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  1. #1

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    Default What makes an speaker 'airy'?

    airy, or spacious - which i find to be one of the greatest thing about speakers compare to hi end headphones. it is magical, suddenly the musical elements are fulfilled the oxygen particles, throw you into the music.

    thank to my RTI6, despect the missing low end, i found they are excellently for my taste. :)

    my question is, what makes a speaker airy? i did little research seem to be the tweeter. but how about the woofer size and cabient size? i found it is hard to separate the quality of 'extension' away from 'airy'.

    what other speakers are airy? LSI? paradigm monitor/studio?
    Front: Polk RTi6
    Center: Polk CSIa4
    Rear: Polk M10
    Receiver: AVR Denon 789
    HTPC Soundcard: Emu-0404 USB for 2.1, Creative X-Fi Platinum for 5.1 (SPDIF out to AVR)
    Headset: Grado RS2 + Grado RA1 amp
    Mic: Neumann KMS605
    TV: Toshiba Regza 52' 120Hz

    Car Audio
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    MB Quart Onyx 4.60 (1/2 to components, 3/4 bridged to sub)
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  2. #2

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    Planar, ESL, Quad, Martin Logan, Magnapan, Saunders .......... all fall into the "airy" category IMHO.
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  3. #3

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    Yeah, i wouldn't put any of my paradigms in the "airy" category...

    I'd put my old Polk VS-25s in "airy." But i think that's the only speaker that i've had that would fit the bill.
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

  4. #4

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    Vandersteens for sure.
    [ My Rigs ] Balanced Audio Technology | Revel | Dodd | Monarchy | PS Audio | MIT | Polk | Etc.

  5. #5

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    Tubes make speakers "airy"

    SDA's
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  6. #6

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    how airy are paradigm studio 10/20 v5? :)
    Front: Polk RTi6
    Center: Polk CSIa4
    Rear: Polk M10
    Receiver: AVR Denon 789
    HTPC Soundcard: Emu-0404 USB for 2.1, Creative X-Fi Platinum for 5.1 (SPDIF out to AVR)
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  7. #7

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    Gallos; that 310 degree (or something like that) tweeter is not airy, it's windy :)
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    tubes make speakers "airy"

    sda's
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
    Gallos; that 310 degree (or something like that) tweeter is not airy, it's windy :)
    That's a HOT tweeter at 310 degree's .

    Is that why your hair always looks so windblown after a lengthy listening session? ;)

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  10. #10

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    Putting them in a really good room. Seriously, a bad room can completely wreck a great pair of speakers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unc2701 View Post
    Putting them in a really good room. Seriously, a bad room can completely wreck a great pair of speakers.
    And all the gear from source to speakers.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    And all the gear from source to speakers.
    Hey, you're alive! [/threadjack]
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  13. #13

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    Holes in the diaphragm?:p
    I refuse to argue with idiots, because people can't tell the DIFFERENCE!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SivaNevets View Post

    my question is, what makes a speaker airy?
    I'll say good high frequency extension both on and off axis.

  15. #15
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    Lots of herb.

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    +1

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  17. #17

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    High frequency extension and resolution to resolve that type of fine sonic detail.

    Very extended low frequency can flesh out dimensions of large recording space, so you can in some way see / feel walls of say church a recording was made in.

    Most headphone transducers fire directly into your ear, not fire forward at you like speakers, so soundstage that recording engineer may have intended obviously can't be reproduced as originally intended.
    Last edited by mshan242700; 08-27-2009 at 07:03 PM.
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  18. #18

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    i find Grado to be the only airy headphones ive heard. both RS2 and SR60 ive owned. but not as airy as RTI6s
    Front: Polk RTi6
    Center: Polk CSIa4
    Rear: Polk M10
    Receiver: AVR Denon 789
    HTPC Soundcard: Emu-0404 USB for 2.1, Creative X-Fi Platinum for 5.1 (SPDIF out to AVR)
    Headset: Grado RS2 + Grado RA1 amp
    Mic: Neumann KMS605
    TV: Toshiba Regza 52' 120Hz

    Car Audio
    2002 MB C240 Sedan
    MM6501 components
    MM840 sub
    MB Quart Onyx 4.60 (1/2 to components, 3/4 bridged to sub)
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  19. #19

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    Mid and High Frequency Drivers need to be fairly flat to above 20KHz and beyond. And High Frequency Driver needs to be go beyond 20KHz (more like 60KHz range) and good dispersion.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by fbm211 View Post
    +1

    How ya been Ben??? How was your trip up north??
    What did Bambi's mom say?
    Well seeing family, friends, and a few Kayak trips down a few rivers was nice.


