The beginning of an obsession – Polk Monitor 7

By now I had a small but growing stable of vintage gear in my house – a couple of old and heavy receivers, two pairs of esoteric multi-driver speakers in heavy wood cabinets, and one forlorn Pioneer CS99A doing double duty as a lampstand. 

While taking a quick look through our local second hand store, I came across a couple of very beat-up floorstanders. They were naked without grilles, and the finish was scratched and beat up. The faces showed three drivers – a tweeter, midrange, and woofer. They were caked in dust residue – the tar-like tacky dust that builds up when regular dust gets comfortable and sits on a surface for many years. I looked on the back and saw Polk Monitor, but no model number. A quick Google search on my phone indicated these were likely the Model 7 and that people liked them. I forked over $24 at the counter and took them outside. 

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When I hooked them up do the Realistic receiver in my basement I was blown away. Almost literally. It was as if I was only hearing recorded music for the first time. I put in the soundtrack to the Thomas Crown Affair remake (don’t laugh, there’s a lot of fun music in that movie) and hit play. When I closed my eyes I could see the musicians! I could place them around the room! I felt the beat, and the emotion! 

From then on I was spoiled. Now I knew what all the guys on the forums were talking about when they talked about ‘presence’ or ‘imaging’ or ‘depth’. 

AHA!

The fact that they looked like they had been fished out of a dumpster was the only thing that kept them from going into my main stereo rig. But it also meant that when I wanted to be wowed I would come downstairs and listen to the Polks. 

In addition to being amazing speakers, the 7s pair well with almost any amplifier to make great sound – they really liked my Pioneer SX-9000, which was not the case with all speakers.  Some amps tend to bring out the harshness in the upper ranges, which the Monitor 7cs with their SL-2000 tweeters are known for. Funnily enough, that was most evident with a Pioneer SA-6500ii integated amp, which is perhaps one of the most laid back amps I have ever listened to. 

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Those dumpster 7s were the beginning of my hi-fi obsession, even more than any of the other cool gear I had accumulated. Before I was into the ‘neat’ factor of the shiny old gear. But now I knew what good hi-fi could feel like. And I was never going back. 

Since then I’ve had almost every model of the Polk Monitor family through my house. I’ll write about my impressions of the others in future posts. Many of them are never leaving. 

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In addition to making great speakers, I’ve found that Polk has a lot of great fans out there. The Polk Forum is full of some of the nicest, most helpful folks you’ll ever meet in the audio hobby – true enthusiasts with a lot of passion. Along the way I’ve learned a lot about music, speaker and amp restoration, and much more from them. Just a great community. 

 

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~ by silverfacestereo on November 16, 2012.

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