Reserve R600 Review

smglbrth
smglbrth Posts: 1,383
Ok, before the reviews for the recent Legend speakers ("sale") start coming in thought I'd get this along in case anyone's interested.

I'll start out by saying the same old thing. My impressions are on the gear I have, in my home based on what I like "hearing". Meaning, one person might like more bass, another a more "airy" sound, yet another super clean midrange and nothing else. Everyone's everything are different and no-one has exactly the same set-up. Even if they do they don't have exactly the same rooms. There, got that out of the way.

As I sit here going through my notes I'll try to keep things together the best I can as I'm definitely NOT a professional reviewer (not that it matters).

To be honest, the first 10-15 hours were a mess. I was seriously considering sending these back. The bass was way too much, and muddled. The treble was there but there was no sparkle, at all. Burn in took on a whole new meaning. My wife came into the room and even mentioned that she "smelled" electrics working. My nose isn't that great so I took her word for it. Knowing I had to give these a chance I kept on keeping on. After around 20 hours these speakers really started to come together.

Treble - Like the L200's I reviewed these tweeters are extremely detailed. I've never heard a more "intricate" presentation. Never shrill but definitely noticeable. Little things, such as light/tapped symbols, bells and such are extremely clear.

Midrange - I think I used the term "analytically fluid" when reviewing the L200's. It's the same with these but the midrange seems to flow in a warmer presence. It is a different speaker so could be the bigger cabinet, extra 6.5" driver, crossover or all the above. There seems to be better integration. Going off memory here as I've had these much longer than I did the L200's.

Bass - This is where things get interesting. When people on-line, who have reviewed the R600, talk about the bass on these most are pretty spot on. It is extremely well defined with clarity, and authority. It has more extension and depth than I have ever heard (this includes the modded SDA 2A's, sorry!) This is mainly noticeable with percussion but also with the bass guitar at times. More on the design later.

Vocals - Much more texture, especially with female. The one song my wife likes that she hated with the L200's were much more tolerable for her on these. We agreed that the woman singing wasn't really all that good of a singer but you could hear the scratchiness/hoarseness in her voice. I could get a better feel/picture of it, for lack of a better term.

Soundstage - A whole lot better than the L200's. A good 4-6 feet outside each speaker at times and much more depth, forward and back. While listening to Toto, Africa, I thought my wife hit the coffee table with something, which was in front of me about a foot to the upper right. Nope she didn't move, had to be a percussion hit of some kind or someone dropped something. A little after that I heard the gong which sounded like it was right beside me. With 1812 Overture, one of my go-to's, towards the end I heard the bells/chimes coming from all over the room, not just in front like I've heard all these years on every speaker, and system, I've had (the SDA's were pretty good at this as well but not as delicate). On House of Lords, Sahara, (can't remember which song) I heard the lead guitarist moving from side to side during his solo. It started from the outside of the speaker and ended outside the speaker. Weird and awesome at the same time for a conventional speaker.

One caveat that people should know about this speaker, as well as the R700 I would imagine. It seems that these were designed to be on a hard floor, not carpet. The bottom design seems to do exactly as intended, make the speaker seem more in contact with the floor. However, on the Legends, as well as other Polk designs, the bottom has the same area as the speaker itself. Obviously not so with these. The bass was not "clean" as I am used to hearing. I had some extra wood laying around so I cut two pieces that fit the bottom "spikes", just a little wider/deeper. This really changed things. The bass became "clean" like I'm used to hearing. So, in short, if you have carpet you might want to look into making a hard base to put these on. Keep in mind, however, that this raises the overall height. Our couch is ancient (we have a new one on order) and sags pretty good so I sit on two pillows when listening. This brings my ear to a height about midpoint between the tweeter and top woofer. Once our new couch gets here I'm sure the height will be where most furniture sits nowadays. If it was me I'd cut the carpet out, paint the subfloor and deal with the looks. My wife, not so much...

