Originally Posted by D33vious
I wouldn’t mind hearing your highly subjective opinion on how they sound. I certainly have been interested in the polk 703s. While I’m nor surprised they do not sound at all like the BMRs, it would still be nice to hear some thoughts on how they do sound from someone who has heard them.
I'll try to keep it short.
First the good part.
1) The LSiM703 can handle power. It can play loud (95-100 dB) with no cabinet resonance or distortion at levels my main speakers can't touch without crapping out. (My main speakers are Dennis' BMR for 2ch music and B&W 705s2 for front L/R in 11.2 Atmos HT configuration).
2) It does not have impedance dips and has higher sensitivity than my main speakers. An average AVR is enough to drive the 703s.
3) It's strength is in the mid-range. It is voice-tuned similar to the BMR. The 705s2's vocals are actually more recessed compared to the 703 and BMR. The 703 is versatile and sounds fine with different genre.
4) The 703 does not cause listening fatigue even in long sessions. After break-in the clarity and resolution increased without much change to the frequency response. This is a big plus compared to the ELAC UB5 which my friend bought at around the same time. The UB5 sounded gritty brand new. After break-in, the UB5 smoothened but became brighter. 703 > UB5. I know they are in different league, just wanted to give a reference for comparison. The BMR sounds the same from the time I took them out of the box until now despite my occasional abuse. "Occasional" is subjective.
For the not so good part...
1) The LSIM703's tweeter is peaky and does not have the same resolution as my main speakers. It does not have the same sparkle and detail that I'm used to.
2) It does not dig into low frequencies despite the cabinet size. I believe it is port tuned at 80z or higher for output rather than frequency extension, hence the higher output compared to my main speakers. The 703 needs a subwoofer in a stereo setup to mimic BMR's full range sound. I had paired the LSiM703 with a sub using an external 2 way crossover and got great results with LPF/HPF set at 80Hz. (I use the internal crossover on my Parasound HINT. For integrated amps without bass management, I use a plain Rolls Stereo Two-Way Crossover, not miniDSP, Dirac or similar products. I'm a purist and I don't use room correction in 2ch systems. If I do, then my impressions of the 703 in this post are irrelevant. But I appreciate room correction in HT systems.)
3) The mid bass sounds thin. But this is more placement and position dependent. Pushing it closer to the wall improves the mid bass but also makes it dull and muddy. Using lower stands (24") to position the tweeter below ear level makes it sound more balanced. Attaching the grill reduces the grainy highs but makes the 703 more laid back, but not as laid back as the 1st gen Elac debut series.
4) The 703's imaging and soundstage does not compare with the BMR, 705s2 or even the JBL 306p MK2. The 703's soundstage does not extend beyond the speakers (just confined between the 2 speakers).
What's the LSiM703 good for (for me, in my situation) ...
I wouldn't use it in 2ch setup meant for critical music listening. The JBL 306P MK2 is even better than the 703 for that purpose. But I would use the 703 for background whole day music listening (rather than my main speakers). Having open floor layout makes this possible at my house.
I wouldn't use it for front L/R in my main HT system despite the power and loudness advantage. The 703 does not have enough sparkle which I look for in the front L/R position (that's what the 705s2 is for). It also means I would have to get the matching LSiM706c center which is inferior to my current B&W HTM71s2 in clarity and resolution, knowing the weakness of the tweeter in the LSiM lineup.
The LSiM703 plus its matching center (LSiM706c) could be a game changer for others who are looking for good HT speakers at this price range (at sale price point of both). These are great speakers when on sale. At MSRP there are lots of other options. For those looking into the Polk RTi lineup, just buy the LSiM when on sale. For a small price difference, the LSiMs are marginally better than the RTi lineup. The 703s are also better than the Elac bookshelves (UB5, Debut, Debut 2.0) in clarity and presentation. No offense to their owners. Just a reference for comparison.
The LSiM703 is not a bad speaker. My standards are just high. The 703s are good enough spare speakers for me. They replaced the Polk LSi7 (also bought on clearance ~10 yrs ago) in my bedroom.