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Upgrade / Comparisons? Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers / Revel F226Be / F228Be

hdkeith

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Thanks, I do have sub and I cross over all my surrounds at 100-12Hz and then my center at 100 and my LR at 40, but I do run my subs as mains+LFE kicking in at 120Hz, so no issue me just crossing over fronts at 80 or 100Hx to help beef up the loud on the towers. As an experiment yesterday I ran 2ch music without my subs and was very impressed how low and deep my Klipsch RP-280F got. I have always assumed they could not keep up that low and needed the subs to perform, I was wrong. Of course the subs have better impact and are much tighter and cleaner.
 

amper42

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I have both the Sierra Towers with RAAL and the Revel F328Be. The F328Be replaced my Sierra Towers in the theatre and the Sierra Towers are now in another room for light stereo use. I don't think you can go wrong with either speaker. I would cross the Sierra Tower at 90Hz with dual HSU15" subs or the Revel F328Be at 80Hz. Both sound great, the only real difference is the F328Be offers amazing dynamics and authority a bit easier than the Sierra Towers. Displacement matters. But to be honest, the 24x28' room sounded great with either speaker. Sometimes upgrade fever gets us buying more than we really need just because we want to hear it. Truth is even today I enjoy listening to either speaker.
 

hdkeith

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I have both the Sierra Towers with RAAL and the Revel F328Be. The F328Be replaced my Sierra Towers in the theatre and the Sierra Towers are now in another room for light stereo use. I don't think you can go wrong with either speaker. I would cross the Sierra Tower at 90Hz with dual HSU15" subs or the Revel F328Be at 80Hz. Both sound great, the only real difference is the F328Be offers amazing dynamics and authority a bit easier than the Sierra Towers. Displacement matters. But to be honest, the 24x28' room sounded great with either speaker. Sometimes upgrade fever gets us buying more than we really need just because we want to hear it. Truth is even today I enjoy listening to either speaker.

Thanks, I agree size matters. I have bene auditioning some Monitor Audio Gold 200/300 and the difference going form dual 8 inch drivers to dual 6 inch drivers is obvious. I get hung up on size (sure what guy doesn't :facepalm::eek: ) and have always had 8 inch drivers in my mains. Actually still looking at Arendale 1723 Tower/Monitor becasue of the 8 inch mains and their stellar reviews.
 

amper42

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For me it's not necessarily the size but the quality. I have heard 6.5" speakers I would rather own than some speakers with 8" drivers. At some point you have to listen and see what sounds best to you. Larger drivers can have an edge in some cases but that's not always true.
 

hdkeith

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True, but you can only get so much low impact from a smaller driver. If they release the LX in a tower I might jump on that.
 

spamilton

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I wanted to thank everyone for these comparisons. I have the Sierra RAAL towers, and I am getting upgradeitis and was leaning heavily towards the 226be, but it seems it may be a bit of a waste. I've been through about 5 pairs of towers, and these are the most perfect yet.

The main problem I have been having is hearing dialogue in some movies. The clarity is there, but it always feels like dialogue gets lost in the mix. So I turn it up, then the music and sound effects are blasting (even with the lower dynamic range setting on my receiver). I attributed this (maybe incorrectly) to the wide disperson, but I know most of the dialogue is coming from the mid driver, so the biggest problem may just be my untreated open living room and my farther than average seating distance. I know it has to do with the way a lot of movies are mixed as well, but I still feel like I may be able to do better. Any center channel I have tried only makes things sound worse/boxy. I have been itching to try the Horizon, but as you all know, it's difficult to fit this into a clean cabinet setup without breaking out a saw.

My other option is a more narrow dispersion speaker like the JBL HDI series. That may help with the seating distance and possible wall reflection issues, but I'd be sacrificing overall sound quality and the enveloping aspect.

Thanks for any further input you guys may have.
 

FrantzM

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I wanted to thank everyone for these comparisons. I have the Sierra RAAL towers, and I am getting upgradeitis and was leaning heavily towards the 226be, but it seems it may be a bit of a waste. I've been through about 5 pairs of towers, and these are the most perfect yet.

