Mulling over LSI15's vs RTI12's

CaineoCaineo Posts: 17
edited February 2013 in Forum Testing Area
It took me a while to figure out that as a newbie to the forum, there is a dedicated place to post and we can't post on the active threads. Not sure if anyone with experience will be here, but if so, I'd be really grateful for your insight.

I gave my adult kids a Polk Audio Monitor 60-based surround system with a Yamaha receiver for Christmas, and that has motivated me to want to replace my own system. I'm considering a replacement of my current setup - a 10 year investment if you will. Currently I have R50's, a basic Polk center channel speaker and a Denon AVR-1802. I listen to about 50/50 music/home theater. My living room is about 15X20 with a high ceiling.

I am down to the LSI15's or the RTI 12's, both available as refurb on Polk Audio's Ebay site- that's where I bought the Monitor systems for the "kids." It's clear from reading the posts that I need a hefty amp to drive the LSI15's. And it looks like even the RTI12's would benefit as well- so I'm pretty much convinced I'll get an amp either way- such as the Emotiva XPA-5.

If money were no object, I'd probably go all LSI based on what I know (front soundstage only now- will move R50's to the rear for now). I'm trying to figure out where the "break points" are in spending vs. sound.

1. Use the CSI 5 with LSI 15's ??

Here's the issue for me- is the LSIc the only center channel speaker option if I go to the LSI15's? It seems to be nearly $1000, i.e. twice the Polk Ebay store price of one LSI15!! Could I use a CSI5 instead? The Polk writeup for the CSI5 claims that it is "timbre-matched" to all Polk series. Yet I've read a lot about how the LSI series has a different timbre from the RTI series.

I am not an audiophile (yet- LOL). But I have a strong musical background and a very discriminating ear. Would I be terribly disappointed that I didn't spend another $500 to get the LSI center? Seems like the law of diminishing returns to me...

2. Are the RTI12's too bright for a music lover?

I've read a number of posts suggesting that the RTI12's are on the bright side. I'm not clear whether this mellows out after break-in or if they are just plain fatiguing to listen to. For example, would they do a poor job of rendering finger-style guitar or other music with subtlety? I ask because since they are discontinued there is no way to listen in advance. But I've seen other reviews from music lovers that think the are just detailed enough without being too bright. I'm even wondering if this difference of opinion might be a result of whether they are using a power amp or not.

3. How would you compare the bass response of the LSI15 to the RTI12?

The RTI's have three bass drivers and everyone reports that they do a great job with tight mid-bass, and most recommend a subwoofer for the very low end. The LSI15's are typically described as smooth and consistent performance across the spectrum- some difference of opinion as to whether a subwoofer is needed in both cases. Would one or the other be in greater need of a beefy subwoofer? Trying to anticipate how big a subwoofer budget might be needed in each case?

I'm sorry for the long post - Thank you for any suggestions or insight you can offer into these trade-offs.
Post edited by Caineo on

Comments

  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 1,941
    edited January 2013
    I own RTI/A series speakers, and to me they really don't sound to bright for music, but many feel they do. I was also considering the LSI/LSIM series, but went with what I have because of price. Pretty happy with the decision, but the point is that I probably hear things differently than you do.

    I'm sure people on this site can give opinions on one or the other, but a comparrison to both would be a long shot. Both of these lines are an improvement over the monitor series, and an amp would be advisable for either. I think you could get away without a sub, if you amp both, but am pretty sure a sub will be on your short list of upgrades. Sorry, but the upgrade bug has bitten, and you're about to start spending money.

    Welcome to Club Polk.
  • CaineoCaineo Posts: 17
    edited January 2013
    LOL- thanks for the welcome. Yes, I'm bitten alright. Just not sure if I'm $1500 bitten, $2500 bitten or more than that!!
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,201
    edited January 2013
    First off do not use anything other then the LSIC for the LSI speakers. If you want LSI , go LSI , if you want RTIA go RTIA , it's really simple and you don't have to think , just write the check.

