Polk RTi A7 - for treble lovers only?

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foobrew

foobrew

Audiophyte
I just bought these speakers from NewEgg a few days ago..around $550 and free shipping. A nice deal, I think. I've had a 5.1 all Polk, mid-priced system for years now and have been really happy with it. I've upgraded all the speakers at different times over the past 10 years always staying with Polk since I was already on that path and wanted the sound character to match. The fronts, however, were almost a decade old and were definitely the weak point. They were also Polk towers but just a step up from entry level at the time. Now to my question/issue/complaint/confusion...

I hooked the speakers up, put in some CDs and switched the receiver to a two-channel only mode. The first thing I noticed was how over-emphasized the high end was. I suppose "bright" is the correct term..very bright. The Hillary Hahn solo violin tracks I listened to were beautifully clear but, wow, the high end was almost irritating/painful. I was only listening at moderate volume also. I tried some rock CDs and it seemed like every cymbal and hi-hat sound was right in my face. This is really killing me because I actually think the mid and low range character of these speakers is beautiful..it's so clean and warm. After searching through some other posts about similar Polks on this forum, it seems like this is a known characteristic of their whole speaker line. I just find it hard to believe that anyone could like that much treble in their music. I guess I'm just wondering what to do at this point. Return them and pay about $150 in restocking fees (not sure if I have to pay for the shipping this time or not) or is there an alternative?

Right now I have them hooked up to an Onkyo TX-SR706 100w A/V receiver. Seems like enough power for moderate volumes listening to just the two speakers alone. The Onkyo has the capability to bi-amp but would that help? I've also ordered an Emotiva UPA-2 (2x125w) amp but they're currently out of stock so it'll be a few more weeks until I have it. Will that amp make any difference to the sound quality of these speakers at moderate volumes? I haven't put the cloth grilles on the speakers yet but I doubt that'll matter right? The speaker cable is decent; nothing extravagant but not thin either. My room is carpeted, mostly rectangular and has a flat, 8' popcorn ceiling so it's a fairly dead room. I sit about 9' from the speakers.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. The return policy is 30 days so I have about 2 weeks before I need to start the return process or decide to keep them.

They really are beautiful looking and sounding speakers other than the somewhat obnoxious high-end so I'm really torn about what to do. If I exchange/return them, I don't absolutely have to stay at this price level but my room is only medium sized so I think something like the A9's or LSi 25's would be too much speaker (again, I'm sitting only 9' from them).

One last thing, the Onkyo does have an equalizer on it so I could enable it and start trying to dampen the highs that way but I'd prefer to not have to "fix" the sound.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Pretty much all of the Polks below the LSis are for treble lovers only. While I don't think any of their speakers are "bad", I wouldn't buy them for my own personal use.
 
A

andres6

Enthusiast
LSI 25's are huge.

You don't have to get huge LSi 25's, try the LSi 15's, you'll be very happy as that's what I use in my fronts.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Even LSi9s with a good sub will be a solid setup. I had a full compliment of LSi7s at one point. Compared to the other lines, I liked the smooth highs, but the mids were not at the same level as them.
 
T

tom67

Full Audioholic
Tweak the equalizer on your receiver in the high range and try them again
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I just bought these speakers from NewEgg a few days ago..around $550 and free shipping. A nice deal, I think. I've had a 5.1 all Polk, mid-priced system for years now and have been really happy with it. I've upgraded all the speakers at different times over the past 10 years always staying with Polk since I was already on that path and wanted the sound character to match. The fronts, however, were almost a decade old and were definitely the weak point. They were also Polk towers but just a step up from entry level at the time. Now to my question/issue/complaint/confusion...

I hooked the speakers up, put in some CDs and switched the receiver to a two-channel only mode. The first thing I noticed was how over-emphasized the high end was. I suppose "bright" is the correct term..very bright. The Hillary Hahn solo violin tracks I listened to were beautifully clear but, wow, the high end was almost irritating/painful. I was only listening at moderate volume also. I tried some rock CDs and it seemed like every cymbal and hi-hat sound was right in my face. This is really killing me because I actually think the mid and low range character of these speakers is beautiful..it's so clean and warm. After searching through some other posts about similar Polks on this forum, it seems like this is a known characteristic of their whole speaker line. I just find it hard to believe that anyone could like that much treble in their music. I guess I'm just wondering what to do at this point. Return them and pay about $150 in restocking fees (not sure if I have to pay for the shipping this time or not) or is there an alternative?

