Center/mains upgrade advice? Re: Polk CS245i, RT25i

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeremy Anderson, Mar 4, 2002.

  1. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I'm currently running an Onkyo 595 receiver with 4 Polk R10 speakers and a CS175i center channel. I went with these because frankly, they were cheap and I liked the sound of the silk dome tweets at the time. When I was auditioning before I thought Polk's tri-laminate tweeters were way too bright sounding with my noisy JVC receiver, but now that I have the 595 I feel like maybe I should have gotten the tri-laminate tweets. The CS175i just doesn't quite hang anymore (especially at volume) and it seems to image more to the right (perhaps because it only has one mid-range), but if I replace it I guess I'll be replacing my mains as well so that the three fronts will be timbre matched. I'm considering upgrading to the CS245i center channel and RT25i mains. I'm looking for any opinions regarding whether I should upgrade, specifically:

    1) How do these speakers sound with the Onkyo?

    2) Do the tri-laminate tweeters mellow after some break-in time?

    3) Will the 245i be significantly better than the 175i?

    4) Will the RT25i's be significantly better than the R10's?

    5) Is the sound so different that I should upgrade the surrounds as well?
     
  2. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't done any real "critical listening," but I own or have heard many of the speakers you mention, so I'll do the best I can.

    I own a full Polk 5.1 setup -- Monitor 5's (circa 1987) for the mains, a CS245i for the center, RT25i's for the surrounds, and a Polk PSW350 (soon to be replaced with an SVS 20-39 PCi) for the sub. I'm using a Sony STR-DA333ES receiver as a pre/pro, and I'm powering the speakers with a Parasound HCA-855A amp (85 watts by 5 channels.) All speakers are set to "small."

    I once used a CS175 for my center. I had the same complaints you did -- it sounded a little thin and weak, and strained to keep up with my mains (which are three-way)at high volume. The CS245i sounds much cleaner, fuller, and has no trouble keeping up with the rest of the system.

    Although as surrounds, they don't get as much use, the RT25i's also are wonderful speakers. In fact, I feel a but guilty that I have such fine bookshelf speakers as surrounds. You won't mistake them for powered towers, but they put out a surprising amount of bass for their size, and they have a "clean, full" sound that matches well with the CS245i.

    I've heard RT10's, but under less than ideal conditions. They were hooked up to an old Aiwa bookshelf system, with an older, smaller Polk subwoofer providing the bass. They sounded great -- certainly much better than the system sounded with its stock speakers -- and I'm sure they would have sounded even better with a true, well-powered receiver. But I have a hunch they would sound a bit thin compared to the RT25i.

    By the way, many stores are closing out on current Polk speakers to make way for this year's models. Now might be the time to jump and get a deal.

    Hope this helps --
     
  3. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Sometimes I don't even know why I ask, when I know upgraditis is going to make me buy the damn things anyway. In my usual impatience, I said to hell with it and went ahead and got the CS245i after work (because Circuit City is closing out the current Polks). WOW, what a difference! I didn't get the RT25i's yet, but the CS245i sounds incredible with my R10's. I was so impressed with the difference that I'm going to replace the front R10's with the RT25i's tomorrow before I watch A.I.

    The tri-laminate tweeter isn't as bad as the one I auditioned last year, and in fact brings out a lot of detail that I hadn't heard before, especially with music (Alison Krauss, Chris Cornell, Glen Phillips). That's why I'm gonna' go ahead and get the 25i's for mains. I think the R10's will be fine for surrounds for now though.

    Like you, I have the PSW350 sub... being replaced next week with the SVS 20-39CS+/Samson 1000 package. Overkill? YES... but I'm sure it'll be kick ass!
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Get the RT35 instead of the RT25, IMO. I was not impressed with the 25s.
     
  5. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I would... but the 35i's are about 5 lbs. too heavy for my existing B-tech BT-7 mounts. Besides, I just bought the SVS, so I'm working on a budget here!

    The cool part is that I've already found a buyer for my CS175i and R10's. WHOO HOO!
     
  6. DanRA

    DanRA Extra

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    Hi Jeremy,

    I have the Polk CS1000p center and the F/X1000's for my sides and surrounds. I use Polk SDA SRS 1.2's for my mains. I am very happy with the match and especially how they can pump out some serious sound and remain in control. I had a set of F/X 500i's but they didn't keep up with the rest of the system so I upgraded. I really like them a lot and feel they did mellow a little after breakin but also feel good clean power will make them shine more than anything else. Save your pennies and pick up a CS1000P on ebay cheap. Having a full range center will help a lot and the built in subs won't draw so much from your receiver. I think the tweeter in the CS1000P may be crossed differently having the 4 6.5" drivers also.

    Ralph-
     
  7. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

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    1) How do these speakers sound with the Onkyo?

    Dunno, I have a Yamaha

    2) Do the tri-laminate tweeters mellow after some break-in time? Yes, a little. But then again, I didn't find them to be harsh to start with.

    3) Will the 245i be significantly better than the 175i? It is certain. I had a Boston with a similar speaker config as the 175 and didn't like it for the same reason. The 245 is a brute. I couldn't find anything even close to it's quality in that price range.

    4) Will the RT25i's be significantly better than the R10's?

    Probably, go to CC and do a demo if you can with music you like.

    5) Is the sound so different that I should upgrade the surrounds as well?Probably not. The 10's should suffice for surround duty
     
  8. Scott_Johnson

    Scott_Johnson Auditioning

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    I have a Polk setup as well.

    I have 35's for my fronts, 25's for the surrounds, and the 8" for a sub (it was free, and soon to be replaced by a 16-46PCi).

    I also have the 400 for my center. I almost went with the 245, but bit the bullet and went one up.

    I am very happy with my decision, however, I am sure that the 245 is a great choice.

    Scott
     
  9. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Well, after getting the CS245i and R25i's placed and calibrated, we watched A.I. and THE ONE. Needless to say, I'm very pleased with the difference. It's a lot easier to place sounds spatially between speakers during movies, and the highs aren't harsh like the ones I auditioned last year. Perhaps I heard some bum speakers before, because these sound exceptional. With music, these speakers bring out a lot more detail than the R-10/CS175i setup did.

    I still haven't had time to fully tweak everything, and I still need to play with the toe-in with my BT-7 mounts (which, by the way, BARELY hold the 25i's). But overall, I think I'm going to be really happy with this setup... especially when my 20-39CS+ gets here!
     

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