    With that being said , I can see why you are where you are. I'll tell you the difference between the 2 lines.
    Music is strong with the LSI series , they out perform IMO the RTIA series due to the warm more natural approach they have. This does come at a price , if you are a movie lover as well and want to have awesome dynamics , the LSI's fall short here. They don't have the explosive abilities as the RTIA series do.
    Some say the RTIA series is bring , well that might be true from many points of view. They can be fatiguing to listen to with poorly recorded music. The Lsi's are a warmer tone so they are slightly more forgiving here. But if you love movies , the RTIA's are a real treat , they are awesome and totally room filling for any kind of movies. I really love the overall performance they bring to the table. I also feel they are a better choice for a double duty system. Now don't get me wrong here , the RTIA series can be wonderful for music , I like them for the money they are high in there class. I'd compare them to anything and feel good doing so.
    Here's the catch , if you really enjoy listening to music and your system is going to be used as such then go LSI , they are made for music first.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,019
    edited January 2013
    LSi9's or LSi7's with a good sub with the matching center would be my vote...
  • michael1947michael1947 Posts: 781
    edited January 2013
    Welcome! Where are you located? I have both RTI-A's and LSI's and could give you a listen. I currently use an Emotiva XPA-5 amp but about to change to a Parasound 250. I'm in West Michigan.
    Main Family Room: Sony 46 LCD, Sony Blue Ray, Sony DVD/VCR combo,Onkyo TXNR 708, Parasound 5250,
    Polk SDS-SRS with mods, CSI 5 center + Klipsch SC2, Polk RT2000P rears, Klipsch KG 1.5's sides, Polk Micro Pro 1000, Polk Micro Pro 2000, Polk SW505, Belkin PF60, Signal Cable Classics,Monster IC's, 2 15 amp circuits & 1 20 amp circuit.

    Living Room: Belkin PF60, Parasound HCA2200, MIT ProlineEXP balanced IC's,Emotiva XDA-1 DAC/Pre,Emotiva ERC2 transport,MIT AVT2, Polk LSI 9's.
  • CaineoCaineo Posts: 17
    edited January 2013
    Thank you, Mantis, for a very helpful post. I wonder if maybe the RTI route might not be a better bet for me. I suppose if they are too bright I could EQ them down a little. It's a financial thing, really, the death of a thousand cuts. Well, i could be getting into race horses, I suppose!

    Thank you Michael1947 for the kind offer of a listen. I am in Eugene, Oregon (go Ducks!) so I'm afraid I won't be able to take you up on your generosity.
  • CaineoCaineo Posts: 17
    edited January 2013
    Toolfan- I see the LSI7's on Ebay at Polk Audio's refurb store- $399 per pair- VERY reasonable. I hear you on the sub- with a hefty sub, would there be a "gap" in the midrange or higher frequency bass? Or are the bookshelfs able to fill that midrange effectively?
  • MNaudioguyMNaudioguy Posts: 19
    edited January 2013
    Welcome! Where are you located? I have both RTI-A's and LSI's and could give you a listen. I currently use an Emotiva XPA-5 amp but about to change to a Parasound 250. I'm in West Michigan.

    Michael, are you looking to sell your Emotiva? If so, PM me
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,019
    edited January 2013
    Caineo wrote: »
    Toolfan- I see the LSI7's on Ebay at Polk Audio's refurb store- $399 per pair- VERY reasonable. I hear you on the sub- with a hefty sub, would there be a "gap" in the midrange or higher frequency bass? Or are the bookshelfs able to fill that midrange effectively?

    Yep you have a good sub and those 7's and have your listening area calibrated your listening pleasure for music and movies will be outstanding..

