Polk Audio


I picked up a pair of Polk Audio RTi -A1 compact speakers recently and was surprised at how big they were on scale and bass. The guy I bought them from had been using them as surrounds in his AV system and when I said they were going to be used in a stereo set up, he seemed puzzled that I would want to use them that way.

Anyway, I'm hugely impressed by how the Polks handle rock music especially - they're hooked up to a Krell KST-100 power amp. They've got a lot of weight in delivery, apart from the bass and scale. I've gotten similar results from small speakers in my room, but they've been much more expensive ....

However, what puzzles me is the negative vibe people seem to have about Polk. "Oh, they used to be good once upon a time but are crap now," is what someone in the distribution industry remarked.

This is the first time I'm listening to Polk speakers. I don't see any justification for his remark.

Anyone else here has a good experience with Polk's current range? Seems great value to me ...
bassraptor
They have zero snob appeal. That's Polk's main problem. I bought a pair of Polk Audio speakers back in the late 70's when I couldn't afford the Advents I was lusting after. They were wonderful speakers for the time. Polk got to big for the hi-end audio community and they fell out of favor. God forbid we find a quality product at a big box retailer.

IMHO, the Polk LSi7 is one of the best small monitors you can find for less than $400 on the used market and I have owned quite a few monitors. Enjoy your new speakers.
low priced Chinese goods are not for everybody.
"Polk got to big for the hi-end audio community and they fell out of favor. God forbid we find a quality product at a big box retailer."

What about Marantz, Audioquest, Vienna, Martin Logan and B & W? They sell all those brands in Best Buy along with Polk.
I've never heard a bad-sounding Polk, though I have only heard 4 models. I listened to a helluva lot of Grateful Dead and Miles back in college on my friend's Polks (5A Juniors or something like that), and though not as transparent as my Fried Q5s, they sounded damn fine.
@ Zd542, wow!, where is the best buy you are talking about?, the best buy here in mobile, alabama has nothing like marantz,audioquest,vienna, martin logan, and B&W ! you are kidding right?,, I have heard some very enjoyable polk speakers my self, I own 1 center channel polk audio speaker now, Its not on my high-end system, neetherless, a enjoyable speaker to listen to, Do you guys remember the Polk audio statement speakers back in the 1980s?, I do, and those damn speakers were awsome!, they were huge muti driver speakers with ribbons I believe?,, cheers!
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Brands/MartinLogan/pcmcat299000050002.c?id=pcmcat299000050002&pageType=REDIRECT&issolr=1&searchterm=martin%20logan

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&_dynSessConf=-2849465170762011937&id=pcat17071&type=page&st=bowers+and+wilkins&sc=Global&cp=1&nrp=15&sp=&qp=&list=n&iht=y&fs=saas&usc=All+Categories&ks=960&saas=saas

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&_dynSessConf=-2849465170762011937&id=pcat17071&type=page&st=marantz&sc=Global&cp=1&nrp=15&sp=&qp=&list=n&iht=y&fs=saas&usc=All+Categories&ks=960&saas=saas

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&_dynSessConf=-2849465170762011937&id=pcat17071&type=page&st=audioquest&sc=Global&cp=1&nrp=15&sp=&qp=&list=n&iht=y&fs=saas&usc=All+Categories&ks=960&saas=saas

Here's a few links. I couldn't find one for Vienna. They may not sell them anymore. Also, not all Best Buys have exactly the same inventory but I always see a decent selection of the brands I list in my local stores.
@ Zd542,, I am shocked!, even thou the models they have on their site is junk audio to me, just having the B&W and martin logan speakers has best buy heading in the right direction!, It has been about a year since I have been by that big box store!, for a hi-fi, none high-end system, It seems thats the place to go!,, cheers!
06-16-13: Audiolabyrinth
"@ Zd542,, I am shocked!, even thou the models they have on their site is junk audio to me, just having the B&W and martin logan speakers has best buy heading in the right direction!, It has been about a year since I have been by that big box store!, for a hi-fi, none high-end system, It seems thats the place to go!,, cheers!"

If you did not notice, all the links show items that are available only at Best Buys with Magnolia rooms. If your local BB doesn't have a Magnolia section, I doubt very seriously it will carry these items.

Bill
"If you did not notice, all the links show items that are available only at Best Buys with Magnolia rooms. If your local BB doesn't have a Magnolia section, I doubt very seriously it will carry these items."

