Polk Audio RT7 Review

RuSsMaNRuSsMaN Posts: 17,995
edited September 2002 in Speakers

Mid/Woofer 1 - 7-1/2" Diameter
Tweeter 1 - 1" Diameter Tri-laminate Dome tweeter
49Hz - 25kHz -3db / 8 ohms Efficiency / 89 dB
Cabinet Size 19" H x 9-1/2" W x 11-1/2" D
Vented Enclosure, dual ports

Equipment used:
Carver m200t amp, 100wrms/ch
Yamaha C40 Preamp
ADC 16/2 CD, dual 16 bit Burr-Brown DACs
Quadraflex Reference Turntable
Straight Wire Rythm Speaker Cable
Audioquest Copperhead Interconnects

This is a BIG bookshelf speaker to begin with. (just a hair smaller than the RT55). It really portrays quite a 'presence' in my room. The finish is par for the course, as are the gold binding posts. Nothing special, but nothing lacking either.

The driver contruction seems very well done (on appearance only at this point). Rubber surrounds, poly cone, and the first version of the Polk Tri-laminate soft dome. The ports are flared, and the grill connects with 4 posts, and the frame is very rigid.

I spent an extened listening session over the past 2 days with records and cds from the likes of Muddy Waters, Benny Goodman, Diana Krall, Nickleback, Pink Floyd, Joe Walsh, Dave Matthews, Rush, Chris Rea, Shawn Mullins, and Sheryl Crow, to name a *few*.

The overall tonal quality of this speaker I would say is on the warm side of neutral. I've listened to other 2-way designs using a 'larger' woofer, Ie: 7, 7.5, 8 inch, and it seems as if some manufacturers have a hard time getting them blend properly with the tweeter. Polk obviously did not have these issues. I attribute part of this to the rigid cone/suspension on the midwoof, and the low resonant freq of the tweeter.

Highs seemed to sparkle, but did not become fatiguing in the least. The RT7 is definately not the last word in detail, but the tri-laminate seems to offer some of the best qualties of the soft silk, and hard metal domes (in general). Some may view this as a bad compromise, a sort of jack of all trades, yet master of none. I think it is a GREAT compromise, that offers versatility throughout many generes of music. The tri-lam had enough detail, without fatique, and it still retained an open, spacious soundstage. There was no tinnyness or shrill, and the output seemed well balanced at low and high listening levels.

Mids/vocals, very satisfactory. I bought my B&W's, because the midrange is very clear, if not ever so slightly forward on some recordings. I had no trouble with the Polks 'laid back' lower mids, and all vocals remained clear, and distiguishable. Even under high spl runs (95+ db), I didn't notice any 'breakup', or loss of clarity (with the mid/woof under high excursion). The transistion to the tweeter was seemless, at least to my ears.

Lows are pretty much dead on. What you do get in bass seems to have virtually no overhang, and notes seemed to finish sharp, as if I was dealing with a sealed design. I did however feel, without asking too much from a shelf design, that the low end did not reach down as far as I expected it to. Yes, it is a shelf speaker, but a large one, with a large driver, and dual ports nonetheless. I did NOT feel cheated, but yearned for, nay expected, just a little more. HOWEVER, I will say that I feel these speakers can stand alone musically for most listeners in a 2ch rig.

They originally sold for around $500/pair in the mid to late 90's, but can be had well under $200 used IF you can find an owner willing to part with them. A great all-around bookshelf speaker at the new asking price, a STEAL used for the budget minded audiophile. These will not leave my collection.

Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.
Post edited by RuSsMaN on


  • TroyDTroyD Posts: 12,638
    edited September 2002
    Great review.....IMO, this is (short of the LSi) Polk's best ever bookshelf. I feel that any sins of the RT7 were sins of omission rather than comission. Meaning, what they did, they did well.

    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,232
    edited September 2002
    Bravo......Bravo Russ,
    Man you guys laying down the review's......I for one can get use to this.Great going!!!!

    I also heard this nice older model bookshelf speaker years ago.Powerful Id add and No not as hard hittinng as the rt55's.

    Are you the new owner of them or is Troy lending them???

    enjoy anyways......nice review.

    All smiles Mantis;)
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • RuSsMaNRuSsMaN Posts: 17,995
    edited September 2002
    Well, within our small (extended) audio family, when the time comes to liquidate gear, we pass along the same deal we intially received.

    Troy got them for free, and in turn when the time came (and he replaced them with RTA12s), he did me a solid and passed them my way. No charge. He's a stand up dude, through and through.

    And yes, the voltage driven m200t did them justice, but I have ran them on my m400a (201 wpc rms) also, and they will pretty much take whatever you can throw at them.

    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,232
    edited September 2002
    thats cool,
    I'm glad your like them.

    Whats the voltage driven m200t comment about?I don't get it.

    That sounds like Liv4fam and myself.We pass gear around to each other with the same benefit.;)
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • organorgan Posts: 5,022
    edited September 2002
    Great review Russ. I almost purchased a pair about 5 years ago. I couldn't find any around and ended up with a pair of RT5. How would you rate them against the RT55's? A lot of people seem to like the RT7 more. Did you use a sub or did you run them full-range because 95+db and no "breakup" is damn impressive for a bookshelf.

    CD Player: Original CD-A8T
    Receiver: Harman/Kardon HK3390
    Speakers: Polk Audio RT1000p
    "I would rather have a cup of tone than an ocean of power" **Dr. Harvey Rosenberg**
  • RuSsMaNRuSsMaN Posts: 17,995
    edited September 2002
    No sub, period. Perhaps the lack of breakup is part of the design, as I felt the low end was not as present as I thought it would be. I figure if that low end HAD been there, that perhaps then I would have noticed some midrange clutter on high SPL runs...

    In comparison to the RT55, I wouldn't have enough time with the 55's to make that call. From my limited exposure, if I recall correctly the 55's are a little more punchy in the low end, but I think overall, the RT7 will take the cake on a 'total' score for a 2ch rig.

    Not putting anyones 55's down, but the RT3,5,7 were straight forward speakers. No raised bezels, no power ports, no 'gimmicks' (good or bad)......

    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.
  • GZGZ Posts: 343
    edited September 2002
    Thanks for the review - short, sweet, and easy to understand. Glad you like them. I really enjoy my RT7's and they will hold the front position in my set-up for a long time to come.
  • joe logstonjoe logston Posts: 882
    edited September 2002
    russman you just did a great post, you are right on about the rt-7, they are a real good all round bookself speaker. i realy injoy mind, they can sound good with a 200w amp, like my aragon 4004 mark 2 in two channel, or any good amp, and pre amp.

    thanks for the post russ.
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.
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