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  1. #1

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    Default RT55i vs. SDA 1C (kicking nuts II)

    OK I was at the local Circuit City and found a pair of 55i's and a 400i center open box, picked them up.

    I have been listening back and forth between the 1C's and the 55i's. Looking for the magical midrange everyone was talking about in the RTi line, how it was cleaner smoother more presence and whatever else was given to these speakers (reference the kicking SDA's in the nuts).

    I like the RT55i's alright, but I don't find the muddy midrange that lacks definition on the 1C's, in fact it was very clean and pleasant.

    So here is my thoughts on how somebody might "Think" the 55's have better, cleaner mid-range, lack of bass in the 55's

    I am sure this just pissed off a few owners of the RT55i, but what I am saying is if you don't have the bottom end (guys we are talking about a bookshelf speaker here) and the midrange is there naked it might be you "Think" it is cleaner and better.

    Wanted to start an interesting thread, this the best I could do, if you don't like this I have a few subwoofer connection questions.
    Last edited by hoosier21; 01-30-2002 at 10:34 AM.
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
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    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hey Russ,

    I agree. The blue drivers (i-series) just don't seem as warm and friendly as the old SDA & Monitor series. I have the CS400i, RT25i, and FX500i and all seem a little too crisp-like. In short, it sounds like I'm listening to plastic woofers - which, I am. The older SDA models sound more pleasant. Its difficult to describe exactly; but, they just sound warmer.

    I don't know what polk did to make the old paper-coated driver so bass friendly; but, those old paper drivers can crank out deep powerful bass. The newer series (RTi) just isn't in the same league.

    Ron

  3. #3

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    Default Ok now....

    Take 2 of those coated paper drivers and put em in a small cab without a pr, and the bass disappears. At least with the experience I have had with the mini-monitor and the monitor 6.

    Now, I need some SDA insight, I see a pair of CRS's on ebay, literally a stones throw from where I live. What is a fair price, and what would be a really good deal? Just looking at an chance to experience the SDA hoopla on my own.

    SDA CRS

    Cheers,
    Russ
    Last edited by RuSsMaN; 01-30-2002 at 10:30 AM.

  4. #4

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    Default my .02

    my experience with the 55i's is limited but I don't think they are the last word in definition and clarity.....however I have done a direct A/B with the Monitor 7 and my RT7's. I found, using the same equipment that the the Monitor did go lower than the RT7. However the midrange clarity of the RT7 is hands down better than the Monitor. Yes the Monitor did have a warmer sound but it was less spacious, open and airy. At least that is my opinion. Not saying that the Monitor was a bad sounding speaker, that's not the case. However I think that if the consensus was that the old drivers are better than the current ones, they would probably go back to them.

    Troy
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  5. #5

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    Default how much $$

    Russ

    Those are the older version of the CRS some like them more than the "+" version. SDA's on Ebay are hit and miss, sometimes really cheap and sometimes really high, if you can pick those up and they are in great shape and the stands incl. fair = 400.00 Deal less than 350.00
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
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    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  6. #6

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    Default

    Cool, I'm still looking at some LS70's from the flea market earlier this week, we shall see what pans out.

    Cheers,
    Russ

  7. #7

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    Default

    I always wanted to hear the LS90 and LS70, what I really want to check out are the RTS15tl's
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
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    ADS 1230 - Polk SDA 2B
    DIY Stereo Subwoofer towers w/(4) 12 drivers each
    Crown K1 - Subwoofer amp
    Outlaw ICBM - crossover
    Beringher BFD - sub eq

    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  8. #8
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    next time your visiting indiana russ stop in.

    scott [IMG]file:///C:/My%20Documents/My%20Pictures/MVC-026S.jpg[/IMG]

  9. #9

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    Default

    Scott watch your links to your hard drive.
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
    Monarchy Audio SE100 Delux - mono power amps
    Sony DVP-NS999ES - SACD player
    ADS 1230 - Polk SDA 2B
    DIY Stereo Subwoofer towers w/(4) 12 drivers each
    Crown K1 - Subwoofer amp
    Outlaw ICBM - crossover
    Beringher BFD - sub eq

    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  10. #10

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    Default Man

    That's his trademark now, becoming a regular event....;)

  11. #11

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    Angry If You Kick SDA's In The Nutz, They Shoot Back

    1991 marked the end of Polk's foray into the "high end". They decided it was more economically prudent to go the mass market (e.g. Circuit City) route. Not knockin' their decision. You gotta do what you gotta do.

