• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

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

OP
N

napilopez

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
1,922
Likes
7,285
Location
NYC
Why were you disappointed with the Solo6?
Should probably update my OP. On this day I had measured four speakers in one afternoon, so I had just posted the Solo6's measurements. It wasn't really bad, especially for it's intended application, but just not as good as I'd hoped for. I hoped it was more like the Sopra No1 in a cheaper package since it uses the same driver materials, but it measures quite worse than that.

Note that my unit measured different from amir's (it was a different revision): https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...al-solo6-be-spinorama-and-measurements.23499/


Solo6 Be Spin.png

It sounds good for it's intended nearfield application but I thought they had a slightly uneven sound. Id still recommend them for people who want a wider soundstage than usual on monitors, plus they're quite pretty for the category, but directivity and arguably FR on my unit were worse than most of Focal's modern passive speakers. I preferred the R600s and Chora to the Solo 6Be in a mid-farfield setting. I wouldn't be surprised if the Solo6Be we're better when pushed, but I don't listen loud enough that I think it mattered.

Of course Amir's units measured better (directivity seems roughly the same but their on axis was better), so that throws a wrinkle into things, however Amir's unit were an older model while mine were the current revision.

So unless there was something wrong with my unit, I think above 1kHz my measurements might be more representative of what youre getting now.
 
Last edited:

adam2434

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
35
Likes
30
Would be cool to see how Polk's new ES20 at $400/pair measures up and compares to the R200 at ~$700/pair.
 

mhardy6647

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
3,721
Likes
7,065
Would be cool to see how Polk's new ES20 at $400/pair measures up and compares to the R200 at ~$700/pair.
It would be indeed -- but, FWIW, I suspect (without data) that the delta in price will correlate (positively, that is) with a pretty marked delta in performance as well.

Many of the "value-priced" Polk products of the past decade or so seem to be pretty ordinary (although not bad for the $). The new L and R series seem to have the Polk brand (which, of course, is no longer Matt Polk et al's Polk Audio -- nowadays belonging to DEI Holdings/Sound United) back in the game as a purveyor of good sound in nice packages at reasonable prices. Whether they'll be perceived as such by the market at the price points remains -- I suspect -- to be seen.

That said, I am bullish on the "R Series" based on everything I've seen, heard & read. Bullish enough to be planning an investment in a pair (as I've already said ad nauseum).
 

adam2434

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
35
Likes
30
It would be indeed -- but, FWIW, I suspect (without data) that the delta in price will correlate (positively, that is) with a pretty marked delta in performance as well.

Many of the "value-priced" Polk products of the past decade or so seem to be pretty ordinary (although not bad for the $). The new L and R series seem to have the Polk brand (which, of course, is no longer Matt Polk et al's Polk Audio -- nowadays belonging to DEI Holdings/Sound United) back in the game as a purveyor of good sound in nice packages at reasonable prices. Whether they'll be perceived as such by the market at the price points remains -- I suspect -- to be seen.

That said, I am bullish on the "R Series" based on everything I've seen, heard & read. Bullish enough to be planning an investment in a pair (as I've already said ad nauseum).
I am also interested in the Reserve series, specifically the R700 floorstander and R400 center for my multi-channel system. Currently running Polk LS90 floorstanders (circa '93) in that system. Also have a pair of Monitor 7C (with RDO tweeters and crossover cap replacements) that I occasionally break out in one of my other systems.

I do wish Polk made a 3-way center in the Reserve series.

I am very curious to see how the 2-way R400 center measures on and off axis.

Interestingly, in previous 2-way centers, Polk often used a "Cascade Tapered Array" crossover (more like a 2.5-way) to reduce off axis lobing. For some reason, they've abandoned this crossover topology in most recent 2-way centers.


Some parenthetical comments:

Using a standard inflation calculator, the Reserve series pricing is in line with similar driver compliment models from the RTXXXi series from 20 years ago (for example, the RT35i standmounts and CS400i center). Looking at the engineering, technology, and performance of the R200, seems like Polk has upped their price-performance ratio with the Reserve series.
 

Transmaniacon

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
90
Likes
66
I am also interested in the Reserve series, specifically the R700 floorstander and R400 center for my multi-channel system. Currently running Polk LS90 floorstanders (circa '93) in that system. Also have a pair of Monitor 7C (with RDO tweeters and crossover cap replacements) that I occasionally break out in one of my other systems.

I do wish Polk made a 3-way center in the Reserve series.

I am very curious to see how the 2-way R400 center measures on and off axis.

Interestingly, in previous 2-way centers, Polk often used a "Cascade Tapered Array" crossover (more like a 2.5-way) to reduce off axis lobing. For some reason, they've abandoned this crossover topology in most recent 2-way centers.


Some parenthetical comments:

Using a standard inflation calculator, the Reserve series pricing is in line with similar driver compliment models from the RTXXXi series from 20 years ago (for example, the RT35i standmounts and CS400i center). Looking at the engineering, technology, and performance of the R200, seems like Polk has upped their price-performance ratio with the Reserve series.

