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Got my Polk Audio LSi9's...a few thoughts.

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by paulBAW, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    Well enough of this Paradigm love fest, I got my LSi9's today and have had several hours to listen to them. They aren't fully broken in yet. But there are a few things I can tell right away.

    I auditioned these speakers a number of months ago on an 2ES Sony receiver and a budget DVD/SACD player. All interconnets were Fisher Price quality. Yet I could still tell these were high quality speakers and the tweeter was so smooth, it couldn't be over looked. I rolled the dice and ordered a pair.

    I got them out of the box and they were as I remembered. Short DEEP little gems. The finish is top notch. I inspected for any scratchs or dents. I then hooked them up to a HK 525 A/V receiver and an HK DVD player. I had a few buddies around and we played some Nirvana on the floorstanding Infinity Alpha's. I then took the same "unplugged" disc and I threw it on the LSi9 bookshelves. Yah, for the hell of it I decided to A/B a bookshelve speakers against a same priced Floorstanding speakers. Right away I noticed how much better the tweeter was. If you really appreciate mid range and high's do yourself a favor and check this speaker out. These speakers sound NOTHING like the R or RTi series of Polks. If the RTi's were white then these speakers are black. They sound that different.

    The LSi's have the ability to toy with vocals and make them float in the room. The soundstage is quite large. The detail made me laugh to myself a few times. I was amazed at how well it was detailed yet still ultra smooth. As we continued to listen I felt more comfortable about the volume and I started to see just how far I could get. I was at about -10 on the HK 525 and the speakers were still singing without any strain. Everything remained smooth and detailed. The room we were in was rather large. 30x20. The speakers were about 2ft from the wall and bass was acceptable. A couple people were asking if I had the 10" Velodyne sub right next to it on at a very low volume. I had shut it off, yet people were still checking it. The bass response was decent. This speaker won't try and do things it can't do however. Despite what my buddies thought, a couple times I could tell it just gave up and rounded out some very low octaves. After 20minutes I turned it off. Putting the Infinity's back on we all realized how sloppy it was, and sometimes too punchy.

    When I got home I put a few CD's on and listened for a good 30-40mins on my last listen to my trusty old PSB 400's. I've had PSB speakers for over 12years now. I must say they have always served me well. Having heard my last track on the PSB's, I grabbed the Polk Audio's. I set them up on my old PSB stands. Might I recommend solid metal stands for these speakers. Even though they are 2inches shorter then my old PBS's the footprint is much deeper. The weight is greater as well. My PSB stands will do for now, but I will need metal stands. Finally I was going to hear them on a setup im more comfortable with. I used AR master series speaker wire, and plugged them into the sturdy banana's on the back of the LSi9s. I put the volume at the same spot on the NAD intergrated, got up, sat back and then enjoyed.

    Again, I can't say enough about the high's and mid range of these speakers. The detail and smoothness is first rate. The bass is much tighter too. The PSB's had alot of rolloff which sometimes covered up midrange and midbass. The Polks wont do that. They go down when they have to but they dont drop unless the recording demands it. I listend too everything from Chemical Brothers "I come with us" to Hole's "Live through This". On techno oriented tracks the LSi9's will keep up with the punch. They are a punchy speaker in that regard. Playing Organ music on these speakers won't impress but they do have punch. I started picking through more of my CD's. The Police on SACD. Sound less edgy. Sting's voice was more focused yet, the intrumentals seem to have more space. I noticed they did have a better presense when I had them playing earlier away from the wall. They do like breathing room. But all in all I was very impressed to say the least.

