Ascend CBM-170's or Paradigm Titans?


Do either of these speakers stand out from the other? I am looking for bookshelf speakers in the $200-300 range. Any other suggestions?

A really tough choice. The Paradigm has the nicer finish (wood-grain vinyl v. the Ascend's black vinyl), but the Ascend is more dynamic sounding. Either one is a really good speaker for the $, IMO. What receiver are you using to drive your speakers? Your choice of receiver may make the difference.

I'd like to recommend looking at
Wharfdale speakers or even a set of Bostons for a bit more money. Even though the Whardales have great sound, Kevlar cones, are biwired and are very reasonable, the last time I recommended them I was bombarded with reasons that I was wrong and only the regulars on this site could possible be right. I'll try again. The Diamond 8's are an excellent speaker and the price is great. At least take the time to look at them and read the reviews.

My receiver is a Yamaha 1300. Does that make a difference?

I run my Wharf's off a Yamaha 2300. Sounds great. Good high's with soft dome tweeter and super mid's. I do back them up with a Valodyne sub. I think the combo would sound fine to anyone's ears.

The $360 Ascend's are about as good as speakers get at that price--heck they are great even if they cost 2 or 3 times the price. I am very tempted to get them for my bedroom, which is quite large. As long as you mate them with a quality subwoofer (which will cost more than a pair of the Ascend's--either a PSB subsonic 5 or HSU VTF-2) you will get outstanding performance.

I don't think there is a speaker below $1K that has as flat a response from 100 Hz to beyond audibility. Now they won't blast as loud as some speakers, but what they can play they excel at. I had the pleasure of hearing them a month ago at a friends house and was truly shocked at the audiophile-type performance they generated. But they need to be on a much taller than average speaker stand to listen to them on-axis, as they are a short speaker (only about a foot high).

Another thing I like about these speakers is that they don't bump the lower midrange to give phony bass response. It concentrates on what it does well and succeeds in spades. If they were covered in a nice veneer and someone told me they cost from $1k to $1.5k I wouldn't have been suprised.

This is not to say the Titan's aren't a good speaker too. They are--but definitely prefer the Ascend's.

Yes, Carmine, it does make a difference. Get the Paradigms. It is a much better choice to match with a Yamaha receiver. Yamaha receivers tend to be bright and a bit abrasive sounding. The Paradigms are a very smooth speaker that will tame these tendencies.

I'm in a similar situation. I'm looking at spending $1500-$2000 system for a 5.1 speaker system (with possible future upgrade to 6.1 or 7.1) and was looking at marrying them HK AVR 525. The room is about 14x16.
Ive been looking at: HSU-VTF2 +
a) 1 Ascend CMT 340 and 4 CBM-170
b) 1 Axiom VP-100 + 2 M22ti (main) + 2 QS-4 (or 2 M3i)

Which of the two would work better with the Haraman/Kardon. I've heard that the Ascend combination can be on the "bright" side. Also if I don't go with the HK - what other receiver would be a good match for these speakers? Personaly I like the sound of NADs (would a 742 have enough power for these speakers?)


I really like the Ascends much better than the Axioms. Now the Axioms are a good speaker, so the choice is between good and better, but the Ascends are winning a lot of awards because of the build quality of the speaker--and the build quality goes directly to the sound quality. The Ascends would be an excellent combination with the H/K.

I also think the NAD 742 is a good match for the Ascends. I personally prefer the NAD, as I believe it has a better sound. Furthermore, NAD has more apparent power. I say "apparent" because I have compared the two receivers directly, using the same speakers and source material, and even with the volume matched, the NAD seemed to have more energy, which indicated to me that the NAD has a faster transient response. For whatever reason, NAD watts seem bigger than anyone else's. We were listening at pretty high levels, too, in a room much bigger than yours. I think the 742 would more than fill your room.

Frankly, I am hard pressed to think of a better system for an audiophile on a budget than the NAD 742 (available from Saturday Audio for $449) with the Ascend CM-170s ($328/pr).

Good luck!

Thanks for the quick reply Hawk.
I own a NAD 7225PE and I know what this 25W can do :). My concern is that the 742 supports only 5.1 - will I miss a lot by not having the 6.1 or 7.1 capabilities? I could go with the 752 but that would probably stretch my budget. Also this system will be used 80/20 for Movies/Music (as a family home theatre) with HDTV. I've heard that the Ascends are great for music, with small reservation on movie performance.
Also, what stands would you recommend for the CM-170s? I heard they should be higher than the regular ones.


If ounly I could find a place around Richmond, VA to listen to some Ascends.

Anyone willing to demo?


It often depends on the size of your room whether you will miss much by not having 6.1 or 7.1. Many people couldn't reasonably fit the extra speakers without them encroaching on their living space or darn near hitting their heads.

The deeper your room, the more you may benefit. But if you are already sitting at the rear wall and have a 5.1 system with the surrounds firing from either side, there really is no place to put an extra set of speakers--except maybe in the ceiling (and that mostly won't match well or make sense).


1. You don't need anything more than 5.1. Hey, I have yet to see anything recorded in any higher format and even if there is, it is still recorded in 5.1 because that is the standard. Also, current 6.1 and 7.1 formats are not discrete channels--the extra channles are created by summing the other channels, so it really adds next to nothing.

2. As for the Ascends, they are internet sales only. You can order them and try them out for 30 days. If you don't like them, just rebox them and send them back. Alternatively, they have quite a folowing. Check out the Ascend BBS and you can ask for someone in your area to audition them. I am sure someone will offer theirs up.

3. Speaker stands: Ascend offers nice stands for $90, which are 30" tall and they are very substantial and reasonably priced. Check them out on the Ascend website (

Hello to you all,
I am in the process of buying ascend system, the CBM 170 and 340 for center,the smaller ones for surrounds and the VTF 2 for sub. My delamma is to make a good choice to match them with a good receiver. I am considering three: Yamaha RX-V1400 HK AV525 and the Pioneer VSX53TX. I understand that HK came up with some new ones that I don't know anything about. Could some one out there give me a good advice on this matter. I am new at all this and I would appreciate any feedback. I thank you in advance. Best regards to you all.

Chuck & Duck

Budget system

Marantz 5300 ($450)
(i know your partial to NAd 742))
Paradigm titans ($225)

Is it beatable?
(with price a non factor... liked the titans way better than the B&W 303's)
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us