RTA 11TL - Non Operational Speaker - Help! :)

Greetings Polk Fans,
This is my first post. A few months ago I purchased new speakers from the Signature Series as my first adult speakers. So far I love the sound. So, today I was cruising through my local Goodwill store and came upon a pair of RTA 11TLs for $12.99 each. Normally I'm there looking for vintage tools, cast iron cookware, bicycles and usable baseballs. Now I'm the proud owner of another thing I don't really need but that seems really cool.

I hooked them up and overall they sound great. The kids are sleeping so I can't crank it up too much but I still like the sound. My original plan was the screw them into the ceiling of my garage, run some wires and forget about them. The sound is so nice I'm feeling I need to take better care of them and find them a nice home in the house. The only problem is that one of the speakers is not making sound. I'm quite handy but I'm more of a house/car guy than an electronics guy so I'm not sure where to start with trouble shooting. The second speaker down on one of them is silent. (My understanding is that the two big speakers on the bottom are actually pretend speakers that magically make the sound better back in the1990s.)

My question is, where do I begin with trouble shooting and when that does not work, what do I do next? I have seen a lot on this forum but I'm not sure where to start.

I have attached a picture of them. To the left is a new S50 and to the right is a new S60. I use the S50 as a surround speaker. Listening to these old speakers makes me wonder why I spent so much money on the new ones!

I was planning to paint them black but my 9-year-old son looked at them and said that they look a lot better than the newer black Polk Speakers. I guess I'll just clean them up and leave them alone. They do have some wear and drink marks but I think I can get them pretty good looking. (I'm I the only person on earth that knows about coasters?)

bg28gnz93yx2.jpg


Comments

  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,875
    edited June 20
    MustangFJ wrote: »
    The only problem is that one of the speakers is not making sound.

    The second speaker down on one of them is silent. (My understanding is that the two big speakers on the bottom are actually pretend speakers that magically make the sound better back in the1990s.)

    My question is, where do I begin with trouble shooting and when that does not work, what do I do next? I have seen a lot on this forum but I'm not sure where to start.
    1. There'd be less confusion if you called the individual parts that make noise "Drivers" instead of "Speakers". The whole assembly of cabinet, drivers, crossover, and grillecloth is a loudspeaker or speaker.
    2. If I understand correctly, you have ONE driver that doesn't work. "Second driver down" would be a tweeter/high frequency unit. Really common. Pull it out of the cabinet (4 screws) and see if the wires are still attached. If they are, figure out which is + and which is -. Disconnect the wires, test the driver with an ohmmeter on it's low-ohms scale. Should be "about" 6 ohms. If it's an open circuit, you can attempt to fix the driver wiring. SOMETIMES it's possible to repair them. Sometimes (usually) they're not fixable. Replacement tweeters are available but act fast as supply is limited. (I ordered four of them, they showed up today.) Call Polk customer service, ask for two of P/N RD0-198. You'll want two so the two loudspeakers sound similar--the RD0 driver is upgraded from the original, but sold as a drop-in replacement. If the wires are connected properly, and the driver tests at about 6 ohms, you may have a crossover problem. Schematics are available on this site,
    https://us.v-cdn.net/5021930/uploads/attachments/4/6/7/2/8/18708.pdf

    3. the "pretend" drivers that "magically" make sound are in fact a valid, scientifically-proven method of extending the bass. They serve the same purpose as a long-tube vent (port) in the cabinet. A search for "Passive Radiator" will get you lots of reading.
  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,875
    Oh, yeah...the RD0-198 tweeters will cost just over a hundred dollars with tax. Tell 'em you're a member of the forum and you get a discount from the standard price of $120+
  • MustangFJMustangFJ Posts: 7
    Sorry did not mean to offend here and thanks for so much of a response. I'm new to this. I guess it would the be third driver down that is bad. Both of the tweeters are fine. I'm new and learning the lingo.

    Sorry to mock the speakers with the "magically" comment. I'll check out "Passive Radiator"
  • MustangFJMustangFJ Posts: 7
    edited June 20
    Schurkey, Thanks for the advice. All I had to do was remove the driver and see that the clip had come disconnected. Works great now. This is such a cool forum. I'm amazed I could get help so quickly. Now I need to clean these things up and figure out where to put them. 80s music sounds great on these.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,817
    Cute giant fluffy cat! Welcome to Club Polk.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 41,949
    edited June 20
    If you add 2" tall spikes to the 11TL's that will bring the tweeter up closer to ear height and will tighten up the bass especially on carpet. Damn shame Polk didn't provide a way to install spikes on the Signature series.

