SDA2 vs SDA SRS 2 vs SDA 1C

Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum and very much into vintage hifi. I used to rep Polk speakers back in the early-mid 80s, with particular experience with the Monitors (10B and 5jr come to mind) and the SDA models. To this day, I think the SDA SRS 1 is the best speaker I've ever heard in the store, and I believe one day I'll have a set.

Right now all that is available locally are the ones I put in the title of this thread. The SDA2 are offered at $400, the 1C at $650, and the SRS2 at $700 (missing the interconnect). All seem to be in excellent shape. Once the SRS hit our store that was all I listened to, so I ignored the rest of the SDA line and I know nothing about these.

I would appreciate advice from anyone who has a preference out of the three. I have a large selection of speakers here from other companies, but I would like some SDAs. My musical tastes run wild - classical/orchestral, pre-smooth jazz, 60/70s rock, 80s new wave. The SRS1 was the greatest speakers to me - it seemed incredibly transparent and gave me a great soundstage, at least in our sound room.

Nothing is making me buy any of these, so its not like my heart is set on any of them. If I have to wait for a better pair, so be it.

Thanks, everyone.
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Comments

  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,864
    I like them all. Pin blade IC cable versions is what you are looking for
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
    Harman Kardon T65C w/Grado Gold. (Don't laugh. It sounds great!)


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • Tony M
    Tony M Posts: 10,007
    SRS2 is the winner for me.

    HUGE sound-field and bass from the depths of h**l.
    Get newer tweeters for them if needed though. That will be a bargaining issue for sure.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,509
    Welcome to Club Polk.

    There is the SDA 2, SDA 2A and SDA 2B, which one are you looking at?

    There is no SDA SRS 1, it's just SDA SRS.

    There are two versions of the SDA SRS2. One is blade/blade and the other pin/blade. Pin/blade versions of any SDA is preferred.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • Nightfall
    Nightfall Posts: 9,609
    Room size?
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 23,206
    SRS 2 would be my choice by a long shot, then the 1c's.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR30, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    In retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Statement V2 cartridge and Origin Conqueror Mk3c tonearm, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII,

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell

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  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    Tony M wrote: »
    SRS2 is the winner for me.

    HUGE sound-field and bass from the depths of h**l.
    Get newer tweeters for them if needed though. That will be a bargaining issue for sure.

    Is there any way to know if the tweeters are old/new at a glance? Are the newer tweeters commonly available? What price would you start at when negotiating with the seller?

    F1nut wrote: »
    Welcome to Club Polk.

    There is the SDA 2, SDA 2A and SDA 2B, which one are you looking at?

    There is no SDA SRS 1, it's just SDA SRS.

    There are two versions of the SDA SRS2. One is blade/blade and the other pin/blade. Pin/blade versions of any SDA is preferred.

    Thanks for the welcome. I've been gone from hifi for far too long, and I'm making up for it now.

    The only pic I have of the back of those SDA 2s, the placard just says "SDA 2", no variant letter shows. The interconnect is in the terminal cup instead of below it, if that means anything.

    These SRS 2's have the interconnect below the terminal cup. The seller took the pic at an angle so I can't see the socket, and I can't help but wonder if he planned it that way. The connector icon shown on the placard looks like it could be pin/blade.

    As far as the SDA SRS 1, from what I remember thats exactly the way it was introduced to us, by the Polk rep, the day they arrived and were set up. The previous Polk star in our shop was the Monitor 12, I think, and they were all but forgotten after the SRS arrived. They were supposed to be a halo model, but people were happy to put their name on the waiting list for these $2k+ monsters rather than "settle" for the M12.

    If you'd prefer that I leave off the "1", thats fine.
    audioluvr wrote: »
    I like them all. Pin blade IC cable versions is what you are looking for

    Thats two of you that have said that. What is the significance of the two different plugs?
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Room size?

    I haven't decided which room to put them in. My current audio room downstairs is 32x16. Upstairs, unfinished, with a few different rooms to choose from. The biggest is around 20x15, current testing room is 15x15 or so.
  • Tony M
    Tony M Posts: 10,007
    Ceiling height for those rooms?
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,864
    Pin/blade are the newest versions so better design and you can go from fast Hyundai Excel to Corvette on stereoids. (did you catch that?) If you are ok with Chevy's with them as upgrades go. To avoid overwhelming you right off the bat, just post pictures of what you are looking at and we'll tell you what's best to spend your money on... :D
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
    Harman Kardon T65C w/Grado Gold. (Don't laugh. It sounds great!)


