Polk Legend Series Speakers Bring Back SDA Technology

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Polk Audio has announced an all-new flagship line of speakers called the Legend Series. There are six models in the series: two bookshelf speakers, two floor-standers, a center-channel speaker, and a height/elevation speaker for home theater use. The range-topping L800 SDA sells for $6k/pair and features a unique “stereo dimensional array” to cancel out stereo crosstalk and deliver immersive sound with precise imaging. Read on to learn how Polk has brought back legendary SDA technology.

Theo Nicolakis and I were able to listen to the L800 SDA speaker system at the 1st Annual Sound United Event back in May 2019. It was hard to keep a tight lip on what an awesome sonic experience that was. When I first sat down in the room and saw the dual side by side dual mid/tweeter array, it reminded me of the Dominator MX speakers from the 80's comedy movie Ruthless People starring Danny Devito and Judge Reinhold. I thought to myself, this speaker is going to be a sonic disaster of comb filtering, unless they were doing some type of DSP to the signal or feeding 4CH discete channels of audio to it. From the first audio track they played for us, my concerns disappeared almost as quickly as the speakers in the room. I was left with a huge stereo soundstage that seemed to expand laterally past the sidewalls all while maintaining proper directional cues dead center when they should be. I just assumed we were listening to a multi-CH recording but Stu informed us after a few tracks that we were listening to nothing more than regular 2CH music. WOW! This was truly the most impressive speaker I heard at the Sound United event and had me fantasying about having a pair of these speakers in my own dedicated 2CH listening space. I thought to myself Polk has been reborn. Stu explained that the speakers had no DSP processing and they were only powered by a 2CH amp like any conventional speaker but with the addition of a proprietary cable attached between the two speakers to do the L-R and R-L cancellations similar to the old Hafler circuit. The L800 SDA is definitely a speaker we will be reviewing next year to further report on. I have fond memories of the old SDA series of speakers growing up in the late 80s so this is a nice homage to the past but with some impressive updates and what a great exit for Stu Lumsden. He must be proud of his 40+ year tenure at Polk Audio.

Polk Legend.JPG


Read: Polk Brings Back SDA Technology to New Legend Series
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic General
Those are beauties! The price really isn't bad, relative to comparable range-toppers. Would love to hear a pair someday.
 
Gmoney

Gmoney

Audioholic Samurai
Interesting to say the least. I had their LSiFX surrounds with a very similar array. At times when in TrueHD the surround was incredible. Would be very interested in a sit down in 2.1 No DSP on at all. Not to crazy about the big boxy look for the flagships. The bookshelf I could live with.
 
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Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
I've mentioned how I've loved the old klipsch and was excited and impressed with the improvements in there latest offerings. Well this former version of polks speaker lineup is one of my all time favorites. I'm super stoked about these and this lineup hinging on reviews and how they measure and perform in the wild are serious contenders for my next upgrade in 2 years on speakers in the theater room great review guys!!!!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Oh No! Not this again.



That whole series from Polk was really awful. I would not get too excited. Sorry I forgot the picture. Now added! For some odd reason the picture keeps disappearing. Never had this happen before.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I'm not clear on how the stereo cross-talk is eliminated. Is the outward-facing MT panel in opposite phase with the inward-facing MT panel from the other side?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I'm not clear on how the stereo cross-talk is eliminated. Is the outward-facing MT panel in opposite phase with the inward-facing MT panel from the other side?
Don't know, but you can bet it will be another "Pig in a Polk!"
 
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Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Oh No! Not this again.

That whole series from Polk was really awful. I would not get too excited. Sorry I forgot the picture. Now added!
Hmmmm I've always greatly enjoyed your knowledge when you post do you mind just briefly explaining the issues with there design? The one in the past for starters. I've learned a lot from your explanations in other threads
 
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Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
I'm not clear on how the stereo cross-talk is eliminated. Is the outward-facing MT panel in opposite phase with the inward-facing MT panel from the other side?
Didn't they say there is some kind of cable interconnecting the two? Maybe it's for that issue. I wonder if they would only work then as a 2 channel setup you know Shady how I love 3 towers in the front although they've put out a lineup for full surround I wonder if those flagship towers can be used as a trio
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Hmmmm I've always greatly enjoyed your knowledge when you post do you mind just briefly explaining the issues with there design? The one in the past for starters. I've learned a lot from your explanations in other threads
That is the problem. They have never opened up what they did to peer review. All we know is that the channels are somehow blended and games with phase are involved. All of this sounds highly suspect on the face if it.

The results previously gave a superficially impressive sort of sound everywhere on pop music but try and get it to make a piano sound anything close to a real one and the jig was exposed.

The point is that when manufacturers take off on these weird tangents, then more often than not it is an admission of not being able to properly engineer from known principles, which is likely the issue here. Dealers are having trouble almost giving away their current towers with price cuts galore.

The fact is that if you have a speaker with good and flat FR and reasonably time coherent and with wide even dispersion then that speaker will deliver a sound stage with tremendous width, sense of space and good imaging at the same time. Of that I can be certain as I do know how to engineer for that.

When I looked into the last Polk tower a member was having trouble with, the neglect of known basic principles was truly astonishing.

I will pay more attention if Polk can actually produce and market a decent speaker adhering to first principles.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Don't know, but you can bet it will be another "Pig in a Polk!"
Polk has made some very good speakers in the past. The RTi series were decent, and the LSiM series were excellent. Even if you don't think that their flagship with this SDA technology is worthwhile, the other speakers in this line use a more conventional design, and if they are as good as or better than the LSiM speakers, that would make them a great choice for anyone shopping in that price range.
 
vader540is

vader540is

Audioholic
Wow i remember the older SDA-2B those sounded very good for 2 channel music.... I see here they have these integrated in a 5.1 system...not sure if that would work? I imagine if you are going to use it in a 5.1 or higher you would have to disconnect the interconnect cable between them.

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Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Wow i remember the older SDA-2B those sounded very good for 2 channel music.... I see here they have these integrated in a 5.1 system...not sure if that would work? I imagine if you are going to use it in a 5.1 or higher you would have to disconnect the interconnect cable between them.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
What would happen with the interconnect cable disconnected? They just go back to being regular speakers? a lot of interesting questions in this design
 
vader540is

vader540is

Audioholic
What would happen with the interconnect cable disconnected? They just go back to being regular speakers? a lot of interesting questions in this design
I would believe you are correct. The whole point of the speakers is to cancel out the right channel wave going into your left ear and vice versa IIRC.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Didn't they say there is some kind of cable interconnecting the two? Maybe it's for that issue. I wonder if they would only work then as a 2 channel setup you know Shady how I love 3 towers in the front although they've put out a lineup for full surround I wonder if those flagship towers can be used as a trio
It doesn't look like you can use them as a trio. That design doesn't work as a center channel speaker.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Didn't they say there is some kind of cable interconnecting the two? Maybe it's for that issue. I wonder if they would only work then as a 2 channel setup you know Shady how I love 3 towers in the front although they've put out a lineup for full surround I wonder if those flagship towers can be used as a trio
You should seemingly be able to sub in the smaller tower design for center. :)
 
vader540is

vader540is

Audioholic
This had some good info


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gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Oh No! Not this again.

That whole series from Polk was really awful. I would not get too excited. Sorry I forgot the picture. Now added!
I heard these at the Sound United event and thry sounded awesome. The outer drivers are L-R and R-L from my understanding. Definitely wanna get these in for further testing.
 

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