Polk TSi200 Bookshelf Loudspeakers Reviewed

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Located in the middle of Polk's loudspeaker lineup, the TSi series offers many of Polk's advanced technologies like Dynamic Balance drivers, flared ports, and narrow baffle design, at an affordable price. The TSi series offers two bookshelf models (TSi 100/200), three floorstanding models (TSi 300/400/500), and two center channel models (CS10/20).

The two-way TSi200 utilizes three Dynamic Balance drivers - a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter coupled to two 5.25-inch Bi-Laminate Organic Fiber cone woofers, crossed over at 2.5 kHz with a 2nd order (12db/octave) filter. Developed in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University, Dynamic Balance resulted from a laser interferometry research project that enables Polk to analyze the entire surface of a vibrating driver in real time, in order to determine the right composition of driver materials for the particular product.

Additional Resources
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a receiver that would pair well with the TSi200.

The TSi200 employs one rear-firing port, and offers no on-board mounting capability. The TSi200 also is not magnetically-shielded, so it can't be placed very close to a CRT television. The TSi200 provides a single set of five-way binding posts, and weighs a hefty 17 pounds (please note that earlier versions provided dual sets of binding posts; Polk changed the design to simplify connection for its owners.). The TSi200 offers a choice of ebony or cherry wood grain finishes to complement its gloss black top plate. At $299.95 per pair (MSRP), the TSi200 offers a very good level of fit and finish. The port blends well with the cabinet, as does the driver array, the top plate lends a glossy touch, and the wood grain finish stays smooth and even throughout.

Sound
The TSi200 presents a nominal 8 ohm load with an 89db efficiency. The speaker was overall not difficult to drive, but benefited from better quality receivers and amplifiers. However, you could use these speakers with just about any decent quality receiver or amplifier. The TSi200 presented a good amount of soundstaging depth and width, and fairly precise imaging. I felt it did a better job in this area with classical and jazz material than with rock, where things smeared just a bit. I liked the TSi200's dynamics, and enjoyed their crisp presentation and detailed soft passages.

The TSi200 had a bit of a nasal quality throughout the midrange, but nothing out of the ordinary for speakers in its price range. Overall, the TSi200 presented an even tonal balance throughout the frequency range, with particularly realistic and punchy bass. For a bookshelf speaker, I found the bass extension very good, with few audible effects from the ported enclosure. However, the speaker did noticeably benefit from at least an 8-10 inch placement from the rear wall. The TSi200 offers a smooth and relatively detailed top end, which blends nicely into the midrange frequencies.

Click to Page 2 for The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion.

HTR Product Rating for Polk TSi200 Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

4

Overall

4

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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It's difficult to conclude with which types of material the TSi200 performed better. It depends on the performance aspects in question. Soundstaging lent itself towards classical and jazz, while dynamically the TSi200 excelled with punchier electronic music like rock and metal. Splitting hairs here, to be sure, as the TSi200 performed very well overall considering its affordable price. It did a good job reproducing the tonal aspects of acoustic instruments, but had a hint of coloration in the midband, evident more with vocal recordings than piano. The TSi200 stretches across all types of material and performs very competently, and overall grades out as above average in the affordable bookshelf speaker category.

High Points
• The TSi200 provides a consistent level of good performance regardless of material.
• The TSi200 does well dynamically with electronic music like rock and metal, especially for a bookshelf speaker.
• The TSi200 offers an accurate tonal balance, and good soundstaging especially with classical music.
• The TSi200 offers a good level of fit and finish, and looks pleasing with or without the grills.

Low Points
• The TSi200's midrange offered a bit of a nasal quality overall.
• The TSi200 lacked a bit of soundstaging and imaging with rock and electronic music.
• The TSi200 needs at least an 8-10-inch placement from the rear wall to perform optimally.
• The TSi200 provides no on-board mounting capability.
• The TSi200 is not magnetically-shielded, limiting placement options for CRT television owners.

Conclusion
The Polk TSi200 offers a good combination of sonics and cosmetics at an affordable price. With rock and electronic material, it excelled dynamically, while with classical and jazz, it imaged well and presented a very good soundstage. Its midrange performance had a bit of a nasal quality, but blended well within the whole sonic presentation. It needs some room to breathe, and might present some placement issues for some, but that's typical for rear ported speakers. Overall, the TSi200 offers above average sonic performance at its price and an attractive cosmetic package, and would fit very well in many types of smaller scale systems.
Additional Resources
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a receiver that would pair well with the TSi200.


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