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  1. #1

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    Post LSi15 vs. SDA 1C: Six Of One, Half A Dozen Of The Other

    I purchased a pair of LSi15's to use as surrounds in my home theater system. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I did a brief comparison of the LSi15 and it's closest SDA kin, the SDA 1C. Oh, I'm sure there are some that would argue that the SDA 3.1TL is comparable also, but the 3.1TL is larger than either the LSi15 or the SDA 1C and is more comparable in size and frequency response to the LSi25.


    The LSi15's sounded really sweet right out of the box. However, I let them "soak" for four days while continally playing the radio through them at medium volume. That loosened them up a bit. Not a night and day difference though. Notice how patiently the SDA 1C's on the right are awaiting their turn at the ends of the speaker cables. Also, notice how well the cherry side panels of the LSiC coordinates with my hardwood floor.


    In "Big Brother's" shadow. The LSi15's were placed 6 feet apart and 4 feet from the rear wall. They were 2 feet in front of the SDA SRS 1.2TL's. I was sitting 10 feet away from the speakers. The manual says to angle them in if the distance between the speakers is greater than the seating distance from the speakers. This implies that if the distance between the speakers is less than the distance from the speakers, they can be placed facing forward. I listened to the LSi15's both facing straight ahead and toed in slightly. A slight toe-in of about an inch added a little more solidity to the center image.

    Associated gear was an Adcom GFA-5802 power amp, Adcom GFP-750 preamp, Denon DCD-1650AR CD player, Yamaha PF-800 turntable with Yamaha MC-705 moving coil cartridge. Interconnects were Monster Z100i (turntable and CD player) and Monster Z200i XLR Reference (preamp to amp). Speaker cables were Monster Z2 Reference.

    I picked a few well-recorded jazz instrumental and vocal CD's and LP's for source material (e.g., "Time Out" by Dave Brubeck, "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis, "Saxophone Colossus" by Sonny Rollins).


    The first thing I did after unpacking the LSi15's was the replacement of the stock binding post straps with homemade 4 inch lengths of 10 gauge speaker wire (DSR Silverline) that were finished with gold plated banana plugs. The stock straps seem (to me) to cause a slight loss of high frequency information.


    The SDA 1C owner's manual states that better bass performance will be realized when the 1C's are close to the rear wall. The SDA SRS 1.2TL's weigh 180 pounds each. I wasn't going to move them. The 1C's were placed 3 inches in front of the 1.2TL's. These 1C's have modified crossovers with premium capacitors and resistors.

    Listening Notes


    1. I liked both speakers, but for different reasons. For instrumental jazz I prefer the 1C. For vocal music, the LSi15 is excellent. The LSi15's projected voices a couple of feet forward of the front plane of the speakers. The LSi15's lend a lot of "immediacy" to well-recorded vocal tracks. Piano music sounds natural with all the little overtones and overhangs faithfully reproduced.

    2. The LSi15 has an exceptionally clear midrange and upper treble. The bass was tight, punchy, and well defined, though not as articulate as the 1C.

    3. The LSiC is a conventional speaker and images like a conventional speaker. The stereo image was confined to the area between the speakers. Depth, and the solid placement of instruments and voices within the soundstage were excellent. If you are an "imaging freak", then you might prefer the 1C. Depending on source material, the 1C produced solid images above the speakers, outside the outer edges of the speakers, in front, behind....everywhere but below the speakers.cool:

    General Observations

    1. Each speaker performs its intended task very well.

    2. The LSi15 is generally available from a variety of sources. The 1C was discontinued in 1991 and is available on a "catch me if you can" basis.

    3. The LSi15 has sleek, contemporary styling and lends itself well to a variety of modern decors. The 1C is somewhat monolithic. The LSi15 wins hands down in the looks department.

    With both the LSi15 and the SDA 1C, I could close my eyes and be fooled into believing that real musicians were singing/playing in front of me.

