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  1. #1

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    Default What does Polk mean to you? Why do you listen to Polk?

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    I'm sure you guys know that those of us who work for Polk really love Polk. You might have noticed some of us snooping around the forums from time to time because we also really like to read through the forums to see what you love about the brand and our products. We like to say if it makes sound, we make it sound better. I think that shows because a lot of people who own a Polk product have multiple Polk products in their homes and cars, and a growing number have our headphones and wireless speakers.

    So, I wanted to ask our die hard Polkies a question.

    What makes the Polk brand special to you? What does Polk mean? Why do you buy it and listen to it? And why do you come here to talk about it?

    OK, that is actually 4 questions, but would love to read your thoughts.

    Thanks everyone!
    Last edited by Jon_S; 12-12-2013 at 12:38 PM.

  2. #2

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    Haven't had my ears on later Polk products, but my RTA 12C's and SDA 2.3TL's have a sound that's so easy to listen to. It's detailed & balanced, but not etched with artificially emphasized highs. Very organic sounding.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  3. #3

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    Well, let's see - Matt Polk was JHU Class of 1971; I was JHU class of '80. The local hifi store (Soundscape) was Polk's first dealer. The Polk Monitor Series was my first taste of good hifi sound - at an affordable price. I think that pretty much sums it up.
    all the best,
    mrh

  4. #4

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    Simply put, until recently (no one knows what DEI will do with Polk?), speakers for the "people"! In other words loudspeakers at at a great value that most can afford and produce sound well above their price point! Let's hope the corporate boys and girls "remember" that formula!

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 12-11-2013 at 03:24 PM.
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
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    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

  5. #5

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    Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

    I don't want to interrupt the flow of great responses so far, but I did want to address CNH's concern. DEI bought Polk back in 2006. Because of the investment in the last 7.5 years we have been able to launch the LSiM series, RTi series, TSi, series, and most recently the TSx series. Not to mention the expansion into other audio categories. If you get a chance to take a listen I think you will find the passion for the craft is not only alive and well, it is expanding!

    Back to the discussion. What does Polk mean to you?

  6. #6

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    I am late to the game or like many just don't buy speakers very often. I have heard about Polks since my days in college in the early 80's but felt they where out of my price range. With the concepts of ebay, craiglist and other internet access people like me are able to get onboard with last year or even older models without taking out a small business loan. I started with a pair of T15's for a small bedroom and now I have just setup two full 5.1 system for my sons in their homes with the Rti4's as the anchor L/R. As technology keeps moving at the speed of light its hard on the average joe to keep pace living on a budget. :)
    Family Room HT 7.1:
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    Master bedroom:
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by D2Lo View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts everyone.

    I don't want to interrupt the flow of great responses so far, but I did want to address CNH's concern. DEI bought Polk back in 2006. Because of the investment in the last 7.5 years we have been able to launch the LSiM series, RTi series, TSi, series, and most recently the TSx series. Not to mention the expansion into other audio categories. If you get a chance to take a listen I think you will find the passion for the craft is not only alive and well, it is expanding!

    Back to the discussion. What does Polk mean to you?
    The LSi-M was probably in development around or even before the time that DEI stepped in (I could be wrong here but even so) and originally DEI said they would let POLK continue as a relatively independent entity. Which they did through the year of the release of the LSi-M. In other words, I believe DEI had almost nothing to do with the roll out of the LSi-Ms? The Rti-As have not been upgraded? And the new TSX///T series seems more like a "cosmetic" upgrade than a serious attempt to raise the M series (which was replaced by the Tsi series whose only innovation seems to have been more attractive cabinets and a fixed crossover point of 2500 hz for HT consistency and a downward firing port on the towers which has been scratched in the new series)?

    We are "currently" in the moment which will tell us where the company is going. See the most recent additions to the Polk stable have been in the ipod, small form factor area? Going for that "mass" market that is the MP3 arena.

