Polk RTi-A9, lacking bass - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Polk RTi-A9, lacking bass

Recently acquired a pair of Polk RTi-a9s. Initially powered the pair via Onkyo TN-NR676, 100wpc.
This proved to be very inadequate. Proceeded to bi-amp the pair. Better, but greatly lacking bass.
I still had hope, as I knew these speaker required power. I headed out and purchased a Crown XTi 4002. Wired it up in stereo, and began testing some music tracks.

End result, greatly lacking bass. I’ve tried adjusting the EQ, cross over, and gain.

At one point I even bridged the amp, only to experience the same result.

If you feel I haven’t given these speakers enough time to “break in” I have to partially agree. I do expect these speakers to go deeper over time, but what I was experiencing, was on the same level of desktop speakers.

Positive note the tweeter are very nice.

Feel free to post your opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Recently acquired a pair of Polk RTi-a9s. Initially powered the pair via Onkyo TN-NR676, 100wpc.
This proved to be very inadequate. Proceeded to bi-amp the pair. Better, but greatly lacking bass.
I still had hope, as I knew these speaker required power. I headed out and purchased a Crown XTi 4002. Wired it up in stereo, and began testing some music tracks.

End result, greatly lacking bass. I’ve tried adjusting the EQ, cross over, and gain.

At one point I even bridged the amp, only to experience the same result.

If you feel I haven’t given these speakers enough time to “break in” I have to partially agree. I do expect these speakers to go deeper over time, but what I was experiencing, was on the same level of desktop speakers.

Positive note the tweeter are very nice.

Feel free to post your opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
Check to make sure you have positive to positive...negative to negative. Out of phase causes a huge loss of base and depending on the wire used it can be easy to get the wiring wrong.
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post #3 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Recently acquired a pair of Polk RTi-a9s. Initially powered the pair via Onkyo TN-NR676, 100wpc.
This proved to be very inadequate. Proceeded to bi-amp the pair. Better, but greatly lacking bass.
I still had hope, as I knew these speaker required power. I headed out and purchased a Crown XTi 4002. Wired it up in stereo, and began testing some music tracks.

End result, greatly lacking bass. I’ve tried adjusting the EQ, cross over, and gain.

At one point I even bridged the amp, only to experience the same result.

If you feel I haven’t given these speakers enough time to “break in” I have to partially agree. I do expect these speakers to go deeper over time, but what I was experiencing, was on the same level of desktop speakers.

Positive note the tweeter are very nice.

Feel free to post your opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
Not exactly the same, but I have a pair of RTIA7s. They too were bright for the first 40 or so hours, and never really brought what I would call “great bass”. I picked up a Polk HTS10 sub and have been thrilled ever since. That little important boost was needed. This is all being run with a late 90s Sony STR-DA80ES 100w av receiver and a Schiit Loki 4-band equalizer. Emotiva hrc-3 CD player/dac.

I love this setup and am always hearing new details in my music, so there's not much more I can ask for. FWIW, I listen to rock, mostly (Tool, Devo, Dinosaur jr, Wilco, U2, etc).
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post #4 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Recently acquired a pair of Polk RTi-a9s. Initially powered the pair via Onkyo TN-NR676, 100wpc.



Positive note the tweeter are very nice.

Feel free to post your opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
get a powered sub woofer and set your AVR for 2.1 for stereo and 5.1 accordingly. Towers don't do bass well they roll off a lot at <40-50 HZ
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post #5 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 06:03 PM
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First, when you say lacking bass, compared to what? Those towers should have good bass, but they won't compare to my EMPtek speakers PLUS my outlaw LFM-1 sub. They will, however have much better bass than my EMPtek speaker if I unplug the sub...everything is relative.
Bi-amping will do very little or nothing at all...unless you remove the internal crossovers and actively biamp. Mostly a marketing gimmick and not likely to produce any SQ benefits, and most likely no better at the low end.
While I have felt most Polk speakers are alittle bright for my taste, the Polk RTi are by all accounts a very good speaker (I think a little overpriced, but hey...)

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post #6 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 06:07 PM
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I would also say get a subwoofer or two. What kind of room, and how big is it? Concrete floors will eat bass response and can leave you wanting. WhT kind of music? Also, crutchfield lists those towers with a response starting at 30hz, but show knows if that’s f3 or f6 or even 10!
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post #7 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank xbe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Recently acquired a pair of Polk RTi-a9s. Initially powered the pair via Onkyo TN-NR676, 100wpc.



Positive note the tweeter are very nice.

Feel free to post your opinions, thoughts, and ideas.
get a powered sub woofer and set your AVR for 2.1 for stereo and 5.1 accordingly. Towers don't do bass well they roll off a lot at <40-50 HZ
Thank you for the response. I did try 2.1 as well, using my Bose Acustimass 10. The Bose feels 10x more powerful in the low notes.
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post #8 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kenbar View Post
Check to make sure you have positive to positive...negative to negative. Out of phase causes a huge loss of base and depending on the wire used it can be easy to get the wiring wrong.
This I will try, intentionally placing the speakers out of phase.
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post #9 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I can confirm that the speakers were wired correctly. Went ahead and reversed the wiring, + to -, etc. . Sounded worse, and no positive change.

To give a comparison, I have a pair of B&O 6513, the B&Os have more lows than the A9s, coming directly off my AVR.

I just can’t accept that these speakers need to be broken in, as I am not coming anywhere close to the experience that many members here are raving about.
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-04-2019, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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To add
Room: 20’x14’x9’
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
I can confirm that the speakers were wired correctly. Went ahead and reversed the wiring, + to -, etc. . Sounded worse, and no positive change.

To give a comparison, I have a pair of B&O 6513, the B&Os have more lows than the A9s, coming directly off my AVR.

I just can’t accept that these speakers need to be broken in, as I am not coming anywhere close to the experience that many members here are raving about.
Yes, speaker break in may produce some very subtle changes, if even audible. There is something wrong wrong with your speakers, I am assuming. The Bose system acoustimas has the crappiest bass EVER...so there is something wrong!
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post #12 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 06:27 AM
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Just think what a real sub would add to those polkies. Mmmmm
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post #13 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 09:26 AM
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I have heard the RTi A9's. There are a few critical statements I could make about them, but lacking bass output is just not one of them.

You're either fighting a room node or have a bad set of loudspeakers.

The last set of A9's I heard was being driven by an Emotiva 300w stereo amp... and they did not struggle in communicating directly with your kidneys on various songs.




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post #14 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I thank everyone for their responses. I will be sending these speakers back. With the last discriptions of what I should expect, I will be returning the speakers with the understanding that they are bad/damaged.

Thank you
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post #15 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 11:14 AM
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How are connecting the crown amps to the onkyo ?
The Onkyo TN-NR676 doesnt have any pre-outs unless youre using zone 2
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post #16 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
I thank everyone for their responses. I will be sending these speakers back. With the last discriptions of what I should expect, I will be returning the speakers with the understanding that they are bad/damaged.

Thank you
This may sound silly, but does get overlooked: Check the jumpers on your speakers (Metal tab connecting red to red and black to black) are in place and properly secure.
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post #17 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
I thank everyone for their responses. I will be sending these speakers back. With the last discriptions of what I should expect, I will be returning the speakers with the understanding that they are bad/damaged.

Thank you
Sound & Vision found the -3db point to be 49hz and -6db point to be 40hz which is surprising considering the impressive array of drivers but the frequency response to that point was quite linear with no artificial bump centered around 100 hz to give the "impression" of bass. RTiA9 is the purple trace below.

But I very much doubt an Acoustimass bass module gets much below 60hz so you might be one of those people who likes over emphasized upper bass.

You sound like a candidate for a BIC subwoofer.

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post #18 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 11:57 AM
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I own three RTi A9.




Our old shared theatre had the speakers behind the screen. Space was ~ 400sq ft basement area with 7.5 ft ceilings. It went through a few iterations. The Onkyo was much more in your face, the Denon is much more laid back.
  • Onkyo NR808 @135w
  • then Onkyo -> Emotiva XPA -3
  • then a Denon 4520cl with the XPA - 3
All three setups completely filled the space. Room gain helped and we didn't feel the need for a separate sub.
New house main floor living room. Just using two RTi A9 as the LR, third is in storage. ~1600 sq ft open floor plan w/ 9ft ceilings.
  • Just off of the a Denon 4520CL.
  • We definitely get a rumble, but not enough to fill the whole floor.
  • Mid range is completely full sounding.
  • Can watch games and hear them over the vacuum cleaner, dishes, kids at 75db.
Would like to add a sub, but will wait for our home theatre for the subs.
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post #19 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 01:31 PM
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Sound & Vision found the -3db point to be 49hz and -6db point to be 40hz which is surprising considering the impressive array of drivers but the frequency response to that point was quite linear with no artificial bump centered around 100 hz to give the "impression" of bass. RTiA9 is the purple trace below.

But I very much doubt an Acoustimass bass module gets much below 60hz so you might be one of those people who likes over emphasized upper bass.

You sound like a candidate for a BIC subwoofer.

Lets keep in mind that the OP's desired bass output may differ greatly from mine or yours. I do however agree that the Bose sub may not be up to the task. A Rhythmik L12/L22 or two would likely provide much better results.
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post #20 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 07:45 PM
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I'm running a pair of RTIA9s with an emotiva bassx amp and when I run them in full range, theres definitely no lack of bass. I agree that you either have a bad set or your room is playing games with them.

You should be feeling a lot of air coming from those ports with your hands when playing bass heavy material.

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post #21 of 29 Old 04-05-2019, 08:57 PM
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I have a pair of RTiA9's powered by an EMOTIVA XPA-DR2 (550w/ch.) and don't hear a great difference from where I started out. Was pretty disappointing.
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post #22 of 29 Old 06-13-2019, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone.
I wanted to come back to this thread to give an update.


I recently reacquired another new set of RTi A9 and a CSI A6. Since enough time had passed I was also able to acquire a Monoprice 300W (bridged), and a Behringer NU6000D.



After a small hickup with wiring all works as it should, center channel bridged, and L/R on their own channel.



Everything sounds nice and clear. There is finally some bass, but I will say one thing though. Some reviews I have read, owners were stating that there was enough bass that they were contemplating deleting their subs as there was enough bass coming from the A9s. I cannot state I agree with their assertions.



I currently have my AVR set to full on LCR, center amp and Behringer set to full gain. What I have not done yet is run AccuEQ.



One of my test tracks is the note generated at 0:25 from the track
. I am using Spotify rather than YouTube. When the bass note hits, it is very weak.



Aside from the bass, these speakers are very clear, mids are precise, and they are not fatiguing on the ears like metal tweeters .



So when it comes to bass. Feeding these tower speakers well over the recommended wattage, am I expecting too much from these speakers?



All feedback welcome.
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post #23 of 29 Old 06-13-2019, 03:32 PM
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Polk RTi-A9, lacking bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Hello everyone.
I wanted to come back to this thread to give an update.


I recently reacquired another new set of RTi A9 and a CSI A6. Since enough time had passed I was also able to acquire a Monoprice 300W (bridged), and a Behringer NU6000D.



After a small hickup with wiring all works as it should, center channel bridged, and L/R on their own channel.



Everything sounds nice and clear. There is finally some bass, but I will say one thing though. Some reviews I have read, owners were stating that there was enough bass that they were contemplating deleting their subs as there was enough bass coming from the A9s. I cannot state I agree with their assertions.



I currently have my AVR set to full on LCR, center amp and Behringer set to full gain. What I have not done yet is run AccuEQ.



One of my test tracks is the note generated at 0:25 from the track Korn - Freak On A Leash. I am using Spotify rather than YouTube. When the bass note hits, it is very weak.



Aside from the bass, these speakers are very clear, mids are precise, and they are not fatiguing on the ears like metal tweeters .



So when it comes to bass. Feeding these tower speakers well over the recommended wattage, am I expecting too much from these speakers?



All feedback welcome.


Are you on concrete, or suspended floor? Suspended floor should allow you to feel like there’s decent bass there, but a 20x14 on a slab, with possibly opens areas will kill your bass output. As mentioned above, S&V measured the -3db point at 49hz and -6db at 40hz. For most music this should be pretty good but doesn’t speak well for polks honesty in marketing. The bass drop on Freak isn’t terribly deep, and on my system which is pretty flat to about 14hz, it isn’t very loud either. IMO, you still need a subwoofer. I believe the A9’s will go pretty loud and sound good. But for bass? You’ll either need a sub, or a closet to listen in. They do not have what it takes to replace a subwoofer. Especially with a -3 of 49hz.

