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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys -

I value your opinions, so I'm curious to hear your responses.

I really like my Polk Audio RTiA set-up... so I'm not interested in buying a different brand (this is not really a question about critiquing my speakers :nerd:)... currently I have Polk's CSiA6 center, bookshelf RTiA3's on stands, and then Polk surrounds.

The sound, in general, is great --- sometimes wonderful (the imaging can be really great) --- sometimes it feels like something is missing in the mids... almost like there is a gap between the lower mids and subs.


The RTiA3's have a tweeter and a 6 1/2" driver. I have an opportunity to buy RTiA5 floor standing speakers. They are more sensitive, by 1 dB, but add in a second 6 1/2" driver (along with a larger port at the bottom of the tower)...

I don't have a place to demo these speakers... so I'm wondering what you guys think?

I've read a lot about the pro's and con's of bookshelf on stands vs tower speakers. The primary pro for bookshelf's being they have cabinets that are more inert... and the primary pro for towers being lower extension. My room is 13' W X 17' L, 8 1/2' Tall.

So, just curious, if you guys could follow the links and look at these two speakers... :innocent:

Curious to know if you think I would be making nothing but positive gains by going to the A5's... or if I should just keep on rolling.
 

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You didn't mention what the speakers are used for, so I'm going to guess HT (or at least primarily HT).

The 6.5" driver in the CSiA6 shouldn't really be missing any midrange, especially when you consider it's in a bass reflex cabinet with a -3dB point of 55Hz. My room is the same size as yours and I'm using the NHT Absolute Zero, with a 5.25" midrange, and there really isn't a midrange deficiency. Is it possible they aren't tune properly? What's your crossover set for? What subwoofer do you have? Did you run your AVR's room correction software?


The sound, in general, is great --- sometimes wonderful (the imaging can be really great) --- sometimes it feels like something is missing in the mids... almost like there is a gap between the lower mids and subs.
I wonder if the source material is the culprit instead of the speakers. It sounds like most of the time you're quite please, but every once in a while something appears to be missing. It might be what you're listening to, not what you're listening on.


All that being said... you may just be the type of person who would enjoy the fuller sound of the RTiA5's, because for sure they'll have more presence then the RTiA3's are capable of producing. If you can get them at a reasonable price if could potentially be a worthwhile upgrade for you, but first I would ensure what you have is properly tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response, appreciate it!:T

You didn't mention what the speakers are used for, so I'm going to guess HT (or at least primarily HT).
Yes, 100% HT


The 6.5" driver in the CSiA6 shouldn't really be missing any midrange, especially when you consider it's in a bass reflex cabinet with a -3dB point of 55Hz. My room is the same size as yours and I'm using the NHT Absolute Zero, with a 5.25" midrange, and there really isn't a midrange deficiency. Is it possible they aren't tune properly? What's your crossover set for? What subwoofer do you have? Did you run your AVR's room correction software?
Just to clarify, the A5's would actually replace the RTiA3's (the CSiA6 is my center). Yes, they all do have 6.5" drivers. The CSiA6 has 2 drivers ... the RTiA3's have one driver... the A5's have two drivers.

My crossover is set at 80hz... I have one HSU VTF2-MK4 sub (and an Energy S10.3 that in the mix to get rid of null in the room).

My AVR is an Elite VSX21-THX. I did run MCACC (I've spent a lot of time fooling around with it and am confident it was implemented correctly). The room is also acoustically treated.



I wonder if the source material is the culprit instead of the speakers. It sounds like most of the time you're quite please, but every once in a while something appears to be missing. It might be what you're listening to, not what you're listening on.


I know what you are getting at... I've definitely heard differences across source material. Primarily, all we watch in our HT comes off of blu-ray (fed to the AVR via HDMI).

All that being said... you may just be the type of person who would enjoy the fuller sound of the RTiA5's, because for sure they'll have more presence then the RTiA3's are capable of producing. If you can get them at a reasonable price if could potentially be a worthwhile upgrade for you, but first I would ensure what you have is properly tuned.


I guess what I'm wondering is just this... would going from bookshelf speakers on stands (with one 6.5" driver each) to two towers featuring two 6.5" drivers each --- along with the bigger enclosures --- give a much wider, deeper, warmer sound... would they blend better with the subs?

