1999 Premiere at High End in Frankfurt
The first loudspeakers to get close to the ideal speaker, and fitted with SASB, VTA and the special ASCENDO filters, were the models System M and System K.
The unofficial start of ASCENDO took place at High End in Frankfurt, in 1999. There, for the first time, System M, System K and DASK1 were presented to a music-enthusiastic audience. Already a short time afterwards a review of System M + DASK could be arranged with Audiophile. The review, carried out by Bernd Theis, concluded: currently the best money can buy, both sonically and technically.
1999 Start of System Series
The loudspeakers of the System-Series are characterized by their modular design with strictly separate treble and low/midrange units. This design allows for superior isolation of the units and thus for a marked increase in resolution as well as the precise adjustment of the treble unit to the listening position. In addition to that all System-Series models are fitted with SASB, VTA and the innovative ASCENDO crossovers.
The year 1999 marks the beginning of the ASCENDO history with System MS and System K. System Z-S followed in 2000, System E in 2001. In 2003 System ZF3 and System MF2 were presented for the first time. In 2004 the MKII version of System E was launched. System F, the successor to System E, followed in 2009. The MKII version of System F has been available since 2012.
In 2013 System M5 and System Z5 replaced System M and System Z, by then in their fourth stage of development.
Next to developing and producing loudspeakers yet another business segment was established in 2001 with the Room-Tools software. Room-Tools has been the first software for measuring and analysing room acoustics, which is easy to operate and run via mobile devices such as notebooks. Soon afterwards Room-Tools was established in the professional sector. With Room-Tools the acoustic properties of large concert halls, recording and TV studios, private homes, but also tunnels and industrial buildings, are measured. For example ahead of a “ Wetten Daß“ TV-show the ZDF sound engineers were trained with Room-Tools. Siemens, T-Online, Stockfisch Records, ARD, WDR, Schule für Rundfunktechnik (School for Broadcast Technology), Institut für Rundfunktechnik (Institute for Broadcast Technology), Institut für Beschallungstechnik (Institute for Public Address Systems) etc. are yet further users.
Already at an early stage the great R&D potential of ASCENDO was brought to the attention of industries. Already from 2000 onwards first customized developments for commercial clients in the fields of professional audio and High End audio were carried out successfully. The Akustik Funkmesssonde (acoustic wireless probe) and the Netzwerkmanager (network manager) are suitable examples to illustrate ASCENDO´s service portfolio.
Development and production of a wireless probe for an engineering office in Berlin. It is the first battery-powered acoustic wireless probe, fully active and remote controlled, in the world, and still in daily use. The ASCENDO wireless probe can be placed in an enclosed space and controlled from the outside, without running cables. So it is no longer necessary to carry along and connect separate amplifiers, together with loudspeaker and signal leads. No power connection is needed, which is a further substantial advantage, in particular at skeleton construction work. These features were setting standards in 2002.
International marketing of the ASCENDO brand started in 2003, with its participation in the CES at Las Vegas. From the beginning the loudspeakers caused a stir.
David Chesky´s comment on the sound of System M: the best he had heard for a long time. Jonathin Valin wrote in “the absolute sound“: ASCENDO´s System M sounds more dynamic, more detailed, more natural and more engaging than anything I have heard till now.
Awards such as “Best Performance of the Year / AUDIO ART Taiwan“, or “Products of the Year / HiFi Review Hong Kong“ followed. International awards on a regular basis confirm the outstanding sound quality of ASCENDO loudspeakers.
2004 Presentation of the C Series
The development of the C Series started in 2002. The C5 was the first loudspeaker to be launched, in 2004, followed by the C7 in 2005, and the C8 in 2007. Fitted with the time-aligned Coax point source, the patented SASB low / midrange system (C7 and C8), and the special crossover design, the C Series loudspeakers, too, combine perfect time response with high efficiency in a price range well below € 10.000. For the first time the rear TOS unit allowed for switching from the perfect hemispherical radiation characteristic of a studio monitor to the marvellously spatial and airy sound image of a dipole loudspeaker.
When first presented at the High End of 2007 the C8 instantly caused a stir. In spite of a comparatively low price tag of € 5.800 for a pair of C8 it ranked first and second at the Best Sound of Show Awards, and beat loudspeakers selling for far more than € 100.000. One year later the C8 was able to repeat this success. By winning a comparison test against a € 30.000 loudspeaker in the USA this outstanding price-performance ratio of the C8 was confirmed.
In 2007 the development of the network manager, comprising DSP management and FIR filters for central line array, for one of the globally most renowned producers of public address systems, was begun. It took several years to complete. The world´s biggest and most important concert halls, theatres, and sports arenas are furnished with the line arrays of this client. Concerts of some of the best-known artists, like e.g. Robbie Williams, make use of this line array system.
All loudspeakers and DSP-regulated amplifiers of all the arrays are interconnected and centrally controlled via the network manager. Since the music data are also spread to the loudspeakers via the network, the network manager must run absolutely latency-free and stable. At larger concerts several hundreds of units, linked with the network manager, are in use.
