Polk Rti 150

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Bertrand-R, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. Bertrand-R

    Bertrand-R Agent

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    What do you think of those speakers for HT?
    Since they drop price (1250 Can) they become interesting for me.
    I also look at Energy Connoisseur C-7.

    Thanks
    Bert
     
  2. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I think Polks are a little bit more tuned towards music but they do make nice home theater speakers as well. The Energy's aren't bad either. I would just take a listen and see what you like best.
     
  3. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Well, I bought a set last Friday for close out price of $566 for the pair at Circuit City (after getting a price adjustment, plus 10% not just once, but twice from where they marked them down even further less than a week after I got them). The 150s will be powered and passively bi-amped with an Adcom GFA 5500 (200 watts per channel) driving the woofers and an Adcom GFA 5400 (125 watts per channel) driving the tweeter/midrange. The gain on both of these amps is the exact same, so it's no problem to passively biamp them together. Preamp is an Adcom GFP 565 and main source is an Adcom GCD 600 cd player. Speaker wire and cabling are all Monster. I hooked them up and listened to them that first night.

    First impressions. I really wasn't planning on writing any kind of review until they had a few hours (at least 20 - 40) break in time. However, I noticed a few things right off the bat. First of all, I had forgot about those stupid @$$ plugs Polk puts in the middle of the 5 way speaker wire binding posts and what a pain in the @$$ it is to get them out before you can hook your banana plugs up. Why do they do that? There's no excuse for that! You've got new speakers that you are excited about and can't wait to get up and running, and then you have to spend 5 minutes fooling around with that crap first. I had to remove all 8 of them too, since I bi-wire/bi-amp. The 150s definitely need a lot of power. I hooked them up bi-wired to the Denon 3802 just to get started. I was planning on using the 3802 to power them just through the break in process to help keep the hours off of my Adcoms. I heard the fan on the 3802 running for the first time ever when I hit pause on the cd player (I didn't even know it had one before then). The 3802 also shut down twice, and it has never done that before. I just left it off after the second time since the old lady was yelling at me to turn it off anyway because it was too late to keep her precious parrots up at that time of night with loud music (I considered it to be payback for when those #%$*!^@& wake me up early every morning from them making a lot of noise). I was running the volume at an even 0, then I backed it down just a little to -5. I found out the reason the 3802 shut down a couple of times that first night was because I had forgotten to remove the jump strap connecting both sets of 5 way speaker wire binding posts on one of the 150s (Those damned plugs you have to take out to be able to use banana plugs got me so pi$$ed off that they made me forget to take off the jumpstrap). I thought about it later that night, checked, and sure enough, one of the jumpstraps was still there. The older Polk tri-lam tweeter is definitely brighter. The newer series tweeter is more "laid back" and a lot smoother than the older series' tri-lams are, but that's not neccesarily a bad thing. This new tweeter is silky smooth! A big improvement! Bass is totally awesome! It's quick, fast, tight, and it hits! I honestly would not have believed before now that any speaker without a subwoofer could produce that kind of bass. Well, I take that back. I do know someone with some Klipsch KLF30s (matter of fact, a pair I originally found for sale and auditioned that I decided not to buy, but the friend did), and I must admit, they are a great rock speaker. He has them also passively bi-amped with some Harman Kardon amps, although I don't know the model #'s off hand. I think they are some older HK amps. The 30s each have 2 12 inch woofers that can move a lot of air (think about it, 4 feet worth of of woofer is there) and also have awesome bass that you would think was really a seperate sub if you didn't already know better, but I just can't listen to them for about an hour or so at the most before the horns start hurting my ears and giving me a headache. Besides, I'd venture to say that my 150's bass is probably tighter, more accurate, and quicker than the KLF30's, but the Klipschs probably have a little more though just through the sheer size of their woofers. I know the KLF30 is a lot more efficient too and will play louder, but I mean, my God, how much louder than the point to where you will eventually start to go deaf do you need for it to be anyway? Needless to say, I think I've finally got a speaker that I can live with and actually listen to for long extended sessions that might can rival the Klipsch KLF30 for hard rock music.
    I really believe that this is a speaker that I could be happy with long term. I was planning on getting them only to be an "interim" speaker and trade them in for a pair of the RTi12s (basically the same speaker, but with their forthcoming Vifa tweeters instead and extra midrange drivers, link - http://www.polkaudio.com/images/highres/home/NEW%20RTi%20Series/RTi12_Black.jpg), which will be out before a year is up from today's date, but what an interim speaker it is at that!. I figure it will give a good "preview" of what's yet to be heard. Still, with that said, I think the 150 is an awesome speaker in it's own right. I probably still will trade up eventually, but I really believe that I would have no problems living with this speaker for a long, long time if I had to. If the 12s are better than these 150s (and you have to think that they will be), then I would be highly impressed!
    Bottom line, I'm already pleased, and I know it'll only get even better after they've been properly broken in and I have all that clean Adcom power driving them instead of the 3802.
    Back to the 150s, next day (Saturday) when I was able to spend more time listening to them, all I can say is that everything from my first impressions post from the night before is still all very much true. More time with them just reinforced all of that just that much more. At first, I didn't think the 3802 was enough for them, but once that everything was hooked up correctly, it doesn't sound too bad with them. Actually, it's damned good, if I do say so myself. These speakers are relatively efficient, so the 3802 will drive them pretty well, but I'm sure it will be even that much better with the Adcoms. I figure that just on sheer power alone (325 watts per channel vs. 110), they should play about 4.5 dbs louder with the Adcoms than they will with the 3802, not to mention much, much better sound, headroom, and dynamics at any given volume setting. They sound great as is on the 3802, but I still think this is a power hungry beast that will need a lot of wattage to truly shine to all of it's capabilities.
    The third day (Sunday), my 3802 shut down yet again. It ran for over 10 hours straight the day before driving the 150s at 00 volume with no problems, but Sunday, it shut down after about 5 hours or so. I left it on to help break in these speakers while we went to take our dogs for a long walk, and when we got back about an hour later, everything was off and the standby indicator light was flashing (which signals there was a self induced shutdown). I guess it's possible that there may have been a very brief power interuption which could have caused it, but I KNOW all the connections were right now, so I got out the 3802's manual to try to figure out why. Apparantly, it must have shut down simply because it got too hot. I guess the 3802 just isn't enough for the 150s if you drive them hard. I know master volume 00 is loud, but it's not fatiguing like listening to Klipsch KLF30s loud. It's silky smooth! As for the 3802, I don't really care about it all that much. My attitude on those is get them, use them as pre/pros for a few years, then replace them after there have been upgrades in that price range. Just like now, I wish I had a 3803 instead. I got burned once before back in late '97 or early '98 when I bought a new Yamaha 2092 receiver, then top of the line for it's day, and now it's pretty much obsolete. Can't be upgraded either, and really, no useable pre-ins/outs. Anyways, when I get the Adcoms hooked up, the GFA5500 is rated at 200 watts per channel at 8 ohms for full bandwidth frequency range. So I think it should be enough for powering just the woofers and their corresponding limited frequency range (which admittedly do require the most power though). The 5400 will offer up 125 watts per channel just for the tweeter and midrange.

    Later on after that, I picked up a Polk CSi40 for $285 and 4 RTi38s for surround duty for $114 per speaker. Now all of my tweeters will be matched for the next year or less till I trade them all up to the new series eventually. The 28s were $95 each. Is the bigger woofer in the 38 worth $19 more each? I thought so since they were the same size as those in the 40 and 150s. Plus, it is all interest free for 1 year if you use your CC charge card. I know some of you here hate CC instead of "high end" shops, but you must admit, CC does have some good points as well that can't be matched by the others. I'll be the first to admit though that their "sound" rooms truly suck for demos. You just can't get a good one there.

    Anyways, once I have the Adcoms up and running with te 150s, I'll post more about it.
     
  4. ShaunLB

    ShaunLB Stunt Coordinator

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    Glad to hear such a detailed review from another Polkie. Good job man! If they money ever starts freely flowing, I've considered getting a pair of 150's and some heavey duty amps for a music only system (already have a complete Polk RT HT). [​IMG]
     
  5. Jeff-Watson

    Jeff-Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    Polk has been a real bargain for me especialy with the price cuts lately. Love my RTI70's.[​IMG]
     
  6. MarkyM

    MarkyM Agent

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    Ditto on those Rti70's...they take everything I throw at them and never complain.....One of the best "bang for the buck" speakers out there!!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Nick V

    Nick V Second Unit

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    The main question I have is, are the LSi's that much better than the RTi's? With the prices you can get online it actually seems like you can get LSi 15's cheaper than RTi 150's. Especially now with the redesign of the RTi series, there seems to be some serious overlap between the two.



    NEW Polk RTi series
     
  8. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    Mark Russ, I don't know whether or not to curse you or thank you. I read your excellent post on your 150s last night and went to the CC website to get prices on bookshelf speakers. I went out at lunch today and got a pair of RTi 38s and CSi30 center speaker to replace the Polk Monitor 7c's that I've had since 12/1979. I used them as front speakers with a phantom center. With the 6% MI sales tax, I got out the door for just under $400.00. The store matched the website prices, which were just over half the list prices on the Polk site. I also spent enough to get their 12 month financing. So I got great speakers, or so I expect to find out when I get home from work and hook them up, but I'm out the money. [​IMG]

    I did this because 1. I wanted to get a center channel and wanted to haveit matched to the fronts and 2. I anticipate moving into a situation where my rig will be inthe living room instead of the basement and WAF will be more important. This looked like a good opportunity. I figured the cheapie speakers I use for the rear speakers will do, probably indefinitely.

    Seriously, though, thanks for the post and the vell-written review. Enjoy the towers. I saw the new ones on the Secrets of home theater or whatever it's called. I'd make sure the new ones really are an improvement before I'd bother trading up what you have.

    Take care,
     
  9. Chuck Watwood

    Chuck Watwood Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a pair of the RTi 100's and I am happy with them. I compared them to the 70,s and the 150's. They are better than the 70's, no doubt, and very close to the 150's. At non sale prices, I would say go for the 100's, but with the slashed clearance prices, I say go for the 150's. I may take mine back to CC and trade up. You have one year to do that. Good luck.
     
  10. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    Glad you all liked my review. Now that the Adcoms are hooked up and running them, all I can say is that everything I wrote before is still all very much true, only MORE so of everything. MUCH more. Maybe I should have just started a whole new thread an labled it Polk RT150i, the Klipsch KLF30 killer. I'm sure it would have gotten a lot more hits then, as well as drew the ire of the Klipsch fans on this board.
    I now own not just one, not even 2, but 3 pairs of the 150s! I originally bought my first pair Friday (8/22) of last week for $498 each at CC. A few days later, I got a tip on the Polk forum that another CC store that just happened to also be local to me had them priced at $324 each. Well, on this past Friday (8/29) I went to get the price match, plus 10% of the difference, and low and behold, they had them marked down to a Red Dot price of $284.99 each. This was new in box as well, and not just "open box"! Needless to say, I scooped them up. At this price, it is a no-brainer. Plus, I put them all on my CC card interest free for 12 months. I also returned the 2 pairs of 38s I had bought for surround duty to apply towards them. I just couldn't see the need to keep them now. BTW, even though the 38s were still factory sealed unopened in their boxes, the girl at the return counter opened them up anyway, so now I guess they have to sell them "open box". I guess they've got their reasons, but I thought that was pretty stupid though.
    I'm thinking about maybe returning one pair of the 150s. I thought I'd grab them now because I knew they wouldn't be there later for me to have the option to think about it. I've kicked around the idea having a set of all 6 of them, using a pair each for surround sides and back (as well as mains, of course). However, I definitely don't have enough amplifier power right now for all of them to do them justice. I guess I need that FAT Adcom 300 watt X 7 amp!
    I'm definitely going to keep one pair as mains and one pair as surround backs for sure. I thought about getting a second pair just in case I ever decide to get into SACD/DVD audio. I never really planned on doing that, but you never say never. Before now, I just couldn't see myself ever getting into that, and thought I'd just stick with plain old 2 channel stereo. Just something about a guitar solo coming from behind my left shoulder that just doesn't seem right to me. Besides, who's winning the SACD/DVD Audio war? Do you guys think one will ultlmately prevail like VHS did against Beta? Or do you think they'll both go the way of DAT and DCC (and even Quad from back in the early 70s for that matter) with neither one ever really catching on? Anyways, if I ever do get into SACD/DVD Audio, now I definitely have some back speakers up to the task! Even if I don't use all 6 of them, I could maybe find another use for the extra pair some other way in another system or something. Maybe even just sell them. I think at that price though, it would probably be foolish to return a pair, as that was a one time and one time only deal that I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to get. Others on the Polk forum have tried to get other CCs to match this deal, but they won't do it.
    Man, at that price, I almost can't see upgrading to the 12s whenever they come out. At some point, you'd just as well keep the 150s, and I may now be at that point.
    When I bought my first pair of 150s Friday of last week (8/22) for $998 plus tax, I was originally planning on eventually trading them up for a pair of the 12s within a year at CC, but now at these prices, I'm just going to keep the 150s and hold off on the 12s until I can get at least one pair of them at a great deal as I did these 150s. The 12s will eventually do the same thing sooner or later.

    ------------------------------------------------------
    Jack, I don't know whether to say your welcome, or sorry about that.


    Nick, I know this will probably elicit some responses from LSi owners, and first I want to make it perfectly clear that I think the LSi is an awesome speaker (especially for it's price range), but I believe that on hard rock/heavy metal music and movies, the RTis might actually be better suited for that. Especially if you are receiver based instead of seperates. A receiver isn't even enough for my 150s, so just imagine what it would take for the LSi15s. In any case, I think at best the LSis are only subtlty better than the RTis. It's by no means a huge, big, dramatic, mind bending, orgasmic, earth shaking, jaw dropping, unbelievable, drastic, night and day kind of difference between them. Plus, when the new RTi line comes out with their forthcoming Vifa tweeters and improved cabinetry, it will only close the gap just that much more. I'm sure they are also working on the next generation LSis as well, but I wouldn't really expect any huge, dramatic inprovements in them though.