    I will agree with GV's off axis comment for sure.
    Last edited by ben62670; 08-27-2009 at 08:31 PM.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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  21. #21

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    when I want airy.. I open all the windows and let the spl from the TL's circulate the air in the room.
    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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    Effortless detail and extension without stridency.
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    That's a HOT tweeter at 310 degree's .

    Is that why your hair always looks so windblown after a lengthy listening session? ;)

    H9
    Heck, a plasma tweeter like the EV/Dukane Ionovac runs much hotter than that... and it freshens the air with ozone,too.

    Here's a recipe if you want to roll your own:
    http://www.plasmatweeter.de/

    EDIT: on topic -- I think there are at least two, if not three sources of "air"

    1) (as already pointed out) extended and linear HF response. Definitely.
    2) For ribbon and planar tweeters -- there's some evidence that euphonius but pretty high levels of distortion may be contributing to the magic. http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/
    3) When it comes to the breathy 'reality' of well-reproduced vocals... if you ask me, a peaked MR response like the vaunted and venerable Altec "Voice of the Theater" can work wonders.

    I am a big fan of 3) with a pair of Altec Valencias in the living room :-)
    It's worth noting that the peaked MR of the Altec speakers was put there for good reason -- these speakers were designed to "speak" from behind a movie screen!
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 08-28-2009 at 01:20 PM.
    all the best,
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Tubes make speakers "airy"

    SDA's
    x2 ;)

    A good source, ic's and speaker cables contribute to the equation as well.

  25. #25

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    Airy, hmm, I agree with good source, can't be underpowered, nice dedicated room. I especially love electrostatics and tubes. It's a Zen thing for me! LOL! DJ

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by SivaNevets View Post
    airy, or spacious - which i find to be one of the greatest thing about speakers compare to hi end headphones. it is magical, suddenly the musical elements are fulfilled the oxygen particles, throw you into the music.

    thank to my RTI6, despect the missing low end, i found they are excellently for my taste. :)

    my question is, what makes a speaker airy? i did little research seem to be the tweeter. but how about the woofer size and cabient size? i found it is hard to separate the quality of 'extension' away from 'airy'.

    what other speakers are airy? LSI? paradigm monitor/studio?
    Airy to me means space between the instruments. The ability to hear each and everything being played as if nothing else was playing. Each sound comes through with nothing clouding it.

    Looking for speakers that are "airy" is pretty easy. I will make you a list.

    1) Dynaudio. They make some of the very best sounding speakers on the planet bare none. To date I have heard nothing outshine them including my new speakers. The C4's are my very favorite speaker bare none. This is my very favorite speaker. Nothing I have heard moved me more. The N801's from B&W come close but the C4's are what I could ever want out of a loudspeaker. WOW!!!

    2) B&W. All there models have a taste of air. Higher you go the more air you get. The N series of years past are some of my favorite speakers. The N801 is top 5 on my list. Incredibly balanced and clear sound speaker. Damn good.

    3) Martin Logan. One listen to the older Prodigy's are you will understand what "air" means. They have an uncanny ability to fill a room with sound coming from all places. Just a stereo pair can sound like a full surround sound system. At one point in my life I want a pair. You could sit down and live inside the music.

    4) Egglestone . With Dynaduio drivers it's hard to say these speakers are there own. But I have listened to them many times, Installed them and just loved every single minute of it. I feel they outclass the mighty Wilson Audio speakers which I find not to have any "air".

