Polk Audio SDA 1-C Floorstanding Speakers

SDA 1-C

User Reviews (25)

Showing 1-10 of 25  
talldude777   Audio Enthusiast [May 31, 2010]

Vintage Polk Audio speakers are some of the "best bang for buck" components in the audio world. Over the years I have had the opportunity to own a few different models and all were extremely enjoyable. Currently I have a pair of SDA-1C in my 2-channel rig and the more time I spend with them the more I appreciate these vintage floorstanders.
The SDA's are my favorite so far, and a few basic tips will ensure the best listening experience:
1. Use high current power amplifiers
2. Follow the room placement guidelines in the Polk user manual
3. Always use the inter-connect cable

The SDA-1C performs very even from the lowest of notes to the highest notes. Some people may call them a bit bass shy, but I would totally disagree. They produce accurate bass, not bloated bass.

The midrange is perfect considering the cost these speakers on the used market.

The highs are good, but can be improved by replacing the stock tweeters to a new and improved version still sold by Polk Audio today.

Also note that as with any aged speaker, the stock crossovers can be upgraded with the addition of new capacitors and resistors. This is what will take these already great speakers to the next level of performance.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Hikertom   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 08, 2010]

02-08-2010

Hello all. I just bought a pair of Polk SDA 1C's. After reading all of your reviews I am looking forward to hearing these beauties. I shall update you on what I hear and get your sage advice. These should keep me busy for a while.

I used to tape the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band and wonder how some of my tapes, DATS, and CDs will sound when I hook them up. In particular how the soundstage may reveal the types of microphones, where the taping rigs wereset up, and how the differences in microphone sound and recording venues will show themselves.

Hmmm anticipation.

I like the fellow Polk SDA 1C listener from Italy who noted "a new world of sensations” that he felt. As an avid hiker who has hiked in Italy 2-3 times on long treks through the Alps it gets me to wonder whether these speakers will give me some musical memories to humm along to as I wander in the mountains.

PS had to give 5 stars or they would not post the message. From your posts it should be close.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
enp   AudioPhile [Aug 04, 2008]
Strength:

Still sonically great for it's age, clear highs and solid tight bass (Haflers has to do something about the great sound) I used to drive my Polks with other amps before but not as good sounding as the Haflers and Bryston. Some people might not agree saying that SDA is a thing of the past but try it with Haflers especially upgraded with Blackgate caps and Vishay/Sprague caps youb will be amazed.

Weakness:

Heavy, takes too much space, has a very low wife approval factor. The guy I bought it from--his wife was happy I took it out of their house. He is somewhat happy too but it has to let it go just to keep the peace in the house.

I bought a used one today from the original owner (barely used) and hurriedly did a test run and after all the years of its existence (20+) it still sounds great. All you need is to drive it with a high current amp. I used vintage Haflers to drive these speakers. Hafler 110 for preamp, Hafler 160 for equalizer (I like to use EQ once in a while-I don't want a preamp to limit or control me of what I want to adjust on a sound pleasing to my ears and the type of music I am playing) Hafler P3000 TransNova using balanced connectos through a RCA-Balanced converter. These speakers sounds outstanding. Next I'm gonna compare this with my Vintage Polks (RTA12, SDA-CRS, Monitor 10) and my newer LSi9 (might have to supplement it with my velodyne subs since LSi9 is bass shy). I will also try these speakers with my fully upgraded Apt Holman preamp driving a Hafler 1500 TransNova and with my another set of Haflers, Bryston and Acurus preamps driving a newly upgraded Hafler DH 500 and Acurus A150 power amps. Whichever set up pleases me most, that will be my prime units for thes SDA-1c (studio) speakers. But for now, being driven with my initial Hafler setup, I am quite satisfied with it.

Similar Products Used: Monitor 4, Hafler M5, Monitor 10, RTA12, 2 sets of SDA-CRS, FX surrounds, CS centers, Klipsch towers and subs, polk subs, Velodyne subs
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
enp   AudioPhile [Aug 04, 2008]
Strength:

Still sonically great for it's age, clear highs and solid tight bass (Haflers has to do something about the great sound) I used to drive my Polks with other amps before but not as good sounding as the Haflers and Bryston. Some people might not agree saying that SDA is a thing of the past but try it with Haflers especially upgraded with Blackgate caps and Vishay/Sprague caps youb will be amazed.