The Legend series uses a 3-way design, it would be a good match to the R700 towers since they use the same drivers.
 

adam2434

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
35
Likes
30
The Legend series uses a 3-way design, it would be a good match to the R700 towers since they use the same drivers.
True, but a bit pricey at $1800, although it does have have phenomenal objective performance. It's also a couple inches wider than my set-up can handle.

Currently using the Monolith THX center, BTW.
 

tifune

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
342
Likes
187
Some more measurements to round things out. You want to be dead on with ear height on the R200:

View attachment 130458

Thanks for putting these on my radar. I managed to find a deal and grabbed them to compare against my Aria 906. When you factor in USA pricing, IMO the R200 is far and away the winner. Forums suggest Focal is far cheaper outside US; never verified it myself, but that could shift the balance. That said, I do think I like the 906 a little more although I suspect that the cumulative placebo of (higher price + nicer finish + heavier + flax/inverted dome looks a little cooler + I used to own 948s so there's some nostalgia).

On my desk, which is not really the ideal location for either of these speakers, the 906 tonality doesn't change much at all as I move side/side or slouch/sit up in my office chair. The R200 phantom center is far more pronounced *if I'm in-line with tweeter height* as you mentioned. Honestly with the 906s, I haven't been able to get a phantom image at all regardless of toe in/out or angle up/down.

A few Q's:

The manual doesn't mention spacing to back wall, which is surprising given such a pronounced rear port. How relevant is that?

At first glance, this series is a no brainer for home theater. However, there seems to be growing consensus that surrounds should be 1-2' above ear height rather than directly on ear height. Given the vertical sensitivity of these, would they present abnormally high challenges for multi-seat arrangements?

Finally, and this one's a bit esoteric, these have a sort of "metallic" quality that I've only heard in my Beyerdynamic T1 Gen3 and, to a much lesser extent, my Denon 9200's. I don't think I'm imagining it because I would never have consciously connected Polk bookshelves w Beyer headphones. Any hypothesis as to what that might be? Some measurements:
 

MarkWinston

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2021
Messages
474
Likes
239
So I finally got the R200 a week back. They go head to head with my Diamond 12.2, both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I like the Diamonds for having very smooth and buttery vocals, a deeper and more tactile bass when its called for and bigger soundstage width. The R200 are slightly better at clarity, better instrument separation and more thump in the lower regions. The Diamonds excel with higher powered amps, the R200 gets better but not as much. I have paired them with many amps, from the DA-9 to the Sony DH190 to my Onkyo reciever and to the best Ive got, the Rotel RC1572 MKII pre and RB 1552MKII power amp. The Diamonds sounded the best to me with the neutral Rotels, the R200 sounded better than the 12.2 with warmer and less powerful amps. Amp matching plays a part, regardless what some might say.

Both are one of the best speakers Ive owned, and considering the price, thats more than impressive. Im going to be keeping these 2 for a long time, a very very long time. They are that good. Ive owned way more expensive speakers and I dont like them as much. The OG LS50 is collecting dust. My next speaker, the Metas.
 

Transmaniacon

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
90
Likes
66
So I finally got the R200 a week back. They go head to head with my Diamond 12.2, both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I like the Diamonds for having very smooth and buttery vocals, a deeper and more tactile bass when its called for and bigger soundstage width. The R200 are slightly better at clarity, better instrument separation and more thump in the lower regions. The Diamonds excel with higher powered amps, the R200 gets better but not as much. I have paired them with many amps, from the DA-9 to the Sony DH190 to my Onkyo reciever and to the best Ive got, the Rotel RC1572 MKII pre and RB 1552MKII power amp. The Diamonds sounded the best to me with the neutral Rotels, the R200 sounded better than the 12.2 with warmer and less powerful amps. Amp matching plays a part, regardless what some might say.

Both are one of the best speakers Ive owned, and considering the price, thats more than impressive. Im going to be keeping these 2 for a long time, a very very long time. They are that good. Ive owned way more expensive speakers and I dont like them as much. The OG LS50 is collecting dust. My next speaker, the Metas.

I’m glad you’re liking them!
 

Morpheus

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
67
Likes
79
Hi Nanilopez. I always follow you posts with a lot of attention, but there is something really bugging me here...If you look carefully at the spin posts of All the speakers , you will notice they measure exactly the same on axis from 400 Hz to 1,5 Khz, to a t..The exact same wiggles with the same amplitude at the same frequencies, looking at it.
How can this be? Isn't this a problem with your measuring rig? I mean, they are very well engineered therefore should measure pretty much the same, but the same errors exactly at the same spots in so many different speakers looks like there is something being impinged on the results from an outer source, not the speakers themselves, or a big coincidence, what do you think.?
 
