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  1. #1

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    Default Thinking of upgrading to Lsi15's - please make a case for or against!

    Ugh, upgrade fever again so soon. I've been very pleased with my new LSi9's, especially when driven by my Meridian CD player, an equally good 2-ch preamp, and 2 Outlaw M200 monoblocks (these are very nice, but the weak link I suppose). However I just can't get the 15's out of my mind - for looks and also I would like something with more bass impact without a sub (I do own a Hsu STF-2 but prefer not to use it for music). I have a set of LSi7's for rears but honestly IMO they don't hold a candle to the 9's. I was thinking of upgrading the 7's to 15's so I can compare them to the 9's. If I like the 15's then they will become the new fronts. Room size may have been a factor - approx. 23x16x9, though it's one of those awful living/dining/kitchen room combo arrangements.

    My only hesitation is that I've compared the 25/15/9 at Tweeter and the 15's bass sounded relatively muddy, overemphasized, and underdefined. I like bass to be tighter and more articulate. However, they were only driven by Denon/Yamaha receivers and who knows what else may have been wrong with their setup?

    So for those who have spent time with both the 9's and 15's do you say yea or nay to this upgrade?

  2. #2

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    yes
    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.

  3. #3

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    Originally posted by polkatese
    yes
    lol

    duly noted...

  4. #4
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    Mulv,

    Having personally owned the 15’s, 9’s, 7’s and the HSU STF-2, I can say that you have good taste. All of those products provide you with great value and good sound.

    As I trot along in this business, I have come to appreciate how influenced one can be by the idea’s of owning product x / y, even if what is currently owned does the job to your liking. I am no professional, but it looks like you may be falling for that old “mental game” many, myself included, have gone through. There are a few sane measures you can take to evaluate the situation.

    First, if possible, try to see if you can either bring your LSi-9’s into a local dealer to conduct a comparison between, or if you can financially wing it, buy the LSi-15’s on the condition that you can return them if you don’t like what you hear. The latter is the best option, but rarely will any dealer agree to it when it comes to those larger products.

    Second, evaluate just how important it is for you to own the Lsi-15. Sometimes we need re-assurance and that “feel-good” factor to feel our rig us up to snuff and enjoyable. A lot of people wont admit it, some may not even realize it, but it holds true for many, many audiophiles.

    In terms of performance, I felt that the LSi-9’s presented a decently balanced presentation that was on the “warm” side of things (mostly due to a mid-bass boost in the cross over). The LSi-9, in the right room, can definitely sound like a floor standing speaker.

    The LSi-15 by contrast, I feel is a bit more coherent in the mid-range and sports a wider sound-stage. I too have usually found the Lsi-15 bass to be a little sloppy and not up to par with the rest of the speaker. Some claim there isn’t enough bass (those in larger rooms). When I first got the speaker, I too made this claim, only because I came from the 2000ps (four 8’’ powered subs do that to ya). My quick and cheap solution to this was to stuff the Lsi-15 bottom port with a rag/towel. The bass tightened right on up.

    The Lsi series truly is fantastic when you pair it up with the right gear. They just never reach a peak to where the sound doesn’t get any better in my experience… although the point of diminishing returns does apply. The better equipment you use to drive them with, the better they will sound. That too, includes bass response.

    The HSU stf-2 is a decent sub and should blend in with the LSi’s perfectly. Is there any reason why you do not prefer this sub on when using the 9’s?

    In the end, I have little advice to give other than to follow your instinct. If it were me, it would boil down to musical tastes and how the equipment responds to the room.

    Good luck,

    Sean

  5. #5
    Polk-a-dweeb
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    Short answer, 15's with a decent amp sound fanatastic and no sub is needed (IMHO). 9's dig very deep for a bookshelf speaker ( a damn big bookshelf is required to hold 'em) but a sub would be needed forthe really low stuff. 25's are great all by themselves, but you're gonna need plenty of power, just like the 15's.

    There are so many variables that no one can give an answer that everyone will agree with. Your taste in music and the acoustic properies of your listening room/ht/woodshed will also have a major impact in the final product that tickles your ear drums.
    9/11 - WE WILL NEVER FORGET!! (<---<<click)
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  6. #6

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    Originally posted by Frank Z
    Short answer, 15's with a decent amp sound fanatastic and no sub is needed (IMHO). 9's dig very deep for a bookshelf speaker ( a damn big bookshelf is required to hold 'em) but a sub would be needed forthe really low stuff. 25's are great all by themselves, but you're gonna need plenty of power, just like the 15's.

