Would love to hear about it too. I'm considering upgrading my Sierra-1's with their kit.
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I've got a pair on the way. I did a fair amount of reading on line and decided at the price(their christmas/clearance sale) I'd turn my Sierra 1 order into a Sierra 2 order. I've only had ribbon tweeters once back in the early 90's but they were not a great example.
They'll be replacing a front sound stage(I'll order a center later on) of Paradigm Monitor 7v3 and cc370v4. I've also got a pair of Paradigm Signature S6v2 with the beryllium tweeters. Those speakers have to be toed in and can be bright with the wrong electronics.
I'll post my impressions once the speakers arrive. I've already procured some stands!
The Sierra-2's arrived and I'm breaking them in. But right out of the box I'm seriously impressed. As I mentioned they replaced some Paradigm Monitors, but at first I put them side by side with the Signatures using a speaker selector so I could get an almost immediate switch between the two pairs. I used music that I'm pretty familiar with and enjoy what the Paradigms do.
I was quite impressed with how well these bookshelf speakers did against a floorstander like the S6. They imaged so well, and I actually preferred the vocal frequencies of the Sierra 2. I wish I could have compared them using my better quality speaker cables, but had to make do with 12 gauge lamp cord style. Still, apples to apples, the Sierras held their own quite well against a speaker that costs close to 4 times as much.
The Paradigms have the superior bass, can produce more db's, and at this point I haven't seriously evaluated the highs, as I've read the Raal Ribbons need time to break in. This is a seriously good speaker, though.
Several have compared the Sierra-1 to the Kef LS50's and preferred the Sierra. Complaints about the Kef's were that they can be schrill, and fatigue can set in. Also the Sierra has superior bass response. There haven't been as many reviews comparing the Sierra-2 to the LS50, but people really love those ribbons.
I just posted this in the audiokarma forum, hope it's okay to post it here too.
I just got through a listening session on the Sierra 2 vs my old Paradigm Monitor 7 v3(towers with 2 drivers and a metal tweeter) connected to my Denon AVR 4520 using a cd player as source. I was able to A/B the speakers by connecting the Sierras to zone 2 while the Paradigms were on main stereo 2 channel. No sub or processing.
I listened to a variety of music to get a feel for each speaker and was surprised that the Sierra's were not lacking in the bass compared to the towers and their much larger cabinet. In some rock or pop style music they were fairly close at times, though you could hear the ribbon tweeter was clearly more accurate.
But as I kept playing and listening, it began to be clear that the Paradigms seemed to be out of their depth. They sounded veiled at times going from speaker to speaker. Vocals was where this was most obvious. Then I reached for Dianna Krall's All For You cd.
The piano, the voice, the other instruments, wow. The Sierras had realism, detail, the sense that the band was in the room. The Paradigms gave a colored rendition of the music by comparison. Again they had no more bass than the Sierras, which impressed me to realize those small cabinets are something else. And with well recorded/produced stuff from Yo-Yo Ma as well, 3D imaging was apparent and not so much with the Paradigms.
I've always been a sucker for a pretty voice, and with Dianna the Sierras sounded gorgeous; clear, detailed, and emotional. As if there were no speakers at all, or the closest I've come to that sense.
As I mentioned earlier, I put them up against my Paradigm Signature S6 v2 as well. This was with Parasound gear, a A21/P7 system. They of course benefited from the superior electronics and larger room. Again, I actually preferred the mids and vocals of the Sierra, though I think in this case, personal preference would have a larger part to play, and the results were very close. Here the S6 won the nod over all due to the rest of the package, and well they should as they cost 4 times the retail of the Sierra 2. Impressive that the Sierras did so well, however.
Overall I am seriously impressed with the Ascend product. They offer the kind of detail and realism in a bookshelf that I've simply not heard before. I only bought a pair of them as a try out in the theater room. I'll be buying the center channel without hesitation once the budget allows.
As far as power goes, they work fine with receiver power. From what I've read, they don't dip below 6 ohms at any point so are not a difficult load. But with the 87db sensitivity, more power is better if you want to get really loud.
I've also run them with a 250 wpc amp, and they were fine then too. With room size, I'm not sure about that, but I suspect it wouldn't be a problem, they are a bookshelf after all.
