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Ascend Sierra-1 V2 Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 8 2.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 49 14.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 275 82.3%

  • Total voters
    334
OP
amirm

amirm

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My apologies to ASR, but while this website is growing, ASR represents such a small niche in this industry.
No apology needed since that is not true. :) Here are the latest stats:

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We dwarf traditional press and compete for top spot for the most popular audio site in the world.
 

AscendDF

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No apology needed since that is not true. :) Here are the latest stats:

index.php


We dwarf traditional press and compete for top spot for the most popular audio site in the world.

Congrats Amir, that is very impressive - you are obviously doing something right. What I had meant though was that the majority of consumers who purchase consumer electronics are still not familiar with your site. That is obviously changing and that is a good thing!
 

solderdude

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Hey Martin, can you please tell me what NFB means? FB = Feedback? But the „N“?
Not Martin but ....
N stands for Negative which is actually a positive thing. Some people, mistakenly, think because the word 'negative' is used it must be sound degrading while improving measurements.
This all is not related to this excellent passive bookshelf speaker with great performance at this price point.
 

DanTheMan

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That maybe ok when playing by yourself but not when you're playing with a band. I use a strobe tuner with accuracy of ±.02 cents. I challenge anyone to tune that close by ear on a good day.

People have been plying music together ‘in tune‘ long before strobe tuners.
 
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Mnyb

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Fantastic speakers I contemplated some ascend with sub , before I went with KEF .
Due to living on the wrong side of an ocean.

There are other models also optimised in similar fashion hopefully we see tests of those :)

I promise no absurd nitpicking from me .
The best can be the enemy of good sometimes if you nitpick every squiggle in the curves and actually never get any new speakers.
 

Eytsch

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People have been plying music together ‘in tune‘ long before strobe tuners.
Call me a puritan, but I'm convinced these bands have invested $100 on a strobe tuner only for marketing reasons. What's ennerving to me is the stigma of having to display the strobby lights of those tuners on stage just to appease the audience, while DIY musicians have been achieving near perfect results for ages just using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics...
 

AscendDF

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Call me a puritan, but I'm convinced these bands have invested $100 on a strobe tuner only for marketing reasons. What's ennerving to me is the stigma of having to display the strobby lights of those tuners on stage just to appease the audience, while DIY musicians have been achieving near perfect results for ages just using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics...


difficult to properly tune that low E though without some type of tuner.
 

Robbo99999

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I simply can’t believe what I am reading.

Is that person seriously implying that we made this massive investment in our R&D capabilities for marketing purposes? So that we can put a tiny 1 1/2-inch sticker on the back of a speaker?

That would be the single worst marketing campaign imaginable, at least since the Bud Light fiasco. Marketing, by definition, implies an activity to encourage sales. No one even sees that sticker until -after- they purchase the speakers, assuming they even notice it or even know what it means. My apologies to ASR, but while this website is growing, ASR represents such a small niche in this industry. The vast majority of our customers don’t even know what NFS stands for.

I could’ve sent the speaker out to Klippel (Klippel offered this service to me) to get the data I needed and then still have used that sticker. That would’ve cost us nothing but maybe $200 in shipping fees. Or we could’ve simply purchased the base NFS unit rather than having continually expanded our R&D after the initial purchase by spending another $30K or so on add-on modules.

Truth is, that sticker came to be so that we can save a few thousand $$$ by using up our old inventory of product labels before purchasing and designing new V2 labels. There must be a way to distinguish new V2 units from original V1, and we thought putting “NFS Optimized” on the V2 label looked better than simply a plain “V2”. In our product line, V2 literally means NFS optimized. I recently had a customer ask if it meant that the speaker sounded "fast", because to him, and probably thousand others, NFS means "Need for Speed"

I suppose that poster thinks maybe it was our intention to use these stickers so they can get some positive vibes here at ASR. I can understand that thought process. But had this person read the full review, he would have quickly learned that we had absolutely nothing to do with having this speaker tested by Amir. In fact, I had specifically requested that this customer avoid sending his speaker to Amir after he informed me that was his intention. Why did I request that? For specifically this reason of crazy nit-picking that can sometimes occur here.

Feel free to ask this customer himself, he is probably reading this thread.

What kind of ingenious marketing expert would spend, in the neighborhood of, $150k to put a tiny sticker on the back of a speaker meant to gain some favor at a review website where that same marketing genius tries to avoid having the speaker sent to that website for review? Makes absolutely no sense.

I suppose I should be somewhat flattered that someone would think a small company like Ascend would have that kind of marketing budget. There is no conceivable way we will ever recoup our expenditure for the NFS, nor do I care. For anyone who knows our history, or anything about me at all - I have been measuring / testing loudspeakers as a professional in this industry since around 1987. I have owned or have used basically every measurement device ever made for taking these types of measurements. NFS is presently the SOA, and by a wide margin. Even if I were retired from Ascend, I would have still made this purchase as this is simply what I do. If eventually something better replaces the NFS, and assuming I am still fit enough to lift speakers - I will be purchasing that device as well.