Right now I have them hooked up to an Onkyo TX-SR706 100w A/V receiver. Seems like enough power for moderate volumes listening to just the two speakers alone. The Onkyo has the capability to bi-amp but would that help? I've also ordered an Emotiva UPA-2 (2x125w) amp but they're currently out of stock so it'll be a few more weeks until I have it. Will that amp make any difference to the sound quality of these speakers at moderate volumes? I haven't put the cloth grilles on the speakers yet but I doubt that'll matter right? The speaker cable is decent; nothing extravagant but not thin either. My room is carpeted, mostly rectangular and has a flat, 8' popcorn ceiling so it's a fairly dead room. I sit about 9' from the speakers.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. The return policy is 30 days so I have about 2 weeks before I need to start the return process or decide to keep them.

They really are beautiful looking and sounding speakers other than the somewhat obnoxious high-end so I'm really torn about what to do. If I exchange/return them, I don't absolutely have to stay at this price level but my room is only medium sized so I think something like the A9's or LSi 25's would be too much speaker (again, I'm sitting only 9' from them).

One last thing, the Onkyo does have an equalizer on it so I could enable it and start trying to dampen the highs that way but I'd prefer to not have to "fix" the sound.
I have found a report of someone who measured those speakers. There is a null just below the crossover point probably from an out of phase condition in the crossover region.

There is a peak at between 3.5 and 4 kHz. This would be just the right place for a break up mode from a midrange cone of that size. I know for a fact the crossover contains no notch filter. The slope of the high end of the band pass filter is 12 db per octave.

The interesting thing is that there is no low pass filter to the mid. So it is accepting all the bass and in parallel with the two pass drivers below 125 Hz. So the mid range bass roll off is entirely acoustic. A bad idea for one 6.5" poly driver.

Quite honestly I'm not surprised by all this. A lot of speaker companies just don't care what garbage they turn out, and that's garbage.

You won't cure all that with Eq, so I would bite the bullet, return them and move on.

If you want to keep them you would have to be able to design and entirely new crossover. You would have to start from absolute scratch.
 
O

ohskigod

Junior Audioholic
I have to humbly disagree that they are garbage, I can say that many speakers (Polk RTi's included) can sound really bright out of the box. I give speakers a number of hours to break in before I make judgements.

Chances are they will sound better on that Emotiva too, actually there is a chance they will sound better just wired to the emotiva (and not biamped with the Onkyo). I know Onkyo and the older RTi's never seemed to get along in my experience.

most of those online companies allow returns up to 30 days? I would say use at least 20 of them, take a day and just let the speakers run non stop at a low moderate volume and see what happens. can't hurt.

either way, trust your ears more and internet opinion less ;)
 
T

tom67

Full Audioholic
Ignore TLS GUY.....the person who measured them probably some community organizer from Chicago and will suggest govt health care next...Large companies like Polk don't make those kinds of sophmoric mistakes....those kinds of errors generally made by small elite companies with expensive speakers who really don't have adequate testing facilities...
 
J

jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
While I don't think any of their speakers are "bad", I wouldn't buy them for my own personal use.
This pair is straight up bad. Awful. I thought Onkyo HTIB speakers were easily superior. :eek:



To others that recommend LSIs, I would encourage you to let people know how hard they are to drive when making such recommendations. JMO on the matter. :cool:
 
O

ohskigod

Junior Audioholic
To others that recommend LSIs, I would encourage you to let people know how hard they are to drive when making such recommendations. JMO on the matter. :cool:

that is why the good lord saw fit to invent the used amplification market.

used Carver m4.0 = 400.00
2 more to complete a theater = 800.00
used Outlaw 950 = 250.00

having a system that will pound a $3000+ totl receiver into submission = priceless


heck, there's cheaper routes than what i outlined that will get stellar results on LSi's



oh, and I can take the bottom end of any speaker company/line and bag on it for effect, but really, what does it accomplish?

to the OP, if after break in those RTi's dont do it for you, broom em quick and get something that makes you happy but like i said, break in + the Emotiva might surprise you
 
J

jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
that is why the good lord saw fit to invent the used amplification market.

used Carver m4.0 = 400.00
2 more to complete a theater = 800.00
used Outlaw 950 = 250.00

having a system that will pound a $3000+ totl receiver into submission = priceless
Good. That info could be helpful to a newbie. However, most enthusiasts BY FAR do not listen to anything remotely close to reference levels, perhaps even seated rather close, so even most $300-600 receivers would do just fine with many speakers including Infinity, PSB, Paradigm, Ascend, etc. But, I don't think a $300-600 receiver would do justice to LSIs.