    I myself like the LSi7's and 9's better then the 15's. now I hear that a modded set of 15's are fantastic but I have never had my ears on a modded set..
  • PSOVLSKPSOVLSK Posts: 3,836
    edited January 2013
    Toolfan66 wrote: »
    Yep you have a good sub and those 7's and have your listening area calibrated your listening pleasure for music and movies will be outstanding..

    I myself like the LSi7's and 9's better then the 15's. now I hear that a modded set of 15's are fantastic but I have never had my ears on a modded set..

    +1. I wouldn't necessarily say I liked the 7's and 9's better, but equally at least. The benefit is placement is easier with the bookshelves due to the side-firing woofer on the 15's.

    Though the 7's and 9's are cheaper, don't forget to budget for some good stands.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • MNaudioguyMNaudioguy Posts: 19
    edited January 2013
    PSOVLSK wrote: »
    +1. I wouldn't necessarily say I liked the 7's and 9's better, but equally at least. The benefit is placement is easier with the bookshelves due to the side-firing woofer on the 15's.

    Though the 7's and 9's are cheaper, don't forget to budget for some good stands.

    I am thinking about getting the LSi15s for my fronts and the 7s for my surrounds and a SVS PB1000 (all i can afford right now) for a sub. Any issues?

    Also, where is the best place to get stands for the 7s? thoughts?
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,317
    edited January 2013
    MNaudioguy wrote: »
    I am thinking about getting the LSi15s for my fronts and the 7s for my surrounds and a SVS PB1000 (all i can afford right now) for a sub. Any issues?

    Also, where is the best place to get stands for the 7s? thoughts?

    Some good stands are Skylan stands (they custom make the top plate to your speaker spec's, and the VTI stands IIRC, I have a link to some nice looking ones on my laptop I will go find later this morning)
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • PSOVLSKPSOVLSK Posts: 3,836
    edited January 2013
    MNaudioguy wrote: »
    I am thinking about getting the LSi15s for my fronts and the 7s for my surrounds and a SVS PB1000 (all i can afford right now) for a sub. Any issues?

    Also, where is the best place to get stands for the 7s? thoughts?

    That's what I have except I have the SVS Plus/2. You'll be very happy.

    Enjoy the 15's for a year or so then think about the db woofer mod (only about $100 and you can do it yourself). Then, later on consider the XO mod. I think it will run around $400-500, but provides a nice improvement. Like me, you can do all the mods and still have spent less than the 15's used to sell for:smile:

    Can you mount the 7's instead of using stands? If so, I've got some mounts that I used with the 7's I'll let you have for cheap. Very similar to these: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_121AM40B/Pinpoint-AM40.html You'll want to mount to a stud since the 7's are pretty heavy.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • MNaudioguyMNaudioguy Posts: 19
    edited January 2013
    PSOVLSK wrote: »
    That's what I have except I have the SVS Plus/2. You'll be very happy.

    Enjoy the 15's for a year or so then think about the db woofer mod (only about $100 and you can do it yourself). Then, later on consider the XO mod. I think it will run around $400-500, but provides a nice improvement. Like me, you can do all the mods and still have spent less than the 15's used to sell for:smile:

    Can you mount the 7's instead of using stands? If so, I've got some mounts that I used with the 7's I'll let you have for cheap. Very similar to these: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_121AM40B/Pinpoint-AM40.html You'll want to mount to a stud since the 7's are pretty heavy.

    Thank you for helping reaffirm my LSi15 ambition. I hear they have the RTi12s plus a PSW111 sub @ Fry's today for $747. I was wondering if i should jump the LSi ship and grab that deal, haha.

    As far as the wall mounts. I would be interested. I still need to think through my setup but if i can do it, I would prefer that over stands. I would totally take them off your hand if i went that route
  • CaineoCaineo Posts: 17
    edited January 2013
    What are everyone's thoughts on a sub to go with the LSI 15s? Do I need one? I'm 50/50 music and HT.

