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  1. #1

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    Default New to Home Theater: RTi8 or RTi4?

    Hey everyone. I'm in the process of building my little home theater in the basement. I currently have a pair of Polk RTi4s that I purchased last year. I'm trying to decide if I should go with RTi8s as my mains instead of the RTi4. I currently have the Bic F12 subwoofer which I love. My room is 12x21 with 7 foot ceilings. The RTi4 pounds pretty good with my sub in the basement right now, but I'm trying to decide if it would be an overall better sounding system with the RTi8.

    I purchased some Fluance Bipolar surrounds, so if I went with the RTi8 I would sell my RTi4s. Obviously going the RTi4 route would be cheaper then purchasing RTi8 (which I could currently get a pair for $250). I then will be getting the CSi5.

    I've heard so much varying opinions regarding bookshelves vs towers for a HT, but not specfically to these particular speakers, so i thought I would post in the Polk forum. Any insight, experience, or thoughts people could provide would be very helpful! Thanks so much!

    Here is the look of my room in progress:

    500x700px-LL-fd970b54_IMG_4516.jpeg

    900x900px-LL-03e4fbea_IMG_4517.jpeg

  2. #2

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    I think your answer may depend on what you are using to power them. I have the RTi8's and think they are exceptional HT speakers. I used an entry level Denon AVR with them first and it was underpowered for the job. The AVR I have now has more than enough power. The RTi8's can be driven without an external amp, but you need a good AVR to do it.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitism View Post
    I think your answer may depend on what you are using to power them. I have the RTi8's and think they are exceptional HT speakers. I used an entry level Denon AVR with them first and it was underpowered for the job. The AVR I have now has more than enough power. The RTi8's can be driven without an external amp, but you need a good AVR to do it.
    Thanks for the response. I'm powering my speakers with a Denon 1613. Would this suffice for the RTi8s, or would my RTi4s be the better option?

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    Actually the 1613 was the same model I was using. It worked okay for 2 channel music, but when I tried running 5 channels for HT it ran out of gas. Now this all depends on what levels you listen to. I personally don't listen to music that loud, but I enjoy higher levels for home theater. The RTi8's are going to give you more mid range, but I don't think you are going to be happy powering them with the 1613.

    FYI: If one day you upgraded to a more powerful 7 channel AVR, you could keep those RTi4's and use them as rear surrounds. They'd be timbre matched to the Rti8's and CSi5.
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  5. #5

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    What do you turn your volume dial to when listening to your 1613?
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  6. #6

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    For music I turn my Denon to about 50. If I reaalllly want to hear it, I will go to 60.

    Serious? I have to upgrade my Denon 1613 to power a 5.1 system with the Polk RTi series?

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    I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Here's the deal, if you turn the volume up too high, you will send a clipping signal to your speakers that can damage them. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipping_%28audio%29

    As a general rule, once you pass 50% you are getting closer and closer to overdriving your amp. You always want to have clear clean power going to your speakers, so a good safety rule is to not exceed 50%. When your amp strains, the sound becomes less clean and clear. I've powered those RTi8's with that Denon 1613 and 50% volume didn't get it to the volume that I like for movies and I had them set up in a room smaller than yours. I'd say it would be fine for someone living in an apartment that can't turn it up because of the neighbors. But for a basement, you're not going to be happy, in my opinion. If you are powering two channels for music and having to turn the volume to 50-60, then think what it will be like driving 5 channels. The WPC drops with every channel added. It's going to be harder on your AVR to drive five channels, than two. And all those channels are sharing the same power supply. The "current" is just as important as the watts. That's why all watts aren't created equal. If I remember correctly, that 1613 only weighs 20 pounds, the AVR I have now weighs 41 pounds. That extra weight is coming from the amp and power supply. And that 1613 doesn't have pre-amp outs, so you can't add an amp.

    It's not that you have to upgrade your AVR to power the RTi series. It has to do with which speakers in that series you choose. The more drivers a speaker has, the harder it will be to drive. I wanted to buy the RTi10's, but I'd really need an external amp to power them properly. Even at lower volume, they sound better with a more powerful amp. People have complained that the RTi10's were too bright and didn't excel in the lower end, powering them with just an AVR, But once they added an amp, even at lower volume, the bass was hitting harder.

