Polk RT800i, trying them but they seem muffled.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Winkler, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. Steve Winkler

    Steve Winkler Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I am trying these speakers out right now, Future Shop is clearing them out at $599CAN. and I thought why not.
    They were hooked up to a HK AVR-520 in the store and a muddy mid-range seemed to be present. That should have stopped my purchase right there, but showrooms can be really bad places to demo speakers. Future Shop has such a good return policy I figured I'd try them out at home.
    They are hooked to my Sony str-de 925 ht receiver, please no laughing, it was all I could afford 4 years ago. The RT800i's have nice highs and pretty decent lows but the mid-range seems muffled or something. I don't have seperate bass & treble controls on the Sony, rather an electronic equalizer that I find very fiddly. It takes quite a bit of playing around to get vocals and certain frequencies to sound crisp and detailed. Is this a common scenario with this particular Polk speaker?? I am underwhelmed with this model, perhaps the RT600i would do. I am also considering the PSB Image 5t and it's companion 9c center and 2b surrounds. Or four 4t's and 8c center.
    Thoughts, comments??
    Cheers,
    Steve
     
  2. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Steve,
    I have owned the RT600i's, auditioned the 800i's and now own a pair of RT1000i's. I personally have not had an issue with a muddy mid range. Though that seems to be the largest complaint I've heard from people who don't care for Polk speakers. It could be that their sound just isn't your cup of tea. However, if you liked the RT600i's then that would be a good purchase IMO. I felt that with a sub the 600i's weren't giving anything up to the 800i's. Just my $.02 though.
     
  3. Steve Winkler

    Steve Winkler Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Dan,
    My Sony has been a reliable rig thus far and I like the majority of it's features. I am just a bit envious of those with newer Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, and Sony ES receivers. I would like to upgrade to something with an adjustable crossover, 6 ch. discrete inputs, dts ES, all channel stereo, HD component inputs, and maybe Dolby Pro LogicII.
    I am using a 20-39pc SVS sub so bass is no problem[​IMG] and may consider the 600i coupled with the 400i center and 35i surrounds or another pair of 600i.
    Steve
     
  4. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    Steve, you may wont to try play around with your eq some more the polks should sound really good if you can get your eq set up decent. I used to have the 945 sony and must say I still thank its a darn good recever,but I must say this also I now have the sony str da5es and let me tell ya if you can muster the money this is one pretty bad toy.Im also useing all polk rt55i front,front surrounds,and rear surrounds,& a cs400i center the only thing Im not to big on with the polks is the tweeter,for one they wont take much for power(I already mented my Center tweeter)[​IMG] but its being replaced under warrenty so I cant complane to much & they sound kinda tinny and shrill at moderate volume.
    Anyhow Id say if you can get a good deal on the polks Id play with the recever some more to see if you can clean up the mid range a little better you may be surprized what you get.Also Ive played around with my eq quite a bit and if you get the time try to set it up like this (tre 1.6khz @+5,mid 2.2khz @+4 bass 180to222hz @+2 to 6 with all speakers set to small this is where Ive found the best results with my system.
    Hope this helps.. Joe[​IMG]
     
  5. Steve Winkler

    Steve Winkler Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the EQ suggestions Joe, I can't recall what I've got them set at right now. They sound better when in a 5.1 situation as compared to two channel stuff, probably due to the fact they are run as small in that set-up. I think the Sony receiver in two channel mode with no sound modes on treats them as large. Anyhow, I'm going to give them another couple of days and see if they grow on me.
    Steve
     
  6. Ryan_SS

    Ryan_SS Extra

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    Steve, I also took a listen to some Polk speakers, now I admit that it was just the 35 and 55 series but I agree that to me they sounded muddy. Of course I was comparing them to B&W 600 series and the Paradigm Monitor series but I still found them to be a bit muddy and almost well like there was a barrier between me and the singer. but that's my two cents and everyone has their own taste especially in speakers
     
  7. EricK

    EricK Second Unit

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    Steve,
    I would try the PSB's. They have a bit more sensitivity then the Polks, and that could give you the midrange desired.
    Also, my suggestion, and many may disagree with me on here, but do not use your EQ. In fact, disable any tone control or EQ if you can. THX recommends this, and I agree. If you want to be EQ'ing 5.1 then you need a 5.1 EQ (mucho $$ and is connected to pre-outs/main-ins).
    Eric.
     
  8. gomez_a

    gomez_a Stunt Coordinator

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    Try the polk forum at:
    http://clubpolk.polkaudio.com/forum/
    perhaps they can address some of your questions as well - I just ordered a pair of 800i's and demo'd them with an onk 898 (yes, they has an 898 there, but for $1400) - I loved their sound
     
  9. Steve Winkler

    Steve Winkler Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everyone. I agree with the suggestion of having the EQ turned off, I never use it with my old cheesy Pioneer 3-way towers. Truth be told, I think I want the PSB setup anyway. A friend of mine bought the 5t,9c,2b package on my recommendation and he loves it ( mind you he's coming from using just his TV speakers [​IMG] ). I've just been busy upgrading other things and will probably go with the same set-up. My girlfriend is also looking to be upgraded... to fiance. [​IMG] That's killing my speaker budget.
    Steve
     
