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
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