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  1. #1

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    Default Are newer speakers a better value than they used to be?

    Not sure if my thread title makes sense or not. It's a question coming from a guy who hasn't looked at new speakers in over ten years (see my signature). If I remember correctly, I spent between $1500-$2000 on my complete speaker setup. I picked Polk's RT series because I thought they were the best value at the time.

    Would it be your opinion that speakers in this price range have gotten significantly better in the past decade, or do you feel that the speaker quality/components have gotten worse to save money (just like many other things in the marketplace). And I'm not specifically talking about Polk either - just speakers in general.

    I know the obvious answer is to go to the store and take a listen, but I wanted to ask the opinion of some of you who keep up with the current technologies/speakers on a regular basis. Plus, I'm not sure that I could tell a real difference unless I brought speakers home and tried them side-by-side.

    The reason I'm asking is that probably sometime in the next few years I'm going to want something new/better. Will I be able to get something significantly better for that same $1500 price point, or should I stick with what I have because "they don't build them like they used to"? ;)
    Front: Polk RT800
    Center: Polk CS400
    Rear: Polk f/x500
    Sub: Polk PSW100
    Receiver: Yamaha RX-V595a
    TV: Panasonic 54" Plasma TC-P54S1
    Blu-ray: Panasonic DMP-BD605
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  2. #2

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    Polk has always done a great job at building value into their speakers while doing their best to retain the quality for which they have been known. I am quite partial to the SDA Signature speakers, but have experience with some of the more modern designs. IMHO, the SDA experience is still vastly better than the newer stuff, but as others have pointed out, they would cost more than three times the cost of the newer designs to build today.

    You have done well with the RT's however as I believe to get better performance you would still need to double your investment and at that the improvements would be subtle at best.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  3. #3

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    That's a really good question and I'm not sure....John picks up an interesting point above...Let's compare Monitor 30-70s and their successors Tsi100s-500s to the Classic Polk Monitror 5s, 7s, 10s, etc.

    What do people think? Don't most people here prefer the vintage speaker?

    And what about SDAs in relation to the new Rti and Lsi series?

    Well, there's your POLL....let the voting begin??

    cnh

  4. #4

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    I agree, there have been so many trial & error tests etc...with older speakers that its easier to figure out what sounds good with them, not to mention the mods and tweaks.
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  5. #5

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    None of the newer speakers come close to the SDA SRS line. They were the pinnacle of Polk 2 channel speakers. I like the older line of RT speakers. I still have them and they sound excellent for HT but that is what they were made for. I think a major jump from them would be the Lsi series but like John pointed out you will spend much more money to hear the difference. Not only would you have to invest in the speakers but also 4 ohm amps to power them which adds to the cost. I would stick with the RT's and enjoy them unless a killer deal falls in your lap. I would not waste my money upgrading from Polk RT's for HT use with newer speakers. I got lucky finding my Lsi setup. If I didn't land the Lsi setup, I was more than happy to stick with my RT setup for movies.
    Polk HT system 1: LSIC, LSI25 mains, LSI F/X rears, Lsi F/X rear centers,
    Yamaha RX-V2500 System, Sunfire grand 5 channel, Carver A753 3 channel amp.

    Polk HT system 2: ,Polk CS1000 center, Polk cs400rear center, Polk RT800 mains stacked with RT55's, Polk F/X 1000 rears running on a Yamaha RX-V2200

    Polk Speaker collection: SDA SRS 1.2tl x 2, SRT system, SDA SRS 2 P/B, SDA 2A, SDA 1C Studio, SDA CRS+, Monitor 12 series 2, 7B & 4, SRS 3.1tl, RTA 15tl, LS90

  6. #6

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    From what i have seen the change largely has been a move from 1 or 2 large drivers to many smaller drivers. (not counting the SDAs)

    And to me the change has been positive, I think many small drivers do a better job at detailed sound.

    Price/performance ratio has not changed much on the MID-FI to HI-FI speakers if you ask me, it coast a **** ton today and it was ditto back then from what others have said lol

    How ever on the low end, the low end has improved drastically. HTIBs are much better today then they were even a few years ago.

    As to weather modern speakers are a better value, the used market is the used market.

    Its a better value because the buyer more so then the seller gets to pick the price in a used market so its to the buyers advantage to shop used i think.