2011 Farewell to Norbert Heinz
In 2011 Norbert Heinz left the company due to illness. Since mid-2010 the development of new and the maintenance of existent products has been carried out by a team consisting of Dipl. Phys. Jürgen Scheuring, Geoffrey Heinzel and Stefan Köpf. From the summer of 2011 Michael Rissling has joined the team as product manager. In the autumn of 2011 production was relocated from Grafenberg to a historical building in Franconian Ansbach, 300 km away. In the 16th century this new site was used as a court house, hence the street name: Galgenmühle (gallows mill).
Over the past 400 years the “Galgenmühle“ has been extended continuously. In the previous century, e.g., high-precision tools were made there. This tradition has been carried on by ASCENDO since 2011. On roughly 800 square meters the building provides the perfect atmosphere for realising the most sophisticated loudspeaker technology.
At the End of 2011
At the end of 2011 the development of the new D-Series and the revolutionary ASCENDO cinema system was started.
2012 Connection Processes / Internal Wiring
The sound of a loudspeaker is greatly influenced by the quality standard of solder connections and internal wiring. To this end intensified research, together with the cable specialists of High End Masterclass, was carried out in 2012. The three developed solutions for internal wiring and the new connection processes result in a marked increase of fine resolution and transparency. The new connection processes are very timeconsuming. However, they guarantee a perfect solder connection - even with large cable cross sections - without damaging the heat-sensitive Rhodium of the Furutech plugs.
Additionally the terminals of the RMR-cable harness, together with the connecting cables to the crossover are very briefly exposed to extreme heat. This process, developed by High End Masterclass, gives the cables and terminals a defined directionality. The improvement in sound is immediately audible.
2013 System M5 and System Z5
The System M5 and System Z5 loudspeakers, launched in 2013, were the first to benefit from the new pioneering cables and connection processes. Retaining the classic Bauhaus design of the System MS and System ZF3 almost all components that have an influence on the sound were improved. The transient response of tones is perceived earlier and their decay considerably longer. The fine resolution of the System M5 and the System Z5 is phenomenal. In simple terms: you hear more, and you hear it earlier.
2013 C-Series and System F MKII
In the course of 2013 all C-Series loudspeakers, as well as the System F MKII speakers, were upgraded to the new internal wiring.
2014 Introduction of the D Series
A new ASCENDO era is introduced by the D9 and D7 loudspeakers, available from 2014 on , and, for the first time, fitted with SASB MKII and TOS MKII. SASB MKII allows for an even better mass / drive ratio, with an improved linear cone excursion of the woofers. Lowfrequency signals are reproduced faster and more precisely, with more extended dynamics. The second-generation TOS effects an even more airy and three-dimensional sound image.
In addition to that the D-Series models, fitted with ASCENDO´s Coax point source and SASB MKII are setting a benchmark regarding the reproduction of human voices, and three-dimensionality.
2015 The Revolutionary Cinema System
ASCENDO´s revolutionary cinema system (ASCENDO Immersive Audio GmbH), a world debut, provides various technological innovations. It incorporates the substantial ASCENDO know-how in the fields of high end loudspeakers, as well as public address and network technology.
The Coaxial Cinema Reference Monitors (CCRM) and the SMS subwoofers are worldwide the first fully active, AVB compatible and certified, DSP controlled surround system, which presently provides the best-possible cinema sound reproduction. The single loudspeakers are centrally network controlled by a tablet. Here all audio data are streamed to the loudspeakers in high resolution and latency-free via the AVB network. This pioneering technology allows for a constant flow of data between transmitters and also several receivers, and thus streaming in real time.
You cannot make sure with conventional hifi / high end streaming when and if the transmitted data packets arrive at the sender´s end. Standard streaming of A/V content is operated by the intermediate buffering of several seconds of the stream, and with only one play-back tool that receives all audio channels simultaneously. Thus real-time audio and video cannot be transmitted.
The dynamic prowess of the active and DSP-controlled loudspeakers, equipped exclusively with high-performance chassis from the professional audio range, is enormous. However, they also comprise the indisputable advantages of the best point sources, such as supreme voice intelligibility, excellent symmetrical dispersion and a homogeneous reproduction with perfect time response. The active SMS subwoofers play extremely fast and deep and are able, if required, to shake large rooms.
This system is highly flexible. Starting from a 5.1 setup it can easily be extended to a fullfledged 64 channel (and more) Atmos cinema. There is also the unique option of connecting various cinema processors. All kinds of cinema formats are supported, of course. Moreover big air-conditioned cabinets for storing the technical equipment are no longer necessary. So, in its onwall-/ inwall-version it can also be installed easily in domestic environments, hardly visible and still with its full potential.
It goes without saying that all loudspeakers and subwoofers are fitted with analogue and digital (SPDIF) inputs, for conventional connections.