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Polk announced the "Reserve series" of loudspeakers

MZKM

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Yeah this lineup looks really cool. The legend L200 was already solid with a good listening window, but it's biggest problem was resonances, which were particularly loud escaping from the port. Here was my spin squishified for ASR aspect ratios:

View attachment 120081

The resonances escaping from the port were extremely loud, clearly coinciding with anomalies in the spin.

View attachment 120082

So given resonances are apparently one of the things Polk has most focused on with these, hopefully they are much better in this regard!

The horizontal off-axis doesn't look great in NRD's measurements, but the on axis is solid (haven't seen the other videos yet). I guess we'll see!
JoenTell has some in-room measurements of the Reserve R200 bookshelf he got loaned, and it too showed a directivity mismatch at the crossover region.
D59B4F47-587D-45BA-9D22-C201A38C6DDC.jpeg


Keep in mind the y-axis scale.
Maybe their 3-way towers are better in this regard.

The L100 has a smaller woofer so directivity should be better matched, but it still isn’t great:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/polk-legend-l100-loudspeaker-measurements
1616614358936.jpeg


The port (Red) also has a crazy resonance:
1616614386409.jpeg



I am assuming the new funky rear ports on the Reserve are better than on the Legend bookshelves, which is odd.
 

mhardy6647

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The towers have the x-port combined with "enhanced power port"(I think that refers to bottom plate interacting with the port), the x-port alone is more clearly visible in cutaways for their smaller speakers:
View attachment 120054
And while this image suggests the tube inside of the port is open from one side, from the exploded view:
View attachment 120055
it looks like there's also a plug on the inside end.

I think it's just a way of turning the port from a tube to a torus, since this is what they write about it:
"Polk's proprietary X-Port eliminates unwanted noise created as air moves in and out of the speaker cabinet port at high-speeds. "

According to thttps://www.audioadvice.com/polk-audio-reserve-r200-bookshelf-speakers-pair (whoever/whatever they are), the ports have:
POLK NEWLY PATENTED X-PORT (ETF)
Polk’s newly patented X-Port incorporates an Eigentone Filter (ETF) offering distortion-free, effortless bass. Consisting of a set of closed-pipe absorbers that are specifically tuned to catch and eliminate traditional speaker distortions. X-Port ensures that the upper bass and mid-range are free of port and cabinet resonances for smooth, detailed audio.

Eigentone sounds like some kind of 50s automobile muffler line...
;)
 

MattHooper

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I have to admit that a new Polk speaker would have to overcome some predjudice on my part. I've always thought of them as fairly low-rent, and encounters hearing them only re-enforced the impression. Old dogs can maybe learn new tricks though.
 

MZKM

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Eigentone sounds like some kind of 50s automobile muffler line...
As a math major, “eigenvector” and “eigenvalue” are terms I’m familiar with. I thought it was named after a mathematician, but it turns out it’s simply a German word whose translation is something like “characteristic“ (and indeed the “characteristic polynomial” is a common used phrase).
So, I guess whoever at Polk coined the term is meaning it to be something like only the characteristic bass notes are playing, no distorting harmonics or resonances.
 
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mhardy6647

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Oh, Eigen I know (German minor, and I did take linear algebra) -- I just thought it was pretty bogus marketingspeak. :)
 

VintageFlanker

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JoenTell has some in-room measurements of the Reserve R200 bookshelf he got loaned, and it too showed a directivity mismatch at the crossover region.
index.php

Keep in mind the y-axis scale.
Thanks for sharing this. Nice video from @joentell I just discovered on YT.:)

About that, @joentell: may I ask why using Y-Axis which such a huge scale? I know FRs will sure look better that way but it would be visually more accurate and critical using the regular 50, 55 or 60dB amplitude. I see your captures are taken at some (quite high) ≈95dB SPL. Something like 55 to 110dB scale should fit great, IHMO.
 

MZKM

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He said the tweeter "drew attention to itself" or something like that, when he walked off-axis, which I don't get since off-axis, the tweeter really falls off quickly and seemed very directional.
In your measurements though, you can see that the ~3kHz energy is well maintained off-axis. Not a terrible amount, and it looks like Polk reduced the on-axis levels in order to balance it out.
 
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Putter

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Yeah this lineup looks really cool. The legend L200 was already solid with a good listening window, but it's biggest problem was resonances, which were particularly loud escaping from the port. Here was my spin squishified for ASR aspect ratios:

View attachment 120081

The resonances escaping from the port were extremely loud, clearly coinciding with anomalies in the spin.

View attachment 120082

So given resonances are apparently one of the things Polk has most focused on with these, hopefully they are much better in this regard!

The horizontal off-axis doesn't look great in NRD's measurements, but the on axis is solid (haven't seen the other videos yet). I guess we'll see!

It does seem to make a hash of their Power Port reducing chuffing. Maybe it concentrates into a single frequency with a high Q which in theory might be less noticeable due to not being activated as often. There are some other things that bother me. Why don't they put the woofer and tweeter closer together a la Infinity Primus to more resemble a point source? Why do you have to go all the way to $1800 to get a 3 way center speaker? Also why do they omit the crossover specs which could be used to get an idea of the directivity? Along those lines, the 'fiddliness' of speaker placement joentell mentions to imaging makes me suspect some directivity issues.
 
