while i rather like the smaller lsi7 monitors, i had a very negative opinion on the lsi15s--to my ears they sounded muddy and veiled. the pardigms are a very safe pick; i also frequently tout psb imagine or totem arro in the same price class. just my two cents, of course.
I have the Lsi 15's in my system and they present any type of music in a way that is both pristine and and musical at all listening levels. They are revealing of whatever the source, for better or worse. I have no thoughts of upgrading the Lsi 15's. It's been a very long time since I have heard anything by Paradigm so I can't comment on them.
No offense, but if you heard the LSi 15's as muddy & veiled,
I Guhhh "Air" on teeee you something else was the problem.
The Lsi's are among the best speakers out there, "at" & way
above their price range.
for this 2 choice, i like Polk LSI15 over Paradigm Studio 100 V4 , but i think Definitive tech is better suit for HT
I have head both. The Polk was on a reciever (denon I believe) and the Paradigm was in Arcam preamp/amp (don't know the model). It was also a while ago so take my coments with a grain of salt.
The sound quality is comparible and it really comes down to personal taste. The bass is puncher on the Paradigm 100s. The Polk had a lot of bass but it was not as quick and seemed to cover up the midrange a bit. The highs on the 100s are a lot more forward than on the Polk. While the Polk's highs were good they are a little laid back for my taste ( you might like them... They have good detial).
All in all both are good but the Paradigm were a lot more interesting and fun to listen to for me. I like a some what forward and neutral speaker so YMMV.
Try and give then both a listen.
Similar to James63 and LoomisJohnson I would come down on the Studio100 side of the fence. I listened to both for at least one hour with my own material. The polks with a Yamaha V683 driving it and the 100's driven with a Rotel 1560. Both rooms were treated to some extent. Personally I was not wow'd by either but I would be happier with the paradigms. I also listened to the V5 versus the V4 and if there was a difference I could not hear it (at least there with the rotel setup.) +1 on the totem as an alternative but I think you have it narrowed to the polk/paradigm so I'll shut up.
telescope, i'm not sure i fully grasp your thread, but i think you're questioning my critique and faithfully defending your polks. no offense taken, of course--i defend my speakers more zealously than i defend my wife or kids. i did a/b the polks against some very revealing floorstanders (focal, vienna) and honestly didn't think the polks were competitive; however this passion is inherently subjective and your opinion is just as valid as mine. i'm not a polkbasher--i've owned and enjoyed the rt25 (great cheap monitor), rt 35 (wooly bass--not as good as the rt25), rt1000p (surprisingly nice treble and midrange, if a bit unengaging); i've also heard alot of the excellent sda and lsi7. however, in the $1000-$2000 sweet spot, there's lots of other speakers i'd rather own.
I have the LSi15 & absolutely love them. What I found
was that the bass suffers if you use the spikes, I found
this when trying to get them in the right position. I took
the spikes off & everything changed for the better. I now
have them on some maple boards, I was going to have stands
made by Sound Design but they sound so great I hate to
I don't see how a Denon receiver would do them justice. I had a Rotel RA-1062 & they sounded ok. I now use a Plinius 9100 & they sound amazing.
I also don't think you would go wrong with either. I had
some Energy Veritas speakers which are basically the same
speaker as the Paradigm & I liked them alot also.
That's my point. A receiver is the first & last thing
wrong. I (by the way I don't own Polks any more)used a
Wyred 4 Sound amp and the sound was amazing from the bottom
up. I have also used other high quality amps & pre's with them.
I'm just saying I have heard the speakers at their best
and they are better than a lot of high end speakers, so if you hear muddy & veiled sound from them, something else
is probably the culprit. (Like a receiver) That's all I saying!
Oh and BTW...Loomisjohnson, Of coarse I don't doubt
what you heard, and to be clear, I know you did not
mention anything about a receiver. Others did. Again my only point here
is, the IMO the last thing the LSi's are...is veiled & muddy.
Not perfect of coarse, but with the right electronics, they
are crystal clear & clean.
telescope et al:
in fairness, i didn't hear the lsi15s coupled with top-flight electronics--my recollection is they were auditioned with a yamaha avr; i've also heard them with a low-to-middlin nad integrated. it could very well be that (unlike focal, paradigm, rega and other personal faves) the polks are particularly sensitive to the front end and that they could sound completely different with a high quality amp. now, coincidentally, i was shopping at fry's electronics last week and i briefly heard the polk lsi7s and lsi9s, which were powered by a generic avr playing a dvda. the lsi7s were quite good--open, detailed--while the larger, more expensive lsi9s sounded awful. front end synergy is undoubtedly important. ergo, the only reliable indicator of what would sound "better" in the op's system would, of course be, to pair the speaker to the op's system.
I have been auditioning speakers not to replace the Lsi 15's but possibly replace speakers in a 2nd system.
Out of those auditioned, none left me feeling like I was missing out on anything over what I already have except a pair that list at 9 grand. Also, I auditioned speakers that list well over 12 grand and did not feel as though I was missing out on anything. These auditions were with high end costly electronics. Maybe the speakers with exception of the one pair were not positioned optimally, etc.
