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B&W 600 series vs Ascend/Hsu

 

New member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 4
Registered: May-05
Has any audiophile tested the following, for music (pop/rock/jazz) and home cinema?

1-B&W DM600 S3 fronts
LCR 60 center
ASW 600 (or ASW300) sub;

against:

2-Ascend CBM-170 fronts
CMT-340 center
Hsu STF-2 (or STF-1)sub
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 380
Registered: Feb-05
No, but I don't see how you could lose with either speaker system. I've heard the B&W's, I know they sound very nice. Edster can fill you in on the Ascends.
 

Unregistered guest
Thanks Kyle,

Edster has already, and I liked the idea. However, he says he is not familiar with B&W. The only hi-fi speaker I've heard is B&W and I loved it (the 705 is fantastic, but out of my budget, the 600 is pretty, compact and sounds great). I live in Brazil and I'm new in the audiophile arena. I'm travelling to US in July and I intend to buy new speakers, so I just wanted to know if someone has already tested one against the other.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Kinggimp82

Post Number: 11
Registered: May-05
how much do the 600s cost. also im looking at 602 s3's myself but havent found a price yet.
 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 548
Registered: Feb-05
I retract my earlier statement. I just auditioned a B&W ASW 750 in my home and it wasn't very good. With your system I would go with a Hsu STF2 or Tannoy TS10. Good luck.
 

New member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 10
Registered: May-05
andrew

The b&w website has the prices. The DM 600 s3 are US$ 350/pair. 602 go for US$ 600 a pair. Pretty expensive. Check http://www.bwspeakers.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.speakertypes&keyword=boo kshelf

Check also: Ascendacoustics.com. I had falled in love with B&W but Ed told me about these Ascends. I never heard them but found their credentials (reviews)very impressive. Maybe you can get the quality of B&W 700 for less than the price of B&W 600 line. The sub sold with ascends (Hsu) seems to be better and cheaper than B&W subs.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 634
Registered: Mar-05
Jorge,

ask around on the avsforum.com and hometheaterforum.com, there are a larger number of Ascend owners there and some of them (unlike me, alas) could've bought much more expensive speakers.

The only B&W I've ever listened to were some floorstanders with the top-mounted tweeters which were very impressive, but had a VERY imposing pricetag to match! : )
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 71
Registered: Dec-04
Ed.
You must own stock in Ascend.
I like what ive heard about them, and read as well, but shipping into Canada is awfully expensive. Duties(cdn gov't thugs) taxes(see last) and exchange.
I wonder how I get a set here without all the cost.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 645
Registered: Feb-04
There are many good Canadian brands to choose from if one is living here and they would probably be a better bargain.

(So why do I use vintage Klipsch again? ;-)
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 14
Registered: May-05
Based on cost and reviews, I've made up my mind for the Ascends, to speak for my new Ubid Marantz 8400.

Now my question is: which set up to order? No doubt, 340C and STF-2 sub but, presuming I keep my small Polks satellite surrounds, should I pick 170 or 200 fronts? Too big a difference between them to hear DVD shows/movies and common pop/rock cd's?

If I keep the Polks, I can make 6.1 or 7.1 with the remaining speakers.

Otherwise, staying in 5.1 format (and then sell away all my 5.1 Polk RM 6000 set), is it better just to add a pair of 170 fronts or save on the fronts and buy two pair of 200 for fronts/rears?
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 671
Registered: Mar-05
Nuck,

heh, I wish I owned ANY stock to begin with! lol

Actually I'm not much of a gambler to begin with---the only thing I liked about Vegas when I was there was all the free booze they give you in the casinos as long as you look like you're gambling. And as hard as I root for an underdog company like Ascend, I'm all too aware of just how much of a dog-eat-dog world the audio industry is, quality and integrity often gets trumped by hype and sleaze (see Bose).

 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 672
Registered: Mar-05
Jorge,

The 170s are only $50 more per pair than the 200s so I wouldn't let price be a deciding factor.

The only two advantages I can see in the 200s is that they are front-ported so they can be placed directly against a wall, and also they are not as er, "aesthetically challenged" as the 170s.

I have not personally compared the 200s and 170s head to head but from what I've read the 170s are overwhelmingly the more popular choice esp. for fronts, also for rears due to the tiny price difference.

As for keeping your Polks or not for surround duty, the only time I'd see a need for timbre matching the rears is if you:

1. Listen to a lot of SACD/DVD-A music.

or

2. Watch a lot of action/sci-fi flicks at very high volumes and are very picky about hearing every little peripheral sound effect.

Me, I'd rather spend the extra money on either a slightly better sub (the STF3 or VTF-2?) or go to the 340s for the L/R if I had a medium to large room.
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1028
Registered: Jan-05
C'mon.........

Pick up a SVS Plus/2 and you'll be fine:-) I wouldnt bother with those 'petite' little STF models.
 

