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Polk Audio LSiM703 Measurements & Conclusion

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I was pretty limited in my allotted time to take measurements of the 703’s, and only noticed afterwards that I needed to retake the ground plane measurements because of an incorrect setting in the OmniMic Software. Such is life. Still, I managed to take good on and off axis measurements—they just don’t tell you much about bass response because of room interaction. All measurements were taken indoors at 2m to allow the sound from the drivers to properly combine.

LSiM703 On Axis 

Polk Audio LSiM703  In-room 2 meter SPL vs Frequency Response

This is a single on-axis measurement, not a listening area average. The response below 300Hz is rather sloppy, but that is largely related to room interaction. The characteristic that’s most important here is the very flat response up to about 6kHz, where the treble starts to climb. This rise explains why in some tracks the speaker was too bright, but because the rise isn’t significant till about 6kHz (most of what you listen to is below this), most tracks were pleasant to listen to. Still, I would have liked Polk to pull back the tweeter because the boost in treble made me turn down the speakers on some tracks, when I could have gone louder with more laid back treble.

 LSiM703 axis comparison

            Polk Audio LSiM703  In-room 2 meter SPL vs Frequency Response

black trace: on axis; red trace: -15 degrees horizontal; blue trace: -30 degrees horizontal 

As you can see from the above graph, the off-axis response is quite uniform. Within 15 degrees there is only a slight drop above 9kHz, but at 30 degrees off-axis the roll off is much more dramatic. Once you are off axis by 30 degrees or more the sound changes dramatically (for the worse), something I noticed when sitting off to the side while giving demos to friends. Although this graph only shows horizontal off-axis measurements, I did take measurements +/-15 degrees vertically, which were nearly identical to on-axis measurements.

Conclusion

PolkI hate reviewing products like the LSiM 703s for two reasons. First, they make me look bad. A reviewer is supposed to be critical about a product, but what am I supposed to do when there’s little that’s bad to talk about? Writing only positive reviews could ruin my reputation. Second, I don’t want to send back good products. I would be happy with the company making a clerical error and somehow leaving the product here for an extended period of time (are you listening Polk??). So, not only do I look uncritical by writing up a great review, I am also left empty handed when I send the speakers back to the manufacturer. What can I say? The LSiM 703 speakers look great, sound great, and are reasonably priced. I think they are an excellent bookshelf speaker and would gladly recommend them. I hope you’re happy Polk, you’ve ruined my day.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStarStar
SoundstageStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Banu22elos posts on April 21, 2013 03:05
It seems like there's a correlation between Polk's reputation and the number of gray hairs one has.
jcunwired posts on April 20, 2013 22:05
English210, post: 963235
I am SO with you on that!!! 25yr old Kappa's with failing polydomes. The end of an era….'sniff'….I know I should upgrade, but all the listening I've done tells me it's gonna take north of $3K to improve on them, and even that will involve compromises…

I hear ya. Mine were Infinity Interlude, IL60, IL40 and IL36C center (the sub died long ago). I used them for 12 years, and 5 years ago I decided I would upgrade. Every year I would do my pilgrimage to B&M stores to listen, walked away dissatisfied. I ultimately settled in Philharmonic Audio fronts and center, keeping the IL40s (my favorites - great speakers) for surrounds. I gave the others to an old friend who was a bit down on his luck. I gotta say, I was a little verklempt driving away from the UPS store.
Cliff_is posts on April 12, 2013 23:31
jinjuku, post: 963167
Maybe for Polks next round they will bring back a truly large, no holds barred, forget about being skinny speaker. Just charge what you have to charge and make small production runs of it.

Might be a cool idea.

Klipsch has certainly embraced it.
j_garcia posts on April 12, 2013 16:14
Pyrrho, post: 963244
If you don't mind refurbished, you can get LSi speakers direct from Polk starting at $399.99/pair delivered with Polk warranty:

Pair LSI7 Cherry Bookshelf Loudspeakers Polk Audio 047192108671 | eBay

Frys has been known to carry some of their refurb stock as well. I got mine for less than that, and I bought 3 pairs Sold mine, but my brother still has one of those pairs.
-Stan- posts on April 12, 2013 13:22
I purchased my LSiM 703's from Polk ebay. At the time they were having a 20% off sale. That put them at $543 per speaker. The cabinets only had two very small marks on the bottom of each speaker about the size of a grain of rice. The rest of the cabinets are perfect. Of course you only get a one year warranty but speakers usually don't go bad unless you drive the crap out of them. I sold my LSi15's about two weeks after getting the 703's. I really enjoy the 703's more than the 15's for sure but I really recommend having a decent sub to go along. Especially for movies.
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