|Polk Audio LSi Series Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Thursday, 01 April 2004|
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With the Parasound preamp and amplifier, I ran one of my favorite recordings through the LSi15s, the Song Review album from Stevie Wonder (Motown Record Company). Wonder signed with Motown Records at the age of 11 and had his first hit in 1963. He has revolutionized modern pop and R&B music with his innovative use of high hats and percussion to complement his unmatched talent as a singer/songwriter and a keyboardist. “Sir Duke” is a prodigal example of his use of keyboard bass and prominent tapping of high hats to complement a big band of trumpets and horns. The LSi15s sang to me and brought out the high frequencies of the high hats with rich detail. The mids to upper mids of the trumpets were sweet and a little forward in their presentation. Light sounds such as the cowbells and the banjo-like picking of the electric guitar could easily be heard amongst the myriad of other sounds simultaneously tickling my ears. “Part-Time Lover” is a great example of Wonder’s vocal range and the LSi15s provided a sweet, detailed and energetic reproduction that showcased his talents. The chorus of the backup singers was not drowned out and somewhat congested as with my Energy C-6s. The LSis simply had more detail.
Switching to the Harmon Kardon receiver for multi-channel music and the movies, I noticed the limitations of the speakers with a lesser amplifier (in terms of power and clarity of amplification). The 16-bit stereo CD of Sting’s Brand New Day (A&M Records) was a noticeably more powerful performance than the DTS version that I demoed with the receiver. Still, I was impressed by this 5.1 recording and enjoyed my listening sessions on the lesser-powered receiver. The DTS version of “Big Lie Small World” was tantalizing, with its silky violins swaying and the lush sound of the muted trumpets in the background. Sting gives a jazzy-lounge singing performance to set the mood and relax the fortunate listener. “After the Rain Has Fallen” is more of an upbeat song that uses various percussions to complement the pop-like singing of Mr. Sumner. The tambourines rattling and sounds of hands clapping were pleasant to the ears and solidified the beat in my toes. The LSi15s really can reproduce the full spectrum of the audible range with solid detail. At times I felt the Energys were more musical, but the detail was clearly better with the LSi15s. At higher volumes, the LSi15s caused my ears some fatigue with some of the high-frequency elements on this album, but only after extended periods of listening.
“2 Fast 2 Furious” (Universal) is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to test the bass reproduction of a speaker system. It provides a lot of explosions and rap music to test the dynamics of your system, and lots of bad acting to test your patience. The initial race when Paul Walker gets busted by the cops is unquestionably intense. Paul takes on three other street racers, each with their own tricked-out rice rocket, customized to their personalities. The spooling up of the turbos whistles cleanly through the tweeters of the LSi15s. The screeching of the tires and howling of the engines had me at the edge of my seat, until the final jump when Paul leapfrogs the leader and rakes in the cash. The rap music is so strong in bass that I had to almost turn off my subwoofer. The LSi15s had plenty of bass, but it was not overly boomy. The bass was quite tight and agile. It was easy to distinguish between the bass of the engines revving and the bass of the music. The Energy C-6s sometimes would bleed the bass sounds of similar frequencies together, making it harder for your ears to separate them as distinct sounds.
Without a doubt, one of the most influential pioneers of hard rock is AC/DC. No kid can graduate seventh grade without listening through the Back in Black album at least once. The DVD “Stiff Upper Lip Live” (Elektra) is a collection of 21 classics performed in a huge soccer stadium in Germany. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” is a song from the Black in Black album, featuring Angus Young on his famous Gibson SG guitar. Young does his little guitar riffs while running up and down the stage extension to warm up the crowd of over 80,000 rock-hungry Germans. The raspy voice of Brian Johnson is clear, as there is no sign of grain or harshness from the LSi15s and the LSiC. The expressionless Phil Rudd is all business in the drum section and the snap of his snare drum pounded in my chest. “Bad Boy Boogie” is a track from the old Bon Scott days of AC/DC. This excerpt boasts all the talents and antics of Young onstage. He does his trademark duck walk across the stage and then a little striptease for the audience. A fast-pace beat and extended rhythm guitar melody by his brother, Malcolm Young, eventually leads to the disrobing of the petite Angus. Then the massive guitar solos erupt onstage. The viewer better hold on to something nailed down, ‘cause the head-banging is about to commence.
The hilarious film “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” is the fourth installment of the Kevin Smith movie series. Smith is modern America’s version of Monty Python-style humor that has entertained millions for years. “Clerks” introduced the characters Jay and Silent Bob to the world. Now, the crass and moronic duo get their own movie. Previous stars of Smith’s movies, such as Jason Lee and Ben Affleck, return for this one, and so does the comedy. The scene at the Mooby Burger restaurant has got to be my favorite, with the pair writing obscene emails and shouting about it while young kids look on. Then the sultry Shannon Elizabeth struts in and Jay daydreams about making out with her. Naturally Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine” cranks in the background and the audience is pulled into Jay’s elaborate fantasy. The frequent rock interludes on the soundtrack are handled gracefully by the LSi Series combination and complete the movie viewing experience.