I seriously would like to know why Polk Audio doesn't (can't) get their higher end product like their LSi series of speakers into higher end stereo shops not only in my area (Toronto, Canada) but in the United States as well. The Polk Audio LSi's can compete with Paradigm Studio's, PSB Stratus, Energy Veritas, Monitor Audio's, B & W's, and Klipsh to name but a few. But for some reason or another I get the impression that Polk would rather hide their products.
This is two fold really. I have a friend who wanted to hear the Polk Audio LSi's, after searching around we found one (!!!!) vendor in eastern Ontario. We set-out for the 30min drive. When we got there we listened to the Polk Audio LSi9's and LSi15's. The disc was the Rolling Stones on SACD. After the audition we left and talked about what we had heard. My friend was laughing at me, because I had be thinking about these speakers for some time. He wasn't impressed at all with the sound. Both of us knew that alot of this had to do with the room and surrounding equipment. Our "audition" system was an entry Level Sony ES Home Theater receiver, a $200 Sony DVD player. 50 cent RCA's and lampcord cable. The room was large, open, wooden floors and generally bright. All this to demo $2600 and $1500 CDN speakers. The salesman knew nothing about the speakers only that he could give us a "deal".
15minutes after listening to that demo we stopped by another stereo shop. A much higher end vendor. We were met by an older gentleman who gladly showed us around. My friend was dying to listen to some PSB Mini Stratus, having just heard the Polk Audio LSi's. The gentleman glady put on our disc in a Pioneer Elite 47 DVD player and Elite VX-45 receiver. Audioquest was both the speaker wire and interconnects all around. The room was treated and the speakers properly brought out 3 feet from the wall. My friend looked at me with glee. The sound was fuller, the soundstage wider and midbass more accurate. I have had alot of experience with PSB speakers and even though the majority of what the PSB's did was much better, I thought the strengths of the Polk Audios outweighted them, and the weaknesses could be covered by better connects, source and amps. I still took a gamble though, because the PSB's did sound better. I had to "imagine" what the LSi's would sound like with better equipment.
My friend still hasn't heard these speakers on my setup yet. I can't wait till he does. He's typical really, no different then I was 3 years ago. If it aint in high end store it's probably not very high end. I kinda get sick of the Paradigm diehards telling me I was crazy for not buying Studios. They have probably never heard the LSi's on the same equipment as their Studio's. Not really because they dont want too, probably more to do with they simply can't.
The other problem I face now, is that I want to upgrade my CD player. Now normally if I were to buy speakers like the other brands mentioned I'd have no problems going into a higher end specialty shop which carried those same speakers and other higher end gear like NAD, Rotel, Arcam, Bryston, etc...It would have been nice to go to a retailer and buy Polk Audio LSi9's then come back maybe 6-12 months later and get that great little Rotel CD player they showed me. I could have listened to it on my exact same speakers I owned. Now I am forced to take my SACD player with me, compare it to other brands, Rotel, NAD, Arcam and imagine how my new CD player might sound on my LSi's. I could get a home audition if I tried I suppose but I think you get my point.
Polk Audio LSi's are a very nice product. This is more of a suggestion then a rant. I wouldn't have taken the time to write this if I didn't honestly want to see Polk's sell or be distributed via better retail outlets. You guys have a great product in the LSi lineup, I just wish you would allow people better places to hear them. I have heard many Americans have had the same problems as well. Great speakers, nowhere to hear them. The RT and RTi lineups are avaliable at many Big Box locations, I wish the LSi's were given a chance to shine in nicer shops where I can demo other equipment along with them. Just a suggestion.