    There are so many variables that no one can give an answer that everyone will agree with. Your taste in music and the acoustic properies of your listening room/ht/woodshed will also have a major impact in the final product that tickles your ear drums.
    thanks for translating my "yes", Frank! ;)

    mulveling, welcome to CP, just messing with you. A 15 with the new Cherry-side finish looks awesome, isn't it?
    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.

  7. #7

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    For the region where the 15s and 9s overlap (50 Hz and up), I slightly prefer the 15s. They have more presence and solidity. The extra bass in the 15s--not quite an octave--isn't enough to give you full range without a subwoofer, unfortunately. I've always used the 15s with either a Velodyne or a Janis borrowed from my high-end system to get that bottom octave (20-40Hz). However, it's easier to integrate a sub with the 9s than the 15s because the 9s don't have a woofer competing with the sub. Isn't this fun?
    Multichannel Music:

    Sony SCD-C2000ES SACD
    Denon 3803 AVR (pre/pro duty)
    Outlaw 755 amp
    Outlaw ICBM
    Polk LSi15/LSiC/LSi9 (front/center/surround)
    SVS PCU

    HT:

    Sony 9100ES DVD
    Outlaw 990 pre/pro
    Outlaw 7100 amp
    Panasonic TH-37PX50U plasma
    Polk RTi8/CSi5/RTi6/FXi5(front/center/surround/back)
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  8. #8

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    15's bass sounded relatively muddy, overemphasized, and underdefined. I like bass to be tighter and more articulate.
    Yes, 15s bass can be like that...and I like bass tight! I honestly dont know what people mean when they say 15s dont have enough bass...too much IMO. Rotel 1075 did not control them...so I went to Rotel 1080 with 200w/ch. As to bass, amp/power/cables/source have all played very noticeable roles in effecting bass differently. If I had to do it all over again, I may even consider 25s (I found that my RTi100s with powered SW to be significantly easier to dial in the right bass)

    I cant speak to LSi9s but I own LSi7...the speakers are different in character...15s are much more fuller in the mids and much wider/deeper sound but it is also sensitive to things like dang cables, source etc...get ready to spend some bucks.

    I hope that helps....
    System 1: Onix Rockets 750 Sig. Ed., Rotel RC 1070, Rotel RB 1080, Music Hall MMF CD25 w/627opamps

    System 2: LSi15, Marantz SR8400, Rotel 1080, RM6800 (C&S), Yamaha: 2300 Univ. DVD, CDC-625RS.

    System 3: LSi7, Yamaha SW215, HK 230, Elite DV-45A; Sony C445.

    System 4: RTi100, Onkyo TXSV717Pro, Monarchy/Sonic Impact Hybrid, Yamaha CD.

  9. #9
    Polk-a-dweeb
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    Try moving your 15's inboard a bit and use a little more toe-in. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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    Great replies, thanks everyone! (even you, polkatese :))
    Looks like there's a difference of opinions on the bass, but I'm also getting the impression that the mids/highs (and imaging) are slightly better on the 15's - that would be a very important difference to me.

    Zero, I shouldn't have said "I prefer not to use the sub for music listening". What's happened is that when I use my 2-ch preamp (it sounds much better than my Denon 3805), it doesn't have a sub-out so it's not easy for me to integrate the Hsu. I guess I could use the speaker-level inputs on the Hsu, but I'll need to get some more cable first :( It's something I intend to try out when I get the chance.

    Tonight I also started entertaining ideas of the lsi25 as a possibility - they were the first lsi I heard and that's what got me interested in these speakers (listened to "Riders on the Storm" - WOW). At the Tweeter, they were my favorite. However, their weight would be a PITA. Also, I don't notice as many 25 owners here as I do with the 15's. Are the 25's considered a good value, or do you generally look elsewhere in that pricerange? Or should one just go for the 15's with a good sub instead?