OP
N

napilopez

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
1,922
Likes
7,285
Location
NYC
Hi Nanilopez. I always follow you posts with a lot of attention, but there is something really bugging me here...If you look carefully at the spin posts of All the speakers , you will notice they measure exactly the same on axis from 400 Hz to 1,5 Khz, to a t..The exact same wiggles with the same amplitude at the same frequencies, looking at it.
How can this be? Isn't this a problem with your measuring rig? I mean, they are very well engineered therefore should measure pretty much the same, but the same errors exactly at the same spots in so many different speakers looks like there is something being impinged on the results from an outer source, not the speakers themselves, or a big coincidence, what do you think.?

Sorry, I'm having trouble following. While there are definitely wiggles introduced by my measurement rig (there's only so much you can do measuring outdoors without a dedicated permanent setup), looking through some random old measurements of mine they aren't usually in the same location or the same amplitude. I also often change my rig and positioning slightly, so my setup doesn't really have a consistent source of problems except for the speaker stand (which I have also changed a few times).

Here are the 6 most recent speaker spins I've done for reference:

1635094356878.png


1635094392828.png


1635094424276.png


1635094469977.png


1635094497274.png


1635094700766.png


Unless I'm misunderstanding you, i don't think these measurements look exactly the same from 400hz to 1.5khz.

But yes, anytime you see quasi-anechoic measurements you should probably assume some of the deviations at lower frequencies come from the rig and lack of resolution. 400-1khz are the most vulnerable frequencies as above that there is high enough resolution for decent results and below that I am splicing with nearfield measurements. In this area it's better to look at the overall trend unless there's a very obvious peak or dip, or i might point out myself if there is something I believe is a problem with the speaker. I could diminish some of these artefacts with smoothing but then you lose the resolution at higher frequencies where the results should be nearly identical to an anechoic chamber.
 

Transmaniacon

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
90
Likes
66
Do we know if Amir will be reviewing the R200? I see he just did the R350 which isn’t a great performer as expected with that driver configuration.
 

Morpheus

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
67
Likes
79
Thank you for your reply, I was talking about your post #3 on this thread, with the spins from Kef R3 Genelec an Revel 106 vs this Polk. But you are right, and now I see what happened...I was looking at this outside and missed the actual plot of the speaker compared, I was always looking at the brighter, white Polk Plot..but not even good at that, as they were effectively the same in the whole window not just till 1,5khz, and I should have seen that and realize something wasn't right.! Sorry for the confusion... ️
 

MarkWinston

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2021
Messages
474
Likes
239
Do we know if Amir will be reviewing the R200? I see he just did the R350 which isn’t a great performer as expected with that driver configuration.
I usually sell off speakers that dont measure well, (that I bought without proper measurements) especially tonally, because I dont want to get used to sound that is coloured. If coloured sound become the norm for me, flat speakers would then sound like crap. Hope the R200 isnt far off flat, and I do not believe thats the case because it sounds flat to me, a little lean, but flat. Hope Amir does the R200, it would be interesting to see how different is it from Napilopez's charts. And now I can give up the idea of an aesthetically matching center channel for the R200. FML.
 

beaRA

Active Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
111
Likes
145
FYI, I just made a poll to see how much interest there is in getting the R100 on a Klippel.

 

Yorkshire Mouth

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
502
Likes
394
Location
God's County - Yorkshire
A very general question.

The 200s appear to be similar to the 100s, only bigger and will therefore go a little deeper.

Now, let’s presume you were going to run these with a sub for deep bass, and let’s presume the sub can handle the bass frequencies which the 100 can’t handle but the 200 can.

In that case, is there any point spending the extra on the 200 over the 100, all else being equal?

I’ve asked this question in relation to these, but feel free to extrapolate to other brands and models.
 

Transmaniacon

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
90
Likes
66
A very general question.

The 200s appear to be similar to the 100s, only bigger and will therefore go a little deeper.

Now, let’s presume you were going to run these with a sub for deep bass, and let’s presume the sub can handle the bass frequencies which the 100 can’t handle but the 200 can.

In that case, is there any point spending the extra on the 200 over the 100, all else being equal?

I’ve asked this question in relation to these, but feel free to extrapolate to other brands and models.

I would probably still go with the bigger R200. The woofer can play louder with less distortion compared to the smaller driver, it's not just about the low end extension.
 

MarkWinston

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2021
Messages
474
Likes
239
A very general question.

The 200s appear to be similar to the 100s, only bigger and will therefore go a little deeper.

Now, let’s presume you were going to run these with a sub for deep bass, and let’s presume the sub can handle the bass frequencies which the 100 can’t handle but the 200 can.

In that case, is there any point spending the extra on the 200 over the 100, all else being equal?

I’ve asked this question in relation to these, but feel free to extrapolate to other brands and models.

I had the R100, then I sold it and bought the R200. Now this is subjective but the R200 poops on the R100 in every aspect, sub or not, and they dont even sound the same tonally at all volumes. Crank up the volume and the r100 starts screaming, even when I high passed it over at 100hz. How high must one cross it over to not make it shouty is anyone's guess but I assume REAL high. Crossing over at 150 - 200hz like some suggest (for the meta) isnt something I would ever do.
 
Top Bottom