I had posted a thread a week or so ago comparing 4 similarly priced bookshelf speakers, one being the Polk RTiA1, using the Crutchfield Speakercompare system they now offer online. Using that, I was impressed with the Polk RTiA1 speaker for it's detail and clarity. The RtiA line is long in the tooth and they seem to be on a nearly constant sale now days. I decided to cop an open box pair of RTiA1's at a good price.
So far I'm very impressed with this speaker. I had never been afforded the opportunity to try any of the RTiA line in home, so I was pushed to do so when I found the RTiA1 to have such a pleasing sound using the Crutchfield system. So far I've been listening to them 2 channel, but mainly 2.1 with a sub. It may sound like a miss-match on paper, but I've been running these 2.1 with the HSU VTF-15H mk2, which is a big 15" sub, and the results have been outstanding. The results listening to these and comparing them to a couple of other good bookshelf speaker I have on hand have been very eye opening.
So far the two speakers I've been comparing the RTiA1's against are the Q Acoustics 2020i and Sony Core SSCS5. Both are good speakers in their own right, with the CS5 being a very popular budget choice when on sale, but they do retail for $150/pair. What I'm hearing from the Polk in comparison to both of these speakers is more detail, separation and clarity in the mids and highs. It's quite a noticeable difference that surprised me to a certain degree. The RTiA1 has a sound that really isn't overly bright, but the detail is impressive. In comparison, the SS5 almost sounds muffled and a bit boxy sounding. The clarity in vocals with the Polk also was much better than either the Sony or Q Acoustics.
Trying to listen to a variety of music, I used some Samantha Fox, Shinedown, Steely Dan, Pitbull, Norman Brown and Metallica. In rock music, where I find a speaker can sound very congested and lack separation of instruments, the RTiA1's did a good job of keeping everything clear and being able to distinguish instruments apart from one another. Running any of these speakers 2 channel, none will impress with bass capability. Of the three, I did find the Polk to have the fuller sound lower in range. I didn't experiment with placing them closer to a wall to see if that would further reinforce the bass capability or make it more boomy. The rear power-port should negate a lot of that, however.
So far so good with the Polk RTiA1. All of this has been done in my medium sized 2400 ft^3 gaming room. The RTiA1 doesn't seem to have any problem filling the room with quality sound and paired with a quality sub, I'm really taken back by how these have a presence and sound of a larger speaker. Build quality on the RTiA1 also far surpasses either the 2020i or CS5, with the RTiA1 having a real wood oak veneer finish. The cabinet itself is tapered to be narrower in the back and front, with the center being the widest point, much like the Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers. The RTiA1 is currently $194/pair and has been on this sale price for a while now. I would definitely recommend it for somebody looking for a pair bookshelf speakers under $200. It may be an older speaker line, but this dog can still hunt.