Upgrade questions: B&W N803 vs ML Ascent ?

I am ready to replace my Polk LS90 speakers which have served me well for 6 years. I am considering the N803 or the Ascents though I am not sure which one best serves my needs. Additionally, I am willing to consider other speakers. I listen to 40/60 music/movies. Listening prefenences include Bob Marley, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, etc. My room size is 23x12 inches and the related components are as follows : Aragon Soundstage, bryston 4 BST, Aragon 8008x3, Anthem CD-1 and Audioquest cabling.

Any feedback or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


B&W does an excellent balance of music/HT.
If your listening room really is 23 x 12 inches, I'd suggest a true mini-monitor! :^) Assuming you meant feet, while I think the Avalons are the better overall speakers, the B&Ws are still quite good for your application, are going to be easier to place (the Avalons really like to be well out into a room to sound their best) and drive, may be a bit better for home theater dynamics, and you'll have an easier time matching them with other speakers for your home theater (I understand it's better to use speakers from the same manufacturer for the surrounds and center channel, and B&W makes a lot of them).
I had Polk LS50s sometime back and it was glorious going to B & W CDM-7NTs. I now have the 9NTs, FWIW. I can only imagine how the N803s will improve on the Polks.

I like my B & Ws alot. I Really like the N802s, I really really like Dynaudio's S5.4, and Silverline's Bolero. If you can, give 'em a listen.

Having said that, I have to agree with Brian, B & W does a great job with balancing HT and music. Not so sure about the others I listed. I know this. If I were building a theatre only/mostly setup, M & K would be very high on my list of speakers. They do msuic OK, by my ears of course, but they are great for movie soundtracks.

Sorry I am not familiar with the Ascents.

Good luck. I hope this helps.
Forget what I said about Ascents, I'm an older generation guy and am used to thinking of the old Avalon Ascents when that name is mentioned, not the ML ones. I prefer the B&Ws to the MLs, because I still have a problem with the integration of the ML's stats and woofers, so my recommendation of the B&Ws stays intact. A very good speaker that does home theater well too.
Given your 60/40 ratio of HT to music, I think the B&W's are probably going to be a better choice than the ML Ascents. As noted above, the Ascents, like all electrostatics, need to be placed well away from the wall, and due to their radiation pattern you will have related room acoustic issues to deal with. Further, the Ascents have a very substantial dip in their impedance curve, down to about 1.5 ohms as I recall, which makes them a challenge to pair with the right amp.

I'm sick of all these generalizations about Martin Logans. First off they are dipole but they do not need to be placed far from the room to sound good in my 19x13 room I have them on the long wall the center of the stator is 28 inches from the back wall, so less then 2.5 ft, I prefer this location to 4 ft out because the bass is tighter, at least in my room, second off anyone who says the bass isn't up to speed hasn't heard any of their recent systems, people must be refering to the old Monoliths with those huge 12 inch woofers, the new generation has amazingly fast woofers. Infact I prefer the bass of the Ascent to the Nautilus 803, 804. I have owned all of those speakers so I think I can speak for them. Now as far as the Nautilus series versus the Martin Logans, well I wanted to like the 803s, I really did, their a beautiful piece of work to touch and feel but when listening to them there was to my ears a slight midbass hump, I moved them everywhere in my room to get rid of this, but was unable to, now that I think of it if I had a more powerful amp at hand it might have solved the problem, however that midbass hump aside, I moved on to the Logans because of it had a far superior midrange and there was just more air that could be heard, with the Ascents I saw performers playing, where as with the Nautilus I heard sound between the speaker. Thats just my opinion, I would also suggest you listen to a pair of Thiel 2.4s, if your looking for a dyanmic speaker I think those are far superior to the 803s and sound on par with the Ascents with a better highs because of the extended treble from the tweeter.