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  1. #1

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    Default A plea to Polk Audio

    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.

  2. #2

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    Thumbs up good post

    I'd have to agree with you on most points. I too have to travel about two hours distance just to listen to the LSI line by Polk. While I don't live in a huge city.. (approx 200,000) it would be nice for my local CC or Best Buy to carry the full line of speakers.

    My area only has two high end stores.... Magnolia and a local online store that also has a brick and morter outlet here. (One Call.com).

    I don't know the answer to why Polk speakers aren't in more stores. But I has to respond that there seem to also be fewer and fewer high end home audio stores. I can count them on one hand.... while there car audio stores number in my area in the double digits.

    Maybe high end audio shops are going the way of the dinasaur or something. But that doesn't mean that CC, BB, etc... can't carry some Polks. CC carries a very limited line of them.. mostly the RTi.

    I guess the demand for the higher end line just isn't Polk's bread and better.. so there isn't much reason to flood the market with their product.

    Al
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  3. #3

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    Congrats on the new purchase Lush! Did you get the 9's or 15? What colour?

    Getting the LSi wasn't too hard for me. The dealer I normally go to got a pair of 15's before I even thought about upgrading. When the time came, of course, they only had the 15's in stock and had to order a pair of 9's for me. It took about 3 weeks but it was worth the wait because I got a great deal.

    A Sony ES entry level receiver will not show you what the LSi are capable of. IMO, seperates and TOTL receivers are the only way to go. Some dealers don't know how special the LSi speakers are so they treat them like RT's.

    Maurice
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    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  4. #4

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    Thumbs up Agreed!

    Hear, hear! I can't agree more! Hope your post can catch Paul (DiComo)'s attention, since there have been several (reported) sighting of him over at the 12V aisle...

    I echo your frustration fully! I am at the point that I am interested to upgrade my source. I've been relying on other experiences all this time, and thanks to all, it has been very helpful. But, this blind purchase will eventually bite me.

    For instance, having the LSi and Rotel in my system, I am dying to audition Arcam FMJ CD33 and Musical Fidelity A3.2 among others, with these combo. But there is no way I can do this anywhere in the US...Granted these are some of the brands that perhaps will never be stocked by a single store, but even being able to hear the LSi with the Sony XA777ES at Tweeter would be a real treat for me...
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  5. #5

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    I agree, there should be more rabid Polk involvement at the ground level. The LSi line is absolutely fantastic!

    I thought that big companies had people that went out and "sold" the product to stores....they have salesmen don't they? Maybe that is a way of the past, but maybe that's the way it should be approached now, a roving pack of vampiric LSi salemen :)

    I mean lets get some respect in the audio world not just in magazines, half of which our friends don't even read.

  6. #6

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    Danger Boy: I really would cry if Best Buy or CC carried LSi speakers, they don't deserve that lack of respect (The speakers). It is a very nicely priced HI-FI product DEMANDING hi-fi equipment around it. Not Sony or Kenwood products. It demands better. NAD, Rotel, Bryston, Arcam, Blue Circle, Audio Refinement, are the products I want to see around these speakers.

    Organ, I have had these speakers for a couple of weeks now, I have mentioned this in an eariler post. They are the LSi9's with Cherry Finish. The first couple days I made the mistake of some serious listening. I got scared because they were missing notes and a little muddy, they have openned up alot since then. I'm very pleased.

  7. #7

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    Oh yeah, now I remember. Sorry. I think that was your first post.

    Maurice
    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
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    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**

  8. #8

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    chalk me up on the wishing for LSi's side...

    i two had to drive to get a listen...the lsi 9's, which by the way sound amazing, however 50 cent was alittle hard on them because of the loud bass but whatever i didnt pay attention to that.

    where are the lsi15's though? so far as i can tell there is only 1 lsi dealer close to me and they dont carry the 15's.....and like previously stated the salesman knew nothing about them, and did treat them like the rt's.....or worse, the r's

    i knew more about polks line when i went into that store (Longplayer Stereo). and the only polk literature they had was an outdated catalog. i dont know about you guys but i will read that stupid speaker bull**** that they give me, but how can i read it if its not there? dont you agree that they should step up on the advertising? hell if i wasn't 15 id join polk and drive around in an SUV with some lsi's and some nice gear....goin from store to store, amazing the people there....and carrying order forms so they can get them after they are amazed.

    oh well :( i guess we just gotta wait....or sumthin like that

  9. #9

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    Lush,

    I'm from Toronto as well. Sounds like you were at G&G electronics.
    I've found only 2 dealers here in Toronto and they were the best of the two. Granted the room isn't made for music listening but overall they're better than most other stores. If you thought G&G were bad , you should see Tabangi electronics !

