Product of the Day, Day 39: Polk LSi9 Bookshelf Speakers

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Polk LSi9 Speakers, Genuine Cherry Wood Finish


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When it comes to just plain beautiful sound, it is hard to beat Polk’s LSi series of speakers, and the bookshelf Polk Audio LSi9 is probably the best of the whole series.

When the LSi series was announced and touted to be a genuine competitor to high-end brands, there was a bit of skepticism.  Polk Audio was recognized as a quality speaker brand that mainly served the mass market, not a truly high-end manufacturer.  However, Polk Audio is also run by audiophiles and after decades of success was a large, well-funded company with a lot of resources, resources few if any high-end manufacturers (which tend to be small companies) can match. The resulting LSi series made believers out of everyone from the moment they heard them play.

The LSi9 has a sound that can be described as sweet, rich, delicated, with a wide tonal palette, yet extremely accurate.  I’ve compared them to speakers costing many times the LSi9′s $995/pair asking price and never come away feeling let down.  They really are that good!  While they lack the imaging and spatial qualities of the Ohm MicroWalsh Tall, my absolute favorite $995/pair speaker, I think the LSi9 has a slightly more full sound.  I can’t think of any other two speakers selling for under $1,000 that I would rather listen to than the LSi9 and the MicroWalsh Tall.

The LSi9 may be called a bookshelf speaker, but it is large and heavy and should definitely be used on solid speaker stands for the best results.  It is also a 4-ohm speaker and doesn’t tolerate weak amplifiers at all.  You need a receiver rated for 4-ohm speakers and you would be best off with a separate amplifier if using a complete set of LSi speakers in a home theater .

Speaking of a home theater, if you are building a complete Polk LSi based system the rest of the speakers aren’t cheap, either.  Here is what an LSi9 based home theater would cost:

  • LSi9 Left/Right Speakers:  $995.00/pair
  • LSiC Center Channel:  $559.95
  • LSiFX Surrounds:  $995.00/pair

That’s almost $2,600 without a subwoofer, and the 4-ohm LSi speakers demand high-quality amplification.  I’d recommend at least an Outlaw Audio separate amplifier for the best results, paired with an A/V processor/preamp or a good receiver with preamplifier ouputs.

The upside is the tremendous performance for the money.  I won’t name names, but a few years ago at the High Performance Audio exhibits at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas I heard a $100,000 home theater speaker system driven by $100,000 worth of electronics.  The Polk LSi9 home theater I heard a floor below sounded far better, and only cost about $$5,500 including amplification.  It wasn’t just me who heard the superiority of the LSi.  I had a lay person as my guest at the show and they said the same thing- unsolicited!  “You know, I think the Polk system sounded a lot better!”

Does this mean that the LSi9 speakers outperform everything selling for more than the $995 asking price?  No… but they outperform a LOT of more expensive gear, a lot of it a LOT more expensive.

Just get a good amplifier or receiver and good speaker stands, and you will be good to go with the LSi9s.

The Polk LSi9 speakers come in an Ebony or Cherry wood finish (real wood, at that) with beautiful glossy black tops and front surfaces.

Polk Audio LSi9 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Cherry)

Polk Audio LSi9 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Ebony)

Stop back tomorrow for The Product of the Day!


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