    Plain and simple, the stuff made after 1991 is not for the "high definition" audio enthusiast. Polk backhandedly admits this by stating that the new LSi line is aimed at the "critical listener".

    I have a pair of RT55i's, as well as five pairs of SDA's. Sadly enough, a lot of people who have purchased SDA's strangle them by hooking them up to low powered receivers. The manual of every SDA plainly states that "amplifiers that do not have excessive current limiting and that are comfortable driving low impedances" work best. I do not think most receivers meet these criteria.

    More later. Gotta go to a meeting.
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 01-30-2002 at 07:19 PM.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  12. #12

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    Default SDA effect aside.....

    My experience with SDA is almost non-existent so I can't comment on that but this is what I think....If you take any SDA speaker, minus the SDA effect, you have a larger Monitor series speaker. At least from what I have seen. Not knocking them mind you, but in terms of sound quality, I will stack the RT line against a comparable Monitor series speaker. Like Russ said, if you take a 6.5" driver out of a Monitor or SDA and stick it in a comparable RT speaker, the performance would be less.....

    Again, without dragging out another SDA debate, I still believe that if there was a viable market for them, they would still make them.

    Troy
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  13. #13

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    Default

    Russman,
    Psst. The CRS's. Don't tell everyone else but they are a lot more fun to listen to.
    madmax

  14. #14

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    Default hmmm

    Perhaps there's an element that I've been overlooking here. Maybe along with the purchase of a pair of SDA's, Polk gave its customers a lifetime, transferable supply of reefer to use while listening to their speakers. That would explain a lot!!

    Aaron

  15. #15

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    Default

    Why do you think they made the boxes so big?
    madmax

  16. #16

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    Default Speaking of big boxes.....

    ...anyone have a cutaway view of an SDA? What kind of bracing is used inside? I am curious if they used any 'folding' inside between the active drivers and the pr. Not like a folded horn, but similar.

    Tell me they aren't just big empty coffins.

    Cheers,
    Russ

  17. #17

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    Default

    They are not empty coffins at all. The only ones I had apart were the 1.2's and each driver had it's own open backed square and each square opened up to the cab volume with a very large space behind the PR.
    madmax

  18. #18
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    Russman,

    I bought my CRS+'s from Hoosier for $400 with stands.
    Like Russ said, $400 is a fair price for a really good complete set of speakers.

    Be CAREFUL. Often times, those old SL2000's aren't working - or, working properly. Seeing that is the CRS (no plus) model, you have 4 tweets to worry about vs. 2.

    In short, I would highly recommend listening to the speakers at moderate volumes BEFORE laying out the cash. Good advice - take it.

    Good Luck. The old CRS is a magical speaker design.
    Make certain that you place them a 12-14" away from a back wall - squarely.

    Ron

  19. #19

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    Wink Me Again (A Real SDA Cultist)

    If you take apart an SDA and look at the crossover components then compare them to the wimpy, cheap(er) components used in the crossovers of the RT55i, you might gain some insight into the sonic differences. There are other contributing factors also, like edge wound voice coils and cone material. Matthew Polk has published some excellent white papers on SDA technology and construction.

    @madmax001: for big bass you need a big box or a long excursion woofer. It's cheaper to do the big box. And besides, a big box makes a more impressive statement in an audiophile's listening/viewing room.

    @hoosier21
    I like the RT55i's alright, but I don't find the muddy midrange that lacks definition on the 1C's, in fact it was very clean and pleasant.
    I didn't find the muddy midrange either, Russ. Maybe the people who are experiencing these horrible sonic aberrations with thier SDA's don't know that they require a clean high-current amp (200 watts/channel or better) to switch them out of "sleep mode". 50, 70, and 100 watt receivers just won't cut it. I have always marveled at people who spend over $3000 on a pair of speakers over five feet tall and them hook them up to a 70 watt Aiwa receiver: "Well, Matthew Polk said in the specs that they would work with a 20 watt receiver, and mine is over three times that, so what's the problem?":D

    It's difficult to discuss this topic with those who do not have any personal, VALID, experience with SDA's. By valid I mean SDA's set up with an appropriate amplifier, good source material, and good source components. It's like trying to discuss the smoothness, aroma, and taste of fine wine to someone accoustomed only to Welch's grape juice. ;)

    @Justin:

    Can we SDA cultists have our own forum so we can discuss topics pertaining to our passion without the misinformed musings of those who can't possibly get it?
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  20. #20

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    Default HMMM.....

    OK, so you are saying that the drivers and crossovers on the SDA's are not the same ones used in the Monitor series? It seems to me that in the parts catalog that you see an awful lot of the similar parts numbers on the Monitor and SDA series.