    Anyways, I agree there should be a few more dealers and not for the big box stores.

    I'm thinking of the Lsi9's as well. Initially did you feel on your comparison demo, the Lsi15's were a little "cleaner" and the Lsi9's had a nasal or chesty sound? I'm wondering if your Lsi9's were able to clear that up a bit when broken in.
    Last edited by begbie; 07-09-2003 at 10:29 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Lush,

    Your words reflect the frustration most of us face. We see an incredible product capable and deserving of wider distribution, seem to only exist within a select few.

    I ask my dealers about the Polk Audio LSi's. Every time the response is "Lsi what?". What a shame.

    I was somewhat fortunate. I have an LSI dealer roughly 15 minutes away from me. It is a small building in a duplex. It's really difficult to see, you would have to be searching for it. There is no sign indicating an audio store is there. Every dealer I talked to, never knew this place existed. Mind you, this dealer is roughly three years old.

    To make a long story short, I was employed there temporarily. It was horrible. They had a cheap *not even an ES model* Sony, AR interconnects and wire, a Zenith cd player running a pair of LSi-9's. I informed them it would be in their best interest to go with higher quality components. I was quickly and rather harshly corrected, being informed that I lacked knowledge and had no idea how the industry worked.

    Is THIS the kind of dealer Polk wants to display and sell their products? The next closest dealer to me is the Polk HQ in Maryland.

    I have heard many stories, like Lush's.

    An interested person begins a search for the LSi.
    Finds that the nearest dealer is quite a hefty drive away.
    Finally gets time to go take a listen, only to discover the Lsi's are poorly set up with inadequite gear.

    A sad, sad, state of affairs. Dare I say, almost, unacceptable.

    Regards,

    Sean

  11. #11

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    I stopped by CC the other day to listen to some Polk in-walls. They had one pair partially hanging out of some sort of portable wall. It took ten minutes to find a $250 receiver to drive the speakers. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. If I didn't that the speakers could sound so much better, I would have left with the impression that Polk speakers suck. Almost as much as CC, hehe.
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  12. #12

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    The Polk Audio LSi9's imho were the best out of the bunch. I have never grasped the idea of having sub-woofers built into speakers. You can acheive better frequency responses but at the same time there can be an ackward crossover and gap. The LSi's need a LENGTHY break in period. I have about 30hrs on them now and they are just starting to open up. 70 more and I'll be laughing.

    Toronto and the greater toronto area are blessed with a number of Audiophile retailers. Bay Bloor Radio, Bracks, Musonic, Kennedy Hi-Fi, Whitby Audio, American Sound of Canada are to name a few all within 60mins of each other. There are countless others. And it is within these places you won't see anything lower then a NAD or rotel in terms of electronics. And nto one of these retailers carry the LSi's, instead they carry, Paradigm, Totem, PSB, Energy, Monitor Audio, KEF, Klipsh, Mirage, Tannoy, B & W. With an geographical area so blessed with higher end retaiers its a real shame nobody carries Polk Audio LSi's. There is money and knowledge around these parts. Half the speakers I just named are designed or built in the areas im talking about. I'll always understand the strong Canadian speaker domincance in this particular area but these retailers still carry a wide range of American and English speakers. And even in the United States I hear horror stories of nobody being able to find these gems or even worse, they are found but hooked up to inferior equipment.

    I hope some people who work for Polk Read this forum. I like their speakers, I want others to like listen to them as well.

  13. #13

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    Here in Michigan we also have a lot of high end stores. One I go to alot Almos has three stores in the area. I talked to the owner the other day and again mentioned the LSI and how they are great. He said that he probably will not carry polk again. He said back in the 80's polk was making some deals on the SDA speakers. After aranging to get the speakers at a conciderable cost, Polk dropped the line. He was stuck with out dated speakers. The one thing that really upset him was that the just dropped the line, and did not introduce a new version so he would have a easier time selling the SDA.

