Ascendant dumps Adire and XBL2

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I caught this in a car audio forum. i dont know nearly enough to comment on what really happened, so i'll just stick to the reporting:

..:: Announcement ::..

As most of our customers know, we are a licensee of XBL2^TM technology. We use it in all of our products to date. We have been very supportive of this technology for its performance and advantages over some other standard motor technologies. We also pay a royalty directly to Adire Audio for every driver that we produce for the use of this technology. We have had nothing but praise for the performance of this technology in our products and have vocally supported XBL2^TM on the internet and to our customers.

It recently has come to our attention that there was a public statement made by the owner of Adire Audio. He commented specifically about XBL^2 technology being used by companies other than themselves.

This is the quoted reply from Dan Wiggins from Adire Audio in regards to XBL^2:

"You even presume that other XBL^2 drivers are equivalent to ours... Ever done some objective measurements to back that up? I have, and many OEMs have, and I can tell you that just because it says XBL^2 does not mean it's equal to all other XBL^2 drivers..."

After spending thousands of dollars on tooling the XBL2^TM motors for our Atlas and Avalanche subwoofers as well as paying thousands of dollars in royalties for their technology, we find the above statement to be rather disconcerting. To make a statement like this about their technology just doesn't make sense to us. Why would anybody want to license XBL2^TM from Adire if they are going to publicly state "just because it says XBL^2 does not mean it's equal to all other XBL^2 drivers..." Why would we want to license a technology from a company that actually disparages their own technology?

We are no longer comfortable carrying or using XBL2^TM technology in our products.

We have another technology available to us that performs virtually the same if not better and there is no royalty fee. After reading the above post from Mr. Wiggins, we have decided to re-tool our subwoofer motors and use this new technology instead.

To make this as clear as possible, we would like to reiterate our stance: We were VERY happy with XBL2^TM technology in our products. It offered some advantages over other motors. However, we refuse to use a technology when the company we are licensing it from makes a statement that is detrimental to their licensees.

Beyond this, we have a low distortion flat-BL technology waiting in the wings which does not cost us anything to use. We feel that this switch was made necessary by the public comments outlined above.

As a result, we will be selling off the remainder of our XBL2^TM subwoofers at a reduced price. The focus will now be to move on to our other technology. We have a relatively limited number of drivers available. We want to clear out the remainder of XBL2^TM subwoofers to make room for the mk II versions of the Avalanche and the Atlas as well as the other new subwoofer line(s) that we will be offering. The remaining Atlas subwoofers should be ready within one month at the latest. The Avalanche subwoofers will be ready within two months at the latest.
..:: Pricing ::..

The price for the remaining subwoofers will be as follows:

Atlas 12 - $145 $100

Atlas 15 - $160 $105

Avalanche 12 - $280 $200

Avalanche 15 - $299 $225

Avalanche 18 - $399 $275

As mentioned above, there is a relatively limited number of subwoofers that will be available for sale. Once they are gone, they are gone. The majority of drivers for sale will be the Avalanche 12. We do not expect the drivers to last long at these prices. We will be offering the drivers for sale before they are completely assembled as many will want to "reserve a place in line" to take advantage of the one-time lower prices. We anticipate that many people will want to take advantage of this one-time situation and get an exceptional driver or two at an unusually low price.
..:: Ordering ::..

We will be taking all orders over the phone. Since we anticipate a vary high volume of calls, emails will take longer than normal to answer. We apologize ahead of time to those who are inconvenienced.

Phone: 1-815-477-2423

Store Hours: 10 am - 8 pm
..:: Availability ::..

To clarify the driver availability, here is where we stand: We are awaiting the delivery of the custom dust caps for the remainder of both the Avalanche and Atlas subwoofers. The last batch of dust caps was sent with the wrong diameter/angle mounting rings that attach the carbon fiber dust cap to the cone itself. The Atlas subwoofers will be ready to ship within one month at the latest. The Avalanche subwoofers will be ready within two months at the latest.
..:: New Drivers and Warranty ::..

After reading the above paragraphs, most will undoubtedly have a few serious questions on their mind. We will answer them for you right here and now.

1) How will your new products perform without XBL2^TM technology?

As stated earlier, we have access to another technology that does virtually the same thing as XBL^2. It gives the driver a flat BL curve just like XBL2^TM. However, this technology does not cost us anything to use. We actually modeled up our new 6.5 inch midrange in both XBL2^TM and the new technology and ended up with nearly identical results. The 6.5 will now also be built with this non-XBL2^TM technology.

