Review: Polk Audio Lsi 25 Speaker

Category: Speakers

MSRP: $3,000. Actual price paid: $1,829 (shipped).

I know, I know...Polk Audio is a compnay that has been more closely associated with the likes of Circuit City and Best Buy than with the higher realm of Audiophilia. But before you dismiss full-range floorstanders, you'd be wise to give them an audition, in my humble opinion.

The Lsi 25's, along with their younger siblings the Lsi 15's, have received rave reviews in publications such as TAS and The Inner Ear. The difference between the two is that the Lsi 25's have a powered subwoofer built into them, the path I chose to take over the Lsi 15's with a separate subwoofer. I found the Lsi 25's produced a more extended dynamic range on all kinds of music, and were able to plumb the depths of 20-25 Hz bass better than the Lsi 15's could. As an apartment dweller, I could also do without the sub pounding into the floor all the time.

I have been testing the LSi 25's with a broad array of music, from rock (The Who's "My Generation" SACD, Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Couldn't Stand the Weather" SACD and David Gray's "New Day at Midnight" CD, among others) to jazz (Patricia Barber's "Verse" CD, her "Nightclub" SACD, Billie Holiday's "Lady in Satin" SACD, etc.) to classical "Leonard Bernstein's "Rhapsody in Blue/Grand Canyon Suite" SACD and Helene Grimaud's "Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2").

Naturally, SACD sounds superior to mere CD, and the sound is far more detailed on the higher-resolution format. Percussion is crisper with clearer "decay" of cymbals and the like, you can hear the guitarists sliding their fingers along the strings, and vocalists sound as if they are phyisically present in the room.

CD, however, sounds excellent as well. Personally, I only own about 12 SACDs, so that will not make up the bulk of my listening. No matter what kind of material I throw at the Polks, they handle it with aplomb; even poorly recorded CDs sound as lousy as they should, exhibiting the accuracy of the Lsi 25's.

Soundstaging is excellent to my ear, although I should admit that this is the highest end speaker I have heard in my own listening room (M&K 125's would be next). The noise floor is quite low. And even though the 9000ES is sometimes accused of being a bit bright, and my silver interconnects probably don't help this, but the speakers sound quite neutral to me. They only reveal brightness on recordings that sound bright in every setup I've heard.

For more details and measurements, please consult, where they have listed full reviews from a number of publications (many of these are under the Lsi 15 link).

I encourage AudiogoNers to at least consider these speakers, in part because of the performance and in part because of the consumer's ability to take about 35% off of the retail price by comparing vendors. For $1800+ change, I have a hard time imagining how I could have come up with a better 2-channel system. Should I go to multi-channel, I could just add the Lsi 15's in the back and the Lsi-series center channel (The PSW 650 subwoofer would add even more power to the bottom end). Considering the discounts, that would give me a true full-range 5.1 system for a real-world cost of maybe $4,300 or so.

Not bad, eh?


Associated gear
Sony DVP-S9000ES SACD Player

Musical Fidelity A300 Integrated Amp

Analysis Plus Silver Oval In .5 meter Interconnect

Analysis Plus Oval Plus Speaker Cable
Hey, as long as you are enjoying the music that is what is important. I have heard mega buck systems that I did not like. I also read the review and was wondering how much better the $10,000 speakers are. Maybe one day I will try a pair.

Happy Listening.
That's a great deal on medium-sized floorstander that can go almost full-range with authority, if you like the sound. It's always seemed as if, in theory, the big speaker makers could bring good sound to market at a reasonable price if they cared to devote the effort to it, and maybe Polk has. That looks like a nice system for the money too. The one thing in your review that made me laugh was the notion of The Who's "My Generation" being on SACD - it's one of my fav albums of all time, but the original recording is famously flawed (although I wouldn't change a thing about the feeling you get off it), and is hardly audiophile audition material - so of course I say, Great! Rock on, Z.
Z--That's a big reason why I specifically used the My Generation SACD...I knew it to be "famously flawed," and I wanted to see how accurately the speakers conveyed those flaws. I feel the Lsi 25's handled it very accurately, indeed.
I like the new Polk LSi series, slightly warm, but very enjoyable... One comment on the Sony 9000, it most definitely is NOT bright! So the speakers are not toning down. Happy listening!
The new Polk Lsi series are great speakers. I heard them at the Alexis Park at this years CES. I was suprised indeed. The sound quality, detail, and overall presentation was better than many speakers costing much more. I listened to Polk Lsi's extensively after the show, and read the glowing reviews from W. Philips & A. Cordesman.

I bought a pair of the Lsi 15's. They sound fantastic, and the overall quality is quite high. When you combine that with the very reasonable price, it goes right to the best buy category.

I use a Mcintosh system, Sony SACD, Music Hall mmf-7, Mcintosh DVD/CD.

Don't let the name "Polk Audio" and it's big box retail outlet affiliation turn you off. These really are audiophile quality!
I too, must admit that I was a little reluctant to give these a try due to Polk's "mid-fi" status. Wow! I have been looking to upgrade my HT speakers for some time and haven't been able to find a suitable replacement that works with my room both acoustically and physically. To make things a little more difficult I also decided to combine both my music and movies into the same system and room. I built our HT room from scratch to function as a dedicated HT and selected equipment that complimented that. With the addition of two small children I have been wanting to consolidate to free up some space and better "protect" the equipment.

