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Polk L200 Quasi-Anechoic Spinorama and Measurements

napilopez

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And in the last of my speaker measurements for now, here's the Polk L200. I'd measured this several months ago but only finally got around to being able to run the full suite of measurements. I hope it's okay I started a new thread for the measurements, just figured this was the better subforum for it.

The L200 replaces the excellent-measuring LSiM703 as Polk's flagship standmount. It goes for $1,800 MSRP, putting it in a very crowded category of good speakers.

So without further ado, here's the spin:
L200 Spin.png


And here it is scaled to match Amir's measurements:
1588965937809.png


This is a good! Other than a rising last octave and a few high q deviations in the midrange on-axis -- which mostly get reduced off axis, this is a good spin. There is the common shallow midrange scoop which shows up as a bump in the ERDI, though please keep in mind the way I calculate this exacerbates the bump more than how the Klippel currently does (see:this thread). Listening window is roughly ±1.5dB

(Eagle-eyed observers might also note the rising last octave doesn't show up in my earlier measurements for this speaker. I do not have a good reason for it. It's possible there was variation between my two speaker samples, but I'd trust my newer measurements more. Otherwise, they are very similar.).

Breaking down the data more, here's the horizontal:
L200 Horizontal.png


It's decent performance without a waveguide, but nothing to write home about. On the good side, the lines are roughly timbrally balanced up to to steep dropoff at 5-6kHz. Directivity is also nice and wide up to this point

However, there is the typical diffraction bunching around 3KHz, and there is messiness happening between 1-2kHz overall. There's also an artefact happening around 550Hz and 1200 Hz on and off axis.

Edit: These artefacts are the result of very loud port output. You can see the peaks in the port response line up quite closely with the peaks on-axis. Note these outputs aren't plotted to scale.
L200 Resonances.jpg


Directivity balances out decently overall though, as can be seen in the horizontal polar map:
VituixCAD Directivity (hor) (2).png


Vertical is controlled pretty well for a non-coaxial Here it is at 0/5/10/15 degrees above and below the tweeter axis, as well as ceiling and floor reflections.
L200 Vertical.png


Pretty good control in the listening window as long as you aren't listening from far below the speakers. Vertical lobing is fairly narrow so it shouldn't affect sound too much, although unfortunately, it happens in the 2-3K region which is important for speech intelligibility.

Here it is in polar form:
VituixCAD Directivity (ver) (2).png


The highlight of this speaker to me is the impressively flat on-axis and listening window, moreso if you listen just a little bit off-axis. I preferred them toed in most of the way, which might be because of the super-steep roll-off in the highs, but I'd say 10-20 degrees is ideal.

While directivity isn't as smooth as we've seen from other speakers, especially those with good waveguides, the deviations do not seem to cause major deviations in timbre. The scooping/bunching might make the mids sound a little recessed or the presence region a bit emphasized, but IMO the prevailing sensation is of neutrality. Moreover, directivity is quite wide up to about 5-6kHz, giving them an expansive soundstage if that's your thing.

To me the big elephant in the room is the L200's predecessor, the LSIM703. Though it originally retailed for $1,500, you can now buy a pair for as little $600-$800, and even less in the used market. Though there aren't spinorama style measurements, based on SoundStage Network and Stereophile's, it seems to measure at least comparably to the L200, and arguably better. Moreover, the LSim703 is a three-way speaker, a relative rarity, (the L200 is a two-way), which should theoretically ease the load per driver and help tidy up vertical response.

I haven't heard the older Polks, but based on measurements, I can't reasonably claim the new speaker to be better. Then again, if we compared every new speaker to good older ones, we'd probably never buy anything new:). Taken on its own, the L200 performs well, especially in its flat on-axis for being a passive speaker, while maintaining fairly wide directivity up to the presence region. Whether it's worth $1,800 is up to you.
 
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mhardy6647

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Nice! Thanks for sharing.
I've had the opportunity to hear these, so it's nice to have both quantitative and qualitative data to compare (correlate).

You didn't happen to measure impedance & phase, did you?
I am really curious about the impedance/phase plots for these. :)
 

Beershaun

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Interesting point about whether new speakers are better than good old speakers. Are there specific recent technical advances that we should look for that upgrade a speaker compared to older models? When discussing DACs there are clearly digital side improvements in the chips and interfaces by generation. When talking about class D amplifiers there are definitely improvements in newer generation class D amplifiers. Is there an equivalent in speaker components to look for?
 
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N

napilopez

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Nice! Thanks for sharing.
I've had the opportunity to hear these, so it's nice to have both quantitative and qualitative data to compare (correlate).

You didn't happen to measure impedance & phase, did you?
I am really curious about the impedance/phase plots for these. :)

Sorry, I did not. Not something I personally care about, so not something I measure :) I would if I had more time though.

Interesting point about whether new speakers are better than good old speakers. Are there specific recent technical advances that we should look for that upgrade a speaker compared to older models? When discussing DACs there are clearly digital side improvements in the chips and interfaces by generation. When talking about class D amplifiers there are definitely improvements in newer generation class D amplifiers. Is there an equivalent in speaker components to look for?

Honestly, I just look for better measurements. Polk says the tweeter and woofer are improved over the LSiM and I'm sure they have reasons to say that, but I'm not sure if that bears out in the (imo) most important measurements of frequency response and directivity. I'd have to measure the LSiM as well to be sure. With drivers you can look at distortion and such, but I don't make those measurements. In any case, I find it hard to believe two drivers would win out over three...
 

ROOSKIE

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Honestly, I just look for better measurements. Polk says the tweeter and woofer are improved over the LSiM and I'm sure they have reasons to say that, but I'm not sure if that bears out in the (imo) most important measurements of frequency response and directivity. I'd have to measure the LSiM as well to be sure. With drivers you can look at distortion and such, but I don't make those measurements. In any case, I find it hard to believe two drivers would win out over three...
When the LSIM703 (and other LSIM speakers)where on super clearance at Adorama for about 18months-2 years on and off, I tried to get as many folks to buy them as I reasonably could. The LSIM703 were as low as $399 for a PAIR. I found that deal to be just incredible. I purchased my pair on one of deals for $600 for the pair.
At any rate while I don't have any measurements to publish of the lsim703, I can say that I was very impressed with the speaker. I try a lot of speakers and purchased the 703's only to try. I try not to be a fan boy nor a downer on any brand but I have to admit I sorta "hated" Polk. I went in trying to be neutral and in reality was likely looking for flaws, fact is they sounded superb to my ear. Just fantastic speakers with tremendous bass for a bookie and a very rich, room filling signature. Very, very good speakers. The build quality was also fantastic and well beyond the norm for even the retail prices. I would still easily recommend them for the current clearances prices that Safe and Sound HQ has them for. ($750-800 a pair)
 
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napilopez

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Saw audioholics posted their review. Spin is for all intents extremely similar other than the top octave, especially considering the different scaling and smoothing. They didn't get the two midrange peaks I did to the same extent, although I didn't the first time I measured the speaker either, so it's possible that's just unit variation. Anyway, always nice to have some confirmation on speakers you haven't seen measurements for elsewhere.

image


Worth checking out their full review here. @mhardy6647 I know you were looking for the impedance and phase graph; Larson has you covered.
 
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mhardy6647

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Saw audioholics posted their review. Spin is for all intents extremely similar other than the top octave, especially considering the different scaling and smoothing. They didn't get the two midrange peaks I did to the same extent, although I didn't the first time I measured the speaker either, so it's possible that's just unit variation. Anyway, always nice to have some confirmation on speakers you haven't seen measurements for elsewhere.

image


Worth checking out their full review here. @mhardy6647 I know you were looking for the impedance and phase graph; Larson has you covered.
Thanks!
As it happens, the review was also mentioned on the Polk forums :) so I got the scoop.
I liked these little loudspeakers when I heard them. I couldn't grok the price point, though.

;)

1590699899743.png
 

paddycrow

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When the LSIM703 (and other LSIM speakers)where on super clearance at Adorama for about 18months-2 years on and off, I tried to get as many folks to buy them as I reasonably could. The LSIM703 were as low as $399 for a PAIR. I found that deal to be just incredible. I purchased my pair on one of deals for $600 for the pair.
At any rate while I don't have any measurements to publish of the lsim703, I can say that I was very impressed with the speaker. I try a lot of speakers and purchased the 703's only to try. I try not to be a fan boy nor a downer on any brand but I have to admit I sorta "hated" Polk. I went in trying to be neutral and in reality was likely looking for flaws, fact is they sounded superb to my ear. Just fantastic speakers with tremendous bass for a bookie and a very rich, room filling signature. Very, very good speakers. The build quality was also fantastic and well beyond the norm for even the retail prices. I would still easily recommend them for the current clearances prices that Safe and Sound HQ has them for. ($750-800 a pair)

I have every LSiM model except the 704C, I've always considered them to be a great value. Even more so when they were >50% off.
 
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