PSB Image T5 (Now looking at T6) vs Polk RTI A9 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to buy some speakers and since it's almost Boxing Day (week) I thought it would be an ample time to do so. I've been browsing these boards for a while now and finally decided to sign up and ask my question straight out.
The PSB Image T5 and Polk RTI A9 are the same price at the moment where I am and I am having trouble deciding which to get. I have yet to listen to them and I will be going to try them out in the next few days if I can but I was wondering what all your initial thoughts are.
I really am just looking to use them for music for my stereo system. I'm not using these for HT, surround or movies.
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 02:00 PM
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The Polks are much more comparable to the PSB Image T6. They are much larger than the T5s and will have a significant advantage in bass output, provided you have sufficient power.

Up to you though to determine which one you like the voicing of better.

Another thing nice about the polks, is the real wood veneer. A nicer built speaker. With the price being equal I'd go for the Polks.
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 03:56 PM
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The Image T6 speakers SOUND a LOT better than the Polks.

I had them for two years and IMO NOTHING comes close for their price.

Stereophile and The Absolute Sound agree. They both picked them as best in their price class and featured them in "Recommended Systems" articles.

The T5 has less bass than the T6, but the difference is slight.
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 04:31 PM
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Commsyman, you know you cannot say that! You are expressing an opinion, which is fine, but NOT fact.
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 04:44 PM
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OF COURSE it's an opinion; what else could it be...lol.

(the part about Stereophile and The Absolute Sound IS factual however, and easy to verify if you look at past issues and reviews).

Do you understand what "IMO" stands for?
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

OF COURSE it's an opinion; what else could it be...lol.

(the part about Stereophile and The Absolute Sound IS factual however, and easy to verify if you look at past issues and reviews).

Do you understand what "IMO" stands for?

Problem is, you never heard the Polk RtiA-9s and likely never heard the Image T5s either and certainly never heard them in the same room at the same time. So even your opinion doesn't count in this situation.

The A9s would pound the T5s into the ground in bass output and sound good doing it.
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

OF COURSE it's an opinion; what else could it be...lol.

(the part about Stereophile and The Absolute Sound IS factual however, and easy to verify if you look at past issues and reviews).

Do you understand what "IMO" stands for?

The rag mag reviews are opinions as well. They do seem to have a fear of big box store brands cooties. Probably because their readership shares the same fear.

The Polk rtia9 is an amazing speaker and holds its own amongst many "audiophile" brands and models....big box store cooties not withstanding.
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow thanks guys, this is the type of opinions and info I was looking for so I appreciate it.
As for the T6 speakers Commsysman, they are $500 (edit - $400 more - still my point remains!) more than the T5s and RTI A9s that I am looking at so they are gonna be a no go for me as I can only spend so much.
And yes the a9s are from a big box store which is actually why I was weary 67jason, you are right! But I've read fantastic things about them and you guys seem to support the positive buzz around them, so I guess they can't all be scary right?
I don't know that I'll be able to test the a9s, the t5s are in a smaller shop (of course) so I have a better chance of getting to test those.
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 08:29 PM
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Commsy...you said the psb t5 sounds a lot better than the Polk...without any qualification!
Then you said, IMO, nothing comes close to the psb at the price.
Please enlighten us as to when you have heard both speakers and why you conclude the psb is better!
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-23-2013, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Commsy...you said the psb t5 sounds a lot better than the Polk...without any qualification!
Then you said, IMO, nothing comes close to the psb at the price.
Please enlighten us as to when you have heard both speakers and why you conclude the psb is better!
x2 I would like to know the science behind his blanket statement opinion which he believes of fact.

The guy hates all things Polk.
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-24-2013, 04:36 AM
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x2 I would like to know the science behind his blanket statement opinion which he believes of fact.

The guy hates all things Polk.

The guy knows speakers! biggrin.gif
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Focal is a car speaker company that has very few home audio products, and very limited distribution and support for their home audio products.

I would advise you to stay away from Focal until they start making more of a commitment to home audio products.
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-24-2013, 06:11 AM
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The guy knows speakers! biggrin.gif

Isn't he also the guy who claimed he toured the Ascend factory and did not?

OP, speaker opinions are just that. Everyone has one. I would try to demo the speaker yourself and buy what YOU like.