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 19,931
    yep the RD-0194 will have a black silk like dome and no visible voice coil leads on the face plate, the SL2000 will be a clear plastic like dome and straight out to the sides voice coil leads.
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    yep the RD-0194 will have a black silk like dome and no visible voice coil leads on the face plate, the SL2000 will be a clear plastic like dome and straight out to the sides voice coil leads.

    Oh wow... when the store closed, I took a bunch of spare parts with me. One of them was a tweeter that looked exactly as you describe. It had a silvery pewter color to it, it had either Polk or Polk Audio engraved into the surface. I ended up putting it in an old Infinity 2000 cabinet as an experiment, along with a Canton 4 inch mid. I gave those speakers away.

    Oops.
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    audioluvr wrote: »
    Pin/blade are the newest versions so better design and you can go from fast Hyundai Excel to Corvette on stereoids. (did you catch that?) If you are ok with Chevy's with them as upgrades go. To avoid overwhelming you right off the bat, just post pictures of what you are looking at and we'll tell you what's best to spend your money on... :D

    I'm wearing a helmet, feel free to try to overwhelm. :p
  • pkquat
    pkquat Posts: 738
    More info. If the tweeters are black, make sure they do not have a foam ring around them. They are older SL2500 or SL3000 tweeters, and i correct for the SRS 2 and 1C. There is a mod for the SDA 2 crossover to use those tweeters. If that one has a foam ring, some gold/silver iridescence on the tweeter indicates the SL3000, which is better. Eventually that tweeter can be upgraded as well, but generally sounds better than the "fisheye" SL2000 previously mentioned.

    As for the models and rooms, IMO the SDA2 and 1C have the closer speaker spacing, less wide sound stage, and work in smaller less wide rooms with less SDA reflections. The SRS 2 have the wider speaker spacing and a more wide sound stage, but can get reflections in a narrower room.

    I have some 1Cs and SRS 2.3s. In my main room I am a little less than 3ft from one side wall, but have a curtain to deaden the sound from that wall. Even then, or at 3ft with no curtain, I get some reflections that blur the sound stage some with the SRS 2.3 at reasonable sound levels. The sweet spot is pretty small, and I am at the minimum speaker width spacing. At low volumes the sound stage is amazing. The reflections were much less and the sweet spot was better with the 1Cs in the same location. The sound stage was great. Only at loud volumes did the reflections become really noticeable. The SRS 2.3s need more width.

    I picked up my stock 1Cs for $400, that is still a fair price for stock. I would say $500 would be too much, and others have found them for less. IMO stock SDA2 would be less, and SRS 2 are more.

    SDA2s roughly sound like the RTA 12s but with a wider sound stage, and a little fuller sound. People really like their imaging and they can be "TL" modded. The 1Cs are louder, and have more bass punch. Some feel the imaging is not as good as the SDA2. The SRS 2 has deeper bass and wider sound stage than the 1C. People feel they have better imaging than the 1C.
  • Schurkey
    Schurkey Posts: 1,997
    SRS 2 Blade/blade has the same driver compliment and nearly-identical crossover to the SDA 1B. Larger cabinet, and larger bassive radiator than 1B. Also has a single pair of binding posts on the terminal cup. Not compatible with the isolation transformer, so MUST be used with common-ground amplifiers if the SDA interconnect is used.

    SRS 2 Pin/blade has the same driver compliment and nearly-identical crossover to the SDA 1C. Larger cabinet and larger bassive radiator than 1C. Has two pair of binding posts on the terminal cup. Can be used with non-common-ground amplifiers if an isolation transformer is used.

    Nobody ever specifies blade/blade or pin/blade SRS 2 until prompted.
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    Good info Schurkey, thank you.
  • JayCee
    JayCee Posts: 1,283
    edited February 2020
    Good advice above and I'll let the other's continue to give it. Pricing, IMO, is high for each of the models you list. Eight or so years ago I bought my 1C's for $425 but in the past year picked up SDA-SRS 3.1tl's for $450. Also, around 8 years ago, paid around $1500 for a pair of SDA-SRS 1.2tl's, the replacement for the SDA-SRS's you fondly remember. Worth every penny, and easily double or more, after fully upgrading (get your read on here at Club Polk).

