Getting the most out the RTis

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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    Now you've gone and done it Cathy. You made me fall off my chair by agreeing with me. :) Got coffee all over my shorts too, dang you !!!
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
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    Sonos zp90
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    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • cfrizzcfrizz Posts: 13,420
    edited August 2018
    Oooops sorry dear. :p But that is what happens when you talk with common sense!
    Marantz AV-7705 PrePro, Classé 5 ch. 200wpc Amp, Oppo 103 BluRay, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Sony Bravia KDL-40R510C TV, Polk S60 Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, SVS NSD-12 SB12 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 8,301
    I would just turn the treble down if they sound too bright. :)

    In fact, I have a pr. of Rti8's I need to listen to again AND a pr. of Rti12's I need to fix the tweeter resistors in to bring the tweeters back to life. But my hearing cuts out around 10 or 11Khz. The brightness of their sound signature might not be too bad to my old ears. B)
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,666
    Sorry for the acronyms :smile: CCA is Copper-Clad Aluminum...most of the speaker wire spools you buy online or in the stores are CCA, it's cheaper than pure copper. You can tell if you are using CCA wire by looking at the cross section of the wire - it will look like copper on the outside, but the inside is a silvery color. Nothing wrong with it - aluminum wiring was used in homes for a long time - but because aluminum is ~60% as efficient at conducting electricity vs. copper, 16 gauge CCA is actually 14 gauge in diameter, but only conducts as much electricity as 16 gauge copper wire.

    The wiring in my RTiA speakers is definitely 100% copper. I seriously can't imagine any speaker company using CCA.

    As for aluminum wiring, it's outlawed for homes because it caused fires, so yeah there's plenty wrong with using aluminum wire in homes and in speakers.

    As those are your speakers you can do whatever you please with them, but I sure hope no one else thinks it's a good idea.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • gudnoyezgudnoyez Posts: 7,000
    Copper Clad Aluminium is there a Electrician in the house?
    Home Theater
    Parasound Halo A 31 OnkyoTX-NR838 Sony XBR55X850B 55" 4K RtiA9 Fronts CsiA6 Center RtiA3 Rears FxiA6 Side Surrounds Dual Psw 111's Oppo 105D Signal Ultra Speaker Cables & IC's Signal Magic Power Cable Technics SL Q300 Panamax MR4300 Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables Audioquest Forest USB Cable

    2 Channel
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    Polk Audio Boom Swimmer, Polk Audio Urchin B)
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 1,233
    edited August 2018
    Tony M wrote: »
    I would just turn the treble down if they sound too bright. :)
    That calls for treble control w/the right curve. Nice try but no dice
    F1nut wrote: »
    ... but I sure hope no one else thinks it's a good idea.
    1. You sound like a dictator or Big Brother attempting to control thought.
    And...
    2. You’re too late on “hope no one else thinks it's a good idea.“
    PolkNAD17 wrote: »
    ...You're not having any brightness issues with the A3s?
    Yes & no - explained: “out of the box” regardless of amp & XO frequency, o-o-o-oh yeah, even to my 61 year old ears!
    PolkNAD17 wrote: »
    Interesting that you run your A3s as "large" speakers...
    ...However I tame the brightness w/the built in parametric & graphic EQ in the surrounds’ dedicated EXO* . Bi-amping** the A3s will lessen the EQ to tame them.
    * needed to also XO each surround’s sub
    ** passive (CHEAP*) XO is the source of the majority of the brightness
    *** F1nut, jbooker, VR3, & other XO tweakers will espouse the same
    Side note: RTi & RTi A series speakers have a “brightness” problem in common
    PolkNAD17 wrote: »
    ... I concluded the A7s excessive* brightness* was coming from the midrange drivers, probably resulting from too much distortion in the low-end.
    More of that* comes from the passive XO than you think. I’ve listened to a tri-amped A7 next to a biamped** one - night & day! Further I’ve listened to only the mids as above**, & only the tweeters*** as above** - TRUST ME on this!!
    * some of “that” is distortion
    ** passive XO to mid & tweeter
    *** the tweeters ain’t the cleanest even EXO’d 4th order @ 2.7K!!!!

