Older POLK Speakers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by kevin_tomb, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. kevin_tomb

    kevin_tomb Stunt Coordinator

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    I know this question is gonna cause trouble.[​IMG] , but I own a pair of older polks RTA11-T from the late eighties. What IVe noticed is the newer polk line Ive recenty auditioned at Circuit City dont really sound any better at all to me. I know im not biased, cause I fully expected to hear a difference of at least some degree. My hope was to upgrade to a newer POLK just for the heck of it. In my humble opinion, they sounded actually more "grating" sounding with a bit more boomier bass. Mind you this is a half hour quick listen, not an extended blind side by side test with my older speakers. MY question is: does anyone here agree with my accessment or am I imagining this differecne??....I cant imagine POLK hasnt improved in over 13 years....But the ones I own really sounded fantastic at the time or purchase, so maybe a big improvement wastnt warranted or practical in the under $1000 pair range.
     
  2. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    I'd agree, Kevin. I think Polk is after a different market now with the proliferation of home theater, and people get less excited by more neutral-sounding speakers in the lightning-quick demos typical of the mass-market retailers where you'll find most Polks (their latest high-end line seems a noteable exception to this).

    I also owned RTA 11t's in the late 80's, and while I can't claim to have a good aural memory of them (great bass teamed with an original Adcom GFA555, that much I remember), the pair of Monitor 5b's from the same period I gave to my brother do sound better than Polk's latest efforts.
     
  3. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Gotta love the vintage polk offerings.

    I own a pair of Monitor 12C's. They have (4)6.5" drivers a soft dome SL2500 tweeter and a 12" passive radiator. I also have a pair of Monitor 10B's with (2) 6.5" drivers and a 10" PR. These are the speakers that put Mathew Polk on the map and his new offerings are....well......lets just leave it at the fact that they are sold at Circuit City.

    Lets hear from the other vintage Polk Audio enthusiasts out there. These things were/are truly amazing.
     
  4. Robert McDonald

    Robert McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Tom; I have a pair of Monitor 7s bought in about '84 and to me they sound better than today's Polks. I just replaced them with some B&Ws, and they are going into the bedroom.
     
  5. Chris Fondoklis

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    I also have a pair Polk RTA 11t's that I bought in 1988 for $700. I think they were the top of the line non-SDA system.
    I still use them in my 2 channel system. Though not as detailed as my PSB Image/SVS surround sound system, they do sound smoother then the PSB's and have more bass then my Image system. The newer Polk's are now some of the better? mass market speakers. But they are still not nearly as well built as my 11t's. Back in the '80's Polks were sold in speciality shops. Not anymore. Bought mine in Bryn Mawr Stereo (now Tweeter- not really speciality anymore). They stopped carrying Polks as soon as CC started selling them.
    These speakers have held up well. Foam surrounds are still soft. Love those old Polk's !!
     
  6. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    I have a pair of Monitor 7Cs that I bought at the tail end of 1979. I still love 'em. I even replaced a blown tweeter rather than replace the pair. I am beginning a move from stereo to HT. I suppose that I will get new speakers when I get around to getting a center channel because I'm sure that the current Polk centers will not be a match for my 7s.
    OTOH, maybe I'll look for an old 5 an dsee if it can be magnetically shielded to use as a center.[​IMG]
     
  7. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Auditioning

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    Jzck, Where did you get the replacement tweeter? I would love to replace my tweeters on my old 10B's , if its possible that is.
     
  8. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a pair of Monitor 5's I received as the speakers in my first hi-fi in 1987 -- I was 14. They are being used as my mains in an all-Polk 5.1 setup. They sound every bit as good, if not better, than the day I first got them, and they have not trouble keeping up with my CS245i center and my RT25i surrounds.

    Since we're taling vintage, does anyone know the specs for Monitor 5s? I've always wondered if I had my crossover settings set correctly. . .

    Thanks in advance if someone knows the answer.
     
  9. Chris Fondoklis

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    Brandon, I have an instruction manual for the Monitor

    series. The 5B specs are as follows:

    1 inch Polk SL 200 Silver Coil dome tweeter

    6.5 inch tri-laminate polymer bass mid-range driver.

    8 inch fluid coupled sub-woofer ????

    28Hz - 26,000Hz

    4 ohms

    91 dB

    Hope this helps
     
  10. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    My theater is built around the relatively current (given that new models are coming out) CS400 center, two RT55 mains, two RT35i's for surrounds and two RT15i's for the Yamaha effects channels on my new receiver. (My verdict is still out on the subject of the Yammy DSP modes and effects speakers.) I consider these speaker purchases from the past two years to be upgrades to my Polk Monitor series speakers, but I will admit my offerings from the old Monitor line are the smaller speakers Polk used to offer.

