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

MarkWinston

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Polk Legend L600 (Top)
Polk Legend L200 (Bottom)
2020-08-30-TST-Polk-Legend-L600-m1.png
2020-04-30-TST-Polk-Legend-L200-m1.png
 

Transmaniacon

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Those Legend speakers seem very placement dependent. Off axis performance drops off pretty fast.
 
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napilopez

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How does the ring radiator tweeter sound? I've not heard one yet but I know some really like it for its narrower dispersion for focus while others prefer domes for wider dispersion.

The ring radiator in the R200 and l200 isn't really that much 'narrower' dispersion, at least not compare to your typical waveguided or horn speaker, and in the sense of how it affects soundstage width (mostly). I guess you could say they sound a bit in between a deep waveguide speaker and dome speaker.

For the most part, they just beam more prominently than a dome. But up until that beaming -- around 5kHz or so, they are much the same. Considering most of soundstage perception seems to happen from like 2-8khz -- and that domes beam too, just less -- the difference isn't much.

Most noticeable thing about ring radiators i've noticed is that they are a little more sensitive to positioning and arguably sweet spot because of how quickly those last couple of octaves drop off. But within that sweetspot the soundstage leans more towards dome than waveguide. It's somewhere between and I personally like the effect.

Edit: To illustrate this, here is the Polk R200 again:
1631211344704.png


And here is the Q Acoustics 3030i, a similarly sized dome speaker:
1631211405409.png


Not all that much of a difference in overall directivity other than teh added beaming in the R200.

Meanwhile a typical waveguidey speaker like the Genelec 8341 will be significantly narrower than either:

1631211481219.png


Similar for the LS50 Meta:
1631211641709.png


As a rough general rule, the typical decent-directivity non-waveguided speaker will be roughly 10 dB down at 90 degrees between 2-6kHz, while most speakers with deep waveguides tend to be down around 15dB.

There have been quite a few reports that the R sounds better than the L... lol! Polk have really outdone themselves this time.
Yeah, there's almost nothing in the measurements to suggest the L series has any advantages over the R series. From my recollection the L200 felt more solid than the R200, but I'm not sure that actually translates into an audible improvement. I heard them in different homes and about a year apart so no way for me to compare them other than memory and vague recollection.

Those Legend speakers seem very placement dependent. Off axis performance drops off pretty fast.
It's pretty much identical between the R200 and L200, FYI. If anything, the L200 is a tiny bit wider:

1631211522801.png
 
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Transmaniacon

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The ring radiator in the R200 and l200 isn't really that much 'narrower' dispersion, at least not compare to your typical waveguided or horn speaker, and in the sense of how it affects soundstage width (mostly). I guess you could say they sound a bit in between a deep waveguide speaker and dome speaker.

For the most part, they just beam more prominently than a dome. But up until that beaming -- around 5kHz or so, they are much the same. Considering most of soundstage perception seems to happen from like 2-8khz -- and that domes beam too, just less -- the difference isn't much.

Most noticeable thing about ring radiators i've noticed is that they are a little more sensitive to positioning and arguably sweet spot because of how quickly those last couple of octaves drop off. But within that sweetspot the soundstage leans more towards dome than waveguide. It's somewhere between and I personally like the effect.

Edit: To illustrate this, here is the Polk R200 again:
View attachment 152365

And here is the Q Acoustics 3030i, a similarly sized dome speaker:
View attachment 152366

Not all that much of a difference in overall directivity other than teh added beaming in the R200.

Meanwhile a typical waveguidey speaker like the Genelec 8341 will be significantly narrower than either:

View attachment 152367

Similar for the LS50 Meta:
View attachment 152369

As a rough general rule, the typical decent-directivity non-waveguided speaker will be roughly 10 dB down at 90 degrees between 2-6kHz, while most speakers with deep waveguides tend to be down around 15dB.


Yeah, there's almost nothing in the measurements to suggest the L series has any advantages over the R series. From my recollection the L200 felt more solid than the R200, but I'm not sure that actually translates into an audible improvement. I heard them in different homes and about a year apart so no way for me to compare them other than memory and vague recollection.


