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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a business meeting cancel at the last minute today and found myself with several hours to kill. I could catch up on e-mails and get organized, or run over to Tweeter and fool around with AV gear.

So I'm in the speaker room at Tweeter and no one is bothering me because it is apparently obvious that I am not going to be making any purchase. I guess the B&M sales force may dislike some of us as much as we dislike some of them.

Anyway, I decide to compare the Polk LSi9s, the Martin Logan Clarities and Focal 908 bookshelfs. Never heard the Focals or MLs before, but am a big fan of the LSi9s. I've got a variety of CDs: Miles Davis; Led Zep; Neil Young acoustic; a live blues bootleg; Katie Webster + demo disc with classical and piano jazz from Tweeter and soundtrack from Chicago. Using a $1200 Yamaha receiver and a Pioneer Elite (I think) CD player. By no means a scientific test, but I played same selections one each speaker at various volume levels. I didn't write anything down on the spot, but made some notes afterwards.

Rather than try to write up some goofy prose I will go with numeric ratings. Higher # the better. I don't mean numbers to be absolute, but relative between three speakers. Ratings are in this order: LSi9s; Clarities; Focal 908s

Miles Davis: 5 / 9 / 10

Led Zep: 7 / 6 / 9

Neil Young: 6 / 10 / 8

Elec Blues bootleg: 7 / 3 / 9

Katie Webster: 7 / 8 / 9

Classical: 5 / 10 / 9

Piano jazz: 6 / 10 / 9

Chicago soundtrack: 8 / 9 / 10

Not sure if this is interesting to anyone, but I'm having fun with it so I'll write some more. The Clarities were interesting in that they seemed to provide the most detail, especially with more quiet and subtle pieces. I think that also killed them on the Blues bootleg, which is a horribly recorded CD. They were way too honest, while the Polks and Focals really seemed to hide some of the issues.

All in all the Focals impressed the hell out of me. They didn't flinch no matter what I threw at them. Very impressive to my ears. I would guess Clarities are a better choice if you are mostly into classical or acoustic, but to me they had some shortcomings with harder material.

The LSi9s don't shine so much for me on some of the less rocking stuff, but they weren't bad either. A clear notch below others to me though.

One other thing I found interesting. They also had ML Vistas in room. I compared them to Clarities before starting since I didn't want to include both in my impromptu shoot out. I thought the Clarities were noticeably better, which makes no sense given the prices. Not sure how to best describe it. Sound from both is very similar, just seemed like the Clarities were a bit sweeter to my ear.

Anyway, if anyone reads this and has any experience with these speakers I'd be very curious to hear about it. I know my ears are far far from golden (maybe rusted tin or something) so I'll never say this is some kind of definitve statement about these speakers.
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