Review of Ascend Acoustics’ ELX Tower Speakers (released 2022)

Review: Ascend Acoustics’ ELX Tower Speakers

This is a long review, so I’ve included an executive summary and a table of contents.




• Speakers

• Amplification and Associated Equipment

• Room Dimensions


• Complex Passages and Soundstage

• Dynamics/transients

• Bass

• Midrange

• Treble


• Comparisons

• Conclusion


1. Recordings used in this review.

2. Speaker Details and Specs (from Ascend website)

3. Notes on speaker development and improved performance by owner/engineer David Fabrikant.


Let me begin with a note of clarification. This is a review of Ascend Acoustics ELX tower speakers. My pair were originally purchased as Sierra Towers v1 but were upgraded with all the drivers (except the RAAL tweeter, which is the same) and crossover which converted them to the currently named “ELX” model, so this review is of the current ELX speaker.

As far as I know, there are no other reviews out for this tower. The most recent (and I think the only) published review of the Ascend Towers I can find are from Enjoy the Music (2012,

N.B. For descriptions and specs, I will quote from Ascend’s website; this is an amateur review and I have no ability to confirm specs or design materials independently. Relayed impressions of sound and setup, however, are all my own.

See “Notes” below for (1) Recordings used in this review, (2) Speaker Details and Specs (from Ascend website), and (3) Notes on speaker development and improved performance by owner/engineer David Fabrikant.


The Ascend Acoustics ELX towers are major and recent (2022) revision of their Sierra Towers. They are 3-way (4-driver) vented, passive speakers. They are equally capable for either home theater or two-channel listening. (I use them for music listening only.) They come with either a ribbon or dome tweeter. Cabinets are 3-ply layered bamboo, are “designed, engineered, assembled, tested and packaged in the USA” and come with a generous “comprehensive 7 year parts & labor warranty.” While the speakers are not “high efficiency,” they have an easy-to-drive impedance curve and are very tube-friendly (flea-watt amps excluded).

The speakers are nearly full-range and do not require subwoofers. They do an exceptional job of presenting a clean and articulate soundstage, regardless of musical complexity. Dynamics and transient performance is excellent; the ELX delivers big changes effortlessly and small changes with subtlety. Bass is full and detailed, able to provide broad oceans of low sound as well as percussive punches. Midrange is accurate (in tone and timbre), and vocals sound intimate and right-sized. Treble (via the RAAL tweeter) has the lightness typical of ribbons, with a crisp clarity that is never shrill or bright.

The ELX represent a high value-to-cost ratio thanks to the fact that Ascend is a small, engineering-focused company selling directly and avoiding expensive marketing and advertising.

In brief, these speakers have provided many hours of enjoyment; they have a modest footprint, deliver excellent tonal breadth, accuracy, and presence, and offer a deep and wide soundstage. They accommodate a variety of amplifiers, and do not require a lot of power for most rooms. Clichéd as it might be to say it, these speakers make music, not sound, warmly inviting the listener to follow John Lennon’s advice: “Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream…”



The ELX are 3-way (4-driver), rear-vented, passive speakers. They have a ribbon tweeter (RAAL 70-20xram) which “utilizes an amorphous core transformer (as opposed to iron/ferrite core.)” The midrange driver “is housed in its own dedicated critically damped sealed enclosure within the cabinet and is designed to reproduce the critical midrange response. By isolating the midrange from the rest of the drivers, intermodulation distortion is greatly reduced and detail and separation between individual instruments is greatly improved.” There are dual 5 ¼” long throw woofers. Ascend’s description (accurately) reports that these “hit hard and dig deep when required, but due to low mass and low stored energy combined with very low inductance, they are also detailed and subtle when need be. They will not gloss over notes that large diameter higher mass woofers can often miss.” Cabinets are 3-ply layered bamboo. They feel solid but are not inert; if you rap, you’ll hear a sound. According to Ascend, the speakers are “hand assembled, tested and packaged in the USA” and come with a generous “comprehensive 7 year parts & labor warranty.” Further speaker details and specs will be listed at the end of this review.