The irony in all of this is that this person is here, on this forum, publicly sharing his thoughts (which he is entitled to), for which this website and forum would not even exist without Amir’s purchase of an NFS…. Strange….
I agree, but instead I do think it was a positive that your speaker was measured & reviewed here as it does paint the speaker in a good light, so it's not been a negative for your company.
 

beagleman

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No apology needed since that is not true. :) Here are the latest stats:

index.php


We dwarf traditional press and compete for top spot for the most popular audio site in the world.
I would think that Stereophile, is your only competition as far as "Reliable" measurements go. (at least from the list you showed)
 
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cavedriver

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I would think that Stereophile, is your only competition as far as "Reliable" measurements go. (at least from the list you showed)
please, no, lets not get into this here. pretty please? One train wreck of a thread this week is enough. :)

maybe someone could start a thread in general audio and dump all the "reliable measurements" discussion over there?
 

uwotm8

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Am I liking this sound? Answer was, that it was pleasant but not exciting
Once all the filters were in place, I performed AB tests and boy, I really, really liked the results with this EQ. We are talking about subtle differences but the sound was more open and clarity was improved
Thanks for the review, Amir.
I just have to ask that: did the sound become exciting?
Overall kinda reminds me what you wrote about 5.7 "graph score" Dynaudio LYD 5 - "kinda flat but not sexy". Something similar appeared in KEF LS50 and R3 reviews too.

The fun thing is that Sierra achieves that FR and score with no waveguide and drivers arranged pretty far from each other - "coaxials gonna coax" it says:cool:
 

kemmler3D

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No apology needed since that is not true. :) Here are the latest stats:

index.php


We dwarf traditional press and compete for top spot for the most popular audio site in the world.
Wow, 2M visits per month.

As someone who works in advertising and marketing, I want to point out something (obvious, but easy to forget) that becomes pretty meaningful in light of that number - this site doesn't have ads on it.

With 2M visitors per month, if you work at it, you can make a tidy little income with some ads and affiliate links. We can assume any online audio reviewer who is actually paying their bills that way, is doing so with less traffic.

Amir is leaving some decent money on the table, in service of the integrity of the site. I would be stunned if donations really defrayed the full cost of running ASR, so thanks for carrying the team here Amir. I know Amir isn't living in a box under a bridge to fund ASR, but even people who don't need the money rarely seem to forgo significant cashflow like that.
 
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cavedriver

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Wow, 2M visits per month.

As someone who works in advertising and marketing, I want to point out something (obvious, but easy to forget) that becomes pretty meaningful in light of that number - this site doesn't have ads on it.

With 2M visitors per month, if you work at it, you can make a tidy little income with some ads and affiliate links. We can assume any online audio reviewer who is actually paying their bills that way, is doing so with less traffic.

Amir is leaving some decent money on the table, in service of the integrity of the site. I would be stunned if donations really defrayed the full cost of running ASR, so thanks for carrying the team here Amir. I know Amir isn't living in a box under a bridge to fund ASR, but even people who don't need the money rarely seem to forgo significant cashflow like that.
I'm sorry, this is really OT but I just can't resist. Apologies in advance.

It's certainly worth noting that ASR is becoming a somewhat valuable asset. One historic example is dpreview.com, a site that built its reputation on reviewing digital cameras. Through careful management Phil Askey built that website to millions of visits per month. Despite the recent divestment by Amazon and stagnation in digital camera advancements (compared to 15 years ago) the site currently clocks ~18 million visits per month. I can't find what it was in 2007, but back then Amazon reportedly paid around $20 million for the site (rumors-based). The professional photography and professional audio businesses are both worth about $4 billion a year in sales. Consumer markets in both fields add an additional fuzzy amount of viewers to either site. Regardless of Amir's current level of wealth, anyone sitting on an asset worth perhaps in excess of $5 million must realize the decision he is making, and as long as the site isn't sold, represents a pretty powerful statement about Amir's integrity. Now if this is a re-retirement plan for Amir, good on him, and if and when it comes, so be it. dpreview lived on fairly intact well after Amazon acquired it. But if the trajectory of ASR tracks with DPR at all, I would think that Amir would wait at least another several years in order to build value before thinking about exiting. There's still more penetration into the professional audio space that could happen, other ways to strengthen the site, who knows where the market may go. One key difference between DPR and ASR is that before Phil sold DPR he had been including advertising on the site for some time, so the present valuation for ASR is assuredly depressed by comparison, but could be modulated easily.
 

kemmler3D

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I'm sorry, this is really OT but I just can't resist. Apologies in advance.

It's certainly worth noting that ASR is becoming a somewhat valuable asset. One historic example is dpreview.com, a site that built its reputation on reviewing digital cameras. Through careful management Phil Askey built that website to millions of visits per month. Despite the recent divestment by Amazon and stagnation in digital camera advancements (compared to 15 years ago) the site currently clocks ~18 million visits per month. I can't find what it was in 2007, but back then Amazon reportedly paid around $20 million for the site (rumors-based). The professional photography and professional audio businesses are both worth about $4 billion a year in sales. Consumer markets in both fields add an additional fuzzy amount of viewers to either site. Regardless of Amir's current level of wealth, anyone sitting on an asset worth perhaps in excess of $5 million must realize the decision he is making, and as long as the site isn't sold, represents a pretty powerful statement about Amir's integrity. Now if this is a re-retirement plan for Amir, good on him, and if and when it comes, so be it. dpreview lived on fairly intact well after Amazon acquired it. But if the trajectory of ASR tracks with DPR at all, I would think that Amir would wait at least another several years in order to build value before thinking about exiting. There's still more penetration into the professional audio space that could happen, other ways to strengthen the site, who knows where the market may go. One key difference between DPR and ASR is that before Phil sold DPR he had been including advertising on the site for some time, so the present valuation for ASR is assuredly depressed by comparison, but could be modulated easily.
Seems like a good comparison, but I am not sure how the reviews on DPReview worked. On ASR I'd say a great deal of the value is created by Amir physically doing relatively labor-intensive measurements himself. If the site was sold and eventually Amir moved on, it wouldn't be worth nearly as much without that ongoing stream of revews.

Either way, I think if Amir decided to sell out someday, I wouldn't have a problem with it. It would be sad to lose ASR as we know it, but Amir deserves to get his piece of the pie if he wants it. We commenters add some value, but it wouldn't be much of a destination without his reviews. I don't expect him to pledge to never sell or anything like that.

I would say though, he ought to dole out of some the proceeds to the mods if ASR is sold. They've done the lord's work keeping this place free of spam, politics, etc. :)
 

DanTheMan

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Call me a puritan, but I'm convinced these bands have invested $100 on a strobe tuner only for marketing reasons. What's ennerving to me is the stigma of having to display the strobby lights of those tuners on stage just to appease the audience, while DIY musicians have been achieving near perfect results for ages just using the 5th and 7th fret harmonics...
Especially when you think about going up the fretboard and the inevitable intonation imperfections anyway; no matter how perfect your neck relief, string gauge/age/stability and speaking length. Better yet, what if you play something fretless? An orchestra would be impossible if that degree of tuning was necessary. Only open strings would be passable. I could go on and on about intonation compensation and techniques, but those will never be better than your ear/brain at a split second in time and not nearly as perfect as strobe tuning. Anyway, sorry for the OT. I do love the OCD nature of the group here and I’m certainly not suggesting tuning is irrelevant or anything stupid like that, just keeping it in perspective.
 

Eytsch

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Especially when you think about going up the fretboard and the inevitable intonation imperfections anyway; no matter how perfect your neck relief, string gauge/age/stability and speaking length. Better yet, what if you play something fretless? An orchestra would be impossible if that degree of tuning was necessary. Only open strings would be passable. I could go on and on about intonation compensation and techniques, but those will never be better than your ear/brain at a split second in time and not nearly as perfect as strobe tuning. Anyway, sorry for the OT. I do love the OCD nature of the group here and I’m certainly not suggesting tuning is irrelevant or anything stupid like that, just keeping it in perspective.
Agreed on all points. It's just I was being silly in early hours of 4/1 and drawing an analogy to the contentious parts of this thread
 

Taiga

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JakeK

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I'm sorry, this is really OT but I just can't resist. Apologies in advance.

It's certainly worth noting that ASR is becoming a somewhat valuable asset. One historic example is dpreview.com, a site that built its reputation on reviewing digital cameras. Through careful management Phil Askey built that website to millions of visits per month. Despite the recent divestment by Amazon and stagnation in digital camera advancements (compared to 15 years ago) the site currently clocks ~18 million visits per month. I can't find what it was in 2007, but back then Amazon reportedly paid around $20 million for the site (rumors-based). The professional photography and professional audio businesses are both worth about $4 billion a year in sales. Consumer markets in both fields add an additional fuzzy amount of viewers to either site. Regardless of Amir's current level of wealth, anyone sitting on an asset worth perhaps in excess of $5 million must realize the decision he is making, and as long as the site isn't sold, represents a pretty powerful statement about Amir's integrity. Now if this is a re-retirement plan for Amir, good on him, and if and when it comes, so be it. dpreview lived on fairly intact well after Amazon acquired it. But if the trajectory of ASR tracks with DPR at all, I would think that Amir would wait at least another several years in order to build value before thinking about exiting. There's still more penetration into the professional audio space that could happen, other ways to strengthen the site, who knows where the market may go. One key difference between DPR and ASR is that before Phil sold DPR he had been including advertising on the site for some time, so the present valuation for ASR is assuredly depressed by comparison, but could be modulated easily.
I think we should all applaud Amir's generosity in providing this site and his tests and reviews. I hope it keeps on being worthwhile and satisfying to keep at it while dealing with some of the negative aspects! :)
 

DanielT

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I prefer just to keep my distance from marketing people....and there is no forgiving marketing people.
There was a hell of a discussion about your statement, but why? I suspect you mean the extreme varieties of marketing. As it is exaggerated to extremes and in worst case involves lies. Examples of that are frequently brought up here at ASR regarding HiFi.

Not only here at ASR that topic is covered, an example:


Having said that, everyone knows that if you don't inform that you have products for sale, nothing will happen.
 
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