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.

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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.

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.
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