Well, its been about a month now since I've owned my new LSi 9's. They have been playing for about 4 hours every day so I believe they are well past the break-in point but may break-in a little more. Straight out the boxes they were extremely dull sounding but I was expecting this based on comments from others.
I have owned the Studio's for about two months now. I bought them used as they were trade-ins from my dealer from a guy who had them for six months and wanted the 100s.
Owning both of these fine pairs of speakers, I have been struggling here lately to decide which ones sound better. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Here's how I rank them head to head:
Build Quality -- Studio 40
Treble smoothness and extension -- LSi 9
Detail -- Studio 40
Midrange -- Studio 40
Bass -- LSi 9
Imaging -- Studio 40
non-fatiguing -- LSi 9
"goosebump factor" -- Studio 40
These comparisons were done in the same room using the same equipment and cd player. For speaker wire I'm currently using Monster XP 14 gauge. All listening was done using the bi-wire method. Speaker settings were set to small using my PSW350 sub with a 80 hz crossover point. Treble and Bass were set to flat. Testing done with Rotel receiver and B&K/NAD seperates.
The LSi 9s sound different to me than anything I've ever owned. I've owned JBLs, Infinity, Cerwin Vega, and recently Polk RT35i's as mains. The Vifa tweeter is absolutely smooth. The more volume you pump to the LSi's the better they seem to sound and are just laughing "is that all you got". Problem is, I don't usually listen to music that loud (95 - 100 db).
The Studios are very detailed and the strength of the speaker is the midrange. Listening to cds with women's voices (Natalie Merchant, Jewel, Enya) I can hear the tonal changes in the voice as being more revealing than the LSi's. The weakness of the Studios is that at higher volumes where the LSi tweeter shines, the Studios tweeter gets a little "hot". At lower, normal listening volumes though, the Studios get the nod here and what I call "goosebump" factor. I get the "goosebumps" listening to the Studios whereas the LSi 9's, although sound very clean, sound flat and less exciting to me. This is evident to me in the midrange which seems to be further back in the soundstage as compared to the Studios where it is right there in front of you. The LSi's are more laid back of a sound and I also notice that behind the midrange the supporting instruments also have this laid back character. With the Studios you can hear the the background instruments a bit better and this is what I describe as detail.
I think part of my problem with the LSi's is speaker placement as I have an oddly shaped arrangement and speaker wire / interconnects. I've already gotten some good input on what to use to wake-up the LSi's a little.
I don't want this to sound like I dislike the LSi's. I love 'em. They sound totally different than anything else and do take some getting used to. I'm hoping my speaker wire / interconnect upgrades will wake them up some for me. I may also have to rearrange my living room too (or buy another house...the ultimate upgrade!)
I did an interesting experiment this weekend. I hooked up my Yamaha RX-V1300 to the LSi 9s and that definitely woke them up from a detail perspective. The "brightness" of Yamaha paired with the "flatness" of the LSi's. I was surprised that the Yamaha drove the LSi 9's with no problem at moderate listening levels. 80 - 85 dbs. Even after an hour, the receiver never got hot just slightly warm. At higher listening levels though the Yamaha got a little shouty sounding and you can tell it was gasping as the imaging and soundstage went away. But this was interesting none-the-less.
More to come in about another month (after new interconnects and speaker wire). By the way I'm using Aurelle Dynamics interconnects right now. They are like custom jobs and I paid $60 / each for them. Couldn't find them on the web anywhere.