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Polk Reserve R350 Review (Center Speaker)

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  • 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

sarumbear

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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 :)
The latter.
 

Chromatischism

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The latter.
Not exactly. There is always an off-axis cancellation with non-coaxial driver arrangements. Rotating the tweeter around another driver simply rotates the polar pattern and thus where the cancellation will occur.

Raise the tweeter enough and you can avoid it hitting the seats directly, but it will still be measured in the early reflections and sound power in the room.
 

aris3256

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So where does this put you if you're looking for a center channel to pair with something like the R200's? I saw someone ask about whether the raised tweeter in the R400 center exempts it from the problems with the 350, but I never saw an answer to that; I'd also be interested in the (more affordable) R300. Given that both the R400 and the R300 are only 2-ways, I'm wondering whether something like the Monolith 365C would be a better pairing for the R200's?
 

Chromatischism

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The Monolith 365C likely sounds different, and is sealed and meant for an 80 Hz subwoofer crossover ala THX.

I would try to match the capabilities of the speakers a little closer, especially in the bass extension/contour department.

Also, I still see the Infinity RC263 and Emotiva C2+ as better buys vs these purely-horizontal speakers like the Polk and JBLs reviewed here recently.
 

sword

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So where does this put you if you're looking for a center channel to pair with something like the R200's? I saw someone ask about whether the raised tweeter in the R400 center exempts it from the problems with the 350, but I never saw an answer to that; I'd also be interested in the (more affordable) R300. Given that both the R400 and the R300 are only 2-ways, I'm wondering whether something like the Monolith 365C would be a better pairing for the R200's?
There are many examples on AVS forum of mixing speaker brands in home theater with excellent results. Unless you listen to a lot of multi-channel music, the idea that all speakers must be the same or similar, or have the same "timbre", is an old tale that needs to die. Your AVR will handle different crossovers just fine. The 365C looks like a great option.
 

Chromatischism

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Even when I use the same speaker it doesn't sound the same because the center speaker doesn't get the side-wall reflections that the L/R have. It is also pointed directly at me whereas the L/R are toed in for their best sound. If you've spent any time looking at Spinorama measurements you'll know that most speakers emit a different frequency response depending on the angle you're listening at.

Are these differences noticeable? They very much are to me, which is why I am in camp matching LCR, as much as is possible.
 

beaRA

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So where does this put you if you're looking for a center channel to pair with something like the R200's? I saw someone ask about whether the raised tweeter in the R400 center exempts it from the problems with the 350, but I never saw an answer to that; I'd also be interested in the (more affordable) R300. Given that both the R400 and the R300 are only 2-ways, I'm wondering whether something like the Monolith 365C would be a better pairing for the R200's?
The best match would be the Polk Legend L400, but it's rather expensive. The best affordable match is the Polk LSiM 706c while supplies last.
 

Transmaniacon

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The best match would be the Polk Legend L400, but it's rather expensive. The best affordable match is the Polk LSiM 706c while supplies last.
I wish Polk would release a R450 or something that employs a 3-way design like the L400. The R700 is a 3-way design, so they have the drivers to do it.
 

beaRA

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I wish Polk would release a R450 or something that employs a 3-way design like the L400. The R700 is a 3-way design, so they have the drivers to do it.
I know, it's a bummer. Scott Orth let slip on a live stream that "no 3-way center" was a marketing limitation to differentiate the Legend line. I doubt we'll see an R450.
 

Transmaniacon

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I know, it's a bummer. Scott Orth let slip on a live stream that "no 3-way center" was a marketing limitation to differentiate the Legend line. I doubt we'll see an R450.
That's crappy, but I understand they have to incentivize the flagship series. If I had a home theater setup with the Reserve series, I would certainly try and stretch for the L400 as it would handle a majority of the dialogue.
 

aris3256

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No love for the smaller R300? As luck would have it, that's what I ended up going with when I picked up the R200's. My thought was that the 5.25 woofers might be enough for an 18x20 room for an entry level home theater setup, although I'm sure the steep price difference between the two played a larger role than I'd like to admit.
 

beaRA

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No love for the smaller R300? As luck would have it, that's what I ended up going with when I picked up the R200's. My thought was that the 5.25 woofers might be enough for an 18x20 room for an entry level home theater setup, although I'm sure the steep price difference between the two played a larger role than I'd like to admit.
The R300 is still a 2-way MTM and the tweeter is not offset enough to get the midwoofers particularly close together. It will suffer the same narrow dispersion as every other 2-way MTM. I'm sure it sounds quite good directly on-axis though. If you can accommodate the size, the LSiM 706c is a much better buy at $400 right now.
 

Head_Unit

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I simply don't understand how a speaker company can make such basic mistakes in engineering like this.
Just constraints from the marketing department.
I’m expect there were no engineers involved on the design. Marketing needed a narrow height speaker.
I think it's ridiculous Polk can't or won't do better.
It's not a basic engineering mistake. It is meeting the demands of the market, both the practical ("This is the only space I have for a center channel") and the ignorant ("A center channel should have woofers on each side of a tweeter, because almost every one I see is like that")/
- Yes, sometimes engineers have no say, latter-day Advent was a spec thrown over the wall from Sales and engineers just following that.
- But even sales/marketing are trying to get something sellable and 3-way costs significantly more.*
- I am certain Polk could do better, how much do you care to spend? It's all about DA BUDGET
*It will be interesting to see if the recent motion towards seriously larger tweeter waveguides and lower crossovers like on powered monitors will finally light a bulb in some home speaker person's head, whereby a horizontal Woofer-Tweeter-Woofer layout could have much better horizontal dispersion than the norm with little cost increase.
It would also be interesting if the old cone tweeters got revisited with modern materials, instead of domes. Not holding my breath.
Also not holding my breath for more-sensitive BMR drivers...
 

Chromatischism

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It's not a basic engineering mistake. It is meeting the demands of the market, both the practical ("This is the only space I have for a center channel") and the ignorant ("A center channel should have woofers on each side of a tweeter, because almost every one I see is like that")/
Right. There's no getting around the physics of the space limitations. It forces the hand of the company. I would like to see a high-end speaker from Polk though that embraces a 3-way design like what Revel has done. It doesn't have to be quite as monstrous, but it's for those with dedicated systems that don't have furniture limitations.
 

Urvile

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Right. There's no getting around the physics of the space limitations. It forces the hand of the company. I would like to see a high-end speaker from Polk though that embraces a 3-way design like what Revel has done. It doesn't have to be quite as monstrous, but it's for those with dedicated systems that don't have furniture limitations.
They did it's the L400 I have one, and it's quite nice.
 
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