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NHT Absolute Tower Conclusion

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Absolute Tower Opposed

NHT Absolute Tower Pair

The NHT Absolute Tower is really a well engineered speaker system at a reasonable price. Audiophile sound, superb measurements and awesome finish and build make this a high value speaker at $1100 per pair. A subwoofer is required but easy to mate. The polar response can cause a little extra energy in the 3-5kHz region if the room is full of hard surfaces but otherwise the on and off-axis response are very flat throughout its intended design range. This is truly a great speaker with legendary NHT performance. This speaker has a small footprint and will work equally well for 2.1 channel listening or home theater. Highly recommended!


NHT Absolute Tower Speaker Video Review

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStar
SoundstageStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStarhalf-star
About the author:
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Joel Foust's experience in quality control, product certifications and do-it-yourself loudspeaker design bode well for the consistent application and development of in-depth loudspeaker testing. Joel is committed to providing accurate results that are comparable for each loudspeaker tested.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Steve81 posts on August 13, 2014 12:40
konajoe, post: 1045846
But, in this particular case, the author went out of his way to report that this speaker was different in this respect.

Hi Joe,

The issue in question isn't uncommon:
Between the crossover point of 2.2kHz and 5kHz, the tweeter is transitioning across the angled chamfer, increasing the output off-axis. This seems like a good thing because the response is close to linear when sitting up to 30 degrees off axis. However, this has consequences in rooms without acoustic treatments.

This is a simple matter of a directivity mismatch, which is to say a 1“ tweeter will have a very wide dispersion pattern at the bottom of its passband (i.e. where the wavelengths are large with respect to driver diameter), while a 5.25” midrange driver's dispersion will be narrowing at the top of its passband (i.e. where the wavelengths are getting smaller with respect to driver diameter).

There are a couple common ways around this:

1. As seen in NHT's Classic 4 tower and Classic 3 bookshelf, you can use a smaller midrange driver; in the case of the NHTs, they use a 2" dome midrange down to 800Hz, which ensures a wide dispersion pattern throughout the midrange.

2. Use a waveguide or horn to constrain the tweeter's dispersion, which you can see on a lot of Harman speakers (JBL, Infinity, Revel), KEF, etc.

XTZ also looks to have an interesting solution with their Cinema series, i.e. use an array of tightly spaced tweeters down to a lower XO point of 1.2kHz, with only one of them handling the band above 3kHz.
alphaiii posts on August 13, 2014 12:19
I think the reviewer is making the point that, because of the chamfered baffle, some excess off-axis energy in the 3-5kHz range is projected into the room… In a reflective room, this excess may be perceived as brightness, or unforgiving mid-treble. As the reviewer mentions, some placement adjustments can help counter that.

I found the Absolute Towers to sound bit forward in my room, and liked the Classic Three better (which did not sound forward in my room)… but I can't say it was because of that 3-5kHz region…
AcuDefTechGuy posts on August 13, 2014 12:07
konajoe, post: 1045846
But, in this particular case, the author went out of his way to report that this speaker was different in this respect. He doesn't say “unforgiving in reflective rooms” about all speakers. He goes out of his way to explain, in depth, why this would be so. I'm not sure he would go out of his way to note this as a ‘con’ if it were true for all speakers.

As a total newb, I hate to appear that I am disagreeing with knowledgeable folks who have been very helpful.

My younger brother still has the NHT SuperZero bookshelf speakers + SW2P sub I gave him. The NHT system now resides in his large family room. This room is reflective as hell - I mean you can hear the echo when you clap your hands.

Amazingly, the NHT still manages to sound good.

I think the take-home message here is that in general, great speakers tend to sound good in most rooms. They sound best in the better rooms, but they still sound pretty good in lesser rooms. These NHT speakers are just one such example.
zieglj01 posts on August 13, 2014 11:36
konajoe, post: 1045846
But, in this particular case, the author went out of his way to report that this speaker was different in this respect. He doesn't say “unforgiving in reflective rooms” about all speakers. He goes out of his way to explain, in depth, why this would be so. I'm not sure he would go out of his way to note this as a ‘con’ if it were true for all speakers.

As a total newb, I hate to appear that I am disagreeing with knowledgeable folks who have been very helpful.

NHT does not make sharp/edgy and aggressive speakers - their speakers do measure nice.

I have owned about 85 sets of speakers, including some NHT ones - and the room/rooms, are important.
None of these speakers would sound good with hard and reflective surfaces all around. Now it is really cool,
what reducing reflections can do - with something like carpet/rugs, curtains, some soft furniture - and with
some pictures and/or other type things on walls that do help. Do not need to get real fancy - however, it is
cool and nice, to even tame the first reflections.

Your option choice and call - do what you wish - may (hope) you enjoy the adventure.
konajoe posts on August 13, 2014 06:34
But, in this particular case, the author went out of his way to report that this speaker was different in this respect. He doesn't say “unforgiving in reflective rooms” about all speakers. He goes out of his way to explain, in depth, why this would be so. I'm not sure he would go out of his way to note this as a ‘con’ if it were true for all speakers.

As a total newb, I hate to appear that I am disagreeing with knowledgeable folks who have been very helpful.
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