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Polk Reserve R200: Spinorama and measurements (a really nice surprise!)

napilopez

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Well, after being disappointed by the Focal Solo6 Be, I have something better for you. Here's the new Polk Reserve R200, at $700 a pair.

1621320005054.png

Behold:
Reserve R200.png


Say whatttt. I mean okay, the Di curves aren't the best, but look how flat that listening window is! It handily outdoes the more expensive Legend L200, which is supposed to be the better speaker.

1621315376741.png


In fact, it's just about Genelec good:

r200 v 8341.png


Notably, its free of the midrange resonances that were caused by the port of the L200 so Polk's new port implementation is definitely better, even if not perfect.

The horizontals are solid, though that ring tweeter causes heavy beaming after 5kHz:

1621315758741.png


I've never minded this much, but it does mean the sepaker is very sensitive to how you angle it.

The normalized graph shows us that the dip at 4.5khz is some on-axis diffraction:

1621315813373.png


Horizontal ER shows the solid performance more clearly:

Reserve R200 ER Hor.png


Now the verticals:

Reserve R200 ER Ver.png


Long story short: This is a great deal of a speaker. It sounds great, with a soundstage that is both wider than most waveguidey speakers, but also a quite focused. The biggest flaw is that it's sensitive to positioning, although this also lets you tweak the treble to your liking. Would 100% get this over the L200, but it also just strikes me as a really good deal for a 6.5-inch speaker with such solid measurements.

Good stuff, Polk.
 
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napilopez

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Just posted this in another thread, but some useful comparisons to put into context how good this speaker is for $700. Particularly since I use a taller scaling than Amir and Erin, so my graphs always make speakers look worse relative to theirs. Here's that spin at Amir's squishified scale, for example:

squishified.jpg

Comparing the listening window and PIR of the R200...

vs Genelec 8030C:
R200 8030C.png


vs Revel M106:
R200 vs M106.png


vs the KEF R3:
R200 vs R3.png


It's legit! I've only had it in my living room for a few days but I'm pretty hyped about it. Measurements aside, in terms of sound quality per dollar, it's my favorite of the bunch I've just listened to over the past few months(Genelec 8341, Focal Solo6 Be, JBL 4309, HDI-1600). By audio memory, I think the Genelec is the only one I'd be confident saying is noticeably better,

It's really nice to get a passive option that shows some legitimate progress in a reasonable price bracket. Looks like polk's effort to improve the cabinet and port really paid off.

Anyway, that's it on bookshelf speakers to measure for a while, though I'll supplement this recent batch with a few more detailed measurements.
 
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mhardy6647

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Just posted this in another thread, but some useful comparisons to put into context how good this speaker is for $700. Particularly since I use a taller scaling than Amir and Erin, so my graphs always make speakers look worse relative to theirs. Here's that spin at Amir's squishified scale, for example:

View attachment 130420
Comparing the listening window and PIR of the R200...

vs Genelec 8030C:
View attachment 130409

vs Revel M106:
View attachment 130410

vs the KEF R3:
View attachment 130411

It's legit! I've only had it in my living room for a few days but I'm pretty hyped about it. Measurements aside, in terms of sound quality per dollar, it's my favorite of the bunch I've just listened to over the past few months(Genelec 8341, Focal Solo6 Be, JBL 4309, HDI-1600). By audio memory, I think the Genelec is the only one I'd be confident saying is noticeably better,

It's really nice to get a passive option that shows some legitimate progress in a reasonable price bracket. Looks like polk's effort to improve the cabinet and port really paid off.

Anyway, that's it on bookshelf speakers to measure for a while, though I'll supplement this recent batch with a few more detailed measurements.
Big thumbs up for doin' this from a four-plus decade Polk fanboy :)

I forget; did you "do" the L200? If so, qualitatively or quantitatively, how do you feel they compare? oops, sorry! :rolleyes:
 

hardisj

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As you said, the LW looks pretty good! However, I see they have a crossover of 3kHz which is a bit high, especially with their CTC spacing. A 6.5-inch driver beams at around 1500Hz (depending on actual effective diameter). They're an octave above this. I'm guessing the RR tweeter can't handle any lower of a crossover and it doesn't get the benefit of being horn loaded to help with that aspect.

I guess if I'm being honest, I just expected more with all the hype surrounding the new Reserve series. It's certainly not bad but the above are some things that really could have made it a truly great speaker.
 

mononoaware

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Cool.

Message to Polk:
Please give the successor to R200 ribbon/AMT tweeter in a waveguide.
Maybe it would help with aesthetic if AMT material was dark silver color just like woofer (is it even possible?).
Everything else is great, also good smart looking speaker design with good looking woofer design.
 
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napilopez

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Some more measurements to round things out. You want to be dead on with ear height on the R200:

R200 vertical lw.png


Unfortunately I forgot to do full 5-degree increments for the vertical listening window as I normally do. 5 degrees below the tweeter axis seemed good though:

v5.png


Here are the nearfield woofer and port measurements, along with the baffle step corrected bass sum:

R200 Bass.png


There are still port resonances, so nothing revolutionary is happening here, but they are kept low relative to the port peak, about 18 dB (not factoring in baffle step). Low enough to not have much of an effect on the on-axis response, although it's visible a bit in the off-axis. Compared to the L200 it's night and day:

L200 Resonances.jpg


As you said, the LW looks pretty good! However, I see they have a crossover of 3kHz which is a bit high, especially with their CTC spacing. A 6.5-inch driver beams at around 1500Hz (depending on actual effective diameter). They're an octave above this. I'm guessing the RR tweeter can't handle any lower of a crossover and it doesn't get the benefit of being horn loaded to help with that aspect.

I guess if I'm being honest, I just expected more with all the hype surrounding the new Reserve series. It's certainly not bad but the above are some things that really could have made it a truly great speaker.

Yeah, I get you. But it still feels like a steal to me.

I haven't read or watched any reviews of the R200 since I knew I wanted to test it (well, I looked at joe n tell's measurements a bit), so I hadn't been aware of the hype. But the way I see it, I'm looking at the package as a whole, and I think optimizing the LW is still more important than perfect directivity in most cases. Unless you're planning to EQ the anechoic response, but that doesn't apply to most listeners.

I'm not currently aware of any passive speakers in this price range that do meaningfully better around $700 bucks. There's the Chora 806 that I like with a bit better horizontal directivity, but worse direct sound and similar overall tonality issues.

The Polk L200 has the same drivers and crosses a little lower at 2600 Hz, but seems to be worse overall. I assume the higher crossover this time was chosen for some reason, though I'm not sure what. The ring radiator does have a small 'waveguide' around it, but perhaps a slightly larger one might've been a better compromise. Better yet, I wish polk would go back to making 3-way speakers. You can still pick up the old flagship LSim 703 for about $800.

Center to center spacing could be managed with a proper waveguide, but I also think sometimes we overestimate the improvements a waveguide can make. Most of the time there's still a bit of a crossover dip and bunching, even if it's smoothed out. It'll make for prettier polar maps because of the extended off-axis treble, and in the case of the R200 the normalized graph looks a little nasty because of the inaudible on-axis diffraction. But if we compare the R200 to the Genelec 8030C sans normalization, they're pretty much in the same class other than the tweeter beaming on the R200 (which I personally don't consider to be a huge issue)

8030C (smoothed 1/6th for clarity):

1621355119843.png


R200:
1621355259527.png


And in that case, the genelec has the advantage of having both a waveguide and a smaller woofer.

So my take is you've got tonality that's almost perfectly balanced (as good as almost any non-coincident speaker that been measured around these parts), a bit more than average bass extension for a 6.5-inch bookshelf, and a fairly wide soundstage. The cons are fairly finicky positioning (although it allows for some treble tuning) and slightly less than optimal directivity.

Score 6.3 (for the price, that's a winner). Score goes to 6.6 with an EQ, not much to improve here.
You should send one of them to Amir or Hardis if possible.

Thanks for taking a look. Unfortunately, these are review units so I can't just ship em off to another reviewer without getting in trouble =]
 
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VintageFlanker

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Thanks again, @napilopez !

Very good offering for the price, for sure. The 5Khz dip should be less apparent off-axis, not that big of a deal IMHO.

Very sober and nice look too.

Distorsion performance will definitely be the determining factor.
 

RobL

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Wow, Polk did a great job with these!
Not a lot of snob appeal with Polk’s offerings but I had Lsim705’s for a while here and with some eq they would hang with speakers well above their cost.
 

dfuller

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It seems about all of these ring radiators behave about the same. That said, they do sound excellent on-axis in my experience so I do get it.
 

beaRA

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Wow that's an excellent LW response for the price! Given the directivity error at the crossover, I wonder why Polk went with the 6.5in turbine driver as the midrange in the R700 instead of the 5.25in from the R100. Does anybody happen to know if the midrange to tweeter crossover frequency is the same on the R700?

Edit: nevermind I found the crossover for the R700 is 2700Hz
 

Spocko

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For home theater use with 5 of these, I'm wondering if this means different people in different seats will hear something slightly different from the tweeter as it pertains to timbre matching of dialogue
 

Matias

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Maiky76

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Some more measurements to round things out. You want to be dead on with ear height on the R200:

View attachment 130458

Unfortunately I forgot to do full 5-degree increments for the vertical listening window as I normally do. 5 degrees below the tweeter axis seemed good though:

View attachment 130464

Here are the nearfield woofer and port measurements, along with the baffle step corrected bass sum:

View attachment 130466

There are still port resonances, so nothing revolutionary is happening here, but they are kept low relative to the port peak, about 18 dB (not factoring in baffle step). Low enough to not have much of an effect on the on-axis response, although it's visible a bit in the off-axis. Compared to the L200 it's night and day:

View attachment 130467



Yeah, I get you. But it still feels like a steal to me.

