Showing Results: Most Recent
This review is from: Polk Audio Monitor Series New Monitor 35B Compact Bookshelf Loudspeaker (Black) Pair
Pros: When connected to a relatively low-powered 35 Watt per channel vacuum tube amplifier, these Polk monitor speakers provided crisp clear highs and mid-range response. I removed the woofer on one of my speakers for a quick look inside. I thought the overall construction was pretty good, with lots of corner braces and hot glue used throughout. The inside of the box was lined with a acoustic absorption material to help damp the woofer. The port had a nice smooth flared shape. Large plastic bumpers and a steel wall mounting bracket that project out the back of the speakers are there to prevent users from placing the speakers too close to a wall or bookshelf and blocking the rear bass port output. The speakers feature large heavy duty binding posts. I would have liked to have seen 5-way binding posts, these posts just allow for a wire to be inserted into a hole and the nut is then tightened to secure it. The drivers appear to be made of good quality materials.
I especially liked the flush mounting of the woofer and tweeter. The woofer has a nice custom made plastic surround ring that fits over its metal basket to provide a seamless fit between the box front and the front of the woofer. Both the woofer and tweeter are mounted into recesses that allows them to fit flush with the front box panel. This is supposed to reduce diffraction effects and improve sound staging. Speaking of imaging, as is typical of small 2-way speakers, it was excellent on these Polk 35B's. On minimally miked stereo recordings with the speakers placed about four feet apart on a bookshelf, it was almost like listening to head phones. The imaging was uncanny, with the positioning of band and orchestral instruments easily determined in the well projected sound field.
Cons: I was most disappointed with the bass output of these speakers. You will definitely need to use them with a subwoofer to obtain a good deep bass response. I used a Dynaco tube amp to audition them with. A higher current transistor amplifier would probably help improve the bass response of these loud speakers. My only other complaint was the boxes are made from a light weight half inch thick MDF. As a result they had a nice ring to them when wrapped with the knuckles on the outside. I own a similar size set of of older Infinity speakers that are constructed out of 3/4" MDF and they have no ring whatsoever in comparison. If you place your hand on the outside of the box when the woofer is playing even at moderate volume levels, you can feel the box vibrating in response. This is a definite no no and muddies what could otherwise be a near perfect listening experience. The lack of low end bass response in the critical 60-80 Hz range was surprising to me for a bass reflex design. These compare more closely with a sealed box design in the low bass response. Again the thin MDF construction maybe part of the problem with the poor bass response.
Other Thoughts: If Polk had used a heavier 5/8 or 3/4 inch MDF in the construction of these loud speaker boxes they would have had an outstanding product in its price class and I would have awarded them five eggs. But due to the substandard box construction I reduced that rating to four eggs. If you can get these on sale they would make good rear speakers in a home theater surround sound system, or for use in a bedroom, den, or college dormitory setting. Polk should consider offering a "Pro" version made out of 5/8" MDF for a slightly higher price. I think they would have an immediate classic design if made that design change.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT 600 Mbps AV2 Gigabit Powerline Adapter Starter Kit
Pros: I reviewed the TP-Link model TL-PA6010 Powerline network kit. This kit claims on the packaging, that it can "turn every power outlet into an Internet connection." The two Powerline AV units included in this kit are rated at a very fast (by Powerline/HomePlug networking standards) 600 Mbps. I would add that this top speed can only be achieved only under ideal building wiring and low electrical noise conditions. The two Powerline AV units that came in this kit were easy to setup and use. TP-Link recommends when first setting them up, to plug both units into a common duplex outlet or power strip. Note do not plug the units into a surge protector. Most surge protectors contain RF filters that can play havoc with Powerline networks.
To get started press the "Pair" button on adapter "A" for one second, the Power LED will start to flash. Now repeat the same process on adapter "B". Allow up to 60 seconds for the two adapters to pair-up with each other. You don't need to use the supplied utility mini-CD, unless you want to customize your installation. The most common reason for customizing would be if you already have other similar units installed in your home or business. You may want to assign each one a separate identification name on the Powerline network. The Powerline network runs over your home's AC power wiring at very high frequencies. We did not detect any adverse electrical interference, or ill effects while the Powerline network was in operation.
Cons: Unfortunately I did not get very good results with these two units in my quad level home. I suspect the reason is because I have too many UPS and Surge Protectors connected inside my circa 1969 home. We have multiple desktops and two servers that run 24 x 7, all of which are connected to a multitude of surge protectors. Our TV entertainment rack in the family room is also on a surge protector. The bedroom TV, Etc, Etc. Even our kitchen gas stove is on a surge protector. Our last stove got the electronic control module blown out during an electrical storm. The blown part was so expensive we decided to put the money towards a new stove instead. Lesson learned. I actually got better results with the previous set of TP-Link 300 Mbps Powerline adapters I tested on the same exact outlets. Interesting results as they say.