    5) Totem. Again another cabinet maker type company that uses others drivers like Dynaudio and such years ago but you can't say anything bad about any of there speakers. They put a single tweeter and woofer into a skinny cabinet and make magic. The Hawks are magic "Airy" speakers. Just sit in front of them for 5 minutes and tell me the band isn't in the room with you. All kinds of sound and sound stage. WOW I love those speakers.

    6) Sonus Faber. Beautiful crafted speakers with a elegance and grace. One would first be struck by the craftsmanship on the beautiful cabinet until the music started. Then one would realize that they are now in a concert hall experiencing music the way it should sound.

    7) Vienna Acoustics. Hydens , Bachs , you name them and you have "airy" speakers. Vienna not only builds some of the very best well built speakers in the world , they have some of the best sounding speakers ever made. personally I think they can hang with anyone in there price classes. Not only hang but put most to shame. If you know music then Vienna will make you like it more. They have some of the more crazy setup positioning abillities but work at there best when placed correctly.

    8) Focal. Ok the words have been said but there line of speakers all of them are simply impressive. Stable tone is what I would say. Balance. Nothing sticks out and nothing gets left behind. Wide soundstage with uncanny detail. They punch you but not overly done. Very natural sounding. If you want to learn about "air" stop on by and spend some time. You may even come up with new terms.

    9) Revel . Goofy boxed type speakers with some old/new who the hell knows what they where thinking designs. They are almost nice looking. After you listen you wanna take them home but before you look at them with concern. I would not call them pretty or even nice , they are ok from someone's point of view. I would never ask someone if they where killer looking speakers. But some of us get caught up in looks and don't go further and listen. I'm horrible here as I hate Vanderstein and Magnapan speakers due to looks only. Not the way they sound. But Revel make some of the very best double duty speakers around. Just get a theater demo then a music demo. I considered these speakers for myself. I still do. I might down the road go Revel if I can get over there looks. I make them out to be pretty bad looking , there not , there are just some weird things going on. Look at there line and you might find what I do. The color change on the tapered cabinets are strange. Why do that?? But I can't deny the "air they bring. I ran them against Paradigm Studio 60's , Def Tech BP7001's , magnapan 1.6's and a Pair of Paradigm S1's. I found the Revel F32's to outclass all those speakers for 2 channel in every way. The level of detail but a calm like older Mirage M1's. Not overly Dynamic but not as flat as Mirage used to be. You have to listen to them to get the "REVEL" experience. It's intriguing. I found myself going back for more. Coming away with" they are very nice sounding speakers . Like comfort food or something.

    10) I got some really good speakers on my top 10 list. I don't know how an "air" question turned into my top 10 but I'm all emotional right now, I got new speakers and I'm in full demo mode. So I don't get buyers remorse I get "did I buy the right speakers" remorse. LOL.
    So for my last "airy" speaker in the real world comes the Lsi series. polk hit the nail on the head pretty good with this line. When I first heard them all those years ago, I didn't think they sounded like polk speakers. but they did. One who grew up with polk knows exaclty what I'm saying.
    The Lsi series are amazing at there price point. One could argue they are top 3 in there price class swapping out other brands that could be called #1. They have a few flaws but you can't take away there clarity and grace. If polk would have made a slight better woofer for the Lsi15 , they could be considered top dog in there price class. If the lsi9's cleaned up and took away a few lower octives , they could be considered one of the very best bookself speakers are there price class. The lsi7's are great speakers and I find them to be one of my favorites with a Rel sub or any highly musical sub. I love them.
    For theater they are nice and can please many until you hear a really good theater package designed for that task first. I talk about classes of speakers "musical" "theater" because I feel any speaker can do both but how good is the question. If you pay real attention to the movie theater and a concert or live music , you will pick up on certain sonics. Some speakers replay those sonics better then others.
    So the Lsi25's have been overlooked many times by me and many others due to the fact they are powered towers. After my experience with my Rt1000p's I basically written off powered towers. I wanted nothing more then a speaker without a power cord( Funny I'm back with that , I hate that I'll buy the entire system). And honestly for 2 channel the Lsi25's are by far the best speaker in the Lsi line. The powered woofer really controls well and digs deep. If you spend the unbelievable time it takes to blend powered towers for music reproduction , removing the forced bass sound and one hit wonder tone , you find yourself with a speaker that not only doesn't sound like a typical powered tower but a highly musical speaker. After I purchased the Lsi 15's I listened and Installed many Lsi25's and kinda regretted my decision. If I had to do it all over again , I would buy the Lsi 25's in a heart beat if it took that long. They are truly a speaker that can be on this top 10 list. I feel they are polks best offering. For awhile I considered the Lsi15's to be but the loose bass which I tried to except lost that roll for me. One would read my words and think the Lsi15's basically suck. Not true on any level except running full range. If you run them small and cross them over at 60hz , they not compete with the Lsi25's and anything else well. I feel taking away deep bass from them helps them out a ton. The Lsi9's also improve the high you cross them over. I thought 80hz the Lsi9's where at there best.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by sivanevets View Post
    what makes an speaker 'airy'?