Or, would I be loosing some of the clarity and imaging that we enjoy? Would they be too much for my room? Or would the difference be essentially so minor that getting the A5's would be a waste of time and resources?



I wish I could pop-in somewhere and hear them... they just aren't demo-ed anywhere in my area.
 

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Just to clarify, the A5's would actually replace the RTiA3's (the CSiA6 is my center). Yes, they all do have 6.5" drivers. The CSiA6 has 2 drivers ... the RTiA3's have one driver... the A5's have two drivers.
Yea, that was a typo on my part. I knew what I was thinking, but apparently my fingers didn't comply. :dontknow:


My crossover is set at 80hz... I have one HSU VTF2-MK4 sub (and an Energy S10.3 that in the mix to get rid of null in the room).

My AVR is an Elite VSX21-THX. I did run MCACC (I've spent a lot of time fooling around with it and am confident it was implemented correctly). The room is also acoustically treated.
Subwoofers are both good, AVR is too. MCACC isn't the best, but you obviously know what you're doing so if it does set something wrong you seem capable of identifying and correcting it. Integrating two disparate subs can be a bit of a pain though.


I guess what I'm wondering is just this... would going from bookshelf speakers on stands (with one 6.5" driver each) to two towers featuring two 6.5" drivers each --- along with the bigger enclosures --- give a much wider, deeper, warmer sound... would they blend better with the subs?

Or, would I be loosing some of the clarity and imaging that we enjoy? Would they be too much for my room? Or would the difference be essentially so minor that getting the A5's would be a waste of time and resources?
I can't say if the soundstage would be wider, but deeper and richer are almost a guarantee. You'd also gain additional headroom, so if you like it loud that's a benefit. I'm not certain I would want that much of a front sound stage in a 13x17 room, but that's just my opinion - you may feel differently. I doubt the difference would be minor though. I suspect it would be pretty noticeable, especially for movies. Regular TV maybe not so much.

Does the place you're purchasing from have a 30 day return policy?
 

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If I was you I'd be tempted, if the deal is good enough on the rtia 5's, to get them as fronts, and move the a-3's to your surround position(if that's even possible in your scenario). There's no drawbacks to fuller sound up front, and the extra size and driver of the a-5's will not reduce the upper end clarity. I use rti-10's as fronts and surrounds, and there are no negatives in my mind. I'll upgrade someday of course, but for now they blow me away and all my movie guests as well.
Like I said, for me the tipping point would be the "deal" I could get them for. I hate paying "full retail".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can't say if the soundstage would be wider, but deeper and richer are almost a guarantee. You'd also gain additional headroom, so if you like it loud that's a benefit. I'm not certain I would want that much of a front sound stage in a 13x17 room, but that's just my opinion - you may feel differently. I doubt the difference would be minor though. I suspect it would be pretty noticeable, especially for movies. Regular TV maybe not so much.

Does the place you're purchasing from have a 30 day return policy?
Could you clarify what you mean about "that much of a front stage"? That is one of my concerns... the RTiA5's are just going to be too much speaker for the space. Although, they aren't exactly large towers...

Really, I would love for more depth to the sound if I can keep the clarity that we enjoy now...
 

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I'm a big proponent of floor standers. Could be that you lose a bit in the imaging department, but as Jim has note, bigger, deeper, wider, richer, fuller. I'd say a positive as long as the cost is not an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I was you I'd be tempted, if the deal is good enough on the rtia 5's, to get them as fronts, and move the a-3's to your surround position(if that's even possible in your scenario). There's no drawbacks to fuller sound up front, and the extra size and driver of the a-5's will not reduce the upper end clarity. I use rti-10's as fronts and surrounds, and there are no negatives in my mind. I'll upgrade someday of course, but for now they blow me away and all my movie guests as well.
Like I said, for me the tipping point would be the "deal" I could get them for. I hate paying "full retail".
The deal is great -- they are from Polk Direct (refurb, which I have absolutely zero problem buying from Polk)... it would cost a $460 for the A5's (It's about $720 to buy them from NewEgg... and about $800 from Crutchfield). I suspect that I probably paid about that much for my A3's plus their speaker stands.

