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Eerily enough, I have never heard a Polk speaker before this event which is odd considering it is well-liked by so many of our members. I may have said it before, but I was really excited for this event because we really did get a great set of speakers to evaluate for me personally. There was a good mix of ones that I have heard before and ones I have not.

Packaging on these was very good with lots of foam and corner protection. As for the finish, the cabinet has some front to back tapering and the top has a convex design which helps to break up the standard box design. The front baffle is nondescript as it is completely black with all black drivers so nothing really stands out. However, this really helps the cherry finish of the side panels to pop. The cherry finish is really well done. Overall, it is an unassuming speaker that should disappear in a room pretty well.

They started out close to the wall and toed-in. The banjo in Ode To A Butterfly was inside the right speaker as expected. The image was actually not bad – it was compressed some, but there was still some separation there. Chant’s rain stick panning imaged well with no audible hole, but low end seemed to lack impact. The vocals in Reasons Why had a bit of depth. The horn in Strange Fruit images just inside the left speaker while everything else was slightly compressed. The low end in Hells Bells was ok but, again, it lacked impact. We then moved them straight, and the mandolin and violin in Ode seemed more compressed. Rain stick panning in Chant sounded good, but low end again lacks impact. The vocal depth in Reasons Why was not quite the same as with toe-in, and the female vocal seemed to come just left of center. The horn in Strange Fruit was in same location, and the height difference in imaging between the lap guitar and the vocals was here too.



Track 1 - Ode to a Butterfly

Image perfectly – each instrument locates where I expect. Banjo just not drawing me in. No one instrument overpowers the other. Track sounds good, but I am just not getting a “live” feel.

Track 2 - Chant

Rain stick panning seemed to skip a space in the middle. Low end is ok, but lacking in impact. Nice snare snap. Just not engaging – my mind wandered for a couple seconds during this track. Clinical is how I would describe this so far – everything is there, just lacking in feeling and emotion. Strings sound a bit twangy.

Track 3 - Reasons Why

Good vocal depth for soundstage. This track confirms it for me – her voice just did not grab me.

Track 4 - Strange Fruit

Height difference in image between the lap guitar and vocals is there. Everything images where I expected it to be. Cassandra sounds a bit more forward than nickel creek. Click of breath there.

Track 5 - Struttin' with some Barbeque

Horn good – non-fatiguing, but again, needs life.

Track 6 - One

No comments here.

Track 7 - Hells Bells

No comments here.

Track 8 - Let It Go

Female vocals a bit more engaging here until about 2 minutes in and then it sounded muffled again. Almost like the depth changed. Potential compression issue – may be why it sounded muffled.

Track 9 - Where Do The Children Play

Guitar string clarity ok. Deep soundstage, but it feels like some detail is missing in the lowest octave of the vocals. Not very dynamic.

Track 10 - Tricycle

Nice dynamic jump here – definitely hits that jump factor.

Track 11 - Just One Of Those Things

No comments here.

12 Walking On The Moon

No comments here.



On the Melody Gardot track, there was some sibilance issue, but not enough to be distracting.

Overall, I just did not connect with these speakers. While all the components were there, I just did not feel engaged. Again, in a word, clinical. I personally think it was because while they did everything ok, there was just not one thing that really stood out.

Once we ran Audyssey, I noticed a couple things. The first – my two female vocal tracks sounded a bit more lively. The second – low end imaging was a bit more precise. It still lacked the impact, but the imaging was more pinpoint.
 
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