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 654
Registered: Feb-04
Yeah Paul, for more than twice the price...

Why do you feel the need to look down upon other people's choices, especially when you haven't heard them?

You don't hear me lookibg down on your choice of 'petite' CW do you?
 

Barnacle
Unregistered guest
With the present weakness of the US dollar to the loonie there are Canadians on the Ascend forum that feel they got a better value buying Ascends and paying all the fees than if they had spent the same money on Paradigms.
 

Barnacle
Unregistered guest
"The only two advantages I can see in the 200s is that they are front-ported so they can be placed directly against a wall, and also they are not as er, "aesthetically challenged" as the 170s."

The 200s are an acoustic suspension(sealed)speaker and hence have no ports at all. They need to be crossed over at 100hz or higher though.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 681
Registered: Mar-05
dammit Barnacle, you keep catching me with my schlong flapping in the wind dontcha? : )
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 16
Registered: May-05
Ed, I think the 170 fronts with 340C will overqualify for my needs and room size, so it's a perfect choice. Though we usually play a movie every week, my higher requirement is about DVD concerts (I love the Eagles'Hell Freezes Over) and pop/rock CD's of the 70's and 80's bands.

About a slightly better sub, do you think I'd better pick a SVS PB-10 i/o Hsu STF-2 (with extra 100W for 30 bucks)? Both sound equally musical? If I understood the specs, the SVS covers a wider range (SVS 20-100HZ against 30-90HZ of the STF-2), is that correct? And does it make a difference to non-audiophile ears?

BTW, I wonder if the Ascends won't reveal all the flaws from those CD's old recordings.

Moreover, I wonder if my plain LG DVD player will be a nice match to the system . If the source is not high end, what will the Marantz and Ascends yield?

That's probably why we are always looking for some upgrade and the best we get, the more demanding we become.

Anyway, since I can't buy everything now (and bring by plane), the priority has to be the Marantz and main speakers/sub.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 732
Registered: Mar-05
From the reams and reams of subwoofer postings I've read in various forums (have been subwoofer researching for months now, LOL), I get the impression that the Hsu subs are better for music and the SVS (except for their tubes) are better for HT. Most music never dips below 30Hz anyways, but many DVD soundtracks (usually the Hollywood blockbuster action/sci-fi flick type) can go down to 20Hz on occasion, which is the kind of bass that you feel more than you hear.

Yes, the main drawback of the Ascends (aside from the less-than-stunning looks of the 170s) is that they do reveal bad recordings mercilessly---but then again so do all truly good speakers, and ditto for a good receiver/amp. Mainly I find that a lot of classic rock that has not been digitally remastered and properly mixed doesn't sound very good---Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, etc. For example strong lead accoustic guitars can sound thin and shrill on a John Lennon CD, and great on a Nirvana Unplugged CD.

That said, good recordings will sound REALLY good on the Ascends. Of my own CD collection, I'd say that the bad recordings are at most 5-10% so it's a price I'm willing to pay for the huge improvement how good the remaining 90% sounds.

DVD concerts usually are mixed very well, it's just the ancient 60s rock like Credence Clearwater Revival that may not sound too great.

As for upgrading to a better CD player, I have mixed feelings about that. I heard a $1000 Audio Refinement CD player which definitely sounded better than a Sony CD carousel but not sure if I'd be willing to pay 5 times the price for what I found to be more subtle than earthshaking of a difference.

If I had $400 burning a hole in my pocket this is what I might spring for:

http://www.pcmall.com/pcmall/shop/detail~dpno~524391.asp

or

http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Co de=NAD_C542&Category_Code=NADCDP
http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Co de=NAD_C521BEE&Category_Code=NADCDP

or the least expensive option (usually goes for around $90-120):

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=14975%26item%3D5780542341 %26
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 20
Registered: May-05
Hi Ed

I haven't yet decided which speaker configuration to buy (presuming Ascends). My budget constraints (due to Customs limit for import tax exemption) are an additional concern, so I must stay around a maximum $1100, bearing in mind I'll be still carrying a $500 Marantz in the luggage.

I was considering 2 options (both with STF-2 sub):

1) 170 fronts + 340 center + my small Polks surrounds ($ 1045 shipped)
2) 170 fronts + HTM-200 center + HTM-200 surrounds ($ 1117 shipped)

Upon consulting David F., he strongly recommended #1, because music is my primary purpose and the center is the heart of the vocals (and, as you point out, surrounds do max 15% of the job).

However, #2 has its advantages:

- Being a complete 5.1 package, it allows me to sell away my current Polk set and recover some cash (if I keep the surrounds what do I do to the rest?).
- Size/aesthetics

It's a very subjective question, because it will depend on when and how much can I get reselling my Polks. If I keep them, I might try to sell only the sub and use the rest to set up a 7.1 format.

Going #1, I could also sell my entire Polk set and buy a cheaper pair of surrounds within the budget (up to $100). Any suggestion?

