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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure out my speaker setup for my dedicated home theater... I'm either getting 5.1 or 7.1 surround, but either way, the speakers will be the same.


I recently listened to a set of Polk LSi series speakers (tower for the front and center, FX for the rear) at a local Tweeter affiliate (Sound Advice). I also listened to Paradigm Monitor and Reference series at a different local store.


I particularly enjoyed the Polk speakers at SA.. they were bright, but after hearing the Paradigm speakers, I think I want that brightness. The accuracy for music seemed to be much more present in the Polk speakers. The Paradigms sounded awesome with the DTS sampler DVD that I watched (scenes from LoTR and Pirates of the Caribbean), but simply didn't pop with the music that I listened to.


With that said, the Polks may have been a little too bright for movies. The center channel sounded awesome, as the dialogue was as crisp, loud, and clear as in an actual movie theater, but the other surround sounds may have been too directed. The front side and rear speakers were almost too crisp. The Paradigms had a very enveloping feeling to them, which I prefer for everything except the center speaker.


As a side note, they also had me listen to a pair of DefTechs which were horribly muffled, though produced an enveloping sound.


What are your thoughts of Polk vs. Paradigm? To put it another way, why is Paradigm held up so highly on this forum whereas Polk is not? What's the big deal?


As a final note, I seemed to like the Monitor series better than the Reference... at half the price?? Go figure.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thericky
What are your thoughts of Polk vs. Paradigm?
I chose Paradigm Monitor over Polk RTi series speakers. I think those are comparable dollar wise, but not the LSi, which seem a fair amount more expensive. Keep in mind I didn't listen to the LSi, just RTi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thericky
I seemed to like the Monitor series better than the Reference... at half the price?? Go figure.
Huh, I didn't. If I had the money I would have taken the Studios. To each their own. ;)


You should really go and listen again armed with more demo material. I'm sure you'll be happy with either of those setups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You're right.. the price difference is there. Both are within my budget, but I didn't listen to the Studios because those are way out. The Reference series is also out of my budget at twice the price of the Monitors. I like both the Polk RTi and LSi... the LSi simply have more punch.


I listened to a couple of my own CDs on the Polks and on the Paradigms and favor the detail and accuracy of the Polks over the Paradigms, though it was a close match. I almost feel like the brightness of the Polks may give me a headache over time.


I'm still interested to find out exactly why Paradigms are so highly recommended on this board and Polks are not... what specifics make people like them?
 

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Its your money, buy whatever sounds best to you! I am running Paradigm Studios, I had Paradigm Monitor series before these...I like the Studios sound...buttery smooth top, very nuetral mid and nice bass extension for this size of speaker.(studio 20)--Just my opinion though. Back in the day I had a couple different models of Polk, both SDA series, for the time they were awesome, they were also HUGE. I have also had Klipsch Forte,Mission(707),Energy(C-2 and Veritas) and multiples of Paradigm. Today I wouldn't trade my Studios for anything close to its price range. Bottom line...its your cash, buy what YOU think sound the best in YOUR room!

Good Luck :D
 

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Yes, I think you like the monitors more because they give a warmer sound, especially the monitor 3 vs. the mini monitor bookshelf. (did you prefer the monitor 3 over the mini monitors?) If you listen to rock music, that warmness in the speaker brings out the tube amp sounds well. A little Eric Clapton music just sounds so great on those speakers. If the polks also give that warm sound then I can see why it appeals to you. I own some monitor 3s in my other room and I like them alot.


I hear more detail in the sounds with my studio speakers and I definately prefer them. I would say that with music with bright warm sounds ie tube amps--- the monitor speakers are fantastic. I play a little guitar myself and there is nothing better than firing up that fender vibrosonic reverb with the strat and ripping off some blues licks. The monitor series speakers reproduce that sound very well.


Overall though I have to say I still prefer the studios in general especailly for movies.


I think there are a lot of differences in speakers and you have to pick ones that sound good to your ear. Since the reference are so highly regarded on this forum, its probably an indication that most people here want or look for more neutral sounding speakers over warmer sounding ones. That's just personal taste.


I think the monitors deserve more attention, but I guess they are easily overlooked. For your case, the fact that you prefer the monitors over the reference is sort of a blessing in disguise because you will save some $.
 

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Most people automatically diss Polk because their RTi series are sold in Circuit City and are considered mass-merchandise speakers. Most of those people have given the Polks only a few minutes of listen at CC, if that. On the other hand, Paradigms are sold only in boutique audio shops, which audiophile wannabe's love. Polk's aren't perfect, but you do get a lot of speaker for the money. It's important to compare Polks to speakers in their price range. The Lsi's, BTW, were given an award by Stereophile one or two years ago. I think it was a "recommended budget speaker" award, or something like that.
 

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The RTi series is much brighter than the LSi's. I actually consider the LSi's to be a warmer sound personally. Perhaps the difference is the electronics. What did SA use to power the LSI's? A receiver does not really do them justice. I have mine on a Rotel preamp with Carver amplifier. I have listened for hours with no listening fatigue, so I don't think that will be a problem for you.
 