Amplification and Associated Equipment

I lean toward “more sensitive speakers, lower powered amplifiers” because this appeals to my ears. Large powerhouse amps driving heavy load speakers impress me but don’t seduce me; they are quick and dramatic but not nimble, nuanced, or natural. To my ear, they’re more like “movie theater sound” not “concert or club sound.” That latter sound is what I’m looking for.

Given those aesthetic goals, my speaker journey lead me to Ascend Acoustics. Not only did I want a tower rather than a stand mount, I was impressed by these speakers easy-to-drive design. They’re not “high efficiency” speakers (e.g. like Klipsch, Devore, etc.) but when one looks at their impedance graphs — phase curves as well as ohm loads — it’s clear that they are very friendly for lower-watt solid state and (above flea watt) tube amps. One need not take my word for this; Ascend includes more specs than I’ve ever seen on a speaker manufacturer’s page which lets one assess for oneself. (URL at bottom of this review.)

For this review, I used two different amplification setups to try out the speakers -- tube and solid state. The preamp is a DIY design by a local tech built in the style of the deHavilland Ultraverve III with 6SN7 input tube. The tube amplifier was the Quicksilver Mono 60’s, using both KT88 and KT77 tubes. Solid state gear was a Pass Labs XA25 amp. The speakers performed comparably with both setups. There are some non-insignificant differences between the Pass and the Quicksilver (involving soundstage depth and certain dynamic differences) which I won’t touch on below, but in general the speakers performed beautifully with both amps. Any description which does not specify an amp can be assumed to hold for either QS or Pass.

Source components included the Cambridge CXC transport and a BlueSound Node 2i streamer, both fed into a Schiit Bifrost 2/64 DAC. (The DAC on the streamer was bypassed.) Music resolution was CD/Redbook quality and/or high resolution via Qobuz. Oversampling was not engaged on the DAC.

Speakers rest upon Townshend’s Seismic Podiums, Size 1. Ceiling treatments include some absorption and some diffusion; there is diffusion along the side walls also, and bass traps along the front wall. First and distal reflection points have all been located and dealt with using REW EQ Wizard software and a variety of diffusion strategies.

Cables are Analysis Plus Crystal Oval Solo and Crystal Digital for interconnects and speakers (8 awg). Power cables are Pangea 14SE and 9SE Mk. II. Between the wall outlet (Porter Port) there is an Audience Adept Response aR2p outlet which runs to a Wiremold power strip with a Venom Defender plugged into it.

Room Dimensions and Speaker Positioning

The room is a basement rectangle with a small hallway lead-in. It has concrete floors with thin wall-to-wall carpeting and a Turkish rug in front of a couch. Main listening area dimensions are 27’ x 14’ and the ceilings are 6’5” high. Total listening area is about 400 square feet.

Speakers are about 2.5 feet from each side wall and about 6 feet out from the front wall (the long wall); the speakers are about 7 feet apart from one another, slightly toed in, and about 8 feet to my listening position on a chair.


Complex Passages and Soundstage

The ability of speakers to separate out a lot of intersecting lines is critical if one wishes to focus on an instrument or several instruments (such as a rhythm section). And while there’s an element of gimmickry to the whole aspect of soundstage -- we’re creating an illusion here, people -- locating instruments in space engenders immersive listening experiences. Audio tracks containing a deep and wide soundstage can come from many genres; several pieces helped test out the Ascends.

Combattimento Consort Amsterdam (Willem de Vriend) Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major

Classical. There are many versions of this piece. A lot is going on in it; here, the speakers let the trumpet sound its clarion call, bold and bell-like. Soon, it trades off with various instruments spread clearly across the soundstage — violin, wind instruments, cellos and basses — all occupying their own regions, giving and taking melody whether as lead voices or in their role as distinct continuo/supporting parts. The overall effect blends beautifully, as if all of nature is celebrating the arrival of good news. The articulate soundstage also helped convey the piece’s dynamics: crisp, tight, and punctual playing. Overall, a brisk and energizing listen.

Regula Mühlemann Vorrei Spiegarvi

Classical. This very well-recorded Mozart/soprano showpiece begins with a gently insistent opening featuring pizzicato strings, supporting basses, and a oboe signaling the main themes. Not only is everything here distinct, the hall’s reverb is also fully evident. When the soprano enters, stage center-left, her melody line shines forth, past the other instruments and soon begins a game of tag with the oboe. They each occupy distinct locations along with their attendant reverbs; one hears the space around them as they dialogue. Supporting instruments round the soundfield out and are there, at this performance.