    I was a competing audio rep in Germany during the heyday of military audio clubs in the 80's. My first introduction to Polk was with the SDA-SRS. I'd leave my room when times were slow and listen to the SRS's. Could only wish to own a pair. Took 20+ years but I did. If you really want them...pick up a smaller pair in the meantime but be prepared to jump when they come available. Allow for committed time, patience and $$$...they will. Any of the SDA line will outperform the memories you have of their former selves if you decide to upgrade and refresh them.

    I'm listening to the 1.2tl's as I type and they won't be replaced unless a reasonably priced competitor proves worthy. Welcome to Club Polk and look forward to reading about your rediscovered love for vintage Polk.

    John
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN, AfterDark, Emperor Double Crown Clock, Black Modernize LPS⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    Well said, John. I think you and I are on the same frequency.
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    I believe I'll be getting the SDA SRS2 - for now. As John mentioned, its just until I find another pair of SRS originals. I have a few amps to choose from, what do you guys think I should try first:

    Sumo Andromeda (original)
    Adcom GFA-555 (Mk I)
    Adcom GFA-585
    Carver M1.0t
    Hafler SE240

    The Hafler is probably the weakest amp in my collection, and I'll probably get rid of it before I use it again. Driving a pair of small KEFs it sounded muddy and weak. I have several 555s here, so I I'd like to try mono-bridging and giving each speaker a lot of power, but I recall reading elsewhere that the SRS doesn't like that. True/not?

    Preamp... I may just go direct out of one of my players to start with, since both have level controls. If that doesn't work, I have a Hafler 110 and an Adcom GFP-555 to try out. Adcoms have notoriously poor depth, but great clarity. The Haflers have far better depth but aren't as crisp.
  • JayCee
    JayCee Posts: 1,283
    edited February 2020
    No experience with it but mono bridging is discouraged by folks that have done it, and, yes, bad juju with the first gen SRS and any other SDA that is pin/pin vs. pin/blade configuration. Has to do with common ground and amps not liking it. Later versions can be driven bridged by using a dreadnaught (another topic to search/read on CP).

    I've used a Sunfire 300x2 (Bob Carver) amp and loved it but don't have firsthand experience w/the M1.0t. Gifted the Sunfire and modded Polk 1C's to my daughter and she currently uses them. Awesome combo w/a Sunfire TG-III pre.

    When I first started on this forum Adcom and Parasound were highly touted for good clean power that won't break the bank @ used prices. Ended up w/2 Parasound HCA-1500A's that I had refreshed and they're still w/me in secondary rigs. Parasound and Polk have very good synergy, however, you should see good results with the GFA's you have. In fact, all the amps you mention have a following and have been recommended throughout my time on this forum. There are better but you have a very good starting point. My recommendation, pick up your first SDA's and try the amps out. You're in a unique position because you have them on-hand. Most guys (or gals) have to find an amp from the get-go.

    edit to add...Parasound has a very laid back/sweet quality vs. Adcom that's, from what I've read, more forward and edgy/aggressive. I have an Adcom GFP-750 preamp and it's very good for the money.
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streamer: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC & Uptone EtherREGEN, AfterDark, Emperor Double Crown Clock, Black Modernize LPS⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • I have heard both the SDA-SRS and the SDA-SRS2. I was very impressed with the bass response of the SRS2. Very deep.
  • verb
    verb Posts: 10,002
    Welcome to CP @Polar ! Great choice on selecting the SRS2's! Just remember, it's a journey, and there is lot's of upgrades and modifications along the way! We'll help you! Spend your money, that is! :smile:

    I joined CP 2 years ago with a pair of 2B's, and eventually was able to find a set of the SRS's 1st gen. Along my journey, I picked up 2 sets of 1C's, CRS, and monitor 10's and 5jr's. Love the SRS's the most! But, my journey is not over. Love to get a set of SRS 1.2tl's, 2.3tl's, or who knows, maybe a set of L800's!

    I'm having a lot of fun, and education along the way for sure!
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS 1.2tl's, Cary SLP-05 Pre with ultimate upgrade,McIntosh MCD301 CD/SACD player, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Cambridge 851N streamer, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Silnote Morpheus Ref2, Series2 Digital Cables, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Series2 XLR's, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Pangea Power Cables, MIT Shotgun S3 IC's, MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC, EAR Acute CD Player, EAR 834L Pre, Northstar Designs Intenso DAC, Antique Sound Labs AV8 Monoblocks, Denon UDR-F10 Cassette, Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers, SVS SB12 Plus sub, MIT AVt2 speaker cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable, Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: Dayens Ampino Integrated Amp, Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38), Analysis Plus Oval 9's, Zu Jumpers, AudioEngine B1 Streamer, Klipsch RB-61 v2, SVS PB1000 sub, Blue Jeans RCA IC's, Shunyata Hydra 8 Power Conditioner
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
    Garage #1: Cambridge Audio 640A Integrated Amp, Project Box-E BT Streamer, Polk Tsi200 Bookies, Douglas Speaker Cables, Shunyata Power Conditioner
    Garage #2: Cambridge Audio EVO150 Integrated Amplifier, Polk L200's, Analysis Plus Silver Oval 2 Speaker Cables, IC's TBD.
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    JayCee wrote: »
    edit to add...Parasound has a very laid back/sweet quality vs. Adcom that's, from what I've read, more forward and edgy/aggressive. I have an Adcom GFP-750 preamp and it's very good for the money.