    I'm certainly not saying that SDA's or Monitors weren't great speakers but even Paul has admitted that they had shortcomings. Also, and I don't put much stock in this because I feel that most audiophiles are self indulgent snobs, but you have to admit it, the vast majority of the audophile community panned the SDA's as a gimmick. Very similiar to the Sonic Holography cultists.

    You are right though, what the hell would we know though we are just uneducated and misinformed. ;)

    Troy
    Last edited by TroyD; 01-30-2002 at 03:49 PM.
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  21. #21

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    Default Now thats just wrong...

    You have a problem with others discussing SDA? I love the elitist attitude.

    NEWS FLASH - SDA speakers are far from the be-all end-all in speaker design.

    Good crossovers? Why did you choose to upgrade yours as you stated in the system showcase? /end of attack on raife1/

    Have I heard SDA's? No, I haven't. Given ANY opprotunity, I will, but how does a 'non cultist' person view these speakers on the surface?

    Big, bulky speakers, consisting of mediocre drivers at best, and using a very gimmicky interconnect which appears for all intents and purposes to partially nullify stereo seperation, almost as a bastardized bipole affect.

    If this technology was so effing great, how come no one has reproduced it, or done something similar? If they sounded better than all other speakers (as some,not ALL sda owners portray), why aren't they made today? Why was their lifespan so short?

    Are they a piece of history, sure, a collectors item, to some, yeah..... but this crap that SOME sda owners spit out of their mouths has got to stop. A good friend of mine has american made Thiels that will wipe their butt with SDA all day long, but that doesn't mean we need to all rush out and get Thiel either.

    Some of you guys, notice I keep saying 'some', make it real hard to get an objective opinion on these speakers, I have yet to hear SOME SDA owners find a single fault with their speakers.

    Sorry for the rant, but putting down other peoples gear (even indirectly), and accepting your own opinions as facts is bull****. And I quit smoking yesterday so I'm totally wheels-off right now.....

    Cheers,
    RusSDA
    Last edited by RuSsMaN; 01-30-2002 at 05:53 PM.

  22. #22

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    Default

    Quit smoking, great for you Russman, I need to, you would think that having to smoke outside here at work, at home, ect. would give a guy a hint but noooo sir I can go out in 19 deg weather..

    Anyway good luck.

    (notice I ignored the flamethrowing****storm above :D peace be with you my bothers)
    Dodd - Battery Preamp
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    Sony DVP-NS999ES - SACD player
    ADS 1230 - Polk SDA 2B
    DIY Stereo Subwoofer towers w/(4) 12 drivers each
    Crown K1 - Subwoofer amp
    Outlaw ICBM - crossover
    Beringher BFD - sub eq

    Where is the remote? Where is the $%#$% remote!

    "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..."

  23. #23

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    Default Russ

    Good on ya brotha! Just think all that cash you save could go for audio purchases......couple bucks a day adds up.

    And i agree 100% with what you said. I ain't knockin' anyone else's gear or insulting thier intelligence, I expect the same courtesy.

    Troy
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  24. #24
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    100% troy and russman. ive not been a saint in and out of the forum, but to say that the rest of us are misinformed is wrong.i have owned a pair of 2.3's and the infamues pair of sda 2b's
    the sda effect is way overblown in my opinion.the monitor 10
    series 2 speakers that ron got from me sounded every bit a good as the sda 2b's i had my opinion.

    scott

  25. #25

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    Talking This IS the opinion forum, right?

    Naive Little SDA Cultist-"Um, excuse me Mr. Justin, which way to the "Your Opinion" forum?"

    Mr. Justin-"That way, but swim carefully, the sharks are everywhere!"
    ---------------
    @ hoosier21: Russ, why do they always get so upset when we talk about "our" speakers? At least we've heard "theirs" and have some valid basis for comparison.