    I still use my pair of early-80s Monitor 5jr's in my computer room for music and for sound from my Mac. They sound as good as they did nearly 20 years ago, and they may represent the best bang-for-buck investment I've ever made in audio. I'm thinking about grabbing a pair of Monitor 5's or 7's off eBay to use with my modest listening system in our den. That room currently has the pair of Monitor 4.5 speakers I bought as surround speakers for my first Pro Logic system. They sound OK, but their sound never thrilled me as much as my 5jr's because they lack the soft dome tweeter that the 5jrs and higher had. I have a single Polk Monitor 4 speaker that I wired to the 20-watt amp that's built into my old Bell & Howell 16mm movie projector. It works, but there's nothing hi-fi about that use.

    I don't mean to throw a kink in the thesis of this thread, but I guess I'm saying I like the sounds from my new Polk speakers and also my older ones. I am very disappointed that the RT55i speakers are being cancelled and will not have an equivalent speaker in the new RT lineup. The 55 may be a bookshelf speaker, but it's a big one! I like its build quality and especially its sound. For a bookshelf, it speaks with authority!

    I do believe that Polk's reputation among audiophiles has been damaged by its association with mass-market retailers like Circuit City, but then the association has put the Polk sound into a lot of homes.
     
  11. Jeff Rosz

    Jeff Rosz Second Unit

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    ive been using my polk monitors continuously in this system or that since they first came out. the monitor 5's were my 1st real speakers i ever purchased. a year or so later i went and bought the monitor 10's. a year ago, my monitor 5's actually survived an attempted upgrade/invasion from a pair of B&W 602's. i took the 602's back and got Nautilus 805's. the old polks gave the 805's a run for their money until i discovered the 805's like power .
    back in the day, the tweeters in the monitor series actually sparked my interest in getting better sound gear components. back then, i knew what HIFI was, i heard it and felt it, but i just couldnt get there...even with those nice new polks.[​IMG] the tweeter protection circuit always tripping was driving me crazy. ahhhhh, then i finally put it all together...clipping and distortion. the bastard twins. so i went out and upgraded the amp, and those old polks still sound pretty damn sweet to this day. [​IMG]
    both the 10's and 5's have been in my sister's 2 channel system. once i went and traded her the 5's so i could get the 10's back. her son said he didnt want the 5's because they were too small and i was "ripping them off", till i cranked em up. he was stunned. my GF now has those 5's as mains in her HT and the 10's are retired in the unused bedroom, waiting, lurching, ready.
    edit: i forgot, the 1st real speakers i ever purchased were some pioneer HPM500's. anyone remember those? now those were some speakers. when the surrounds finally wore out, i got the monitor 5's.
     
  12. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    sweet, get to hear from some fellow RTA11tl owners. I think there is a slight difference between the 11t and 11tl. The 11t had the clear soft dome tweeter I believe and the 11tl had the "trilaminate" soft-metal dome. Anyway I very much agree that current polks don't quite cut it anymore when compared to the RTA or SDA series of the late 80s early 90s. Back then you would be hard pressed to find a better speaker for the money.

    I love my RTA11tl, great bass...smooth highs. They're over 12 years old and still going strong. I'll probably retire them to the pool room and get some B&W CDM7NTs real soon when I'm done auditioning.

    You want replacement tweeters? contact polk/check their website for service and you can get replacement parts for just about any model I believe. Wanting to give my speakers some new life (there was audible/visible damage to the tweeters) I bought a pair of the replacement SL3000 tweeters (vintage) for like 120/pair. can't beat that. BTW check out the magnet on those tweeters...pretty hefty.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions - I've been critiqueing my speakers for about three months now, trying to find an excuse to buy new ones. For me to replace the sound I get from the RTA11tl I'm looking at about 2000/pair speakers. I'd love to get ahold of some of the larger SDA series.

    ps - loved the monitor series as well, think I had monitor 10s. 1" tweeter, 6.5 mid-bass and a passive 10" radiator. Anybody care to explain the 10" radiator??? sounded pretty good to me. Boston Acoustics also rocked - what happened to them?
     
  13. David_L_Lowe

    David_L_Lowe Auditioning

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    I'm fairly new to the HT game but i've chosen to build my theater around the RTi series and they sound great.I would have had any exposure to these great speakers if they had not been carried by CC.(mass market production isn't always bad)
     
  14. Brandon_H

    Brandon_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Just wanted to thank Chris (above) for his help. That certainly helped.
     
  15. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  16. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    GeorgeK,

    I bought the tweeter from Parts Express. It was just under $30.00 plus shipping. It has a black dome, if that matters to you. Polk sells the same tweeter, or one that looks EXACTLY like it for $60.00. I think Madisound has the same tweeter. I ordered it through an link from a poster in the DIY section of this forum.

    (Suddenly rembers that the catalog is in the desk!)

    The part is a Peerless 1" dome tweeter. , part #277,400.

    Regards,
     
  17. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    Holy coincidence, Batman.[​IMG]
    Mr. Gilvey was the poster who put me onto the Peerless tweeter.
     

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