Polk speakers...Harsh?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brent Cantrell, Sep 13, 2001.

  1. Brent Cantrell

    Brent Cantrell Stunt Coordinator

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    'K guys, need help from the experts, and yes, I do know that all opinions are subjective, but you've got much more experience than me.
    Finally got the Pioneer VSX-39 installed. (Upgraded from Kenwood 4080), got Polk 35i fronts, 200cs center, 25i rears, (no name sub for the moment, saving for svs).
    here's the problem, they now sound really harsh at high volume, (12:00 position on volume), not really distorted or anything, just harsh, grating. Is this because they're not high-end speakers and my reciever is showing them up? Or is this typical of Pioneer equipment? At lower levels, they sound great (at least to my untrained ear), and I've heard a lot of stuff I've never heard before, but do I need to upgrade to fully unleash this reciever? If I do need to upgrade, what speakers would you recommend with this unit? I've got a little over 1500 to spend on everything, (front, sides, rears, center, yes, I want to upgrade to 7.1)so let's have at it!
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  2. Jonathan_M

    Jonathan_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Brian...
    I've got a VSX-39TX also and use Polk RT-55i's as my mains with a CS400i as my center. I've had no problems with my system sounding "harsh" at high volumes. Now, the 12 o'clock position on the receiver is quite loud, on a DD track, it's just under -5db below reference (if you've calibrated your levels). That's rockin especially if you have a small room.
    Some other ideas, the Polk's may be brighter than what you had been using before, hence the "harsh" sound. Also, if you have a very reflective room, that can accentuate the problem.
    Anyway, I see you're down in Birmingham. I'm up the road from you in Decatur. You're welcome to come up and check out my setup if you like.
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  3. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure that the problem is the speakers. But if so, I'd recommend 7 ceramic norh 4.0s for $1250 or some combination of ceramic 4.0s and prism 4.1s for just a little bit more.
     
  4. KevinMcL

    KevinMcL Agent

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    I can't get over that fact you can turn the volume up to 12:00!!! I've never been able to do that with any receiver I've ever used- for 2ch. music, or HT. I've read that after the 10:00 position, the Rx doesn't really make any more power, so maybe you're maxxing the amp. Regardless, it sounds like you need either bigger speakers, or more power (or both) to accomplish what you want. No 'dis to the equipment, sometimes it just can't do what we want it to.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    putting aside the reference level issue, i also agree that for most receivers, 12:00pm is really loud. my guess is your maxing your amp...
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  6. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    In the "i" series from Polk I find the tri-lam tweeters a bit harsh, but that is just me. I have the r40/cs175i/r10 setup. Notice the cs175 is an "i" model, but not really as it just has the different color woofer and the same silk dome tweeter. Don't get me wrong, the silk domes sound good, but muddy at times. Its the lesser of two evils. BTW, long story how I got the speakers, when I got them and why.
    My suggestion is to go and listen to many other speakers. I know you may have already done this initially, but now that you know what your system sounds like and what you prefer. I think you'll find a good demo will either show you how good your stuff is, or how your stuff could sound better. For instance, I love B&W speakers, the lower-end 601s and 602s. Compared to my setup, they blow them away. They do cost quite a bit more of course.
    What will listening to speakers do for you? It will give you a mad case of upgrade-itis. But it will also let you see where you stand.
    Just my 2 cents.
    Jon
     
  7. Brent Cantrell

    Brent Cantrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Stupid question, but do I need to worry about the Norh's max rating being 100watts and the Pioneer being 120? I do regularly listen to it loudly, how much do I need to pay attention to ratings?
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  8. Jonathan_M

    Jonathan_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Brent,
    You'll more than likely be okay with the 100 watt rated speakers. Generally, it's more of a problem if you try to play something loud and don't have ENOUGH power is where things tend to get damaged.
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  9. Brent Cantrell

    Brent Cantrell Stunt Coordinator

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    ...Another thing, do you guys really not go over 12:00 volume wise? Granted, it's loud when I do it, but not run from the room loud, and I don't have a big room either. I've calibrated so everything's even soundwise. I don't know how this thing would fill a really large room, doesn't THX Ultra mean it's rated for the biggest rooms?(and I know what most people think of THX, but I like it, I'm just curious about the rating scheme). Curious. Jonathan, I'd love to come up and see your setup, I've been curious about the 55's for a while. I think we need to get the southern guys together for a cookout/get-together.
    Thanks for the help guys!
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  10. Tom Morgan

    Tom Morgan Stunt Coordinator

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    I have Polk RT800i fronts, CS400i center, RT600 rears, and a CS175 for the rear center. I use the Marantz SR-7200 to drive them and do not find the Polks harsh at all, but that might be the nice warm Marantz.
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  11. Jonathan_M

    Jonathan_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Brent,
    Shoot me an email and I'll get some directions to you.
    A get together for some of the HT enthusiasts in our area would be good. We just have to find out where they're hiding!
    -Jonathan
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  12. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    How loud is 12:00 on your receiver? Are we talking 100db, 105db, 110db?
    I have the nOrh 4.0's, and I can get peaks of 105db from the 4.0's with ease, and no harshness. The drivers are pretty stout, much more than you would think for $400/pair. Part of what you have to look at is sensitivity of the speaker, combined with its continuious power rating - ie, for example the 4.0 is 87db sensitive, and handles 100 watts continuous (a conservative rating - I run them with a 150 watt Bryston amp and have no problems). Since a doubling of power gives a 3db increase in sound, you end up with:
    87db - 1 watt
    90db - 2 watts
    93db - 4 watts
    96db - 8 watts
    99db - 16 watts
    102db - 32 watts
    105db - 64 watts
    108db - 128 watts
    So, with an 87db sensitivity, and 100 watts of clean power, you are looking at between 105 and 108 decibels continuous. Peak power handling/SPL will be higher. You can do this same sort of chart with any speaker that you know the sensitivity and power handling of a particular speaker. Be warned though, that many speakers overstate their sensitivity, and also overestimate the ammount of power the speaker can take. And you end up with a speaker that will reach its limits far sooner that it "should" based on the published specs.
     
  13. Brent Cantrell

    Brent Cantrell Stunt Coordinator

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    As I said in another thread, I heard another 39 through a set of Klipsch today, and they sounded great no matter how high it was. So I think it's my speakers, I've got some more listening to do. (Can't wait to see those 55's) I've got a bit of hearing loss, (army's fault mostly, but I was 16 once and had a camaro, so....) and I really love the way those Klipsch seemed to compensate for that. I'm gonna start a thread in AH btw, to see about a Southeastern HTF meet. Thanks for the help on this guys.
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  14. YANG

    YANG Second Unit

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    For a small room,the POLKAUDIO RT55 can fill lots of bass and highs if used for HT playback.
    I did compared the RT55 to the good old S6 in both music and movie presentation.I find that the newly improved RT55 is much more better in handling digital surround tracks with lots of bangs,rips and bass!
    I still prefer my old S6,which sounds very sweet with orchestral musics and movie scores.IN movie presentation,my S6 may start to sound weird if playback in high volume...the woofer vibrates violently.
     

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