    Don't mean to be a contrarian, but we are NOW in the time period where we will see what DEI plans to do. Recent changes at Polk that spill over into this forum are a foot. Of course, we hope for the "best".

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 12-11-2013 at 04:19 PM.
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    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

  8. #8

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    Polk Customer Service Stands ALONE in this big world. Many other brands have been bought out and they never supported anything from the past and faded into the future. I came from a Cerwin Vega past because I could not afford Polk's BUT once I got some used Polk's(SDA'S) and talked at length with Kim Jasper and Helen Yarbour I knew that this was going to be my home for a few years. Once I got involved in the Club Polk Forum far too many people came in and helped me spend gobs of cash to upgrade my fine speakers and thought me quite a few things that I can now expand on. MANY MANY fine folks here who treat each other like family we all look out for each other. Polk has constantly tried to make great speakers at a fair price that play above their price point and IF anything goes wrong you can feel safe knowing that you've spent good money and have the backing of a GREAT company....
    NOW don't muck this up DEI....

  9. #9

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    Customer service and bang for the buck. The first time I ever heard higher end speakers were at a family friends house and he had the older Polk Rt1000p's and matching setup and they blew me away, my parents always just used in wall speakers. After hearing that I always wanted my own pair of Polks and ended up snagging the Rt800's on craigslist, which led me here and down the rabbit hole I went haha. I've recommended Polk to several friends and they all love their speakers now.
    Theater Room: Pioneer Elite SC-35, RTi12's, Csi5, Fxi5's, Fxi3's, ED A5-350 sub, Optoma HD20, 92'' Elite Screen, Xbox One, APC H15, MIT Exp 2 SC's, Pepster PC's

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  10. #10

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    For me, Polk was always about the value. Great sound for a reasonable price. I started with a set or RT25i, made a full surround of of the matching RT800i floor standers, and center. Then I started into the vintage Polk arena where I found some great sounding speakers for not a lot of money. I will still recommend a pair of Monitor 7 or Monitor 10 to anyone who is looking for 2-ch on a budget. SDAs are a great way to step into larger, high power speakers with a unique sound and imaging.
    Honestly though, I don't see myself buying new Polks from the store. Over the years, I've really learned the value of used, so even if I were to replace my entire system, I would look for used unless there was some sort of closeout sale that made sense.

  11. #11

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    Polk Audio strikes me as the "Harley Davidson" of speakers. People are fiercely loyal to them, customer service is great, and parts generally remain available for years after a line has been retired. As a young audiophile in the late 70's, early 80's; moving to Polk Audio speakers from the ever present Kenwood, Pioneer, marantz, etc, etc; felt like I owned something somewhat esoteric and different---a step up, let's say. I still think Polk Audio should re-introduce a "classic line" of speakers featuring the most popular of their early models. Much like I said about the Mustang; build it, and they will come.

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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    The LSi-M was probably in development around or even before the time that DEI stepped in

    Just talked with Mark Suskind, the VP of Product Line Management and a 27 year vet of Polk. According to him, the previous management would not approve work on an LSiM line. Moving the LSiM design and development to the front of the que was one of the first things that DEI green lighted!

    TSx is actually pretty different from TSi. Bigger and improved drivers all around for the same price as the TSi line. Curvilinear cabinets that break up internal standing waves (TSi never had that!). Better Cherry and Black Oak finishes.

    OK, back to the answers.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    Polk Audio strikes me as the "Harley Davidson" of speakers. People are fiercely loyal to them, customer service is great, and parts generally remain available for years after a line has been retired. As a young audiophile in the late 70's, early 80's; moving to Polk Audio speakers from the ever present Kenwood, Pioneer, marantz, etc, etc; felt like I owned something somewhat esoteric and different---a step up, let's say. I still think Polk Audio should re-introduce a "classic line" of speakers featuring the most popular of their early models. Much like I said about the Mustang; build it, and they will come.
    Nice, I think Harley is a good analogy. I'm a big fan of a lot of the early series as well. Beautiful products. Love the SDA SRS's... but I've always been a "bigger is better" subscriber. We are just finishing putting the wraps on a new history display in the lobby. I'll post some pics when it is finished. Just curious, if speakers were re-leased, would you want them to be as close to the original as possible or improved with new driver technologies?

