on April 22, 2009
Exterior Finish - Got the speakers and unpacked them to an amazing sight of cherry finish with the high gloss back top. My wife absolutely loved it. They are one of the bigger towers and will dwarf even a 40inch TV.
Sound - Listened to a lot of speakers..Paradigm studios, klipsch Icons, reference series, Polk Rtis, PSB image towers and Infinity towers....to me the paradigm studios were the best in sound but they were astronomical in terms of price. Finally it was between these and the PSBs, the klipsh Icons and the polks RTis sounded bright to me. Did a lot of listening with my own cd at Frys, my friends place, bestbuy and a whole list of places. The psbs seemed to have the best mid range but lacked the clarity at the highs these provided. The klipsch Icons were ruled out as even the TSI400s sounded better than those. Since i was looking for beefier mids I went with these and have not looked back since. Running them using an Emotiva amp. I have pushed them to a true 100 watts and they were wanting more. I could not go past this point as I dint want cops at my door...:) needless to say these performed like champs.
For HT these are beasts...provides an in theater experience once the lights go out. Pair them with a CS20 and you will have an extreme front sound stage.
Value - Must buy for the sheer value provided at this price range. An absolute yes to an audiophile who knows the law of diminshing returns or a practical person who wants most from his purchase.
on November 7, 2010
I bought my Polk Audio TSi 500's from Amazon and had it shipped direct to my home. The shipping was handled very well and was delivered by a local carrier that handled large packages for Amazon. The speaker came direct from Amazon's warehouse in Southern California.
Before I chose the Polks, I auditioned several speakers from Frys Electronics & Best Buy. I had a limited budget of less than $1,000 for a pair of speakers so I listened to speakers that fell within this price range. I listened to Klipsche's offerings, the Polk Audio TSi 400, Bose 301 and Accoustimass system, B&W, & Definitive Technology. They all sounded good enough but there were only a few standouts. The Bose 301's were cheap at less than $300 each but they sounded weak--just wasn't in the ballpark of the others. These speakers should be in the $200/each for their sound quality. The Accoustimass 2-channel stereo speakers sounded better and definitely would present a very small footprint in my living room. However, their sound was just ok and did not impress all that much. The Klipsche's I auditioned all sounded very sharp and too warm for my taste, all lacked bass response even with their large cabinets. The B&W's were better balanced but still weak in the bass response. The Definitive Technologies were impressive in the showroom and had ample bass response. They had the largest soundstage of all the speakers in my price range and sounded loud and clear thanks to their bipolar design (speakers firing to the rear of the cabinet to bounce from the rear walls). The DT's also had very strong bass thanks to their side firing woofers. However they cost a great deal more and pushed my budget to beyond $1,000 for the pair. It was the Polk Audio TSi 400 that wet my appetite for really well balanced sound with strong bass response. The 400's impressed me with their strong bass even for their relatively small footprint. However, it was the TSi 500 that blew me away because these speaker had the great balance of the TSi 400 but had the bass punch I was looking for. The TSi 500's have the four 6.5" drivers that really helped pump up the midrange and bass. The highs and mids were crystal clear without overwhelming the bass like the Klipsche did. With the right music material and the right amplifier, the TSi 500's can really rock the house without the need for a subwoofer. Then, when the front grilles were removed and the four 6.5" drivers were exposed, the speakers become even more visually impressive. Mine are the Cherry wood finish and they are beautiful! I resisted going with the all black because they just looked boring, too much like a large, black brick. The Cherry finish added some real class to these large, floor standing speakers.
The Polk Audio TSi 500's are not the largest floor standing speakers around but they are rather tall and deep. They are narrow in profile so that helps. Nevertheless, these speakers will NOT disappear in any living room space! Although these speakers would not dominate the space, anyone walking into your living room will not miss them. That is just fine because when you turn on the music or movie soundtrack, the sound coming from the TSi 500's will make their visual presence make perfect sense. They sound as beautiful as they look. For the price I paid, which was $800 delivered to my door, these Polk Audio speakers are winners. I gave it 3 stars for ease of use simply because of their sheer size and not all rooms will have space for them. I gave it 5 stars for performance simply because for their price, nothing comes close.