    In conclusion I'm thrilled. I have been a huge Canadian speaker fan. I've owned two sets of PSB's. Built a home theater system for my folks years ago using Paradigm Monitors. But I can honestly say, I've gone another direction and I have no regrets. If you asked me two years ago, or even a year ago about Polk Audio, I might have uttered, muddy, washed out, too direct, do you like wet blankets? But I can say the tide has turned. These speakers are darlings. And could easily compete with any speaker at it's price point regardless of name. I knew it when I heard them and I trusted my instincts which has paid off. Even in the midst of having been an audio snob and labelling manufactors. If you can audition these speakers please do. They are worth it. And just because they dont say "PS..." or "Digm" at the beginning or end don't discard them. That would be a total mistake. These speakers are that good, and then some. I consider myself one of the few lucky LSi owners that have taken the plunge and bought a truely performance driven speaker.

    PS: My next upgrade is going to be a power amp, I've posted a few threads regarding suggestions, i'll leave the door open on this thread too.
     
  2. Luke_R

    Luke_R Agent

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    Congrats man. I was going to end up with the lsi 9 myself, except my marantz 6300 couldn't handle the low impedance. So I ended up with Rocket instead. Gotta say, the airy vocals that little vifa xt tweeter is able to create is astounding. Just wondering did you listen to the lsi 15, I thought the 9 destroyed it, waay to much bass for my taste. curious if anybody else who had heard them felt the same way. Anyways Congrats again, the polks were very good speakers in my estimation and I think the more music you listen to the more you'll be coming back for more of the sweetness of that vifa tweeter.[​IMG]
     
  3. Paul_J_D

    Paul_J_D Auditioning

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    Hey PaulBAW,

    Great Review on the LSi 9's. I've owned a pair myself for about 3 months now. They continued to "open-up" for me after the first month.

    I'm using a Rotel RSX 1055 receiver and Transparent wire to run my LSi 9's. My other set of speakers are Paradigm Studio 40's V2. I used to absolutely love the Pdimes and still do but the Vifa tweeter on the LSi steals the show now for me.

    You should post this review over at the Polk forum at club polk. Plenty of Polk fanatics over there.

    Paul
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Might I ask how much you paid? I'm considering a pair for 2ch music.
     
  5. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Paul,
    congrats,good review.
    I have 4 of these and I drive each of 'em with mono amps[parasound], it seems like a good combination to me.
    Besides the vonderful tweeter,I might also add that those little woofers pack a lot "punch" yet blend easily with my rather big subs[click the link below to see them],something what was initially my worry,but after just a few minutes I realized not to be worried at all.[I use 80hz L/HP setting]
    They easily bested my Def Tech set up I used to owned.[​IMG]
     
  6. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    John, I have the luxuary of paying well below retail prices on Polks and Veritas. I also had a deal lined up with a pair of Studio 40's. In the end I picked the Polk's even though I've been a hardcore Canadian Speaker purist. Although I think the Studio 40's and to a certain extent the Veritas 2.1 offered slightly better mid-bass response, I felt the LSi's offered much better high's. I can't stress enough how natural vocals and acoustic guitar sound on these speakers. I can't wait for a relative who once owned Totem Mani2's to hear these speakers. Will they sound better? Probably not, but they retail for a fraction of the price.

    Luke: I listened to the LSi15's as well. They provided much better bass response but by the same token I think the LSi9's offer better imaging. The LSi9's seemed to have more balance.

    Lewis: Right now I'm using a Nad intergrated amp, I want to move onto separates but I'm a little confushed as to what I should be putting aside. The C270 amp has the same specs as my NAD intergrated in terms of frequency range and THD, yet is less powerfull. Right now I want both an upgrade in terms of power, but also better sound at the same level. I'm considering Rotel, Arcam, NAD, NAD silver series, and Bryston. Once I figure out the proper ratio (in terms of spending) I will narrow it down even further. Spending $1k on a power amp might mean the same performance upgrade as spending $2k and I'm a little confushed as to what I should be bugetting.

    These are truely a high end speaker at reasonable prices. And while Paradigm, PSB, Axiom, and Rockets might steal online reviews and headlines about price per performance I KNOW Polks can out perform all speakers in relation to what they were designed to do.
     

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