This tells me that the Lsi 15's is a quality product and very musical. Apparently musicality and performance is not necessarily associated with cost or brand name.
As I was reading this post I was shocked to hear folks comparing the Polks w/ an AVR receiver to other speakers w/ pre-power combos or integrated amps. This is no way to make a valid comparison. I've never been a Polk fan or Polk hater, only because I never considered them for one reason or another. If I was I would want to listen in a better environment. I'm glad someone cleared this up.
To clarify, I now own a pair or Polk RTA11t (circa '91) mated to a Cambridge Audio 640 V2 amp and my wife and I are listening in amazment at the articulate, captivating, audiophile sound they are producing. Much better than other more expensive speaker amp combos I've heard.
I would definetly consider Polks in the future, but only with good amplification other than the H/T AVR receiver variety as they are usually mated with. Is it that the CA 640 integrated amp is that good (reviewers think so), or that Polk made audiophile speakers at one time, or that I hit on a excellent combo? I don't know, maybe all three, but I'm blown away by the sound I experiencing now.
mjcmt I would not bee too shocked by the discrepancy in electronics when auditioning speakers. Most of the time you get what the shop has the speakers set up on. Sometimes you can mix and match, sometimes you cant. If this is all you can use to make a comparo you go with it. Of course there are differences and if removing variables is the only way to be valid then I would submit that valid is nearly impossible within the constraints of most shoppers. I listened to the Polks on a Yam AVR and had no choice. I have heard lots of stuff on the same AVR and have found that it is a perfectly good receiver. I have heard the V4 paradigms on a yam avr and they sounded just fine. Not exactly my thing but they were OK. As I think the sound difference between the V4 and V5 is minor I conclude that the paradigms sound better to me than the Polks. Keep in mind that different music may alter that decision but I used stuff I often listen to.
If possible, it is important to listen the speakers in the same environment and w/ the same electronics you will be using. At least you used the same electronics which is very important. I was commenting on folks that used one type of speaker with a receiver comparing to another w/ higher caliber electronics and then claiming the speaker w/ the lesser electronics didn't sound as good...dah, you think so?
In my experience, Paradigms do sound better w/ brighter and more detailed electronics than Polks, so I can understand your conclusions. Everything is relative. A perfect example is the ongoing debate is over the Benchmark DACs. It sounded stellar for me in my tube based system, but others felt it is thin. Balancing your system w/ the components in your listening room is critical, so I'm cautious of sweeping generalities.
I have a pair of Polk's LSI15 (I have not have the oportunity to audition Paradigm Studio). So I have DENON receiver (I use it jus for see DVD's/Blu rays and TV's, NOT FOR SERIOUS LISTENING), but my LSi15 are conected to a Parasound amp 2125, ..., when I tried to use the DENON AVR, ...., this was simply an insult to my Polks. Please, use good audiophile electronics.
I use Parasound amp/pre, cambride audio cd player (used as transport) external DAC (Cambride Audio DacMagic). Cables: dh-labs interconnects, audioquest silver rca digital, 2 sets of Kimber 4TC (bi-wiring)
I've audiotioned some KEF Reference, Energy Veritas, several Mission, Triangle, ...., and I'm convinced that the Polks LSi15 at a price list of $1995 sounds as a more expensive speaker (every brand and or speaker sounds different, but I think that the audiophile quality in Polk's LSi series is similar to the quality of more expensive ones.
Both are great speakers. Here is how I would break them down, given my experiences of course.
Paradigm Studio 100 V4
- These speakers give the music a more up close and personal presentation. The treble is more forward and detailed than the LSi-15's. They also sport a more open sounding midrange, and can throw out a wider soundstage. I found the Studio 100 V4's to be quite a bit more dynamic than the Polk LSi-15's as well.
With the Paradigms, the music can feel fast and exciting. The compromise to it all is that the Studio 100 V4's can get a bit forward/bright in the top end, and if you aren't careful with matching them to the right amp, the midrange can sound a bit hollow as well.
If you go the Paradigm route, I'd highly suggest throwing some good tube pieces into the system. Good tubes + Paradigm is always a solid match.
Polk Audio LSi-15
The Polks are more laid back than the Paradigms, and will sport a warmer, thicker/meater sound - particularly throughout the midrange. Their imaging, though not as "wide" as the Studio 100's, is more pinpoint and centered between the speakers. Both speakers have decent bass extension and suffer a bit from a "bump" down low.
With the Polk's, you get a more romantic sound. The caveat here is that the 8 inch side firing woofers can sound a bit slow/bloated if you do not pair the speakers with a high current amplifier. If you plan on running the Lsi-15's, I would advise you to go with a good solid state amp that has a real good power supply and control over the bottom end (think: Marsh, Odyssey Audio, Bel Canto, etc..)
Well, there ya have it! Both speakers are good. Both speakers are fairly adept at playing all sorts of music, yet both are polar opposites in terms of how they deliver the musical goods. Good luck!