    Some, and I would dare say, a lot of well-regarded high end speakers "loose the magic" once your ears are outside of the "sweet spot". One of my favorite tests for a speaker is to go into an adjoing room and listen to see if it sounds like a stereo is playing or if if it sounds like a real band is playing in the next room. On really good speaker systems, there is a sense real people playing in the next room and of being drawn back into the room where the music is playing. Both the LSi15 and the SDA 1C speakers passed this "realism" test with high marks.

    As always, these are just my impressions based on my equipment, room, and music preferences. Your mileage may vary.;)
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 10-22-2006 at 08:12 PM.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  2. #2

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    raife,

    Did you toe-in the LSi's?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  3. #3

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    Post Toe In

    Slightly. Thanks for pointing out that omission. I need to edit my post and put in how far I was sitting from the LSi15's. I was sitting 10 feet away from the speakers and they were 6 feet apart. The manual says to angle them in if the distance between the speakers is greater than the seating distance from the speakers.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  4. #4

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    Ok, I remember someone else saying that toe-in and placement were critical. Nice review.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  5. #5

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    Post Wall Reflections

    Reflections from walls and ceilings can have a detrimental effect on imaging. My LSi15's were in a large room well away from the rear and side walls. I think that may have been a reason why I didn't require a lot of toe-in to get a good center image.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  6. #6

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    raife,
    Very interesting review. What was some of your source
    material?
    THanks, Mike
    Fronts: SDA1C's
    Rears: SDA2's
    Center:CS400i
    Sub: PSW505

  7. #7

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    I had similar results at Phuz's house with his 15's. Once they were moved a good 2ft from rear/side walls, not only did the bass tighten up a bit, but the stereo image seemed to suddenly appear. (no toe whatsoever)

    Cheers,
    Russ
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.

  8. #8

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    Post Selected Review Source Material

    Originally posted by mhw58
    raife,
    ........What was some of your source
    material?
    THanks, Mike
    I listed some of my source material in the review. Here's more:

    CD's

    "Time Out" by Dave Brubeck, track 3
    "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis, tracks 1 and 2
    "Saxophone Colossus" by Sonny Rollins, track 2
    "Gettin' Around" by Dexter Gordon, tracks 3 and 4
    "The Song Lives On" by Joe Sample, track 6
    "Sax-A-GO-GO" by Candy Dulfer, track 7

    LP's

    "12" by Bob James, side 2, tracks 1 and 2
    "Touchdown" by Bob James (audiophile pressing), side 1, tracks 1 and 2
    "Street Life" by the Crusaders, side 1, track 1
    "At Monmartre" by Dexter Gordon, side 1, track 1


    I'm telling you, we had a ball!!!
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  9. #9
    Stronzo
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    Rafie,

    I would commend you on an excellent review, however, considering the SDA's and LSi's are in-comparable (apples, oranges, anyone..?), I am afraid your findings hold little merit in light of the above statement.

  10. #10

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    Post Apples and Oranges?

    Why do you say that LSi's and SDA's are incomparable?
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  11. #11

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    Because of this thread ATC started a while back Definitive SDA vs LSi thread
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  12. #12

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    Good review - comparing these speakers is not "apples and oranges". The LSi is a speaker system and so is the SDA. Thanks for the opinions.

  13. #13

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    Raife1,
    nice review.I would try next time more distance between the Lsi15's more like 9 to 10 feet.If your sitting 10 feet away, then your speakers should be 10 feet apart with slight toe in.
    For the Lsi15's to perform there best I have found is just alittle or slight toe in.Still being able to see the inside of the speaker.I tried dead on when you look at them with not being able to see the sides,just staright at you.This sounds ok,I perfer them out a bit.I also tilt them back slightly with the adjustable spikes.I level them from side to side, but raise up the front a bit.This makes for fun demoing.
    Bi wiring also amkes a huge difference.I noticed it right away.
    Break in time take awhile I noticed.Mine took over 40+ hours for them to loosen up.That made a big difference in performance in mid range and bass.My bass was alittle to tight and punchy sound out of the box.Now they blend so well.
    Last edited by mantis; 01-29-2003 at 10:11 PM.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  14. #14

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    raife1,
    I would concur with your observations on LSi15 and your kind of music somewhat similar to mine. The best selections that I have enjoyed the most listening in are Ahmad Jamal "Digital Works" and Joe Sample "Sample This" The artistry and mastery of their keystrokes are very detailed and sweet. Take a listen to these two when you have them in your collections.
    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.