    Jeff, when's the next Night Ranger tour starting back up? I haven't seen you guys in over 2 years now.
     
  11. Chuck Watwood

    Chuck Watwood Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks alot Nick V.

    I'm going to pull the trigger on the new RTi 12's when they come out in October. I can trade up from my RTi 100's. Circuit City will credit me the orginal purchase price of the 100's. I read the link you posted. I assume that the improved RTi's are timbre matched with the CSi40 and the RTi 38's? Someday I'll move up to the LSi's, however, my HT construction is first. Not to mention my SVS PB2+ which is hopefully shipping soon. Too many speakers, not enough money. [​IMG]
     
  12. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    I wouldn't assume the new RTi line will be timbre matched with the current RTi line. The new line has been extensively redesigned and will use a different tweeter. I'd expect the new speakers to have the potential to be as different sounding from the current RTi line as the RTi line is from the LSi line. Since you're getting an SVS subwoofer, it may make sense to keep your RTi100s instead of trading for either of the bigger RTi speakers. The RTi150s have much better bass than the RTi100s, but the midrange is about the same (both have one driver there).
     
  13. Chuck Watwood

    Chuck Watwood Stunt Coordinator

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    Marc,

    The link indicated that the new RTi speakers have two midrange drivers. They have been redesigned. I plan on talking to Polk to find out if they are timbre matched to the CSi40 and the FXi30's. I think you're probably right about trading up to the 150's. In any case, my local CC is sold out of the sharply discounted 150's. I currently have RTi38's as the rears, FXi30's as side surrounds, and the CSi40 center channel.
     
  14. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    Hi Chuck,
    You're right, the new RTi line will have two midrange drivers surrounding a new kind of tweeter. Good idea to find out about timbre matching before trading in. If you do decide on getting the new mains, maybe you could trade in the center as well if timbre matching turns out to be a problem. I don't think pricing is going up much if at all, so you may be able to get all three fronts replaced for not all that much more than what you paid for your current speakers. Timbre matching probably wouldn't be as noticeable front to rear as across the front soundstage if the new line sounds somewhat different.

    The CC stores in my area are sold out of the RTi150s as well now. The price never went below $475 each here though. Still, they were a heck of a deal for me and I jumped at the chance to get a matching pair to use as back speakers for DVD-A and SACD.

    Enjoy!!
     
  15. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    Oops, I forgot to respond to Bertrand's original question.

    My opinion of Polk's current RTi line is that they excel for home theater use and are relatively inexpensive for what one gets at their regular prices. Polk makes a full range of home theater speakers, including good bipole/dipole speakers for surrounds. For the fire sale prices available right now, the RTis are a steal.

    This is just my opinion, but I find the RTi speakers to sound too bright with Yamaha or Sony receivers for music. Denon's AVR 3803 makes the speakers sound smooth and refined. So, I'd suggest being careful what you match the speakers with. Also, the more power the better. The RTi150s will handle 500 watts/channel.
     
  16. Chuck Watwood

    Chuck Watwood Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark,

    The RTi150's were marked down to $249 each as of Saturday at the Springfield Missouri CC. They were all gone. So sad. What is odd is that the CC salespeople didn't know what was coming or when. They just knew Polk had something new. You would think the major carrier of Polk's midrange speakers would have some beforehand knowledge? Without Nick V's link, I wouldn't have known. Now I am very intrigued. The news release didn't mention any redesigned center channels or surrounds? Just the mains and bookshelfs. That makes me think they might be timbre matched with the old line center and FXi surrounds. I'll find out. I sent Polk an email tonight. I'll post when I find out something.
     
  17. Bertrand-R

    Bertrand-R Agent

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    Thanks folks for the feedback i really apreciate

    Bert
     
  18. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    Polk is introducing the full RTi line at the same time in October. The following links go to the press release for the new center channel and surround speakers. The press releases were done separately for mains and home theater speakers for some reason.

    Images

    Center and Surround Press Release
     
  19. Jarvis_R

    Jarvis_R Agent

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    Just picked up the 150's today for 249 each. I think that was the only circuit city in chicago that still had any.
     
  20. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    The RTi150s are still available from Circuit City for direct shipment, but they're sold out in my area too except for floor models. I also jumped on two sets of FXi30s on clearance. They are no longer available for shipment from Circuit City as of yesterday. I asked about the new line of RTi speakers yesterday and Circuit City still hasn't been given a definite in-stock date, although Polk has announced they will be available in October.
     

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