The main problem I have been having is hearing dialogue in some movies. The clarity is there, but it always feels like dialogue gets lost in the mix. So I turn it up, then the music and sound effects are blasting (even with the lower dynamic range setting on my receiver). I attributed this (maybe incorrectly) to the wide disperson, but I know most of the dialogue is coming from the mid driver, so the biggest problem may just be my untreated open living room and my farther than average seating distance. I know it has to do with the way a lot of movies are mixed as well, but I still feel like I may be able to do better. Any center channel I have tried only makes things sound worse/boxy. I have been itching to try the Horizon, but as you all know, it's difficult to fit this into a clean cabinet setup without breaking out a saw.

My other option is a more narrow dispersion speaker like the JBL HDI series. That may help with the seating distance and possible wall reflection issues, but I'd be sacrificing overall sound quality and the enveloping aspect.

Thanks for any further input you guys may have.

I wouldn't accuse the room or the speakers for the dialogues issue. It is prevalent and well known: Dialogues are not mixed at the proper level in most movies. Others and I have the same issue, in my case to the extent that, I turn on subtitles in every movies, I watch in my system. Many here at ASR have lamented and complained about this state of affairs. The same in movie theaters by the way... You'd change your speakers and the results will be the same..

Peace.
 
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muad

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I wanted to thank everyone for these comparisons. I have the Sierra RAAL towers, and I am getting upgradeitis and was leaning heavily towards the 226be, but it seems it may be a bit of a waste. I've been through about 5 pairs of towers, and these are the most perfect yet.

The main problem I have been having is hearing dialogue in some movies. The clarity is there, but it always feels like dialogue gets lost in the mix. So I turn it up, then the music and sound effects are blasting (even with the lower dynamic range setting on my receiver). I attributed this (maybe incorrectly) to the wide disperson, but I know most of the dialogue is coming from the mid driver, so the biggest problem may just be my untreated open living room and my farther than average seating distance. I know it has to do with the way a lot of movies are mixed as well, but I still feel like I may be able to do better. Any center channel I have tried only makes things sound worse/boxy. I have been itching to try the Horizon, but as you all know, it's difficult to fit this into a clean cabinet setup without breaking out a saw.

My other option is a more narrow dispersion speaker like the JBL HDI series. That may help with the seating distance and possible wall reflection issues, but I'd be sacrificing overall sound quality and the enveloping aspect.

Thanks for any further input you guys may have.
I experience something similar with the the philharmonic BMR ( second gen) and ascend LXs. But to me the tonal balance wasn't quite balanced to begin with. There was a slight but low q treble emphasis which made all speech hissy/sibilant (not in a painful way), sounded clear but sometimes difficult to understand.

I found the revel f206, kef R3, ls50 meta and my current Linton's didn't suffer from this at all. These speakers didn't accentuate anything, but easy to hear all dialogue clearly. The overall presentations we're more balanced. These speakers also tended to sound better with a larger variety of music genres as well.

Edit: If I was in the market for speakers, I would get the f226be, ls50m or Linton's, mayeb a couple subs and then retire from this website.
 

minnend

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Haha yes. The never-ending cycle. How I wish there was a channel only for dialogue... Thank you for saving me some money.

Do any receivers have the option of boosting the center channel signal before mixing it into the LR? That would help, but I don't think my receiver (Denon x4300h) will do that. You can only boost via trim when there's actually a center channel, which is something I do. :)
I experience something similar with the the philharmonic BMR ( second gen) and ascend LXs. But to me the tonal balance wasn't quite balanced to begin with. There was a slight but low q treble emphasis which made all speech hissy/sibilant (not in a painful way), sounded clear but sometimes difficult to understand.

I found the revel f206, kef R3, ls50 meta and my current Linton's didn't suffer from this at all. These speakers didn't accentuate anything, but easy to hear all dialogue clearly. The overall presentations we're more balanced. These speakers also tended to sound better with a larger variety of music genres as well.

Edit: If I was in the market for speakers, I would get the f226be, ls50m or Linton's, mayeb a couple subs and then retire from this website.

