Better 2-channel reciever / amp for RTI 10 speakers

LGILGI Posts: 2
edited June 2 in 2 Channel Audio
I currently have:
Speakers: Polk RTI 10s
Subwoofer: DSW Pro 550wi

With my current receiver, a Sony STR-DH540 (145W x 5 6 ohms 1kHz 0.5% THD) they are OK but not great. They just don't have much life connected to the Sony and don't wow me.

I know I may get grief for this, but my favorite sound to date was with an old ~$450 1990s JVC receiver and a pair of Bose 701s (I only say this because I liked that sound that was rich, full of bass, and lively even if it wasn't maybe "accurate", but I loved it, and with my current sony driving, I'm not getting there.) Unfortunately I no longer have that receiver, and the newer Sony just isn't giving the Polks much life no matter how I try and adjust :(

I'd like to connect via optical cable and only have around $550 to spend. Is there anything I can get that would sound better than the Sony to power my RTI10s given my budget?

I listen to Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Moby, The National, Bob Marley, Toots, Peter Tosh, REM, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow ...


  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    I would look at some HK components. I had the HK AVR130 and the sound was nice, rich, full and good bass, some good components can be had for cheap used. The HK 3490 is a good sounding unit you can have for well under $500.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,202
    A receiver in the 500 buck range isn't going to cut the mustard with the 10's. Buy an amp for them, that will breath some live into 'em. Parrasound HCA 1200 OR 1500 on the used markets for around 4-500 or B&K amps would work well.

    Providing your receiver has preouts for the front left and right that is. Also, if you have them set to small in the receivers menu, try setting to large and see if you like it better. You may have to make some adjustments to the sub along with that suggestion.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,202
    It appears your receiver doesn't have preouts to add an amp. Given your budget, the only receivers I can think of to be capable with those speaks are Pioneer SC series on the used markets. Yamaha Avantage series too, but I don't know about finding those used in your price range.
  • If you are looking to buy new, the Yamaha R-S700 has a solid 100 watts RMS and may be plenty to drive the RTI 10s. It has sub-out. I have the R-S500 and it has plenty of power for the smaller RTI A5 towers. The R-S700 has pre-outs so, if it does not have the power you need, you can add an external power amp to the setup and use the R-S700 as a pre-amp. Check at Accessories 4 Less for a refurbished model or Amazon, Crutchfield for an open box and you may be able to keep the cost below $400. For a little more money (about $700) Emotiva has a preamp/tuner/dac plus a power amp for about $700 (their BasX series). The BasX A-300 has 150 watts rms. These are only a few of the options at or a little over your price point.

    If you are buying used, check with Ebay and Craigslist. For example, I just saw an entire Parasound setup (125 watt amp, preamp, CD player, equalizer) on Craigs List for $450 asking price. Sometimes you can even find some used audio Gems at thrift and Goodwill stores. Someone at this forum may have some extra gear, so maybe post a wanted to buy request.
  • LGILGI Posts: 2
    Thanks very much for the recommendations - lots to consider. Thank you!
  • msgmsg Posts: 2,852
    Man, I feel your disappointment here with the lack of body and performance you're experiencing with your RTi10s.

    It's funny, I remember having a similar perspective and expectation when I first got started with RTi10's back at the end of 2013, and trying to power them with a modern, albeit underpowered unbeknownst to me, AVR, not having any idea of what was required to properly power them, and feeling disappointed. I thought I knew enough with my previous experience with very modest consumer receivers and speakers.

    No grief given here on your experience with the Bose and JVC receiver - it's all about what sounds good to you. I was coming from some easy to drive, big floor standing department store type Pioneer speakers that I thought sounded pretty good with the two modest receivers I'd used with them before the surrounds rotted. I had such a rough time with the RTi10s that I just wanted those old speakers back again.

    I have to ask - how married are you to your RTi10s? Having been down that road, I almost have to recommend you consider trying a different set of speakers if music is your thing. Personally, I found the RTi10s too uncomfortable for music - fatiguing in short order - and they needed a lot of volume to produce anything nearing balanced sound. This was even with an amp known for imparting warmth to the sound quality at 200wpc. The vintage Polk sound was more to my liking, and the Signature Series speakers are getting really nice reviews here lately, as well.

    All prior recommendations are good ones, as well, just offering another route to consider.

    Got any friends with speakers you might try on your system?
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,370
    edited June 2
    I had a nice Bose 10.1 system until I decided to buy some RTi A7's and I found my Denon Receiver was under powering them. So I never turn them up to high to blow a tweeter like my buddy Ken did ;)

    After a few years I upgraded to a better AVR with preouts so I could add a power amp to give them their needed power. but I agree with msg that they are great HT speakers but only good musical speakers.

    We have to work in our own budgets and hope you can find AVR with pre-outs in your budget and then add a amp to make them sing better!

    BTW Welcome to club Polk! hope you enjoy you audio venture!
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 6,565
    edited June 2
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 3,587
    If this setup is for 2 ch listening, you will need to do some serious tweaking. I had a pair of RTi12s powered by a 205 wpc Parasound 1500a. Chest pounding loud, but i prefered to listen to my Polk RTA 8Ts for music on the same set up. HT was RTi 12s all the way.
  • jayman_1975jayman_1975 Posts: 607
    A used Arcam Avr300 or even better 350 would do a pretty darn good job of powering those 10s. One of the most musical receivers you will find in that price range. I had an Avr300 years ago and it was superb.
  • I did a "power amp" search at Ebay and got over 15,000 hits. Just after I briefly perused and read thru each and every listing in less than 3 minutes (I took the Evelyn Wood Ebay speed reading course) I then did a search for "Integrated Amp" and got over 2,600 hits.

    So, if you don't have anything better to do for the next 5 or 6 minutes, "Gentlemen, Start your reading." I also have a pair of official Nascar speed reading sunglasses. They help me to read much faster, but I keep having a blow out on turn three and wind up in the pits.
  • mdaudioguymdaudioguy Posts: 3,890
    tonyb wrote: »
    It appears your receiver doesn't have preouts to add an amp. Given your budget, the only receivers I can think of to be capable with those speaks are Pioneer SC series on the used markets. Yamaha Avantage series too, but I don't know about finding those used in your price range.

    I think your receiver recommendations are spot on, but I do have to add that I think the Harman Kardon 3490 recommendation is solid, too. I have these speakers and have used all of the aforementioned brands and then some... My favorites have been Yamaha and HK, although I do also have the benefit of an Adcom GFA-7500 amp for better power.
  • rburgess714rburgess714 Posts: 89
    I had a similar situation with the RTi A7s.... You could get the Signature Series 55s for $550ish and that receiver should drive them. Or as others suggested more power. There is a Pioneer SC on the flea market for 400. Buy that and then take your time finding a used amp.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 6,841
    I'd personally suggest looking at a different pair of speakers for music.
  • dromundsdromunds Posts: 5,642
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