That said my opinion is the PSB speakers are the choice I would make, but the Polk's are certainly not a bad choice.
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-26-2013, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok so I've bought and set-up my A9's (just I case they sell out) and I can still return them - which I'm not entirely sure of yet. I think the sound awesome, but the bass is not quite strong enough - it's just right but not more, though I could eventually get a sub.
I tested out the t5s and t6s side by side and the t6s sound better for sure, and now they are the same price as the t5s used to be and are the same price I paid for the a9s. So now I'm wondering if I should go for the t6s but I don't know what they sound like side by side with the a9s.
I tested my a9s against my old B&W 202is - which I think still sound great - the a9s win head and shoulders much crisper and clearer sound, and more detail - but the bass does not provide the rumble that the 202is do.
I'm wondering if the t6s have more bass, although I don't recall them being all that different from the a9s - though I didn't get to hear those side by side.
I think I may buy the t6s tomorrow, hook them up next to the a9s and switch them back and forth and then return the ones I like less.
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 04:54 AM
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Buy a decent subwoofer and be done with it. None of the tower speakers you are looking at can touch the bass of a good dedicated subwoofer. You are basically missing out on more accurate tight bass, and lower frequency bass. Buy a good sub and then cross over your speakers in the 60-80hz range (I recommend starting at 80hz per THX recommendations and adjusting from there).
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 06:07 AM
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I agree...even for music only, I like my subwoofer's input to get the low right!

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post #16 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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You're right guys, I don't think the sound difference between the T6s and the A9s will be significant side by side, they both sounded great to me and I think either way I'd buy a new sub no matter which speaker I bought. I guess I'm trying to avoid buyers remorse, but I really think these are the best speakers I've had even with less powerful bass (less powerful but also much less muddy sounding). I think a sub will be the way to go no matter what.
Appreciate your input.
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post #17 of 26 Old 12-27-2013, 11:42 AM
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Hello, I am new to AVS & I stumbled on this thread as I am trying to upgrade my home theater and I was searching for comparisons between the T6's and the A9's as well.  Very good thread and I am curious what you find out, assuming you are going to do a side by side still. (i hope you do) 

I was considering powering whatever I end up with, with a Marantz sr7005.  I can get one of those refurbished for a good price right now.  I am a novice in this arena but If money were no object I would get a three channel Emotiva to power the front three.  Do you guys think the Marantz receiver would do a decent job with either of those towers mentioned or am I going to need a separate amp? I have heard the A9s are power hungry but nothing on the T6s.

Thanks for sharing your opinions!

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post #18 of 26 Old 12-28-2013, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately myco75 I was unable to test them out side by side.

 

I was about ready to buy a sub when I decided that I would just give the T6s another shot. I went back to the shop where they were on sale and asked the same individual (the owner) if I could buy the T6s, and what their return policy was - he was a bit colder than the day before and told me they would not accept returns. I asked if I could perhaps demo the floor models in my own space and he said no.

Originally I was there on the 26th and when I returned on the 27th he had assumed I returned the RTI A9s but once I told him I had not he seemed unwilling to help me out.

So I thought I'd give another listen to the T6s anyway since I was there. For the same price as the A9s I thought they sounded excellent as well, however I think that the A9s have slightly more crispness to them, but the T6 had bit more oomph, although it was hard to tell not hearing them back to back, instead I heard them before the A9s, then again after the listening to the A9s. I decided against the T6s for 2 reasons, 1 I really like the crispness that the A9s provide and for more bass I can add an amp or a sub - whereas the T6s did not come across as sharp (though still very clean sounding) the room I listened to them in was also much smaller and more compact with certain materials for better sound reproduction for the extra "oomph". And 2 I wasn't too impressed with the owners lack of help. I understand he wants to make money, but his unwillingness to find a solution other than telling me that the T6s sounded better just didn't work for me. I couldn't risk buying the T6s being unable to return them, especially since I already knew the sound from the A9s was excellent and very much to my liking.

I don't feel I'm missing out, I think I would have been happy with either speaker, they both sound fantastic, clear and layered, but in the end it's easier for me to add more power to my A9s than to get the clarity I want from the T6s.

 

If you can demo them both Myco75 then take advantage of that because perhaps the rounder sound of the T6s is more to your liking, but I don't think you can go wrong with either speaker, these are both great speakers to my ear and most would be happy with either one.

For the record, I was able to play both speakers through the Yamaha R-S500.

 

Also an update: after I returned from the shop I decided to test the PSB Alpha Subseries 1 (that my parents use for their home theater) with my A9s and it sounded great. Although it's still not the type of sub I would use as it's less for music and more for home theatre, it's still closer to the sound I am looking for. I'm definitely not feeling any buyers remorse with these A9s and I look forward to how I can push them further.

 

Thank you to those who gave me their input and thank you ack_bk for mentioning how to adjust the sub. Although I haven't decided on a sub yet I have a much better idea of the sound I can get utilizing the crossover of the PSB sub with the speakers.