I haven't read or watched any reviews of the R200 since I knew I wanted to test it (well, I looked at joe n tell's measurements a bit), so I hadn't been aware of the hype. But the way I see it, I'm looking at the package as a whole, and I think optimizing the LW is still more important than perfect directivity in most cases. Unless you're planning to EQ the anechoic response, but that doesn't apply to most listeners.

I'm not currently aware of any passive speakers in this price range that do meaningfully better around $700 bucks. There's the Chora 806 that I like with a bit better horizontal directivity, but worse direct sound and similar overall tonality issues.

The Polk L200 has the same drivers and crosses a little lower at 2600 Hz, but seems to be worse overall. I assume the higher crossover this time was chosen for some reason, though I'm not sure what. The ring radiator does have a small 'waveguide' around it, but perhaps a slightly larger one might've been a better compromise. Better yet, I wish polk would go back to making 3-way speakers. You can still pick up the old flagship LSim 703 for about $800.

Center to center spacing could be managed with a proper waveguide, but I also think sometimes we overestimate the improvements a waveguide can make. Most of the time there's still a bit of a crossover dip and bunching, even if it's smoothed out. It'll make for prettier polar maps because of the extended off-axis treble, and in the case of the R200 the normalized graph looks a little nasty because of the inaudible on-axis diffraction. But if we compare the R200 to the Genelec 8030C sans normalization, they're pretty much in the same class other than the tweeter beaming on the R200 (which I personally don't consider to be a huge issue)

8030C (smoothed 1/6th for clarity):

View attachment 130469

R200:
View attachment 130471

And in that case, the genelec has the advantage of having both a waveguide and a smaller woofer.

So my take is you've got tonality that's almost perfectly balanced (as good as almost any non-coincident speaker that been measured around these parts), a bit more than average bass extension for a 6.5-inch bookshelf, and a fairly wide soundstage. The cons are fairly finicky positioning (although it allows for some treble tuning) and slightly less than optimal directivity.



Thanks for taking a look. Unfortunately, these are review units so I can't just ship em off to another reviewer without getting in trouble =]

Hi,

Here is my take on the EQ.

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 6.3
With Sub: 8.3

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Very Nice
  • Probably better 10deg off-axis
  • no Waveguide => flare off axis in the tweeter range can be seen on the DI
  • Does not need EQ really
Polk R200 No EQ Spinorama.png

EQ design:

I have generated two EQs. The APO config files are attached.
  • The first one, labelled, LW is targeted at making the LW flat
  • The second, labelled Score, starts with the first one and adds the score as an optimization variable.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.

Score EQ LW: 6.1
with sub: 8.1

Score EQ Score: 6.5
with sub: 8.5

Code:
Polk R200 APO EQ LW 96000Hz
May212021-141848

Preamp: -1 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 39.5 Hz Gain 0 dB Q 1.03
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 88.5 Hz Gain -2.13 dB Q 0.82
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 992 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 5000 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 3.87
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 12470 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2.82

Polk R200 APO EQ 96000Hz
May212021-141331

Preamp: -0 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 35 Hz Gain 0 dB Q 0.96
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 90 Hz Gain -1.82 dB Q 0.72
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1202 Hz Gain -0.88 dB Q 2.27
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 7114 Hz Gain -1.38 dB Q 1.86
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 7408 Hz Gain 0.94 dB Q 4.16
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 12901 Hz Gain -1.06 dB Q 2.37

Polk R200 EQ Design.png


Spinorama EQ LW
Polk R200 LW EQ Spinorama.png


Spinorama EQ Score
Polk R200 Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Polk R200 Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal
Polk R200 Regression Tonal.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Does not need EQ
Polk R200 Radar.png
 

Attachments

  • Polk R200 APO EQ LW 96000Hz.txt
    285 bytes · Views: 23
  • Polk R200 APO EQ 96000Hz.txt
    339 bytes · Views: 26

Desmo

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Thanks for the review! But I would rather spend the same money (and save on the amplification) buying a Kali IN-5 instead.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/kali-in-5-studio-monitor-review.22487/

CEA2034%20--%20Kali%20IN-5.png
I see this often on ASR. The measurements of a nearfield monitor are used as competition to the measurements of a farfield monitor.
It always confuses me a bit. Seems to me that a nearfield montor has a completely different use than a farfield monitor.
 

Matias

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It is a good question, specially since the near field monitor has better directivity, in theory the room reflections of far field should be better than those of the far field speaker with more errors in directivity.
 

echopraxia

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I see this often on ASR. The measurements of a nearfield monitor are used as competition to the measurements of a farfield monitor.
It always confuses me a bit. Seems to me that a nearfield montor has a completely different use than a farfield monitor.
Other than marketing labels, what is the difference? If it measures similarly well, it should sound similarly good in far field. The only differences that I’d expect might be maximum SPL capabilities but I don’t know if we have evidence to believe either one of these is better at that.
 
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