Power handling etc. is the same if not a little higher. Specs on the new versions of our subwoofers will also be very similar, although they may change slightly if we choose improve the drivers further. The new versions of the Avalanche and Atlas will offer the same performance as the originals, just with a different approach to a flat BL curve.

2) What about the support for existing Avalanche and Atlas subwoofers?

We will continue to stock replacement parts for existing Avalanche and Atlas drivers. Our warranty continues to exist as stated on all of our drivers. Recones will be just as easy to obtain in the future as they are right now. The soft parts (cone, surround, spider, dust cap, etc.) for both drivers are the same. This makes repairs and service very simple and easy.

3) What are Ascendant Audio's plans for the future?

Our company is growing very quickly thanks to the support of our customers and their enjoyment of our products. We have already begun tooling the new versions of the Avalanche and the Atlas. However, there is also at least one other subwoofer line that has been designed and will probably be released with the newer Avalanche and Atlas subwoofers. Our customer support will continue to be our top priority. Our subwoofers will also continue to be produced in the U.S. not overseas. We are not going anywhere. We are simply clearing out our remaining XBL2^TM stock and rebuilding our lineup with the newer technology. Our success so far has been a result of us taking care of our customers, and we want to continue to do so with the best technology available.
Apparently DW has responded in another forum:

"My ONLY dealings with Chad was to inform him when he first rolled his site that he had to note that XBL^2 is a trademark of Adire Audio. That's it. In fact, we don't even have a license agreement with him - he did it through a licensee of us (the build house); it was a sublicense. Never paid a license fee directly to us, never even had a signed agreement or NDA with us.

It came up as a result of someone basically stating "hey, all XBL^2 drivers are the same so choose the lowest priced one". The answer - they're not. I can't speak for all the different models out there (because I haven't looked at them all), but compared to our units - which I designed - there are some that are better, some that are as good, and some that aren't.

I thought it would be obvious that not all drivers are equal, but I guess explicitly stating so is an affront... It's not like all companies don't claim their product is better than everyone else's! I guess if that offends people, well, so be it...

Dan Wiggins
Adire Audio"

I too am curious to know what kind of motor they plan on using. i'm guessing underhung?
It seems to me like adire has been making some really dumb moves lately. First a big price jump without any reasonable explination, And now this...

It sounds to me like dan wiggins has been reading some of these threads(and I'm pretty sure he has) and realized when adire had that price jump that most of us would stop buying from them and switch to ascendant. To try and compensate he might have made that statement "not all XBL^2 drivers are equal" to make it sound like adire is the best. Acendant didnt like that at all obviously.

I'll definately take a look at this new technology ascendant is using. I'm sure its not that hard to come up with something which performs better than XBL^2, but cost is the real issue.
I can understand that Adire might want to enter a different market segment, one where they have higher margins. The downside is that many of us DIYers are cheap -- we might be willing to spend some dollars, but we're expecting a lot of bang for the buck. As a result, I think their target demographic might be a bit different.

What I have yet to see is some post stating that the new "non XBL^2" technology in the latest drivers is as good as XBL^2 or better. Higher prices AND lower quality would be an even harder sell.
Adire Audio has said in past diy is ~5% of thier market, if so I dont think they are really hurting from these moves at all. Though when making statements like that, its best to qualify them or at least back it up with that data youve seen.

I had thought in past the price difference was a question of diminishing returns, a Tumult has more output and lower vas than an Avalanche 15, but costs way more. If you want the most oomph in the least space and have a trust fund, theres no question the Tumults are better.

Not all xbl2 motors are the same, but the Atlas drivers were certainly nicer than the non xbl2 Tempest and Shiva were.
While it is saddening that this happened, I for one am pretty stoked that I saved 90 bucks on a pair of Atlas 12's....Probably should have bought more since I doubt I'll get through over the phone again....

In any case, as long as Ascendant keeps up the quality and keeps down the price, I'll definitely look to them first. I have no problem with Adire, the Shiva is the reason I got into DIY, but if they can't keep the prices down to what the average customer can afford, then I'll take my business elsewhere.
danvan said:
While it is saddening that this happened, I for one am pretty stoked that I saved 90 bucks on a pair of Atlas 12's

Same here. In fact, it was this that made me stop waiting for CSS's pricing to come out for the Adire product. Frankly, I was leaning more towards the Ascendent product anyway... the price change just sealed the deal. Got a pair of 12's coming.

