Polk RTi A9 modifications?

SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
edited March 6 in Speakers
I’ve decided to do a shoot-out between the highly regarded Polk RTi A9s and my $50,000 Snell A7 Illusions. I will require someone who is proficient with modifying loudspeakers, particularly the crossovers, however I don’t recommend changing the values or drivers unless there is an engineer who frequents these forums that can say otherwise.

Here’s what I would like to do:

Polish the RTi A9 cabinets to a mirror shine (I’ve seen a few others achieve this with their RTi A7s, and the results are exquisite), replace the existing speaker terminals with WBT-style (similar to what Polk did for the LSiM 707s), replace crossover parts like the capacitors with Jantzen or something of similar quality, use thicker wiring on the inside, as well as acoustic isolation spikes.

Also, which service do you recommend for these improvements? Money is no object. For this demonstration, I’ll be using a brand-new McIntosh MC462 and C70.

Best Answers

  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    Accepted Answer
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    OK I'll bite. You plan on using these Reference Theater Improved (RTi 9's) for home theater or music? It makes a huge difference.

    Music because he thinks they sound better than the 707s (according to his comment in another thread).

    well then he needs clarity cap CMR's or Dueland caps and of course Dueland Cast resistors all new Jantzen inductors balanced to 1% as well as all caps matched to 1% . DH labs 14ga silver sonic Ohno continuous cast wire. Cardas Silver binding posts. Of course all this will need an external crossover box.
    That sounds nice pitdogg2, and I’d even be willing to pay top dollar for a nice box with glass on top (including labor), but such services seem very difficult to find (which is why I made this thread).
  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,319
    edited March 6 Accepted Answer
    SA7I wrote: »
    K_M wrote: »
    SA7I wrote: »
    K_M wrote: »
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.

    Me thinks the money would be better spent on a better speaker from the beginning.
    “Better” is subjective. Spring is near and I want to do something fun.

    Do you consider the Rta9 the "epitome" of speakers? (asking seriously)
    No, but I’ve heard enough praise about them to give it a try. And considering they’ve got 5.0 reviews, why the hell not? It’s only $900. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.

    There are many speakers that impress me, each with a unique sound that gives a different depth on realism. There is no “epitome” or “best” in my opinion, only what I like and don’t like.

    I actually liked how they sound, but do not own them....I just meant probably not a great idea to spend thousands modding them.
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-Sold
    Epos-Now gone
    Infinity-Sold
    Advent-Now gone
    Yamaha A-S801
    Yamaha RX-V377
    Yamaha RX-A860
    Yamaha RX-A3060
    Harman Kardon Hk-350i
    Harman Kardon Hk-........
    Harman Kardon PM-665
    Harman Kardon HK-775
    Pioneer.......Stereo Receiver

Answers

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 13,767
    OK I'll bite. You plan on using these Reference Theater Improved (RTi 9's) for home theater or music? It makes a huge difference.
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    OK I'll bite. You plan on using these Reference Theater Improved (RTi 9's) for home theater or music? It makes a huge difference.
    Strictly music... but before you say the RTi A9s were made only for watching movies, you should look at some examples from Altec Lansing (often dubbed “Voice of Theater”), which were used in studios. The LSiM series left me disappointed and gave the impression that Polk went backwards (especially using fake veneer). I’ve seen instances where people praise older flagship models versus the newer ones, and thought because of the high praise of the RTi A9s, I’d give them a run for their money *evil grin*.
    Post edited by SA7I on
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 13,767
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    OK I'll bite. You plan on using these Reference Theater Improved (RTi 9's) for home theater or music? It makes a huge difference.

    Music because he thinks they sound better than the 707s (according to his comment in another thread).

    well then he needs clarity cap CMR's or Dueland caps and of course Dueland Cast resistors all new Jantzen inductors balanced to 1% as well as all caps matched to 1% . DH labs 14ga silver sonic Ohno continuous cast wire. Cardas Silver binding posts. Of course all this will need an external crossover box.
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    That sounds nice, pitdogg22. I’d be willing to pay for a high quality external crossover box w/ glass on top. Though, finding such services can be very difficult.
    Post edited by SA7I on
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    <delete>
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,292
    I do stuff like this, but... I think you are going overboard
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    <delete>
    Post edited by SA7I on
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,292
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,149
    SA7I wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    OK I'll bite. You plan on using these Reference Theater Improved (RTi 9's) for home theater or music? It makes a huge difference.
    Strictly music... but before you say the RTi A9s were made only for watching movies, you should look at some examples from Altec Lansing (often dubbed “Voice of Theater”), which were used in studios. The LSiM series left me disappointed and gave the impression that Polk went backwards (especially using fake veneer). I’ve seen instances where people praise older flagship models versus the newer ones, and thought because of the high praise of the RTi A9s, I’d give them a run for their money *evil grin*.

    It's real wood veneer.
    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."


  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    F1nut wrote: »
    SA7I wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    OK I'll bite. You plan on using these Reference Theater Improved (RTi 9's) for home theater or music? It makes a huge difference.
    Strictly music... but before you say the RTi A9s were made only for watching movies, you should look at some examples from Altec Lansing (often dubbed “Voice of Theater”), which were used in studios. The LSiM series left me disappointed and gave the impression that Polk went backwards (especially using fake veneer). I’ve seen instances where people praise older flagship models versus the newer ones, and thought because of the high praise of the RTi A9s, I’d give them a run for their money *evil grin*.

    It's real wood veneer.
    On the Polk LSiM 707s? O_o
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,149
    Yep
    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."


  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,319
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.

    Me thinks the money would be better spent on a better speaker from the beginning.
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-Sold
    Epos-Now gone
    Infinity-Sold
    Advent-Now gone
    Yamaha A-S801
    Yamaha RX-V377
    Yamaha RX-A860
    Yamaha RX-A3060
    Harman Kardon Hk-350i
    Harman Kardon Hk-........
    Harman Kardon PM-665
    Harman Kardon HK-775
    Pioneer.......Stereo Receiver

  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    F1nut wrote: »
    Yep
    Do you have a link, because Polk made no such declaration regarding the finish of the models in that series, and when I saw it, the material didn’t look like the cherry veneer on the RTi A9. They did however state that they used REAL WOOD for the A series.
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    K_M wrote: »
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.

    Me thinks the money would be better spent on a better speaker from the beginning.
    “Better” is subjective. Spring is near and I want to do something fun.
  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,319
    SA7I wrote: »
    K_M wrote: »
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.

    Me thinks the money would be better spent on a better speaker from the beginning.
    “Better” is subjective. Spring is near and I want to do something fun.

    Do you consider the Rta9 the "epitome" of speakers? (asking seriously)
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-Sold
    Epos-Now gone
    Infinity-Sold
    Advent-Now gone
    Yamaha A-S801
    Yamaha RX-V377
    Yamaha RX-A860
    Yamaha RX-A3060
    Harman Kardon Hk-350i
    Harman Kardon Hk-........
    Harman Kardon PM-665
    Harman Kardon HK-775
    Pioneer.......Stereo Receiver

  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    K_M wrote: »
    SA7I wrote: »
    K_M wrote: »
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.

    Me thinks the money would be better spent on a better speaker from the beginning.
    “Better” is subjective. Spring is near and I want to do something fun.

    Do you consider the Rta9 the "epitome" of speakers? (asking seriously)
    No, but I’ve heard enough praise about them to give it a try. And considering they’ve got 5.0 reviews, why the hell not? It’s only $900. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.

    There are many speakers that impress me, each with a unique sound that gives a different depth on realism. There is no “epitome” or “best” in my opinion, only what I like and don’t like.
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    K_M wrote: »
    SA7I wrote: »
    K_M wrote: »
    SA7I wrote: »
    K_M wrote: »
    VR3 wrote: »
    I'm very familiar with the parts that go into the rtia9... You would literally drop 4k into top tier parts for that speaker... That dosnt count rewiring the speaker, the custom plates, the enclosures, etc etc etc... Easily could be 6,000 with all of the custom fabrication.

    Me thinks the money would be better spent on a better speaker from the beginning.
    “Better” is subjective. Spring is near and I want to do something fun.

    Do you consider the Rta9 the "epitome" of speakers? (asking seriously)
    No, but I’ve heard enough praise about them to give it a try. And considering they’ve got 5.0 reviews, why the hell not? It’s only $900. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.

    There are many speakers that impress me, each with a unique sound that gives a different depth on realism. There is no “epitome” or “best” in my opinion, only what I like and don’t like.

    I actually liked how they sound, but do not own them....I just meant probably not a great idea to spend thousands modding them.
    Don’t worry, I won’t spend thousands on this project. ^^
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 5,023
    Your shootout, honestly, between the Snell A7s and the RTiA9s is like pitting a Ferrari 458 Italia against a Ford Fiesta ST.

    Even with upgrades, that will absolutely improve the sound of the A9s, you are still talking about a speaker that uses drivers, internal wiring and enclosure construction to meet a certain price point that is considerably lower (thus requiring cheaper parts and construction methods) than the Snells.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    Your shootout, honestly, between the Snell A7s and the RTiA9s is like pitting a Ferrari 458 Italia against a Ford Fiesta ST.

    Even with upgrades, that will absolutely improve the sound of the A9s, you are still talking about a speaker that uses drivers, internal wiring and enclosure construction to meet a certain price point that is considerably lower (thus requiring cheaper parts and construction methods) than the Snells.
    It’s possible. All the same i'm going to proceed and will report my observations when the listening trials are complete. Thank you for your input on the matter.
  • SA7ISA7I Posts: 14
    edited March 6
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    Your shootout, honestly, between the Snell A7s and the RTiA9s is like pitting a Ferrari 458 Italia against a Ford Fiesta ST.

    Even with upgrades, that will absolutely improve the sound of the A9s, you are still talking about a speaker that uses drivers, internal wiring and enclosure construction to meet a certain price point that is considerably lower (thus requiring cheaper parts and construction methods) than the Snells.
    Well, the initial engineering set up costs can be spread across high production volume of units sharing the same technology, the cost per unit is dramatically reduced.
  • pyrocyborgpyrocyborg Posts: 524
    edited March 6
    SA7I wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    Yep
    Do you have a link, because Polk made no such declaration regarding the finish of the models in that series, and when I saw it, the material didn’t look like the cherry veneer on the RTi A9. They did however state that they used REAL WOOD for the A series.

    I could be wrong, but maybe they thought they didn't have to specify something like this on their "higher end" speaker series spec sheets. At the time, the RTi and RTiA lines were priced aggressively against competitors sporting vinyl finish, and that's why they wanted to make some kind of statement by saying "real wood veneer" out loud.

    Now, I will quote from the LSiM information sheet : " Even though these loudspeakers straddle the cutting edge of today’s technologies, and feature Polk-designed-from-the- ground-up components as well as massively braced sculpted natural wood and laquer enclosures, they remain surprisingly affordable."

    I would give you that the laquer can give you the impression that this isn't real wood veneer, but it is. I didn't like what the pictures showed first, and I thought it looked cheap compared to the original LSi line, but it's way different in person and I think that it's gorgeous for the price. It doesn't look at all like the open grain veneer on the RTiA line (correct me if I've got the term wrong), but it doesn't have to. I own both series in black (RTi and RTiA) and Midnight Mahogany (LSiM), and well, the finish is better on the LSiM line.

    Source : https://d3vqw2nv1topde.cloudfront.net/assets/Product Documents/Product Information Sheets/LSiMSeries InfoSheet.pdf
    Speakers: Polk Audio LSiM 705, LSiM 703, LSiM 704c
    Receiver: Denon X3500H
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,149
    SA7I wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    Yep
    Do you have a link, because Polk made no such declaration regarding the finish of the models in that series, and when I saw it, the material didn’t look like the cherry veneer on the RTi A9. They did however state that they used REAL WOOD for the A series.

    No link needed, I've seen a lot of them up close and personal. It's an Asian mahogany like species of wood.

    Before you pass any further judgement it's common practice for furniture companies to use a "lesser" wood and make it look like another species. It's really not hard to do if you know what you're doing.
    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."


  • 62caddy62caddy Posts: 117
    edited March 7
    Polk's description of the RTiA series: "Beautiful curved furniture-grade hardwood veneer cabinet finishes, with sleek trim accents in black or cherry" whereas there is no reference to LSiM as being finished in hardwood veneer. The finish on LSiM 705 that I had owned had a slightly rough texture that in my opinion was not up to the standard to that of the RTiA series.

    That aside, and having spent time with both, it is my opinion the A line is far more satisfactory for music than the M line. As always, YMMV.
    Main:
    McIntosh: MC 2155, MC 2125(x2), MR 80, C 32, MQ 101; Snell J7; Polk: RTiA7, RTiA9;
    Pioneer PL-518; A/T 440 MLa; Yamaha CD
    Vintage:
    McIntosh: MX110Z, MC 2505, MC 240, Thorens TD 145; Shure V15III; Altec 14, Boston T1000; Yamaha CDX 393 CD; Yamaha Cass
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,149
    edited March 8
    One last time, IT IS REAL WOOD VENEER on the LSiM speakers.
    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."


  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,149
    Which one of these would you prefer the LSiM speakers to have?

    qrhah3lkpvva.jpg

    libhri9lvgd2.jpg

    dmhexvg8gol5.jpg


    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."


  • pyrocyborgpyrocyborg Posts: 524
    edited March 8
    If you don't take F1nut word for it (and well, no question there, he's right about this as it is a known fact), here's the relevant quote from the LSiM "brochure" : " [...] feature Polk-designed-from-the- ground-up components as well as massively braced sculpted natural wood".

    Not only is it real wood, but I think it looks great. Some people might have gotten poorly finished ones, and that's a shame, but every single one of mine is smooth to the touch, even those made in 2018. Mind that I have the Midnight Mahogany ones, so a slight difference in finish might not show as much as it would on a Cherry "colored" speaker cabinet.

    But meh, it's not as if we had to convince anyone. Have a nice day everyone, and good luck to OP if you're going with your modifications. Looking forward to it. ;)
    Speakers: Polk Audio LSiM 705, LSiM 703, LSiM 704c
    Receiver: Denon X3500H
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