    @ RusSMaN: Thank you for your insightful and well-reasoned comments. Since you took the time to provide such a cogent, thoughtful response to my post, the least I can do is try to give an equally cogent and thoughtful answer. :D
    You have a problem with others discussing SDA? I love the elitist attitude.
    Hell no. No pribblim a'tall. I am constantly amused at people who form opinions with no comparative data. Keep it comin'.
    NEWS FLASH - SDA speakers are far from the be-all end-all in speaker design.
    100% agreement on that. It's all subjective anyway. No one can speak for someone else's ears. If some audiophile says their AM radio speakers sound better to their ears than my 1.2TL's, then I'd be a fool to argue.
    Good crossovers? Why did you choose to upgrade yours as you stated in the system showcase? /end of attack on raife1/
    Awwwwww c'mon now. Even when it's as good as it can get, there's always room for improvement. There's always a better part/component/whatever to be had. The mods I did provide small, but noticeable improvements in certain aspects of the sound.
    Have I heard SDA's? No, I haven't. Given ANY opprotunity, I will, but how does a 'non cultist' person view these speakers on the surface?
    I'll have to depend on the (mis/non)informed opinions of "non cultists" to help me on this one. There are plenty of those floating around the forum.
    Big, bulky speakers, consisting of mediocre drivers at best, and using a very gimmicky interconnect which appears for all intents and purposes to partially nullify stereo seperation, almost as a bastardized bipole affect.
    That ain't nuthin' butt Sour Grapes. How would you know they are mediocre drivers? Didn't you say you never, ever, heard 'em? Where's Julian Hirsch when you need him? Juliannnnnn!
    If this technology was so effing great, how come no one has reproduced it, or done something similar? If they sounded better than all other speakers (as some,not ALL sda owners portray), why aren't they made today? Why was their lifespan so short?
    Gee willikers, I really don't know why Matt & Co. stopped the production of such a superlative (again, just my opinion) product. I'd sure like to know that myself. I can only speculate, but I think it had something to do with more coin potential in the mass market stuff. Congrats to Matt & Co. on their excellent marketing strategy. Other companies, who weren't so savvy, went way out of business.:(
    Are they a piece of history, sure, a collectors item, to some, yeah..... but this crap that SOME sda owners spit out of their mouths has got to stop. A good friend of mine has american made Thiels that will wipe their butt with SDA all day long, but that doesn't mean we need to all rush out and get Thiel either.
    What crap? Thiels are a very fine speaker. As are Dunlavy's, Kef's, and a host of others (that I have personally auditioned). Like I said, it's all subjective. We cultists certainly don't mean to project any sense of superiority of our SDA's. When we gush about the sonic merits of our "pets", all we're doing is describing what they do for us. Most of the time, we're talking to other cultists, anyway. Are better speakers around? Absolutely!!! However, I have reached the threshold of diminishing returns. Sure, I could pay 15 grand for a pair of Theil 7.2's. I'd be paying a lot more for an incremental (again, to my ears) increase in performance. You gotta stay focused and stay off the "lunatic fringes" of audio. One of the things we cultists like about our SDA's (and other Polks) is the high price/performance ratio.
    Some of you guys, notice I keep saying 'some', make it real hard to get an objective opinion on these speakers, I have yet to hear SOME SDAs owner find a single fault with their speakers.
    By your own admission, you also have yet to hear a pair of properly set up SDA's playing appropriate, well-recorded source material. Anyway, lem'me make your friggin' day: Fault 1: The grille cloths are too thick and have a very subtle, though noticeable effect on the sound. Replacement with a thinner, silker, higher grade of knit fabric solves the "problem". For all you tweak minded cultists, hold the stock grilles up to the light and see how much light is obscured. A better grade knit fabric will allow more light (and more sound) through. Dang, I forgot to mention that mod in my System Showcase entry. Justinnnnnnnnnnnnn! C'mon, make a little edit to my Showcase entry. Fault 2: All SDA's prior to the "TL" models had a 5 db tweeter resonance peak at 13,000 Hz. This added a measure of brightness that some people liked and some people loathed. It didn't bother me one way or the other. There are other (minor) faults too, I mean, nothing is perfect, but we cultists prefer to air our dirty laundry within the family.
    Sorry for the rant, but putting down other peoples gear (even indirectly), and accepting your own opinions as facts is bull****.
    It's just audio gear, RusSMaN. To each his own.
    And I quit smoking yesterday so I'm totally wheels-off right now.....
    Congrats. What were you smoking?:D
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 01-30-2002 at 08:29 PM.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    Talking At last, a logical response from a non cultist.

    Before I go home:

    Hey TroyD, Hi Ya Doin':
    Also, and I don't put much stock in this because I feel that most audiophiles are self indulgent snobs
    Yeah, maybe. Certainly the ones who buy $100,000 speakers, $60,000 amps, and $10,000 speaker cables. And for what? To listen to today's poorly recorded music! I'm certainly an audiophile. Self indulgent? Sometimes. As my meager finances allow. Snob? Never. I can only speak for myself. I have not met or corresponded with a large enough and statistically significant sample of audiophiles that would justify me saying that "most" of us are like that. I appreciate your opinion though.
    but you have to admit it, the vast majority of the audophile community panned the SDA's as a gimmick.
    Seems I remember from my elementary history class that, at one time, the "vast majority" or at least a statistically significant sample of the world's population thought the earth was flat and that the sun revolved the earth. Some believed it so fervently that an opinion to the contray was punishble by death, or at least by a little time on the "rack". Nuff said.

