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Polk Reserve R350 Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 117 53.4%
  • Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 91 41.6%
  • Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 10 4.6%
  • Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 0.5%

  • Total voters
    219

beagleman

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Sep 24, 2020
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Given the above: Do yourself (indeed, yourselves) a favor and don't invest in a pair of Polk's modern version of their SDA ("Stereo Dimensional Array" -- sort of akin to Bob Carver's Sonic Holography of decades back but implemented at the loudspeakers) "Legend Series" L-800 loudspeakers.
Unless, of course, you happen to be on, e.g., a bobsled team ;)

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That has to be the FUNNIEST thing ever!!

I know Polk pushed that SDA stuff years, ago, but was not aware the new stuff used it. Found out they brought it back, but not sure WHO really would want it or so on.

I know Polk Fanboys, from some quick reading, talk about wanting the SDA again, but that constitutes maybe a few hundred guys that are 55-75 years old. Is there really any demand for the SDA feature by anyone else??


Stereo Review praised the flagship big Polk back in the 80s, but to me and most professionals, it was a silly gimmick simply to create something that made the stereo image wider than it originally was.

A semi headphone, sonic holography, hafler circuit, that altered the original sound in a bad way, to create an immersive sound, if you sat directly in the center.

A failed, but interesting idea for sure!
 

mhardy6647

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Polk Fanboy that I am :) and in all seriousness...
The L-800s do get high marks from folks who have heard them, irrespective of the "SDA" feature.
I have not heard them.
I did spend a day wth the L-200s in September of 2019 and liked them very much.... which is why I just took advantage of a generous discount offer and sprang for a pair of the R-200s (which have received much good press here @ ASR).

I will have my R-200s by midweek, barring calamity. I am psyched.
 

Transmaniacon

Active Member
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Mar 25, 2020
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Polk Fanboy that I am :) and in all seriousness...
The L-800s do get high marks from folks who have heard them, irrespective of the "SDA" feature.
I have not heard them.
I did spend a day wth the L-200s in September of 2019 and liked them very much.... which is why I just took advantage of a generous discount offer and sprang for a pair of the R-200s (which have received much good press here @ ASR).

I will have my R-200s by midweek, barring calamity. I am psyched.

They really do sound fantastic!
 

Transmaniacon

Active Member
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Mar 25, 2020
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The current discount price is about $440 (USD) the pair with free shipping and 60 day return policy. Seems like they could be a top-value product at that price.

Wow that’s a hell of a deal… I got mine on sale from Crutchfield for $649 a couple months ago.
 

Head_Unit

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Ahem, like so?

fe0f7dd016960137832a005056a9545d

I'm certain that never happens in real life.
Correct, that never happens in real life. From inside the business, there is not enough expertise to even make the first statement. Oh, the engineers may know some things, but at big companies it does not get transmitted out of the lab. Not just speakers, all kinds of products I'd say.
 

pseudoid

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I will have my R-200s by midweek, barring calamity. I am psyched.
I got mine on sale from Crutchfield for $649 a couple months ago.
What will you 2 do to supplement the bottom end?
Do you also have to fork out more $$ for proper stands << if that is essential or not?
I ask because, I may just have to use the R-350 in combo w/R-200 but that config would not be in my main (2channel) listening room.
 

mhardy6647

Major Contributor
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Currently trying them sans subwoofer -- they are pretty respectable as fullrange reproducers in my moderately large room.

Special stands...? I suspect they'd be happier on proper stands. I currently have them sitting on a pair of Altec Santiagos which have been my default stands for a pair of ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 loudspeakers. :)

DSC_0972 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

This is a staged photo to illustrate the similarity in form factor between these two. ;)

More to come anon.
 

Transmaniacon

Active Member
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What will you 2 do to supplement the bottom end?
Do you also have to fork out more $$ for proper stands << if that is essential or not?
I ask because, I may just have to use the R-350 in combo w/R-200 but that config would not be in my main (2channel) listening room.

I just listen in stereo with no sub. For my music types they have plenty of low end authority. I’m also feeding them 300 watts/channel so that helps I think.
 

Hemi-Demon

Senior Member
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Jan 17, 2019
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The current discount price is about $440 (USD) the pair with free shipping and 60 day return policy. Seems like they could be a top-value product at that price.

Where are you finding these for $440? Do you have a link?
 

mhardy6647

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Where are you finding these for $440? Do you have a link?
See the link I already posted and follow the directions in the first post!
You have to "be" a Polk forum member -- but that's a pretty low bar (I mean, I am...).

Do I have to draw youse guyses a map or something...?

;)
 

Hemi-Demon

Senior Member
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Jan 17, 2019
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See the link I already posted and follow the directions in the first post!
You have to "be" a Polk forum member -- but that's a pretty low bar (I mean, I am...).

Do I have to draw youse guyses a map or something...?

;)
Thanks, and sorry i didn't see the earlier post.
 

aktiondan

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Jul 1, 2018
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Lower crossover points would have helped with the horizontal directivity issues. It wouldn't have solved the problem completely, but if Polk was dead set on this driver layout combination, then the only thing that might have saved the design would have been to push the crossover point of the outer woofers to <200 Hz and the mids/tweeter crossover to <1.8 kHz. This would have moved the "unlistenable" region to much further off axis providing a wider region that is still mostly flat, or at least consistent with the on-axis measurements. Higher-order crossover slopes would have helped further. Both of those options would have cost more, but would have measured better on the bench. Tweeter distortion would likely be higher though too. Proper driver layout is king when it comes to center channels, so if you're going to compromise on the layout to suit the general masses (ie., low-profile MTM design) then you should at least make an effort to clean up what you can with a proper crossover. There's a lot you can do in the crossover that most companies don't implement, for one reason or another, probably mostly due to cost. But for more flagship designs, cost-cutting measures should be minimized IMO.
 

Aremgi

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Nov 16, 2021
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Coming late to this review and thread. Would it have been as simple as mounting the tweeter a few inches higher, or would the tweeter and midrange need to be on the same vertical axis to mitigate this off-axis cancellation?

(please take it easy - it's my first post after lurking for a few months :)
 

Chromatischism

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It would help, yes. They don't need to be vertically aligned, though that is the ideal. But, they wouldn't sell as many because it won't fit into people's predefined spaces.
 
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