Is there any chance of actually hearing them in person? Have you auditioned the Harbeths, they have a very pronounced style in my view?
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Buy em! Amazing products.
The Honeymoon will never end!
The system F and M that I heard were in a two systems that displaced loudspeaker that cost in excess of $100,000.00
I've not heard the C8's but I've been told that they are class beaters as well.
I spent the most time with the F's driven by Karan electronics. Still remains one of the two or three greatest musical evenings of my life... Staggeringly beautiful.
If you're in the northern NJ area, there is an Ascendo dealer in Bernardsville, NJ (Audio 202--very nice place and owner). I have heard a couple of Ascendo speakers there, but not the C8s. I listened to one of their top of the line models and felt it was truly world class, one of the best speaker systems I had ever heard (and at its then $45K price it had better be!). I also listened to a Series D model, and thought it sounded quite natural, musical and involving as well. But you really should hear them in person--as with the Harbeths, the Ascendos have a "sound". Having heard Harbeths too, I would say that while they do not sound identical at all, they are similar in that neither of these two brands is for the "boom and sizzle" crowd, but aimed more for the music lover. Just my opinion.
By the way, you can get a bit of information from the website, just click on the English button in the lower left part of the home page to get the text in English.
Thanks to you both for your thoughts. Mechans, I pretty much have to go on the opinons and reviews I read for a couple reasons. First I would have to drive to Boston or NYC to find a dealer that sells anything other than sound bars. Second, It would bother me to waste a dealers time knowing that I'm going to search for used equipment. And in the case of most speakers that have piqued my interest, that's what I'd have to do. I've audited gear when others are shopping, but I just try to be a fly on the wall, and not get in the way. Honestly this approach isn't ideal, but I've only been disappointed once (with a Mc amp of all things).
I realize these are two very different approaches to design. the Harbeth fans are so enthusiastic, that I feel like it's a safer bet. I simply want to sit back and let the music take over. I don't mind a slightly colored presentation, even if it's not audiophile appoved...my preamp has tone controls, heresy, I know. I do listen a lot at lower volumes (late night, early morning). The reported SHL5 performance at lower levels sounds like what I'm looking for.
I gather that the Ascendo is a cleaner, more detailed presentation, but there's a small part of me that thinks all the money for this speaker is going into the box's fit and finish. An opposed to the Harbeth, which despite its inflated US price, seems to have had more r&d time in getting the sound
Thanks again for the input.
I've had the Ascendo C8R now for some three years - and have been very happy with them.
What's been writen in the reviews by Fair Audio (english at 6moons) and Stereo Times and even The Absolute Sound is very correct. Always musical and with good recordings you can get lost in the soundstage. They go really suprisingly low with power the bass IS great - a perfect blend of tightness without getting dry and technical.
The fact that it's a coax design is something I hadn't thought about that much before I bought them, but now I'm thinking it may really be the best way to get that coherence, soundstaging and wide listning area that the C8R gives. Also I listen much more now from around the living room (doing other stuff) as the music is enjoyable almost anywhere in the room.
A couple of cavets...
You do need some current to drive them. I have a class act KT88 tube amp with some 70 watts but my solid state DIY F6 (some 40watts, but plenty of current) drivers/controls the bass much better. There's actually not much difference to my Hypex NC400 (200W /8 ohm).
Also the speakers are not at their best with very low volumes - but still very enjoyable in the evenings with reasonable volume. But give them power and there just dosen't seem to be any end to how hard they can be driven - and you are in heaven! =)
I have enjoyed my pair of Ascendo C8 speakers for about 2 years. The are powered by ARC tube preamp and tube amp.You cannot classify the C8's by their $10K price since they easily match the performance of $20~$30K speakers. Such is the magic of German engineering.With virtually no distortion, the C8 provide a sweet, smooth, palpable holographic mid range that leaves you breathless. It produces a crisp, airy, vibrant and spacial treble. In the lower registers, it develops a powerful, well extended, tuneful bass with a nice grip and very good timing. But what amazes even more is this coherency of the sound, how well all 4 drivers work with each either delivering sound reminding single-driver speakers. I find the C8 provides a joyful sonic experience.