Author Topic: I sense a lack of movement, so I must take a stand  (Read 1225 times)

Offline GraphicFX

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I sense a lack of movement, so I must take a stand
« on: November 25, 2014, 12:39:32 AM »
A laymans review of my Polk SDA-2B's

This comes partly from my status of "double secret probation" I feel I deserve more, so here is my ass kissin way on up.
On Seals & Crofts, "Diamond Girl", did you know there is bongo player gluing the drummers beat to the melody? I sure didn't. Nor did I notice, he was sitting to the left along side of me.

That's the only way I can express the emotional color that lays within in the lines of my listening experience with the Polk SDA-2B

Once and for all, The Playing field must be leveled.
Critics review tracks either I've never heard of, or have no desire to listen to. That being said, It's tough to evaluate anything with a small or non existant sample, so I chose music that we all know. We have auditioned it on countless systems from transistor radios, to our current gear

The Players.
Billboard top 100 hits 1973,1974
These are 160kbps files played straight off the computers motherboard No soundcard, no DAC, nothing. A no holds barred attack on any speaker worth your time.

Lets get right to it.
The first thing that I noticed here is a very defined soundstage........

Believable? absolutely not, but it's so expansive and three dimensional, one really doesn't care. These speakers force the listener to close their eyes. I've never experienced this before but it seems to be essential in getting the full effect of what is inherent in the location of the dimensional sound material.

The effect is very powerful but more about that later...

One thing I've noticed over the years, when reading publications is their lack of discussing the way their reviewed speakers handle percussion, so lets get in to that.

Of all the speakers I've had and I've had quite a few, none and still none handle percussion as well as My Bose 901's... (don't start) It's as through the percussionist was right there knocking on the cabinets themselves. It's quite believable and in my opinion, gorgeous. Strictly by accident, I'm sure. Nonetheless, the best I've ever heard. These SDA's are a distant second. I give them that high a placement due to the extended lower midrange these cabinets produce, along with an airy location of the drum kit and it's various components.

Matthew Polk's design was based on eliminating "inter aural crosstalk" Basically, cancelling out what the left and right ear hears from the right and left channel. Another theory based design. However, unlike Amar Bose's attempt, this one works. It's as though, you are hearing surround sound. it helps in extending the soundstage way beyond the speakers and in to headphone territory.

This "extra" sound info seems to muddle decay. giving it a sense of, well, "decay". I've never noticed this before. It makes for a very smooth listening experience, which I believe makes these a very non critical speaker. a very gentle warm presentation.
Don't get me wrong, These are big block chevy's, that require little effort to get their point across. So far, I've yet to hear good speakers handle crappy source material, The very reason, I abandoned my Sony TL6's. These do a fine job. Very Impressive. I love critical listening, But these Polks are equally at home Jamming out some serious loud Bad Company and the like.

I have found, the more detailed the speaker, the more it criticizes.
The SDA 2B is very non critical. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but their sound is very natural and unforced. In fact with the sheer volume of music they reproduce, I could not call them accurate even if under duress. Yet nothing has ever sounded more natural.

While most speakers critisize the material, SDA Critisizes the miking. Older recordings where there is a very large difference between right and left channel information, makes these Polks really shine. backing my belief that this is a modification of a very simple Hafler circuit.  I know very little about electronics, so I apologize in advance if I am out of line here. but back to the soundstage.

Emphasizing a silky lower midrange, These Polks provide a soundstage that places not you in front of the performers, but them all around you. It's as though you are right on the stage itself, facing them.

It's quite unique and rarely seems to dissapoint. As with most Polk designs, very little fatigue.

I Paid $140 for them and haven't looked with any regret
These are speakers I could live with. I would like to step up to entry level SRS series Polks, but I'm in no hurry. Big full and very colorful sound. A good combination with my Crown PS 400 amps.

I'll say it again,
Beer on me. Come by for a listen

Happy Thanksgiving to all,
Andrew
Main system
Pre-amp: Adcom GTP-350
Main Amplification: Crown PS-400
Surround Amplification: Crown PS-400
Mains: Polk SDA-2B Studio
Rear fill: Polk RTA-12
Subs: (3) Velodyne F1200b

Offline F1nut

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Re: I sense a lack of movement, so I must take a stand
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 03:09:29 AM »
I agree with some of your observations, but disagree with others. However, since your 2B's are stock and I haven't listened to stock SDA's in a very long time that has some bearing on the things I disagree about.

So, if you are ready to seriously up your game I can provide you with a long list of upgrades. which will result in spending a sum of money, but you will have speakers that put the stock versions to shame. In fact, they will put a boat load of much more expensive speakers to shame.
  'Political Correctness'.........defined

"A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."
 

Offline ataudio

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Re: I sense a lack of movement, so I must take a stand
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 09:34:55 PM »
Nice review Andrew.  Tell me more about the Sonys. What didn't you like about them?  What did they lack "technically" and "emotionally"?

Offline GraphicFX

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Re: I sense a lack of movement, so I must take a stand
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 01:28:15 AM »
Nice review Andrew.  Tell me more about the Sonys. What didn't you like about them?  What did they lack "technically" and "emotionally"?

Technically, overly damped, Taking the grills off revealed a very simple yet elegant appearing 3 way baffle. 560 watt Crown PS-400's bridged mono, could barely get any excursion even out of the rear *' woofer. I found it boring to have the grills off and seeing no movement. But this design seems to work well at how it handles base. Airy and extremely well integrated in the overall sound. Seamless is the term that comes to mind. Pounding on the sides of the cabinets was like knuckles against cinder block. These are not your "rack system" Sony's. Seemingly overly built, necessary for eliminating cabinet resonances, which the transmission line design rely's on.
The sound is very soothing, Thick warm and creamy with a mild emphasis in the upper midrange but never intruding in to the higher registers, leaving you with a sense of warmth, no fatigue while retaining it's inviting delicate detail. They are good sounding speakers. It's the weaknesses however, that steal from emotional response. The front to rear imaging was absent. their clear and warm sound, stopped short at their baffles.  Any re positioning attempt to correct this was rewarded with a loss of vocal detail. Vocals sounded a bit subdued without any clear edge separating them from the rest of the music. I noticed this phenomenon twice before. Once with a pair of Thiels. the other Boston Towers. but canting them in to where they were comfortable, corrected the problem. As for the Sony's No position in my listening room was able to cure the problem.

I love the way they sound, their appearance is stately, but they just don't seem to try hard enough.

Perhaps with a more appropriate amp, The emotion will present itself.
Main system
Pre-amp: Adcom GTP-350
Main Amplification: Crown PS-400
Surround Amplification: Crown PS-400
Mains: Polk SDA-2B Studio
Rear fill: Polk RTA-12
Subs: (3) Velodyne F1200b