    Believe me, I didn't want to spend a lot on a new AVR after returning that 1613. I ended up looking at the used market and purchasing one off of Craigslist. It's a gamble because you aren't getting a warranty. But people with higher end gear tend to take very good care of them.

    Since you already have the Rti4's, use them for awhile with your Denon, hook up your surrounds, and get a center and see if you have to exceed 50% volume to power those. Set all your speakers to "small" in your AVR's setting and let your sub handle the lows. That will put less stress on your AVR's amp.

    I think you might be better off going with the CSi3 center, instead of the CSi5 if you plan on keeping that AVR. But I'd like for someone else to give their two cents on that. I think the CSi5 will be a little harder to drive with an entry level AVR.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitism View Post
    I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Here's the deal, if you turn the volume up too high, you will send a clipping signal to your speakers that can damage them. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipping_%28audio%29

    As a general rule, once you pass 50% you are getting closer and closer to overdriving your amp. You always want to have clear clean power going to your speakers, so a good safety rule is to not exceed 50%. When your amp strains, the sound becomes less clean and clear. I've powered those RTi8's with that Denon 1613 and 50% volume didn't get it to the volume that I like for movies and I had them set up in a room smaller than yours. I'd say it would be fine for someone living in an apartment that can't turn it up because of the neighbors. But for a basement, you're not going to be happy, in my opinion. If you are powering two channels for music and having to turn the volume to 50-60, then think what it will be like driving 5 channels. The WPC drops with every channel added. It's going to be harder on your AVR to drive five channels, than two. And all those channels are sharing the same power supply. The "current" is just as important as the watts. That's why all watts aren't created equal. If I remember correctly, that 1613 only weighs 20 pounds, the AVR I have now weighs 41 pounds. That extra weight is coming from the amp and power supply. And that 1613 doesn't have pre-amp outs, so you can't add an amp.

    It's not that you have to upgrade your AVR to power the RTi series. It has to do with which speakers in that series you choose. The more drivers a speaker has, the harder it will be to drive. I wanted to buy the RTi10's, but I'd really need an external amp to power them properly. Even at lower volume, they sound better with a more powerful amp. People have complained that the RTi10's were too bright and didn't excel in the lower end, powering them with just an AVR, But once they added an amp, even at lower volume, the bass was hitting harder.

    Believe me, I didn't want to spend a lot on a new AVR after returning that 1613. I ended up looking at the used market and purchasing one off of Craigslist. It's a gamble because you aren't getting a warranty. But people with higher end gear tend to take very good care of them.

    Since you already have the Rti4's, use them for awhile with your Denon, hook up your surrounds, and get a center and see if you have to exceed 50% volume to power those. Set all your speakers to "small" in your AVR's setting and let your sub handle the lows. That will put less stress on your AVR's amp.

    I think you might be better off going with the CSi3 center, instead of the CSi5 if you plan on keeping that AVR. But I'd like for someone else to give their two cents on that. I think the CSi5 will be a little harder to drive with an entry level AVR.
    I really appreciate your feedback on this. That helped a lot. Man, and here I thought the Denon 1613 was a legit receiver. When I think about this situation the upper Denon line costs from anywhere between $800-1200. I simply can not afford that. But what I thought was in order to notice an increase in sound you needed to double the watts. The 1613 I think is 75 watts for 2 channels driven. The X4000 is 125 watts for 2 channels driven, so I guess I'm confused on that.

    I, too, would love to hear what other people think about my situation with the Denon 1613. People must fork over a lot of cash for a receiver if they feel this 1613 is too weak. I'm debating between using rti4s (which I currently own), rti6, or the rti8 for my mains. I have a subwoofer as well at the moment. What I'm hearing you say is that running the 8's with my receiver might not work out so well and that bookshelves might work better since they're easier to drive. There is a guy on a forum that is selling his 1713 for $280 which has a preout for an additional amp which could then drive my fronts and leave the receiver to handle the center and surrounds. But, I would have to sell my 1613 in order to make that happen.

    I hear the csi5 kills the csi3 in terms of quality so that is why I decided on going for that. Anyone else have some thoughts?
    Last edited by butie120; 02-26-2014 at 06:59 PM.