    Cool cat
    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."


  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 639
    It sounds like you will be keeping them as is, and they look to be in good condition. As an FYI before you have thoughts of **** them to a ceiling or painting them, They are a pretty easy $200 on most online listings if you can wait a short while, $150 gone in a few days, and $100 in your hands very quick. They are one of the better regarded speakers from Polk and have a following.

    If a black color should be desired for HT purposes, go with a non adhesive wrap. It is fairly cheap and removable without damaging the original surface. Only wrap the top and sides and trim. It does not have to be perfect because as HT speakers the only reason they are black is because you don't want them to stand out in a dark room.
  • MustangFJMustangFJ Posts: 7
    I got to play it a little louder this morning and it sounded great. (Note that my baseline is small bluetooth speakers and theater-in-a-box setups so I'm easy to impress.)

    I will be keeping them for sure. It is a lot more fun to have $1000 speakers that I paid $28 for than it is to make $150 flipping old stuff from the Goodwill store.

    They are a little scratched up and quite dirty & dusty. My first inclination was to paint them but I think I'll just try to clean them up. I should be able to get them looking pretty good. At first I thought the woodgrain looked kind of dated but now the look is starting to appeal to me.

    I might still mount them in the garage but I'll be sure that they are in a safe place. I spend more music listening time in the garage than anywhere else. I'm a big fan of cool old made-in-the-USA things so these will look great.

    For anyone curious, Vickie there is a Siberian breed cat. They are supposedly hypoallergenic so she does not make my eyes red or make me sneeze. Seems to work quite well. Only problem is that the house if covered in fur. She also supervises all work around the house.

    Thanks for the welcome!


  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,784
    pkquat wrote: »
    It sounds like you will be keeping them as is, and they look to be in good condition. As an FYI before you have thoughts of **** them to a ceiling or painting them, They are a pretty easy $200 on most online listings if you can wait a short while, $150 gone in a few days, and $100 in your hands very quick. They are one of the better regarded speakers from Polk and have a following.

    If a black color should be desired for HT purposes, go with a non adhesive wrap. It is fairly cheap and removable without damaging the original surface. Only wrap the top and sides and trim. It does not have to be perfect because as HT speakers the only reason they are black is because you don't want them to stand out in a dark room.

    I am guessing the forum s/w censored s-c-r-e-w-ing :/

  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,875
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    I am guessing the forum s/w censored s-c-r-e-w-ing :/
    Thanks, Vanilla.

    Never in the history of the internet has anyone used that word for a legitimate purpose (I guess.)

  • VSAT88VSAT88 Posts: 708
    Those are a really nice find and I hope you enjoy them to the fullest ! The highest watt, highest current amp you can possibly come across will make them larger than life. At that point you may NEVER sell them
  • MustangFJMustangFJ Posts: 7
    VSAT88 wrote: »
    Those are a really nice find and I hope you enjoy them to the fullest ! The highest watt, highest current amp you can possibly come across will make them larger than life. At that point you may NEVER sell them

    My local Goodwill store is stacked deep with late 80s & 90s electronics that would look Ok with this. However, that stuff from the 70s looks so much cooler even if it is a generation earlier than these speakers. I'll take some time to learn to identify high high watt/high current equipment and keep my eye out for something premium on their shelves. The Goodwill store by my office is in a fairly affluent Chicago suburb so some nice stuff always shows up there. It is the kind of Goodwill location that typically has rack full of fur coast from the recently passed old ladies.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,784
    Wait, what?
    Stuff from the Seventies looks cooler?!?

    6af98gywom2g.png

    r7rfxnwr4zax.png


    oh.
    waitaminute...
    maybe he means like this?

    15741951355_78814be1ed_b.jpgDSC_0576 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,875
    VSAT88 wrote: »
    The highest watt, highest current amp you can possibly come across will make them larger than life. At that point you may NEVER sell them
    I don't know why a "High-current" amplifier is needed with nominally-8-ohm speakers of reasonable sensitivity.

    'Course, I haven't found an impedance vs. frequency graph for them.

  • VSAT88VSAT88 Posts: 708
    Not "needed" desirable....
    Schurkey wrote: »
    VSAT88 wrote: »
    The highest watt, highest current amp you can possibly come across will make them larger than life. At that point you may NEVER sell them
    I don't know why a "High-current" amplifier is needed with nominally-8-ohm speakers of reasonable sensitivity.