I thought that perhaps my variable speed whole house fan and kitchen paddle fan, which were both running 24 x 7, interfered with the Powerline system. So I went back and retested a second time with all motors turned-off in the house. This did not seem to make any improvement in the Powerline network speed. My home also has a Smart Meter, could that interfere, not sure?
Other Thoughts: If you want to install a network in your home or office, my recommendations are as follows: If you can do it yourself or hire someone else to do it, by all means install Gigabit Ethernet. It is simply the best, most cost effective and reliable home networking solution you can install. If you live in a home built on a slab, or without attic access, or a condo that frowns on drilling holes in the walls, then I would go with a WIFI-N or a WIFI-AC networking system. My last choice would be Powerline networking. There maybe cases such as in large apartments or condo complexes, where WIFI systems are subjected to too much local interference. In these situations Powerline AV maybe your best networking choice. Powerline AV can also be useful for bringing connectivity to a room that is poorly served by WIFI. You have to be flexible and willing to experiment though to get the best results with Powerline AV.
Here are the benchmark results I got using LANSpeed Test. Note the bottom Mbps value is the most important number:
Measured with both units on the same power strip:
Writing (Upload) Reading (Download)
Time / Packet: 0.1104356 0.119306
Time to complete: 1.104356 1.19306
Bytes per second: 9,494,909 8,788,963
Bits per second: 75,959,272 70,311,704
Mbps (Default) 72.4404068 67.0544662
Measured from Router to Kitchen:
Writing (Upload) Reading (Download)
Time / Packet: 2.4107492 2.5230744
Time to complete: 24.107492 25.2307443
Bytes per second: "434,959" "415,595"
Bits per second: "3,479,672" "3,324,760"
Mbps (Default) 3.3184738 3.1707382
Measured from Router to Garage:
Writing (Upload) Reading (Download)
Time / Packet: 3.716844 7.7630556
Time to complete: 37.1684404 77.6305564
Bytes per second: "282,115" "135,073"
Bits per second: "2,256,920" "1,080,584"
Mbps (Default) 2.1523666 1.0305252
Throughput: Very Poor
Measured from Router to Garage Via 1.0 GB Ethernet
Writing (Upload) Reading (Download)
Time / Packet: 0.0172213 0.0197746
Time to complete: 0.1722125 0.1977461
Bytes per second: "60,888,495" "53,026,381"
Bits per second: "487,107,960" "424,211,048"
Mbps (Default) 464.5423508 404.5591812
Throughput: Very Good
As you can see my throughput results varied from Average to Very Poor over the Powerline Network system, versus Very Good for my gigabit Ethernet system. To get to my garage the packets had to travel through a three unmanaged gigabit switches on the way there. The measurements were made during the daytime when the network was in use. I know my gigabit Ethernet system is capable of file transfers of up to 850 Mbps, when there is little network traffic. All measurements were made between a Lenovo laptop with a gigabit Ethernet adapter and a BSD Unix NAS server located in my basement.
Would I recommend it? As I stated above, if Ethernet is impractical and WIFI suffers too much interference, then I would try Powerline networki
Pros: The first test unit I received died after just a few days of use. After several emails TP-Link asked me to return my defective unit and then they shipped out a new replacement. The connect speeds are still not very impressive typically around 147K, but the new unit has been reliable so far.
The installation mini-CD that came with the new unit worked perfectly the first time on a new Windows 7 64-bit PC. Once installed, it had a nice interface to locate nearby WIFI sources.
I was able to backup the test PC without any data rate slow downs or lost packets.
The USB interface makes this a handy gadget to easily connect to any PC with a USB port to WIFI. No need to open the case on a desktop to install a WIFI interface card. It does not have to be installed in a single machine, but can be moved to different desktop or laptop systems as needed. This could be very convenient for students or travelers.
Cons: I was never able to obtain a full 300 Mbps WIFI-N connection as advertised. The unit seemed to top out at around 150 Mbps.
Other Thoughts: If the replacement unit continues to work reliably, I may start recommending these TP-Link USB adapters to my desktop and laptop users, versus permanently installed PCI or PCIe WIFI cards. These would also be handy way to repair a laptop with a failed internal WIFI adapter.
Recommended: These adapters seem to provide a lot of value for the money.