Side Note: I originally wanted to purchase these speakers locally from Fry's Electronics or Best Buy. Although I was able to audition them there, when I was ready to buy, nobody was around to help. At Fry's nobody had any clue about these speakers and the guy that did come to help had a heavy accent that I could barely understand. When I went to Best Buy, I had someone help me audition them and was helpful and easily understood with no heavy accent. But when it came time for me to purchase, the same guy could not tell me if Best Buy had the Cherry wood finish available. He even looked online and seemed to have problems navigating in Best Buy's website! I was really puzzled by this and in the end I walked out of both these stores without buying anything. Later, I went to Best Buy's website and found that they did indeed have the Cherry wood finished TSi 500's. But since their own employee could not find what I was able to find, no deal. I gave the business to Amazon instead.
on March 15, 2013
I feel it is only fair to mention my music history and musical tastes before you read the review. I am a former DJ and worked in pro-sound back in the 70’s and 80’s. I have used and owned countless speakers and my musical tastes are anywhere for Abba to Zappa and nearly everything in between including classical. I am a strictly a 2-channel stereo type of guy with strong feeling for analog sound and a firm believer in 1980’s amps, receivers and tape machines.
I purchased these speakers with some hesitation. I have never owned a 2-way speaker system. Everything I have owned in the past was 3 or 4-way design and always believed that a 2-way design could never compete with them. After listening to the TSi500’s I admit my thinking was certainly flawed. After a month of listening to these I am a bit more than impressed. The sound is extremely natural, bass is well defined and the mid-range is as smooth as silk. Understand, I am using these in a bright room with a hardwood floor. The only other furnishings are a 5x8 area rug, couch, recliner and a house plant. The room size is about 15x20 feet with highly reflective walls. Even under these conditions the TSi500’s sound great. Lows, mids and highs are extremely well balanced. The speakers are very efficient; while my receiver (Marantz 2330B) is rated at 130WPC, 10-15 watts provides room filling sound.
I never thought I would be satisfied with a 2-way design of this type but I was badly mistaken. The TSi500’s are without a doubt the best pair of speakers I have owned for home use. If you are just teetering on the edge of buying a pair of these, go ahead and jump on a pair. I know that nearly a grand for a pair is big money to us blue collar working folk and the golden ear crowd would never give a second thought to “such inexpensive equipment” but hey, if you have a budget of 5-10 thousand dollars, for a set of speakers, go for it. If you are just looking for some good sound at a reasonable price, the TSi500’s should serve you well for many years to come.
Suggested Artest for Listening Tests:
Willie Nelson, Dire Straits, Steely Dan, Eagles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Best of Andy Williams, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Muddy Waters, "Folk Singer", Miles Davis - Kinda Blue, Chicago (about anything),
on January 29, 2011
Much has been written about the acoustical qualities of this speaker so I just wanted to add a comment about the cherry exterior. First off, it is beautiful. It looks like quality wood furniture and the high gloss piano black accents are very sophisticated.
I want to assure you that the color of the cherry is not nearly as orange or shiny as it appears in the picture. The photograph makes it appear almost garish in my opinion. It is a classy muted cherry and the finish has a fairly flat hand rubbed appearance.
This may be good news to you or not depending on your taste, but at least now you have something to help you decide.
on May 2, 2012
I needed to upgade/replace my worn out 36 year old beloved Sonabs OA1's (direct reflecting sweedish made speakers) These speakers were very clean, crisp, clear with excellent imaging, as the sound seemed to come from everywhere. Now admittedly, I have not looked, or listend to any new speaker products in a long time (nor do I have time to do so)So I relied on online research and the comments from fellow amazon purchasers. After reviewing and reading between the lines of dozens of reviews on multiple s brands of speakers in my price range, I decided on the TSI500. They arrived 2 days ago, they did have a few holes in the box but were undamaged and the cherry finish as other have noted looked great. However it was the sound that blew me away, first I was worried that they would not sound as well at lower volumes, 2nd I was worried about how clean and crisp they would be and 3rd how well the imaging would be. Needless to say I was not disappointed of course they were at there best loud and match nicely with the Polk CS20 center speaker and PSW125 subwoofer. The TSI500 are great speakers for clean, crips sound from the low mid range to the extreme crisp clear highs. Highly recomended and a million thanks to everyone who wrote a review!!