Don't all Best Buys have Magnolia? I don't think I've ever been a BB that didn't have one.
Audiolabyrinth,

I here BB is working on a deal to get TARS labs.
The LSiM, LSi, RTi series are first-rate loudspeakers.
Before I bought my current speakers (Sehring S703s), I owned a pair of Polk LSi9's. I thought the Polks were thoroughly mediocre. They replaced a pair of Infinity bookshelf speakers I bought in the early 1990s for $300. The Infinity speakers were significantly better than the Polks in all respects and the Sehrings blow them away. I tried to sell the LSi9's, but got no offers, so ended up giving them away.

I tried to sell the LSi9's, but got no offers, so ended up giving them away.
Mcondon

Mcondon, no idea what you expected to get for your Polks but I just watched a pair of LSi9s sell on ebay for $650.
Day 4 with the RTi-A1, have also used them with my Khartago Mono Extreme SE amps, and the speakers continue to amaze me. My solo issue - they're finished in black, which I hate. Even new, I think these would be excellent value. And I've had a pair of Monitor Audio GX50 and KEF LS50 playing in the set-up not so long ago ...
I've had the same attitude toward Best Buy as most on this forum. I've only gone there to buy a TV or air conditioner. But if they're getting into more high end, what's wrong with that? Granted, it's entry-level "audiophile" gear, but I'm shocked to find decent speakers such as MartinLogan...

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/MartinLogan+-+Theos+8%22+Floor+Speaker+%28Each%29+-+Gloss+Black/2768792.p?id=1218349687756&skuId=2768792
I have the Rti-A1's in my bedroom set up and they sound good considering what they cost. Polk Audio is the budget king at the moment. BB is a good place to audition speakers before you buy. They also price match anything in their magnolia showroom
which is cool considering they are now carrying some hi end stuff.
Polk Rti-A1's are great in a small to mid sized room.
Hi,We do not have a magnolia room here at our best buy store in mobile,ala! I am shocked just as lowrider57 is to know they are carrying this type of equipment! @ Mcondon, I have a pair of infinity RS-1 book shelf speakers that are from the late 90s, they sound better than eany polk audio book shelf speakers I have ever heard!, the timbral accuracy of these little book shelf speakers is uncanny to say the least!, very good speakers for the asking price new!, they have out-performed book shelf speakers many times their price!,, cheers!
Funny how a thread about Polk can morph into a discussion about Best Buy.

But for the record, not all Best Buys have mini-Magnolia stores in them. In fact, most don't. And these "mini" Magnolias only carry limited high end brands and models. You won't find a B&W 802D at a mini-mag, but you will find the 600 & CM series. Electronics are very limited at the mini's too with no McIntosh, Marantz Reference, Arcam, etc. For these you must move up the Magnolia food chain to a Magnolia Design Center (also found in very limited Best Buys) or a stand alone Magnolia Home Theater store which I believe are only on the US West Coast.

Here in the Twin Cities, home of Best Buy, there are about 22 Best Buys stores but only 5 have "mini" Mags and only 2 have Design Centers.

So when someone says Best Buy carries VA, B&W, ML, even McIntosh, it is a very misleading statement. Best Buy owns Magnolia and these products can only be bought at Magnolia. Its sort of like when Ford owned Aston Martin and Jag; you couldn't buy a Vanquish at any old Ford dealer, now could you?

So don't feel bad Audiolabyrith. As for Polk speakers, I never owned a pair, so I can't comment on them.
"Funny how a thread about Polk can morph into a discussion about Best Buy."

That was my doing. Someone was complaining that audiophiles don't like Polk anymore because they lost their "snob appeal" (I think thats what they called it), and are sold in big stores. I just pointed out some of the other lines offered in Best Buy. As far as this whole Best Buy/Magnolia thing, you got me. I don't really like BB so I'm not keeping track of what's sold in each store. Every one I've ever been to has a Magnolia section. Also, when you do a search for products on their web site, they list all the Magnolia products right along with regular BB items. I really don't see what the big deal is with Magnolia anyway. The one decent thing about BB is that if they don't have something in stock, they will ship it to your local store.

