Highlighted User Review

Polk Audio R50 User Review

The Polk Audio R50 has been a popular speaker of late.  It is the most researched speaker of the last month.  If you don’t know much about it, here is your chance.

Polk Audio R50

Polk Audio R50
16 reviews
3.69 of 5
MSRP: $ 215.00

Description:

  • video-shielded
  • bass-reflex design
  • frequency response 50-20,000 Hz (-3dB)
  • 8-ohm impedance
  • sensitivity 90 dB
  • handles up to 150 watts
  • black hardwood veneer
  • 5-way binding posts
  • 9-5/16″W x 37-1/8″H x 11-15/16″D (with base)

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Reviewed by:

TheKid72

(AudioPhile)

Review Date
December 4, 2007

Overall Rating
3 of 5

Value Rating
5 of 5

Used product for
Less than 1 month

Summary:
The Polk R series has proven to be one of the best bargains in affordable loudspeakers on the market. Any “sins” are of omission such as limitations, as they are impressively free of serious coloration and peaks that so often plagues loudspeakers in this market and real-world street price point.

The R50 is no exception, and may be the best bang for the buck of the entire R series. I’ve read comments that these are great for HT but no music – like heck they are! These are a revealing loudspeaker that is not forgiving of the cheap electronics they are likely going to be connected to. When I first purchased them, I had them on a 30 year old entry level receiver where the sound was so-so. Then as I upgraded to a new Onkyo receiver, let the Audyssey system do it’s automatic setup, and enjoy.

Midrange imaging is impressive . As others have stated, you’d swear there was a center channel speaker installed. On the same token, these aren’t so revealing that the image extends beyond the width of their placement – no 3D sound field here. The image expands from speaker to speaker – no further, no closer or farther away.

Treble is pleasantly airy and natural, without any peak to add “zing” to the music. Dispersion is wide, sound is open, transition from the mid-bass drivers is smooth.

Bass – now here is where I have to disagree with most comments about these. In my setup, running them as a sterep pair without a subwoofer, they have more than ample extension for real-world music reproduction. The bass extends below what their 50Hz -3db point would leave you to expect. If anything, if driven by good electronics, most people would not need a subwoofer for music (unless providing the block with music) – but would for home theater. I strongly suspect that those who have issues with limited, strained output are really hearing their receivers run out of clean power.

Now I’ve been an audiophile for decades. I’ve owned very good equipment both in electronics and loudspeakers over the years. In preparation for a move, I sold everything – now my move has been delayed and I was climbing the walls without music. To say that I enjoy listening to music through these speakers says a lot!

In summary, these may be from Polk’s entry level point, but they are now entry level schlock. How good they sound depends on what you are driving them with. Like the Advent Loudspeakers of the 1970s (which I owned back then), they are affordable, but don’t mate them with budget electronics and expect much. Spend the money you saved by buying these vs. another costlier model – and invest it in the best electronics you can afford.

Strengths:
Overall natural and neutral tonal balance. Tight, extended bass when used with good electronics for music reproduction. Airy treble and respectable midrange detail for this price point. Nice fit and finish for their cost.

Weaknesses:
At this price point, all audible sins can be forgiven. For many buyers who aren’t knowledgeable of differences in brands of receivers, these may be too revealing of other component shortcomings. For those who drive these with good electronics, you’ll notice a lack of “space” and 3D imaging – but again look at the street price!

Similar Products Used:
ACI Sapphire, PSB Stratus Silver, Ohm Walsh 2,. Magnapan MMG, Infinity Reference Studio Monitor (pre-Harmon era), M&K S-1 – the list goes on and on.


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