on March 20, 2011
I have been using some vintage Sansui and Pioneer speakers for some time and finally decided to purchase some high end speakers. What a difference! I used to think my SP-2500s sounded good until listening to the TSi500s. They bring out the detail in all of my music. I was afraid that with 6.5" drivers the bass might be lacking. Not the case. Bass response is outstanding. My only regret is that I didn't make this move sooner.
on December 14, 2015
OK I normally do NOT do reviews - let me start by saying I am a huge "audio-holic" , I buy, sell and trade speakers regularly just to try new ones...and yes sometimes I am very sorry I let some go.....I won't bore you to tell you what equipment I have, especially since I have numerous systems from VERY high end to good quality vintage stuff, NOT saying that to brag! I have $3,000 Monitor Audios in my main system, I have had Paradigm Studio, B&W, just to name a few brands, again, NOT to brag - just to let you know, I know speakers - THESE SPEAKERS ARE AWESOME FOR $450 A PAIR !! I really can't believe it! I will say I just listen to 2 channel stereo so I have no knowledge of what they would do in a "video" system, but I can't believe it would be anything but great. These have an AMAZING sound stage, they have clarity, bass ( and I am NOT a big bass guy, no sub) and the imaging is unreal for a speaker in this price range.....I have had 2 pairs of Polk's in the past, ones I did not care for, and one pair that were older I wish I had never parted with so I was reluctant to try them again.....but this was for a 3rd system and reading the reviews were nothing but positive....but, you never know if people doing reviews know good audiophile quality or not? - I won't say these beat my Monitor Audio's or my B&W's , or the Paradigm Studio 60's I no longer have that were a favorite of the past, BUT I will say they beat them all $ for $ and I am not sure if you did a true A - B test that they wouldn't?? I would hate to say so considering what I paid for the others!....and the build quality is VERY impressive!
SO BOTTOM LINE - if your budget is $1500 or under on speakers , BUY THESE. I have always said "speakers are a HUGE to each their own" but I can not see anyone not liking these at any price up to $1500, they really are that good - can't wait to try them on the better equipment !!!
on March 28, 2013
After tiring many speakers could not find any better in this price range, Good sound watching movies or listening to music. I'm running 4 of these with 2 12in subs at 135w per channel and it fills a 18 x 25 foot room well. Clean sound at medium volume with good range. If your on a budget this is a great buy that you will be happy with.
on June 15, 2012
I sold my old polk tsi300s and 100s to my friend who set up his first ht system. With the money I got from selling my old gear, I only paid $375 out of my pocket for a pair of these tsi 500s. After hooking them up and listening to them, I have come to the conclusion that at the price I paid, I stole these speakers!
The second I turned on some music I was totally blown away! I instantly noticed a huge difference between these and the tsi300s (which I also loved). The more drivers and larger enclosure assist the bass response and it sounds fantastic. I have the cs20 center and everything sounds great! I'm only running these with an onkyo 509 but they still sound good. These can handle way more clean power than my AVR with ever be able to give them. I'm planning on adding either a HSU or SVS subwoofer at some point in the future, but for right now these sounds great to me, even with my crossover at 50hz. I dont want to set these to full range, but thats just my choice. Great updrade! I think I will be fine with these for a few years.
I love how these speakers look. People say the monitor 70s are the same speakers, but I LOVE the look of the tsi series enough to shell out the extra cash. They are huge, but they are not too huge. The shipping was good, but i dont think the ups guy knocked because I was home all day and apparently missed him. I went to pick it up at the ups hub that same night no problem. the boxes looked a little beat up, but the speakers were perfectly fine.
Anyone who has the cs20 center and wants to upgrade, just buy these already!! Great sound, great look, and great price! You will not be disappointed. I love the tsi series and am looking to get the tsi200s for surround speakers too. I didnt break the bank on my system and it sounds great to me! Buy them...just buy them
on June 27, 2012
After 27 years, I finally upgraded my Acoustic Research AR-15s to these Polk TSi500s.
Wow! I couldn't be happier!
You never know what you are missing until you hear these speakers.