Polk Monitor 70 Main / Stereo Speakers Reviews
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Polk Monitor 70 Main / Stereo Speakers

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Sound choice for the Price Point

Oct 2, 2005 (Updated Jul 6, 2006)
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Pros:A really clear sounding speaker with a wide soundstage. Excellent choice for the money.

Cons:The very bottom end of bass won't be reproduced by Monitors alone.

The Bottom Line: If you don't have a lot to spend on speakers, pick Polk Audio, and it will sound like you did! Outstanding for stereo, and very good for home theater.

Want floor standing speakers that sound like you paid a couple grand, but have only $800 bucks to spend? Polk has the answer!

I wanted to upgrade my 20 year old Advent Legacies the front left and right for my surround sound home theater. They sounded good, but tend to need a lot of power, and they didn't really create a sound stage. The Polk Audio Monitor 70's really sounded good for a pair of speakers under 800 dollars. I actually paid only 300, because I went to two stores to get a pair (one from each). My Polk Audios went into a system with a Yamaha 100 w/ch 5.1 Surround Sound receiver, a Rotel Power Amplifier (200 w/ch) and Polk Audio CSi40 center and Polk Audio R20 surrounds.

Basics: The PA Monitor 70s are a floor standing speaker with front facing drivers down the front 6 1/2" midrange dome tweeter, 6 1/2" midrange followed by 2 6 1/2" woofers and a front port. They have frequency response of 30 hz to 25 khz. They look sharp with black wood cabinets and a brushed titanium face. The speaker cones are made of a synthetic polymer. The speakers also have large feet for firm placement. They have good sized binding posts on the rear, and they can be biamped (seperate amplification for the upper frequencies and the lower frequencies). I did not bi amp my Polk Audios.

Stereo sound. First, the Monitors really spread out the sound stage. At the store, I thought the salesman had put the surround speakers on to make me believe that the sound was fuller than it was. I really heard sound to the extreme sides of me and behind me and it was all from the stereo speakers. Again at home, I had to check if I had accidently selected the surround track on my test SACDs or placed my receiver in a 5.1 channel mode. Again, no, the Monitors realistically create a great sound stage with clear separation of left right and center, as well as far left, right and it seemed even from behind. My music sounded very alive and vibrant.

Clarity. I ran a test on my Diana Krall Love Scenes CD and SACD (in stereo only, not surround) to hear just how different the two formats sounded. The Polk Audio Monitors allowed me to clearly hear the improvements brought about by SACD. It was as if someone had wiped the sound stage with some audio cleaner that just made Diana's voice crisper, and all the instruments clearer and more defined. It was more difficult to hear the difference on my old speakers or on my bedroom system with Cambridge Soundworks M60s. Nevertheless, even my CD collection (actually now a digital collection of MP3s recorded at 128 Khz on my Compaq computer hooked up via TOS optical cable to the receiver)sounded much more impressive and vibrant on the Monitors. At various stores I have listened to speakers in, I have had to listen to the speakers that cost 1400 and up per pair to hear a better sound than I get from my Polk Audio Monitor 70s. They also do not need a great deal of power to coax great sound from them.

Music: Yes, the Monitors do great in conveying music. I have listened to soft jazz ranging from Joao Gilberto, founder of bossa nova, and Diana Krall, and have been able to just lose myself in the sound. For example Gilberto / Getz on SACD sounds beautiful as does anything by Diana Krall or Miles Davis Kind of Blue. I can close my eyes and imagine I am at the jazz club. Metallica and Deep Purple sound phenomenal as well, almost like being at a club, except for the lack of the feel of pounding bass.

Movies / Surround sound. The Polk Audio Monitors also do a terrific job as the Left Right Fronts of a surround sound system. I have Polk for center and surrounds and a Velodyne subwoofer. Classic surround sound music like Pink Floyd -Dark Side of the Moon, Beck - Sea Changes and Flaming Lips - Yoshima Battles the Pink Robots all sound great in surround sound. The Monitors blend right in and allows the music to surround you, just as the artists intended. The added Velodyne subwoofer, also adds that boom for the rock and metal that does make you feel like you are at club.

In movies, I've never had a problem with dialog, special effects (i.e. the explosions of most war movies) or the soundtrack. Everything sounds natural, and as it should.

The only thing that Polk Monitors don't handle is the extreme lows that are present in movie soundtracks and on DVD audios and SACDs. For the majority of CDs out, the bass is low enough in these towers to make most people happy, but if you have DVD audios or SACDs, you should team them up with a good subwoofer (see my review of the Velodyne SPL 1000 for example.) In movie soundtracks, although you can hear the low bass explosions with clarity, you do need a subwoofer to feel them. Unless your system is up loud, you don't get that big bass impact. To me, for movies loud means that the dialog is louder than it would be if the actors were actually there talking. A good system should recreate everything at realistic levels.

Finally, for under one thousand dollars, you really would be hard pressed to find a speaker as clear and responsive with a great soundstage than the Polk Audio Monitor 70s. If you shop around you should be able to get them for significantly less. Speakers that I heard that sounded better were a lot more expensive (like Polk Audio's own LSi line for example). If like me, you don't have the budget for Sonus Faber's yet, the Monitors were a great choice, and I think they will last me for quite some time.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 300

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