List of good RT800 mods?

Hello,

I made this forums account because not only do I love Polk Audio to the point where its an addiction but I also was wondering about some Polk RT800 mods.

See the Polk RT800s are the second best speakers I've ever heard (the best are probably the Monitors with no number after their name they were released in 1992 and pretty rare).
I have them Passively Bi-Amped by my Onkyo TX-NR656 and I have removed the weird fabric finish and painted the wood black instead kinda like the RT800is.

Essentially the last step I'm looking to is modding them entirely in a way where I can improve the sound quality as much as possible, allow the use of Bi-Amp and Mono-Amp, and maybe more cosmetic mods.

I cant think of any that dont invole modding the crossover which I AM WILLING to do but I'd like to do simpler things than that first. I am a techy guy and repaird my Nintendo Switch and both its controllers in under an hour but I value my speakers more go figure haha. I also have little soldering skills.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
:)
"You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
"Chris I think you blew the speaker"
"Crap"
«1

Comments

  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Send your crossovers to @wesmassguy. He'll take care of you. Damp the baskets with butyl mat. Put some sound foam behind the mid driver's.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop Do you mean the acoustic foam pads? Also do I put the foam on the magnet, in the cabinet, or around the butyl mat damping?
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop Also I'm assuming you meant @westmassguy ?
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Put inexpensive 1/2" x 6" x 6" open-cell foam pads directly behind Midwoofers on the rear cabinet walls. Put butyl mat or Dyna mat brand on steel frame posts of the baskets.
    Yes, I believe Westmassguy is DHS speaker service and does a great job on crossovers.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop So do I wrap the mat completely around the baskets? Or do I just cover the metal bars and leave the gaps open?
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    edited February 27
    Just on metal bars. Do not block the air passages.
    If you want to cheap out on butyl mat, Home Depot sells a product called U-Seal and it works just as well as Dynamat.

    I have a modded set of RT55 cabinets at the shop....built like tanks and take shrapnel too lol.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop Alrighty, I wrote down Butyl Mat, Open-Cell 1/2" thick foam, and "give WestMassGuy a call" on my shopping list.

    Last question then I'll quit bothering you haha.
    Does the foam and butyl mat simply absorb vibrations that are unwanted? Or does it have another purpose too?
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Butyl mat gets rid of the accompanying "ring" of the stamped steel baskets. The foam absorbs midrange frequencies from rebounding to the back-side of the Midwoofer cone if I recall correctly. I've done to quite a few different speakers and indeed clears up midrange frequencies.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop Alrighty sweet! I need to take apart my RT800s again tomorrow to fix some of the paint in a spot I missed anyways so I think I'll try to at least do the Butyl Mat then or the Home Depot rip off stuff!

    Thanks a ton! I'll post an update once it's all done!
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Post pics. Also might want to grab a small tube of Power-Grab sealant and glue the midwoofer magnets for insurance.

    Maybe someone can chime in and advise on possible interior wiring upgrade.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop The magnets can fall off? If those things come off then I'm not messing with them at all! I already thought I broke my tweeter after thinking I could remove it and pulling the magnet off. Luckily the design allows it to do that. No clue why Polk made the magnet come off and not the dome+coil and not just the whole assembly.
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Just don't drop them. There is a possibility of the magnets shifting if dropped on a hard surface. Don't be alarmed, just be careful and proceed. The sound improvements are worth the effort.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop And if the magnet shifts, the voice coil will start rubbing OR get jammed right? Havent dropped then yet and highly doubt I will. Will probably skip the gluing.
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Yes, is possible for VC jamming if dropped and magnet shifts. Those Midwoofers would be easy to do while they are face-down and just run a bead around perimeter of top and bottom steel plates that interface with magnet.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,226
    edited February 28
    ChrisD06 wrote: »
    Hello,

    I have them Passively Bi-Amped by my Onkyo TX-NR656 and I have removed the weird fabric finish and painted the wood black instead kinda like the RT800is.

    Essentially the last step I'm looking to is modding them entirely in a way where I can improve the sound quality as much as possible, allow the use of Bi-Amp and Mono-Amp, and maybe more cosmetic mods.

    I cant think of any that dont invole modding the crossover which I AM WILLING to do but I'd like to do simpler things than that first. I am a techy guy and repaird my Nintendo Switch and both its controllers in under an hour but I value my speakers more go figure haha. I also have little soldering skills.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
    :)
    Welcome to the forum. The Material on the front of the RT800's is not cosmetic. You actually lowered the sound quality by removing it. The speaker was designed to have it in place to reduce sound wave reflections off the front of the cabinet. This material would help with the high frequencies if I remember correctly. Back when the that series of RT's where released on the market, I studied them as I was trying to buy the last Gen RT series and missed out. I had the RT1000p's and the rest of the line for a 7.1 setup.

    The RT800's stock are nice speakers but like most of the RT lines up in till the RTia series they all to me just lacked some mid range , slightly harsh up top and slightly loose in the bottom end.

    For the money all these negatives are not negatives, not many speakers in their price points do any of those things better. You have to step up to higher end speakers to get better control.

    So you are absolutely on the right path with the Crossovers, many in here have done upgrades there with great success. This is where your gonna get your most improvements without changing drivers and tweeters.

    Member VR3 is your guy to talk to.

