Review of the Polk Audio Reserve R200
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The Review of the Polk Audio Reserve R200
This review originally appeared in Sound+Image magazine, one of the Australian sister publications of What Hi-Fi?. Click here for more information about Sound+Image, including digital editions and details on how to subscribe.
Polk’s position within the Sound United product stable has given it a new home in Australia along with other Sound United brands: Boston Acoustics, Bowers & Wilkins, Classé, Definitive Technology, Denon and Marantz.
The change in distribution coincides with a new range – the Polk Reserve series of speakers, which sits just below the company’s flagship Legend series. Indeed, the new speakers use the same custom drivers developed for the Legends, including the proprietary Pinnacle tweeter and ‘turbine cone’ mids.
The new Reserve range has indeed expanded, with three floor standings, three centers, two standmounts and a pair of ‘Atmos’ height modules that can be placed on top of other Reserve series speakers or mounted on the wall to enhance the height effects. of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
Bookshelf Speaker: Polk Audio Reserve R200
Needless to say, the Polk Reserve series is also suitable for home cinema use and stereo listening. All models are available here in Australia in matte black or brown (walnut); a satin white finish will follow.
The matte black finish and dark speaker grilles of our test sample helped them fade into our decor somewhat, but they were still fairly physically present, and all the more so because we soon decided we preferred both watching and listening with the grids, thus adding their remarkable drivers to the visual equation.
Your own choice of whether to use the grilles may be influenced by young children in the house, as the tweeter here is Polk Audio’s high-res capable Pinnacle ring radiator, with its signature pointed waveguide enticing even adults to take a closer look. , and children to reach out and touch.
This tweeter comes straight from Polk’s flagship Legend series, and the ring radiator design means there’s no central dome to break into.up modes, so lower distortion is achieved here within the listening range and even beyond, as the Pinnacle is ‘hi-res certified’.
External and internal waveguides control the dispersion of such high-frequency energy, aiming to deliver a wider sweet spot and more consistent sound across listening positions. The Pinnacle tweeter also has its own sealed cavity filled with damping material, which Polk says removes an edge of internal resonance at 2.5 kHz, slightly below the 3 kHz crossover point in this model.
The Pinnacle’s copper cap also reduces inductance and flux modulation, aiming to further improve high-frequency performance and further reduce distortion; Polk’s own measurements show that the tweeter’s output is impressively flat down to about 35 kHz.
The ‘turbine cone’ drivers are so named because of the asymmetrical bumps the injection molding process has added to the foam-core polypropylene cones, with this ‘turbine’ geometry purported to minimize resonances around 5.5-6 kHz that would occur in a smoother cone equivalent , impeding true piston movement, while the turbine thrusts and a suitably impedance matched surround prevent it, dramatically increasing stiffness and damping, but without adding bulk to the cone itself.
Nevertheless, the cone construction is about double the thickness of more common polypropylene cones, with what Polk entertainingly describes as a “tough center” with a “crispy exterior.” The result is an impressively linear response in the mid-range – indeed rising to about 9 kHz, way above the crossover here.
While in the larger Reserve models this driver is only used for the mid-range, the bass performance, as we will see, is still suitable for unsupported use in a stand-mount design, with the output fully maintained down to 150 Hz and then decreases relatively slowly to 6 dB lower around 70Hz.
The best bookshelf speakers available today Port Arrivals There’s an extra secret weapon here, visible on the back, above the pair of solid 5-way binding posts. The gate is most unusual in both design and appearance, with a pointed torpedo protruding from it, held in the center of the gate by three radial struts.
This is Polk’s new X-Port, like featured on the Reserve range’s center speakers and stands, while the floorstanding R600 and R700 instead have Polk’s new Power Port 2.0 in their base, flashing down. Polk’s original Power Port was patented in 1996 and minimized air turbulence by attaching a waveguide to the opening of the port.
“The original PowerPort was all about bass performance and avoiding port noise,” Polk staff told us during a special presentation to EISA editors. “The port on a speaker helps to get more lower frequencies and increase the sensitivity of the speaker – but maybe no one told you this comes at a price.”
This is true. A port uses the back energy from drivers in a cabinet to produce more bass, although this is centered on the port’s tuning frequency and the volume of air in the cabinet.
Below the tuning frequency, the output of the port and transducer become out of phase with each other, causing bass to drop faster than with a closed box design. Above the tuning frequency, the open-ended pipe also creates what are often referred to as pipe organ resonances that can cloud the midrange. So Polk’s new Power Port 2.0 also works for cleaning up the higher bass and mids.
“On top of the waveguide cone, we build a ‘hollow pole’ with an opening halfway through the port, and this pipe is tuned to multiples of port frequency tuning,” Polk says. The effect is significant, especially reducing a large 14dB resonance peak that occurs at 700 Hz.
Wrap up Review of the Polk Audio Reserve R200
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