Duo Brothers Tahini

Jazz/lounge-jam. Sometimes “space” is about a feeling, the informal, relaxing vibe of a small room or even a coffee shop where music oozes around the room. In this live track, the ELX conveyed a spacious mellowness, a jam session tossing a musical frisbee back and forth. This group has an easygoing chemistry, a banter, a rooftop lounge rhythm. My head kept bobbing and my foot kept tapping.


Speakers should be able to deliver big changes effortlessly and small changes with subtlety. Three different musical selections helped test the ELX.

Westerlies Robert Henry

Folk/instrumental. Horns are great instruments to test out a speaker — they are demanding. The Westerlies are a highly original brass group blessed with the creativity and talent of the Kronos quartet. On the ELX, instruments sounded timbrally and tonally accurate, full and rich, nicely spread out. The dynamics and transients were lifelike with a wide range textures. This piece features a lot of percussive blowing, textured mouthing, breathy attacks, and challenging contrapuntal and syncopated lines. The last section simulates a cityscape, complete with traffic and sirens — a cosmopolitan cacophony over which two horns dialogue. The ELX kept pace, perfectly with whatever the players did — dramatic shifts of timbre and dynamics, fast transients and quick-moving changes.

Lady Blackbird Blackbird

Jazz/blues. Bass and midrange are also well-tested by this track — and the speakers do very well indeed here — but the dynamics are the best testament for the speakers. A bowed and plucked bass drives the energy, while drums buttress; Lady’s voice enters floating dramatically in the center. It is wonderfully deep, resonant, and alternately breathy. A powerful piano support and accents the vocals with ivory clarity.

Juan Carlos Quintero Alone Together

Jazz/Latin. This popular song is given punch and midrange presence by the guitar while percussion ramps rhythmic energy up several notches. A chunky bass and an electric guitar reminiscent of George Benson lead us into the song. The guitar (with it’s lovely reverb and fret-slides) makes space for incoming drums and percussion: it’s Mambo Time! There is “dancing energy” here, percussive in a Latin way but retaining that sixtiesjazz guitar feel. The percussion spans a huge soundstage, with congas especially detailed and distinct in the mix.


Bass is a tricky element to assess, because so much of it depends on room and speaker setup. I have gone to great lengths to understand my room’s contribution to the overall sound (modes, nodes, and standing waves), so I can place speakers where their own character is most identifiable. (There’s no point in blaming or rewarding a speaker for doing something which is actually being done by the room, right?)

For me, bass is “good” when it has fullness (e.g. I can hear a string bass backing a jazz combo or an orchestra’s bass section), and definition (low notes sound like individual notes rather than puddles of low fuzzy sound); bass is “great” when I grok the character of the instrument playing that note (e.g., I hear a *Fender* bass or can almost picture the large acoustic bass that, say, Ron Carter or Charlie Haden is plucking).

Daft Punk Game of Love

Rock/pop. This would be another great tune for talking about soundstage, as this song positively cocoons the listener from the very first instant; however, here I mostly used the song to test the bass of the speakers. The ELX do a stellar job — in this complex mix, the drums and bass were punchy, full, and precise, conveying the rhythmic pulsing energy from the get-go. The tune’s bassist is integral, and his syncopated lines, harmonics, and little percussive pulses were delivered effortlessly. Drum hits are textured and hypnotic, anchoring the song à la Steely Dan.

Towner Peacock Postcard to Salta

Jazz. ECM recordings set a high bar and this track provides a difficult test for speakers. Miking leaves a lot of space between bass and guitar, and since both are acoustic instruments, reverb and air play a larger role in the duo’s exchanges. Peacock’s bass is firm and low; Towner’s plucking and muscular handling of the guitar can startle when a speaker is good; it does that here. (Muscularity example: Towner tapping the front of his guitar rings out with reverb as he plays a chord-pizzicato line as Peacock solos.)

P.S. To test the speakers’ bass on this track, I added in my subs (3) and listened again. While the bass became more present, when I took the subs away again I was impressed by how small an improvement the subs actually delivered. Everything about the bass is there without the subs.

