The Fedex guy pulled up this morning holding a box that looked like what i have been eagerly anticipating; My LSi 9's are back from Trey in NC.
I carefully unpacked the box noting that Trey took great care to make sure that short of a nuclear attack, that my speakers were well protected. We all know that shipping speakers is a risky proposition, and we all saw what that delivery guy did with that flat screen tv when the gate was locked.
I carefully inspected them and gave the lacquer a little buff up, and took the 7's off the stands and connected them up. The new binding plate and posts have a very clean look, and mechanically the posts are perfect.
So I got me a fresh cup of joe, and decided to give them a listen.
Anybody who owns or has listened to the LSi 9 knows they represent one of the best bang for the buck audio values in recent history. The fine folks at Polk definitely made big sound come out of a relatively small box.
The VR3 changes are very noticeable.
While the bass was always very good on the stock 9, now it is very concise, quick, and I notice that after the initaial attack of the bass note, that the sustain of the note is very warm and smooth, a detail that i did not notice before. Bass players use hi wattage amps with 15" speakers to get that sound, and although I recognize there is no way these little guys can possible move that much air, the reproduction is accurate and very pleasing.
As a guitarist, I am very tuned to tonality, and relate to how guitars and other stringed instruments are portrayed by a speaker.
While my 9's were away, I was listening to my Moni 5's and was very impressed by the mid qualities they were able reproduce. I am happy to report that I can now sell my 5 and the modded 9's now exceed the 5's ability to make guitars sound the way I like to hear them. When someone is playing clean i hear that open back crunchy sound that I crave. I listened to John Petrucci/Dream Theater's On the Backs of angels.. There is a 12 string intro, that goes into a creamy sort of melodic passage that is followed by triple rectifier Mesa Boogie sound which all sounded dead on.
I as trying to think of an acoustic guitar song to test, and played Black Water by the Doobie Brothers and was please that I was able to hear all the detail that a guitarist would hear accurately... picks strumming stings, and those realistic little buzzes and twangs that are really there that some how get lost in the mix.. The fiddle piece was sweet and I could hear the bow on the strings. The vocals and harmonies were tight, and not compressed; I distinctly could pick out the 3 and 4 part vocals without effort.
As I try to evaluate the crossovers handling of the ring radiator tweeters performance, I think the stock 9's used the rr tweeter as more of a marketing gimmick, and although it performed well, and never sounded the least bit harsh to me, this mod seems to handle the handoff between the mid and hi without me noticing it to be as pronounced as it was pre mod, and now smoother and more accurate... cymbals are ringing like real cymbals, and I don't hear any evidence of over accentuation. The piano on Steely Dan's Aja was near perfect, and I was equally impressed at the Saxophone and Drum passages as they pegged my amps VU meters.
Overall the LSi 9 is a fine loudspeaker, and the VR3 mod makes it a great speaker. If you have a set of 9's and the power to drive them this mod makes them sound incredible across the musical spectrum that I have tested so far.
I will post more impressions, and consider the VR3 Fortress mod a very worthwhile bang for the buck enhancement.