Let's Talk About Polk and JBL Home Speakers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck C, Sep 15, 2001.

  1. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    More specifically, let's talk about JBL Studio and Polk RT'i series bookshelf monitors.
    My friend/roommate is getting closer to biting the bullet and buying HT equipment. Today he asked me which is better, JBL S26 or Polk RT35i. I told him the Polks offer a more refined sound, but we all know I was talking out of my ass.
    Thus, I'm here today to compare and contrast only JBL and Polk speakers so that my friend, a rock & pop music lover, a movie lover, a PS2 gamer, and one who doesn't want to spend more than $400 on front speaker makes the right choice this Christmas.
    While we're on this topic, I'm interested to know which receivers you use(d) or recommend in conjunction with the aforementioned speakers.
    thanks, and let's make this thread count.
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    Chuck
    http://www.hometheaterinsider.com
     
  2. Tom Morgan

    Tom Morgan Stunt Coordinator

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    I like the Marantz SR-7200 with the Polk RT800i's, so they would probably work well with the RT35i's or the RT55i's.
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  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Crutchfield is now selling the Polk RT55i's for $399 a pair - a much better deal than that price for the RT35i's. I'm very satisfied with the RT55i's as my mains.
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  4. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    before i have opinions of my own, let's talk some more
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    Chuck
    http://www.hometheaterinsider.com
     
  5. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    Sean, more or less; he's listened to both but in uncontrolled environments like Best Buy and CC.
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    Chuck
    http://www.hometheaterinsider.com
     
  6. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    I have Polks and would go with the RT55i speaks at $400 (I use 2 pairs of RT55s as surrounds); better extension and more SPLs w/o strain.
    I've found JBLs to be a bit 'muddier' than comparable Polks but that's just a general impression and closer listening would be needed to substantiate this thought.
    Marantz, HK and Denon make nice matches with Polks, IMO.
    ...just my 2 cents.
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  7. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Second Unit

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    Being a Polk owner/user/and like them very much..I am biased towards the Polk speakers. I have 800i's and up...but the 55i's are a sweet speaker and should out perform the jbl's. One thing about JBL's studio line is the closer you are to them..the better they sound. I speak from experience...
    I have some older studio 800's from JBL.. Though I like them very much...they sound best when actualy only 5ft from them.... The tweeter is week on these...not saying all jbl's are like this.
    If he has a very small room...they may be ideal...but He realy needs to listen to them himself with music he is familiar with
    one thing about cc...if he gets the 35i's now or 55i's..he has a year to upgrade them to something else...though I know they dont sell JBL's....
    so there's my opinon...for what its worth
    Thomas_A
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  8. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the replys, guys. My friend's talkin S38's up front now...how would those compare to the RT55i's?
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    Chuck
    http://www.hometheaterinsider.com
     
  9. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

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    Why even go so large? If I were in the market for new front speakers, I'd go no larger than a mini-monitor with a 6.5 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter. Regardless of how big your front speakers are, they can't compete with the best subwoofers, especially when it comes to producing deep bass with less distortion. Plus, bookshelf speakers tend to "image" better. Save the money you would have spent on huge front speakers, get speakers that go down to 60 or 70 Hz, and invest that savings towards a really nice subwoofer: Hsu and SVS seem to be the top dawgs in that category as far as price/performance ratio.
    Peace
     
  10. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't speak for the JBLs, but I've been very satisfied with the Polk RT25i's I've been using as my surrounds. They are matched with a CS245 center and a pair of Polk Monitor 5s (vintage 1988) as fronts. I'm using a Polk sub too, about to upgrade to the PSW350.
    I've been driving my Monitor 5's for 13 years in a variety of applications -- from rock to classical to jazz to home theater to video games -- and they still sound as good today as they did when I first got them. In fact, I finally bit the bullet a few months ago and bought a Parasound HCA-885-A amp, and they sound better than they ever did.
    I'm sure at some point in the future I'll want to really upgrade, buy a couple of nice amps and some high-end low-impedance speakers, and bi-amp my setup -- but that day's a long time coming. In the meantime, I have a feeling these Polks will go as long as I ask them to.
     
  11. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    Phuong, it's not a matter of bigger is better, we're still gonna integrate whatever he purchases with a nice sub. Personally, I believe the S38's would sound better because 1. they are in a bigger enclousre 2. have a 3-way design 3. don't have to strain as much for high SPLs (good call JohanK) and 4. like my own HT, my towers as mains w/ the same sub as my bookshelves for mains, sounds better. However, I value your comments...I've heard it many times before that bookshelves image better, so I'll keep in mind.
    Brandon, thanks for the comments.
    Everyone else, looks like we may have to introduce some new receivers into the lineup. Perhaps the new Marantz SR-5200? How bout the new H/K AVR-x20 series I just found out about today at onecall.com!
    Keep em coming folks!
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    Chuck
    Chuckster's HT Site
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    [Edited last by Chuck C on September 16, 2001 at 10:16 PM]
     
  12. Barry_B_B

    Barry_B_B Second Unit

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    Chuck C:
    I find myself in more or less the same situation, although I'm also pretty much resolved. With popular opinion and personal audition, I'll be using the JBL S-Center with the S-38's as fronts, S-26 as surrounds in the future. Had Polk in mind but the more research I did the more JBL support I found.
     
  13. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    I agree that most loudspeakers cannot compete with a dedicated sub in terms of extension and SPLs. But I think a speaker should extend down to 40 Hz or so if you are going to use a 80 Hz crossover for the bass mgt. The reason arises from the 'gradual' nature of x-overs; one wants the attenuated signals to be reproduced in the range where the loudspeaker is spec'd to perform.
    ...just my thoughts.
    Brandon...nice to see a fellow Monitor series owner.
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  14. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    I used to own the JBL S26, and now I own the Polk RT25i. The speakers are used in a small den, and powered by an Onkyo TX-8511 stereo receiver. I don't think you can go wrong with either one of these speakers. The JBLs are very good, but sounded kind of rolled off at either extreme to my ears. The Polks, and being the physically smaller speaker, is very transparent and sounded more "exciting" to my ears. The bass response of the Polks is shockingly deep and tight for such an inexpensive and small speaker. Check out the latest issue of Stereophile for a review of the Polk RT25i. They were also reviewed by Sound and Vision earlier this year (I think). The JBLs are much bigger speakers physically than either the Polk RT35i or the RT25i.
    The JBLs can be had for about $200.00/pair at J and R, the last time I checked.
     
  15. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    Tijuana
     
  16. Chris Eriksen

    Chris Eriksen Stunt Coordinator

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    In the Polk lineup, I would highly recommend auditioning the R40. ($400/pr) To my ears, they produce a more natural sound than the RT35i, RT55i, RT600i, or RT800i. Of course, your mileage may vary...
     
  17. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    I like my JBL studio's just fine! Gots me the S38's, S36's and the S-Center.
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  18. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    We recently auditioned the JBL S series and several Polks for my brothers HT and went with the S38 JBL as mains. I would also suggest the N series JBL which are less expensive and able to keep up with the big boys really well.
    All in all, your friend should listen for himself and buy what sounds good to him. All rooms and all ears are not made equal.......
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  19. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    good stuff guys, and a good point about "not all ears were created equal" Orignally the s38,s26,scenter was the plan, and trends seem to favor those choices. We'll see my friends.
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    Chuck
    http://www.hometheaterinsider.com
     
  20. Lee Bailey

    Lee Bailey Second Unit

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