Ever Been Too High?

I recently bought a used pair of Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 speakers after reading so many positive comments about them on the web. All of my amps are SS, but range in age from the 1970s to the 2000s, so I figured at least one of them would be a good match for the Sierras. After hooking them up in three different 2-channel systems, I began to think that these were not speakers I could ever tolerate - the top end was just too hot for my tastes. Finally, I tried them in my third-tier HT setup, and even there, the highs were too prominent. To my ears, the sound was somewhat 'etched' and listener fatigue set in fairly quickly.This morning, I reached the option of last resort and decided to hook them up to the Sansui 5000X in my bedroom system.Holy cow! New life was breathed into this 50-year old receiver and even FM sounds fantastic. The Sierras sound much more balanced, and the bass is to die for. The 5000X was designed and built before LSI chips were developed, meaning there are a ton of transistors, diodes, and other electrolytics occupying its innards. I think that's what accounts for a large part of that 'vintage sound' you get with older gear, and it can be a good thing sometimes. It's certainly working in this case.So, my question is, has anyone else tried the Sierra 1s and had this same issue with them, or am I odd man out? Or maybe there were other speakers you felt that way about, but refused to give up and finally found what seemed to be a godsend of a solution to your listening dilemma?
A local audiobud has this thing called a Volcano. Fills the bag, smoke cools, man can you ever get a big hit. Not the only time I have been too high but certainly the most recent.
Loudspeakers with an extended high end seldom sound good if driven by less than the best equipment. The Sansui probably sounds better because the top end is being rolled off. That is my guess. 
"...Fills the bag, smoke cools, man can you ever get a big hit..."

Is that what they call "In the bag"?
+1 @russ69 — also, how many hours do you have playing the speakers so far?  They may not even be broken in yet.  I have a feeling the amps you’re using have a lot to do with this as well.  What amps are you using?  I’m not aware of the Sierras being an overly bright speaker on their own. 
Is that what they call "In the bag"?

"In the bag" goes back to small game like birds hunters would shoot and put in a bag. At that point it is a done deal, secure, etc. Before that it was a bird in hand, which we all know is worth two in the bush. Later still at dinner eating the bird is putting on the feed bag, which was what they would fill with oats and strap on to a horse. This all may have bagged you more than you need. Which is fitting. The Volcano was a very big bag.

I owned the Sierra Ones for a number of years.  I used them in a CD based system (XTZ Divine 100) and a Prima Luna PL2 integrated amp (tubes).  The top end was never what I would typify as 'hot' sounding.

So a question ... how do you have the speakers set-up in your bedroom system?  On stands?  On a dresser?  

What I learned was that the Sierras did best in small to medium sized rooms (10 x 15 x 8.5).   I thought they were some of the best speakers that I had ever owned when used that way.  I decided to move them to my main system in a 23 x 15 x 8.5 room, using the stands that Ascend sells and by doing so I essentially turned the Sierras into floor standers.  Bad move.  The Sierras were lost in the room.  Sounded like crap.  Go figure.  Similar source components ... a Prima Luna PL5 power amp with a Musical Fidelity CD PRE 24.    

I have used them in two different rooms, both almost exactly the same dimensions/shape (square), about 13' x 13'. They have been on Premiere24" high stands in each iteration, and there has been at least one sub in the mix until now. The amps used were a PS Audio HCA-2, which I feel is a fairly neutral-sounding amp, a Myryad M-500, which to me is a very neutral amp, and a Proceed HPA-3. Preamps were a Cary SL-100 with the HCA-2, a Rotel RSP-1570 with the Myryad, and an Anthem D2V with the HPA-3. I also tried them with my Pioneer SA-9100, which is not a bright-sounding amp to me. The Sierras were owned for several years (5?) by the formerowner, so break-in was not a factor. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to have another trusted ear listen to them to get a second opinion.
I've got a Hybrid Volcano - works great! Goes great with a music listening session, of course....
I used to play very high, now I got older and prefer to play sober.
...one could write a song with that line, rhythm sim to 'cocaine'...*L*

The Volcano.....It will turn you to lava.....comes in a box, covered with cryptic symbology.

I once felt myself 50' above my car on the 405N....but I got used to it. ;)
Spent one too many days on Denali. AMS is a mother to recover from. Hiking down with border line cerebral edema ain't no joke. So, that's my "Too High" story.
I've almost always used an equalizer of some sort - preferably digital these days - to fine-tune any system I've used over the years.  I've never really understood why it seems to be anathema to so many audiophiles.  There are so damned many variables, both electrical and acoustic, that the odds of getting just the sound you like with any combination of equipment seems astronomical.  I don't know how you guys can do it.
Ozzy might be on to something ... tubes.  That is how I used the Sierras. Your vintage Sansui may be what was missing.  Something less 'modern' sounding.  Your other components sound like perfectly good stuff, certainly nothing shabby there.  