It's interesting how everyone's perceptions are different. I heard the LS50 Metas at a hifi store and thought they were lackluster. Maybe they were set up poorly? :shrug:

The R3 seems great (I was only able to listen to the R7 at that store, but it sounded fantastic so I assume the R3 is similar). BMR monitors (v1) at home, which I enjoy tremendously, but I do have a dedicated center channel and run it slightly hot to improve dialogue clarity.

Receivers let you adjust trim per channel, but afaik that's only when a speaker is connected, not for downmixing with a 2-channel setup. Perhaps there's a receiver out there that support adjustments before downmixing? A boost of a couple dB should help dialogue, though spamilton's point is right that I'm equating "center channel" with "dialogue" which is only partially accurate.
 

spamilton

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Do any receivers have the option of boosting the center channel signal before mixing it into the LR? That would help, but I don't think my receiver (Denon x4300h) will do that. You can only boost via trim when there's actually a center channel, which is something I do.
That would be very interesting. Yamaha has a dialogue boost function, which is just an EQ boost in the vocal frequencies so it's not ideal. I think other brands handle it similarly. I went back and forth on it for a while. You can actually hear the dialogue slightly better, but the sound quality tradeoff is not worth it. It makes voices more boomy and increases the volume of everything else in that frequency range. I used to boost my center as well, when I had one, but there are issues with that as well as you know. If I lived alone I would just turn up the volume and be done with it, but it's not always practical with a family.
 

FrantzM

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I experience something similar with the the philharmonic BMR ( second gen) and ascend LXs. But to me the tonal balance wasn't quite balanced to begin with. There was a slight but low q treble emphasis which made all speech hissy/sibilant (not in a painful way), sounded clear but sometimes difficult to understand.

I found the revel f206, kef R3, ls50 meta and my current Linton's didn't suffer from this at all. These speakers didn't accentuate anything, but easy to hear all dialogue clearly. The overall presentations we're more balanced. These speakers also tended to sound better with a larger variety of music genres as well.

Edit: If I was in the market for speakers, I would get the f226be, ls50m or Linton's, mayeb a couple subs and then retire from this website.
Please don't do that :D
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I wanted to thank everyone for these comparisons. I have the Sierra RAAL towers, and I am getting upgradeitis and was leaning heavily towards the 226be, but it seems it may be a bit of a waste. I've been through about 5 pairs of towers, and these are the most perfect yet.

The main problem I have been having is hearing dialogue in some movies. The clarity is there, but it always feels like dialogue gets lost in the mix. So I turn it up, then the music and sound effects are blasting (even with the lower dynamic range setting on my receiver). I attributed this (maybe incorrectly) to the wide disperson, but I know most of the dialogue is coming from the mid driver, so the biggest problem may just be my untreated open living room and my farther than average seating distance. I know it has to do with the way a lot of movies are mixed as well, but I still feel like I may be able to do better. Any center channel I have tried only makes things sound worse/boxy. I have been itching to try the Horizon, but as you all know, it's difficult to fit this into a clean cabinet setup without breaking out a saw.

My other option is a more narrow dispersion speaker like the JBL HDI series. That may help with the seating distance and possible wall reflection issues, but I'd be sacrificing overall sound quality and the enveloping aspect.

Thanks for any further input you guys may have.
Dialog issues are usually attributed to the center. Sometimes room correction. Anthem Room Correction solved dialog issues with a cheap 3 way Infinity RC 263. You really need 3 way center. Revel 3 way is the gold standard.
 

amper42

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I have used the Monolith THX-365C Center Channel with the Sierra Towers (RAAL) and found the Movie sound track was nice and clear. It was $349 in 2020.
 

Bren Derlin

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I am currently caught in an upgradeitis loop and am looking for some assistance in breaking free and moving on with my life.

First, my 5.2 setup:

Denon X4500H AVR
Monolith 3X200 Amp for LRC
Ascend Sierra Towers w/ RAAL upgrade
Emotiva C2+ center (Horizon w/ RAAL on order)
SVS Ultra surrounds (mounted on rear wall in bipole mode)
2x HSU VTF-3 MK5 subs

See the attached drawing for a very rough idea of how the room is laid out. The MLP is approximately 8' from the speakers. I do like to listen very loudly on occassion (nearing reference levels).

