Polk Audio built its reputation on providing hi-fi sound to a wider audience, typically dealing at reasonable prices rather than the sticker shock many hi-fi manufacturers are known for. In that spirit, the company today announced its Reserve series of speakers. Although the company positions them as a ‘premium’ line just below its Legend series, the Reserve bookshelf speakers start at just $600.
Notably, Polk is using the very same woofers and tweeters it developed for the flagship Legend series — speakers I enjoyed in my own listening tests and which offered solid measured performance. Not only that, but Polk has also added a few more tricks, since the Legend line including a new ‘X-port’ filter in the rear, as well as new cabinet construction with internal bracing techniques in order to minimize resonances — artifacts that can color a speaker’s sound.
Indeed, a few resonances were one of the few issues I had testing the Legend L200, so if the new series is actually better behaved in this regard, it would be an impressive achievement for the company.
I also appreciate the wide line-up of speakers which should be flexible enough to fit most home theater needs. The lineup consists of:
- R100: a small bookshelf speaker – $599/pair
- R200: a large bookshelf – $699/pair
- R300: a compact ‘normal’ center channel – $399
- R350: a long and slim center channel – $549
- R400: a large center channel – $599
- R500: a small tower speaker – $599 each
- R600: a medium tower – $799 each
- R700: a large tower – $999 each
- R900: a height module for Dolby Atmos- $599/pair
That’s a lot of speakers, but the variety means you should be able to find a combination that works for your own audio or home theater setup.
Despite being cheaper than its flagship line, Polk says not to call the series ‘Legend-light.’ Indeed, it almost seems like the company is cannibalizing its own flagships, considering the Reserve series offers the same drivers for much less (the legend L100 started at $1,199). But I’ve got to appreciate that the company doesn’t appear to be skimping on R&D for its more mainstream series. Not only that, but I personally much prefer the more minimalist look of the new series as well.
There’s a lot to like here, but of course, the proof is in the pudding. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put one of the Reserve speakers through the test bench soon.
Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.