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post #19 of 26 Old 12-29-2013, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by myco75 View Post

Hello, I am new to AVS & I stumbled on this thread as I am trying to upgrade my home theater and I was searching for comparisons between the T6's and the A9's as well.  Very good thread and I am curious what you find out, assuming you are going to do a side by side still. (i hope you do) 
I was considering powering whatever I end up with, with a Marantz sr7005.  I can get one of those refurbished for a good price right now.  I am a novice in this arena but If money were no object I would get a three channel Emotiva to power the front three.  Do you guys think the Marantz receiver would do a decent job with either of those towers mentioned or am I going to need a separate amp? I have heard the A9s are power hungry but nothing on the T6s.
Thanks for sharing your opinions!

I heard both the A9s and the T6s yesterday. I own the A9s. They are powered by an Emotiva XPA 3 hooked to an Onkyo 818 in a well treated room. The T6s were in a dealer's listening room hooked to a Rotel Amp and Pio Elite upstream in a moderately treated room. Listening distances, speaker distances, position, and room size were all strikingly similar. I was even playing the same tracks. All room correction and EQ were defeated. I'll be happy to share my opinions, but please take them with a grain of salt and try to maintain a "gotta see for myself" mentality.

Similarities:

Midrange and midbass on both were quite similar. Both speakers offer excellent detail. Both speakers have a somewhat forward midrange. Both speakers offer plenty of bass, sufficient to fill most listening rooms with plenty of punch and attack. The T6s had a snappy, speedy sound that I very much enjoyed. In relation to other brands I've heard at this price point (Klipsch, B&W, Magnepan, Paradigm), neither speaker revealed any noticeable weaknesses.

Differences:

Where the midrange and midbass on both were similar, the lows and highs were quite different. Bass in the T6 is fantastic for its size. I was quite impressed with the speed and presence of the midbass, but its not in the same league as the A9s. The A9s dig really deep and are capable of massive amounts of bass output without signs of strain. I wasn't quite as focused on bass output as I have 2 SVS 12's, but I do require that they can play loud and clean if called upon. Highs on the A9s are silky and open. The high end of the T6s sounded a bit dark.

To me, the A9s outperform the T6's in many areas. I hear more detail from the A9's. The soundstage is more three dimensional. Sounds come from in front of, outside of, and behind the A9s. Voices are dead center and instruments have a solid presence. The T6s have more of a horizontal presentation, as if everything is happening on a straight line between and outside the speaker, but not behind or above.

I really wanted to like something else, especially since my wife was with me and supports an upgrade. We discussed what we heard and she agrees with all of the above. FWIW, we also demoed a pair of Wilson Audio Sasha W/Ps. Sounded great, but not 20 times better as the price requires.

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post #20 of 26 Old 12-29-2013, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fokakis1 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by myco75 View Post

Hello, I am new to AVS & I stumbled on this thread as I am trying to upgrade my home theater and I was searching for comparisons between the T6's and the A9's as well.  Very good thread and I am curious what you find out, assuming you are going to do a side by side still. (i hope you do) 
I was considering powering whatever I end up with, with a Marantz sr7005.  I can get one of those refurbished for a good price right now.  I am a novice in this arena but If money were no object I would get a three channel Emotiva to power the front three.  Do you guys think the Marantz receiver would do a decent job with either of those towers mentioned or am I going to need a separate amp? I have heard the A9s are power hungry but nothing on the T6s.
Thanks for sharing your opinions!

I heard both the A9s and the T6s yesterday. I own the A9s. They are powered by an Emotiva XPA 3 hooked to an Onkyo 818 in a well treated room. The T6s were in a dealer's listening room hooked to a Rotel Amp and Pio Elite upstream in a moderately treated room. Listening distances, speaker distances, position, and room size were all strikingly similar. All room correction and EQ were defeated. I'll be happy to share my opinions, but please take them with a grain of salt and try to maintain a "gotta see for myself" mentality.

Similarities:

Midrange and midbass on both were quite similar. Both speakers offer excellent detail. Both speakers have a somewhat forward midrange. Both speakers offer plenty of bass, sufficient to fill most listening rooms with plenty of punch and attack. The T6s had a snappy, speedy sound that I very much enjoyed. In relation to other brands I've heard at this price point (Klipsch, B&W, Magnepan, Paradigm), neither speaker revealed any noticeable weaknesses.

Differences:

Where the midrange and midbass on both were similar, the lows and highs were quite different. Bass in the T6 is fantastic for its size. I was quite impressed with the speed and presence of the midbass, but its not in the same league as the A9s. The A9s dig really deep and are capable of massive amounts of bass output without signs of strain. I wasn't quite as focused on bass output as I have 2 SVS 12's, but I do require that they can play loud and clean if called upon. Highs on the A9s are silky and open. The high end of the T6s sounded a bit dark.

