Q: I just purchased an Outlaw RR2160 receiver and want to upgrade my old Klipsch Forté II speakers. I noticed that you gave your product of the year award to the Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero speakers, and I am considering getting the line's top model, the Airmotiv T-2+. I know you have recommended Ohm Walsh speakers, but they are significantly more expensive.
The room is quite large. Which would you recommend to pair best with my receiver and make the most improvement for the money?
A: Your RR2160 is the most powerful, highest quality receiver on the market and will work well with almost any speakers. So the first thing to consider is what it will take to make a meaningful upgrade.
The Klipsch Forté II speakers, along with the original Forté, were some of Klipsch's best. They are old-school, with generously sized drivers and real wood cabinets, all handmade in the United States. They are nothing like the Klipsch speakers found in big-box stores, with sound and overall quality that is in a completely different league. They were around $2,000 per pair when they were sold new in the 1980s.
I have not heard the Airmotiv T2+ speakers, so I don't know how they would compare. They use the same technology as the T-Zero speakers, so they could, indeed, represent an upgrade from your current system. But given what you have now, you want to ensure that you are making a worthwhile step up.
Ohm Walsh speakers (ohmspeaker.com) would definitely do the job, and their unique patented design creates a beautiful 3-D soundfield that must be experienced to be appreciated. The Walsh 3000 is what you need for your room, but, as you said, they are significantly more expensive: $4,000 a pair compared with the Airmotiv T-2+ at $999.
I believe your answer lies in the Polk Audio LSiM series. I have been a fan of these high-end Polk speakers since the original LSi series of the early 2000s. Sold only through selected retailers, the LSiM speakers bear little resemblance to Polk's mass-market offerings. They can compete both in looks and sound quality with anything in high-end audio, but at much lower prices.
Not that the LSiM speakers are cheap. The LSiM703 bookshelf speakers list for $1,500 a pair, the LSiM705 towers for $3,000 and the top-of-the line LSiM707 towers, $4,000. LSiM surround and center channel speakers also are available to create a superior-sounding home theater.
But Polk LSiM speakers are on clearance for half off, meaning that the prices have dropped to $750, $1,500 and $2,000. Given your room size I would go right to the top and get the LSiM707 for $2,000. It's the kind of deal you only see once in a decade. The LSiM is being replaced by the Legend series, hence the big savings, but that does not make LSiM any less wonderful. (polkaudio.com)
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.