There are many choices for exceptional value in the circa 1000$ speaker category, and I've been keeping an eye out for a lateral or double the price point move. The LSi9's have been my mains for almost three years, and even though I'm happy with them, the itch for change has been strong for about a year. I was looking at the MA RS6's reviews with something akin to tower-envy, and was going to pick up a pair to compare. A good friend of mine, who has been recently re-afflicted with the 'hobby', picked up a pair of the MA's after an audition of the Polks and searching the online reviews at the price point. Perfecto!
With my other half at work for the day, we made a day out of it, which included watching Mosely knock out Mayorga in the last second of the 12th round, and some Dos Equis. I set out some CD's that would be familiar, and warned the neighbors.
I started with the Polks and ran through selected tracks from 4-5 discs. We then played with the position of the MA's and found that they needed to be set back further, and arranged the seating accordingly. The same tracks were played more or less, and a unanimous decision was reached.
The MA is a fine speaker. It has a very linear response and is well extended top and bottom. It is quite detailed and easy to drive. It's also small and handsome. Tones are spot on, everything sounds as it should, and it will image well. If this sounds like a rave, it's not.
While I couldn't find anything that I didn't like while it was playing, when it was compared to the Polk, it was obvious that there was something essential missing. It's soul. Putin jokes aside, it must have been a Faustian bargain that MA struck to get a 1000$ speaker to be this accurate. . over such a range. . and the price paid was that it had to give up it's musicallity. It did not involve you in the same manner, or draw you in to the heart of the music. It will compute the music, not render it as an organic and breathing thing.
It's the details. The MA's tweeter was able to resolve quite a bit more, but not without calling attention to themselves. It made it very easy to localize the speakers, and contributed to the smaller sound stage. The Polks, while resolving a bit less on the upper, were able to all but disappear and when given enough room, throw a much larger and deeper stage. My friend was surprised. The Polks while having less range, did more where it counted. They had more drive and attack, they were smoother in the high-end, and the mids were far superior.
Some comments: "They have lower bass, but they (MA) seem constrained. . . flat", "There's not as much texture (MA)", "The mids seem to be missing a bit"(MA), "The sound is smaller"(MA). "They are move alive (Polk)", "They sound bigger, wider, deeper (Polk). "It sounds like you are hearing into the studio. . .it's more real . . alive(Polk)".
So, if you are looking for linear reproduction, the MA may be your best bet at 1K. If you are looking for music with drive, texture, and some soul -be that angel or devil, the Polk comes out on top. My friend is now looking to trade in his 6 month old MA's, and is considering a standmount.
-----The two speakers are apples and oranges, and the similarity is price point. In listening the comparisons were made with and without a HSU sub crossed at 40 Hz.
-----Polks were 5' from the front wall, MA's needed to be 2-3' to stabilize the center image.
-----In the process of finding what sounds better to me, despite the rave reviews of the RS6, I'm now considering the forums crossover mod instead of upgrading. I may also do the mod, and buy a pair of Focus 140 ($2200 retail), and do another comparison. My friend is waiting on a new integrated, so we will toss that in the mix as well.