I used my Onkyo A-9070 with the C-7000R as a source. I did also use the Marantz MM7025 (using the A-9070 as a pre) but it didn't have the impact or soundstage like the integrated. It was fairly close but my old ears could hear the difference. I know many here think Onkyo stereo equipment is junk but I'll tell you this. This integrated is nice and must have pretty good current reserves. Kind of like the first time one experiences turning the key on a large, naturally aspirated V-8 engine. It might not have the speed or horsepower of smaller/newer engines but you can tell there's power behind it. These speakers really bring that out.

To sum it up these are really very good speakers. I do envy the guys that have multiple amps, pre's, CDP's and so on to test equipment, as well as multiple speakers from various manufacturers. By way of comparison I've only had Polks older "black driver" models. These are the first new pair of speakers I've purchased since 1992 and I am not disappointed, in the least. Instruments/vocals seem to attack at times. I can hear when a person is running out of breath playing an instrument. Background vocals are much more noticeable, never being intrusive. Everything is more distinct and alive. These speakers pressurize a room pretty easily with lower volumes. They are fun and exciting to listen to and are more forgiving than the L200's, without losing the details.

In short I think Polk designed a great speaker. I probably could have gotten away with the R500 in my space (12x18, speakers on the short wall) but, as they say, there no replacement for displacement. I think the R700's would have been too much. Did these completely replace my modded 8t's? Hell yes they did! One of my kids will get those at some point.

A shout out to Crutchfield as well. They recently went on sale and they refunded me the difference immediately. They arrived at my house in exactly three days from Laurel, Maryland.

I know this is long (took me a while to write it) but I hope this helps someone else make an informed decision, YMWV!
Remember, when you're running from something, you're running to something...-me
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Comments

  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,437
    That is an excellent review!

    With the L800s I just let them play for a couple weeks several hours a day in the background then reassessed.

    I agree with the concerns about having to work around placement on a carpeted floor. Most spiked feet are only to prevent the speaker from rolling around and falling over.
  • Milito
    Milito Posts: 1,522
    Great view, it makes me feel even better about the L600's and L400 that's supposed to be delivered tomorrow.

    I sold my LSIM 705's, 704 and HSU sub. With those speakers being wider I really didn't have room for the sub. I hope I don't regret that, but the reviews I've read say the L600 have plenty of bass.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Musical Fidelity M6si integrated amp, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, Audiolab 6000CDT CD Transport, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Fluance RT85, Ortofon 2M Bronze, Polk L600's, L400, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios, Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables.
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 5,875
    Very nice review!!!
    T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse 8 SC, Tyler Highland H2, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect , Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7 USB, Border Patrol SE-I

    Have but haven't used in a while: Cayin SCD50T, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,975
    Don't those rubber boots slip off exposing spikes?
    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

  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,975
    Yep....
    16a8c058i3a1.jpeg
    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

  • skrol
    skrol Posts: 3,133
    Very encouraging review. The R600 has been added to my dream list.
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Benchmark DAC1, Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i; Technics SL-J2, Parasound PPH-100.

    HT:
    Marantz SR7010, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW110 , Marantz UD5005, Pioneer PL-530, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, AVR-888, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, 5B, TSi100, RM7, PSW10 (DXi104 upgrade); Pioneer: CT-6R; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, CDR-615; Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii, Sony CDP-650ESD, Technics SA 5070, B&W DM601
  • PSOVLSK
    PSOVLSK Posts: 4,635
    Nice review. Glad to see that you’re enjoying your new speakers.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • smglbrth
    smglbrth Posts: 1,383
    edited September 2021
    Speaking of the spikes - The rubber boot does indeed slip off to expose them. However, on the carpet (not shag by any means) I had to keep the rubber boots on and unscrew the feet almost all the way out to get the bottom of the port off the carpet. Right out of the box the port sat on the carpet and the whole speaker acted like a weeble wobble. It's very stable now, physically, after the wood "treatment". I put the rubber booties back in the boxes. The widened feet/spikes is a good idea with the height of these. I should have said this before but I absolutely love the way these spikes adjust. An allen wrench in the top, screw in or screw out and lock it. No messing around with tipping them just for adjustment.

    Oh ya, the speakers are on the long wall, not short wall. That's what I get for staring at a computer for over an hour...


