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Polk Monitor 40 Series II Review (Speaker)

napilopez

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Thanks Amir! On the one hand I'm sure this doesn't sound great. It's bright. Perhaps exacerbated by the wideish directivity. On the other hand it does seem like it's a relatively easy fix to get to something better. Just needs the response tilted down really. I don't think horizontal directivity is bad for the price either -- it's about the same as the Revel M22 and quite decent for price.

They do? By what metric?

Yeah, the new Reserve R200 would be hard to not at least call 'decent'
Reserve R200.png


But this one... Not so much.
 
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napilopez

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Good point. What angle would that be?

Per Devantier 2002, it was more common for speakers to be 10 and 20 degrees off axis rather than on axis. However the results are heavily skewed by the fact the distribution included center speakers, which were almost entire on axis. Going by the images of the layouts, 20 degrees is really the most common angle for stereo speakers in this study, which is basically just pointing straight forward in most of the rooms tested.
 
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H-713

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If it doesn't need all that stuff, why did Polk use a removable baffle?

Sending it to GR Research probably would make it a much better speaker. From what I can tell, he knows what he's doing. Don't agree with him on some of the voodoo (fancy capacitors / fancy connectors / fancy inductors / fancy cables), but he seems to know how to design a decent crossover. The reality is though, I can't see any reason to send something like this for "upgrades". If you're going to do that, find a speaker that's built well and uses good drivers, but has a crossover issue. No matter how much you "upgrade" this, it's still a speaker that uses cheap drivers and is held together with hot glue.
 

HammerSandwich

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More seriously, why isn't the vertical dispersion symmetric? Amir's polar map shows some differences, but it's really obvious in @MZKM's normalized graph.
 

respice finem

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Oh my... My 20 years old bird feeder is built way better :facepalm:
My no-buy-list just got a bit longer...
 
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YSC

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Good point. What angle would that be?
I just wild guess, when someone is going this low in budget they likely won't invest in stands for proper leveling of acoustic center or try to optimise the LP, so I guess it will be put parallel to the wall beside a TV or so firing forward instead of a triangle. So I wild guess the listening position ear level would be around 20-30 degrees off axis both horizontally and vertically.

In such a case it might actually sound a bit more pleasant than it is in a well set up scenario?

But no doubt that this tweeter especially is pretty crap, completely not suited for some big brand names
 
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amirm

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Well, it doesn't get that much better until you get to 30 degrees or so. The angle would also depend on listening distance.
 
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YSC

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Well, it doesn't get that much better until you get to 30 degrees or so. The angle would also depend on listening distance.
right, I bet 30 degrees can be common imagine with a 65" TV in a typical medium sized living room and these as stereo pairs. just saying they are still the common showroom tuning with false "details" but being dirt cheap in hifi terms a passive being like this is kind of norm... I recall at this price range seems the Fostex PM0.3 reviewed here are the few not complete trash at dirt cost?
 

AndreaT

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Considering they are an eyesore, I would trade size & perception of power (bigger speaker is often equated with better speaker in non cognoscenti) for "sound quality" and better craftsmanship and go for the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR ($ 129/pair on Musician's Friend today).
 

xarkkon

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the wedges make sense if they are intended as additional bracing... but given they seem to be the only locations with wood glue on the front baffle, that is very curious construction indeed. they probably better off with just glue along the rabbets with no wedges entirely!
 

digicidal

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Well, it doesn't get that much better until you get to 30 degrees or so. The angle would also depend on listening distance.

That seems to be about what they expect - at least on their cheaper lines (though even the LSiM's are a bit bright at 0 degrees). I'm not sure how much is a "house sound" designed to pull Klipsch buyers in, and how much is designed around the idea that speakers should be pointed directly ahead with no toe in at all. Even with the reference line their photos show a setup like this:
1623495160843.png

Now that's most likely just for visual appeal, but regardless that's pretty much how I've found most Polk speakers sound right (i.e. aimed well past my head). That said, when I listened to the monitor line I found them so bad I couldn't correct via position or EQ well enough to avoid returning them.
 

beagleman

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Maybe it is me, but are they almost smoother frequency response wise (Ignoring the rising high end) and distortion wise, than about at least a third of the stuff we see here?

Not defending them, as I love a lot of the higher end Polk stuff and NOT the low end entry level stuff like this.
 

beagleman

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'Back in the day' when I used to work at Fry's in 2012 I never really liked to demo Polk speakers. They sounded decent in the store but for the most part imo could not compete with some of the other options like Infinity.

However, I LOVED the Polk MM series car audio speakers. They could take a beating and sounded real good during closing shifts :]

You do realize they made multiple lines of speakers, that had different goals and sounds?

What line exactly did you demo?
 

mhardy6647

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In fairness to Polk (which, of course, is more of a brand name today than a freestanding designer/producer of loudspeakers), these are an aged design, besides being built to a price point ("cheap"). Polk has, IMO/IME, drifted in and out of producing rather (to very) "hot" sounding loudspeakers, although the original brand's roots lie in producing rather reticent sounding but very musical loudspeakers in the style of the mid-1970s British loudspeakers -- but at a fraction of the price(s)!

earlypolkfamilyportrait by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

The current (and aforementioned) Legend & Reference lines seem to offer much more serious products, and - especially in the latter case - at good value.

Disclosures:
I am a Polk fan from way back (mid-1970s) and share an alma mater with the retired Mr. Polk and his original cronies.
I am jonesin' for a pair of the R200s.

:)
 

beagleman

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In fairness to Polk (which, of course, is more of a brand name today than a freestanding designer/producer of loudspeakers), these are an aged design, besides being built to a price point ("cheap"). Polk has, IMO/IME, drifted in and out of producing rather (to very) "hot" sounding loudspeakers, although the original brand's roots lie in producing rather reticent sounding but very musical loudspeakers in the style of the mid-1970s British loudspeakers -- but at a fraction of the price(s)!

earlypolkfamilyportrait by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

The current (and aforementioned) Legend & Reference lines seem to offer much more serious products, and - especially in the latter case - at good value.

Disclosures:
I am a Polk fan from way back (mid-1970s) and share an alma mater with the retired Mr. Polk and his original cronies.
I am jonesin' for a pair of the R200s.

:)


Do not forget the great Lsi line.

The Lsim line was very nice but a bit of a boosted top end.
Rti line very nice also, but again boosted upper end.
 

Zaki Ghul

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Going to try to make this make sense :). In my more budgeted days, the consideration to spend money on something nonessential was always framed in ranges. Basically, $200 for speakers would have been in the same range as $350 as far as anxiety and the mental justifications required. I don't know if it is the same for everybody but my guess their target market for these are not people who should save more for a better speaker but rather people who would buy these for their price not because they can't afford better speakers but because speakers and great sound are not a priority for them.
 
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