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The old RTi's are not bright. A bit harsh, but not bright. The new ones are very bright. But, I have never heard anyone (until now) say the LSi's are bright.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all your responses. Let's see if I can address a few:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mash
I think you like the monitors more because they give a warmer sound, especially the monitor 3 vs. the mini monitor bookshelf. (did you prefer the monitor 3 over the mini monitors?) If you listen to rock music, that warmness in the speaker brings out the tube amp sounds well.
That must be why I liked them. I did listen to rock music through them and it sounded great. It appears that I listened to the Monitor 7's, not 3's or mini. I didn't realize there were so many of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim_r
The Lsi's, BTW, were given an award by Stereophile one or two years ago. I think it was a "recommended budget speaker" award, or something like that.
That's good to know. It doesn't surprise me that they are overlooked simply because they're sold at CC. I know I used to have Polk car speakers that I bought at CC and I loved em. It's funny that speakers that cost $1,000+ can be classified as a "budget" speaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireshoes
What did SA use to power the LSI's? A receiver does not really do them justice.
They used a Yamaha RXV757 100Wx7. I brought up using a better amp/preamp combination with the guy and he kinda shrugged it off. He gave me the equation of more power vs. hearable dB difference and said that I would basically have to triple or quadruple the amount of money I want to spend on the amp/preamp in order to actually hear a difference. He also said that I could always add more power later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim_r
I have never heard anyone (until now) say the LSi's are bright.
Is it possible that the Yamaha receiver/amp added brightness to the audio? Or perhaps it was the source? I remember thinking they were bright while watching Pirates of the Caribbean on them but not necessarily while I was listening to some various rock and jazz music.


Thanks again for your help.
 

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I really like the Polk LSi series, but don't care for any other speaker from Polk. I think the reason Paradigm is so highly regarded, is they do well in every price catagory they compete in. In my opinion, if Polk did as good a job with their lower end speakers as they did with the LSi's, you would hear about the LSi's more than you do because the general Polk name would carry more weight.


Greg
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by *******
... In my opinion, if Polk did as good a job with their lower end speakers as they did with the LSi's, you would hear about the LSi's more than you do because the general Polk name would carry more weight.
I agree that the Polk lines below the LSi are the reason that their brand name does not carry more weight and one of the reasons that you do not hear more about the LSi's. But, IMO, that's because their lower-end lines are sold in Circuit City and are considered mass-merchandise speakers. When compared to speakers in their price range, the RTi line hold up very well, IMO, and that comes from an RTi owner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim_r
I agree that the Polk lines below the LSi are the reason that their brand name does not carry more weight and one of the reasons that you do not hear more about the LSi's. But, IMO, that's because their lower-end lines are sold in Circuit City and are considered mass-merchandise speakers.
I originally auditioned the RTi's and they didn't do it for me. The LSi's definitely have that punch that I want. I went back and listened to them again yesterday after hearing the Paradigm Monitor and Reference speakers the day before and I used the same source material. I definitely liked the Polk LSi's better. :D


I think I've settled on that, as long as I can talk them down a little on the prices (especially installation). I've heard others that I like a little better, but they're all way out of my price range. I think the Polks fit in there best.
 

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Quote:
They used a Yamaha RXV757 100Wx7. I brought up using a better amp/preamp combination with the guy and he kinda shrugged it off. He gave me the equation of more power vs. hearable dB difference and said that I would basically have to triple or quadruple the amount of money I want to spend on the amp/preamp in order to actually hear a difference. He also said that I could always add more power later.
I would definately audition them with better electronics.

Quote:
... In my opinion, if Polk did as good a job with their lower end speakers as they did with the LSi's, you would hear about the LSi's more than you do because the general Polk name would carry more weight.
I have an LSI set-up in one of my rooms and am quite pleased for Music (including a lot of multi-channel) and movies...they get a WIDE variety of material played through them.

I don't sell Polks any more and DO sell Paradigms , and while I like the Monitor series, I wouldn't trade the Polk LSI's for them....now the Studios are a much better comparison and I would consider switching (and will get around to a side-by-side with the 60's or 100's sooner or later), but the truth is a good part of the reason would be that (all things being equal) you would rather find something you like amongst the brands you sell.

So buy what sounds best to you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thericky
I originally auditioned the RTi's and they didn't do it for me. The LSi's definitely have that punch that I want. I went back and listened to them again yesterday after hearing the Paradigm Monitor and Reference speakers the day before and I used the same source material. I definitely liked the Polk LSi's better. :D


I think I've settled on that, as long as I can talk them down a little on the prices (especially installation). I've heard others that I like a little better, but they're all way out of my price range. I think the Polks fit in there best.
I think you are making a great choice. The LSi's were down to my final three speakers when I recently bought my setup. You will be very happy.


Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by *******
I think you are making a great choice. The LSi's were down to my final three speakers when I recently bought my setup. You will be very happy.
What were the other two? ;)
 

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thericky, another thing you might want to consider is that the LSi are rated 4 ohms, so you really will need a relatively powerful amp that's rated for that in order to get the most out of them. Of course, you will always find people who run speakers with difficult loads with low-powered gear and claim that they sound great and that give you the ole' double the power to get just 3 dB's argument (like one sales guy did with you), but most of those people simply have never heard their speakers with a more powerful amp and/or they have cloth ears. I have read that most claim you really need separates to get the most out of the LSi's (or at least if you are going to run them full range and not high-passed with a sub). But that's just what I've read. I have never owned them. I just cosidered them a few years ago and read a lot about them on the internet during that time. Good luck with your decision! :)
 
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