    On the remainder of your post:
    No clue on the A9 woofer wiring.

    I’ve never regretted upgrading internal speaker wire in any speaker. Been at it since 1981.

    I agree w/you on build quality. The RTi A series cabinets* contribute to their SQ through improved rigidity & internal acoustics. They* also add to the $.

    Though I’ve said it different ways I’ll be blunt: Polk saved lot$ w/the XO; or if you were to $ replacing the existing caps w/ the exact same you’d be $hocked. F1nut, jbooker, VR3, & other XO tweakers will back me on this.

    To tonyb & Cathy: while you both make valid points, to a degree, in our* defense they’re an indictment to all tweakers*.
    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
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    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside & out
    8 ga Powerline - LR woofers, inside & out

    LR: tri-amped RTi A7 w/Rotels Woofers - 980BX; M&T - 981
    CC: Rotel RB985 -> tri-amped CSi A6
    5 Audio Pro Subs: 1 B1.39: 1 Evidence at each corner
    Surrounds: Hafler XL280 -> AR 12 ga -> RTi A3*
    Power Conditioning & Distribution:
    3 dedicated 20A feeds; APC H15; 4 Furman Miniport 20s
    *Bi-amped by years end
  • I think a few of you jumped in without reading the previous discussions. Let me address these comments so this thread doesn't suddenly derail.

    Tonyb - Of course everything is made to a price point, with a target buyer in mind. I bought the A7s in 2013 because they are what I could afford; I prefer bright sounding speakers, and after doing much research, the A7s were my choice. The fact that I've owned them for 5+ years should be pretty telling - I like them. The fact I'm willing to tinker with them a little bit to see if I can eek out a bit more performance should also be telling...if I didn't like them, I'd have replaced them years ago.

    Regarding your car analogy, you make it sound as though replacing stock car parts with aftermarket performance parts is a waste...I expect your response would be something along the lines of, "cold air intake on a Civic? Should have bought a BMW!" These are my speakers, I paid for them, if I want to tinker around that's my business.
    Just sayin'.

    Cfrizz - In regards to doing research first...I did. I prefer bright speakers. I liked the A7s, so I bought them. Polk incorrectly advertises the A7s as having a 125Hz crossover...the midbass drivers are low-passed at 125Hz, but the midrange driver lacks a high-pass filter. Over the last several months I found that the ear fatigue was the result of distortion in the midrange driver, and that high-passing the midrange 80Hz or higher alleviated the problem. If I followed your advice I would have sold the A7s and spent a few grand on something more high end. Thanks, but I'd prefer to work with what I have before tossing my money away. As I said above to Tonyb, these are my speakers - purchased full price in 2013 - if I want to tinker with them, that's my business. If I want to eek out a little more performance, what does that matter to you? A little common sense - read first, reply second. It's obvious you did not read any of the previous discussions in this thread.

    Tony M - Thank you for the suggestion (re: lowering the treble a little bit)...I was hopeful this would fix the problem, but it only dulled the sound while the shrillness remained, unfortunately. The issue seemed to be centered around the midrange distortion below 80Hz, manifesting as a shrillness / ear fatigue in the upper registers of the midrange driver. Setting the crossover at 80Hz or higher definitely improved the situation, at the expense of losing the midbass and essentially deactivating the midbass drivers. The solution that worked for me was adding an active external crossover so I could limit the midrange drivers' low-end extension while allowing the midbass drivers to play a slightly wider range...I chose a 240Hz crossover frequency, which has so far worked like a dream. Again, thanks for the suggestion!

    F1nut - I don't know what the stock RTiA wire is...the wire I used when I bypassed the crossover was 14 gauge CCA wire. Aluminum is no longer used in home electrical wiring, agreed, and is not recommended in high-power applications. A home electrical outlet is 15-20 amps and 120V...speaker wires by contrast carry only a tiny fraction of that current. In this application, aluminum wiring is fine...don't forget, copper wiring is not immune to electrical fire. Pushing a few watts to 16-ohm speakers through 20" of 14 gauge CCA is not going to cause any issues...15A electrical outlets use 14 gauge solid copper wiring, which again, is 15A / 120V...speaker wire carries barely a fraction of that kind of current. It's apples to oranges.

    Gp4jesus - Thank you for all your suggestions, you've been more than helpful! I'm not at the point yet to replace the tweeter / midrange passive crossover, but it may be worth a try down the road. There are inherent performance limitations in silk dome tweeters - for what they are in the RTiAs, they sound great. Introducing an active crossover between the midrange & midbass cured the ear fatigue / shrillness - the A7s have a much smoother / balanced / punchy / exciting sound now...I'm sure introducing an active crossover up top would further improve things, but I'm pretty happy with the sound currently :smile:

    It's interesting you say "brightness problem" - for me, the brightness isn't the issue, it was the inexplicable ear fatigue. Silk dome tweeters have a fundamental breakup point within the audible hearing range...it's unavoidable...and it's possible the affected frequencies could cause ear fatigue. I believe Polk did their research here though, the RTiAs have a nice frequency response - the brightness is by design and is a matter of personal taste. Metal dome tweeters also have fundamental breakup points...I *believe* aluminum domes breakup within our hearing range, but it's closer to 20KHz than silk dome...titanium breaks up higher than aluminum...and beryllium breaks up well over 20KHz. There are pros / cons to each material & design...assuming the manufacturer engineers the tweeters well, the "con" is usually the increased cost as you go from silk > aluminum > titanium > beryllium...and this is a gross over-simplification...the number of possible alloys used by various manufacturers in their tweeter designs is practically infinite...and each will have their own unique sonic characteristics, for better or worse.

    All - One of the worst aspects of online forums / comments is when discussions turn into arguments or "flame wars". Please keep comments constructive. This thread was immensely helpful to me - and hopefully to others - please refrain from jumping in without reading the discussions first. I will respond to constructive comments / questions / disagreements, and ignore all useless / baseless / unwarranted / ignorant comments. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion so far.
    Home Theater:
    Preamp: Yamaha RX-A1020
    Amp: NAD M27
    Speakers: Polk Rti A7, Polk CSi A6, Polk Rti A4
    Subs: (2) Polk DSW 660
    Other: MiniDSP 2x4 HD (external crossover)
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,666
    My point about using CCA in speakers is that it's a poor choice. You may ignore me now and I will do the same to you.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 10,452
    gudnoyez wrote: »
    Copper Clad Aluminium is there a Electrician in the house?
    Yep
  • I have some CCA Speaker cable laying around here. Purchased not realizing it wasn’t 100% copper. I thought my speakers were broken it sounded so bad.
    Oh, Listen here mister. We got no way of understandin' this world. But we got as much sense of this bird flyin in the sky. Now there is a lot that bird don't know, but it don't change the fact that the world is happening to him all the same. What I am tryin to say is, is that the course of your life, well its changing, and you don't even see it- Forest Bondurant
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,430
    Umm....Bingo ^^^^^
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,130
    Also, don't rewire speakers with CCA.
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • cfrizz wrote: »
    You can tweak until you fall over, I couldn't care less!

    What got to both Tony and I was that after all your tweaking which you decided to do, you said you were disappointed in Polk for having to do so much tweaking!

    You like bright speakers, but they are too bright, and you had to tweak them to make them like what you wanted them to sound like.

    You said you did your research, then you KNEW what you were getting, so there is NO need to be disappointed with Polk.

    Many of us told you from the get go that you could/should get less bright sounding speakers, you chose to tweak instead.

    If you choose to tweak yourself to death, go right ahead, but don't put the blame on the company that made them because you had to go to so much trouble doing so.

    Cfrizz - I apologize for the confusion, let me try to clarify a few things...

