(September 6, 2019) In a massive announcement that’s sure to shake the foundation of the audio world, Polk Audio is prepping to unleash a brand-new flagship lineup of loudspeakers. This spells the end to the company’s well-regarded LSiM line, giving Polk fans access to six new Hi-Fi speaker designs. Not bold enough, you say? Consider this: Polk is debuting its new top dog – the L800 SDA tower speaker – at this week’s Rocky Mountain Audiofest. Yes, folks, that's rare territory for one of the industry's top-selling speaker brands, but speaks volumes about Polk's confident outlook.
The Legend Series features cutting edge technologies – some of which are new twists on old Polk favorites – packed into heavily braced cabinets available in two real-wood finishes. Headlined by the L800 SDA ($2,999/each), other models include the 5.25” L100 ($1,199/pair) and 6.5” L200 ($1,799/pair) bookshelf speakers, L400 center channel ($1,799), L600 tower speaker ($1999/each), and L900 Atmos module ($599/pair). All speakers are scheduled to hit retailers on October 1, 2019, save for the L800, which becomes available on November 3 at select Polk dealers.
The L800 is Polk’s first SDA speaker launched in decades, drawing from the company’s iconic technology invented by Mathew Polk in the early 1980s. SDA is deployed to minimize the harmful effects of interaural crosstalk (IAC), a natural distortion that exists when traditional stereo speakers are deployed. Polk says SDA “acoustically isolates the two stereo channels and cancels out IAC to deliver a true stereo listening experience, creating a deep, three-dimensional soundstage that faithfully reproduces the recording.” It also allows owners to enjoy amazingly accurate imaging even when the speakers are spaced widely apart.
According to Polk, the L800’s version of SDA employs a “Head Shadow” filter in the dimensional array along with 15-degree angled baffles. These help to achieve IAC cancellation while eliminating the need to toe-in the loudspeaker. The new baffle design also allows the L800 to enjoy a cabinet that’s nearly 25% narrower than previous SDA models, allowing for a more room-friendly experience.
The L800’s overall specifications read like those of a future bantamweight champ. Each speaker weighs a hefty 118-pounds and measures 17.9”W x 48.6”H x 17.4”D, carrying a total of six drivers and wicked down-firing port. And it’s sure to require decent power to drive (87dB, 4 ohm), with an overall frequency response of 24Hz-50kHz. The Legend Series’ other tower option is no slouch either, weighing in at 77.8-pounds (12.9” x 46” x 15.9”) and possessing playback down to 28Hz.
“From the beginning we wanted to make loudspeakers that virtually transform the listening space into the performance space, creating an intimate, immersive and welcoming experience between the listener and the performer,” said Stu Lumsden, Vice President, Engineering and Quality, Sound United. “When we originally developed SDA in 1982, our goal was the most lifelike imaging you ever heard. We called it True Stereo because we were the first speaker manufacturer to maintain stereo separation all the way from the source to the ears, and that is still true today. After more than forty years developing speakers at Polk Audio, I’m confident the Legend Series are truly exceptional for listeners of all levels.”
Polk has also improved up its patented Power Port design, which is deployed to eliminate port noise and improve bass. The company’s engineers have smoothed out the port flare, thus providing Legend speakers with better bass output and a smoother transition into the listening area. Other tweaks include improvements to the speaker’s Turbine Cones and Hi-Res certified Pinnacle Ring Radiator tweeters.