So yes. Asking too much.

Edit to add: my mains are capable down into the 30’s, and my house which is on a slab connected to a kitchen and foyer etc hurts their bass response a lot.
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post #24 of 29 Old 06-13-2019, 05:31 PM
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Not sure if this is anything like the same, but I could never get a good deep sound with my Onkyo receivers (tried my TX674 and 818) but switching to Pioneer and the sound is amazing. I have no idea why! I play very loud pop type music and with the Onkyo it just hurts and feels empty, with the Pioneer the sound is deep and powerful on my RTi's...

PS. this is with my stereo setup and not my HT in my sig!

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post #25 of 29 Old 06-13-2019, 06:01 PM
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Not sure if this is anything like the same, but I could never get a good deep sound with my Onkyo receivers (tried my TX674 and 818) but switching to Pioneer and the sound is amazing. I have no idea why! I play very loud pop type music and with the Onkyo it just hurts and feels empty, with the Pioneer the sound is deep and powerful on my RTi's...



PS. this is with my stereo setup and not my HT in my sig!


Wonder if this is a mcacc vs audyssey thing? Did you try both in pure direct? I have Onkyo, Marantz, pioneer, and Yamaha receivers around my house, and in direct modes they all sound the same. RC and power is where they start to become different.
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post #26 of 29 Old 06-13-2019, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Are you on concrete, or suspended floor? Suspended floor should allow you to feel like there’s decent bass there, but a 20x14 on a slab, with possibly opens areas will kill your bass output.

So yes. Asking too much.

Edit to add: my mains are capable down into the 30’s, and my house which is on a slab connected to a kitchen and foyer etc hurts their bass response a lot.
Thank you for that response.

I am on tile over concrete.

I guess I am asking too much.

If all goes well, by the end of the month; pair of RE Audio SXX 15”, in 6cu/ft boxes @34hz.
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post #27 of 29 Old 06-13-2019, 08:17 PM
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Thank you for that response.

I am on tile over concrete.

I guess I am asking too much.

If all goes well, by the end of the month; pair of RE Audio SXX 15”, in 6cu/ft boxes @34hz.


Well, that should pick up the bottom end! 34hz seems a little high but in a 2ch music rig...could be nice.
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post #28 of 29 Old 06-20-2019, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Polyrythm1k View Post
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Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Thank you for that response.

I am on tile over concrete.

I guess I am asking too much.

If all goes well, by the end of the month; pair of RE Audio SXX 15”, in 6cu/ft boxes @34hz.


Well, that should pick up the bottom end! 34hz seems a little high but in a 2ch music rig...could be nice.
Modeling the speakers, it was the flattest hump I could produce.

On another note, I was able to experiment with the RTiA9s. I disconnected the 5.25”s and tweeters and ran my 6kD just to the 7” woofers.

At above reference levels, and +3 Bass on the AVR, it produces adequate bass. Still somewhat perplexing, as I’m feeding just the woofers, undivided 1kW. No distortion, no bottoming out. Either the Behringer amp isn’t producing, or these speakers can take a hell of a lot more. I’m leaning toward the latter, just hard to fathom 3x7” consuming more than 1kW.
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post #29 of 29 Old 06-20-2019, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by HomeAudioNoob View Post
Modeling the speakers, it was the flattest hump I could produce.

On another note, I was able to experiment with the RTiA9s. I disconnected the 5.25”s and tweeters and ran my 6kD just to the 7” woofers.

At above reference levels, and +3 Bass on the AVR, it produces adequate bass. Still somewhat perplexing, as I’m feeding just the woofers, undivided 1kW. No distortion, no bottoming out. Either the Behringer amp isn’t producing, or these speakers can take a hell of a lot more. I’m leaning toward the latter, just hard to fathom 3x7” consuming more than 1kW.
I have found that using a CD player as a source seems to provide more snap/punch than lossless streaming of the same album.

YMMV

Geoff A. J., California
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