RT800 vs. RT55

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Aaron
Aaron Posts: 1,853
edited August 2002 in 2 Channel Audio
Man, this was a tough one. It would have made it easier if I had one of those handy switchboxes. Of course, that wouldn't be very audiophile-like now, would it? Anyway, here goes.

Setup
Both speakers were demoed in the same location (refer to RT12 vs. RT800 thread), and they seemed to be pretty happy there.

RT800 vs. RT55
The first thing that I noticed when I switched from the RT800's to the RT55's was that the sound opened up a bit. The soundstage expanded a little and there was more seperation between instruments. The sound seemed to be a little less veiled than the RT800's, so I was getting a little more detail. I also noticed that the higher frequencies were more pronounced. I'm not really sure why this would be the case, though. The only thing I can think of is that these observations were the result of the 1dB efficiency difference between the speakers. All of these observations could have been the result of the RT55 playing slightly louder than RT800.

Even though the soundstage was a bit larger, I felt that the RT800's imaged better. I also got a more stable center image with the RT800's.

The biggest difference between these speakers, as you might imagine, is in their bass output. Predictably the RT800 had fuller and deeper bass. However, it was sloppy in comparison to the RT55's nice, tight bass. As my 7th grade English teacher liked to say, "Quality, not quantity." I'll trade off the greater output and depth of the RT800 for the more accurate bass of the RT55.

Conclusion:
So which would I pick? That's a tough question. I think I would take the RT55. However, if someone didn't have a subwoofer I could see them making a strong case for the RT800's.

Aaron
Post edited by Aaron on

Comments

  • OrangeToupee
    OrangeToupee Posts: 488
    edited July 2002
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    Nice job on all of your reviews.

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on the issue of bass, regarding the 800's and 55's. To my ears the 55i's produce a more impactive and effortless bass response, and yes, even lower response (at least in any meaningful way).

    My 800i's sound great, but I've had to stack 35i's on top of them and limit their frequency to 80Hz and above to accomplish it.

    Of course I haven't done any bench presses with them, so this is strictly an opinion and void of quality science.
  • Aaron
    Aaron Posts: 1,853
    edited July 2002
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    Nice job on all of your reviews.
    Thanks!
    ITo my ears the 55i's produce a more impactive and effortless bass response, and yes, even lower response (at least in any meaningful way).
    What do you mean by "impactive?" It sounds like you're talking about the tightness of the bass. The RT55's certainly hit harder and get off the note while the RT800's overhang (muddy). What do you mean by "effortless?" The RT55's definitely don't do lower. Maybe they do in your room because of some room anomaly. Look at Polk's specs. They clearly show that the RT800's go lower.

    Aaron
  • OrangeToupee
    OrangeToupee Posts: 488
    edited July 2002
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    When I say impactive, I'm referring to 'slam' factor; force when force is required. The effortless comment was designed to impart the sense of ease and grace that the 55's possess throughout their frequency range, as opposed to the 800's, who's lower frequencies seem to struggle their way free of the drivers and leave a bad taste in your ears. I don't know how else to put that into words. Your most recent post suggests to me that we're, generally speaking, very much on the same page.

    I know what the specs say, but when listening to the two speakers, the 55's sound as though they hit lower and harder. They don't leave you wanting for legitimate low bass; I feel that the 800's do leave you with that feeling.

    Toupee
  • Aaron
    Aaron Posts: 1,853
    edited July 2002
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    Yeah, I think we're on the same page. I feel that both of these speakers require a subwoofer, though. Without one I find many of my CD's lacking, particularly the Telarc discs.

    Aaron
  • Ron-P
    Ron-P Posts: 8,516
    edited July 2002
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    Nice review Aaron.

    Before I decided on the 55's I tested the 800's and found your same results. I did not put much testing in the center sound image though. I prefered the RT55's because of the way they produced a nice-n-tight bass response over the 800's. The 800's were a bit too muddy sounding.

    Peace Out~:D
    If...
    Ron dislikes a film = go out and buy it.
    Ron loves a film = don't even rent.
  • HBombToo
    HBombToo Posts: 5,256
    edited July 2002
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    Now I feel like a fool! Totally missed this post somehow?

    Thanks
    ***WAREMTAE***
  • rskarvan
    rskarvan Posts: 2,374
    edited July 2002
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    Isn't the RT800 the same thing as the RT55 except with the bass extension port out the bottom?
    Why would they sound different?
    I purchased the RT800i over the RT55i because they are floor standers and I didn't want to buy stands (especially from Sanus - yuck). Anyway, I suspect that the RT800i's are everything the RT55i's are and more.

