Polk TSi300 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Reviewed

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PolkTSI-300-Review.gifLocated in the middle of Polk's loudspeaker lineup, the TSi series represents one of Polk's most aggressive bang-for-the-buck propositions in recent years. It 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 - reviewed here/400/500), and two center channel models (CS10/20). For complete system options, Polk offers an array of powered subwoofers and small surround speakers.

Within what Polk calls an "anti-resonant" enclosure, the two-way TSi300 utilizes three Dynamic Balance drivers - a 1-inch fabric-polymer dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet structure coupled to two 5 ΒΌ-inch Bi-Laminate Organic Fiber cone woofers, crossed over at 2.5 kHz. 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. The TSi300 employs a downward-firing port, a feature rarely found in floorstanding loudspeakers. Polk deems its design as a "Critically Tuned Flared Port," which basically means that its design minimizes chuffing and optimizes bass response. The TSi300 provides two sets of gold-plated five-way binding posts for easy bi-wiring/bi-amping. The TSi300 incorporates wide, fat stabilizer feet, which ensure stable coupling to hard floors or plush carpeting. While not as tailored as separate spikes or soft feet, they provide a nice down-the-middle solution for floors of all types and provide a distinctive look. Measuring 36.375 inches high by 7 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep and weighing 26 pounds, the TSi300 occupies a slim, small footprint and has some solid heft. The TSi300 offers a choice of ebony or cherry woodgrain finishes to complement its gloss black top plate, which adds an elegant touch. At $399.90 per pair (MSRP), the TSi300 offers an excellent level of fit and finish. The vinyl finish looks great (especially the Cherry), the meaty feet and connection panel fit nicely into the cabinet, the driver array offers clean seams, and the grill has nice rounded side edges.
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The TSi300 presents a nominal 8 ohm load with a 90db efficiency. It sounded very good with average quality power sources, but benefited from better quality ones. The TSi300 threw a deep, wide soundstage, and rendered images crisply. The sound drifted outside of the speakers often, and offered a lot of air and space. This quality was more apparent with classical and jazz material. The high end had some good sparkle and detail, but could have used a bit more bite, especially on rock and electronic music. The midrange had an overall neutral character, and stayed in time with the top end. On some vocals and piano, the sound turned a bit nasally on occasion, but never at the expense of musicality. The midrange had a really nice sense of speed and sounded very good overall. The bass retained much of the character of the top end. It had a punchy quality with some good extension, especially on acoustic music. The TSi300's bass sounded more tight than deep, which had its benefits with small-scale material. Overall, it stayed in excellent time with the rest of the frequency spectrum and rounded out the speaker's overall very musical, coherent character. The TSi300 did not appreciably benefit or suffer from placements closer to walls, which is great news for those with smaller rooms. The TSi300 played loudly when asked without much breakup, but needed better quality to get there.

Read more about the TSi300 on Page 2.

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