Polk’s Reserve speakers promise hi-fi sound at affordable prices

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Polk Audio has built its reputation on delivering hi-fi sound to a wider audience, usually at reasonable prices rather than the sticker shock that many hi-fi manufacturers are known for. With that in mind, the company today announced its Reserve speaker series. Although the company positions them as a “ premium ” line just below its Legend series, the Reserve bookshelf speakers start at just $ 600.

Notably, Polk uses the same woofers and tweeters that he developed for the flagship Legend series – speakers that I appreciated in my own listening tests and that provided solid measured performance. Not only that, but Polk also added a few more tricks, since the Legend line includes a new “ X-port ” filter at the rear, as well as new cabinet construction with internal bracing techniques in order to minimize resonances – artifacts that can color the sound of a speaker.

Indeed, a few resonances were one of the few issues I encountered when testing the Legend L200, so if the new series performed better in that regard, that would be an impressive achievement for the company.

I also like the wide range of speakers which should be flexible enough to meet most home theater needs. The range consists of:

  • R100: a small bookshelf speaker – $ 599 / pair
  • R200: one large shelf – $ 699 / pair
  • R300: a compact “ normal ” center channel – $ 399
  • R350: a long and thin center channel – $ 549
  • R400: a large central channel – $ 599
  • R500: a small tower speaker – $ 599 each
  • R600: one medium tower – $ 799 each
  • R700: a large tower – $ 999 each
  • R900: a height module for Dolby Atmos – $ 599 / pair

That’s a lot of speakers, but the variety means you should be able to find a combination that works for your own audio or home theater setup.

Although it’s cheaper than its flagship line, Polk says not to call the series “ Legend-light ”. Indeed, it almost seems like the company is cannibalizing its own flagships, given that the Reserve series offers the same drivers for much less (the Legend L100 started at $ 1,199). But I have to understand that the company doesn’t seem to skimp on R&D for its more mainstream series. Not only that, but personally I much prefer the more minimalist look of the new series.

There’s a lot to like here, but of course the proof is in the pudding. Hopefully I’ll be able to put one of the Reserve speakers to the test soon.

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Published March 24, 2021 – 02:22 UTC


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