierra-2EX customers, also better sounding as well.

    We priced the V2 upgrades very fairly and they are not a profit center for us (I think I might have made a mistake in that regard ) - so I am not trying to sell something to you (that isn't what I do) - but, based on measurements and the vast majority of listeners - statistically speaking, there is over a 99% chance you will prefer the V2 version.
    .
    .
    .
    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

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