Has anyone compared B&W 600 S3 models to Polk LSI series?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck Kent, Sep 29, 2002.

  1. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    I am curently running Vandersteen 2CE mains and am happy with them. But I still get the urge to try other models every once in a while. But one key thing is that I still prefer speakers that have a warmer tonal balance to them.

    So, that said... I have a friend who recently bought new B&W 604's and they sound pretty good to me. How do the newest B&W's compare tonally to the new Polks?

    TIA. Any opinions are appreciated...
     
  2. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    To my ears the Lsi'15s have a greater clarity in the highs and the mids are not muddy at all. The bass is tight, which was a pleasant surprise considering it is a side mounted passive woofer! Mine have handled everything I have thrown at them (jazz, classical, rock) and performed beautifully. I listened to some B&W603's at a local High End shop and did not care for the sound as much. I thought they lacked the warmth of the Lsi's and the imaging was only so-so. I also felt that the highs were not as clear or well defined. This may have been as a result of the area that they were in. I know that a lot of people think that you cannot trully judge a speakers sound quality until it is broken in, but I must say that the Lsi's are extremely impressive right out of the box.
     
  3. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    I spent considerable time critically listening to B&W's Nautilus 803 and 804 (I haven't heard other B&W models), and Vandersteen's 3A Signature prior to purchasing Polk's LSi-25. The LSi-25 and 9 are quite similar tonally to the Vandersteen 3A Signature (it was my runner-up choice; note that I did not audition any other Vandy models, nor have I heard the LSi-15).

    Tonally, the Polk is a bit warmer than the Nautilus models mentioned and somewhat less forward in the upper frequencies. In the treble region, the LSi is neutral to slightly laid back, yet it reproduces an enormous amount of detail, as does the Nautilus tweeter.

    To my ears, the Nautilus tweeter did not integrate perfectly with the other drivers. I occasionally seemed to notice the tweeter as a separate unit--"Oh, yeah, there's the tweeter doing its thing"). On the other hand, none of the Polk drivers call attention to themselves. To my ears, the Polk LSi-25 and 9 are wonderfully coherent.

    As I stated earlier, the Polk LSi sonic signature is much like that of the Vandersteen 3A Signature. I preferred the Polk LSi-25 because it's less fussy regarding positioning (e.g., the Vandy has a very narrow vertical sweet spot, a potential problem since my ears are farther above the floor than my petite wife's). The LSi sounds great even well off the nominal vertical and horizontal axes. The LSi-25 also seemed to be tighter and a bit more detailed in the upper bass than did the Vandy 3A Signature.

    If I wanted to try a very different tonal flavor, switching from a Vandersteen to a Polk LSi would not do it for me. But if one prefers a speaker that is tonally neutral to a bit warm, the LSi's fit the bill very, very nicely.
     

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