heck, there's cheaper routes than what i outlined that will get stellar results on LSi's
You'll still need some sort of processor, be it a receiver or pre/pro. The amp is STILL extra money that is needed for the LSI line. Now, if any OP was intending on an outboard amp already, ok then. The OP said he is powering with a 706? I would definitely not recommend the LSI in this case, or at the very least, I wouldn't recommend them without the caveat of outboard amplification. Like I said before, that's "JMO on the matter".
oh, and I can take the bottom end of any speaker company/line and bag on it for effect, but really, what does it accomplish?
You're right. Maybe this will accomplish more: I hate all Polk speakers, and I've heard all of their lines.

to the OP, if after break in those RTi's dont do it for you, broom em quick and get something that makes you happy but like i said, break in + the Emotiva might surprise you
Breaking in speakers?

edit: ok, i see the part about the emo amp.
 
J

jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
I just bought these speakers from NewEgg a few days ago..around $550 and free shipping. A nice deal, I think. I've had a 5.1 all Polk, mid-priced system for years now and have been really happy with it. I've upgraded all the speakers at different times over the past 10 years always staying with Polk since I was already on that path and wanted the sound character to match. The fronts, however, were almost a decade old and were definitely the weak point. They were also Polk towers but just a step up from entry level at the time. Now to my question/issue/complaint/confusion...

I hooked the speakers up, put in some CDs and switched the receiver to a two-channel only mode. The first thing I noticed was how over-emphasized the high end was. I suppose "bright" is the correct term..very bright. The Hillary Hahn solo violin tracks I listened to were beautifully clear but, wow, the high end was almost irritating/painful. I was only listening at moderate volume also. I tried some rock CDs and it seemed like every cymbal and hi-hat sound was right in my face. This is really killing me because I actually think the mid and low range character of these speakers is beautiful..it's so clean and warm. After searching through some other posts about similar Polks on this forum, it seems like this is a known characteristic of their whole speaker line. I just find it hard to believe that anyone could like that much treble in their music. I guess I'm just wondering what to do at this point. Return them and pay about $150 in restocking fees (not sure if I have to pay for the shipping this time or not) or is there an alternative?

Right now I have them hooked up to an Onkyo TX-SR706 100w A/V receiver. Seems like enough power for moderate volumes listening to just the two speakers alone. The Onkyo has the capability to bi-amp but would that help? I've also ordered an Emotiva UPA-2 (2x125w) amp but they're currently out of stock so it'll be a few more weeks until I have it. Will that amp make any difference to the sound quality of these speakers at moderate volumes? I haven't put the cloth grilles on the speakers yet but I doubt that'll matter right? The speaker cable is decent; nothing extravagant but not thin either. My room is carpeted, mostly rectangular and has a flat, 8' popcorn ceiling so it's a fairly dead room. I sit about 9' from the speakers.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. The return policy is 30 days so I have about 2 weeks before I need to start the return process or decide to keep them.

They really are beautiful looking and sounding speakers other than the somewhat obnoxious high-end so I'm really torn about what to do. If I exchange/return them, I don't absolutely have to stay at this price level but my room is only medium sized so I think something like the A9's or LSi 25's would be too much speaker (again, I'm sitting only 9' from them).

One last thing, the Onkyo does have an equalizer on it so I could enable it and start trying to dampen the highs that way but I'd prefer to not have to "fix" the sound.
You need to go listen to a lot more speakers. For $550, you should be rather satisfied. If you keep them . . .

You can run the Audyssey MultEQ, and here is an extensive guide on getting the most out of it:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=14456895&postcount=5701

Now, depending on the "listening mode" being used, and particularly whether the Re-EQ is defeated or not, you will either have the Audyssey curve with rolled off HF, or a flat curve.

Denon historically has been better with the flexibility between choosing either curve per listening mode.

NAD has a third curve with Audyssey, at least with their high end. Marantz is the fourth brand that carries MultEQ (though not the XT variety).
 
O

ohskigod

Junior Audioholic
You'll still need some sort of processor, be it a receiver or pre/pro. The amp is STILL extra money that is needed for the LSI line. ...................

You're right. Maybe this will accomplish more: I hate all Polk speakers, and I've heard all of their lines.



Breaking in speakers?

..


