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  1. #1

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    Default Multiple Questions, Multiple Stories

    Greeting! I'm new to the forum and fairly new to the world of Polk speakers. Let me start by giving the history I have with Polk products, and then explain my current system. I have multiple questions but I'm putting this in the Basic Hookup/Wiring Thread because that is my main question. It's just going to take a little time to get there.

    In the summer of 2008, I purchased a new PSW125. My first Polk product. At the time the MSRP was $399.95, but I got it on sale for $285.49. The MSRP has dropped to $349.95 and is currently on sale for $249.95. A couple years after my purchase, the sub went dead and the sub hadn't been used much or turned up too high. The fuses would blow as soon as it was turned on. I always unplug my electrical equipment during storms, so lightning is not to blame. Called customer service and found out that the speaker has a five year warranty, but the electronics have a shorter warranty period. The customer service guy was very nice and helpful. He sold me a new amp at a discounted price. It arrived shortly and I received a whole new rear panel, but the amp was completely different. I don't know if there were problems with that particular amp and they changed them or what, but it now works and sounds amazing. But I took a bit of a hit on that purchase. Not the start I had hoped for when purchasing a brand, not previously owned by me.

    I recently noticed that my non-Polk front speakers had started sounding terrible. After taking the grills off, I saw that the foam surrounds had rotted. Nice. Replacing the surrounds and fixing them myself would cost about $35, but these were not high end speakers, and I felt it was time for an upgrade. I've always loved the sound of Polk speakers. Even their entry level speakers sounded good to my ears. Bose on the other hand... I always thought their entry level speakers sounded really bad. I'm curious to your opinion as to how long a Polk speaker will last, or at least the rubber surrounds. And when it's time to replace the surrounds, is it worth replacing since the internal components are old, i.e. driver, capacitors, etc. or am I better off buying new speakers at that point.

    I started looking at new speakers. My goal was to get a $2000-$2500 system for under $1000 (speakers and receiver). I found two deals on Craigslist that I was interested in...

    Four Polk Monitor 60 Towers
    Two Polk Monitor 50 Towers
    Polk CSiA4 Center Channel
    Polk PSW100 Powered Subwoofer
    With documentation and original packaging for each speaker.
    Two years old with cherry finish, asking $500 (now asking $425).

    AND

    Two Polk RTi8 Towers
    Polk CSi3 Center Channel
    Polk F/Xi3 Bi-Directional Surround Speakers
    Sanus Euro Foundation EFSAT Stands for F/Xi3 Speakers
    Polk PSW303 Powered Subwoofer
    16g wire with banana plugs included.
    Purchased new in 2004, black finish, asking $800.

    I wanted black over cherry, real wood over laminate. Because of the way my room is set up, the only place to put the surround sound speakers is directly to the left and right of the listener. On my old system, you could always tell where the sound was coming from with the surrounds, because they weren't coming from somewhere behind the listener. So I wanted the F/Xi3 Bi-Directional (set to dipole) to make the sound spread out. I ended up getting the RTi8 package for $400 after negotiating over a two week period. They were adult owned and didn't have a scratch or mark on them. The only reason he was selling them is that he just bought a new home and had built- ins put into the wall and ceiling. He thought they would be an easy sell at $800, so he didn't have the movers move them to the new house and time was running out to have eveything cleared out of the old house. I really liked the Rti8 over the Monitors. I'm curious as to what your opinions are as to my choice. The speakers a didn't buy were newer and there were more of them. It's going to be used for a home theater and for listening to music through CDs and MP3s.

    I read through the forum and most people don't seem to see an advantage to bi-wiring. I have enough 14g wire to connect the two front speakers and have hoards of 16g wire. So it's not going to cost me anything to bi-wire the fronts. And I know to remove the jumper on the speaker. But here is my main question. Since I have a lot of left over 16g wire, would I get any benefit from doubling up the wire? Running two sets of 16g to the tweeters of each RTI and running a set of 16g along with the 14g to the woofers of each RTi? I don't need anyone suggesting to just go out and buy 12g wire, that's not what I'm asking.

    I'm also replacing my older receiver. I bought a six month old Denon AVR-1613 for $160. MSRP $399, but you can find them on the internet for $329. I know a lot of people will argue that I should have gone with a more powerful system with pre amp outs for an external amp, but you have to understand, I'm 42 years old, I don't crank it up until my ears bleed like I did in high school. I listen to movies and music at a moderate level. The Denon should arrive this Saturday.

    I know people with higher end Polks can pick apart my system, but I'm very proud of what I have now. I'm going to be using the PSW125 with this system and putting the PSW303 in the bedroom, which brings me to my next question. I've notice that you have to give the RTi's a bit of power before they come alive. But I'd like a set of Polks in the bedroom for listening to music at low levels. I basically want a 2.1 system in there to help romance the ladies in the bedroom. High-five! Any recommendations for speakers that sound amazing at low levels? The choices don't have to be limited to the current Polk lineup. Anything made in the last ten years will work. Thanks for answering any of my questions... I'm sure the ladies will appreciate it. High-five!

  2. #2

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    Most people equate big amps and speakers to decibels. While you can generally play them louder, that isn't the point. It's about a complete spectrum of sound that a typical receiver won't be able to reproduce at any volume. It's a common misconception and one I had to explain a few times when I had the rt5000 front end.

    You got a good deal on that setup and it should sound fine with that denon.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  3. #3

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    I'm curious to your opinion as to how long a Polk speaker will last, or at least the rubber surrounds.
    The speakers and rubber surrounds will last your lifetime, if not longer.

    Don't bother trying to bi-wire, just replace the stock jumpers with high quality speaker cable. It will make a difference.

    What DSkip said.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  4. #4

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    Thank you both for your input. I know that the thicker the wire the better, but is there a difference between Monster Cable 14g vs. generic brand 14g?

  5. #5

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    Cable makes a difference, but it doesn't sound like you're going to play at a level to make the investment worthwhile. If you want some decent starter cable, send me an email as I have some belkin cables that I can let go for a really good price. These aren't your clear coat variety.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  6. #6

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    I know that the thicker the wire the better, but is there a difference between Monster Cable 14g vs. generic brand 14g?
    There's a lot more to speaker cable than the gauge.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  7. #7

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    What I have now is Monster Cable 16g and the 14g I think is generic, because I don't see a manufacturer's name on the wire anywhere. I bought the 14g long ago and can't remember who made it. If I wanted to do this right, what gauge and brand would you recommend for the fronts and center. And what is your opinions on doubling up the 16g I already have. Not bi-wiring, but running to sets of 16g to each speaker.

  8. #8

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    two sets, not "to" sets

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    Try it and find out.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  10. #10

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    I've got a trio for the front and it'll be better than any generic cable and has bananas on both ends. It'll be about $45 shipped for the set. If you're not interested, ill throw them up for sale in our market.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  11. #11

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    Again, forget about gauge. There's a lot more to quality cable such as the material, how it's configured, the dielectric, etc.

    Take DSkip up on his offer, great way to try something better than what you've got.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  12. #12

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    Another question... I'm going to have to buy another subwoofer cable. I was looking at the Monster Cable 400SW 6.56 ft. Is that sufficient? I thought it best to not buy more length than I need. Most are 12 ft. or longer.

  13. #13

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    Depends on how much flexibility you want moving the sub around. The most ideal location doesn't always lend itself to the ideal performance.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  14. #14

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    The way this room is set up, my fronts are 10 feet apart. 8 foot wire for each front, 4 foot for the center would be ideal. How much would 20 feet of the really good stuff run? The sub sits between the left front and the TV. It's the only place to put it.

  15. #15

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    Wow, I just starting pricing high end wire. $450 for an 8 ft. pair of Monster Cable M2.2s. That's just crazy to me.

  16. #16

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    Rofl, Sorry not directed at you, but I was thinking that way just a very Short time ago and now I BELIEVE...lol
    Oh and $450 is not really expensive keep looking and you will BLOW your mind, lol
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitism View Post
    Wow, I just starting pricing high end wire. $450 for an 8 ft. pair of Monster Cable M2.2s. That's just crazy to me.

  17. #17

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    Let me ask you this, because I really want to learn this stuff. If I took my speaker apart, what grade wire would I find between the drivers and the binding posts? Would that be the "bottle neck" to the whole system?

  18. #18

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    That's cheap for high end cable, which IMO, Monster isn't. The front pair in my HT rig were $3500 and that's cheap by comparison to higher end offerings from the same company. Anyway, what's your budget?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  19. #19

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    I'd like the wires/cables to be in proportion to what I've paid for everything so far. But I always thought that the wire was the cheapest thing to buy. Your front pair of wires cost more than my entire system when it was new. I don't mean to sound uneducated by asking so many questions, but I find this all fascinating and completely foreign to me. Up until now I've been using a JVC receiver and Pioneer speakers and thought they sounded good.

  20. #20

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    You have no idea what you're getting into man. Don't worry about sounding uneducated: we were all ignorant on all things audio at one point too. I started down a similar path as you a few years ago, having had many years of experience in car audio. I've now switched over from home theater to a pure 2 channel system that doubles as a home theater. I don't miss multi channel at all.

    Cables are the "cheapest" purchase to make, but its hard to get much cheaper than what I'm offering to be honest. The runs I have are two 10' and a 12' (possibly 2 12' and a 10') and will not depreciate any more than they already have. They were my first foray into cables and were fine for my home theater when I had one, and if I still had one, they wouldn't be for sale. From what I remember, they have a slightly warm sound to them compared to my PNF's, which would pair well with the RTi's. Right now, I'm only into cables for about $100, but that isn't to say I'm not willing to shell out much more for some. I've been making more considerable purchases since my cables are at a solid baseline.

    Cables DO make a difference, but those differences are much less noticeable in home theater than they are for a solid 2 channel setup. The wire in your speakers is cheap and will bottleneck them some, but that doesn't mean decent cables between the amp and speakers won't make a difference. To be honest, there are many, many aspects in your speakers that will bottleneck the sound, but that's expected given their target price range. It's the same reason why they don't make every sports car a super car: they target similar audiences, but at different price points. You gotta pay to get to the pinnacle of performance.


    Audio is a massive rabbit hole once you realize what its all about. This is the time for you to decide if ignorance is bliss. We all love the hobby here, but I think many of us would have rather never gone down that hole since our wallet followed us down as well.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Cables definitely make a difference and I wouldn't waste my time with Monster. For the price i'd definitely take Dskip up on his offer and try it for yourself.
    Theater Room: Pioneer Elite SC-35, RTi12's, Csi5, Fxi5's, Fxi3's, ED A5-350 sub, Optoma HD20, 92'' Elite Screen, Sony BDPS790, Xbox One, APC H15, MIT Exp 2 SC's, Pepster PC's

    Living Room: Martin Logan ESL's, Peachtree Audio iNova, Zu Mission SC's & IC's, Pepster PC, Sharp Aquos 60'', AEX

    Bedroom: Panasonic AX200U projector, 110" screen

    Outdoor: Polk Atrium 5's, Yamaha Rxv371

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitism View Post
    Up until now I've been using a JVC receiver and Pioneer speakers and thought they sounded good.
    I know what you are saying. Don't worry too much about cabling. Your system does sound good, and that is the important part. The only thing I would add is that if something sounds good then it probably can sound better. This is especially true as you get into separate components, but also applies to integrated gear. Cables are what allow you to unleash your gear and get the best performance out of it. This means interconnect cables, speaker cables, and power cables. They all work together to let your gear work best. However, I wouldn't worry to much about it. Good gear can sound more than adequate with ordinary cables. Just remember, everything can be improved if that is of any interest to you. If not then be happy and enjoy. On the other hand if you like hearing things improve then hold on to your wallet.

  23. #23

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    DSkip email me.

    dgshermit(at)hotmail(dot)com

  24. #24

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    Do you benefit from making the wire as short as possible. For example, if I'm using a 25 foot cable/wire, when my speaker is only 10 feet away. Should it be shortened to 12 feet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitism View Post
    Do you benefit from making the wire as short as possible. For example, if I'm using a 25 foot cable/wire, when my speaker is only 10 feet away. Should it be shortened to 12 feet?

    That would be reasonable. I have read a few places where 8' is quoted as being the minimum length for speaker cables, and it is hard to order high-end cables any shorter. For bulk wire type cables, it makes sense to go with 12' cables versus 25', since excess wire can induce minimal distortion if it is just haphazardly lying around. Of course, since high-end wire tends to be expensive, few would order 25' for a 12' run.

  26. #26

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    Is there any downside to having the speaker wire laying next to a power cord? Is there anything that can cause problems near the wire, an electrical outlet, or other a/v wires. Would that cause any interference, especially for video cables? The HDMI cables I'm going to be using are Monster Cable Ultra 800 4-footers. Yes, I always thought Monster Cable was the good stuff until I came here.

  27. #27

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    Banana plugs are for convenience only, no audio benefit, correct?

  28. #28

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    In theory, all those things can impact each other. Unless the insulation is removed from your power and speaker cables, I wouldn't worry about it.

  29. #29

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    The nanners are for convenience. I can't see myself ever having any without now. Even though you may not ever touch them, having something as simple as pulling a plug from the wall really makes everything so low stress, especially on the rear of those tightly-packed receivers. The Belkin's actually have a screw-type end on them and you can order spades or bananas. No part of the wire is or ever would be exposed unless you took a blade to the jacket.

    I'll send you an email tomorrow with my phone number and I'll be free to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    You have no idea what you're getting into man. Don't worry about sounding uneducated: we were all ignorant on all things audio at one point too. I started down a similar path as you a few years ago, having had many years of experience in car audio. I've now switched over from home theater to a pure 2 channel system that doubles as a home theater. I don't miss multi channel at all.

    Cables are the "cheapest" purchase to make, but its hard to get much cheaper than what I'm offering to be honest. The runs I have are two 10' and a 12' (possibly 2 12' and a 10') and will not depreciate any more than they already have. They were my first foray into cables and were fine for my home theater when I had one, and if I still had one, they wouldn't be for sale. From what I remember, they have a slightly warm sound to them compared to my PNF's, which would pair well with the RTi's. Right now, I'm only into cables for about $100, but that isn't to say I'm not willing to shell out much more for some. I've been making more considerable purchases since my cables are at a solid baseline.

    Cables DO make a difference, but those differences are much less noticeable in home theater than they are for a solid 2 channel setup. The wire in your speakers is cheap and will bottleneck them some, but that doesn't mean decent cables between the amp and speakers won't make a difference. To be honest, there are many, many aspects in your speakers that will bottleneck the sound, but that's expected given their target price range. It's the same reason why they don't make every sports car a super car: they target similar audiences, but at different price points. You gotta pay to get to the pinnacle of performance.


    Audio is a massive rabbit hole once you realize what its all about. This is the time for you to decide if ignorance is bliss. We all love the hobby here, but I think many of us would have rather never gone down that hole since our wallet followed us down as well.
    Excellent response. Simply excellent. Best I have read in a while. My hat is off to you, sir.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    "The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction". - Kenneth Swauger

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