    Aaron, what you are suggesting doesn't make that much sense.
    The RT55i's are a bookshelf speaker. Maybe you interpret the tighter sound simply because its coming from a smaller box.

    The RT800i's sound damn good - as do the RT55i's.
    I suspect that what you drive them with makes all the difference down low. Maybe the RT800i's just NEED a nice 250 wpc seperate amp to hold the bass drivers tight to reveal GOOD bass extension. Whereas, with the same signal, the RT55i simply won't reveal the deep bass. Makes sense?

    My conclusion: The RT800i's are a more revealing speaker (in the bass) than the RT55i and require EXCELLENT amplifications for very deep and tight bass. With a receiver driving them, like most all speakers, the deep bass is uncontrolled and muddy sounding.

  • HBombToo
    HBombToo Posts: 5,256
    edited July 2002
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    rskarvan, as soon as i bi-amped my 800i's the speaker just came alive. I do agree that power make a huge difference.
    ***WAREMTAE***
  • OrangeToupee
    OrangeToupee Posts: 488
    edited July 2002
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    "Isn't the RT800 the same thing as the RT55 except with the bass extension port out the bottom?"

    No. The 55i's box is decidely wider and deeper. Have you ever seen or heard the 55i?
  • rskarvan
    rskarvan Posts: 2,374
    edited July 2002
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    Yes, I've seen it and heard it.
    I didn't measure it though.
    The RT55i looks (from a distant) like a "bookshelf-ized" RT800i.
    Or, is it that the RT800i looks like a "floorstander-ized" RT55i?
    Chicken or the egg?
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 17,096
    edited July 2002
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    You need 250 watts of power to get the rt800's 2 go????

    PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS ???????

    I just can't swallow that statement.I tried believe me I did.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • RuSsMaN
    RuSsMaN Posts: 17,987
    edited July 2002
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    I personally think the quality of the amplification is more important than the shear power. Damp factor is what we're looking at here, correct? As far as I know, it doesn't increase, just because the power rating does....

    A 25wpc Class A Bedini will drive 800's as good as just about anything will....

    Just my thoughts on the matter....

    Cheers,
    Russ
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.
  • Aaron
    Aaron Posts: 1,853
    edited July 2002
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    Isn't the RT800 the same thing as the RT55 except with the bass extension port out the bottom?
    On paper maybe. However, most people don't hear through paper.
    Why would they sound different??
    There could be a myriad of reasons for this. My theory is that the smaller cabinet and port of the RT55 is a better match for the 6.5" mid/woofers.
    I purchased the RT800i over the RT55i because they are floor standers and I didn't want to buy stands (especially from Sanus - yuck)..??
    That's the same reason I did, however it has nothing to do with sound quality.
    Anyway, I suspect that the RT800i's are everything the RT55i's are and more.??
    That's what I thought too. But you know what? I was wrong.
    Aaron, what you are suggesting doesn't make that much sense. The RT55i's are a bookshelf speaker. Maybe you interpret the tighter sound simply because its coming from a smaller box..??
    Sure it does, Ron. Just listen. The RT800's are sloppy and muddy by comparison.
    I suspect that what you drive them with makes all the difference down low. Maybe the RT800i's just NEED a nice 250 wpc seperate amp to hold the bass drivers tight to reveal GOOD bass extension. Whereas, with the same signal, the RT55i simply won't reveal the deep bass. Makes sense?
    No way, Ron. The RT800's have sensitivity of 90dB while the RT55's have a sensitivity of 91dB. We're only driving two little 6.5" woofers here. I've driven my RT800's with a 425W Carver amp, and yes it did tighten up the bass, but still not to the extent of the RT55's. By the way, the last time I heard the RT800's they didn't reveal any deep bass. The RT800's have a 42Hz. -3dB point while the RT55's have a 48Hz. -3dB (if memory serves me correctly). Yes, you can heard the difference in extension, but the RT55's clearly have better bass.
    My conclusion: The RT800i's are a more revealing speaker (in the bass) than the RT55i and require EXCELLENT amplifications for very deep and tight bass. With a receiver driving them, like most all speakers, the deep bass is uncontrolled and muddy sounding.
    You need to go listen again. To each his own, however.

