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  1. #1

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    Thumbs up My review of the Blackstone TL3 & Ultrafit 2000 headphones

    I decided to treat myself and replace my Cambridge Soundworks satellite speakers that came with the original Cambridge Soundworks: Soundworks 2.1 system. They are being powered by the 36 wpc Cambridge Soundworks sub-woofer/amp that came with the CSW satellite speakers. The volume is controlled by the in-line volume control that came with the system and it plugs into my PC and the sub/amp.

    The first thing I noticed is that these speakers are HEAVY! I don't think Polk knows how to build a lightweight speaker. The second thing I noticed, is that they are pretty big but because they have a small footprint, they just fit on my PC cart. I have to turn them outward so that they aren't playing into the back of my monitor. These are beautiful speakers with a nice shiny piano finish.

    Once I had them hooked up, I started playing my music on my PC, I immediately had to turn down the volume on the sub because it was a little overpowering. I listened to a few random songs just to get an idea of how they sounded. Then I put them to the test of a music cd I put together to specifically test speakers. The songs on the cd are as follows:

    Carly Simon: Live at Martha's Vineyard: It Happens Every day, Anticipation, The Right Thing to Do.
    Celine Dion: The Power of the Dream
    Bee Gees: I've Gotta Get a Message to You
    Eric Clapton: Unplugged: Tears in Heaven & Layla
    Eagles: Farewell Tour, Life in the Fast Lane & Hotel California
    Virgil Fox: Heavy Organ at Carnegie Hall: Fugue in G Major

    These songs for me will let me judge how well the speakers handle the clarity, separation, bass, and vocals of these songs. I turned the sub volume all the way down so that I could get a clear indication of how good the bass is. I listened first without any help from the sub all the way through the cd, then a second time with the sub added in.

    The first thing I listen for is if there is any sibilance and if there is, is it within acceptable levels. Live music can tend to have quite a bit of it. Listening to some of these songs on a pair of B & W floor standers had me wincing! So listening to Eric's Tears in Heaven especially told me that the tweeter in the TL3 is a winner. While the sibilance is there, it isn't exaggerated beyond acceptable levels.

    These speakers have excellent separation of the instruments, and they are very clear especially in the upper registers, but they aren't the least bit fatiguing. However, I picked up right away that the bass wasn't quite right especially on the Eagles tracks where some of the lower bass was a little thin especially at the end of Life in the Fast Lane, but I was fairly impressed with how well they handled the lower bass notes of the organ in the Gigue Fugue.

    I then listened to the cd again this time with the sub volume on level 2. The sub put the true fullness back into the songs since it could hit the notes that were too low for the TL3s to handle with authority. This has also given me a better idea of how powerful the sub and amp is in this little CSW box.

    I am very happy with my new computer speakers, and I strongly think that Polk should put together 2.1 computer systems that utilizes a small sub/amp like the CSW computer systems for those of us who don't want to go through the hassle of using a receiver hooked up to the PC, and where a full size sub is too big for the space I have to put it.

    Polk has hit this one out of the park with the TL3's, and if they ever do make a smaller sub/amp combo with inline volume control, I will replace my CSW sub/amp with one.

    Now for the Ultrafit 2000 headphones.

    Polk has another winner on it's hands, these are by far the most comfortable behind the ear headphones I have ever worn! I have always worn behind the ear or over the head headphones since I don't like in-the-ear headphones.

    I only wear them when I go to the gym, or when I am traveling. I wear glasses so they have to sit next to the arms on my glasses and usually within 15 minutes behind my ears start hurting, but I have gone through 45-60 minute workouts with these headphones without a bit of pain.

    They have a nice snug fit that keeps them in place which allows me to hear the music better over all the other outside noise around me, but stays in place while I'm moving and working out. My only disappointment with them is that the volume control doesn't work on any other mp3 players other than Ipods. Not all of us have Ipods and it would have been nice to be able to control the volume of my Sansa player through the headphones rather than the player.

    I am very happy with both of my purchases from Polk and they continue to prove why they remain my FIRST stop when I'm looking for new speakers!
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  2. #2

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    Nice review!

  3. #3

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    Nice write up, thank you. I have recommended the tl3 to a couple of people and they all have been pleased.

    I think your idea for Polk to make 2.1 setup with the TLs is a fantastic idea.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  4. #4

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    Nice write up Miss Frizz

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  5. #5

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    Good review! I have the TL-3's running as PC speakers being driven by the NuForce uDAC2 and a Cambridge Audio 550 integrated. As cfrizz notes the tweeters are very, very nice, and the entire mid-range is also sweet. Surprising amount of bass for a mini-monitor. I was using a Polk MicroPro 2000 sub with mine, however that was just more than I needed for a PC audio system.
    DKG999
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    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC

  6. #6

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    Nice review. Has anyone compared the TL3 to lsi7/lsi9 as computer speakers? of course, TL3 has less bass. But what about overall sound?

  7. #7

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    Based on price/foot print, I'd take the TL3 all day for a computer speaker. The TL3 are damn fine sounding satellites and I don't think they'd leave you wanting the 7/9 unless you just HAVE to have the lower extension they provide. Even then, throw a sub with them and you're good to go.

  8. #8

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    right now, lsi7 set is only around $60 more than tl3

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by nhhiep View Post
    Nice review. Has anyone compared the TL3 to lsi7/lsi9 as computer speakers? of course, TL3 has less bass. But what about overall sound?
    Apples to oranges comparison. The LSI's need heavy duty amplification in order to sound their best and my little 36 wpc amp/sub would not get the job done. I like these speakers because they are smaller and much easier to drive. They are perfect for a computer setup.

    You cannot compare the difference in sound to a full size bookshelf speaker, or even a tower speaker, it simply doesn't compute.

    These speakers are made for smaller rooms, with the help of a small sub where space is at a premium and at this they excel in both sound and price.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  10. #10

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    Nice review.
    Polk used to be the speakers you got with the HP Pavillion PC's, that's how I first discovered them.
    I refuse to argue with idiots, because people can't tell the DIFFERENCE!

  11. #11

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    Is the 3.5" driver in the tl3's the same same the 3.5" drivers in the lsim's?

    Thanks

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Is the 3.5" driver in the tl3's the same same the 3.5" drivers in the lsim's?

    Thanks
    No. Might be similar, but the 3.5" driver in the LSiM uses a dust cap with a phase cap design on it. The TL3 uses an actual phase plug. The Components in the TL3 look exactly like a miniature version of the SR car components.

  13. #13

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    I am using the TL3 driven by an Audioengine N22 with a PSW111 and a HRT Music Streamer II for my PC system. Just got this setup last weekend and do not have a lot of time on it. I think all around this setup sounds much better than the self powered speakers I was using with the PSW111. I also feel the TL3 are perfect for a PC application.
    AVR: Elite VSX-21TXH
    Amplifier: B&K 7250 Series ii
    Misc: Velodyne SMS-1
    Mains: RTi-10
    Center: CSi-5
    Rear: Boston DSi460
    Sub: SVS PC-Ultra
    TV: Panasonic TC-P58V10
    DVD: Panasonic DMP-BD60K

  14. #14

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    Nice review Cathy. I did a HT install for a friend of mine & she went with the TL2's. To say I was impressed was an understatement. They sounded simply stunning...I can only imagine how the TL3's would have sounded. Enjoy your new toys.
    "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

  15. #15

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    very nice review--sounds like your are very pleased with them.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  16. #16

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    I am very happy with the performance of these speakers George!
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  17. #17

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    Nice write up, Cathy. I've been using the TL2s in my bedroom with a vintage, 2ch Yammie, CR-1040 receiver and have been very pleased with the Blackstones also. Njoy!

  18. #18

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    I just got a pair of TL3s for a similar set-up to cfrizz. I am using them for a basic desktop system at work hooked up to a CSW Basecube 821 mostly using my iPhone via a Pure i-20 to a Styleaudio Carat-Topaz. I have been very impressed with the sound at the low levels I listen to them.

    I will have to bring these home one weekend and put them in place of my LSi9s. While I don't expect these to match the 9s, I am curious how they will compare if I set up both with a 120 Hz crossover. Mostly, I would just like to hear what the TL3s sound like at more moderate volumes when paired with a Micropro sub.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by nwohlford View Post
    I will have to bring these home one weekend and put them in place of my LSi9s. While I don't expect these to match the 9s, I am curious how they will compare if I set up both with a 120 Hz crossover. Mostly, I would just like to hear what the TL3s sound like at more moderate volumes when paired with a Micropro sub.
    Did you ever do this Neil? The TL3s are half price right now and I am contemplating getting them for the bedroom rig...

  20. #20

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    Nice review. Great idea on 2.1 system.

    As pointed out above, Polk used to make PC speakers. Any of you who were at Lou's Polk Fest ('10) might remember hearing a pair of powered PC speakers that Jstas brought to demo. They were a small two way design that hardly weighed that much and were not much bigger than your typical old school Harman Kardon 2.0 systems but OH the sound. These little babies put out sound well beyond their size; clean, detailed and far more musical than they ever should have been for their size or their price. John can correct me if I am wrong but I believe the MSRP on these was $99.

    I own a set of LSi-7 and fully agree with Cathy there, you do need some power behind those. But with the TL3s you can pretty much get up and running quickly.

    Enough of these Jawbones and Dre Pills--overpriced transistor radio sound. Definitely a niche here.

    cnh
    '
    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

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