Finally drove the hour to the nearest Fry's (the only place in Portland area with the full Polk lineup).
First, Fry's did have a dedicated listening room of just Polk's. Second, it was being powered off I believe an HK 85 watt/channel AVR.
I started by bringing in Joe Jackson's Body and Soul cd. For those who don't know the entire album was recorded in a sound hall using minimal miking. I consider it to be an excellent choice of testing depth, imaging and frequencies.
I began by listening to the RTi6, as it sounds very close to my Celestion SL6si with a deeper low end. I then switched to the LSi7. The first thing I noticed was a volume drop. The 6 Ohm load did have a small but noticeable impact. The 7's bring forth a deeper sound stage and a lower bass. Jackson's voice was less harsh and warmer.
The LSi9 were next. Another drop in volume was obvious. As has been stated before, as good as Hk is, a dedicated quality amp is needed to drive the 9's. It sounded like the speeakers were tying to play through a curtain. In comparison to the 7's the extra drive does add detail and avoids the roll off of certain frequency points. The depth and instrument placement was muddled. Only during a solo piano passage did the 9's exhibit the true quality they are known for.
Next, I asked to switch to the RTi8, which were placed much farther apart than the 9's. The first thing i noticed was the brightness. not overbearing by any means, but forward for sure. The 8 ohm load allowed the HK to make these cabinets sing! The soundstage was huge. instruments came from all over the room. I imagine this is what both the 9's, 7's would sound like with a quality separate amp like Adcom, etc.. The highs did have a tendency to dominate the mid frequencies a bit. Turning down the treble a bit I imagine would assist in masking this flaw.
Continuing forth, I turned to the RTi10's. The 10's give a fuller low end with a bit more detail. But I suspect that they are truer to being a 6 ohm than an 8, as they suffer from the same volume drop.
I switched back and forth several times over the first five songs of "Body and Soul". my final thoughts for choosing my new speakers are these:
if I want to truly enjoy the LSi's or the RTi10's, my HK AVR 75 receiver needs to become a preamp. This was something I was hoping to avoid. Second, i need to return to Fry's when I have a good 90 min. with a compilation CD of all types of music. Third, I must make sure that my salesperson, Roy, is around, his patience in repeating track sections and understanding that with me, the less said, the better. Fourth, the stain cherry finish on the RTi8's is absolutely gorgeous. The best looking piece of speaker cabinets this side of the Tyler Acoustics. The cherry veneer on the LSi's look downright fake in comparison, though i know they are not.
Ok, everyone. Agree, Disagree.