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Thread: LSiM 703 Review

  1. #1

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    Post LSiM 703 Review

    Well, we're coming up on 48 hours of me having the LSiM 703s in my custody, and quite frankly, I don't wanna give 'em back! They're amazing! I promised a review in the thread for our meet-up, and would have liked to have had more time with them but the threat of having to send them back is looming close and I want to share these with other TX Polkies, so I'm going to write this review while I listen to them. This is my first time critically reviewing a speaker, so bear with me as try to walk you guys through my experience so far.

    First off, I'm just in love with the new cabinet design. Not that I have a single thing against the look of the LSi line, but the smooth curves are elegant but not overbearing (and are backed by equally-smooth sound, but we'll get to that later). The LSiM's cherry is very similar to the tone of the LSi's, but different enough to notice when placed side by side for comparison. It would be a lot tougher to tell if you had a set of Ms in one room and LSis in another. Since these are pre-production models, there's no way to tell if that will permanently be the case. I've included a picture to illustrate the difference for those of you who are curious. I think it would be cool if they would also include a lighter color like a natural birch, but I'd be content regardless of the color\ The grills are held on by six magnets, so the front was able to be kept smooth, beautiful and sans grill-mounting-holes. "polkaudio" logos are mounted at the bottom of the speaker, and serve as an additional support to hold the grills up, not that they really need it, but they do come off a good bit easier than your plug-socket style grill mounts, so without the emblem there I could see the grill easily being knocked off. These babies are without a doubt designed for grill-less action, but still look gorgeous with the grills on, so those of you with the curious kids need not worry that you'll be missing out with the grills in place. As far as cabinet integrity goes, Polk did it right and built in some solid cross-bracing, which will keep the cabinet walls pretty damn inert. The bracing in addition to some light polyfill stuffing and curved walls should keep standing waves to a minimum, further improving the sound of these over the previous generation. The backs of the speaker are graced by good ol' PowerPorts, and metal terminal plates with much nicer binding posts than before. Instead of using metal-tab style jumpers, Polk has supplied a short cable with loop ends that slide over the binding posts and are secured when the binding post is screwed tight.

    For those of you who in the tweaking crowd who, this means doing a plate with 3 sets of binding posts for an external crossover will look right at home, but these speakers sound pretty damn sweet as is, to the point where even I'm not considering modding mine when I get them, at least not for a while. Also, since the bass driver has been stepped up to 6.5", there will be more room to fit in a modded board internally so the lower-value ClarityCaps etc. will be easier to maneuver into the cabinet.

    On to the good part... how do they sound?
    The highs are incredibly crisp and detailed. Polk has successfully bridged the gap between the brightness of RTi/RTiA line and the laid-back sound of the LSi. They have better clarity than my modded LSi25s, and more impact than my JBL Northridge E50s. Today's the third day in a row I've listened to LSiMs, and I have yet to experience a single hint of ear fatigue at higher volumes. The imaging is killer, the soundstage is wide, but the depth hasn't sent me checking my remote to make sure I'm in 2-channel mode like my modded LSi25s did. IMO, it's a little unfair to compare them to modded LSis, because those are so much of an improvement over the regular LSis, but I'm just trying to give a completely honest rewview. Now, I'm still not sure if this set of 703s is broken in or not, or even how much playtime they have, and if they're not, I'm sure that could affect the depth some. Considering the fact that these are pre-production models, I'm going to assume it hasn't had a lot of good break-in time and take that into consideration. I've only played them at softer volumes the past two evenings and haven't had any good "break-in" time since I haven't had the house to myself, but today it's all mine and I'm letting loose. Back to the good stuff, the LSiMs blend extremely well from highs to mids to midbass (and to bass in the case of the 707). The midbass has been a very pleasant and welcoming surprise. The first thump of "Hotel California" on the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over album had me scrambling to check my receiver's settings to make sure I had the subwoofer out switched off, and it indeed was... They relentlessly pound me in the chest with a firm midbass impact, but it wasn't the slightest bit muddy. Even at higher volumes, the sound doesn't deteriorate the slightest bit. My system's future includes an LMS Ultra 5400, and prior to today I was worried that I might have to buy some 705s to get enough midbass impact... hah! No need. The 703 have it. Now in a larger room, the 705 would probably be a better solution, but my HT room is no more than a glorified bedroom. Now if you want the full experience, I'd pair these up with a sub crossed somewhere between 70 to 80. When I coupled these with my PSW1000 crossed at 80, it brought back the recent memory of experiencing the 707s. They play pretty damn deep as-is, and make a great standalone set, but they are without a doubt missing the ultra low gut-punch supplied by the towers, which is to be expected of a bookshelf speaker. A MicroPRO 3k or 4k would be a great match, or any of the higher-powered subs from other manufacturers or past lineups.

    To sum it up into one sentence: they're designed well, built strong, have a beautiful finish, and a sound signature to match all of those characteristics.

    For reference sake, I put them through their paces with a variety of music including Apollo 13, The Eagles, The Verve, Santana, Richard Cheese, David Allen Coe, the scores from Halo 2, 3, and Reach, Hans Zimmer, John Mayer, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, Enya, Blue Man Group, Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method, The Beastie Boys, Lynard Skynard, Joe Satriani, Timbaland, Ludacris, The Fray, Eric Whitacre, and I'm sure there were a few more that I didn't remember to write down. Nonetheless, I want you guys to know I put these through quite a few genres to get as detailed of a picture as possible.

    Associated gear for a vast majority of the review: Pioneer Elite SC-37, Monster Cable XP speaker wire, Polk Audio PSW1000, 24" stands, my laptop with the X-Fi soundcard, my iPhone (via USB to the receiver, not via the audio jack), and Crown Royal . I also did some minor listening on my bedroom/computer rig, which consists of my laptop & X-Fi card, HK 3480 and AudioQuest Type 4 speaker cables (the EQ was not used).

    I'll post up more pictures if anyone wants. I took a TON of them so there's plenty more angles etc. My computer is being kinda retarded so I decided to stop at four today.
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  2. #2

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    Good to see those stands put go good use...
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    Jim, just curious but that isnt the normal location of your 25's right?

    I also do notice the difference between the cherry finish. The 25's look more like natural wood, but the 703's have more of a cherry tone, but less grainy feel to em...

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    Wait... you mean the 25s aren't supposed to be shoved up against the wall? :tongue:

    No my 25s normally sit where the 703s are, actually a little closer towards the table, aimed at the center seat of my couch. I spread the 703s out from the table a bit because on these stands the midbass drivers would be slightly blocked by the tabletop if I kept them in close. I just threw the 25s in the corners for the review since I didn't feel like dragging them all the way out of my room.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimAckley View Post
    Wait... you mean the 25s aren't supposed to be shoved up against the wall? :tongue:

    No my 25s normally sit where the 703s are, actually a little closer towards the table, aimed at the center seat of my couch. I spread the 703s out from the table a bit because on these stands the midbass drivers would be slightly blocked by the tabletop if I kept them in close. I just threw the 25s in the corners for the review since I didn't feel like dragging them all the way out of my room.
    Gotcha, I just wanted to make sure lol. I just got 15's and while I love them, proper setup isnt possible for WAF reasons.

    To get an equilateral triangle there is about a 9" gap between each speaker and the entertainment center and the wife will not have that lol. I at least have the 15's centered at the main listening area, just dont have the space between them properly.

    I got em spiked and am debating doing some toe-in but once again the WAF might strike on that lol.

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    Slowly toe them in, maybe she won't notice lol. Or just say "WOMAN!!! I AM THE MAN OF THE HOUSE AND THIS IS HOW IT SHALL BE!" Lucky me, my girlfriend doesn't know much about speakers but thinks they're cool and loves that I'm into them, so I think WAF won't be much of an issue on down the road.

    I guess it's time to hook up the TL250 now :D
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    Not bad for a first review. Bravo!
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    "The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction". - Kenneth Swauger

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimAckley View Post
    Slowly toe them in, maybe she won't notice lol. Or just say "WOMAN!!! I AM THE MAN OF THE HOUSE AND THIS IS HOW IT SHALL BE!" Lucky me, my girlfriend doesn't know much about speakers but thinks they're cool and loves that I'm into them, so I think WAF won't be much of an issue on down the road.

    I guess it's time to hook up the TL250 now :D
    Oh my wife loves the way the LSi's look its just a OCD thing for her. Once we get our bigger cherry entertainment center it should fix my problem since its going to be a bit wider than our current one and should fix my problems....
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    Good job Jim
    Home Theater:Samsung8000-55LED,Pioneer SC35, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Sunfire TGA7201, LSi25, LCi RTSc, LC80i
    2chnl system:Melody 101 tube pre, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, W4S Dac, MG Audio Planus2 speaker cables
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    My TL250's will have to wait til I move. I'm hoping to have a new (to me) HK AVR tomorrow that I can use for the LSi setup and throw the Yamaha on Satellite duties.

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    Your review is very good . You spoke your mind and told it how you felt. I'm very cool with your style of reviewing. Lucky you getting to review a pair of fresh LSIM's. I'm very jealous.
    Dan
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    nice review and thanx

    nice setup

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    The only thing missing is a thank you to who let you borrow them....aside from that, solid review.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Oh my wife loves the way the LSi's look its just a OCD thing for her. Once we get our bigger cherry entertainment center it should fix my problem since its going to be a bit wider than our current one and should fix my problems....
    You could just banish her from that room and then she'd never know, haha. Are your LSis cherry or ebony? And are you running them as a 2-ch setup or HT?

    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    My TL250's will have to wait til I move. I'm hoping to have a new (to me) HK AVR tomorrow that I can use for the LSi setup and throw the Yamaha on Satellite duties.
    I'm anxious to hear your .02 on the TLs. I'm still worn out from caddying at the Byron Nelson yesterday (I forever hate that course now) and disassembling my LSi setup today to take pictures and get it ready to sell didn't help, so I'm not touching my TLs til tomorrow. It's been a long time since I've run any compact speakers, but the ones I had back then were total poo so I've got no idea what to expect. Should be interesting...

    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Your review is very good . You spoke your mind and told it how you felt. I'm very cool with your style of reviewing. Lucky you getting to review a pair of fresh LSIM's. I'm very jealous.
    Thank you! It's been one helluva day sitting down with them and getting to listen to all of my favorite songs back to back on them. Wish you could've been here to hear them. They'll blow your mind, especially for $2k.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai View Post
    The only thing missing is a thank you to who let you borrow them....aside from that, solid review.
    Thank you again Russ!
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    Nice review Jim, thanks.

    I noticed you mentioned 24" stands, which are really too short. I take it you didn't have any taller stands, yes?
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    When you sit back on my couch it puts the HF drivers at about ear height using the 24" stands. I have some 30" stands too, but the 24s were sufficient. If anything, a 27" stand would be ideal IMO.
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    I see. You must have a low couch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    I see. You must have a low couch.
    The center cushion sinks really bad. It's a super comfy defect
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    lol.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimAckley View Post
    The center cushion sinks really bad. It's a super comfy defect
    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    lol.....
    lol x 2 (never heard before badly sinking cough as being comfy ). Nice review Jim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimAckley View Post
    The center cushion sinks really bad. It's a super comfy defect
    My brother-in law has a couch the same way. If other people sit on it with you, they all slide on top of you. It's constantly people to the left and right fidgiting and moving all the time....ugh it's annoying but it's a wonderful little spot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimAckley View Post
    You could just banish her from that room and then she'd never know, haha. Are your LSis cherry or ebony? And are you running them as a 2-ch setup or HT?
    Its the main room in the apartment so fat chance on banishing her lol.. I am using them for HT and also 2 channel when listening to music through my Xbox, or blu-ray player (either Pandora or actual CD), or laptop using FLAC via XMBC and HDMI

    I know its not the "best" of setups but I really am enjoying them. I just need a beefier amp for em (think Sunfire Grand Cinema ) and a dedicated pre rather than my Integra (thinking Marantz AV7005) and I will be golden me thinks.

    At some point Nooshinjohn keeps tellin me to get a good SACD player, but I dont have any SACD's so obviously no need for it currently lol....

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    so are these 703s a replacement for lsi7's or 9's or something in between?
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    nice review...can't imagine how nice they sound

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lietuvis91 View Post
    so are these 703s a replacement for lsi7's or 9's or something in between?
    I'd say they replace the 9s if anything. They've got miles more bass extension than a set of 7s.
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    Nice review Jim. I am looking forward to hearing a pair of these.
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    Good to see those stands put go good use...
    I was just thinking the same thing! They are more than up to the job.
    Do you have them weighted, or just running them empty?
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    Empty for now.
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    They're pretty stout and heavy as-is. I would HATE moving them around while filled, with a deep, fiery passion. I'm about to fill my 30" just for kicks, but they're nowhere as heavy duty as the ones Russ is sending around with them.
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