|Polk Audio LSi Series Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Thursday, 01 April 2004|
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The LSi15s speaker grilles are unecessarily long and cumbersome. They seem a little flimsy and cheap compared to the rest of the speakers’ beefy contruction. However, according to Polk, the open edge design of the grille is intended to reduce diffraction for better imaging with the grilles on and a more robust grille would sound worse. It's a trade off. The speakers come only in high-gloss black (except the LSi15, which can also be purchased in cherry). This very limited selection of colors could be a turnoff for some when trying to blend these large speakers into modernly decorated homes.
The surround speakers have subpar mounts on them. The lack of rubber parts on the mounting surface cause the speakers to rattle at certain frequencies, which is especially obvious when the surrounds are played at volume. I solved this by cutting up an old mouse pad to place between the mounts and the wall. The mounts on the LSiFXs are made of plastic that scratches easily and are difficult to install (trying to have one person eyeball the mounting slots and the other lift the heavy speakers was tricky). The difficult time with getting the screws the right depth and the slots on the mounts lined up made it nearly impossible to hit the target on less than two or three tries. The result of these failed attempts was a scratching of the mounts against the mounting screws with every try. Lastly, I recommend that you have a properly matched amplifier to these speakers. You don’t need a 300-watt Mark Levinson amp, but an under-powered receiver will simply not provide the power necessary to make these speakers sing. The LSi-15s were far from the hardest load my amplifier has seen, yet they’re far from the easiest.
Other speakers with prices similar to the LSi series are the Defintive Technologies BP2004TL at $1,600 a pair and the Energy C-9 at $1,500 a pair. The BP2004TL boasts a better response range (18 Hz-30 kHz) and a better efficiency (92 dB versus 88 dB for the LSi15). The improved efficiency may be important to consider if you have a weaker amplifier or receiver and are not able to drive the LSi15s. The BP2004TL also sports a powered 10-inch woofer.
The Polk Audio LSi Series Speakers make an excellent addition to any modern day home theater system.
Many of my friends came over to my place during the months I has my Polk set. They consistently commented on how they were surprised by details of sound that they’d been missing out on with their existing speakers. At $3,400 for the set of all five speakers, the Polk LSi Series speakers are not cheap, yet they are what I consider to be an excellent high-end audio value. Sure, speakers get better, but you start to embark upon the point of diminishing returns where the product get exponentially higher-priced as the performance makes smaller steps. The superiority of this Polk system vs. other more mass-market speakers that you might find pre-installed in your car or as part of your clock radio is a no-brainer. The Polks rock. You have many choices in the $3,500 price range for 5.1 speakers, but few of them will have nearly the detail and versatility that the Polks do. With a five-year warranty and a 30-year track record of producing quality speakers, Polk Audio is always a good bet.