  14. #14

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    D2Lo, keep the general "design" the same, but where improved drivers could be used---why not. You wouldn't want to change the character of the speaker too much---tone wise, that would defeat the purpose--as they were obviously loved for that very thing.

    For instance, let's say Polk re-introduced the Monitor 7 "classic," You'd keep the driver compliment the same as far as layout (setup on the baffle), but add modern touches such as high quality binding posts, better external finishes; maybe stiffer cabinets--but otherwise it would look like a Monitor 7. You don't want to "stray" too far, it should be immediately recognizable as a Monitor 7.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 12-11-2013 at 05:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitdogg2 View Post
    Polk Customer Service Stands ALONE in this big world. Many other brands have been bought out and they never supported anything from the past and faded into the future.
    This is really true, and it struck me as pretty special when I joined the company. Touring our warehouse and distribution center located in our San Diego facilities I was amazed at how much square footage is dedicated to stocking parts on retired lines. Super cool and very rare for a company to do.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by D2Lo View Post
    This is really true, and it struck me as pretty special when I joined the company. Touring our warehouse and distribution center located in our San Diego facilities I was amazed at how much square footage is dedicated to stocking parts on retired lines. Super cool and very rare for a company to do.
    Absolutely, this is very rare in this day & age of disposable everything. It's a testament of Polk's relevancy in the hi-fi world, that the demand still exists for these parts.

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  17. #17

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    I for one have lost my general love for Polk for various reasons, but I stick around because the community is so strong and is like a second family. I don't think you're looking for a roast here, so I'll just say that Polk creating this forum made them the backbone company for my audio journey until about 2 years ago. I doubt I'll ever buy another Polk product given where their product lines are, but I still think they offer a pretty solid product at a good price for the average consumer. Above that, I feel that they need to step up the game if they are going to be a company similar to KEF or JBL - products offered at a WIDE price range that compete within their respective price brackets. The LSiM towers are great speakers, but I have a hard time taking them seriously at their price tags given the massive competition they are up against in that market. The 703 is still a great speaker and will be the gem of DEI Polk for the time being.

    I think a revamped, limited run SDA would be phenomenal and act as a resurgence. It would at least cause a stir in the industry and maybe get those "audiophiles" talking about Polk again, something they tried to do with the LSiM's.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  18. #18

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    I actually ended up on this forum, looking to get info on Lsi15's. I had owned early model Polk's in the early 80's, and I was interested in seeing what Polk Audio was up to. I didn't get the 15's, but I love to talk hi-fi, and can do it for hours---much to my house guests dismay. LOL. I started in this hobby at 10, (1972) when I shoveled a neighbors driveway for a tubed Fischer Receiver/turntable/speakers setup. It blew me away. Been hooked ever since.

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by D2Lo View Post
    This is really true, and it struck me as pretty special when I joined the company. Touring our warehouse and distribution center located in our San Diego facilities I was amazed at how much square footage is dedicated to stocking parts on retired lines. Super cool and very rare for a company to do.
    And just think of all those new folks that were getting to hear speakers they could never afford and are now moving up the line to buy new. We have also save countless SDA's from the fire pit to live another day with someone that cares.
    I know that was my case 100%

  20. #20

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    Hi D2Lo,

    It's nice to hear from someone at Polk, since Al Ballard moved on the forum rats here have felt a bit abandoned. That leads into one of the things Polk has meant to me/us, being part of a family, so to speak. Polk had been very good at conveying that attitude. These days I'm sorry to say, not so much. While that may not mean too much to the present owners, it should as that family attitude helped build a following of life long customers.