On the other hand, moving from this RM-6000 Polk set to #2 option would already be a huge upgrade (almost overkill because my DVD player is so simple...). And I could, in a (not so near) future, bring and add a 340c to make it 6.1 by moving the 200c to the rear.

If you don't know, this RM-6000 is a very compact entry level set: the fronts/rears are about 6" tall/0,9kg and the center is 10" wide/1,6kg. Very humble to the task of following the Ascends, but very convenient in the living room corners (WAF reasons...).

Looking for a supposedly technical view, I could -- in extreme - find more questions:

- 340 has a minimum power requirement of 35W, while the 170 and 200 are 25W. This might favour #2.
- 340 and 170 have the same 6,5" woofer while 200 has 4".This might favour #1.

Probably I'm looking for "ghosts", as I wonder if such differences really matter in terms of better matching/balancing the system and if they are detectable by my ears.

After all, Hamletian question: #1 or #2 ? Every decision has its own trade offs.

Do you have any other insight?

Thanks
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 912
Registered: Mar-05
Jorge,

If you watch a lot of TV or movies, that 340 center is worth every penny, believe me! Even my wife, who was horrified by its bulk (almost dwarfs our dinky little 20" TV, lol) has become very attached to it!

If you want to keep your Polk RM-6000 intact for resale then yes I'd suggest getting a pair of cheap bookshelves for the surrounds. You're actually in luck, right now you can get a very decent pair for your $100:

http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/productdetail.asp?sku=ATHASB1

Don't worry about power requirements between the 340 and 170, that Marantz 8400 has AMPLE for both.

When are you supposed to arrive, anyway?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 22
Registered: May-05
Ed, Most likely I'll stay with #1 (340c). Thanks for the help and encouragement. I arrive in Florida 25-Jul and then, on 1-Aug, I go to NJ (where my Marantz sits awaiting me). I'm flying back to Brazil on 7-Aug. BTW, where do you live?
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 922
Registered: Mar-05
Texas, alleged home state of the single most idiotic president we've ever had---well, don't get me started on that.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Thephatp

Post Number: 32
Registered: Jun-05
Guess I'll jump in here as well and ask for some thoughts!

My wife and I have been listening to quite a few setups lately, and though initially we were leaning towards Klipsch, we've decided that our top choice now is B&W. I'm listening to the Axiom Epic 60s later this week, but haven't found anyone willing to demo the Ascends in Austin, TX. Anyone?

Ok, so here's what I'm thinking:

B&W 603 S3 mains
LCR600
ASW600

Now, here's the big question. I know many people (on many different forums, mind you) have talked about the SVS and HSU subs. The only reason I'm considering the ASW600 (MSRP is $500) is because there is a store called Bjorn's in San Antonio which is having a sale this week: Buy one speaker get another (equal or lesser value) for half price.

So I'm getting the 603 S3 mains for $750 for the pair. Now the reason I'm considering this sub is so that I can buy the Sub at $500 and get the LCR600 at half price ($250 instead of $500). Is it worth doing this, or should I just buy the LCR600 for $500 and just not buy the sub right now and get something else? I just think getting one for half price is worth it, but I don't know.

Thanks!

Oh, and I was planning on pushing these with the Denon 2805. Would this be a good match or should I consider something else?

Thanks again!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jorge59

Rio de JaneiroBrasil

Post Number: 23
Registered: May-05
Given the smaller range of options we have in the banana republic where I live (Ed, I wish we had a president like yours - do not complain!), the one respectable audiophile of my acquaintance recomends B&W with Denon, for hi-fi HT.

Someone in this forum told me that B&W subs are not a good value.

If your point is value, since you get the LCR600 for half, maybe you should consider internet direct speakers. People in the ascendforum say the CBM-170's are comparable to B&W 700 line which is far up the 600 you are looking into, besides being at the price point of the cheaper B&W DM 600 S3. Check my thread there, B&W vs Ascend.

Good Luck
 

Gold Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 1316
Registered: Jan-05
Oh God forbid a speaker has bulk:-(

Better buy something the 'boss' thinks is 'small' enough. I guess if they get used to small things, eventually they'll want everything small including speakers and TVs.
 

Silver Member
Username: Mixneffect

Orangevale, Ca. USA

Post Number: 138
Registered: Apr-05
https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/143575.html

Check out my post at the bottom of the page, for real life comparisons.
 

Silver Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC Usa

Post Number: 155
Registered: Jul-04
"Better buy something the 'boss' thinks is 'small' enough. I guess if they get used to small things, eventually they'll want everything small including speakers and TVs."

Ouch but funny!
 

Silver Member
Username: Donaldekelly

Washington, DC Usa

Post Number: 156
Registered: Jul-04
" https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/143575.html

Check out my post at the bottom of the page, for real life comparisons"

Mixn - ever heard ascend of axioms? Your review in this post is impressive. They are all junk but paradigm, more or less?
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