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Quick impression of Polk RTi-A3

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   John Garcia

John Garcia

    Executive Producer

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Posted December 26 2007 - 03:52 AM

A friend has a pair of these guys and he let me borrow them for a few days to try out. So far I have only had them in my 2ch rig. to try out. I played them for a few hours with a wide variety of music. Godsmack's Other Side SACD, Diana Krall's When I look in Your Eyes SACD, Sarah McLachlan's Solace, and a few others. I'll get them in the main rig if I can before they go back.

Cabinet: They look great; simple and clean. The curves give them a fresh look, even though curved cabinets seem to be the new "thing". They are lighter than I was expecting for their size, though they sound relatively solid. Not totally dead to a knuckle check, but resonance seemed low when I was pushing them with some bass heavy tracks. My A/V-1s are quite a bit smaller yet weight much more. The grilles seemed kind of cheap IMO, being fully plastic, which also seems to be a new trend. They don't feel flimsy, they just look cheap. The binding posts feel solid and fit very snugly with the bananas I use.

Sound: I am fairly impressed with them. Easily the best RTxxx I've heard from Polk. My complaints previously would have been a bit of sibilance up top - that is almost completely gone; there is still a hint of it when they are pushed harder, but at normal listening levels they sound good. Bass is decent for them, though I suppose with as large a cabinet I expected a bit lower tuning. Midrange is clear if a bit congested, not unlike the LSi7s I used to own. My friend described it as "nasal" and I think that is the best description for it - somewhere, possibly around the x-over transition, they have a flat sound that is just a tiny bit colored or unnatural. Vocals still come across very well and detail is good. Sound stage is very wide, making my room feel larger than it is, something I experienced with the X-LS also. Where I felt they stumbled a bit was in depth - the stage is wide, but it isn't extremely deep. Sound seems to come from all around, but not in layers, with them about 6ft apart and toed in. The center image did not pull together on all tracks, though I haven't spent the kind of time to position them that they probably need. These are all small things though and things I expect of more expensive speakers than what these will street for. I give them high marks overall. When first firing them up, I was kind of surprised at how good they sounded to be honest. They don't have any glaring issues; the sound is overall neutral, more neutral than previous versions IMO, and they seem to do well with a wide variety of music.

They are still bright, but not as bright as before IMO; noticeably brighter than my speakers. The tweeter is softer but I am not sure if they are also less detailed than the previous ones since I don't have pair to compare. I plugged them into the main HT this morning and the center image was easily there after a bit of placement tweaking (they like almost the exact setup as my A/V-2s) They sound less congested on the monoblocks, but when pushed they still exhibit the same tendencies and I could actually hear what sounded like some cabinet resonance this time on one track on Beck's Sea Change DVD-A.


Posted Image

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With my A/V-1s:

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HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein


#2 of 2 OFFLINE   SherardP


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Posted December 27 2007 - 04:13 AM

Nice review, big fan of Polk Audio.

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