  11. #11

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    I have 15s and I love them. I find that they are pretty sensitive to placement, toe in, etc. though So be sure to try out a variety of options here. For me, I find that they sound great pulled out a little and toed in slightly. My Hsu designed Outlaw sub works great with them.
    Sharp Elite 70
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    Hsu ULS-15 Quad Drive Subwoofers
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    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Thinking of upgrading to Lsi15's - please make a case for or against!

    Have you considered upgrading the sub to mate with your 9's?

    I use the line level crossover built into my subs for listening to music through my two channel pre amp with my 9's. When listening to a movie through the seperate SSP pre amp, I disable the sub crossover with the provided switch.

    Not sure why you and many others are against listening to two channel music with a sub, but I found that the 9's sound better when relieved of bass duties. Combined with the performance of the sub you choose, the overall presentation can be quite stunning for both music and movies.

    This is an alternative path that provides exceptional results. If you are interested in seeing what I have done, look in the System Showcase for my user ID.

  13. #13
    Polk-a-dweeb
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    I'm not against using a sub in a two channel system, if the mains are not a full range speaker.
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  14. #14

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    NO. IMO the LSi9s are the best of the LSi series.
    but I'm also getting the impression that the mids/highs (and imaging) are slightly better on the 15's
    I disagree.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  15. #15

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    At least with respect to 7 vs 15, I dont think mid/highs are that different between them. What is different is their presentation of them. 15s are airy and more spacious sounding with more reverb....7s, while retaining all the details of the notes reproduced, is more 2 dimensional, less airy and spacious. I speculate 9s would be somewhere in between.....
    I dont necessarily think more airy the better....I dont know of too many concert halls with orchestra stage that is like 300 feet deep!!
    System 1: Onix Rockets 750 Sig. Ed., Rotel RC 1070, Rotel RB 1080, Music Hall MMF CD25 w/627opamps

    System 2: LSi15, Marantz SR8400, Rotel 1080, RM6800 (C&S), Yamaha: 2300 Univ. DVD, CDC-625RS.

    System 3: LSi7, Yamaha SW215, HK 230, Elite DV-45A; Sony C445.

    System 4: RTi100, Onkyo TXSV717Pro, Monarchy/Sonic Impact Hybrid, Yamaha CD.

  16. #16

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    I have never liked side-firing woofers. Now, if I had a dedicated listening room with plenty of side-to-side room to allow 3-4 feet placement from the walls, I might have a different opinion. But most of us don't have that luxury.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
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  17. #17

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    Originally posted by mulveling
    Great replies, thanks everyone! (even you, polkatese :))
    Looks like there's a difference of opinions on the bass, but I'm also getting the impression that the mids/highs (and imaging) are slightly better on the 15's - that would be a very important difference to me.

    Are the 25's considered a good value, or do you generally look elsewhere in that pricerange? Or should one just go for the 15's with a good sub instead?
    Mulv,

    In all seriousness, I spent countless hours trying out 15/9/7 for two channels. In my experience, 7 just doesn't pass muster for 2 channel (in my room and setup). 9 left me wanting more, it gives me a sense of I am listening to a speaker/box, even with toe-in and everything else. 15 is great, with the exception of its bass quality, that I find sloppy and lack depth (for my taste). So, short of getting another brand of speaker for two channel (I am not keen on Lsi25 for its powered sub. feature, even though it sounds very good), I paired the 15 with REL Storm III. REL is the only sub, that I know of, that has the direct high-level feed from the amp. power output. The idea is to timbre/tonal match with the speaker, for a seamless integration. It's no gimmick, REL sub indeed blend in very nicely, and what I hear (and feel) is sound coming in from one speaker. Even if I stand next to the 15's side, the overall bass and low-end details sound as if it comes out from the 15, that's how good the integration of REL to the 15. So, all in all, I am convinced that the 15 is the right speaker for 2 channels music, in my case. Imaging and soundstage on the 15 is much better than 9. I stand by that impression.
    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.

  18. #18
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    This is a link to the Audio Perfectionist journal number 2. Page 10 starts an interesting article on this subject.

    If you are planning on getting a new sub, keep the 9's for now. Try with the new sub to determine if this is what you are looking for. If not, upgrade to the 15's. Look for subs that are not 'HT' tuned. For example, you want a nice flat frequency response like this: SVS PB12-Plus. The native tune frequency response (blue line) does not get much better than this at any price.