  15. #15
    Stronzo
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    The LSi-9's took me an accumulation of over 70 hours of play before they began to "break-in". However, the difference was absolutely remarkable.

    To further prove the point, one day while having some Charlie Brown christmas tunes playing, I mentioned to my parents what speakers were playing. They were incredibly suprised when I informed them that it was the little bookshelf speakers, and not the huge SDA's.

    Both speakers got a hint of magic to them... great sound for the price.

  16. #16

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    Great review! I've been listening to sda 1c in the last 15 years (SRS was my dream but couldn't afford it)! want to upgrade, since you said lsi15 was about the same... so should I go for the LSI25? how about rt3000p?

    Thanks for the great review. Good photos and layout too!

  17. #17

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    Angry Tower of Power

    philbers,

    If you like the tight, controlled bass sound of the 1C, you might not like the bass of powered towers like the LSi25 and rt3000p for music applications. I have not heard the LSi25. My listening impression of the rt3000p was that I would only use it in a home theater system, and never for music. I was also turned off by the appearance of the rt3000p. It looked like a bookshelf speaker that was stacked on top of a subwoofer (which was essentially what it was). Both the LSi25 and the rt3000p will be difficult to track down for an audition: The LSi25 has a relatively small dealer network, the rt3000p has been recently discontinued.
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 02-08-2003 at 10:14 PM.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  18. #18

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    its a good reveiw raife1, i would try to aim the 15 stright ahead and move back your seating a little and try to level the tops of the 15s with level both ways and you can get better emeging from the 15 , just think if you are off 1/32 " it will be about 3" at the focal point your ears. accuracy is most importance. if one speaker is off a little your sound stage will be off, try it.

    it like a pair of bionculers if one is aimed up and one down its going the be out of focus bring them back to the focus point and you get a clear veiw the sound works the same way the more focus the better the siound stage. use a good level.
    Last edited by joe logston; 02-08-2003 at 10:27 PM.
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.

  19. #19

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    Joe,
    I also use a level when I setup main speaker.I don't always find "level" is the way to go.My Lsi15's are unlevel from front to back ,but are level from side to side.I find the slight tilt back opens up the soundstage even further.
    Seperation of the main speakers I like the equal triangle aproach to get started, then modify the idea by what sounds the best.Some speakers sound better further apart then you sit to them,I actually like about a foot off.Meaning 1 foot back then they are apart.
    Toe in I have found isn't needed as much with the Lsi 15's as most other direct radiating.Slight toe in I found to work best.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  20. #20

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    Post RT3000p's For Sale

    Philbers, here's a pair of rt3000p's for sale on Ebay:


    Polk RT3000p in black
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  21. #21

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    2,500! thats ridiculous, a Rosewood pair went for less than 700 not even a month ago.

  22. #22

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    Angry Almost New

    Originally posted by Ceruleance
    2,500! thats ridiculous, a Rosewood pair went for less than 700 not even a month ago.
    The ad says that these RT3000p's are "almost new". Were the ones that sold for $700 "almost new"? They most probably weren't, hence the low price.

    Also, although the ad doesn't specifically say it, these rt3000p's appear to have "hand polished" black oak veneer. Hand polished veneer commands a premium in the marketplace.

    Hell, if you wanna blow that kinda cash, just wait until a pair of SDA SRS's pops up.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  23. #23

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    mantis;
    i tilt mine forward a little, i use warshers on the front top of speaker, and level both speakers with the same warshers so they are tilted the same. the more warshers you use the more tilt and they will be tilted the same.
    Last edited by joe logston; 02-10-2003 at 10:20 PM.
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.

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