I do think its a foolish move for high end brands to sell in BB/Magnolia. But not because of the whole snob factor thing. Everything is about equipment matching and setup. Its a miracle that the people who work at BB can even turn the equipment on in the morning when they come in to work, let alone sell it, and set the stuff up for customers. Thats the real problem. I wouldn't trust those people setup and place a pair of speakers on a boom box.
I really didn't know who started the discussion about Best Buy ZD, but thanks for stepping up to the plate and admitting it.

While I agree with you that sales personnel in the Mini-Magnolias probably don't have the expertise to properly system match and sell someone high end goods, I will not make this same comment of a Magnolia stand alone store since I have never gone to one. Maybe they are qualified to properly guide someone to designing a high end system and I will leave someone who has been to one to comment.

Regardless though, I applaud Magnolia for bringing components of this caliber to the market as more and more B&M HIFI stores are closing due to lack of interest by the consumer and of course ID companies and internet sales in general. I hope they succeed. So even if the sales folks are not qualified at Magnolia, is it any different than buying off the internet that is a trend we are all moving toward? The consumer better be educated and know what he or she wants because it is a self service world we live in! Finally, in my area we once had over a dozen specialty HIFI shops and are now down to three. At least having this equipment available at Mini-Mags and now Design Centers, bring our total up to 4 B&M outlets. For an area of over three million people!
I have had a pair of Rti-a9 speakers for over a year. Very happy with them. Would like to upgrade but not even sure what to, as speakers better than these cost a lot more. Any suggestions anyone?
As to the Polks. I am very satisified with them. They take a lot of power. I had them hooked up to a 250 watt per channel Hafler 9505 and it couldn't handle the speakers. I ended up Bi-amping them with a Hafler XL-600 on the low end and the 9505 on the tweeters/mid range. Sounds Great. Not fatiguing. I can listen to them for hours no problem.
Paraneer,

All of your points are excellent and make sense. That said, I still partially disagree. The vast majority of people have no idea what high end audio is. Given the lack of B & M stores, the most likely way an average person will come in contact with better gear is by walking into a BB store. Here's my fear of what they will say upon leaving BB: "Those damn BMW speakers are way over priced, just like their cars. The speakers I have at home sound every bit as good.". You have to admit, its a possibility.
I had two pairs of Polk Audio RTi for a surround system. I also tried them with music.... They are terrible for both applications, not even worth a two line review. Sold and gone.
"Those damn BMW speakers are way over priced, just like their cars. The speakers I have at home sound every bit as good.". You have to admit, its a possibility."

Thanks for seeing my points ZD and I can see yours too. Nevertheless, I still advocate Magnolia bringing these brands to market. As a consumer, the more choices and venues the better. So, I'll take my chances that Joe Six Pack may be confuse B&W with the Ultimate Driving Machine and walk out of the Magnolia room to go buy a soundbar in the Best Buy main store.

BTW...I bought my Vienna Acoustics speakers at Magnolia. They were the only ones in my area that carried VA. I had auditioned these after lengthy auditions of a Dynaudio set at a specialty HIFI store. Being a soft dome tweeter guy, it was down to these brands and VA won out even with the mainstream electronics that Magnolia had them hooked up to. And I will admit, the Dynaudio salesperson had a lot more knowledge and much better electronics. In the end though, armed with some favorite music and my two ears, the VA's from Magnolia are the ones that went home with me. For my tastes, I know I made the right decision. If Magnolia did not carry them, I never would have had an opportunity to audition VA's unless I boarded a jet to some other city. Happy listening ZD!
@ paraneer, @ ZD542, Hi, I do not feel bad that our Best buy stores here do not have the magnolia stores or design centers in them, Here in mobile, al,, we have one entry level high-end store eany way!, I laugh at the entry level store consistently,They are very pompas!, believe they have the best of every thing!, very funny to me, because I bought everything I have over the telephone, out of state!, the name of the store is called, Look and Listen,, My whole system is well beyound what they carry or can get!, so no, I do not feel bad about the best buy stores. Happy listening!
@ Paraneer @ ZD542,,, Hi, Now do not get me wrong here, I would like to venture into one of these magnolia and design centers, I might buy something!, I do like grazeing about audio stores with the wife,LOL!, thats better than cosmetic stores! Happy listening fellas!
MCONDON - Infinity bookshelf speakers beat the LSi9's...really ROFL. I'd love to hear that to believe it...
Anybody familiar with BB exclusive Polk T 15 mini monitor?...Can be had for 50-80 bucks fairly regularly...