    aaaaaa alcohol!!!
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    I just put the ceiling fan on!!!! Plenty of air.
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  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Airy to me means space between the instruments. The ability to hear each and everything being played as if nothing else was playing. Each sound comes through with nothing clouding it.

    Looking for speakers that are "airy" is pretty easy. I will make you a list.

    1) Dynaudio. They make some of the very best sounding speakers on the planet bare none. To date I have heard nothing outshine them including my new speakers. The C4's are my very favorite speaker bare none. This is my very favorite speaker. Nothing I have heard moved me more. The N801's from B&W come close but the C4's are what I could ever want out of a loudspeaker. WOW!!!

    2) B&W. All there models have a taste of air. Higher you go the more air you get. The N series of years past are some of my favorite speakers. The N801 is top 5 on my list. Incredibly balanced and clear sound speaker. Damn good.

    3) Martin Logan. One listen to the older Prodigy's are you will understand what "air" means. They have an uncanny ability to fill a room with sound coming from all places. Just a stereo pair can sound like a full surround sound system. At one point in my life I want a pair. You could sit down and live inside the music.

    4) Egglestone . With Dynaduio drivers it's hard to say these speakers are there own. But I have listened to them many times, Installed them and just loved every single minute of it. I feel they outclass the mighty Wilson Audio speakers which I find not to have any "air".

    5) Totem. Again another cabinet maker type company that uses others drivers like Dynaudio and such years ago but you can't say anything bad about any of there speakers. They put a single tweeter and woofer into a skinny cabinet and make magic. The Hawks are magic "Airy" speakers. Just sit in front of them for 5 minutes and tell me the band isn't in the room with you. All kinds of sound and sound stage. WOW I love those speakers.

    6) Sonus Faber. Beautiful crafted speakers with a elegance and grace. One would first be struck by the craftsmanship on the beautiful cabinet until the music started. Then one would realize that they are now in a concert hall experiencing music the way it should sound.

    7) Vienna Acoustics. Hydens , Bachs , you name them and you have "airy" speakers. Vienna not only builds some of the very best well built speakers in the world , they have some of the best sounding speakers ever made. personally I think they can hang with anyone in there price classes. Not only hang but put most to shame. If you know music then Vienna will make you like it more. They have some of the more crazy setup positioning abillities but work at there best when placed correctly.

    8) Focal. Ok the words have been said but there line of speakers all of them are simply impressive. Stable tone is what I would say. Balance. Nothing sticks out and nothing gets left behind. Wide soundstage with uncanny detail. They punch you but not overly done. Very natural sounding. If you want to learn about "air" stop on by and spend some time. You may even come up with new terms.

    9) Revel . Goofy boxed type speakers with some old/new who the hell knows what they where thinking designs. They are almost nice looking. After you listen you wanna take them home but before you look at them with concern. I would not call them pretty or even nice , they are ok from someone's point of view. I would never ask someone if they where killer looking speakers. But some of us get caught up in looks and don't go further and listen. I'm horrible here as I hate Vanderstein and Magnapan speakers due to looks only. Not the way they sound. But Revel make some of the very best double duty speakers around. Just get a theater demo then a music demo. I considered these speakers for myself. I still do. I might down the road go Revel if I can get over there looks. I make them out to be pretty bad looking , there not , there are just some weird things going on. Look at there line and you might find what I do. The color change on the tapered cabinets are strange. Why do that?? But I can't deny the "air they bring. I ran them against Paradigm Studio 60's , Def Tech BP7001's , magnapan 1.6's and a Pair of Paradigm S1's. I found the Revel F32's to outclass all those speakers for 2 channel in every way. The level of detail but a calm like older Mirage M1's. Not overly Dynamic but not as flat as Mirage used to be. You have to listen to them to get the "REVEL" experience. It's intriguing. I found myself going back for more. Coming away with" they are very nice sounding speakers . Like comfort food or something.

