Pros: Great Price, Great Sound,Built to Last!
Cons: No Tri-laminate dome tweeter
We're really enjoying hearing the dialogue in our DVDs, Videos, and on TV!
Why did we pick this center channel speaker?
We are slowly building our sound system. Up until now, we had a strictly "stereo" set up, with just two front speakers, a small Polk bookshelf model that we purchased 7 years ago for $100 each. Our living room is small - just 14' by 12', so we don't need a lot of power. We recently purchased a new digital receiver and a DVD player, and wanted to add another piece. Since we often have trouble understanding dialogue, we decided that a center channel was needed.
After researching on epinions, consumer reports, and asking various "experts," we decided it would be best to stick with Polk, since we've been assured that the sound would blend better (I think they call this acoustic matching.)Plus, Polk makes consistently solid, good speaker with solid parts and reliable construction.
So we knew we would buy a Polk. Now we needed to decide which one. There are basically 3 price ranges for Polk center channel speakers. The first is low, and includes the 175i and 245i and two new speakers that I have yet to see in stores, but that sell for the same prices as the 175i and the 245i. I can only assume that the new models will replace the 175 and 245. These list at around $150 and $200, respectively. Then there is the medium price range, where there is only one choice, the 400i (plus its new replacement) which lists at around $450. We eliminated the highest priced choice, which lists for over $1000, and the medium priced one, which is still too expensive for us at this point.
We compared the two low priced models. Now, the 245i comes with the tri-laminate tweeter and a little more range than the 175i, but all the reviews we read said that the 175i sounds just as good as the 245i. So we put it to the test...
We headed down to Circuit City and tried them both. We couldn't hear a difference, so the 175i came home with us.
How did it sound with our system?
Well, it sounds great! It blends seemlessly with our front Polk speakers. Even better, we no longer have to watch movies and TV with closed captioning on! That's worth the $150 right there! We can hear the dialogue clearly, even at a low volume and on old Video tapes taped off of TV. And it's very well shielded - no video distortion even when we held the speaker directly in front of the TV.
For those of you who need the gritty details:
one 5 1/4" Dynamic Balance driver
one 3/4" Dynamic Balance dome tweeter
Frequency Response: 55-22kHz
-3dB Limits: 60-20kHz
Crossover Topology: 1st order low pass filter at 2.5 kHz
and 1st order high pass filter at 2.5 kHz
Recommended Amplification: 10-100 watts (ours is 100)
Impedance: 8 ohms
Efficiency (1M, 1Watt): 89 dB
Dimensions: 6 3/8" high, 16 3/4" wide, 8 1/4" deep, 16 lbs
Available in matte black finish only
Our overall verdict?
I would definitely recommend the Polk 175i to anyone who wants a great sounding home movie setup without spending tons of money.