    As for the products, they are generally a good value with some of the models punching above their price point. In all honesty though, nothing has ever been as good as the SDA series. They made Polk stand apart from and above other speaker companies.

    The customer service has always been top notch, which is a rare thing these days, so major kudos there.

    I listen to my SDA's because quite frankly for music nothing else comes close. I listen to my RTiA's in the HT rig because they do a very nice job of it.

    Regards,
    Jesse
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Hi D2Lo,

    It's nice to hear from someone at Polk, since Al Ballard moved on the forum rats here have felt a bit abandoned. That leads into one of the things Polk has meant to me/us, being part of a family, so to speak. Polk had been very good at conveying that attitude. These days I'm sorry to say, not so much. While that may not mean too much to the present owners, it should as that family attitude helped build a following of life long customers.

    As for the products, they are generally a good value with some of the models punching above their price point. In all honesty though, nothing has ever been as good as the SDA series. They made Polk stand apart from and above other speaker companies.

    The customer service has always been top notch, which is a rare thing these days, so major kudos there.

    I listen to my SDA's because quite frankly for music nothing else comes close. I listen to my RTiA's in the HT rig because they do a very nice job of it.

    Regards,
    Jesse

    I concur with what Jesse has to say... I run SDA's because they still bring a smile to my face after all these years. I too, would like to see Polk bring the engineering of the current LSi/M to a new SDA speaker, so that is why I am building my own....

    I would have no problem at all buying new if something came along that could better what I have.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
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  22. #22

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    Performance and Quality, I have an HT set up consisting of RTIA's own 3 pairs of SDA's and couldn't be happier, I own other brands that I also enjoy but the Forum the people, make the experience a pleasure to be a proud Polk owner and a forum member.

  23. #23

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    In the late 70s, early 80s, I had subscriptions to all the audio magazines of that time. The ads with MP in his lab coat still stick in my mind. Unfortunately I couldn't afford anything back then, being newly married, kid on the way etc.
    Buying my fist pair of SDAs two years ago, CRS+s, was a revelation, and a long time coming. Like finding the dream car you wanted when you were young and had no chance of owning. Joining this forum, and being able to pick the brains of many senior members has taught me a lot about audio in general, and Polk in particular. Learning that Polk supported products that were discontinued decades ago was astonishing (which I hope they'll continue to do). Although my business is Vintage Loudspeakers, when asked by my customers about new products, I always steer them to Polks latest offerings, due to my own experiences with their products and customer support. As others have said, a new version of the SDA, even limited, would certainly turn heads, and make even the skeptics sit up and take notice. I do realize SDA technology is incorporated some newer products. I own one of the Polk Soundbars, and it's amazing what it does. Sitting down and listening to my favorite tracks, through my SDA-2ATLs is still a revelation to this day.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
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  24. #24

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    For me Polk represents quality products that are reasonably priced that withstand the test of time. I bought my RTA-8Ts 23 years
    ago and they are still going strong. When I spend a lot of money (for me) on something of this nature I expect it to last. Polk makes sure that it does.

    Customer service is second to none! To know that if I needed to replace a part in my speakers all I have to do is call Polk and they will have it is very reassuring. Nowadays, all these businesses want you to do is continually upgrade to their newest thing, Polk makes
    their products to last and supports those of us who would rather keep what we have.

    So long as the quality of Polks products and customer service remain at their outstanding level, I will remain a customer who continues to buy your products and recommend them to others!

