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  1. #1

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    Default Final Review of the LSIM703's

    Whats up all?
    So we had a little polk gathering at my shop and got to demo the LSIM703's vs a few speakers and on 2 different kinds of power. Everyone brought some music for us to listen to so we had a nice mix.

    To begin this review I will list the first systems gear.

    Cambridge Audio Azur 550A Intergraded
    Cambridge Audio azur 550C CD player
    Tributaries speaker wire and IC's.

    Ultimate foundation Stands different models

    Compared Speakers

    Paradigm Studio 10's V5's
    Focal Chorus 706v

    So we put on some Tunes and had them connected to a Audio Authority Speaker switcher so we could go back and forth between 2 different models. First up was the LSIM's, they had an uncanny low end and mid range but not much of a high end. Switching to the Focals , it was the complete opposite. The High's where beautiful and clear while the mid range and low end was lacking compared. Back and forth we went and everyone agreed on our findings.

    Next up was the Paradigm Studio 10's which are regarded as a fantastic bookshelf speakers and always looked at by Stereophile mag as on of the very best bookshelf speakers at it's price range. The 20's won bookshelf of the year a few times and rightfully so with some of the thing they do right. Compared to the LSIM's , it was kinda the same result with the Studio 10's just about being to bring. The LSIM's had a very strong bottom end and sounded more like a floor standing speakers then a book shelf.

    We didn't have any Totem models on the floor as they have all been sold. I was really looking forward to a Rainmaker shootout.

    After a few more switches I decided it was time to give them super power. We have a full Bryston system with the mighty 4BSST amp which IMO has limitless power. No speakers we have connected to it has even made it break a sweat. On a side note this amp keeps me coming back to it and is strongly becoming my reference piece. I might have to buy one as I'm so into it.

    In this room we didn't have any bookshelf speakers but had Magnepans 1.7's and 3.6's which I moved to the side and wanted to get a very good long list of music to be played through the LSIM's. All of a sudden the top end came alive , the mid range was crystal clear and the bottom end was tight and clean. The only songs that kinda was annoying on them was Hotel California and some live Yes. The speakers really had somewhat of a hard time being driven by such power in the Bryston , I had to turn it down but was able to retain about 80-85db pressure level which everyone was comfortable with.

    I'm gonna be very judge mental in my next few words so take them for what they are. I feel the LSIM703's need good clean power but not 300 watts worth. I'm thinking a good 100-200 watt amp with high current would be ideal. I have a Rotel 100x2 at home and it does the job wonderfully. The high end of these speakers are in question for me. I think something is slightly missing. It doesn't have the "airy" top end like the Focal's do. They also have a low end hump somewhere maybe around 50 to 60hz. I didn't sweep them to find this issue but a few songs I noticed a one hit wonder in the low end. It reminded me of the LSi9's that had that problem on everything they played. I think poll did a very good job correcting this issue but didn't solve the mystery altogether. The mid range is spot on and is where I found a love for these speakers. Very warm and soothing to listen to. Anything thats not aggressive sounds wonderful on them.
    I'm also not exactly sure on the overall ohm load these speakers put on an amp. According to spec , they are compatible with 8 ohm loads , so are they 8 ohms safe? They seem to pull a bit of juice compared to other 8 ohm load speakers.
    I think if I where to make suggestions to the engineering team , I would say the following. 1st and for most cut them off a little earlier then they are now. Force a subwoofer to mate with them if one wants them over a floor standing model. What I feel will happen is it will further clean up the beautiful mid range these bad boys have and allow the high's to stand out a bit more. I also believe the one hit wonder tone will go away as well. It's a common problem in the history of polk speakers trying to play more bass then they should. It's no where near as bad as the LSI9's where but still a bit off where they can be. I hear greatness in this model and with a little tweaking I think it can be a wonderful or better put more wonderful speaker then it already is.
    Now if one has an external crossover , I would cut them off at 60 or 80hz. I would love to hear them again with a good crossover and a musical sub like a Rel or Velodyne doing all the bottom end.

    So do I still love these speakers? Honestly I do. I think for 1499.99 retail price they do much more right then wrong. Could the get in the ring with Dynaudio , B&W and Totem with similar offerings in this price class? Well I don't know if I would. I don't think they have the transparent full wall of sound like B&W does. I also don't think they can even touch a Dynaudio Bookshelf anything. Totem can play low end bass but it's more believable. I really wish we had a few pairs to hear them side by side. I feel it's slightly unfair to make such statements without hearing them side by side but from memory , this is how I feel.They simply don't reach to those heights IMO. But most other bookshelf speakers out there that I have heard I think they will do well.

    I do however strongly suggest anyone who is looking for something better from polk , these simply are the finest sounding polk anything I have ever heard. I still fully believe that. When I had them here at the house running off my Rotel , I really found myself listening to the music and not judging them anymore. At this point is when I know I like a speaker or not. When I listen for more then 30 minutes and I'm still judging , they simply are not for me , but when 2 hours go by and they are still on , they are keepers.

    I want to thank polk for suppling these for us to listen to. Good job guys , never give up the quest for perfection. You guys are getting closer with each model.

    Here are a few pic's of the demo
















    Last edited by mantis; 11-17-2011 at 06:53 PM.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  2. #2

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    A big thanks to Dan for hosting our session last night. It was also very kind of Audio Lab to let us have entire store to ourselves. Kudos!!! Now for my thoughts on the Polk's performance last night. I'm pretty much in tune with Dan's perspective in that in the first room which was rather smallish & with the front wall being all glass (store front) it was not the perfect setting for the Polks. The bass was tremendous almost to the point of being overbearing & the top end & midrange was overshadowed by the bass. The Focal on the other hand had a very nice tame bass response & a very "airy" top end. The Paradigms performed very well because of their smallish size & played well in the small room. The Cambridge wasn't up to the task to handle the Polks bass capabilities but was just fine for the Focals & 'digms. In fact it was quite nice with those two. I think we all agreed on the same points.

    Now into the "main event" room we went & we all smiled when we saw the Bryston setup. Now the Polks shed their skin & really opened up nicely. They really woke up with the Bryston taking charge of them. The top end had a new found air to it & the mids really sweetened up. They really enjoyed the Bryston muscle. Now don't think you need all that muscle, just good clean power w/ good current & you're good to go with them. The bass was totally under control, except for a few isolated indidents when the music called for a huge dynamic punch...where the Bryston delivered but the Polks woofer was a bit intimidated. As we all know you can only coax so much out of a monitor. None the less a stellar performance. The music selection was varied & gave a nice sampling across the board & the Polks did extremely well with it all. It was quite obvious that Polk did their homework in remaking the LSi line into the LSiM line. I must say...a job well done!!!!

    Of course Dan had to throw the Maggies in the mix at the end on the evening...a story for another time if you get my drift. It was nice meeting Billy again & Dan & his friend for the first time. I really enjoyed myself & look forward to having guys over to my place. I had the honors of bring the Polks home for a short stay in my listening room. I wonder how my KEF's will like the company? Thanks again Dan.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  3. #3

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    Very nice Dan! now that what I would called proper auditioning: gears, room, setup, and all.

    Thank you for the review and feedback. Now get a 707/705 to that room and start over...
    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.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkatese View Post
    Very nice Dan! now that what I would called proper auditioning: gears, room, setup, and all.

    Thank you for the review and feedback. Now get a 707/705 to that room and start over...
    That would be up to polk to send them to me for a complete demo. I would love to demo them.
    It was a fun night as Phil stated. It really showed what level of gear is needed and what level is not.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  5. #5

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    Dan, it was a pleasure to meet you and the rest of the "kids" in your audio playground last night! Thanks for hosting and allowing my friend and me to sit in with the group!

    You and pearsall001 summed things up nicely in your reviews above. With lower power, the 703's, while always sounding clean, lacked the "air" and openness of the other bookshelf speakers. The highs were "there" but recessed, leading to a relatively constricted "closed in" overall presentation. As discussed above, the bass was AMAZINGLY punchy and powerful, almost (or maybe not almost) to a fault. While never boomy, it dominated at times when it shouldn't have. The mids, when you could hear them over the bass, were clean, smooth and realistic.

    The Polks were an entirely different beast with the better gear in the second listening room. The rocket fuel wattage provided by the Bryston amp all but eliminated the shortcomings we all had noted in the earlier session. The higher frequencies suddenly came alive and the punchy bass sounded much more musical and in proper perspective. I found myself becoming totally immersed in the music instead of the speakers, the single exception being the DCC "Hotel California" gold CD (one of my contributions I admit), which quickly became fatiguing. Surprisingly, even against the much larger and more expensive Magnepans, the 703's held their own, as long as the volume was kept in check to prevent the woofers from the type of over-excursion we observed once or twice. Truth be told, the mighty Bryston amp was a little TOO powerful for the modest Polk bookshelves. Based on the two power sources we tried last night, I would think the sweet spot for these speakers is in the range of 100 (or maybe 120) to about 200 wpc.

    Build quality of the new LSiM's looked to be very good, and cosmetically, I found them to be a handsome set. I liked the cherry finish. I would have also liked to have had the opportunity to A/B them with the (excellent, in my opinion) B&W CM series bookshelf speakers as well as the Paradigm Studio 20 v5, the next step up from the 10's in the Paradigm food chain, but I think we all still came away with a very good sense of what these bad boys are all about. With the right amount of clean power, at their $1500 MSRP price point, the LSiM 703's are the real deal, a bookshelf speaker that sounds like a floor-stander, certainly worth consideration.

    Once again, Dan, I thank you for your hospitality, and to the other privileged few who were in attendance, it was truly a pleasure to meet you, hear your thoughts and spend some quality time together. Let's do it again someday!

    P.S. - I'm very happy you captured my "best" side (the back of my head) in those photos. Any other shot might have ruined the whole thread!!!
    Last edited by donaldfagen; 11-17-2011 at 09:45 PM.

  6. #6

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    Great reviews guys. Hopefully Billy will have his review coming to really round out our findings. I think we all were pretty much on the same page after our sessions with the 703's. Great fun was had by all.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  7. #7

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Compared Speakers

    Paradigm Studio 10's V5's
    Focal Chorus 706v
    Now that I think about it, wasn't there a third set of bookshelf speakers that we threw into the mix? Signature 10's or something like that?

  8. #8

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    Thanks Dan, guys. A very nice and 'clear' review that certainly comes across as balanced. I'm not surprised that the 703s need more power. Even the my lowly 7s like that. Nor am I surprised by the Focal top end...that's always been a strength of that inverted Al/mag tweeter (actually one I like quite a bit, but I prefer the Profile bookshelf to the Chorus--of course those are a bit more coin).

    These are the times I miss having left central Jersey and abandoning my parents house for rent in Eastern Pa. Wish I could have been there!

    Dan's got a lot of stuff in those rooms. What is the power rating on the C-Audio integrated (50-60 watts x 2)?

    I see it's rated 60W x 2, so not that far from my NAD below (actually the exact same weight!).

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 11-18-2011 at 08:35 PM.
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

  9. #9

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    great review !! just out of curiosity though - whats the SRP on the other speakers y'all compared to?

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