    10) I got some really good speakers on my top 10 list. I don't know how an "air" question turned into my top 10 but I'm all emotional right now, I got new speakers and I'm in full demo mode. So I don't get buyers remorse I get "did I buy the right speakers" remorse. LOL.
    So for my last "airy" speaker in the real world comes the Lsi series. polk hit the nail on the head pretty good with this line. When I first heard them all those years ago, I didn't think they sounded like polk speakers. but they did. One who grew up with polk knows exaclty what I'm saying.
    The Lsi series are amazing at there price point. One could argue they are top 3 in there price class swapping out other brands that could be called #1. They have a few flaws but you can't take away there clarity and grace. If polk would have made a slight better woofer for the Lsi15 , they could be considered top dog in there price class. If the lsi9's cleaned up and took away a few lower octives , they could be considered one of the very best bookself speakers are there price class. The lsi7's are great speakers and I find them to be one of my favorites with a Rel sub or any highly musical sub. I love them.
    For theater they are nice and can please many until you hear a really good theater package designed for that task first. I talk about classes of speakers "musical" "theater" because I feel any speaker can do both but how good is the question. If you pay real attention to the movie theater and a concert or live music , you will pick up on certain sonics. Some speakers replay those sonics better then others.
    So the Lsi25's have been overlooked many times by me and many others due to the fact they are powered towers. After my experience with my Rt1000p's I basically written off powered towers. I wanted nothing more then a speaker without a power cord( Funny I'm back with that , I hate that I'll buy the entire system). And honestly for 2 channel the Lsi25's are by far the best speaker in the Lsi line. The powered woofer really controls well and digs deep. If you spend the unbelievable time it takes to blend powered towers for music reproduction , removing the forced bass sound and one hit wonder tone , you find yourself with a speaker that not only doesn't sound like a typical powered tower but a highly musical speaker. After I purchased the Lsi 15's I listened and Installed many Lsi25's and kinda regretted my decision. If I had to do it all over again , I would buy the Lsi 25's in a heart beat if it took that long. They are truly a speaker that can be on this top 10 list. I feel they are polks best offering. For awhile I considered the Lsi15's to be but the loose bass which I tried to except lost that roll for me. One would read my words and think the Lsi15's basically suck. Not true on any level except running full range. If you run them small and cross them over at 60hz , they not compete with the Lsi25's and anything else well. I feel taking away deep bass from them helps them out a ton. The Lsi9's also improve the high you cross them over. I thought 80hz the Lsi9's where at there best.
    Great write up, but I'm surprised that the Definitive Technology Mythos didn't make your list.
    Are they #11?

    I've listened to the Martin Logans and Vienna Acoustics.
    They are excellent speakers, but I wouldn't trade them for my Polk LSi's when driven by a good amp.
    Perhaps it is emotional, because they were the first speakers to really make my heart miss a beat.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by debussyj View Post
    Airy, hmm, I agree with good source, can't be underpowered, nice dedicated room. I especially love electrostatics and tubes. It's a Zen thing for me! LOL! DJ
    Agreed!

    Gordon
    2 Channel -
    Martin Logan Spire, 2 JL Audio F112 subs
    McIntosh C1000 Controller with Tube pre amp, 2 MC501 amplifiers, MD1K Transport & DAC, MR-88 Tuner
    WireWorld Eclipse 6.0 speaker wire and jumpers, Eclipse 5^2 Squared Balanced IC's. Silver Eclipse PCs (5)
    Symposium Rollerblocks 2+ (16)Black Diamond Racing Mk 3 pits (8)

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