    'Course, I haven't found an impedance vs. frequency graph for them.

  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,875
    edited June 20
    "High current" amplifiers tend to be better-built, and better-designed than "low current" amplifiers. This is largely because the first thing a designer does to cut costs is to remove copper from the transformer windings, and aluminum from the heat sinks. Then he reduces the number of output devices (usually transistors, but potentially output tubes) to fit on the tiny heat sinks. Add a power-supply strangulation switch on the back panel, so that the thing doesn't explode during FTC testing. WALLA! a mass-market, lo-fi amplifier of dubious output amperage.

    Not only does this save the company money while making the thing, the reduced size and weight saves them money when shipping it from China.

    A "high current" amplifier--IF (big IF) it really IS a high-current amplifier, and not just labeled with marketing bullsh!t--will surely have less cost-cutting and (likely) more "beef". I can believe that a "high-current" amplifier will sound "better" on those speakers, but not because of the current. It'll be because the amplifier is just plain better built / better designed.

    In other words, built "up" to a performance level, not "down" to a price point.
  • VSAT88VSAT88 Posts: 708
    Sounds desirable.
  • MustangFJMustangFJ Posts: 7
    Any recommendations on identifying a true "high current" amplifier? I'm new to this and it is all very interesting.
  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,875
    edited June 20
    MustangFJ wrote: »
    Any recommendations on identifying a true "high current" amplifier? I'm new to this and it is all very interesting.
    Typical transistor amp?
    Fastest, easiest way is to look for a 4-ohm FTC rating that DOES NOT involve throwing a strangulation switch on the back panel. The 4-ohm rating would be double or nearly-double the 8-ohm rating. At least +50%. A "100 watt" amplifier at 8 ohm should be at least 150 watts at 4 ohms, but 180--200 would be better.

    Ideally, the manufacturer would state that the amplifier was "stable" into lower-than-4 ohm loads--2 ohms, perhaps. "Muscle Amplifiers" might be stable in to sub-one-ohm loads.

    If the manufacturer is stating some crazy amperage spec (30 amperes, 80 amps, maybe more) you can be fairly certain that it's a load of crap. There are VERY few amplifiers that can push that amount of current and have it mean something. You will not want to be making the payments on that sort of amplifier.

    No FTC rating for 4 ohms, all channels driven, 20-20Hz at reasonable distortion, or FTC rated but with a strangulation switch? Walk away.

    Tube amps are likely different, nearly all of them have an output transformer that transistor amps usually don't. The tube amp probably has an 8-ohm and a 4-ohm tap on the transformer. Current (amperage) depends on the transformer as much as it does on the output tubes.
  • VSAT88VSAT88 Posts: 708
    Shorter answer though not nearly as thorough. Look for an amplifier with 2 or 4 big huge soda can size capacitors and that weighs around 50 to 80 lbs..One that works of course..Your milage may vary...eg0zdlty8w0b.jpg
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 2,413
    Adcom, Parasound and B&k are good starting points in your search.
    Just a dude doing dude-ly things

    "Temptation is the manifestation of desire which equals necessity." - Mikey081057
    " I have always had a champange taste with a beer budget" - Rick88
    "Just because the thread is getting views don't mean much .. I like a good train wreck doesn't mean i want to be in one..." - pitdogg2
    "Those that don't know, don't know that they don't know." - heiney9
    "Audiophiles are the male equivalent of cat ladies." - Audiokarma Member
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 639
    **** by vanilla. Ah the modern age. (I entered the **** for humor because **** could mean anything. Sometimes the creative mind is worse than the actual word and meaning. :p Reminds me of when our company's new firewall / net-nanny blocked access to most of our customer and vendor sites along with MSDS information because they dealt with chemical strippers. (Guess the ********* if it gets edited :p)
    MustangFJ wrote: »
    Any recommendations on identifying a true "high current" amplifier? I'm new to this and it is all very interesting.
    Adcom, Parasound and B&k are good starting points in your search.

    There are some models of Adcoms to be careful of. They may need some refreshing work done to them so they might be over priced, but there can also be deals to be had. If you find one, google and ask on the forum, someone will be able to provide some info.

    Other less expensive can be NAD, and Hafler. Some of the older Hafler (DH-###) series may need some work, but often still perform will and is a start down the rabbit hole. Some older dedicated amplifiers and pre-amps from Yamaha, Marantz, and Denon can be a good deal.