To me, the A9s outperform the T6's in many areas. I hear more detail from the A9's. The soundstage is more three dimensional. Sounds come from in front of, outside of, and behind the A9s. Voices are dead center and instruments have a solid presence. The T6s have more of a horizontal presentation, as if everything is happening on a straight line between and outside the speaker, but not behind or above.

I really wanted to like something else, especially since my wife was with me and supports an upgrade. We discussed what we heard and she agrees with all of the above. FWIW, we also demoed a pair of Wilson Audio Sasha W/Ps. Sounded great, but not 20 times better as the price requires.

great reading, enjoyed your impressions very much.

the a9's are a rally good speaker and can be difficult to justify for better.

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post #21 of 26 Old 12-29-2013, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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great reading, enjoyed your impressions very much.

the a9's are a rally good speaker and can be difficult to justify for better.


Agreed.

I feel this is a great assessment of both of these speakers, I'm not so good with describing the sound as you can see above haha. You couldn't fault anyone for choosing one or the other, but I wholly agree with what you wrote and the reasons for your choice.

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post #22 of 26 Old 12-30-2013, 08:09 PM
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Thank you for your detailed review of these two speakers. I really appreciate the time you took describing your impressions of the two. I have the opportunity to purchase two of the T6s and the center channel for $400 & assuming excellent condition as described, i think i better go that route. I secretly wish I could get the polks but I haven't seen anything close to that price for a used a9 w\a center. Besides hearing how nice they sound the a9's are Imo a beautiful and powerful looking speaker as well. I'm auditioning the t6s tomorrow so I'll be back with some updates.
Side note...
After extensive reading , you tube and more reading, I decided on a denon 4311ci. Was hard to find but it should be here tomorrow.
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post #23 of 26 Old 12-31-2013, 11:31 AM
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Thank you for your detailed review of these two speakers. I really appreciate the time you took describing your impressions of the two. I have the opportunity to purchase two of the T6s and the center channel for $400 & assuming excellent condition as described, i think i better go that route. I secretly wish I could get the polks but I haven't seen anything close to that price for a used a9 w\a center. Besides hearing how nice they sound the a9's are Imo a beautiful and powerful looking speaker as well. I'm auditioning the t6s tomorrow so I'll be back with some updates.
Side note...
After extensive reading , you tube and more reading, I decided on a denon 4311ci. Was hard to find but it should be here tomorrow.

That's a great deal. I wouldn't pass it up.

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post #24 of 26 Old 12-31-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Myco75, even at full price you wouldn't be disappointed with the T6s, they are excellent sounding speakers and you got them for a fantastic deal. Congrats!
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post #25 of 26 Old 01-02-2014, 10:56 AM
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Thank you all for your continuing input.  I have an update

I knew about the Image T6 but I didnt know that PSB used to make a speaker called the Image 6T.  On the surface the obvious differences are as follows,  The 6T has a deeper cabinet, approximately 20" deep and it has three 6.5 in drivers and one tweeter, I think one is a mid and the other two woofers.  There could be many other differences but I dont know. Haven't been able to find much on reviews for these and I wonder how the performance compares to the T6.  

The speakers I got for 400 were two 6T's and one 8C center.  I am happy with them I am mostly just curious why the redesign, is going from the T6 to a 6T a lateral move or are they inferior to the T6 or just play a little deeper?  IDK but the 6.5" mid driver is also ported so this cabinet has three front facing ports.

I made these outriggers from 3/16" x 1-1/2" flat stock.  Drilled and tapped for spikes (on order) & factory mounting holes, grained with a belt sander and satin finish clearcoat applied.  Total cost including drillbit and tap was around 20 bucks.  I have small kids so I wanted a little more protection from tipping.

Update on the receiver,  I think the ups guy dropped it on its side :(  The package had a crushed corner and as I un packaged it broken styrofoam was scattered in the box.  There is a good sized dent in the side of the cabinet and another in the side of the front face.  Sending it back today and another one is on order.  

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post #26 of 26 Old 02-13-2014, 05:40 AM
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I have owned the Polk RTi A3, CSi A6 and RTi1 powered by Yamaha, i find Polk to bright for me.. I have heard the A9 side by side with T6 as well.. Again the A9 is too bright for me and quite fatiguing when listening to Music.. I ended up with T6 for Fronts, Image C60 for Center and B6 for surrounds... So far i'm happy with it...
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