It's pretty much identical between the R200 and L200, FYI. If anything, the L200 is a tiny bit wider:

View attachment 152368

This is great info, thanks! Really shows how impressive the R200 measures on axis when you see it among other popular options.
 
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napilopez

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Polk Reserve R600... the R200 looks better tonality wiseView attachment 152319

I don't know what measurement source that is (please credit when possible, assuming these aren't your own =] sometimes I forget to as well). But i do trust the measurements at hifitest.de as they use the quasi anechoic method, and they show the R600 as significantly more linear, very similar to the R200 but with more bass.

I'm not sure how they calculate bass though as it doesn't look like a normal nearfield bass sum. perhaps ground plane?

1631212318661.png


In fact, extremely similar. Here's an overlay of their on axis measurement of the R600 with mine of the R200:
R200 vs R600.jpg


Similar at 30 degrees:
R200 vs R600 30.jpg

it shows the care Polk put into this new series imo, and it bodes well for a surround setup.

I'm fairly convinced these are among the top handful of passive speakers for under $1000 out there right now. I do hope someone with an NFS or anechoic chamber gets a hand on these though as I would like to see if there are any resonances to be aware of in the lower mids.
 
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MarkWinston

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Those Polish magazine measurements are not anechoic and depend a lot on the room and placement so comparative judgements based on them are quite limited and should be done with doubt and care.
Ive compared speakers in common that Amir have tested and they all basically show the same characteristics. When there are no other anechoic/klippel measurements available, these are good enough, especially when comparing speakers from the exact same tester.
 
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napilopez

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Ive compared speakers in common that Amir have tested and they all basically show the same characteristics. When there are no other anechoic/klippel measurements available, these are good enough, especially when comparing speakers from the exact same tester.
FWIW the measurements of the Polk L200 also differ significantly from my own and other results. I would also exercise caution based on these.
 

MarkWinston

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I don't know what measurement source that is (please credit when possible, assuming these aren't your own =] sometimes I forget to as well). But i do trust the measurements at hifitest.de as they use the quasi anechoic method, and they show the R600 as significantly more linear, very similar to the R200 but with more bass.

I'm not sure how they calculate bass though as it doesn't look like a normal nearfield bass sum. perhaps ground plane?

View attachment 152374

In fact, extremely similar. Here's an overlay of their on axis measurement of the R600 with mine of the R200:
View attachment 152376

Similar at 30 degrees:
View attachment 152377
it shows the care Polk put into this new series imo, and it bodes well for a surround setup.

I'm fairly convinced these are among the top handful of passive speakers for under $1000 out there right now. I do hope someone with an NFS or anechoic chamber gets a hand on these though as I would like to see if there are any resonances to be aware of in the lower mids.
My bad, all credit go to Hifi Voice. They seem to have quite a lot of speakers that they measured, and surprisingly quite accurate. My guess is as long as you compare speakers within that circle it should fairly show you the characteristics of the speaker itself if you know what to look for?
 
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napilopez

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My bad, all credit go to Hifi Voice. They seem to have quite a lot of speakers that they measured, and surprisingly quite accurate. My guess is as long as you compare speakers within that circle itself it should fairly show you the characteristics of the speaker itself if you know what to look for?

While that makes sense in theory, the differences in the R200 and r600 you posted makes me doubt their consistency... Below 1000Hz it makes sense that there'd be some variation, but above 1000Hz one would want more reliability even for an in-room measurement. Of course, these could just be flukes! But that R600 measurement makes it seem like they have some big recession in the mids...
 

Transmaniacon

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I don't know what measurement source that is (please credit when possible, assuming these aren't your own =] sometimes I forget to as well). But i do trust the measurements at hifitest.de as they use the quasi anechoic method, and they show the R600 as significantly more linear, very similar to the R200 but with more bass.

