Restored(?) 1982 RTA 11's
Here's a thread I started on these speakers over a year ago:
Some new Monitor 11's...
I finally got around to re-veneering the cabinets. They were in a pretty sorry shape. Moisture had really done a number on the stands and most of the corners. The original walnut vinyl veneer looked dull and cheap, and had suffered its share of scratches and scrapes. I didn't want to spend a lot of cash on this project, so I decided to use the Parts Express self-adhesive vinyl veneer. I figured that it would probably be at least as good as the original vinyl. I chose the "red maple" pattern, but if I had it to do over I would probably try the teak or the walnut pattern.
I had to remove the old trim pieces off the front of the cabs (underneath the grilles). They got destroyed in the process - they were glued and screwed to the front of the cabs. I cut some new trim pieces out of poplar to replace them. The old pieces were rounded to match the side profiles of the grilles, and the new ones are not. I don't think it looks too bad with the square edges.
I used a heat gun to remove the old vinyl. Then I patched up the swollen and/or missing corners with bondo. I sanded the MDF with 100, 220 and 320 grit, applying a couple of coats of sanding sealer to get as smooth a surface as I could.
The actual veneering process was pretty difficult. I had a hard time at the edges of the cabinets, and it's probably not going to be a very durable finish. I tried a couple of different techniques at the edges, and neither worked too well. But I think they look decent. I'm not too ashamed of them. They look good from a couple of feet away, at least.
As the old thread states, two of the original MW6600x drivers were frozen. I bought a couple of replacement MW6600x's, but one of them was damaged in shipping. I eventually just gave up and got a couple of new MW6503 drivers from Polk. I used the new drivers in the "outer" or woofer position in each cab. The inner driver in each cab is an original MW6600x - with thoroughly JB-Welded magnets of course.
I also re-did the grill fabric, which had lots of pulls and a couple of holes. I painted the integrated stands and the back of cabs flat black.
These speakers sound pretty darn good. These are the only vintage big Polks I have heard. The Peerless tweeters are very nice, and the bass is nice and tight.
So, there you have it. They aren't original in any way, but at least they live to play again another day. The next logical step would be re-capping the crossovers. For now, I've sunk enough money and time into these.