Attention Canucks: Be prepared to pay a fairly hefty price for shipping through FedEx. Shipping for me was $58 U.S. for the pair

*** This sounds to me like a convenient excuse to dump the licenced technology for a free one. ***

If a company bases their entire product strategy on a comment like "everything that uses X tech. is not the same" then they are boneheads. Especially if they didn't FIRST go back to Dan and say "hey is this a good or bad motor?" I can understand dumping or perhaps *changing* the motor to be better, if Dan says it's one of the worse, but to believe this story as-told is asinine.


/edit: Adire has an advanced technology with many positive features. Dan Wiggins also knows his way around the transducer design lab. If he decides to use non XBL2 motors on some stuff, how can you blame him? Nobody ever (seriously) said this was the be-all, end-all loudspeaker motor configuration, just that it's really good for high-power, LONG excursion drivers.

It's not just driver prices that are surprisingly high. An inquiry about a certain Adire OEM product returned the surprising news that the cost is well over 100% more than a highly regarded competitor's. I was very interested in the product, but what can you do? Really makes me scratch my head. :cannotbe:
Dont be dumb guys,, i got it all figured out

Ok, heres the real deal about adire, 100% non oppinionated facts

1. you cant buy adire from adire anymore
2. you buy it from dealers.
3.the prices on the website, ARE MSRP
4. the dealer prices should be no where near that
5. I am a dealer
6. Adire actually made they're prices better
7. The whole plan was to make it easier for the dealers to sell the stuff.
8. whatever ascendant said,,,, i wouldn't make to much of it. if adire built those for ascendant,, think about what they do for themselves.

thank you,.., i'd love to hear some replys.
Well, I was inquiring as an OEM (manufacturer, that is, but dealer works if you prefer), and it wasn't about drivers. And I'm not comparing the price to Adire's previous price, or to prices of any other OEM's that use this or a similar licensed technology under a different name. I'm comparing their OEM pricing to what other OEM suppliers with a similarly performing product are offering. And I'm as surprised as anyone else at the huge price discrepancy. I'm not naming names, but I'm not comparing to some run-of-the-mill Chinese mass produced product either... far from it.

In fact, it has taken me two weeks to respond to Adire's notifying me of their pricing because I have been scratching my head trying to figure out why the large difference. I really would prefer the Adire product (for a variety of reasons), but not at that cost. I'm not mad, or miffed, or complaining... just sad really.

And I know... this has very little to do with the changes in their drivers' lineup/prices/distribution/licensing/etc. :smash:
I'm sure the majority of you understand this, but just to elaborate a little...

As it happens, the new Adire prices are just part of the evolution of the business. If they want to become a more mainstream brand they need a dealer network, which means they can't sell direct. I mean, why buy through a dealer if I can get the same product right from the manufaturer for the same price? Audiobahn used to be in a similar position, a fairly unknown brand, then all the sudden started appearing in Crutchfield and whatnot as they went 'public'. The problem is these new subs, for the most part, are inferior to their old ones. I pray that Adire will continue selling superior products, as well as developing new technology (e.g. Parthenon) instead of just trying to make a buck.
The upside from this whole bit is that smaller companies (Ascendant, RE, and Stryke are the most notable) can now get their feet wet off of smaller markets (us) while Adire makes it big playin with JL, Orion, etc. As for the "new technology" that Ascendant plans on unveiling in the near future, I'm anxious to see how it turns out. Ascendant obviously had this planned in advance (as Mr. Wiggins said on as they are planning on selling this new product in a few months. I don't particularly agree with their method of separating from Adire/XBL^2, but I definitely think that we need more options than JUST XBL^2. New technology helps keep things going in audio, much as in every other field, and this will help competition and perhaps even increase sales for both companies. The way I see it, everybody wins.
Yeah caught the Ascendant forum last night about the whole shpiel.. ordered a 2nd Atlas12 today. Hmm.. stereo subs, who needs surround anyway. The Av18's are very tempting, moreso than before obviously. Must... resist....

There are deals popping up alot now it seems for better driver technology, this is another one. I go where its cheapest.
Re: Dont be dumb guys,, i got it all figured out

jadenlinkletter said:
8. whatever ascendant said,,,, i wouldn't make to much of it. if adire built those for ascendant,, think about what they do for themselves.

Ascendant Audio drivers are 100% custom made by Ascendant Audio. They only use XBL^2 "technology". Adire Audio didn't help Ascendant Audio at all. Adire Audio wasn't even aware of Ascendant Audio before Ascendant Audio website became online.
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