  14. #14

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    Originally posted by Janusch
    Here in Michigan we also have a lot of high end stores. One I go to alot Almos has three stores in the area. I talked to the owner the other day and again mentioned the LSI and how they are great. He said that he probably will not carry polk again. He said back in the 80's polk was making some deals on the SDA speakers. After aranging to get the speakers at a conciderable cost, Polk dropped the line. He was stuck with out dated speakers. The one thing that really upset him was that the just dropped the line, and did not introduce a new version so he would have a easier time selling the SDA.
    :D how tough would it be today to sell those same SDA's? :D

    I've only been into Polk for about 4 yrs now... it does seem that they come out with a new or modified series every other year or so.
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    I am still waiting to hear Polk's response vis a vis marketing strategy on this....
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  16. #16

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    Lush

    I think it is all about the bottem line - MONEY. As you said an old guy was able to demo the speakers correctly. These listening opions are going away because you can demo the equipment at the store and then buy on line. Who makes the money? I think that it makes econmic sense for POLK to sell speakers the way they do. We lose but POLK stock goes up. I have no answer for this issue. I have seen the same thing happen to the locale bike shops, hardware stores and dairy farmers. Most of us all buy from the big guy and miss the small store's information and guidance. Way back when in the 1960's AR had a listening room in Harvard Square MA. They only demostarted AR's amp, turntable and speakers. THEY SOLD NOTHING IN THE STORE! Theyt would give you a list of stores that solid AR equipment. In fact they would sometimes demo the equipment by comparing the sound to a small LIVE chamber group to the AR speakers in the same room. They would fake playing the instriments while the speakers were on and most people couldn't tell the differance in sound. That would not happen today. What a demo though. The Bottom Line doen't allow it today.

    I'm guilty. I suffer the loss also. :( :( :(

  17. #17

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    I don't see how Polk Audio is making money on LSi's by not allowing them to be seen ANYWHERE. Why does Paradigm Studio's, Energy Veritas and PSB Stratus series speakers have such outstanding reputations? I don't hear too many local vendors complain about carrying Paradigms or Veritas because people listen to demo's in their shops then buy online.

    True, this might happen, but the advantages of brand recognition or building a strong speaker line far outway these. Paradigms and Energy speakers can be bought online, I've never heard of local high end dealers complain of carrying these lines because of this though. I think it is a very weak arguement. People don't talk about LSi's like they do with the forementioned brands, because people haven't had a chance to listen to them. The strength of the Paradigm Studio line was accomplished from dealers actually carrying these speakers and allowing people to properly listen to them. Some, might buy Studio's online, but a great deal still buy them in the stores. Let me tell you, Paradigm is HUGE around these parts. Several stores carry them, and all within 100km of each other. I don't understand how LSi's can't be found in EVEN one of these stores.

    Why create a higher end product if you aren't planning on selling it. Not many people have even heard of the LSi name let alone listened to a pair in a proper enviroment. Imagine Paradigm Studio V3's being released then pulled from every dealer. Only a handfull of meduim sized outlets with poor quality gear carry the Studios connected to that Sony ES receivers and that $199 DVD player that plays every format under the sun...it would be commercial suicide for Paradigm to do so. All that effort in building the line wasted....
    Last edited by LuSh; 07-19-2003 at 06:11 PM.

  18. #18

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    another testimonial to this.

    I was in the brick and morter store for Onecall.com today.. looking around for a multi disc CD player.. stand alone CD players seem to be going away... people instead looking for a multi format player.. i can understand that.

    So i talk to the sales guy . who has sold me several things over the years... including my Marantz receriver.. a friends top of the line Onkyo receiver, a digital camera.. etc. so I felt the guy knew his stuff... as far as receivers, interconnects, speakers goes.

    He asked me what I was using for my mains.. i proudly told him Polk Audio RT800i's. His reply back was.. " aren't those the speakers that uses that "cable" that goes between the two speakers"? I told him no.. those are Polk SDA speakers built in the 80's. He said... "oh, i heard that those were really good". I tolk him I had a newer series of speakers from Polk. He then gave some lame excuse..that he couldn't remember all the series of speakers that any speaker maker makes.

    Anyway... to make a long story short.. i left.. there without buying anything.. they had a very limited number of CD players.. most low to mid fi.. with one or two Sony ES ones. Prices were horrible.

    This is my recent (today) experiece with getting the Polk brand name out there.. and what the results were.

    No one in my city carries any Lsi speakers. I have to travel about 300 miles just to see em.. let alone demo em. :(

    CC here carries a good number of the RTixx series of speakers.. including the 150's, 100's, 70's, 38's, 28's, entry level surrounds and centers, and one or two entry level subs.
    Last edited by danger boy; 07-20-2003 at 04:34 PM.
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  19. #19

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    Lush, my man. Sony ES makes some very respectable gear...love my XA777ES.
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  20. #20

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    For sure, one of the best SACD players in the world. But the gear they were using was entry level ES and it was only the receiver. It was that and the $199.99 DVD/CD player they were using to demo it that had me pulling my hair out.