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joentell

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Thanks for sharing this. Nice video from @joentell I just discovered on YT.:)

About that, @joentell: may I ask why using Y-Axis which such a huge scale? I know FRs will sure look better that way but it would be visually more accurate and critical using the regular 50, 55 or 60dB amplitude. I see your captures are taken at some (quite high) ≈95dB SPL. Something like 55 to 110dB scale should fit great, IHMO.
I usually show a scale with 5dB increments but REW is weird in that it depends on the size of the window. I have a 32" monitor and when I full-screen it, the letters are too small for some people to read. So I resized it and didn't check to see what the scale looked like. It's pretty easy to see what's going on there still.

Also, regarding the SPL, I usually aim for 85dB as my reference level. I was sent a new UMIK-1 and the calibration file they sent had an error in the txt file which showed the sensitivity incorrectly. They sent me a new file. I double-checked the calibration files and they both are the same except for the sensitivity number.

For the most part, I do the measurements for myself to get an idea why I'm hearing what I'm hearing in my subjective listening. I always give a disclaimer that they are basic in-room measurements. In this video, I said "crude" off-axis measurements.
 

joentell

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In your measurements though, you can see that the ~3kHz energy is well maintained off-axis. Not a terrible amount, and it looks like Polk reduced the on-axis levels in order to balance it out.
I think we're in agreement here. I don't know why the other reviewer said the treble drew attention to itself. I didn't think it did. The measurements didn't suggest that it does. So in other words, I don't know where he got that idea from. I like the measurements because it helps me see if others are full of it, but more importantly, if I'm full of it.
 

Bent Wookiee

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What's wrong with the L800 with SDA? I heard them and I thought they sounded awesome.

Yea I loved them when I heard them (granted, in a showroom demo with the Polk engineers present, but still). Probably more on the "fun" side than the "accurate" side all things considered, but sometimes I forget that this is supposed to be fun. Would definitely consider a pair if/when I put together a dedicated two-channel system again.
 

joentell

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Yea I loved them when I heard them (granted, in a showroom demo with the Polk engineers present, but still). Probably more on the "fun" side than the "accurate" side all things considered, but sometimes I forget that this is supposed to be fun. Would definitely consider a pair if/when I put together a dedicated two-channel system again.
They did give us a private demo which was cool. I didn't have enough time with them and with my own test tracks to judge the tonality characteristics. From @amirm's recent video about mono vs stereo assessments, I could have easily been fooled because the spatial effects were so impressive. To me, the best way I could describe the sound of SDA and the interaural crosstalk cancellation effects is it sounded like there were headphones on the room. I would love to test binaural recordings on them since I think that might be as close as we could get to a shared binaural listening experience via speakers.
 

Bent Wookiee

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They did give us a private demo which was cool. I didn't have enough time with them and with my own test tracks to judge the tonality characteristics. From @amirm's recent video about mono vs stereo assessments, I could have easily been fooled because the spatial effects were so impressive. To me, the best way I could describe the sound of SDA and the interaural crosstalk cancellation effects is it sounded like there were headphones on the room. I would love to test binaural recordings on them since I think that might be as close as we could get to a shared binaural listening experience via speakers.

Yea the spatial qualities they have are really something else. My first "real" pair of speakers was the original variant of SDA-2's (purchased used for a whopping $100), and with certain tracks even those did some amazing tricks. Some sounds would appear to be coming from the next room or even the front yard. Close-mic'ed music in particular would deliver a sense of 3D space that was simply unreal. They could sure suck up power though and the bass was a bit flubby especially by modern standards. This new attempt (which, for years, I was certain would never happen) is far better in that regard.
 

ta240

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One thing is for certain, they learned the value of the youtube review for sales. That was quite a blitz of reviews.

It will be interesting to see how they do after the hype fades. I've gotten to where if the reviews are too glowing I start to tune them out because I've seen so many products come through that were that moments "most amazing".

Joentell gets credit for doing the leader board so each new speaker has to fit into the range of all tested. That way this weeks speaker can't be the greatest, the way they seem to be with some.
 

joentell

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One thing is for certain, they learned the value of the youtube review for sales. That was quite a blitz of reviews.

It will be interesting to see how they do after the hype fades. I've gotten to where if the reviews are too glowing I start to tune them out because I've seen so many products come through that were that moments "most amazing".

Joentell gets credit for doing the leader board so each new speaker has to fit into the range of all tested. That way this weeks speaker can't be the greatest the way they seem to be with some.
Thank you. The leaderboard is mostly subjective, but also taking account objective measurments. It's mainly my way of holding myself accountable so as not to be one of those reviewers who make it seem like "everything is great." No. Some things are better and some are worse, even if it's just based on my opinion.

I may be partially to blame for the blitz. I recommended that companies send us products prior so we have time to evaluate them in time for the announcement. (They weren't allowed to preview my review prior to posting. They saw it when you saw it.) I never understood when a company would make a big announcement, but there were no reviews of the product, all press releases. How can someone make any sort of purchase decision with no reviews at all?

This is how it's done in most of the tech world. Sony's camera division and DJI are very good at these product launches.
 

ta240

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I get the feeling the big company part of the audio world is just waking up to there being places other than the big "magazines" to get their product information out. It is funny how it was just a short time ago that the direct from China companies were the only ones sending out lots of review samples to youtubers.

I'm still a fan of subjective reviews and appreciate knowing where each product falls in the big picture rather than hearing how every one is a 'giant killer' or 'the way music should sound' or how it left someone 'gobsmacked'
 
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