Ascendo's System Mmmmm

Leave it to a bass player. John Atkinson sidled up to Jon Iverson and me last night and said, "Have you heard Ascendo's room yet? It has a bandpass woofer that doesn't sound like a bandpass woofer at all—it sounds good."

So JI and I dutifully hied us Ascendo-ward first thing this morning and checked out the System M-S ($36,000/pair), a speaker that mates a decoupled ribbon tweeter that can be manually time-aligned with the bass cabinet, and a semi symmetrical bandpass cabinet sporting an 11" bass driver on the outside and an internal 8.25" driver. Designer Jurgen Scheuring says his SASN technology resolves the control issues of a sealed enclosure and the high group-delay problems of conventional bandpass designs.

A Raimyo CDP-777 ($13,000), CAT-SL-1 preamp ($8000), and CATJL-3SE monoblocks ($36,000/pair) drove the System M-Ses. The bottom end was all that JA promised and the overall sound was full and vigorous. I found the ribbon a tad forward, but the M-S's adjustability means that the tweeter might actually have been a tad forward. Certainly, I had the impression that the M-S was a promising design. Spread the word—and give 'em a listen.