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    If you're comfortable buying used or refurbished, your money can go a lot further. Check out accessories4less.com to bring those denons closer to your comfort zone. I ran a Polk 5.1 off of a budget Sony receiver for years and never damaged anything. When I upgraded to a better receiver however, I was BLOWN AWAY at the improvement. Mind you, my upgrade was about $400 refurbished for an older model (2 models years behind).
    Last edited by drummer86; 02-26-2014 at 06:59 PM.
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    Yes, the CSi5 has a much better mid range than the CSi3. And the CSi5 may not be harder to drive, that is why I wanted someone else to chime in on that. Both have two midrange drivers, but the CSi5's are larger.

    Man, it all depends on what levels you use your system. For me, that 1613 didn't have enough power running five channels with my speakers. You may listen to movies at a lower level than me. When it comes to prices on AVR's, they can be outrageous. The MSRP on my Pio was $1800, but it was five years old when I bought it and I got it for $300. That purchase was one of the best decisions I have ever made. You can't really go by what receivers are rated at, as far as WPC. They are highly inaccurate. They cheat, to make them look more powerful on paper. You might find one that says 120WPC and in fine print it might say (one channel driven) or (6 ohms) and people think they are getting 120 watts to all five or seven channel using 8 ohms speakers. Nope. And they might have a dinky power supply, that makes a big difference in power. When looking at AVR's check out how much they weigh.
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    Yeah don't believe the specs that the companies put out. They're just trying to sell products. That particular Denon appears to hold its own pretty well in multichannel mode. Here are some bench test results from the previous model year. Rates at about 70wpc driving 5 speakers.

    http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...-labs-measures

    You can always get the rti8s now and upgrade the receiver down the road. I'm sure it will be fine. Of course, you won't be getting everything out of the speakers that you can but I have no doubts that it will sound good for movies. You're probably only using 5-10 watts/channel for 90% of the movie anyways.
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    Thanks everyone for the feedback. To be honest, unless someone buys my 1613 at a decent price I can't see myself purchasing anything better for awhile. I just bought it last year, just bought a house, have a 7 month old, so the last thing I really want to spend time doing is looking on craigslist, or ebay, and buying with the hopes it works out, yada yada yada. At this point I just want something I know will sound great for the price and with the equipment I have. I'm finishing up our theater room so I just want the pieces to come together and be done researching. And believe me, me and my computer have become the best of friends lately.

    So since all you folks seem to know your way around this, please, pretty please, give me a direction on my options. Again, right now I have the RTi4 in black. I really love the look of the new RTia series, especially in Cherry, I think they look damn nice. Anyway, here's my options keeping in mind I'm using the Denon 1613:

    RTi8s and CSi5 = $485
    RTi4s and CSi3 = $130
    RTi4's and CSi5 = $210
    RTiA1 and CSia4 in Cherry :) = $459
    RTiA1 and CSia4 in Black = $422

    With my options I'm using the Bic F12 for a subwoofer and not sure if this is needed, but the room is 12x21 with 7 foot ceilings. Obviously the cheapest route to take would be using my RTi4s as mains and getting one of the center channels. But again, not sure if that's the best choice. I can't do the RTia3 size because it exceeds my budget. So, based upon pricing and the power that the Denon 1613, which do you think would be the best route to take? Thanks again for everyone's thoughts. This is helping a lot.
    Last edited by butie120; 02-26-2014 at 08:11 PM.

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    Are these package deals or can you just buy the center? How about buying the CSi5 and using it with the speakers you already have. Turn the volume up to 5 and see if that is plenty loud enough for you. If you feel that it has plenty of power for your listening taste, then you can always buy the RTi8's. And see if the RTi8's have a return policy.
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    How about Rti4s + Csi5 and a second BIC F12?
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer86 View Post
    How about Rti4s + Csi5 and a second BIC F12?
    lol. We're going to give the guy a nervous breakdown!
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    hahah! yes! more options to think about! No worries...I want all the info I can have so I can do this right. I should say this Hermitism: I just hooked up my RTi4s and ran Audyssey with my Denon 1613. I forgot that I hadn't done that after I hooked these back up after replacing them with the Bic Americas. Huge difference! Volumes now are like this: At 35: Relaxed listening levels, can still hear the sub a bit...At 45: A nice bump with the sub. Loud enough where you would have to speak louder in order to hear another in the room. On the border of a little dance party with the wife or 7 month old :) But totally depends on the song...some Neyo song just came on from Pandora and it was bumping at 45. At 55: Not sure I could listen to this very long. Quite loud!

    No, these aren't package deals. Just some deals from a few guys on another forum, and one speaker from a guy on craigslist.