    Remember, when you're running from something, you're running to something...-me
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 46,975
    Seems like Polk should have made the feet/spikes sit lower to avoid having the port plate bottom out like it is. Hopefully, they will correct that issue soon.
    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

  • smglbrth
    smglbrth Posts: 1,383
    F1nut wrote: »
    Seems like Polk should have made the feet/spikes sit lower to avoid having the port plate bottom out like it is. Hopefully, they will correct that issue soon.

    Or, pack with/have the option for longer spikes for those with carpet. Not fat ones but long, skinny sharp spikes that actually puncture through. Don't think that'll happen with mainstream manufacturers however, too many lawyers. If one could find an aftermarket spike with the same thread/pitch as Polk uses...
    Remember, when you're running from something, you're running to something...-me
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,437
    It's not just Polk. May be some complying with Euro regulations on spike sharpness and length. I don't consider most built in spikes to be spikey these days.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,501
    Would a non spikey spike still be a spike?
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,437
    Those look more like nubbins.
  • That’s so interesting, I seemed to experience almost the exact opposite experience between the R600’s and my new L200’s. Replacing my Rtia7’s I did notice a nice improvement to the 600’s. However, I didn’t get that WOW or audio bliss feeling from them.
    The second I started listening to the 200’s I was completely floored, chills listening to songs I’ve heard a million times, like I’ve never heard them before.

    Maybe like you’ve said the carpeting made a big difference with those compared to the 200’s on stands. Also, room size/makeup as well as equipment of course all make a big change to how it affects the experience.
    I will also say that I didn’t give them time to break/burn in, but I could just tell those were not going give me what I was looking for in sound(in my apartment). Instantly out of the box the Legends are incredible.


    Glad you’re happy with them, they (R600’s) are great looking speakers too. ENJOY!
  • smglbrth
    smglbrth Posts: 1,383
    Maybe I just got lucky with my current set up. The wood really did make a huge difference. If I was stuck back in an apartment I'd definitely go with bookies. You obviously made the right choice. Enjoy your new 200's!
    Remember, when you're running from something, you're running to something...-me
  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 5,875
    @Simple_Jack could just be a synergy thing.
    T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse 8 SC, Tyler Highland H2, Audioquest Thunderbird Interconnect , Innuos Zen MK3 W4S recovery, WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7 USB, Border Patrol SE-I

    Have but haven't used in a while: Cayin SCD50T, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9
  • msg
    msg Posts: 6,920
    edited October 2021
    I came back to review this review as I've been on the fence about whether to go with a large floor stander or a well-performing bookshelf and sub combo.

    To me, it seems like the R600 sits somewhere between the large floor stander and a bookshelf, since it does not appear to have dedicated woofers for the lows.

    The R600 6.5" drivers are specced as "woofers", but have midrange crossover point of 2700. This spec mirrors that of the 6.5" "midrange/mid-bass" on the R700's. I gather, whereas the R700 has dedicated woofers, the R600 uses more the cabinet design/volume and the Power Port for low frequency effect?

    My room is difficult. In short, I've found the best performance with bookshelf/sub combos, but looking for a bit more presence/body in the mids and upper mid-bass. I would be using a sub for the lows for better bass control between genre shifts. With larger speakers, I notice the bass output can vary significantly between genres, or even albums in the same genre. It can vary between scant to overwhelming.

