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  1. #1

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    Default 5,000.00 Polk Speaker System: Subs Dead - any way to revive them?

    Greetings all -

    I recently decided to hook up my old Polk Speaker system that I had purchased as a home theater system quite a few years back (Four RT20P's for front and rear and CS350 Center Channel)

    I bought this system brand new and I remember being floored by them. Clean sounding, very nice low frequency, clean mids. Great highs. To say the least, I loved them.

    Unfortunately my experience didn't last long. After several years the subs started dying... rattling etc...
    I know what everyone is thinking - but honestly, I never really beat on them. I'm not one for super loud music, I don't think I ever had the sub volume level even halfway up on any of the four towers. The system was primarily for watching movies.

    Long story short, I put a call in to polk and from what I can remember, I was out of luck. I believe they were out of warranty. I put the system away in storage, bought a house, had kids.... listened to my movies through tv speakers (yuck) until now.

    I pulled the system out and tested everything agian. As I remembered, the rt20ps don't work right. Two out of the four towers have a strange rattle (that isn't always there, but when it is - it's impossible to listen without turning the subs off completely) the third tower,the subs dont work at all - and the fourth tower, I believe is ok. (I have to check again, but so far after 20 minutes of testing, I don't hear the rattle and the subs are working)

    This speaker system cost me more than many of the cars I have owned, and it absolutely kills me that they didn't last - I would think for that kind of money they would have lasted forever. My dad still has his vintage JBLS from 40 years ago that still sound phenomenal - and he actually does crank them!

    Does anyone here have experience with the RT20P's? - A few google searches and I found countless complaints about the subs dying, and I wonder if it was some kind of factory defect?

    Is there a way I can fix them without investing a lot more money into them?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Nick

  2. #2

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    If you want to keep the speakers, consider either getting new plate amps or having someone work on the existing ones. The caps during that era are known to go bad, especially the larger Elna power caps. Polk still does work on those amps as far as I know, so you could contact them about repairs. It might be cheaper to find someone local who is handy with a soldering iron.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  3. #3

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    I'd contact Polk customer service to see what they recommend. Could be parts are no longer available, as I'm guessing the speakers are more than ten years old and I don't think there were a lot of that model sold.

    One problem with rebuilding is that Polk speakers of that period don't retain value at all well, especially the powered towers which are known for having problems with the subwoofer sections. Depending on the estimated cost of repair, you might be better off buying something on the used market local to where you live. There tend to be plenty of Polk speakers on the used market all over. If they are too expensive to repair, you could sell the parts to help fund getting something else.

  4. #4

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    The actual subwoofers themselves do not fail most of the time. Its the caps. Replacing the caps or the plate amp altogether solves the issue, and it should only need to be fixed once. There isn't a problem in actual design of the product, just poorly designed capacitors that eat away at themselves over time.

    That generation of RT speakers is under-appreciated by many. It's a stellar lineup and works great as a double-duty speaker. While they do not disappear as well as newer speakers, the tonal qualities are superb and they don't require "special" power requirements, so they can sound good on just about anything.



    EDIT: If you're going to get the "broken" amps fixed, fix them all at once. I guarantee the others are not far behind. Definitely take this into consideration before you decide what route you're going to take.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    The actual subwoofers themselves do not fail most of the time. Its the caps. Replacing the caps or the plate amp altogether solves the issue, and it should only need to be fixed once. There isn't a problem in actual design of the product, just poorly designed capacitors that eat away at themselves over time.

    That generation of RT speakers is under-appreciated by many. It's a stellar lineup and works great as a double-duty speaker. While they do not disappear as well as newer speakers, the tonal qualities are superb and they don't require "special" power requirements, so they can sound good on just about anything.



    EDIT: If you're going to get the "broken" amps fixed, fix them all at once. I guarantee the others are not far behind. Definitely take this into consideration before you decide what route you're going to take.

    Agreed!
    Samsung UN55C6500 55" LED
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    Polk Audio RT5000
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    Polk Audio microPRO 4000 x2 5.2 subs

  6. #6

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    Guys,

    I greatly appreciate your time in responding to my problem.
    Just one question, before I take the plates off and try to get the caps repaired.
    Has anyone Identified the "death Rattle" problem definitely being the caps?
    If so, is there a specific part number I need for the replacement caps?
    Finally, the fourth tower that the subs don't move at all - could that still be a cap problem or something else?
    Once again -Thanks so much,
    Nick

  7. #7

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    Take the amps out and hook another amp up directly to the subs. If the rattle isn't present, its the plate amps. This is how I troubleshot my rt3000ps. Just search plate amps on the forum and there should be plenty of info to pit you at ease. Just looking at the caps should be a dead giveaway if they're leaking or bulging. Do the same test on the fourth tower too. Its unlikely in my mind that both drivers would blow at the same time.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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