    Polkatese, I think that Vandersteen was the one that developed this method of hookup.

    Frank, I would use my PCUs with any speaker that I could possibly afford. This includes full range speakers.
    Last edited by jmierzur; 04-28-2005 at 11:48 AM.

  19. #19

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    Originally posted by mulveling
    (listened to "Riders on the Storm" - WOW).
    The Doors sound awesome on LSi's. "Severed Garden" is another that I can't stop playing. It's those clear highs that none of my previous speakers have played well.

    LSi15 vs. LSi9, can't say much. I wasn't impressed by the 15 and I haven't heard the 9's. I have the 7's all around and I'm more than happy with them. I might consider upgrading the front 2 or 3 to 9's but I gave up on the LSi15's quite some time ago.

  20. #20

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    Ive thought of tradeing in the sda's for 15's and since i got the dodd pre, and listened some more decided to hold onto them for awhile longer...
    MY HT RIG:
    Sherwood p-965
    Sherwood sd871 dvd
    Rotel 1075 amp x5
    LSI15 mains
    LsiC center
    LSIfx surround backs
    Lsi7 side surrounds
    SVS pb12/plus2


    2 Channel Rig:

    nad 1020 Pre-amp
    Rotel 1080 stereo amp
    Polk sda 2B
    kenwood grunt Tuner
    realistic lab 450 TT
    Signal cable IC

  21. #21

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    FWIW, I am now close to taming the bass to sound pretty good on the 15 but it does include stuffing clean dark socks into the port hole...and getting a good amp with plenty of watts and high damping factor. Some say that damping factor over like 50 is all you need...may be so...but the bass tightness between the 1075 (120w with DF of aobut 180 IIRC) and 1080 (200w withDF of about 1000) is pretty huge...may be the power, may be the DF.
    System 1: Onix Rockets 750 Sig. Ed., Rotel RC 1070, Rotel RB 1080, Music Hall MMF CD25 w/627opamps

    System 2: LSi15, Marantz SR8400, Rotel 1080, RM6800 (C&S), Yamaha: 2300 Univ. DVD, CDC-625RS.

    System 3: LSi7, Yamaha SW215, HK 230, Elite DV-45A; Sony C445.

    System 4: RTi100, Onkyo TXSV717Pro, Monarchy/Sonic Impact Hybrid, Yamaha CD.

  22. #22

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    Originally posted by jmierzur

    Polkatese, I think that Vandersteen was the one that developed this method of hookup.
    jmierzur, I stand corrected, if that's the case. I haven't crosspath with Vandy's subs in the past. My other sub is a Velo DD-15, and it is used more for HT than 2Ch. It has a great quality in transforming low-end energy into tight solid deep, but integration-wise, it's not equipped to match REL's, which is too bad, since I could use that help with the 9. I haven't found a way to tweak it to do that, checked with Velo's tech support and they suggested a jerry-rigged workaround, which I am not convinced it will work.
    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.

  23. #23
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    Polkatese, I hope one day to get the chance to play with a Rel or Vandy sub. They can not be found in these parts. Glad it works well for you.

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    i agree. i think the 7's and the 9's sound the best of all the lsi speakers. Both speakers can go down to 80hz with ease... so why not pair a musically inclined sub such as a Velodyne with either of them and meet them at the 60-80hz crossover point? sounds logical to me.

    i'm more partial to bookshelf speakers anyway. floorstanders are more prone to coloration in the sound due to the extra cabinet space.

    and for some reason- can't put my finger on it- i actually preferred the sounds of the 7's vs. the 9's. - did a direct a/b comparo - the 9's might not have been broken in though...



    regarding the 15's and the 25's- wouldn't the 15's be harder for an outboard amp to drive- considering it's woofer is not internally powered?

  25. #25

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    Default Mini-update

    A lot of people seem to be hearing different things...and so am I! Tonight I went to a different Tweeter shop to compare the 9's and 15's again. This time, the 15's sounded amazing, despite not being spaced enough apart. In fact it was the 9's that had sloppy bass, though probably because they were too close to the wall and on a shelf.