It certainly is a go figure.  I don't think it is a cabling or room treatments effect.  Your initial reaction was too visceral for that.

As I approach my mid-60's and settle in what will be my keeper components for the foreseeable future, I seem to have chosen the speaker sound I prefer.  In the Prima Luna/ Musical Fidelity main system, I have been using Zu Audio Dirty Weekenders for the last 3 years and absolutely love them.  In the Rogue Sphinx/ Naim system, I have GoldenEar BRX's, which I am very pleased with.  The Naim has taught me the pay-off of burn-in.  Technics turntables in both systems.  I do tinker with cartridges, but I am inclined to think the answer is with a better record cleaning system.  

No shame in trying to get a speaker to work out for you.  I did the same with a pair of Omega CAM's that I just could not ultimately live with, but gave up after 2 years.  Same with a Croft Integrated.  I am learning to leave well enough alone.  Though, MC does have me thinking about Raven tube amps.

I agree with using a equalizer to fine tune the particular issues, in or out, between various components. I use a Schiit lokuis, which also has a complete bypass, and 6 adjustments if adjustments are needed. I think my ears are a little older, so I can adjust for that. I have two systems set up, one using a tube preamp, Adcom GFA-555se amp. and Wilson Benesch speakers. I can switch this system from balanced through all components from Dac to Preamp to Amp if the recording is good, usually jazz (HD digital downloads), or to use the unbalanced section using the equalizer to the Preamp (usually Vinyl). 
The other using a Solid State system and my old Tangent RS4 speakers, which I still enjoy, both systems have an equalizer, I change the settings based on the music and the recording quality.Everyone's ears are a little different so having some fine tuning can really help. Love it!
You built the speakers, you could add an L-Pad for the tweeter easy enough, just add attenuation bit by bit to taste.

Not potentiometer, an L-Pad, because the L-Pad always shows the same impedance to the crossover, a Pot varies the impedance which effects the crossover a bit.

I got 16 ohm versions, they make 8 ohm, ...


watch your shaft length, I used my original L-Pad's bronze recessed cups, and needed to get smaller diameter control knobs to fit inside the recess.
I am sure you did this, but the treble is very directional, so you can moderate the treble by toe in and tilt. I have had some speakers drop off significantly on treble with small adjustments. Second, reflective floors or walls?… reinforcing treble.

Assuming you have done the above. The a tube system would likely warm it up.

On the other hand… so what did you pay for the speakers? $300… if you are trying to get high end sound quality then I would consolidate equipment and upgrade each segment to a single better component. Of coarse if your enjoyment is playing with equipment, that is perfectly reasonable. Sounds like you tried everything. Totem speakers are very natural sounding and punchy… might do some trading.
Lame dad jokes aside, you heard the difference in the room more than anything.
ghdprentice/contuzzi: Each room where the Sierras were located was well-damped (carpet, upholstered furniture, etc.) and no other speaker I've owned exhibited the characteristic to the extent these did. One of my points of comparison was my Totem Mites, which to me are a much more accurate speaker (or maybe balanced is a better term). The Sierras just seemed to overwhelm any room's acoustics no matter where they were. Don't get me wrong - there is a very beguiling quality to the Sierras, but I believe I could pick them out from any other speaker in a blind A/B test. I am not an overly-critical listener, probably just the opposite, and I will keep the Sierras in rotation because over time I will become accustomed to their voicing, and I like what I hear much more than I dislike what I perceive to be
their over-emphasis on the upper registers. Thanks to everyone for all the responses (both gear-oriented and reefer-oriented); your opinions and suggestions are appreciated.
I agree with Russ 69. You always have to consider the speaker and room as one component. I am not saying you are wrong but even if you think the room is well dampened it might not be in the right places. To know what is going on you have to measure it. Frequency response aberrations can easily be seen on any computer with a calibrated microphone like this one https://www.parts-express.com/Dayton-Audio-OmniMic-V2-Acoustic-Measurement-System-390-792 In an ideal world audio shops would rent these to their customers.
Interesting one of your compares were Totem Mites. I have a pair in my office system with matching sub. I have heard larger ones as well. I really like their sound, especially when feed a nice natural signal.
The speakers are easy to tame ,upgrade the crappy Xover parts 
use a top notch capacitor like the Jupiter copper foil  whichare up there with Duelund for much less monies much better detail and tame the bright top end , a good quality resistor would help also such as Mills, Path Audio are. Tops  the new Mundorf metal film 
I have not compared yet . If the speaker is of good enough quality then upgrade the Xover , clarity CSA capacitors are much less then Jupiters are still much better then the vast majority of stock 
caps  out there.
Can a band aid across the tweeter help. Velcro, drywall mesh tape etc. Just wondering. Smokem if you gotem.
I've seen it raining fire in the sky. Friends around the campfire and everybody's high. Oh wait. Nevermind. That was John Denver.
High-flying John Denver (until his last flight).....did you know his last name was actually Deutchendorf? No wonder he went with a different moniker.