|Sealed, down firing bass reflex port
|1 x 1-inch Pinnacle Ring Radiator, 1 x 6 ½-inch Turbine Cone, 2 x Two 8-inch Polypropylene Woofers
||8 ohm (compatible with 4, 6, or 8 ohm rated amplifier)
||30 Hz to 50 kHz (38 Hz to 38 kHz at -3dB)
|50 – 300 watts per channel
||1 144 x 321 x 429 mm (HxWxD)
||35.9 kg ea.
SUPPLIED BY Audioholics 011-453-2365
In mid review I was asked how the Polkies were treating me.
I must say that I wasn’t expecting anyone to refer to these imposers as ‘Polkies’. They’re anything but – and if I had to describe what I was hearing at the time in one word it would have to be ‘exuberant’. What we have here is a substantial nearly 36 kg can’t be avoided in any room rather BIG speaker. Two of them, 8 drivers and well, just look at them. The “Polkies” are hard to ignore physically and impossible to ignore sonically.
The Polk Pinnacle Ring tweeter is in itself a bit like the needle on Snow White’s spinning wheel. It draws you in. You HAVE to touch it. And then when you do you feel guilty. But then you do it again, just to make sure. It won’t draw blood happily but if you were in hand to hand combat with the things I’m sure they’d take out an eye. But then the mid/bass driver is even more interesting with its twisty bumps and lumps that are clearly a design to create something interesting in the wave formation process.
Polk call it a turbine cone woofer that apparently increases cone rigidity without increasing mass. An engineering innovation then, to address the age old quest of speed and accuracy through cone mass and inertia issues. The inner OCD in me doesn’t like the number 7 but that’s okay – they still look pretty amazing. Two conventional 8-inch poly props finish off the driver complement in a matte black chassis that’s inert to the tap but coupled to the ground with an outrunner frame kitted with rubberised feet in this case, although I am sure spikes are an option.
A down-firing bass reflex port is hidden then from sight but it is of Polk’s Power Port 2.0 design that “smooths the flow of air as it exits the cabinet through the port”, whilst X-Port adds a set of closed-pipe absorbers that are specifically tuned to unwanted cabinet and port resonances. Together, these two technologies combine to function as Power Port 2.0 to deliver smooth, detailed audio. Combined with dual 8-inch woofers, you’ll get louder, cleaner bass while minimising turbulence and port noise”.
Bi-wiring is an option and the top quality binding posts take spades, bananas and bare cable in anyway you like and it’s easy to get a good fast and hard grip with just your fingers doing the tightening. Set up done I toed them in ever so slightly and settled down to listen to them run in.
Immediate first impressions are of a tremendously open speaker. They are big speakers and they sound it right away with a big bold and almost boisterous nature that sees you almost instinctively reaching for the volume knob to turn it up and to start digging out some good hard rock or inst inst club tracks. The R700s are designed with high end home theatre in mind, but it would be a mistake to dismiss them as one trick movie ponies – because they’re not that at all.
The almost forward nature of the speakers is infectious. The Polks are happy speakers and they want to please you at every possibility. The speed of response is impressive and it’s this nature of the speaker that — coupled with that impressive bass response — builds a sonic picture that is just so easy to enjoy. There can be no doubt about it however that if you want to let your hair down and open the system up for some good old fashioned good times, the R700s will party with you until the wee hours of the morning. Best still is that in the morning after they won’t remind you of your sins and will coddle your cares away because despite appearances they actually do have a subtlety to them that belies their appearance.
I will admit that this subtlety has to be seen in context. They are not small bookshelf speakers that are going to lilt the lightest of notes towards your anticipatory earlobe. The physical constraints of the speaker preclude wearing them as oversized headphones. You could try, I suppose, but you’d have a stiff neck and shortened life span in my best estimation.
Rather, the speakers manage to still do what good speakers should do – and that’s to be quiet when required to be so by the music. Silence is a thing created by ambience and the lack of resonance, and good driver speed and control is what gives this to you. Nothing beats construction in this regard and the R700s have nothing to apologise for in the realms of their construction, both from the driver point of view and indeed the cabinets.
The bass is the talking point of these R700s and it’s impressive. Positioning the speakers for room acoustics to avoid standing waves and resonance that booms is a standard problem to have – I found the R700s worked best a little further forward than normal which, given their size, may be an issue for some – again room dynamics dependent. If you haven’t listened to Sarel’s take on room dynamics on our Podcasts, you need to do so. The technicalities behind how we hear our speakers matter. And the R700s are worthy of your close attention to detail to extract the maximum out of them.
We also speak of imaging – that ability of two point sources to create a point source. It’s interesting to note how speakers toe in or out to achieve more of an effect than backwards and forwards. And as per my personal preferences to have a less toed in speaker I found that the Polkies appear to be reasonably forgiving. One is able to discern that the sweet spot is generous in proportion and I have to say that this does fit in with the theme of keeping the R700s as high end home theater references.
Musically I cannot help but find myself thinking, all the time I was listening to these speakers, about parties. I find that some speakers lend themselves to Properly Serious listening – my AVSA Kit IIs for instance or my Mias – they just invoke that sense in my particular listening nodes/moods. These though, whilst they certainly can keep up in the same environment, have a sense of spirit about them that encourages bad behaviour in the listening volume department, and you kinda want to share them with friends. I have no doubt that they will find themselves serving duty in just such an environment and they will not disappoint at any level!
The Polkies worked for me. I think that they are versatile, punchy and dynamic with a measure of control to suit most occasions. Sure, they might be labelled as generalist all duty type speakers, but when push comes to shove that’s actually probably closer to what we all want than perhaps our budgets can accommodate. As such they’re excellent value and without doubt worthy of an audition for sure!