Weakness:

Heavy, takes too much space, has a very low wife approval factor. The guy I bought it from--his wife was happy I took it out of their house. He is somewhat happy too but it has to let it go just to keep the peace in the house.

I bought a used one today from the original owner (barely used) and hurriedly did a test run and after all the years of its existence (20+) it still sounds great. All you need is to drive it with a high current amp. I used vintage Haflers to drive these speakers. Hafler 110 for preamp, Hafler 160 for equalizer (I like to use EQ once in a while-I don't want a preamp to limit or control me of what I want to adjust on a sound pleasing to my ears and the type of music I am playing) Hafler P3000 TransNova using balanced connectos through a RCA-Balanced converter. These speakers sounds outstanding. Next I'm gonna compare this with my Vintage Polks (RTA12, SDA-CRS, Monitor 10) and my newer LSi9 (might have to supplement it with my velodyne subs since LSi9 is bass shy). I will also try these speakers with my fully upgraded Apt Holman preamp driving a Hafler 1500 TransNova and with my another set of Haflers, Bryston and Acurus preamps driving a newly upgraded Hafler DH 500 and Acurus A150 power amps. Whichever set up pleases me most, that will be my prime units for thes SDA-1c (studio) speakers. But for now, being driven with my initial Hafler setup, I am quite satisfied with it.

Similar Products Used: Monitor 4, Hafler M5, Monitor 10, RTA12, 2 sets of SDA-CRS, FX surrounds, CS centers, Klipsch towers and subs, polk subs, Velodyne subs
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Adrian   Casual Listener [May 24, 2006]

I have not heard them yet, but I have a Macintosh MA6100 Pre-Amp/Amp on the way from Ebay and wondering if it would be good enough for the Polks? THanks

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
orlando903   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 12, 2002]
Strength:

Terrific soundstage, realistic reproduction of timbres. Incredible mids and highs.

Weakness:

Bass response seems to be a little lacking in the 60-120 Hz region, but this is probably my room. The lowest frequencies are astounding.

These are speakers I dreamed about 15 years ago but could not afford at the time. The passage of time and ebay made their purchase finally possible. In 1986, I had owned a pair of SDA-CRS's which I loved. I did tire of the SDA imaging after a while as it felt like I was wearing headphones all the time. I sold the CRS's and bought a pair of Klipsch Heresy's which served me well for the past 15 years. The Heresy's were bright and sounded more like PA speakers, so much in fact, that after a couple of hours of listening, they became somewhat strident and induced listener fatigue. I received the 1C's and was immediately impressed by the balanced frequency response these generated. They do lack the immediacy and impact of the Heresy's (most notable during drum passages) but the sound of the 1C's is much more accurate, making the instruments sound more lifelike. The Heresy's gave more of a "live" in-your-face sound, whereas the Polks allow you to better appreciate the work (or lack of) done by the sound engineers on my favorite recordings. One instrument that I have found is difficult for speakers to reproduce is a piano. The Heresy's did not reproduce this instrument well at all, whereas the 1C's make it sound as if you are in the same room with the artist. Imaging is what these speakers are all about, and depending on the recording, they will deliver. Although the placement instructions are fairly straightforward, you will have to try several locations before you get the sound you want. They have a pretty broad dispersion, so keeping them away from "live" reflective surfaces is a must if you want to obtain the best imaging results. Unfortunately, my room is kind of small, which limits my options. These speakers (as do any good ones)will reveal limitations in your system. The Heresy's sounded best with a MOSFET Soundcraftsmen power amp, but when hooked to the 1C's, the amp's lack of damping caused tremendous woofer flutter, and the high frequencies appeared muddled and confused. I had a Harman Kardon HK870 (100 wpc 60 amps) that had sounded veiled with the Heresy's, and hooking this amp up to the 1C's made a tremendous improvement in the sound. Gone was the flutter, and the high end opened up considerably. If you have a pair of 1C's and feel a little underwhelmed by the sound, try some different amplifiers before you give up on them.