Background:

Over a year ago I purchased a pair of Emotiva T2+ towers and a C2+ center. At $1200 for the trio, they perform absolutely wonderfully. I was especially impressed by how good the towers sound for 2 channel music listening (while crossed to the subs at 80Hz which is what I always prefer). They are so impressive for the money that I wanted to see if I could find a similar bang for the buck offering in a higher performance tier. The result of my curiosity took shape in a pair of Sierra RAAL towers that I came across in excellent condition at a very reasonable price.

After EQing and spending a few weeks with the towers, they are a clear and welcome upgrade to the T2+ towers. For music, they are silky smooth, very transparent, detailed, and effortless across a variety of genres. The more I listen, the more impressed I am with them. For HT use, I wasn't expecting to find this to be the case as the C2+ center is absolutely excellent, but when the front stage gets busy, it's clear that it's outclassed by the Sierra towers, so I ordered up a Horizon center which has remained on back order.

In the meantime, I've continued to poke around (why???), and became interested in the C426Be center from Revel. This thing looks like it could be a true "end game" center. Boy, wouldn't it be nice to be done with all of this for a while (ha!). Of course, even at a generous discount from a Harman dealer, it still carries a hefty price increase compared to the Horizon center. But if I could truly be done with at least one speaker for the next decade or three, I'd be willing to pay the premium.

But now that I'm thinking about jumping up yet again with the center channel, I would be looking for towers to match. This brings me to the F226Be and F228Be. Now, if there's one thing that the T2+ towers did better than the Sierra towers, it's in...I don't know...depth? Heft? Punch? They just sounded a little bit bigger (which they are) and fuller, if not necessarily louder. The Sierras are a noticeable step up in every other way, but they just don't have quite the presence of the Emotivas. I lay this primarly at the feet of the size of the woofers (5-1/4" versus 8").

The 226s offer dual 6-1/2" woofers, and the F228s get me back to 8". For my uses, would the 6-1/2" drivers get me enough of the way there given that the two subs will always be in use? I'm thinking...probably. The 228s are a good deal pricier, so if their advantage would be rendered moot by the subs, or at least mostly moot, I'd happily keep the savings in my pocket.

Beyond that, am I just being silly with all of this in general? Should I just stick with the (absolutely excellent) Sierra towers and wait out the center? Comparisons of these and the 226/228Be seem to be virtually non-existant. I've seen the shootout here involing the RAAL towers and the F206s, and the latter is clearly outclassed somewhat by the RAAL tweeter. How would they compare after stepping up to the beryllium of the 226 and 228? That's a tougher bit of information to come across.

Thanks in advance!

This probably won’t be appreciated here …but when I heard the F228Be, I wasn’t a fan. And I love my M16 and M106 speakers.

Reason being. By themselves, they felt bass and mid-bass heavy. I described it as thick and bloated. I felt like I was missing detail and clarity in that area. They didn’t really sound lively. They felt. …safe.

That was my take, when I listened to them in a hifi show room. I didn’t have them in my own space.

And I suppose that’s why I prefer these smaller Revel monitors. They just felt more balanced from the top down, even though they lacked true deep bass. Which is OK, as I have that ironed out by blending in my subwoofer.

Maybe the F226Be will be a bit leaner, and more resolute in the lower to mid frequencies.

If it were me, and I had your viewing space of only 11’ deep, and I had a higher budget, I would be inclined to do with the M126Be and subs. Reason being? As it is, our room is 12’ deep, and the M16’s at one time, and now the M106 are plenty for our HT and music listening needs. We sit about 8’ from the TV, and speakers are a fuzz in front of the TV on either side. We use the Denon x2600H.

YMMV.

On a related note, I have the C205 now, which replaced a Polk LSiC center. The C205 is paired with the M16 in my living room system. Unless something happens to the speakers, I see no need to upgrade. I’m more than happy with that purchase.

In my main system in they basement, I don’t even use a Center. I just use the two M106 speakers. They create a gigantic beautiful 2 channel sound stage, so I gathered it would to create a gigantic front sound stage for movies. That gather was correct.
 
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