Usher Audio's S-520

Picked up a pair of these little jewels a few weeks ago.
I've found them to be a sort of "Diamond in the rough".
Amazing how musical they are. How deep and tight their bass presentation is. How well built they are for their meager asking price ($400 pair). How little they sound like the little box they are, compared to my other bookself speakers, which in comparsion to the S-520 sound boxy and closed in.
Wonderful little speaker that has me wondering "maybe these little guys are all I need to bring sonic nirvana to my listening room!
Anybody else out there who heard these?

Hi, No not the 520's....but I felt the same when I heard the Usher 6371's I now own. Usher is on to something extrodinary IMO. I have been around the block and back with speakers over the years, and I really like what I hear from the Ushers.Throw a good little tube integrated on them and kick back and be amazed! happy listening! :) Ken
I found their sound consistently impressive at shows. I did not really want to like their sound because it looked like they were copying the physical look of other manufacturers, but something does seems right about the sound.
Hi Ken, Thanks for the response.
I agree Usher is on to something extrodinary!

Their cosmetics/build quality are incredible at their price point and they sound better than they look, IMHO!

Back to the S-520, I guess there's not many owners here as of yet. I have a feeling that's going to change with time. I can't wait to read a few reviews when/if they happen.
I just can't believe how musical they are! I've been doing some A/B listening and the S-520 continue to impress and amaze.
I bought a pair last year with the intention of using them in my office at work. After bringing them home and setting them up in my second system to break in, I was so impressed that I decided to keep them at home.

I can't say I did much comparison with other speakers in the price range, but I think their build and sound are excellent.
Mf2, Same thing happened with me and the S-520s. I really wasn't expecting much, maybe a good bedroom speaker. Imagine my surprise when they sounded better than all the other bookself monitor type speakers in my possession, including some much more expensive units? geoh
I bought a pair of the 520's for my sons first system about 1 1/2 years ago. It is paired with a Sharp EX-SD111 AM/FM/CE all in one unit.

If you want to take them to the next level, Bill Baker of Response Audio provides a relatively inexpensive upgrade and transforms the speaker into simply the best monitor under $1K. Link:

Well I'm still a happy S-520 owner but there's a new gun in town. I recently picked up a pair of NHT's SB3 for comparsions sake. A/B against each other..... the NHT's have come out of top! While the S-520's have a nice revealing mid-range and treble presentation, the SB3's have those frequencies covered and add a deeper, fuller, richer bass presentation. The S-520's acutally sound small by comparsion, which of course their woofer is considerably smaller than that of the SB3's. The S-520s are more efficent than the SB3s, and are a ported design with little to no port noise, but the NHTs sound is bigger, smoother and more dynamic.
So the new king of affordable small bookselves, for me at least, is the NHT SB3!
Geoh, I'm happy to read your favorable impressions of the NHT SB3. I've been a satisfied NHT SB3 owner for 2 years now. I haven't had the chance to compare them with many other speakers, so I hesitate to proclaim them "The best I've ever heard!", because that wouldn't mean much, but I am very impressed with their sound. I was disappointed when Stereophile rated them Class D after their very positive review (Novemeber 2002), but I see the latest Stereophile issue (April 2005) bumps them up to Class C. I don't place too much emphasis on such lists, but I do think the SB3 tends to get overlooked by many. I'd be curious to know how you think the SB3 stacks up against any other speakers you audition.

Best regards,
Hi Todd,
Well a local friend of mine and I did a sort of bookshelf shootout recently. We pitted two pairs of speakers against each other with the winner moving on and against the next pair. We had 6 pair of bookshelf speakers available for the shootout. They were:
Ascend CBM-170
Onix Ref 1
Usher S-520
Phase Tech V-4
Von Schweikert VR-1
First shootout was between the
V-4s vs Ascend, the Ascend won easily with the fuller sound, deeper bass, and overall excellent sound quailty
Next up
Ascend vs Usher S-520, this was very close but the Usher's won out because of their better (more open) high frequency extension and enough bass extension to nearly equal the Ascend's larger woofer.
Next up
Usher vs Onix Ref 1, surprisingly the Usher also won this comparison. The Onix displayed some annoying port noise with some material containing complex low frequency(such as the second track from the Jack Johnson Brushfire Fairytales CD). And the Ref 1's sounded a little thin compared to the Usher or Ascend.
Next up
Usher vs VR-1, this was a close call. I preferred the Usher sound while my friend preferred the VR-1's more mellow sound. The S-520's sound like a hotrod compared to the VR-1 "comfortable" Mercedes type sound. We went back to the Ascend vs the VR-1 and found these two speakers to have a lot more in common sound wise, with the VR-1 sound a little more "refined".
This was the end of our little shootout until the NHT SB3's showed up a few days later. After some break in, we pitted the SB3's against my favorite, the S-520. Then against the VR-1's, then against the Ascend. In all cases we both preferred the SB3's sound. They have a larger presentation, deeper, tighter bass, detailed extended highs (without ever sounding harsh), they just did everything a little bit better than the strengths of the others.
The SB3's made the Usher's sound thin on the bottom end.
Made the Ascend's sound a little on the small side, but the Ascend's never did anything that we didn't like. I could live with the Ascend's... happily. That is unless I had the SB3's around.
Same with the VR-1's. They are a great sounding bookshelf, but a little to mellow (laid back) for my taste.

This was a fun (and learning experience) experiment my friend and I performed. We plan on doing as many of these type of listening test as we can, doesn't take long and makes you listen more critically. Also these type of auditions help you detrimine what type of sound pushes your buttons.
Hi Geoh, Thanks for the feedback! I like reading "real world" comparison reviews like this... even though it's only one person's impression in the context of their system and their room, it's still helpful in forming an opinion about products of interest. I'm not familiar with the other speakers in your shootout, but I've read the VR-1's are well regarded. I compared my SB3's a while back against my Polk RT-35i speakers, and I definately preferred the SB3's for music. The Polks are very nice for their price point (half the cost of the SB3's), but the SB3's are clearly a more refined speaker. I have read that some consider the NHT SB3 a great speaker at twice its retail price. I'm not in a position to make that kind of judgement, but the SB3 is definately a great value. By the way, what amp and source are you using?