I am starting to upgrade my 15-year-old stereo. I have some Polks, a Yamaha receiver, and a CD player from Denon. I want to upgrade my speakers first. Is Polk Audio still a good name? What other brands should I be shopping for? I'm not sure about my budget yet. I might be willing to spend $1000.
You can get quite good speakers for $1000. Polk is still reputable, and you might have seen that we recently reviewed the smaller of their two flagship-model speakers, the LSiM705. There are other manufacturers who are pushing the boundaries of what to expect at that price point, however. GoldenEar Technologies' Aon 3 very much impressed Doug Schneider not only for its overall sound quality, but also for its bass output, which was excellent for a bookshelf. Having spent a good deal of time with GoldenEar's larger Triton Three, I suspect the $1000 Aon 3 is the proverbial chip off the old block. Slightly above your $1000 price range is Definitive Technologies' $1198 BP-8020ST, a bipolar tower speaker with a powered bass driver. I am due to receive a pair for review any day now, and on paper, at least, they look promising. Fittingly, each of the three companies mentioned here was founded by the same individual, Sandy Gross, and it's no surprise that each brand has a loyal following. Whether you stick with Polks, perhaps something like the RTiA7, or follow up on either of my other suggestions, I think you'll be happy you upgraded. Speaker design, and resultant sound quality, has come a long way in the past 15 years. . . . Hans Wetzel