Villalobos and Lodebauer Recat ECM

Electronic, mainly; a mixture of acoustic drums and electronics. This song should be on everyone’s short list for both staging and bass. The Q sound bounces back behind left and right ear with a mesmerizing rhythm, while an ultra low electronic bass throbs in the center. Many little details are rendered by speakers; textures of brushes and sticks on snares, the melody’s bell-like sound, the scratchy electronic filtering. All is fomented by a nearly spherical sound field locates the listener in the center.

When the central melody emerges, it floats between my ears almost -- or is it coming out of the ceiling above me? This oneiric melody repeats endlessly but keeps moving; first it’s between my ears, then in front of my eyes, and later it moves ever forward toward the front wall. The warble initially obscuring the melody diminishes as it comes through gradually. The overall effect is psychedelic. Recat is a möbius strip, beginning again as it ends. All the while, drums are pattering and panning between speakers with electronic pulses (including bass) throbbing beneath. Done right, as the ELX did it, the result is dreamlike and time-displacing.


“Midrange” is a wide category and it spans a wide frequency range. For me it connotes tonal and timbral accuracy; I should have no doubt which instrument I’m listening to (English horn or oboe? Soprano sax or clarinet?); singers should have an authentic, personal presence. Vocal texture, breath, energy, emotion, and personality are there when the midrange are right.

Fred Thomas Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 649 (Bach, arr. Thomas)

Classical. Thomas’s arrangement of this Bach organ work for cello, violin and piano is both musically and sonically luxurious. Each instrument has definition and presence but the air between them is an equal star. The cello sings resonantly with the occasional grit of bow on strings; piano is both gentle and commanding, with higher notes commenting and chords setting the trio’s direction; the violin appears sweetly in its own space, birdlike and increasingly significant. The ELX give instruments their own spaces while keeping everything balanced. Energy and interplay comes through as players weave in and out, joining forces then retreating back to their own parts.

Jolie Holland Poor Girl’s Blues

Folk/blues. You’re in the front row of the Cactus Café in Austin; there’s a stool in front of you and unfolding is a simple blues on acoustic guitar, sung by a gal with a hauntingly direct voice. (Clearly, she’s seen some stuff.) You think “old blues records, something Alan Lomax might have discovered.” Soon, the rest of the band arrives — a simple snare, electric guitar, and bass. Everything sounds alive, immediate, soulful.

Dire Straits Water of Love

Rock. A familiar tune which benefits from the Ascend’s ability to lay out complex recordings and deliver midrange and treble. At the start, the claves are distinct and each hit sounds unique. Drums and electric bass are full-bodied and well positioned, and Knopfler’s guitar fret-slides do their thing. One can distinguish many layers of rhythm guitars while harmonizing vocals occupy the center. The vocals, while doubled, are not quite overlapping; there is air between. The midrange of the national steel guitar punches, metallic and shiny. Knopfler’s main vocal part is fine — too often, earlier Dire Straits album seem to be hiding his vocals in plain sight. But here they occupy a more prominent and featured spot.


Problems with treble were the main force driving me beyond my previous speakers. I had two kinds, each with beryllium drivers, and while I liked their crispness, they were too bright and intense for my listening space (or ears). I needed something which dispersed differently and with a bit more gentility. Enter the RAAL tweeter used on these Ascend ELX’s. Rather than going through individual tracks, I’ll mention some specific ways in which the tweeters showed their strengths on tracks recently referenced.

Vocals have detail without sibilance or shrillness; there is grain to Mühlemann’s voice in her Mozart arias. When she hits high notes there is altitude without any piercing shrillness (which was present in my Be tweeters).

Percussion instruments, especially in complex multi-track pieces such as Daft Punk’s Game of Love, have a Tempura-batter-lightness separating the various layers of the mix. Cymbal hits shimmer and play at different locations (including front to back).

Fretless and bowed string instruments also benefit from the RAAL tweeters. For example, the violin in the Thomas/Bach trio piece has serious edge to it, but again this forefronts its character rather than making it cringeworthy.

Finally, in the Towner/Peacock piece, the tweeter makes every detail of the classical guitar and double bass stand out: the clarity and air of the fretting, the soundboard tapping, the fret slides. These details, made possible with treble information, all deliver the character of the players, as their gestures fuse with the melody and rhythm.



I’ve heard a variety of tower speakers in my space and many others outside of it. I have not heard any in my home that make me want to trade in these Ascends. They easily best other speakers at or above their price range, including the Dynaudio Evoke 30’s, Martin Logan Motion 60 XTi, and the Focal Aria 936. These were all auditioned in my home.

Outside my home, there are other speakers which have been more precise and analytical (and expensive) than my Ascends, such as the Alumine 3 by Stenheim, the Rockport Avior II, and the Sasha DAW by Wilson, but these speakers don’t fit my desideratum mentioned above — to be easygoing, inviting, relaxed, musical, and power-able by medium watt tube amps or Class A solid state. Were I to replace my Ascends, the most likely candidate at this moment is the Devore O/96 speakers; however, this may not be a fair comparison, as the O/96’s are two way, wide-baffle speakers (a whole other sonic approach) and they cost nearly 3x as much.


These are excellent speakers that I would expect to compete with other products at two or more times their cost. This is not just because I own them; rather, it is based on my sense that Ascend hits an incredible sweet spot for delivering value. Why? They are a small company, headed by a talented engineer, with a focused product line that does not churn out new designs very often; the company is proud of its transparency (extensive tests are done and results are made available to consumers). Ascend sells direct, spends very little on marketing and advertising, and offers a 7 year transferable warranty. The company understands that they must offer products to both the home theater and two-channel enthusiast, but this just diversifies them as a company. At no point did I feel I was listening to “home theater” speakers, and a wealth of commentary by other two-channel hobbyists (search the web) will testify to this .

Professional reviewers should get off their butts. While Audioholics has given Ascend’s speakers a decent look (a while ago) it would be nice to see some more influential audio reviewers take a look at the new Ascend Towers. On YouTube, we might hope to hear from Ron at NRD, John Darko, Steve Guttenberg, Tarun A British Audiophile, and perhaps Jay’s Iyagi. Stereophile may be a lost cause (because Ascend sells direct and doesn’t advertise), but perhaps 6 Moons, Soundstage HiFi, and Audiophile Style might consider reviewing the ELX. I’m not holding my breath, but it might be good for these magazines’ bottom line to review a product which, I’ve heard, is flying off the shelves and blowing customers off their feet.

The Ascend ELX towers have provided me with hours of enjoyment; they have a modest footprint, deliver excellent tonal breadth, accuracy, and presence, and shower listeners with a deep and wide soundstage. They accommodate a wide range of amplifiers, and do not require a lot of power for medium rooms. Clichéd as it might be to say it, these speakers make music, not sound, warmly inviting the listener to follow John Lennon’s advice: “Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream…”


1. Recordings used in this review.

2. Speaker Details and Specs (from Ascend website)

3. Notes on speaker development and improved performance by owner/engineer David Fabrikant.


1. Recordings mentioned in the review by artist name, song title.

Daft Punk Game of Love

Dire Straits Water of Love

Duo Brothers Tahini

Fred Thomas Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 649 (Bach, arr. Thomas)

Jolie Holland Poor Girl’s Blues

Juan Carlos Quintero Alone Together

Lady Blackbird Blackbird

Regula Mühlemann Vorrei Spiegarvi

Towner and Peacock Postcard to Salta

Villalobos and Lodebauer Recat ECM

Westerlies Robert Henry

2. Speaker Details and Specs (from Ascend website)

Typical In-Room Frequency Response 25Hz - 27kHz

Typical In-Room Sensitivity 90.5dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter

Nominal Impedance 8 ohms

Bass Extension (-6dB) 31Hz

Anechoic Frequency Response 36Hz - 27kHz +/- 3dB (based on Klippel NFS measurements)

Anechoic Sensitivity 87.5dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter

Dimensions H x W x D** 43" x 7.5" x 10.5"

Speaker Weight (each) 56 pounds

Shipping Weight (each) 65 pounds

Minimum Recommended Power At Listening Position for Specific Speaker Distances

3 Feet or Less 2 watts minimum

9 Feet or Less 14 watts minimum

15 Feet or Less 38 watts minimum

21 Feet or More 72 watts minimum

Measurements available:

Impedance/phase measurement:

Full specs available at:

3. Notes on speaker development and improved performance by owner/engineer Dave Fabrikant.

In a thread on the Ascend community forum, Dave Fabrikant the engineer and owner of Ascend announced the arrival of the new speaker design and explained a bit of how it came to be. He articulates the various goals for the speaker and notes that the previous version was popular and hard to improve. The Ascend towers were, he writes, “introduced 11 1⁄2 years ago and have truly stood the test of time, other than a few cosmetic changes, we have never made even a single change. We have almost always run a constant backorder, selling out continuously.”

Improvements were made to other speakers in Ascend’s line using additional technology, the Klippel Near Field Scanner. “Both the EXv2 and LX have surpassed the towers in certain very specific performance characteristics,” he writes. “With the LX, we surpassed the towers in overall dynamics, bass extension and power handling – with the EXv2, directivity and midrange accuracy and detail.” In conjunction with customer feedback, Fabrikant writes that he they had “the catalyst to developing something truly special: world-class products that compete with and even surpass nearly all other passive designs.” Additional time was needed for development and vetting of the speakers new LX woofers (and the acquisition of the Klippel NFS).”

The other ingredient in the upgrade was the crossover. Fabrikant writes,

“The real key to this project is in the unique crossover topology that we have been working on and trying to perfect for over a decade now. One of the problems with 3-way parallel crossovers is that there needs to be a very large capacitor in series with the midrange driver to form the high pass filter, which gently rolls off the lows. Such a large value series capacitor in series with the critical midrange driver causes some unavoidable issues. Amongst these are a large phase shift, distortion, and it also dampens dynamics. Then, to increase the high pass filter slope from 1st order to second order (12dB/octave) – you then must add the appropriate inductor in parallel after this capacitor. This then takes lows that should not reach the driver directly to ground.

To filter out the highs that are meant to go the tweeter, you then also add a low pass filter, (a series inductor with a parallel capacitor) – thus completing what is known as a bandpass filter for the midrange driver. The tweeter then uses a separate high pass filter while the woofer uses a low pass filter, and then these 3 filters are wired in parallel. This is the standard for crossover designs for 3-way speakers. It is a tried-and-true design, relatively simple to design and when done right, provides good results.

I have had an idea in my head for a different 3-way crossover topology for what must be 25 years now and we started work on this back when we first developed our towers. We made several samples, and the results were good, not great – and not better than the more simplistic and common crossover design we eventually went with.

With help from advanced computer modeling and hundreds of hours of NFS testing, we have finally been successful in developing this different crossover topology, that avoids the negatives of a large series capacitor as described previously while also routing much of those low frequencies that would normally go to ground, to the bass woofers.

The results are amazing, driver integration and overall directivity is about as good as it gets for a passive loudspeaker. Coherency is on par with the best 2-way speakers, yet this is a true 3-way. Dynamics are astounding as is bass response as this new crossover design mitigates those losses as I outlined above. Because phase response is more accurate, directivity is improved and this results in remarkable spaciousness, but not overly so such that center imaging is still focused and not dispersed.

We lose a small bit of overall efficiency, but this is offset by presenting an easier impedance load to the amplifier, so the amp uses less current and as such, has more headroom available.

In simple terms, this new crossover brings out the maximum potential of each transducer, sums them ideally and the results are clearly and instantly audible when it comes to dynamics, spaciousness and imaging.

For many reasons I won’t be publishing details on the circuits themselves, but it functions differently than a 3- way parallel crossover and the results have proven to be better than I had expected. I am honestly not sure if it would have been possible to properly design this without an NFS.

This is a unique, expensive, highly complex, 2-layer crossover that, with specific optimizations that we perform by hand, serves as the brains for 4 new versions of our towers, and 4 new versions of our Horizon!”

Differences from the previous version of the towers are, by Fabrikant’s own admissions, shocking. He a follow up post to the previous one, he writes about the change and adds a bit more about the crossover, “It is hard to describe the differences in performance between our original towers and our ELX, but it is both dramatic and shocking. Every aspect of our original towers has been significantly improved upon and the differences are clearly audible. In fact, and I personally found this as somewhat bothersome since our original towers have been so beloved by so many, direct level matched A/B comparisons make the original towers sound constrained and lifeless. Others who have done this same comparison will agree.

ELX towers and horizons are incredibly spacious sounding, with shocking dynamics and near full-range bass extension, massive midbass punch that you can truly feel, combined with perfect tonal balance and accuracy. Of course, resolution and detail are off the charts – thanks to using the absolute best ribbon tweeter on the planet, combined with a purely custom SEAS Excel Curv cone driver for the midrange, of which the 2 combined present a near perfect directivity match.”

Regarding efficiency and use for home theater vs. two-channel, he adds,

“As I had previously mentioned, with our new crossover topology, we lose a small bit of efficiency, so the ELX Tower and ELX Horizon will come in with a sensitivity rating of 87.5dB anechoic, 90.5dB typical in-room. For the ELX Tower, -6dB point for bass extension is a remarkable 33Hz, with typical in-room bass extension to 25Hz and even lower. No subwoofer is needed with these speakers, but we do still recommend one for home theater usage.

Distortion, even at high volume levels, is extremely well controlled. These speakers are ideal for 2-channel music purists and also for those seeking the most dynamic, accurate and immersive home theater. There is no source material or audible frequency range that our ELX line cannot produce with accuracy, realistic dynamics and, if demanded, reference level volume levels.

All this performance in a stunning, slim and compact, non-resonant, environmentally friendly 3-ply layered bamboo cabinet.”

SOURCE: “We Saved The Best For Last! Introducing our ELX line of towers and horizons!” by davef (David Fabrikant), Administrator; 11-28-2022, posts #1 and #2. URL:!




I owned some Bose, JBL and Altec Lansing among others. Of course heard many different brands over the years mainly in friends setups and some in store. However my post was a generalization of how incredibly spacious and clear the Ascend towers with raals sound. And I forgot to mention how impressive their bass is for such small woofers. Outstanding speakers for the money imo.

Post removed 


Thanks for the excellent review! While you may not be a professional reviewer, you covered all the bases and checked all the boxes as far as I’m concerned. Give yourself credit for providing context and personal listening experience for those of us willing to give credence to that. Your effort, information, and insights are greatly appreciated.

Relying on professional reviews can sometimes be a crap shoot … in-home auditions notwithstanding. At least that’s been my experience. Dave Thomas’ (Stereo Times) Mobile Fidelity OML-2 review was spot on. Herb Riechert (Stereophile) comparing the Tekton Enzo XL to $50,000 speakers was, shall we say, a bit over the top.

I owned the Ascend CMT-340’s years ago and still have one for center channel HT duty. The originals went with my daughter when she moved away to school 16 years ago. She still has them in her HT system. IMHO, they are hard to beat in terms of price/performance.

More recently I have been in discussions with Dave Fabrikant regarding the ELX Tower design and comparing it with Salk’s BePure 2 with Purifi drivers. He makes a compelling argument for selecting SEAS drivers over Purifi. To say Dave is passionate about how his speakers are designed, engineered, and measured is indeed an understatement! Now that Salk is winding down operations, the BePure 2’s are off the table.

Based on your review and the Steve Hoffman forum user (johnnypaddock) preferring his ELX Tower to his Audio Note system, I am definitely looking forward to getting the ELX Towers in for an audition in the not-too-distant future. Dave is pretty accessible and responsive, so he’ll be able to answer any questions that might come up.

Thank you again for sharing this review. All the best.

Happy Listening!

Thanks for the review. Nice to see someone real, review a decently priced speaker from a company I had never heard of. I like that a whole lot.

@curiousjim  Thank you, Sir!
@baylinor  The RAALs are very good sounding tweeters to my ears, too.
@strateahed  Thanks for the kind words! Your comment on Herb Reichert rang a chord for me. He recently said in an interview that he's only given negative reviews to 5 products in his reviewing career and he sees no need for negative reviews. Imagine if we did science or, heck, restaurant reviews without negative reviews. There would be no progress. Reichert is more or less admitting, though he's not really aware of it, that his job is a sinecure. 

As for your trial of the ELX, keep in mind that if you get the older model, the upgrade to the ELX is fairly straightforward and you might save real $$. 

@awboat  Thank you. There is so much buzz around the companies with money for PR, advertising, marketing. I have a softspot for the Ascends, the Fritz's, the little guy (or gal!) in this business.