    On the expensive side (often broken at Goodwill but still a steal) can be McIntosh, Krell, Bryston, Aragon, Arcam, McCormack, Belles.

    Parasound and B&K mix well with Polk speakers and often give very good bang for the buck. Check out some of the threads, and don't be afraid to ask.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,784
    pkquat wrote: »
    **** by vanilla.
    ...

    On the expensive side (often broken at Goodwill but still a steal) can be McIntosh, Krell, Bryston, Aragon, Arcam, McCormack, Belles.
    ...

    mmmmm... broken Krell and McIntosh at Goodwill... I'm guessin' maybe places like Rancho Santa Fe, CA? Not in this neck of the woods. :p


  • MustangFJMustangFJ Posts: 7
    edited June 21
    Thanks for all of these tips. I'll do some more reading on this site. I think I mentioned, I work right next to a Goodwill store in a fairly affluent and older area outside of Chicago. That means we have a great Goodwill store because people in the homes around here had money to buy nice things over the last half century and now a lot of stuff ends up there. I end up in there a couple of times a week just because I'm bored and I need a break from staring at the computer all day. It seems the best strategy for me will be to just cruise through and look for brands I have never heard of and then check it out.

    You guys are great. The only downside on these new (old) speakers I found is that I'm now wondering why I spent so much money on the new ones.
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 2,413
    You'll learn grasshopper. :) As a fellow member @verb likes to say "It's a journey".
    Just a dude doing dude-ly things

    "Temptation is the manifestation of desire which equals necessity." - Mikey081057
    " I have always had a champange taste with a beer budget" - Rick88
    "Just because the thread is getting views don't mean much .. I like a good train wreck doesn't mean i want to be in one..." - pitdogg2
    "Those that don't know, don't know that they don't know." - heiney9
    "Audiophiles are the male equivalent of cat ladies." - Audiokarma Member
  • westmassguywestmassguy Posts: 6,348
    The RTA-11ts are the sweet spot in the MTM RTA line. Yours also appear to have real oak veneer. Definitely keepers.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/143984/my-2as-finally-finished-almost/p1
    Center: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/150760/my-center-channel-project/p1
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/151647/my-surround-project/p1
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, Hurricane Nuts, Blackhole5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-600, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer
    Cables: Speaker: Furez 10/2 with GLS Locking Banana Plugs
    Interconnect: Furez 10/2 with SpeakONs
    ICs: Custom Furez by Douglas Connections
    Den:
    Bose 901 Series II Continentals Restored, Re-Built Equalizer with Elna Silmic IIs, Sonicaps, and Silver Mica Caps
    Carver CT-3 Pre, Carver C-500

    dhsspeakerservice.com/
    Exclusive Distributor of Gimpod's Custom SDA Circuit Boards

    "And keep her under 70, would you, huh? Betty likes a slow ride"
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 639
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    mmmmm... broken Krell and McIntosh at Goodwill... I'm guessin' maybe places like Rancho Santa Fe, CA? Not in this neck of the woods. :p

    I picked up on the fur coats being dropped off. I've only heard about some of those Goodwill and similar stores. There are some internet threads about peoples Goodwill type finds. A friend used to follow them and showed me some good ones. A working Krell KAV era system (CD, Pre, and AMP), a McIntosh with one channel dead, and a McIntosh with one meter lamp dead, labeled as a dead channel. I think the Krell system was had for under $200 and the Mc's were under $100 each. Nothing like that in my neck of the woods either.

    The ultra rich will often have someone "get rid of" stuff and replace, divorce deals, or the kids clear out the parents house and their "old stuff".

    Side story:
    I was once at an ultra rich kids party, 2009 time frame, that had 500W Class A Monoblocks powering what I was told were $10 or $15k (maybe "each") tower style beautiful furniture grade speakers, with an ipod touch or phone as the source playing downloaded electronic dance music. I overheard a small argument between the owner and someone about how their 1000W Crowns and PA system speakers would be better and would kick his 500W amps for so much less money. While true for what was being played, the input source, and for a party, the comeback was how much better the "more expensive stuff sounds" and the "detail right now"....through...the...ipod. :s The food was amazing though.
    MustangFJ wrote: »
    You guys are great. The only downside on these new (old) speakers I found is that I'm now wondering why I spent so much money on the new ones.

    Don't worry, eventually you or someone will be wondering why you are spending so much money to rebuild the crossovers, and get an amp and pre-amp etc. :p The crossovers are not that expensive and well worth it.

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