    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    Hey @mantis thanks for the warm welcome! :smile: I had no clue the fabric on the front was for sound. They guy I bought it from was a heavy smoker and had a cat get at the fabric so it was ruined and ugly anyways. I paid 150 Canuck coins for them so I hope I didn't overpay or ruin them. I haven't noticed a difference in sound quality since then, honestly, I noticed a bigger sound difference from Passive Bi-Amping and just switching to Banana Plugs from bare wire which is a whole other story on how my connections would loosen up but you know. I've never noticed the harshness in the tweeter everyone hates. I think my Onkyo is taking care of that with it's music optimizer feature.

    Do I talk to VR3 for crossover, if so why not WestMassGuy?
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,226
    I have no idea who WestMassGuy is. VR3 has been a member in here as long as I can remember and has done great work on crossovers. So he's the guy I recommend.
    $150.00 for when new $800 speakers as long as they work and are in good condition I think you made out just fine. $150 for any working good quality good condition speakers is fine in my book. I just purchased a pair of very nice RT16's for $200 and I had a bad driver in one of them. I'm still perfectly fine with the purchase.

    Shame the fabric was ruined but if your not noticing any difference then your probably fine. And since you'll be modifying them I don't think it's gonna matter now.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @mantis Good to know I got a good purchase! Been trying to make the 'RT800cs' and the C is meant to represent custom. Only reason Im modding them is because I wanted the 800is but they were 200 more so my goal has been to smash the i variant with the original. Will contact VR3. I'll do my best to post pics during the process and complete.
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop I just remembered to ask this, do I need the open cell foam to be half inch thick or could I stack thinner to make it half inch, or does it not matter on thickness. Also whats the best way to stick them to the cabinet?
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • Kex
    Kex Posts: 4,418
    @ChrisD06 Welcome! If you need the manuals for the your RT800, I probably have those. I could scan them for you if you’re interested. They may be available in the [Wayback Machine] (internet archive), but I didn’t find them.
    Alea jacta est!
  • Kex
    Kex Posts: 4,418
    mantis wrote: »
    Welcome to the forum. The Material on the front of the RT800's is not cosmetic. You actually lowered the sound quality by removing it. The speaker was designed to have it in place to reduce sound wave reflections off the front of the cabinet. This material would help with the high frequencies if I remember correctly.
    Wow mantis, I never knew that! 😳

    FWIW, I always hated that felt covering, or whatever it is. Just thought it looked ugly and dated! If I was as intrepid as ChrisD06, I would have removed it too! 😂

    Of that RT series, my preferred were the RT55 (the same as RT800 in bookshelf form). Just wonderful bookies for the price. I got mine used from the original owner in pristine condition, with manuals. I had the RT35 and 25 at some point as well, not to mention a couple of centers.

    The CS400 is a phenomenal center speaker, when they can still be found, but plan for the dimensions! 😂

    The CS350 (if I’m remembering right) is also excellent, just not quite as impressive as the 400.
    Alea jacta est!
  • Kex
    Kex Posts: 4,418
    As for the magnets, I never had a single one shift, until the kids knocked over an RT800 pushing past it when playing with their toy trains. One of the two magnets did come loose. C’est la vie, alas. 😢
    Alea jacta est!
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @Kex Holy smokes! If you have the manuals I'd love them! My RT800s have the labels peeling off so my goal is to find an adhesive I could stick them back on with. I tried superglue and it's doing okay but the corners are peeling still so I'm gonna make new labels and put them on. Restoring these puppies to mint condition is my goal and I'm ~90% there.
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @Kex Also it's really hard to remove the felt. Unless there's already a rip you can get your fingers under, you might want to skip doing it. Using a knife would work but you might scratch the wood under.
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • Kex
    Kex Posts: 4,418
    edited February 28
    Yeah... they’ve been in storage for eons now, so I won’t be doing the felt removal project thingy. Just going to donate them to Goodwill. 😉

    However, one other thing to be aware of: in direct sun, the narrow band of felt between the wood top of the cabinet and the grilles on the front can melt, and become distorted. When I got mine, it was midsummer in SoCal, so no sunlight came directly into the room, but by fall, the sun was much lower in the sky, and it took me while to realize that those beautiful warm sunny days were hitting the speakers with direct sunlight, and melting the covering. It’s not a disaster, but they aren’t pristine anymore. 😞
    Alea jacta est!
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Most people use the BH5 in a thicker 4x4 piece stuck to walls behind drivers, but I found the 1/2" 6x6 piece to work. I would suggest not layering up and you can just spray glue it to the foam if you already have some.
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @Kex If you want to get rid of those RT55s I'll take them off your hands! As long as you're located in Canada...
    I don't deal with UPS after they lost my VR headset.
    In all seriousness, if you're in Canada I'll take 'em off your hands. Then I'd finish my 5.0 setup finally!
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • ChrisD06
    ChrisD06 Posts: 45
    @xschop I can only find 1/4" or 1/8" online and in stores so I might need to wait to order some and do that later. Dynamat can still happen!
    "You should hear how much bass this thing makes!"
    "Chris I think you blew the speaker"
    "Crap"
  • Kex
    Kex Posts: 4,418
    Very far away from Canada 🇨🇦 sadly... 😢 unless you know some horse riders who trailer down regularly to SoCal in the winter.

    But for 5.0, using RT55 as rears is a complete waste. Also, they are beasts. They actually look much bigger in overall girth than the RT800. If I were you, I’d look for RT600’s, or RT35’s.
    Alea jacta est!
  • xschop
    xschop Posts: 2,022
    Just as long as it says "open-cell" foam, you're good to go. .

    Can you post dimensions of the port diameter and length and LxW of the Power Port base?
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