Unfortunately, this means that I would have to pay return shipping if they didn't work out. That would probably run me $80 or so?

I can't move the A3's to the rear due to space constraints... but I think I could probably sell them for about $250. I would imagine I could sell the stands for $60 on craigslist (if they sold). The cost could be relatively negligible.

I am very - very - curious to know if the A5's would be like the A3's "and some"... adding a new dimension to the sound... or if they are too large for my room (?) or simply not as sharp and precise as the A3's.

:innocent:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm a big proponent of floor standers. Could be that you lose a bit in the imaging department, but as Jim has note, bigger, deeper, wider, richer, fuller. I'd say a positive as long as the cost is not an issue.
This applies for floor standers paired with external subs?
 

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Could you clarify what you mean about "that much of a front stage"? That is one of my concerns... the RTiA5's are just going to be too much speaker for the space. Although, they aren't exactly large towers...
I'm not one of those people who listens at reference level, because for me that's simply too loud. Some are though, so they need a monster setup - I can make do with something a bit more modest. The RTiA5's have a 90dB efficiency rating, meaning it won't take a lot of twisting on the volume knob to get them playing with authority. That's actually one of the reasons I'm more partial to inefficient speakers; I like the greater volume control afforded because they tend to be less "hyper" in that regard.

If your front soundstage is on the 17' wall -- so you're at best 10' away -- that's probably more then I would want. However, if they're on the 13' wall -- and you're 15' or so away -- that might make me rethink it, because they may not overwhelm then. It all depends upon placement, and your own personal preference. As you can see from kadijk and nova's responses, opinions vary; they would be more then happy with the larger speakers.

What I wouldn't expect to happen is a lose of clarity though. It's hard to imagine that you would get a more expensive speaker from the same company and have it be inferior. That seems unlikely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmm... interesting.

They would be placed on the 13' wall... firing into the room that is 17' deep. Seating is about 11 ft away at the most.

I really would hate to go through this exercise an find that the speakers are really too much for the room. That being said, these A5's are essentially A3's with one extra driver... the next models up (The A7's and the A9's) add two and three woofers into the mix. But, honestly, since I have the subs X-ed at 80hz, I don't really see the need to add towers in that have mid range drivers and woofers. Seems like it would all be for not.

That's why there is a part of me that wonders if the A3's, in my set-up, would hammer away nearly as well as the A5's. Man, I wish there were a place that had these set up in a listening room...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've tried fiddling with that. The only x-over options are 50, 80, 100, 120.

Honestly, didn't hear a difference between 50 and 80 except less low end! ;-)

Don't want to over paint this as a problem... Just on a quest to squeeze the most out of what I have and can - or, should I say could, add.
 

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You could always "risk" trying the a-5's, and if you really aren't impressed, sell them on Craig's list or whatever online classified service you like. If the deals good enough, you should get your money back. My bet, if I had to bet, is that you'll like them. I'm around 12' back from the front baffle of my rti-10's, and they are a TMWW arrangement, and I have them bi-amped. It's ok to have to turn them down a bit. Rather that than be maxed out all the time, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, I'm not so concerned about the sensitivity... My csia6 has a 90dB sensitivity... the RTiA3's are 89... not that big of a difference.

And I agree with you...I could always sell them locally... even though that could turn out to be a pain!

My main reservation is going through this whole exercise... putting money out the door, etc. only to have an end result that isn't "better." Know what I mean?
 

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It sounds to me as though you're attempting to talk yourself into the upgrade. I also think you will be pleased and say go for it and don't look back.
 

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It sounds to me as though you're attempting to talk yourself into the upgrade.
I was getting that feeling too, which is why I backed away from the conversation. :TT

Guess the only thing left at this point is for 27dnast to tell us what he thinks of his new speakers when he gets them... :D
 

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I waited for a bit to chime in because I was thinking the same thing. :bigsmile: Now, time to add the straw..... ;)

When I was first starting to look for speakers, I was open to doing either bookshelves or towers for the L/R. One of the first places I went had a set of bookshelves set up in the same room with a few of the speakers I wanted to audition. After listening to both in the same space, I then firmly decided on towers. It was just a much more immersive feeling for me. Perhaps it was the size that made me think it was more - who knows - but I can say for certainty that it just felt more immersive....
 
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