|Polk Audio Monitor Series 5.1 Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Monday, 01 August 2005|
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Movies and Music
Queen’s 1975 release, A Night at the Opera, clearly helped shape the glamorous face of rock and roll. This fourth album from a band with no fear of taking creative chances turned out to be their signature record that sold more than four million copies worldwide. Opting for some updated resolution, I loaded up the multi-channel DVD-Audio version form DTS Entertainment. In the pop classic “You’re My Best Friend,” the harmony vocals served as a good test of the upper ranges. The Monitor 60s did a good job and sounded very resolute. They had a good amount of detail without becoming overbearing and forward. At lower volumes, the upper midrange and highs were actually quite sweet and enjoyable. I cranked up the volume as Brian May’s lead cut loose. Through his vintage VOX tube amp, May has perhaps the most distinct guitar sound of the era and the Monitor 60s rocked it well. The lower bass frequencies were solid up to moderate volumes and only displayed fatigue when cranked to 11.
At its time of release, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was more than just a song; it was an anthem to the many who worshipped its message. This song has tremendous dynamic range and can either make or break a speaker during a critical evaluation. The harmonies in the intro were very spacious and provided a good surround mix. This package was voice-matched well, so there was little tonal difference as the music changed in location. Arguably the hardest instrument to reproduce is the piano, and the Monitor 60s controlled the piano in this track quite well. They provided a nice percussive strike without becoming compressed, even at higher volumes. I did notice that the bass struggled some during the louder parts, yet performed remarkably for their price. Overall, the highs were a joy to listen to without forward signs of grain or annoying artifacts. The CS1 performed well, but I felt it was at its best at moderate volumes. Some highs could lean towards the brittle side at extreme volumes. This is a very typical scenario for center channel speakers in this price range. If you are a lover of loud action movies, you may want to consider the CS2 at $350. This looks to be a clear path to center channel nirvana.
Drops of Jupiter, Train’s second CD (Sony Entertainment) is well recorded, which makes it a good auditioning tool. In the title track, the piano intro again reminded me of how well these speakers were performing for their price. The vocals were surprisingly clear and produced a real soundstage. Arguably, the Monitor 60s are the best-sounding speakers that I have auditioned in their price class. At $650, they are a true value. Bass in this cut was not hugely abundant without the use of a sub, yet it was controlled and consistent.
Off to the movies we go with “Collateral” (Universal), Michael Mann’s recent action thriller. I’m admittedly not a Tom Cruise fan – I mean, how many more roles can they create for the same character? However, Mann has a flow to his movies that make them riveting for me. In the scene where the thugs try to lift the briefcase of Vincent (Cruise) and he makes them pay the ultimate price, the gunshots rang clear and had a real impact. I watched this scene a couple of times and the Polks never failed to excite me. Details such as the acceleration of the getaway car were presented well, with good balance. The PSW10 held together well, the only exception being when the movie was played at extreme volumes, when there was some minor breakup.