Similar Products Used: SDA-CRS (twin-tweeter model)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
byrd69   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 06, 2002]
Strength:

Great soundstage, clarity, definition, smooth, accurate, warm, powerful, nice to look at, big sound.

Weakness:

I too experiance the shutdown of the tweeters, but that is only due to my occasional overdriving by high volume rock (Jeff Beck - Japan 99)

I have always been impressed with the sound and perfromance of my SDA 1C''s. From day one they''ve been driven by an Adcom 555 II and Adcom 555 II pre-amp. I agree with most all reviews here. These are incredible speakers for the dollar. I have listened to pairs that cost double, and they did not stand up to the Polks. I am now putting together a home theater system, and the Polks will be in the front. I''ve got a Marantz MM9000 (150/ch) and AV9000 on layaway. I cannot wait to get the system set up. Any suggestions would be appreciated (ie: cables, tweeks for the Polks (not like any tweeking is needed, but you never know until you try). Does the Marantz and Polks sound like a good marriage?tchup?

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dan   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 01, 2000]
Strength:

Loud, but see weaknesses

Weakness:

Not a realistic soundstage

I used them with a Carver amp and then a Yamaha amp since 1987. For the kind of music I listen to (classical) they do not do anyone any favors. I have a pair of B&W 802 Matrix`s now and in every way make up for what I was missing with the Polk`s. Now, as to rude comments: let`s keep them to ourselves, shall we? Or is it that you somehow are offended because someone trashes your cherished pieces of equipment? Call your son or wife and idiot (for they are people you know), but refrain from calling someone else and idiot if you have no idea who they are. BTW, you could not have used these for 15 years because they did not come out until 1987 (when I bought them new, replacing the SDA 1-B model)

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Ralph   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 01, 2000]
Strength:

Great sound,Great build quality

What's Dan's problem! What an idiot! This speaker is far from a one! What amp did he have hooked up, a 1960 Kmart special. If your going to review put some qualifiers in. Basically we should and do ignore ridiculous comments. I am not qualified to review but I have had my SDA 1C's for about 15 years and am still very very happy! My audiophile neighbor sold all his high-end equipment after hearing my Polks running with TFM-35x THX certified amps running 700 watts mono each. Yes his new top of the line B&W's with high end Bryston amps sound better! My entire system cost a fraction of his speakers. The Polk's are a great value and have been absolutely flawless quality. You won't find a better sound for well under 1,500.00. If you have chance to pick up a set of these used, grab them! I give them a five in the price range and value. Name a speaker in the price range that goes down to 24Hz . Dan must work for a competing mfg. If you compare them to $5000 speakers I would give them a 3.5-4 stars. It is all relative Einstein. Keep your stupid comments to yourself.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Diego   Audiophile [Apr 03, 2000]
Strength:

Wide sound stage, very good bass response

Weakness:

None that I know

Hi guys, I'm writing from Italy so, I'm sure, you'll close an eye (or both) about some mistakes! Anyway my friends, I perfectly agree with all the good things I red about these wonderfull speakers. I actually drive them with an Onkyo M504, a warm solid state power amp, delivering 250W per channel at 4 ohms. The preamp is a Musical Fidelity X-Pre upgraded with the X-Psu, I must say that is a perfect couple! About the speakers, I can say that they saved me from getting out of head! Simply, I was thinking to get a barbeque from that orrible pair of Mission I probably bought after a joint! After I heard few minutes the SDA-1C I actually own, a new world of sensations opened its wide doors to me. My god, I said, to what kind of speakers have I listen since now? I immediatelly purchase them, and still today I love them. I still haven't found something that sounds similar, I listen most to classic and jazz, and I found that this speakers are perfect with great percussions, as Strawinky's Rite of Spring, or little jazz quartet. The sound is warm and powerfull, miles away from being cold or ears killer.
Well, I think I've said enough. In my opinion, still the best speakers money can buy!

Similar Products Used: Mission 765i, Tannoy DC 6000
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 25  

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