  21. #21

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    Damn busting on us entry level ES guys, my guts hurt :)

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    Out of boredom today, I went to the Great Indoors (an authorized LSi). They have LSi15 and LSi7 on display. Everything else, has to be special order (which means no price nego, in most cases). My intention is to audition LSi25, so that I can make a sound judgement whether the 25 is worth the money...anyway, I digress, they have the 7 hooked up in their sound room. The 15 is in the floor, powered by an Oink receiver. Needless to say that this was a quick trip in and out. The best gear they have is a Denon 5803 (btw, on special for $2700) and they don't have it on stock. If I were a Polk sales rep. serving this account, I would make the suggestion: 1) swap the 7 out and bring in 15 into the sound room, better yet, keep both in the sound room. 2) use a Denon 5803 to drive them, or an Integra (obviously, it's limited to what they carry, no Rotel nor B&K nor Adcom nor NAD, etc). 3) give 'em a 9 for the demo, if given the choice between 7 and 9.

    Speaking of which, I wonder if Polk has a dedicated sales reps serving big accounts that also responsible for the floor display. Food for thoughts, Polk...

    *constructive feedback off*
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    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  23. #23

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    That's a pretty good price on a 5803.
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  24. #24

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    yes, indeed, but make me think that 5804 is around the corner! dedicated DVI and firewire to the Denon DVD 9100 universal player? (Miss Cleo's told me...)
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  25. #25

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    I would go with current model w/o dvi and buy a dvi enabled tv. That way you get a sweet receiver and dvi direct to TV. I've yet to see component/dvi comparison though. Anyone seen a comparison?
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  26. #26

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    polkatese,

    Speaking from experience, it's difficult to keep even the best lines on display at all times. When sales are low and the manager is under pressure to bring his numbers up for the month then he's gonna sell even his best selling speaker on display.

    I've seen customers waving money in their hand saying they'll take that demo speaker because they can't even wait the 2-5 days to ship in !!

    One day your Lsi, B&W, Rotel, etc. may have all models on display but then next day they're missing their Lsi15 (example) on display because the customer who waited a week or two for a pair of Lsi15's to come in found their shipment to be defective. The customer is very irate/anxious and threatens to return so you make a deal to sell the demo ! If another customer is disappointed that there's no demo Lsi15 he can hear - then the manager will apologize but make it worth his time if he comes back and give him an added discount for his patience ! Just one of many stories that go on in retail !!

    I agree that all models should be on display and I've argued with managers on this. In the end, it's all about money and sales numbers to survive in a highly competitive a/v market.
    Last edited by begbie; 07-24-2003 at 11:54 PM.
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    begbie,
    I know that happened, but I wonder if it happens often enough to justify what I saw today. One thing that is interesting is the fact that this chain is not a dedicated Hi-Fi A/V outlet. Their focus is more home improvements (kitchen, furniture, decoration, appliance, etc.) BB is actually more appropriate to carry the LSi compared to this one. If I am shopping for mid/hi end gears, I will not go to Great Indoors. Serious audio buff will not go shop for electronics in a home decoration chains, especially at the price LSi series are advertised for. I wonder what's the logic here....
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    polkatese,

    I've seen reps come in and make a suggestion to the manager for correct merchandising for their product. Sometimes he'll make the change and sometimes not. Sometimes it takes top level management from both parties to agree for the change and that'll take time to trickle down to the store level. Add to that , all other manufacturers are fighting for prime shelf space to advertise their stuff.

    Sound like Great Indoors is not your specialized store and it makes sense that the Lsi's shouldn't be there. With that, high volume/high traffic buisnesses are difficult to merchandise to their best marketability versus a ma and pop store that has the time to give the Lsi's the special treatment.
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    Polk cs400i -Center
    Polk fx500i -side surrounds
    Polk rc60i -rear surrounds
    Onkyo TX-NR 1009 (9.2) receiver
    Velodyne cht12
    Polk psw111

  29. #29

    Member Sales Rating: (58)

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    Feb 2003
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    We have a Great Indoors near us also, great place for home ideas, but overpriced.

    Who in their right mind is going to buy a bathroom toilet rug, and a 6.1 M&K, with Denon 5803 sound system in the same day? It has to be one of the more ridiculous places I have seen audio gear for sale.

  30. #30

    Member Sales Rating: (17)

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    North Victoria Gardens, Altacucawanda, California
    Posts
    6,802

    Default

    dorok, my point exactly!...
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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