The Outlaw 950 is a pre/pro (the one they had before the 990 came out, not to be confused with the amp they had Also called the 950 I believe, sorry about the confusion. Incidentally I have a 950 pre pro about 10 ft from where I type in storage......not using it but love it too much to part with it (replaced it with the 990)


you hate Polk? Nah, would have never known :p


breaking in speakers? absolutely, that Vifa tweeter in the RTi definitely mellows a skosh over time



I have speakers I like and don't like. I base that like and not like on my own ears. I really dont ever hate a speaker....unless it slaps me and/or insults my mom.


alright fine, I hate Bose....but cmon man, who don't?
 
R

Ron Temple

Senior Audioholic
breaking in speakers? absolutely, that Vifa tweeter in the RTi definitely mellows a skosh over time
While I agree the RTi tweeter does mellow over time. It's not the Vifa which is in the LSI line...it's a silk dome.

I've heard many of the RTi revs. Some are better than others, but none are nails across the blackboard. The A series definitely toned some of the cabinet resonance out of the earlier rev. My son has had an A3 pair for a couple of years that I gave him, paired with a midfi Yammie, not my recommendation. I've heard them many times, over the years I've been more and more impressed with them. The newer RTs are more forward than the older revs and the tweeter is precise. It might not be your preferred speaker if you like laid back, but with the right gear, it can be a neutral speaker. I've heard much brighter speakers and I've heard many that I preferred, but I like them just fine. A lot of people do. Athe the price the OP paid, he should check them out carefully before decinding on a switch. If he can't live with them fine. If they get better, that's fine too.
 
O

ohskigod

Junior Audioholic
While I agree the RTi tweeter does mellow over time. It's not the Vifa which is in the LSI line...it's a silk dome.

.



correct, but I think Vifa makes that tweet as well. thought I heard that somewhere. could be wrong.

definitly not the same as the LSi though, or as I call it, the speaker with nipples..lol
 
A

andres6

Enthusiast
Polk Audio

I had a few generations ago a line of RTi's, they were fantastic, anchored by RTi 70's in cherry wood which I wish I never sold those towers; they were excellent in their price point.

However, the LSi line is awesome. They are less efficient and 4-Ohm speakers, but any sound/music/theater guy worth his salt would have a receiver/amp that is good enough to play them plenty loud in a small to medium size room.

If you are looking to play at concert levels (and live somewhere where you can get away with it), then yes, you might want a separate amp; especially if you have a room over 500 SF.

I've always powered my LSi's with HK receivers, and have never felt short on power in a 5.1 setup. I've been recently (the last few days) experimenting with my AVR 745's 7.2 capabilities (maxing out the outputs), and I must say, it's definitely working harder. I don't live in a place where I can easily reach volume levels that bother the HK's though. I'm sure an Onkyo 7xx or higher would be fine. I'd trust Onkyo, HK, and Denons with 85x7 or more power for typical users duties. Maybe throw in Yamaha's rated 100x7 or better.

I must say as far as RTI's go.... I thnk the older one's were better, before they made them far brighter. I had the RTI 70's, 38's, and CSi 40 in an awesome 5.1 setup. I'd put those RTI's up against any iteration previous or after in the RTi lineup.
 
T

tom67

Full Audioholic
Here ya go....these are from same series and have similar "voicing"......this site reviews speakers from the reasonable to the sublime..... they are unimpeachable and They love PSB and other speakers favored on this site...They gush over these things for the price....they are "detailed and uncolored" and they prefer them to other more expensive speakers... there is no mention of harsh highs here....deal of the century! Hell, you paid about $10/lb which is less than some tough cuts at the butcher

http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/908polk/
 
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AJinFLA

AJinFLA

Banned
Large companies like Polk don't make those kinds of sophmoric mistakes
Really?
So using this "logic", an even larger company like Bose would make even less "sophmoric mistakes" of design??
And this is despite the well know (to the informed) psycho-acoustic effect of raised treble will tend to stand out and "wow" a potential customer in a showroom setting? A "large company" might not deliberately color the sound to...sell more products? :rolleyes:

Here ya go....these are from same series and have similar "voicing"......this site reviews speakers from the reasonable to the sublime..... they are unimpeachable and They love PSB and other speakers favored on this site...They gush over these things for the price....they are "detailed and uncolored"
http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/908polk/
Yes Tom, here we go:

There is the subjective/in the mind gushings of 50+ yr old deaf reviewer (par for the course @ Stereophool) of paid advertisers....and then there is the reality of that graph capturing the soundwaves from the really real world...a whopping 5db hump @ 10-12k.....and exactly why the OP might think the (same line) Polk speakers were unbearably bright.
Thanks for the link ;).
 
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