    Looks like the only way to decide for sure is to use the 15's in my room, with my gear, via my ears :) Tomorrow I'm going to head back and pick up the 15's. I'll keep the 9's for comparison, though from what I heard last night I should be able to set up the 15's to my liking as mains. Man, they're going to look so sweet, too :)

  26. #26

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    I've done the 7's, 9's and 25's in my room and listened to the 15's at tweeter. My opinion: The 9's are waaaaay better than the 7's- they're worth every extra cent. The 15's and the 25's are better than the 9's, no question, but you start getting into diminishing returns. I was amazed when I set the 9's on top of my 25's and switched between them- at first I thought I must have forgotten to turn off my sub, because there was no way the 9's were doing that on their own...

    However, that doesn't change the fact that the 25's sounded better- especially with things that hit low; for example, Chemical Brother's "Where do I begin" just wasn't the same on the 9's. Subsequent testing with them on stands hasn't changed my opinion- the 25's add a lot to the low end.

    15's vs 25's- hard for me to compare since I didn't listen in the same room, however, with a good amp I would say that they're going to be pretty close. The 25 is more flexible and as a result is a bitch to set up. However, once you've got it dialed in, you won't believe the results- you've effectively got an actively biamped setup, with tons of power...

    Regardless, only you can judge in your room, so lug those 15's home and let us know what you think.
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    Default Re: Mini-update

    Originally posted by mulveling
    A lot of people seem to be hearing different things...and so am I! Tonight I went to a different Tweeter shop to compare the 9's and 15's again. This time, the 15's sounded amazing, despite not being spaced enough apart. In fact it was the 9's that had sloppy bass, though probably because they were too close to the wall and on a shelf.

    Looks like the only way to decide for sure is to use the 15's in my room, with my gear, via my ears :) Tomorrow I'm going to head back and pick up the 15's. I'll keep the 9's for comparison, though from what I heard last night I should be able to set up the 15's to my liking as mains. Man, they're going to look so sweet, too :)
    there you go, Mulv! your room and your gears are things that really matters. Good luck, and don't skimp on wires and interconnects.
    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.

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    Default go with 25's!!

    I own a pair of LSi 25's and I cant say enough good things about them. I was able to do a direct side by side comparison between them and the 15's and to me there was NO comparison. They were hooked up to the same kind of pre-amp and amp and I used 2 reference discs (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours on DVD-A and Thomas Koner's Permafrost on CD, an ambient album with real low bass on it). I felt like I was listening to both discs for the first time! True, I tend to like nice deep bass, but the highs and mids were clear, crisp and tight. Quite simply, they are the best speakers I've heard in the price range. The best part is, after having them for about 18 months now, they sound even better than when I first listened to them. Just a fantastic speaker that beats all other speakers in the LSi line in my humble opinion.

  29. #29

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    An FYI,
    Just keep in mind they all sound like **** until they have a hundred or so hours on them. Whenever they break in they go from a lifeless non-involving cheapish confused sound to something very nice. It's night and day. I happened to be listening critically when one pair of mine came of age. I forget which ones, I've had the 7's, 9's and 15's. I think you will be happy with whichever ones you choose. Just pick the one that blows your skirt up the most. You can make the most of whichever one you choose later by locating them properly in your given room.
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    Default Thanks for all the advice everyone

    I ended up purchasing the 15's - as great as the 25's are, they are not really feasible for me given their size and weight.

    I SHOULD be happy right now, but instead I'm pissed and tired. Here is my story: I have a honda accord, so I can only transport one speaker at a time. Additionally I lugged each 15 by myself, about 30-40 yards down a hill and around to my apartment (forget the stairs; I'd kill myself). It's not till I open the first speaker box that I notice I've got one CHERRY and one BLACK (I ordered black). So I lug the cherry back up to my car and speed back to tweeter before they close....get a black speaker...and as I'm driving back (tweeter is now closed) I suddenly wonder whether these match-making champions remembered to give me matching serial numbers. Of course, they didn't (otherwise I wouldn't have gotten a cherry one the first time). So now I've got one speaker in my apartment and the other still in the car. I'll have to fix this in the morning - hopefully they have a match for the speaker in my apartment so I only have to lug 1 more speaker rather than 3. My arms are already about to fall off. I had to vent - yes I know I should've checked it myself the first time, but what the hell, don' they get like a 40-50% cut of the sale????

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