    As to monitor vs TSI speakers that not that much a jump in price (new) or performance or for that matter any thing really. Its in large part the same speaker I don't think that counts as modern speaker vs old IMO.
    Last edited by MANSKITO; 01-20-2010 at 01:00 AM.

  7. #7

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    Just a small correction the Original Monitor line was not the current one.....M50s-70s are 21st century tech...as are the tsis.

    The comparison is to the Original Monitor speaker of the 1980s and before....the 4s, 5s, 7s, 10s, 12s and on...take a look at the vintage link up above to view them...

    sorry for the confusion.

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 01-20-2010 at 01:08 AM.

  8. #8

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    Generally speaking, when it comes to technology, and speakers are technology, newer is usually better than older. Of course, this means a speaker engineered with new driver designs, new cross-over designs, new cabinet design, etc. Not old technology assembled yesterday, and sold as new today.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all of the feedback so far. What I'm hearing is that there is not a night & day difference between 1995 and 2010 speakers if I decided to stay within the same price range. If I was looking to upgrade my system, I'd have to upgrade to the next level (price) up, not just get newer technology in the same price grade.
    Front: Polk RT800
    Center: Polk CS400
    Rear: Polk f/x500
    Sub: Polk PSW100
    Receiver: Yamaha RX-V595a
    TV: Panasonic 54" Plasma TC-P54S1
    Blu-ray: Panasonic DMP-BD605
    PS2 & Wii

  10. #10

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    ...therefore, I might want to go the route of looking at some used speakers if I want to upgrade without breaking the bank. I have no problem with that. That's what I typically do with golf clubs, too. Why spend $300 on a new driver when I can get a two year old model for $100? It's still better than my old golf clubs from 1998. :)
    Front: Polk RT800
    Center: Polk CS400
    Rear: Polk f/x500
    Sub: Polk PSW100
    Receiver: Yamaha RX-V595a
    TV: Panasonic 54" Plasma TC-P54S1
    Blu-ray: Panasonic DMP-BD605
    PS2 & Wii

  11. #11

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    I haven't seen any current Polks that hold a candle to the SDAs of yore.....
    TNRabbit
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNRabbit View Post
    I haven't seen any current Polks that hold a candle to the SDAs of yore.....
    +1 to this.
    I don't read the newsssspaperssss because dey aaaallllllllll...... have ugly print.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNRabbit View Post
    I haven't seen any current Polks that hold a candle to the SDAs of yore.....
    Assuming you could find a pair used - what would be a ballpark price? I've heard them mentioned quite a few times, but never looked for them....

  14. #14

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    It depends on what model you are talking about and what variation. You can spend anywhere from two thousand dollars for SRS 1.2tl's to two hundred dollars for SDA 2B's. There is much to learn about the darkside young Jedi.:D
    Polk HT system 1: LSIC, LSI25 mains, LSI F/X rears, Lsi F/X rear centers,
    Yamaha RX-V2500 System, Sunfire grand 5 channel, Carver A753 3 channel amp.

    Polk HT system 2: ,Polk CS1000 center, Polk cs400rear center, Polk RT800 mains stacked with RT55's, Polk F/X 1000 rears running on a Yamaha RX-V2200

    Polk Speaker collection: SDA SRS 1.2tl x 2, SRT system, SDA SRS 2 P/B, SDA 2A, SDA 1C Studio, SDA CRS+, Monitor 12 series 2, 7B & 4, SRS 3.1tl, RTA 15tl, LS90

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by MANSKITO View Post
    From what i have seen the change largely has been a move from 1 or 2 large drivers to many smaller drivers. (not counting the SDAs)

    And to me the change has been positive, I think many small drivers do a better job at detailed sound.

    The sound may be a bit more detailed but the sound of everything from midbass down is lost and must be spilled off to a subwoofer to pick up the slack. This is where the newer(LSi's) fail for me. For my ear, an array of smaller drivers (6.5 midbass) and a large passive radiator do a much more effective job of filling a room with an accurate soundstage that is both detailed and warm. Vinyl and a great amp only complete the image.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNRabbit View Post
    I haven't seen any current Polks that hold a candle to the SDAs of yore.....
    Polk needs to step there game up.

  17. #17

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    Are newer speakers a better value than they used to be?
    Nope.
    all the best,
    mrh

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