Wanting to upgrade Polk RTi-150 crossovers, but how far to take it?

A number of years ago I replaced the small value caps with Dayton poly caps and the others with electrolytic caps, real budget job. Since then I’ve been pleased with their sound and felt they sounded better then newer/higher end speakers. Then I picked up another pair and was quite disappointed with the sound, until I realized it must be the crossover making the difference. So now I want to do a better job on the second set and see where that takes them, but the cost is prohibitive. The mid woofer uses a 400 uF cap and the woofers use a 130 uF, going with basic Solen poly caps will run $466.52 just for these two, total cost in the $700-800 range going for very mid range parts. What are your thoughts?

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2 x all the items below:
Caps: 2x 0.47 uF, 8.0uF, 18uF, 130 uF, 400 uF
Inductors: 0.2 mF, 1.2 mF, 2.0 mF
Resistors: 2x 1.5 Ohm, 5.7 Ohm
- Wes
Current: Polk LSi15, LSiC, LSiFX, R900, RTi150, CSi40, CS400i, PSW650, SVS 2039 PCI, SVS SB1000 Pro, Magnepan LRS, Magnepan 1.6QR, Airmotiv B1+
Former Speakers: RT3000P, RT1000, RT800, RT55, CS400, CSi3, FXi5, RTi70 PSW10, SVS

Best Answers

  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,307
    Answer ✓
    Member since 2005 and only 3 posts? You are gonna have to ease it up on the posting man! :*

    Here are my thoughts. I have a set of Tyler Acoustic speakers that the crossover upgrades cost about what the speakers did. Just the parts for the crossovers, that is.

    I would pay no mind to the cost of the upgrade versus the cost of the speakers. I have heard $10.00 speakers (found on Craigslist by a buddy of mine) that had crossover upgrades into the multiple hundreds of dollars, pushing the 1K territory.

    Just speaking on these two speakers? To me (and to my buddy), the upgrades were more than worth the time, effort and cost put into them. The sonic differences simply brought them to the next level.

    Is it worth it to you? Only you can answer that. You already have experience with your first upgrade and you now know what an upgrade can do. My advice would be to do two things. Get what you can afford at this moment in time (upgrades to the upgrades can always be done in the future). Get only those upgrades that will actually fit in the cabinet without taking up too much internal volume, otherwise you will affect the sonic characteristics of the speakers.

    Oh....make sure that all of the cold solder joints are corrected/done correctly. ;)

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,467
    Answer ✓
    I had a couple pairs of RTi150 back in the day. I'm not certain, but I think they may have been the last product line that came out of the Mexico plant before Polk shifted production to China. Mine were swapped out for the RTiA9 thanks to Circuit City's trade in deals and then those were quickly replaced with a combination SDA-1C and LSi system. I tried the LSi15 as mains and also wasn't happy with their bass performance.

    I do remember the RTi150 would handle a lot of power and ran a Rotel RB-1090 with them to good effect. Fun speakers to rock out with but they did need a hefty amp to do that. $800 would only buy a pair of bookshelf speakers so it may be worthwhile to try upgrading the crossovers if you really like the sound of the RTi150s.

    The Reserve speakers would be a definite BIG upgrade over stock RTI150 and the Legend would look better cosmetically at a higher price.

Answers

  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,613
    So I am all for crossover upgrades. That series from Polk was one of the shortest run series in history, replaced in under 2 years. They simply didn't sound the best in their price class

    If it were me I would sell them and go to the Rtia9 if to wanted to stay with the rt series or go to the new reserve
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • westly197
    westly197 Posts: 6
    edited June 22
    I know these speakers are rare, but I’ve wondered if it wasn’t how they were setup versus them not sounding as good? I’ve found they want power, you hook them up to a cheap receiver and not great. You hook them to a nice powerful amp and they sound amazing. I’ve not tried the A9, but I wondered if the RTi150 lack of popularity was not a combination of their old school look and need for a good amp versus being a sub par performer when properly implemented? I’ve compared them to my LSi15’s in their current state and everyone I asked thought the RTi150’s sounded better in my setup powering them off an ATI Signature 4002 dual mono amp. Was that because of the $50 crossover upgrade, possible, would love to hear more on if this model is a poor choice to upgrade versus just a misunderstood model.