I set my ceiling at $6k not including a sub (I currently own several) and began looking at both used and new. Over the past year I have listened to - and auditioned in my home - many fine speakers that all have had their strengths and weakness's. If it weren't for the high impact blockbuster action soundtracks I would opt for a nice set of floor standing 2-ways that play down to 35hz or so with a very refined and "airy" sound. Unfortunately most of those aren't very dynamic and sound very congested on action movie soundtracks. My favorites included the Thiel 1.6, Meadowlark Hot Rod Shearwater, and the Vienna Acoustics Bach.

And then "a funny thing happened to me on the way to the boutique audio store" thing happened and I had a chance to listen to a pair of Polk LSI 15's at the local "Hi Fi's and Appliances 'R' Us" hooked up to some seriously mid-fi electronics and was quite impressed. I promptly purchased the demo pair since they aren't supposed to carry the LSI line and didn't have any others, listened to them for a week, and made use of their generous return policy.
Enthused about the 15's I tried to find a dealer for the LSI line in my area and found out that we have none. So I like many others turned to the Internet and found a dealer that was willing to quickly fill my need.

I ended up with a trio of 25's across the front and 3 LSI F/X in a side surround and single rear channel configuration. Very detailed with high dynamic capability and WAY under my budget with current discounting. I also purchased a pair of the LSI 9's for casual listening in the living room and am even more impressed with their performance. With the sub in the 25's turned off they sound a little thinner than the 9's running full range but if crossed over at 60hz they sound almost identical. The difference most likely has more to do with cabinet diffraction than anything

I have had some problem getting the bass right with the three up front and ultimately ending up turning the center LSI 25 sub way down. If I could do it all over again I would purchase the 15's for the front three crossed over at 40hz and pair the system with a good sub for the last octave. That would give a little better flexibility in placement and provide a better value as well.

All in all an amazing line of speakers that certainly deserve an audition.

Associated Equipment

Bryston SP 1.7
Bryston 9B ST
Bryston 3B SST
Homegrown Audio Silver Lace balanced Interconnects
Kimber 8PR
NEC MT1000 Projector
Greyhawk Perfed screen
Polk LSI 25's for LCR
M&K MX 5000 (definitely not needed with the 25's)
Camelot Roundtable DVD Player
I have a fondness for Polk Audio.
I bought a pair of studio monitor 10a back in the early 70’s.
Stacked 2 a side on a classic system using a turntable and you will have the classic sound staging that was part of the roots for today’s sound. Base was deep for the time.

I recently bought a pair of KLH 5’s to also listen to.

Back to the future.

That system
Polk Audio monitors 10a
Marantz consolet pre amp x2
Scott tub amp or SAE power amp
Empire turntable, w/empire and or sure
Marantz SLT
Revox 10.5 reel to reel tube deck

Later used on Carvers Phase Linear pre and 700b
Denon TT, Grace tone arm and Grace cartridge
Hi Brian,

Where did you get such a price on the Polk's? Every place I went to said that Polk would not allow a discount on the LSI's. I found one place online but they would remove the serial numbers and I didn't appreciate that.

I can't see any reason to dismiss Polk solely because of where they're sold. You think if Paradigm, PSB or Epos could get their products into Best Buy stores they wouldn't?

I bought a pair of RT25i monitors at Circuit City and paid less than $300. They were fantastic powered by Antique Sound Labs monoblocks fed through a Creek preamp and I wish I still had them. At that time, Circuit City actually had passable demo rooms, too. I listened to the Polks through Onkyo Integra seperates and though the rooms was far from ideal, it at least gave me an idea of what I was buying. Those days are over, though.

Polk remains at the top of my list when it comes to speakers. Though the LSi series seemed pricey to me at first, I have to say I think I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review!
PLEASE tell us where you got the LSi25 at that price. The lowest I could get Tweeter to go was $2150.
I am no longer able to find the speaker at that price. My understanding is that Polk went after those dealers who were selling them too far below retail value...can't confirm that, though.
I have been having a problem with my polk audio lsi25, My denon avr 5803 shuts down at high levels with the x-over set to large. The sub input is set to line level outputs
on my amp. I dont know if there is a problem with the impedence of these speakers at 4 ohms.
I have been reading about amp burn in ,and speaker burn in ,I have all new equipment and not shure what that is?
Remember the Entire LSI Series is 4 ohm impeadence. I have a pair of these and they beat up my Marantz monoblocks when played at high volume. As I recall, The Denon power rating is at 6 ohms. What is it capable of at 4 ohms? I have found if you want to Rock and Roll these speakers will drain every watt your amp is capable of producing. You may want to go to a seperate power amp with a high output at 4 ohms. But on the good side these things sound magnificent.
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If You Search the internet you can find a pair of LSI-15s for about $1400.LSI-25s $1600-$2000 I would not suggest driving them with the amp you described unless you would have them in a small room. If you always listen at low levels you might be O.K. My Marantz amps are rated @ 180 watts in to four ohms and I am considering getting either a higher powered amp or a set of LSI-9s and more Marantz amps (Since these speakers are 4 ohms) to drive the LSI-9s. Of course a second set of speakers would probably wreck my soundstaging.
I guess I am lucky. I got a demo pair of Lsi 15's for $700 at my local dealer. I have seen them on the internet for $650 so I can complain at all because the list price is close to $1900. For the price I paid, they sound fabulous.