  10. Brian Kleinke

    Brian Kleinke Supporting Actor

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    When I got engaged I was also looking at upgrading my TV, since I wanted HTDV ready and 16:9 I was looking at TVs in the 3k+ range, my (now) fiance said if I'm going to spend that much on a TV I should spend at least that much on a ring [​IMG]
    Anyway got the best of both worlds, and in my favor (I think), I spent about 3.7k on the TV and 2.7k on the ring [​IMG] She's happy since she has a rock (man those things are spendy) and we both enjoy DVDs on a 57" screen ;-)
    On the topic of Polk's could it be that you need to break in the speakers a bit more? I have a set up of 4x RT25i's and a CS245i for almost 2 years now. They are hooked up to a Sony ES Pre/Pro and Amp (overkill for the speakers, but I'm planning on getting the LSi as soon as my budget allows it.... dang house downpayment)
    For those of you who don't like Polk's tweeter check out the LSi series for it uses a vifa tweeter.
    Just my .02 YMMV
    Brian
     
  11. Lee Bailey

    Lee Bailey Second Unit

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    These weren't floor models that you bought, were they? There shouldn't be any muddy midrange on those speakers. Are both speakers having the same problem? I think you should go to the Polk Audio site and get some help from them.
     
  12. Steve Winkler

    Steve Winkler Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian,
    Yes sir those engagement rings are definately spendy. As for the speakers perhaps needing some break-in time, well that could very well be. I already have them boxed back up to be returned though and I'm going to try something else.
    Lee,
    They are floor models: Polk Rt800i. They use a 2 1/2 way design. 1" silk dome tweeter, two 6 1/2" woofers.
    Yes, both speakers sound the same, muffled, like those singing the vocals had their hands in front of their mouths. Kind of a lousy description but like what Ryan SS said, " a barrier between me and the singer ".
    I wanted to like these speakers and maybe 5 days isn't enough time for a demo, but I don't want the speakers to have to grow on me, I want some immediate gratification from the upgrade.
    Thanks for the comments and links.
    Steve
     
  13. Lee Bailey

    Lee Bailey Second Unit

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    Steve, since they are floor models, anything could have been done to them. Verify that the tweeters are in fact still working too. If they are under warranty, just call polk. They're known for their customer service. They will even ship drivers out to you if needed. You can also email them over at the polk site.
     
  14. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    May one assume that the muffled midrange is not caused by the tweeters being too far below ear height? An ideal frequency response curve often requires the listener's ears to be between the tweeter and the midrange/bass driver. Tilting back the speaker often helps.

    If vertical speaker positioning was already optimized, please disregard this post!
     
  15. EricK

    EricK Second Unit

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    sounds like there is some confusion here as to whether Steve bought floor (DEMO) models or floor standing speakers. From what I've read, I believe Steve, you have gotten brand new floor standing models.

    I still think you should dump the Polk's and get yourself into a better quality speaker...such as PSB or Klipsch.

    Eric.
     
  16. Robert Drew

    Robert Drew Auditioning

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    Well, here's another opinion for you: [​IMG]
    I'm running Polks all around for my HT system (CS400, FX500, older RT10 mains). About a year ago I looked into replacing my mains to voice match the tweeters, but I didn't like the RT800's when I listened to them. They just sounded muffled compared to my older RT10's. It was like taking a step backwards. (I did like the RT1000's, but didn't need the subs).
    I was in a similar situation to yours - found a good deal on clearance/returns and wanted to like them, but I ended up taking them back after two days. Just didn't like them. Whatever you do, don't compromise on sound just because it's a "good deal." You'll be happier in the long run.
     
  17. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Second Unit

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    some speakers need a break-in period... most will admit that. I run all Polks and dont quite understand your muffled mid-range issue...If you have 30days before returning them...give them a couple weeks breakin...
     
  18. Steve Winkler

    Steve Winkler Stunt Coordinator

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    EricK, you are correct. Sorry Lee, I misread your post. These were brand new speakers not demo floor models.
    Alex F., the vertical speaker positioning was not a concern here but thanks.
    Robert Drew, this is a strange occurance perhaps with a select few rt800i's, but the same day I returned my speakers two other customers were doing the same thing for the same reason. One was exchanging and getting the 600i, which after some listening did seem to have more crispness and detail than the 800i. I sure do like the Klipsch reference line, but I don't think I can swing as good a deal on those as the PSB. I would like to give Paradigm or B&W an audition but realisticly they are probably out of my price range.[​IMG]
    Thomas_A, I took 'em back already. What Polks do you run?
    Thanks everybody.
     
  19. Paul Seyfarth

    Paul Seyfarth Stunt Coordinator

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    I do own a pair of Polks rt2000 speakers which I got for 800 for the pair. I love them I can listen all day long, and my ears don't get tired.

    It's been a while since I have listened to those speakers. But when I was listening to speakers, it seemed to me that most of the Polk speakers with two midrange speakers sounded muffled.
     
  20. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Second Unit

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    Steve...I currently have 2000i's/55i's main, 400 center and 800's surround... I used to run the 800's on my mains. I use a yammie 795a and love the sound the polks put out.
     

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