    Am I looking at this incorrectly? The R600 as offering extra mid/mid-bass performance? I think my concern is that the R600 would be difficult to blend, maybe muddying the bass if I'm using the speakers with a sealed sub.
    Post edited by msg on
    I disabled signatures.
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 7,428
    @msg I don’t think you’ll have trouble blending the Martin Logan. The crossover is accurate and can be set plenty low I think… but ya never know until you try ;-)
    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SR250; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply
    Game Room HT: Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 700s mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra
    Master Bedroom
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • smglbrth
    smglbrth Posts: 1,383
    FWIW, I noticed the bass output differences on the R600's pretty quickly. Meaning, not only between differences in genre (or albums of the same as you put it) but also differences in the same album between different songs at times. On a "greatest hits" album it's a given but when it would happen on a studio album it was, in a word, weird. It was also cool that the speakers would reveal as such, or, that much. My wife, of course, understands my listening style has changed over the years and I like hearing the differences nowadays. Her, not so much. I jokingly told her if someone wants everything to sound the same then they should get a bose radio. She got a kick out of that. I've never used a sub for 2 channel however...
    Remember, when you're running from something, you're running to something...-me
  • Braddles63
    Braddles63 Posts: 73
    edited November 2021
    4ixyxd2lcn9x.jpg
    I picked up the R700 today down here in OZ. I going through the same burn in atm....i hope..
    They sound pretty flat so far. Bass is overpowering and waiting to hear this great tweeter that ive read so much about. Fingers crossed.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,356
    I really want to experience this entire line.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • papatom
    papatom Posts: 137
    Braddles63 wrote: »
    4ixyxd2lcn9x.jpg
    I picked up the R700 today down here in OZ. I going through the same burn in atm....i hope..
    They sound pretty flat so far. Bass is overpowering and waiting to hear this great tweeter that ive read so much about. Fingers crossed.

    My R700s are coming soon as well. What equipment are you using?
    Marantz SR5011 / Polk Audio Signature S55 towers / Polk Audio Signature S35 Center/ Polk Audio Signature S15 surrounds / Velodyne DPS-10 / Samsung 60" KS8000 / Samsung UBD-K8500
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,437
    Braddles63 wrote: »
    4ixyxd2lcn9x.jpg
    I picked up the R700 today down here in OZ. I going through the same burn in atm....i hope..
    They sound pretty flat so far. Bass is overpowering and waiting to hear this great tweeter that ive read so much about. Fingers crossed.

    Looks like they may be replacing an excellent Polk classic speaker. Congrats. Give 'em a couple weeks but I do think you'll still find the bass "robust" in character with the R700s.
  • Joey_V
    Joey_V Posts: 7,875
    @Braddles
    What do you mean by robust?
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Primary:
    Digital: Torus RM15 -> Bluesound Node 2 -> Emm Labs DAC2x/TSDx
    Analog: VPI Avenger Reference w/ Rim Drive w/ ADS + 12" Fatboy Dual Pivot + Lyra Etna
    Pre/Amp/Speakers: Audio Research Ref40 -> Boulder 2060 (w/ AQ WEL Signature) -> ??? + JL F113v2 x2 + JL CR1
    Secondary:
    Rotel RA1592 -> SF Olympica 3
    Tertiary:
    Oppo 105D -> Rotel RC1570/RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

  • msg wrote: »
    Cool space!

    Break-in/burn-in is a real thing. I've experienced it with every set of new speakers, and just recently with R200s, for context.

    In my experience, they absolutely sucked out of the box. Very tight and constrained. Then, after a few hours, I found the bass to be so extremely boomy, congested, and overwhelming that the lows walked all over the mids, which I found to be extremely recessed. More suckage. Then, I noticed the higher frequencies sounding etchy. I was not impressed, and this experience ran counter to what others were reporting in their experiences with the R200, and, here in this thread, with the R600.

    It took about a week of about 14hrs play each day before they started to settle down and balance out a bit and start sounding good.

    Doing the math looking back, this was just under 100hrs, which falls about within the 100 to 200 hour general rule of thumb for speaker break-in/burn-in. I thought I was going to have to send them back, but they really started to smooth out and were/are becoming more articulate and better balanced, overall. I think they're earning their place in the system I'm building with them.

    Yep I've parked any serious listening for now as i was feeling a little depressed with my decision to buy these. Reading your post gives me some hope as my R700's are behaving as your R200's did. Have been just running them in the background from morning to bed time. Came home last night and stuck my head in the room for a quick check and noticed the highs finally had a bit of sparkle to them. So I'm only 3 days into my burn in journey. Patients Brad...Patients.
  • @Joey_V i just mean that at first the bass is more boomy and overpowering but robust, impactful and clean bass is what im hoping for.
  • @papatom ATM a Marantz SR6014 & a Parasound New Classic 2250 on mains duty.