    As far as only 3 posts, I don’t understand that, perhaps I had another login I forgot? I did lots of research back when I had the RT3000P’s and rebuilt both plate amps, but perhaps I found everything I needed, hard to say. I did minor crossover updates to several of my previous speakers, but always kept it on the low cost side. I recently upgraded the Magnepan LRS with better components and was blown away with the improvement, so started thinking perhaps it’s worth taking it a lot further. If I can make a $600 speaker sound close to a $3800 speaker with $260 in parts, perhaps I’ve been missing something…

    Every time I’ve sold speakers, I’ve compared them and these RTi150’s have won out every time, it’s the only reason I still have them. I recently sold my second pair of LSI15’s in favor of keeping these because they sounded better, could have been a mistake… perhaps the LSi’s would have won out with a few dollars in crossover upgrades. I was never crazy about the bass woofer in the LSi, the three woofers in the RTi 150 are fast and tight with good power.
    - Wes
    Current: Polk LSi15, LSiC, LSiFX, R900, RTi150, CSi40, CS400i, PSW650, SVS 2039 PCI, SVS SB1000 Pro, Magnepan LRS, Magnepan 1.6QR, Airmotiv B1+
    Former Speakers: RT3000P, RT1000, RT800, RT55, CS400, CSi3, FXi5, RTi70 PSW10, SVS
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,307
    Ah, as far as the post count goes? A few years back, the Polk forum switched from one software to Vanilla (the current software). During that switch, many log-ins were compromised, many posts were deleted and many users lost their post count.

    I was just razzin' ya', Wes. Post count means nothing to me, honestly. I just thought it was funny to have been a member for so long and only have 3 posts.

    IME, better parts means better quality sound.....but, just like everything.....cost does not necessarily equate to better sound. It's best to simply ask questions, be patient and rely on some folks who have direct experience with crossover upgrades. Many on this forum (as you know) have done upgrades in this department.

    You may want to entertain the thought of upgrading the wires themself as well.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,613
    The entire line only lasted a little under two years.

    If you like them, definitely upgrade them. You can just bypass those large values and see gains
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • westly197
    westly197 Posts: 6
    edited June 22
    I’d definitely consider looking for a different speaker to upgrade, I’ve even thought of building my own speakers from a kit - still debating if I want to get into that much work. I just would not want to move away from these if they are actually better, but just require more to be better. Sometimes harder to drive speakers are better than more efficient speakers when driven by sufficient power, but the masses will often favor the ones that sound better on low end equipment. The finish on these also doesn’t compare to the look of some of the ones that came after, though it’s probably a tad bit better material. I also had the impression the newer models had a cheaper look I was not crazy for, I skipped up to the LSi and do like the Polk Audio Reserve series more but have only heard the R900 I’m using for Atmos. I honestly don’t know, it’s why I’m posting here, don’t want to waste my money. These are used in a two channel system only, if that makes any difference.

    If I move forward with this XO upgrade, I will replace everything, new wires, complete new XO parts point to point twisted together and soldered, new connections removing all the ferris metal and tin, etc. I was going to use copper ribbon inductor on the tweeter and open air copper on the mid and bass. Solen for the high value caps and possibly sonicaps for the others. Possibly better for the bypass, but the cost was getting crazy so that’s when I hopped on here to reconsider. I was also going to break up the crossover into 2 - 3 parts as this speaker is heavily braced internally, so It would be easier to place a couple smaller XO’s and will allow the inductors to be far apart.
    - Wes
    Current: Polk LSi15, LSiC, LSiFX, R900, RTi150, CSi40, CS400i, PSW650, SVS 2039 PCI, SVS SB1000 Pro, Magnepan LRS, Magnepan 1.6QR, Airmotiv B1+
    Former Speakers: RT3000P, RT1000, RT800, RT55, CS400, CSi3, FXi5, RTi70 PSW10, SVS
  • westly197
    westly197 Posts: 6
    VR3 wrote: »
    So I am all for crossover upgrades. That series from Polk was one of the shortest run series in history, replaced in under 2 years. They simply didn't sound the best in their price class

    If it were me I would sell them and go to the Rtia9 if to wanted to stay with the rt series or go to the new reserve

    The only problem buying a new & current speaker set is the big cost for the speakers, which still need to be upgraded. I’ve bought a few new speakers, but tend to buy used speakers to save $$ I can use on upgrades. Also helps if I decide to move on to something else as I can usually get back what I paid when bought used.
    - Wes
    Current: Polk LSi15, LSiC, LSiFX, R900, RTi150, CSi40, CS400i, PSW650, SVS 2039 PCI, SVS SB1000 Pro, Magnepan LRS, Magnepan 1.6QR, Airmotiv B1+
    Former Speakers: RT3000P, RT1000, RT800, RT55, CS400, CSi3, FXi5, RTi70 PSW10, SVS
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,613
    If you are open to used, in the price point I would look for older Tyler acoustics linbrook or taylo

    Can find them used 750 to 1500

    Whole other ball game than the rti150
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • anonymouse
    anonymouse Posts: 2,769
    I definitely prefer Dayton over Solen for similar price points