    Sincerely,
    Cathy
    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

  25. #25

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    Polk is what really started my Audio Journey. My family has been purchasing Polk speakers from Bryn Mawr Stereo way back in the late 0's early 80's. My first experience was my Uncles Monitor 10b's which blew me away. He had this very nice Yamaha receiver running them with a really nice turntable. He played some jazz and I couldn't stop listening.
    After that I had to have polks of my own.
    I also support what was said above about quality , value and excellent customer service. Not to mention this forum has been around for what now almost 20 years or so? I've been here since the beginning, met some very cool people and made some friends.
    I will always have polk in my home in one form or another. They are dear to my heart and always will be.
    Dan
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  26. #26

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    Had a couple different Bose speakers when I was in my teens and early 20s. Bought a pair of RTA8Ts while stationed in Germany in 1988. I still have em and although they are not running right now, I cant part with them. Will put them back in play when the time is right. That was it until a couple years ago when I stumbled across a RTi12, CS400i and FXi3 combo on Craigslist. Joined the forum to ask some questions and get some info.

    This is a great place to go and I have met some really nice people. Have had a blast learning, experimenting with different gear and of course, spending money. I know there will be a pair of LSIm 703s sitting in my living room in the next couple of years.
    "My wife likes my rig......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"


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  27. #27

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    ... I bought my pair of Monitor 7As in 1978.

    I have a pair of Monitor 9As in the basement ;-)
    all the best,
    mrh

  28. #28

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    I have heard of Polk from friends who had and raved about their speakers before I got into audio. Then one day I saw some really cheap R50's for sale and decided to try it out with a stereo amp/receiver that I had just been given. I became hooked even if this was just a budget speaker. Came to this forum where I joined a great group of people who helped me get started understanding audio stuff. Bought some used and some new stuff. Now I too have 3 pair of speakers in a closet and no place to put them. I have 4 setups in my home, two of which are LSi's. I remember looking at the LSi line and thinking I could never afford them. But eventually I either bought some stuff used but also stretched my budget to get what I wanted. One LSi7 pair picked up from Polk's Ebay store now used for the Living room along with a used LSiC bought here (love the FM BTW). This is not my HT setup but it makes my general TV room sound much, much better. Even have some TSi-100's for general PC audio (much better sounding than typical computer speakers IMO).

    Not sure if I will buy the LSiM stuff. As someone already mentioned, if I get to that price point (not enough excess money at the moment) then there are many other options that open up. But in the upper Mid-Fi area I love your products.

    What has been said above is true for me too. Polk offers great sound at reasonable prices. Selling discontinued lines heavily discounted is a great way to get people hooked. This forum and your great customer service helps keep them.
    Last edited by maximillian; 12-12-2013 at 09:01 AM.

  29. #29

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

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    Polk means quality sound, quality product, reasonably priced for the crazy audiophile world, excellent customer service, and a tight nit community. Polks were my first intro into quality speakers and since then I've owned a lot of Polk speakers across the line from budget to top end, from vintage to newer lines. I have always loved the Polk sound, e.i. punchy, strong bass, beautiful mids, and detailed but non fatiguing highs with good imaging. I do own speakers from other companies and enjoy them also, but there is something special about Polks that will keep me coming back to them time after time, year after year!

  30. #30

    Member Sales Rating: (14)

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    Mar 2005
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    I've been an SDA guy since 1989, and that's all I've owned since. I like the analogy to motorcycles or cars. Not many companies out there still care about their vintage products the way Polk does. I think Polk sees the value to their current marketing efforts in having long-time enthusiasts still hot-rodding their vintage models. Ford may not make any money off of someone restoring a Mustang from the 50's, but it sure does help Ford's sales when beautiful old Mustangs are cruising down the highway for people to see. I think it's a similar case every time someone like me puts up a thread on this forum about a pair of old Polks that we've restored. Polk doesn't profit from my restoration directly, but when people shopping for speakers happen upon a story about restoring 25-year old Polks, they'll obviously think to themselves, "Hmmmm, there must be something to this company and their speakers. I should look closer at Polks!" Polk is smart enough to realize this, which is why they still offer great customer service and replacement parts for their amazing products, discontinued long ago. Please don't stop doing so!
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

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