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Polk to Axiom or Ascend - Will I hear a difference

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Andrew*S, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Andrew*S

    Andrew*S Auditioning

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    I'm trying to decide if I'll see a noticeable benefit by upgrading my speakers.

    I do about 70%HT and 30%Music. The reason I have started to look into upgrading is twofold. First, the highs and soundstage on my current speakers don't seem "enveloping" enough during movies. Second, the Polk soundstage (on my speakers anyway) seems to be very pointed in that if I move around any, the soundstage falls apart easily.

    I have gone through lots of tweaking and moving around in my HT room which is about 25' x 14' with an 11' x 20' kitchen hanging off of one corner (so it's a large area). I have a 1' high soffett running on the ceiling from the back wall behind my couch to the front wall where the speakers are (kind of dividng the listening area).

    I was in Best Buy helping a friend look for a *budget* set of speakers and was actually quite impressed with the Athena AS-F2's in terms of soundstage. Even in the terrible BB atmosphere, the soundstage stayed the same as I moved 10 feet to the R or L. It got me thinking that I could do better than my Polks.

    I've done a bit of listening at both basic retail shops and a couple of high end at many models and I'm actually considering either an Axiom M80ti setup or possibly Ascend 340 l/r (both with surrounds and center channel obviously).

    My question is whether or not I'll hear a benefit from upgrading the Polk RT2000p's to either Axiom or Ascend or if i'd have to jump way up in price to get an improvement. I can certainly "demo" the ascends and axioms, but before I even get to that, do you all think I'm going to hear a big difference? Will my sherbourn be able to power the Axiom M80's to a sound level close to what I can get from the Polk RT2000p's? Am I losing something by moving away from the polk powered towers? I'd certainly like to utilize my Sherbourn more and be able to unplug the Polks if I can get similar performance.

    I read a review of some of the newer Polk stuff on the Polk forum and someone said they hadn't had speakers that gave them the home theater experience quite like their RT2000p's

    So what do you think? Is it worth even going through the demo process for the axioms or ascends or will I not hear that much of a difference?

    My setup
    B&K Ref 31
    Sherbourn 5/1500A
    Polk RT2000p Front
    Polk CS400i Center
    Infinity Overture 1's surround
    SVS 20-39 PC (upgraded to PCi driver)
    SVS 20-39 PCi
     
  2. Andrew*S

    Andrew*S Auditioning

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    I'm actually thinking of doing a shootout with these three models....

    Ascend 340 l/r
    Axiom M80ti
    Phase Tech V-12

    I called Phase Tech today to see if anyone in my area carried them since there is no listing on their web site.

    I'm in Lexington, KY - anyone in this area (Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati) interested in auditioning these speakers in a shootout? I'd need a little convincing but I don't think I'll be able to decide what I like without putting these speakers in my home...
     
  3. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    Considering that the Polks are a retail product and the Axioms/Ascends are not (to the best of my knowledge), I think that a lateral move price-wise may actually result in noticeably improved sound in this case.
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Someone just posted his thoughts on the Phase Tech V-12 and the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 here.
     
  5. Brent_j

    Brent_j Stunt Coordinator

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    Dont think the Polks have a chance against the Ascends becasue they are a retail speaker?? I think the new Polk lines (RTi & LSi) can definitly compete with Ascend. But there again, I think it all has to do with your sound tastes. I prefer the sound of the Polks over the Ascends, again that is my personal taste.
    I would not base the superiority of a product solely based on price alone.

    Just my 2 cents,
    Brent.

    Center: Polk CSi5
    Fronts: Polk RTi10's
    Surrounds: Polk FXi3's


    Brent.
     
  6. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    What I neglected to mention is that both Axiom and Ascend are established high-value brands. Subjective reviews of their products have been extremely favorable, and there are measurements to back it up. With Polk speakers, you pretty much have to rely on word of mouth, as I have been unable to find much objective data regarding the performance of their products.

    -Vinh
     
  7. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    The LSi series are the only Polks that get respect.
     
  8. Eric_Bender

    Eric_Bender Agent

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    If you are looking for a clear soundstage, try Boston Acoustics speakers as well. The VR series is very respectable and has a clean, natural sound that aims to please.

    I have listened to them on a couple of occasion and if I were currently in the market would get them in a heartbeat. However, with that said, everyone's ears and tastes are different, so listening to multiple brands is a must.

    My $.02

    Eric

    Adcom GFA 545 Amp
    Adcom GTP500II Preamp/Tuner
    Boston Acoustics A-150 II Mains
    CAL Ikon MkII CD Player
    HK DVD 101 DVD Player
    Sony KV32FS100 WEGA TV
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Far be it from me to tell you that you shouldn't upgrade, however, please allow me to share some thoughts from your posting Andrew. First you've got a pretty decent space there and it seems to me that something might be amis with your speaker placements so if it wouldn't be too much trouble on your part, perhaps you can try to describe where the speakers are placed and where they are in relationship to you. Also, I take it you've gone through the effort of calibrating your speakers. I really don't understand what you mean when you say the soundstage collapses when you move around. Just how much moving around are you talking about?

    I'm unfamiliar with the particular model you presently have but one thing you might consider would be speakers with perhaps greater horizontal dispersion or bipolars which would diffuse matters somewhat.

    Please consider the following link for some good information regarding speakers and such.

    Best of luck.
     
  10. Brent_j

    Brent_j Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, This is simply not true, ALL the reviews that I have come across by independent sources have clearly stated that the new RTi line is a great product.
    I have come across one negative review by someone on the Polk website claiming that the RTi10 lacks on the mids (i dont find that to be the case, personally)
    I do belive the LSi line is a better product, and that is what I would expect for the companies flagship speaker line.

    Brent.
     

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