I'm not sure how they calculate bass though as it doesn't look like a normal nearfield bass sum. perhaps ground plane?

View attachment 152374

In fact, extremely similar. Here's an overlay of their on axis measurement of the R600 with mine of the R200:
View attachment 152376

Similar at 30 degrees:
View attachment 152377
it shows the care Polk put into this new series imo, and it bodes well for a surround setup.

I'm fairly convinced these are among the top handful of passive speakers for under $1000 out there right now. I do hope someone with an NFS or anechoic chamber gets a hand on these though as I would like to see if there are any resonances to be aware of in the lower mids.

Perhaps Erin or Amir will be able to get a pair for testing soon. It seems a ton of reviewers have so Polk might be doing a lot to get them exposure.
 

MarkWinston

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While that makes sense in theory, the differences in the R200 and r600 you posted makes me doubt their consistency... Below 1000Hz it makes sense that there'd be some variation, but above 1000Hz one would want more reliability even for an in-room measurement. Of course, these could just be flukes! But that R600 measurement makes it seem like they have some big recession in the mids...
They explained that all their measurements are taken between the tweeter and woofer. Do you think that could be the cause?
 

Transmaniacon

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These speakers really shine with acoustic guitar, they really produce a lifelike sound and you can hear all the intricacies of the plucking and hand sliding on the frets. I’d suggest listening to Classical Gas by Tommy Emmanuel, these speakers have produced the best rendition of this song that I have heard.
 

Spkrdctr

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What other speaker that costs the same or less does better than this Polk. After reading some of this thread it seems like that is a big buyers decision. If this is the best at $700 a pair that is great, or is there another couple of speakers that are just as nice at $700 or less? Thanks for the info!
 

Transmaniacon

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What other speaker that costs the same or less does better than this Polk. After reading some of this thread it seems like that is a big buyers decision. If this is the best at $700 a pair that is great, or is there another couple of speakers that are just as nice at $700 or less? Thanks for the info!

Not a lot measures this well, but there are certainly some other contenders around this price range. Elac DBR62 ($699), Wharfedale Diamond 12.2 ($499), B&W 607 ($699).
 

MarkWinston

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What other speaker that costs the same or less does better than this Polk. After reading some of this thread it seems like that is a big buyers decision. If this is the best at $700 a pair that is great, or is there another couple of speakers that are just as nice at $700 or less? Thanks for the info!
Honestly, I think this is the best Ive seen from anything passive below 1000 bucks, dare I say even below 1500. Im really impressed at how it measures although it has its cons like a narrow sweet spot, etc... Im kicking myself for not getting it when I had the chance, went for the Diamonds instead because to my ears, they sounded more, here goes
.... musical and had more pronounced mids which I personally prefer. Ill have to sell off some other speakers first to make way for this but the r200 will definitely be my next speaker.
 

Transmaniacon

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Honestly, I think this is the best Ive seen from anything passive below 1000 bucks, dare I say even below 1500. Im really impressed at how it measures although it has its cons like a narrow sweet spot, etc... Im kicking myself for not getting it when I had the chance, went for the Diamonds instead because to my ears, they sounded more, here goes
.... musical and had more pronounced mids which I personally prefer. Ill have to sell off some other speakers first to make way for this but the r200 will definitely be my next speaker.

I am really impressed with these Polks, they have put together a great speaker and I am thoroughly enjoying them.
 

testp

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i would add some Focal Arias 906, should go for about the same with stands
 

Wolf

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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.

6.5" equates to a wavelength of 2065Hz. Being that most are in the 5.25" cone diameter, that is a lot closer to 2571Hz. 8" woofers beam between 1500 to 1800 Hz in general.

The Vifa/Peerless derived Polk RR tweeter is likely good to about 2.2k, as that is where most of them start to have issues, however. Horn loading is beneficial to RR tweeters as they measure well in waveguide use and reduce the HD region. I just don't think Polk is a company that tends to use waveguides, benefits or not.

To answer why companies use RR tweeters? It's because they sound REALLY good.
 
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