    On a more serious note: Quite a few of my musician friends purchased SDA's and good quality stereo systems after hearing my SDA's. These were people who previously had no interest in audio because the sound of most systems they had heard were so disappointing compared to the live music they listened to and played daily. They (and I) were attracted to the SDA's more natural (to our ears) presentation of acoustic (Jazz) music, and the wonderful, lifelike imaging qualities. For avid listeners of highly processed rock and pop music, the unique sonic attributes of SDA's are not going to be as readily apparent.

    I love these slow days at work. Gives me time to stay in touch with all my rabid, self-indulgent, snobbish, audiophile f(r)iends.
    :p
    Private Message to hoosier21:
    The SDA Cultist Council has warned you repeatedly about antagonizing our non-SDA brethren with your fiendish comparisons of SDA's to the "other stuff". If you persist, we might have to send a "team" to your house to pick up all your SDA's and put them on Ebay, where they'll all be sold dirt cheap to senior citizens who are looking for "a nice pair of speakers to go with their 30 watt receivers".-Darth Raife;)
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 01-30-2002 at 07:41 PM.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  27. #27

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    Russman,
    Congrats on quitting!!! I quit last year and so far I am $1500 in the plus that I can use to buy more SDA's with.
    :D
    In my honest opinion I think the SDA's are as good a compromise as it gets. The better qualities of many other speakers are great! I wouldn't trade though. The SDA effect only widens the soundstage. It would be nice if it were equally as deep as some of the other great speakers are. Except for the lowest bass response and some overall peak db level the largest SDA sounds just like the little CRS. I have a pair of several models and there is very little difference. (Great design tecniques I guess?) B&W is the same in that respect. As for the SDA's, I plan on being buried in one of mine. I have a few extra in case I marry a nagging wife.
    madmax

    BTW, I bought most of my electronics first and auditioned many speaker models over a few years before I made my choice. I finally bought into it when I found a pair of 1.2's. I played them for over two years and had decided it was a mistake. After setting up my listening room a different way by dumb luck I stumbled into a good setup. They came alive! Within the next six months I went ahead and bought two more sets (another pair like the 1.2's and a pair of 1C's) to finish up the HT. I was on a buying spree so I went ahead and got a pair of 2.3TL's for the bedroom and a pair of CRS to play with. I had plenty of cash saved up in anticipation for the ultimate setup. I think I found it and had plenty left over. (the reefer was an added bonus).

  28. #28
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    Scott,

    The Monitor 10 series 2 that I got from you were definitely ok with the aftermarket el-cheapo drivers. I put new Polk drivers in them just for the hell of it. It was an improvement in the sound - not a phenominal improvement; but, it was a significant improvement. I really don't like the plastic dome tweeter in that particular Monitor 10. But, hey, it works and its original... so, it stays.

    Now, the CRS+'s that I bought from Russ (hoosier21) are in the same room as the Monitor 10's - powered from the same 85wpc yamaha receiver (ya, I know guys... but, $$$ is limited). Anyway, the CRS+ absolutely blows away the restored Monitor 10's. The bass is fuller, cleaner, and tighter. The CRS's image phenominally - better than any other SDA (dare I say). Also, the SL2000 tweeter in the CRS's are superior to the SL2500 in the Monitor 10 series 2.

    Now to my pride and joy... my SRS-SDA-3.1TL's that I bought brand spank'n new 10 years ago. They are properly powered by an excellent 250wpc amp and clean balanced pre-amp from a reasonably mid-to-high digital source (DVD-A player). This setup kicks ass. But, its not Thiel. I like Thiel. I'm an SDA enthusiast and I have to say that Thiel is much, much better. I'd trade my 3.1TL's in a heartbeat for a set of Thiel3.6's or better.

    I once owned the 2b's also. I traded up for the 3.1's. I agree with Scott... the 2b's sound an awful lot like the Monitor 10's. They don't sound ANYTHING like the CRS+'s though. Trust me on this one.

    Ron

  29. #29

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    Default Thank

    For those that posted a meaningful response, thanks.

    Others, the retort was about as it was expected to be, thanks for playing.

    Cheers,
    Russ

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    Default Russ

    No comment on the stellar tweeter frequency response?

    Aaron

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