    Now again, this is just for music. I think I will try it with my bluray player later on to see if any changes are noted with movies.

    Now with my choices: Would it be bad to use the CSi5 with the RTi4 since they are different size drivers? I also am still wondering if you guys thinking using the RTi8s would be a bad idea with my receiver. If I can rule that out, then I can decide if I want to go with the RTia1 series in black or cherry.

    Would running the CSi5 be too much for my Denon compared to the CSi3 as well? Thanks again fellas!!

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    I always had to bump the volume of my sub up after running Audessey. Other seem to share similar experiences. I've never had a center with difference sized drivers but I can't imagine it being a problem. Bigger is better with the center for sure. As I said before, for the majority of a movie, you're only going to be running a few watts per channel. Having a powerful receiver is necessary for those large dynamic spikes. Take it easy on the action flicks and you should be good to go.

    Do you have speaker stands yet?
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    Thanks. No I don't have speaker stands. I was planning on buying wall mounts rather than stands if I kept the RTi4s or went with the RTiA bookshelves. http://www.amazon.com/B-Tech-BT77-Ul...b77+wall+mount
    These tend to be recommended by many people.

    So...should I stay away from the RTi8??

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    Thanks. No I don't have speaker stands. I was planning on buying wall mounts rather than stands if I kept the RTi4s or went with the RTiA bookshelves. http://www.amazon.com/B-Tech-BT77-Ul...b77+wall+mount
    These tend to be recommended by many people.

    So...should I stay away from the RTi8??

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    I have something very similar to you....

    I am using RTi6 and CSi5 with FXi3.....I run them with 80Hz, I didnt see the need for tower speakers(wall mounted to save some floor space)...very similar in room size too....It will be more than enough for HT....
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    The only argument I would make against the wall mounts is that stands give you much more flexibility with placement options and the ability to change their location. My speakers sounds like garbage 6" from the wall, but 16" inches away they sound great. You can also move them closer together or wider apart without having to drill and patch drywall. Besides, your center isn't going to be on the wall, best to have them as close to the mains as possible IMO.
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    Ok, so I agree about wall mounting the bookshelves. I put my RTi4s close to the wall to simulate the wall mounting option, and they did not sound as good. And, I don't want speaker stands so I'm going with the towers.

    I also have an honest question for folks. I know this is a Polk Forum, so this may be a stupid question, but I currently have the Bic DV-64 towers and the Bic 62CLRS center channel. In your honest opinion here, would I be making a lateral move in terms of quality if I went with the RTi8 and CSi5, or am I making an actual upgrade for speaker quality. I don't want to spend the extra cash if the sound quality won't much of an improvement. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by butie120 View Post
    At 55: Not sure I could listen to this very long. Quite loud!
    To borrow a line from another member...When an amp begins to strain, the strain becomes audibly apparent. I believe this is what you are referring to as "sounding loud". Good clean power from that AVR won't sound loud. Be careful with your volume knob. 55 is as high as I ever drove that AVR and I didn't like what I was hearing. No matter what speakers you pick out, I wouldn't ever take it past 50.
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    Quote Originally Posted by butie120 View Post
    There is a guy on a forum that is selling his 1713 for $280 which has a preout for an additional amp which could then drive my fronts and leave the receiver to handle the center and surrounds. ?
    No, the 1713 doesn't have pre-outs to add an additional amplifier.

    With entry level receivers comes an entry level power supply which dictates the use of easy to drive speakers....especially in 5 channel mode. If your dead set on keeping that receiver, I'd say stay with the RTI4's and the sub. If you want bigger floorstanders and you like to crank it up, you'll need better power than what an entry level avr can provide.

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    If this setup was for movies I'd say go with the Rti8s and you'd be fine with your receiver for now. If this is strictly for music I will agree with others and say your receiver will fall short for the towers. That said, you can get the rti8s now and be careful on the volume until you can upgrade your power. It will sound fine, but know that you won't be getting the full benefit of those towers until you get a better amp.
    Display: LG 47" LCD | AVR: Marantz SR5005 | BD: Panasonic BDT-210 | CD/SACD: Oppo 980 |
    Amps: Rotel RB-990bx | Marantz MA-500 | Speakers: Totem Mite : Totem Mite-C : RC60i | Sub: HSU VTF-2 MKIV

    HK AVR635 | Polk R30 | Sony DVD/SACD Player

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