More about Locast, Polk Legend L100 speakers are Product of the Year (Week 7, 2021)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 7, 2021

Q. I think you are giving the Locast local channel streaming service a bum rap. Though $5.00 is required to prevent the interruptions every 15 minutes, it’s the best $5.00 I spend every month! Locast has a crystal clear HD picture and an excellent navigation guide. You can watch on multiple devices, and the iPad and iPhone interface is great, too. Locast is perfect for cord cutters! You will pay much more than $5.00/month in cable fees.

-J.N., Minneapolis, MN

A. When I first wrote about “free Locast” I received many emails complaining about the constant interruptions. When I followed up and mentioned the interruptions I received emails like yours, praising the service.

I think Locast should set proper expectations and call it a $5.00/month service instead of “free.” I appreciate your comments and am happy to pass them along so everyone hears from both sides, satisfied and unsatisfied. Unfortunately, I can’t access Locast in my ZIP code.

Polk Audio Legend L100 speakers are the Sound Advice 2020 Product of the Year: My annual award has always gone to the single product I tested that stood out the most, and that was definitely the Legend L100. Introduced at $1,199 and now available for $999, the L100 is the smallest and least expensive model in Polk’s Legend line. I have not heard the bigger Legend models and am sure they are excellent as well, but the L100 is the most accessible considering size and price. That makes them especially noteworthy because they give owners a taste of what the very best in home audio is capable of for under $1,000.

Many would consider $999 expensive for small stand-mounted speakers, but audiophiles consider that entry-level. Though the Legend L100 may not have an exotic nameplate, the sound quality often outperforms pricey exotic brands while costing far less. Sometimes I use car analogies to make things relatable for readers. The new mid-engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette has been called the “American Ferrari” though it does not have the ownership headaches and $400,000 prices that come with exotic cars. It is also made by Chevrolet, a mass-market brand with dealerships everywhere and products priced from entry level to luxury. With its unpretentious American nameplate, top-shelf performance and aspirational though not unreasonable price, the Legend L100 draws a lot of parallels.

The proof is in the listening. I set up a pair of L100s for my friend L.K. and she literally gasped when the music first started playing. She said she had never heard something so beautiful before, saying it was like the orchestra was in her living room. Reader K.L. thanked me for writing about them, praising the “breathtaking sound.” Though small, the L100 speakers deliver solid bass with authority and control, outperforming many larger speakers (including towers) in the process. The richness, detail, purity, and effortless way the L100s separate and reproduce different parts of the music, and then present them together as cohesive whole, really must be experienced to be appreciated.

The two pairs of handmade, high-end speakers I use as a reference sell for $5,500 and $6,500, and often when I review less expensive speakers I am happy when the review ends so I can go back to my fancy gear. With the Legend L100 speakers I never felt like I was missing anything in comparison. They have now joined the ensemble of top-shelf reference gear I use as a benchmark, despite costing less than 20% of the other speakers in the stable. Congratulations for a job well done!