    The initial problem was ear fatigue - not brightness per se - I've always preferred a brighter / livelier sound vs. laid back / mellow sound...that is part of what drew me to the RTis. Throughout this discussion, I was trying to pinpoint the cause of the ear fatigue and underlying shrillness in the treble. After much trial and error, I concluded that the ear fatigue was caused by distortion in the midrange driver, manifesting as a shrillness in the upper midrange treble. I don't mind tweaking...but my problem is that Polk advertises "dynamic driver balance", "cascade tapered crossover", and a 125Hz midrange/woofer crossover. Sorry if I'm mistaken, but doesn't a crossover consist of a high-pass filter & low-pass filter? So how was I supposed to know the midrange driver lacked a high-pass filter to protect it from distortion-inducing lower bass frequencies? Also, how does the lack of a high-pass filter improve movie playback? I don't know if it was just an oversight on Polk's part to exclude the high-pass filter, and too expensive to correct...but my grievance is that I had to modify the A7s to fix what should not have been broken. All I did was add a high-pass filter...changing the crossover point (from 125Hz to 240Hz) was my own subjective preference.

    So yes, I knew what I was getting - full range speakers that lean toward a bright / lively sound...what I didn't know was that the midrange driver lacked a 125Hz crossover. And before you say "set them to 'small' and 80Hz in the AVR" - I shouldn't have to do that - these are full range speakers...if they were only capable of playing down to 80Hz, I wouldn't have bought them. If I only wanted to go down to 80Hz, I would have gotten the A3s, or chosen another brand's full range floorstander.

    I submit that Polk's spec sheet that reads "midrange/woofer crossover frequency: 125Hz" is misleading and incorrect. I don't see how it is the consumer's fault for believing the midrange/woofer crossover at 125Hz includes a high-pass filter (midrange) and low-pass filter (woofers).

    Lastly, I own 7 Polk speakers, 5 of which are from the RTi/A line. I've owned and used them since 2013. I created this thread, "getting the most out of the Polk RTis" because I wanted to do just that...push them to their optimal performance. If I didn't like them, I would replace them. The primary issue was the ear fatigue, which I couldn't figure out that cause (objective)...the secondary issue was getting more bass output from the woofers (subjective). In the end, I am very pleased with how the modifications turned out, but I am disappointed that I had to modify them in the first place...to add what should have already been included.

    As far as CCA goes, I know it is inferior to pure copper...but both metals Al & Cu oxidize and lose their conductive properties. However, both CCA and OFC are protected from oxidation - how many of you are experiencing a greening of your OFC cables? The rule of thumb is not to use speaker wires as power cables, and if 16 AWG copper wire is ample enough to carry a speaker signal, then so is a similarly rated run of CCA (e.g., one AWG larger, 14 AWG). In my situation, I am using <20" of 14 AWG CCA (12AWG in size, equivalent to 14 AWG copper) connected to woofers with a nominal impedance of 16 ohms. The wire is overkill...the transmitted electrical signal is so low, the risk is non-existent. No metal is infallible, even copper. The danger comes when the wire either oxidizes, or is pushed to its limits (e.g., when used as a power cable). Again, it's my decision to use it - you are all free to use OFC - for me, I have no issue using CCA if conditions allow.

    Hopefully this clarifies things, sorry for the confusion. I like Polk, I like the RTi/As, I just wish Polk would have included a high-pass filter for the midrange drivers...or at least alter the spec sheet to clearly show that the 125Hz filter only applies to the woofers. The lack of a high-pass filter in no way benefits performance.
    Home Theater:
    Preamp: Yamaha RX-A1020
    Amp: NAD M27
    Speakers: Polk Rti A7, Polk CSi A6, Polk Rti A4
    Subs: (2) Polk DSW 660
    Other: MiniDSP 2x4 HD (external crossover)
  • Polk RTi A7 specs: https://www.polkaudio.com/products/rtia7

    You can see under "Crossover", that Polk states the tweeter/midrange crossover is 2700Hz...and the midrange/woofer crossover is 125Hz. I guess "3-way" crossover implies 1) tweeter to midrange, 2) midrange to tweeter, and 3) woofer to midrange. The "4th" crossover, which is missing, is the midrange to woofer high-pass filter. So I originally read "3-way" crossover as tweeter-midrange-woofer...rather than 2.7KHz high-pass, 2.7KHz low-pass, 125Hz low-pass. I guess I should have researched better.
    Home Theater:
    Preamp: Yamaha RX-A1020
    Amp: NAD M27
    Speakers: Polk Rti A7, Polk CSi A6, Polk Rti A4
    Subs: (2) Polk DSW 660
    Other: MiniDSP 2x4 HD (external crossover)
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