    I would agree with you there, providing the given Adcom is stock. They're not very musical. Powerful, but dry.
    However, in the right hands those amps turn into something from another planet.

    I'm trying to remember the list of amps we had in the store, and what we used with the SRS1. We had everything worthwhile back then, from a lowly Robertson Forty Ten, to a NAD 2300, to the Hafler 500, to the Perreaux 2150B. I'm pretty sure my favorite was the Perreaux but nearly everything in the store worked with the SRS. We had those monster truncated/lopsided pyramid JBL towers next to them, and those were power sponges too, but working off the same amps.
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,509
    Again, there was never an SDA SRS1. You will never find any reference or literature from Polk with that model designation.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    F1nut wrote: »
    Again, there was never an SDA SRS1. You will never find any reference or literature from Polk with that model designation.

    Again, thats what the Polk rep called the speakers when they were set up in our store in 1984-ish. I apologize for my first-hand knowledge occasionally surfacing against the consensus. I'll try not to let it happen again. o:)
  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    Tony M wrote: »
    Ceiling height for those rooms?

    Sorry Tony, I totally missed your question.

    The ceiling height for the upstairs is 9 feet, downstairs is 10 feet. If construction is a question, upstairs is all wood floors on wood sub, drywall on studs. Downstairs is wood floor on concrete sub. Some masonry walls, some drywall on studs.
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,509
    edited February 2020
    Polar wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    Again, there was never an SDA SRS1. You will never find any reference or literature from Polk with that model designation.

    Again, thats what the Polk rep called the speakers when they were set up in our store in 1984-ish. I apologize for my first-hand knowledge occasionally surfacing against the consensus. I'll try not to let it happen again. o:)

    Just because some rep called them that doesn't make it so.
    9bgaadi3qtyf.jpg

    6za9c3i9udu0.jpg

    o8niz0pvrfr6.jpg
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • Polar
    Polar Posts: 70
    F1nut wrote: »
    Just because some rep called them that doesn't make it so.
    9bgaadi3qtyf.jpg


    Just because the ad copy changed between the time we got the speakers and the day the ads went live, doesn't make it so either. And the guy who was tasked with presenting the products to his store customers most likely couldn't read his own materials and slept through the factory presentation. :p

    I didn't save much of the info from the home gear, because I was in the mobile shop most of the time, but if I happen to come across the pre-release info in my collection I'll be sure to post it. I also might have the sign they gave us to hang up with the speaker on it. I'm not sure if its the Monitors or the SDAs.

    But regardless of how this works out, please call them what you like, it doesn't bother me.
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,509
    The point here is there's already plenty of SDA model confusion and we don't need anymore. Thanks.

    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • Polar wrote: »
    I believe I'll be getting the SDA SRS2 - for now.

    Congrats!
    My wife didn’t warm to their imposing aesthetic. Until I played her Tenors performing ‘Hallelujah’ ... during which her comment was “You’re not selling these”

  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,509
    Polar wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    Just because some rep called them that doesn't make it so.
    9bgaadi3qtyf.jpg


    Just because the ad copy changed between the time we got the speakers and the day the ads went live, doesn't make it so either. And the guy who was tasked with presenting the products to his store customers most likely couldn't read his own materials and slept through the factory presentation. :p

    I didn't save much of the info from the home gear, because I was in the mobile shop most of the time, but if I happen to come across the pre-release info in my collection I'll be sure to post it. I also might have the sign they gave us to hang up with the speaker on it. I'm not sure if its the Monitors or the SDAs.

    But regardless of how this works out, please call them what you like, it doesn't bother me.

    To further drive my point home you stated, "they were set up in our store in 1984-ish." The SDA SRS didn't exist until late 1985.
    hb6t4hj96ky7.jpg
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk