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In praise of Ascend CBM-170s

 

Bronze Member
Username: Jim_mcbob

Post Number: 73
Registered: Nov-04
Have had 'em for approx a month and LOVE them. Not as bass shy as advertised--and what bass there is, is very clean and distinct. (Other speakers in this price range that I auditioned--I won't name them, since these speakers have many fans on this board--tended to sound a bit boomy, even muddy.)

What sold me was the slap of an open palm against the sound board of an acoustic guitar (I'm sure there are some here who claim they can tell from this sound the brand of guitar. LOL.) I honestly cannot recall ever hearing recorded music sounding so "real." For a minute, I was kind of dumbstruck.

I took a risk and purchased them unfinished. Ascend sent the empty cabinets to my home, where I painted them to match my living room walls (they're wall mounted with Omni 20 brackets). I returned the finished cabinets for final assembly and subsequent delivery. The process takes about three weeks, but might be worth it for anyone turned off by the plain aesthetics of Ascend products.

It's all about personal preference, and I wouldn't presume to tell anyone else that their ears are 'wrong.' For my tastes and budget, however, these are the best speakers I've ever encountered.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 405
Registered: Mar-05
Jim,

Congrats! Great to see another happy Ascend customer around these parts, LOL.

> (Other speakers in this price range that I auditioned--I won't name them, since these speakers have many fans on this board--tended to sound a bit boomy, even muddy.)

Oh what the heck, name some names anyways! As long as you preface your comments as "hey just one guy's opinion" I'm sure nobody will really take offense. And even if they do, so what, they'll get over it...

HEH (as Paul would say)
 

Silver Member
Username: Gavincumm

Post Number: 223
Registered: Feb-05
lol...my guess would be paradigm, because I think he said that one of the monitor series, either the mini or the 3, was boomy.

oh well, to each their own
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jimvm

Gonzales, Louisiana U.S.A.

Post Number: 58
Registered: Apr-05
Well, my take on that is that so much depends on the acoustics of the room where they were auditioned. The first time I auditioned Paradigm Studio 40's, I was very unimpressed; they sounded "muddy." I had heard so much about them so I really expected much better. Later, at another store, I listened to the 40's in version 2 as they didn't yet have the v.3. Sounded excellent. That's when I knew something was wrong at the first place. I decided then that I would never purchase speakers based on one audition at one store.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 409
Registered: Mar-05
> I decided then that I would never purchase speakers based on one audition at one store.

Sounds like a wise policy to me!
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 410
Registered: Mar-05
PS. God bless Internet-direct!!! : D
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jimvm

Gonzales, Louisiana U.S.A.

Post Number: 59
Registered: Apr-05
I've never had occasion to purchase audio gear via the Internet. If I did, I'd stick with reputable manufacturers (Ascend, Axiom, etc.). However, I'd no more buy a piece of audio gear from an unauthorized reseller than I'd buy a "Rolex" watch from a guy on a street corner.
 

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 208
Registered: Jan-05
I must say Ascend products sure do look tempting.
Out of curiousity Jim-Bob, was there a discount for the unfinished cabinets or was the pricing the same?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 45
Registered: Apr-05
Here's the measurments for your CBM-170's.

http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/measurements/ascend%5Fcbm170/
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jim_mcbob

Post Number: 74
Registered: Nov-04
Stealth:

There was no price difference for ordering unfinished cabinets. Moreover, when opting for unfinished cabinets, one foregoes the right to "audition" for 30 days (although all other warranties apply). I took a leap of faith and ordered; the folks at Ascend were incredibly attentive to customer service--the same level of service auto manufacturers like Mercedes promise (but seldom deliver, sad to say). And, mind you, this was for a $350 pair of speakers!

I'm not a total audiophile propeller-head type (and I say that with the utmost respect to those who are). I have a very modest setup, built around the NAD 3155 amp I bought with lawnmowing money. I know and appreciate better quality sound reproduction (relative to the mass merchandised brands that predominate the marketplace). So, without lapsing into more etherial terms, I would describe the Ascends as remarkably pleasant sounding; I *really* enjoy listening to music played through these speakers. And, as I wrote atop this thread, the Ascends reproduce some sounds so realistically, it's almost scary. Or, to lapse into a little propeller-head speak (indulge me), I am hearing for the first time the studio dynamics on Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers "It's Time For...". (Bless their lo-fi hearts!) And, it's worth noting, I have owned that album since I was seventeen, hearing it through, among others, KEF and CSW speakers.

Ed/Gavin: I auditioned, among others, Paradigm Atoms and Mini Monitors; NHT SB-1 and 2; B&W 601 and 603; Axiom M3ti; and PSB Alpha B (the former five at two audio salons; the latter two at friends' homes). The comparison probably wasn't fair, since I only listened to the Ascends in my home. But, really, the audio salon auditions were under optimal conditions: In sound-insulated rooms, with the speakers on stands, optimally spaced apart and from reflective/refractive surfaces, and driven by better electronics than I would ever pay for. (And, of course, they were connected with "magical" speaker cables. LOL.) There was no a/b testing; I just got an idea from my forays into the audio salons of what I liked and didn't like. To my ears, the Ascends sounded best. (Or maybe the fear of disliking a pair of pistacio green bookshelf speakers that I could not return for refund was so great that I willed myself into loving them. Whatever.)

Point is, this is not my last speaker purchase from Ascend. I absolutely love these speakers and recommend them utterly without reservation.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gavincumm

Post Number: 226
Registered: Feb-05
the more I hear about these speakers, the more I am thinking about purchasing a pair for myself. But alas, I can't. I have a pair of magnepans that dominate my listening room. I would be dead meat if I even tried that stunt.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 416
Registered: Mar-05
PB,

being a non-techie myself, what do you gather from these measurements?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 47
Registered: Apr-05
Edster, if you look at the frequency response graph, you'll notice the -3db points are approx. 80hz in the low end and 10Khz on the top end. The bass response drops very quickly below 100hz, which may be a good thing, since 99.9% of all homes on the planet are not able to do really low bass anyway. What is somewhat bothersome is the lack of top end extension. Although not much music is above 10khz there are harmonics that reach those ranges frequently. The midrange looks very smooth. There is some noise at approx 50hz, probably from the port that seems to increase as spl increases. Just posted it for your benefit. Nice to see your speakers performance, no?
 

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 209
Registered: Jan-05
Paul, exactly how are you making the determination that 10kHz is the -3dB point? From the on-axis measurement it most definately is not. Even from the 30 degrees off axis measurement the -3dB point is closer to 15kHz. Perhaps I am misinterpreting?
 

Silver Member
Username: Stealth_c

Dublin, CA USA

Post Number: 210
Registered: Jan-05
For reference purposes. 89dB being the quoted sensitivity in yellow.Upload
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 436
Registered: Mar-05
Paul,

Hm...interesting. I'll post a link to this thread on the Ascend users' forum and see what those guys think, many of them there are technically better-versed than myself.
 

New member
Username: Silversurfer2

Post Number: 1
Registered: May-05
That bottom line that I believe Paul is looking at is the 30 degrees off axis response. Top end extension looks to be pretty spot on.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 446
Registered: Mar-05
Looks like Silversurfer is right:

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?t=1041
 

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 48
Registered: Apr-05
Silversurfer, yep........my bad. Old age.
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