My impressions were different than many. I tried them, send them back before the 30 day were up. Just didn't care or them, think they were overpriced. A decent $1k speaker at best not for 1.5k. Too many other speakers in that price range to consider. Like many have echoed, different people hear different things. Good part, you get 30 days to try them.
No one speaker will satisfy 100% of audiophiles, that is a fact. I've owned speakers from Boston Acoustics, Polk, Mission, Energy, Mirage, Camber, Paradigm, Tannoy and Ascend. There are many more brands out there succeeding, because of people's preferences.
I've talked with "audiophiles" that prefer the lowly Paradigm Titan V2 or 3. For the money, it offers great bang for buck, but put it beside a good quality current bookshelf, and it will be shredded. But the Titan fans will say, "it doesn't sound like my Titans, I don't like it". End of story, you can't make people like superior SQ.
Some are used to dome or even metal dome tweeters, and expect the ribbon to sound like that. But a dome is an inferior design, a good ribbon will be more faithful to the actual music.
Then there is the band wagon purchaser. The Kef LS50 is a decent speaker, but not for $1500. The -3db bass frequency point is 79db. 79!! And it is only rated for up to 100 watts with a sensitivity of 85. It does look really good, though. I've seen photos of people proudly displaying their Kef's with two(!) subs, one under each LS50. For the money spent they could have purchased a really nice pair of bookshelf speakers. But they followed the crowd, and then realized they have no bass. There's a sucker born every minute.
213runnin, by the way, I am very pleased with the LS50's bass response. I do have a couple of subs under my desk-top setup, however occasionally I turn them off for comparison to being on, and sometimes forget they are off, and not notice much of a difference. I think they will be hard to beat for my purpose for nearfield due to their addictive coherence with the concentric driver.
I don't know about the nearfield listening with Sierra 2, I'm about 12 to 13 feet away and they're getting 150 wpc. In my humble opinion, if you turn the subs off and can hardly tell much of a difference, then you subs are turned too low, or the material might be bass light. Either way, if you are happy with the sound, then that's all that matters.
I case anyone is still thinking of getting the Sierra 2's, I'll add my two cents. I've had mine about three weeks, and am very impressed. Right off the bat, I thought they seemed a little bright, but either they've calmed down after burning in, or my ears have adjusted. Part of the adjustment is that they just give you gobs of detail. Probably a little of both. And the bass response in tight, and tuneful - and plenty for me. And probably my favorite thing is they sound fantastic at lower volumes, as I live in a condo.
Rega Elex-R amp
Mostly lossless digital files (some 320) from either my iPod classic, or computer.
Highly upgraded Rega RP3 w/ Rega Exact and Rega MKii Fono amp
Speakers I've either owned or auditioned in my home in the past few years:
-Monitor Audio GR10 - pretty amazing paired with a NAD 326 amp - fantastic bang for the buck.
-Epos Elan 15 - seemed kind of dark - didn't keep for long
-Monitor Audio GX100 - nice, but always sounded like you were listening to a speaker - not very transparent.
-Totem Acoustics Rainmaker - way too bright with my amp.
-B&W 685 S2 - Great bang for the buck - great with digital music, but I didn't care too much for them with my vinyl - a little too warm.
-Dynaudio Excite X-12 - the best I had until I got the Sierras - great imaging, tight, punchy bass, and good detail in the highs.
-Dynaudio Focus 160 - hands down the best tweeter (but the Sierra's is very, very close), but the bass response seemed kind of flabby and unfocused.
And it certainly doesn't hurt that the Sierra 2's are drop dead gorgeous. I got the B-stock satin espresso, and I have no idea why they were b-stock, because they look flawless to me - and I saved $300.
Hope this helps anyone else thinking about getting a pair - I think they punch way above their weight.
I can't speak to the Sierra-2s, but I really like my Sierra-1s. They're attached to my NAD C715 - no powerhouse there, but plenty, given that it's in my bedroom (one man, one house, 4 stereo systems...).
Long ago, I had them hooked up to a Krell KAV-300i with a Carver True Subwoofer. A friend who is a superb jazz upright bassist listened with and without the sub and preferred them without the sub.