    I plan to power my LSI15s with a Parasound 1205, so only 200 watts at 4 ohms. (Yamaha Aventage RX-A820 behind that). Moderate listening levels. 5.1 system, not 7.1 at this time. Room is about 15X20 with a high ceiling.

    I'm assuming I'll get LSI7's for my rears and some used/refurb LSI center speaker if I can find one, rather than buying new.

    What I care more about is capturing the "foundational" low notes of a pipe organ than sonic explosions in a movie, the subtle percussion of a plucked string bass. Which is not to say I don't care at all about movie sound effects. But my priority is music which is why I've decided to go LSI instead of RTI. Concert DVD's will figure heavily in their use.

    I'm thinking the 15s would do a better job of mid bass than the LSI9s simply because they do have a woofer built in- is that a rational thought or am I missing something about the LSI9s? Being an 8" woofer, I'm also assuming the 15s would be missing the "floor" of low-frequency bass that I am after. So I would only be wanting a subwoofer for the lowest portion of the frequency spectrum that the LSI 15's might not serve all that well.

    Anyone have thoughts about this that you would like to share? Thanks all.
  • naturallightnaturallight Posts: 689
    edited February 2013
    I have a set of RTi12's, along with a set of SDA 1C's....that I use in a strait music system. I just swap out speakers every once in a while as i feel like. Only 1 set runs at a time..LOL



    There is really nothing wrong with the 12's for music. They are not bright,or fatiguing....

    BUT.....my guess is, this depends on what your trying to run them with. A good high current amp is a must. The Parasound is fine. But i have no AVR in the mix, just an Adcom pre, and the music is feed thru a tube cd player. So you have to take that into consideration.



    I don't have the Lsi 15's, It's just what has been said on the forum,by people who have them.

    The 15's can be harder to place due to the side firing woofers. The 12's not so.

    The 15's will not put out the bass of the 12's (again assuming the right amp is used)

    The 15's will be more "musical" in the mids and highs...for the most part. But the bottom end is were they fall short. The 12's do not.



    For a 50/50 system...you could get away with the 12's without a sub..or lets say a High$$$ sub.

    But if your looking for pipe organ lows..not going to happen without a really good high buck sub in the mix. On either speaker.
  • KellyMicKellyMic Posts: 166
    edited February 2013
    I went through this exact "dilemma" recently. I was leaning toward the LSi15 but kept seeing threads that to really shine the subs should be replaced and didn't want to do that. The RTi12 price was great so I went back and forth. Finally I got the LSi25's as they didn't seem to need subs upgraded and the subs were bigger (12") I got a new pair from Polk on a really good sale ($1,100). I am very pleased with my choice and have no complaints!

    Which ever route you go I would highly recommend buying them through the Polk Club ebay store, great price, fast shipping, and free shipping!
    ---
    Polk Studio Monitor 4.6 Series 2's, Polk RT1000p's, Polk LSi25's, Boston Acoustic VR-975's
    Crown D-75, Crown CE1000, Crown CE2000
  • vcwatkinsvcwatkins Posts: 1,847
    edited February 2013
    I'd get 3 LSi9's and apply the savings to a higher level SVS sub, stands and good cables. I do love the RTi12 and RTiA9 for HT. Very dynamic and appropriate centers are more reasonably priced. But the 9's are very musical, have surprising bass response, mix well with a sub, and will allow greater flexibility/utility in future.

    Craig
    Den: Rega RP6 * AT33PTGII * Budgie SUT * Jolida jd9 * Roon (Sonic Transporter) * PS Audio DirectStream Jr. * Joule-Electra LA-100 mkIII * Sunfire Signature II * PSAudio p3 * MIT S3 * Polk SRS 1.2
    Office: Roon * Sonore UltraRendu (LPS-1, WW Plat7, Iso Regen, Lush) * ProJect Pre Box S2 * Pass ACA * PSAudio Dectet * DH Labs Q10 * Brines Folded ML-TQWT RS 40-1354
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