    Aaron
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 17,096
    edited July 2002
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    Russman,
    I couldn't agree more........(don't take it personal or get used to it bud)
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • gidrah
    gidrah Posts: 3,049
    edited July 2002
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    I've gotta write this on my calender.
    Make it Funky! :)
  • RT55i Lover
    RT55i Lover Posts: 10
    edited July 2002
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    First off I own a pair of rt55i s and I would chose them over the 800s for many reasons.1.) Bass is HIGH impact, crap you can feel the bass in your chest.2.) just because the frecuency responce goes lower on the spectrum doesn't mean the bass output will be any more; and I would have to agree with orange toupee because the imaging and midrange is well defined much better than the 800s. And you shouldn't have to go out and spend thousans of dollars on a 250 watt per channel amp. As matt polk said and I quote(A 20 watt per channel amp will, provide you with moderate listining levels of sound). If you must have your music loud than spend less on amp and buy a speaker with a higher sensitivity(rt55i). Damn I'm 14 and I know how to get better sound with less money.Not much sense required for that one........

    :D
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 17,096
    edited July 2002
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    Check you out.............

    Young buck kicking already...must be something in the air in here!!


    Welcome rt55i lover
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • HBombToo
    HBombToo Posts: 5,256
    edited July 2002
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    No doubt Mantis!!! At 14 I was drinking and runnin whatever I could get my hands on! Way to go RT55i GUY!
    ***WAREMTAE***
  • RT55i Lover
    RT55i Lover Posts: 10
    edited July 2002
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    Thanks,
    When you get a twenty dollar a week allowance,and you are freaken OBSESSED about speakers you have to know how to get the biggest bang for the buck.... know what I mean.
  • RT55i Lover
    RT55i Lover Posts: 10
    edited July 2002
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    My dad ownes a pair of SDA-b s so I was bread to accept nothing but the best in soundquality
  • HBombToo
    HBombToo Posts: 5,256
    edited July 2002
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    20 Bucks!!! Get out there and cut sum grass man!
    ***WAREMTAE***
  • RT55i Lover
    RT55i Lover Posts: 10
    edited July 2002
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    You know what pisses me off.
    They are't making new models of the rt55i and rt2000i ........ What the hell is up with that !!!Why would they discon't the best of the floorstanding and bookshelf speakes of the rti series?
    :mad:
  • TroyD
    TroyD Posts: 13,077
    edited July 2002
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    Change is inevitable cochese. I wonder why the stopped making the RT7, which IMO is a superior speaker.

    Point is, it really doesn't matter what you like or what I like, it boils down to what sells. The 55, apparently just didn't sell enough to justify it.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • RT55i Lover
    RT55i Lover Posts: 10
    edited July 2002
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    Guess so......:(
    But still they are both great sounding speakers.Which speaker do think sounds better..?( 55i or 800i )
  • TroyD
    TroyD Posts: 13,077
    edited July 2002
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    To be honest with you, I haven't owned either speaker nor spent enough time listening to either to give an informed opinion. A buddy of mine has a pair of RT55i's and they are a fun speaker to listen to. IMO they do a lot of things well.

    Having said that, both he and I agree that the RT7 is a better all around speaker in that the RT7 image like a big dog, throw an impressive soundstage and have better midrange detail. Not that the 55 doesn't do these things as well either but the RT7 does them a little better with a little more finese.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • Ron-P
    Ron-P Posts: 8,516
    edited July 2002
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    WOW, nice sumation there RT55ilover. Needless to say, I agree with you 100%. I love my RT55s. I recently bi-amped them with some 60wpc Adcom amps and the sound is utterly amazing.


    Peace Out~:D
    If...
    Ron dislikes a film = go out and buy it.
    Ron loves a film = don't even rent.
  • scotta2z
    scotta2z Posts: 10
    edited August 2002
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    How about the 800i Vs. the RT7s. I own the RT7s and love them, but cannot go anywhere to listen to the 800i b/c they are discontinued. Bass is not an issue with RT7s b/c I also use a bottom-port 15" Cerwin Vega that I must say is the ground-shaking (yet will still not spill a glass of water on top of it). Sorry if I veered off topic slightly.
  • danger boy
    danger boy Posts: 15,722
    edited August 2002
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    why would the RT55i's not sell well? Seems like everyone here loves theirs? What model replaced the 55i's? And how does it compare to the 55i's? for the record i love my 800i's.
    PolkFest 2012, who's going>?
    Vancouver, Canada Sept 30th, 2012 - Madonna concert :cheesygrin: