Up here in the rarefied air of S&V World Headquarters - as we plot world domination, drink our lattés, and await the next $10,000 or $20,000 suite of loudspeakers submitted for our approval (or otherwise) - it can be all too easy to forget what most Americans actually consider to be "a whole lot of money." For example, 1,800 samolians: the amount that Polk demands for the RTi A Series speakers under review here.
The Polks' basic appearance is simple but attractive, with nothing cheap-looking about their smoothly curving real-wood finishes (vinyl for the subwoofer) or knit grilles. The RTi A3 bookshelf speakers and the CSi A4 center channel are straightforward two-ways. Ditto the FXi A4 surrounds, which add a second tweeter to qualify - barely - for dipole/bipole status. The DSW Pro Series 500 sub is fairly large for a 10-incher, rather heavy, and surprisingly full-featured, given its modest price.
I placed the Polk RTi A3 front speakers on adjustable stands flanking my 52-inch Samsung TV, the CSi A4 center on a low stand at its bottom edge, and the FXi A4 surrounds on high shelves astride the listening position. The DSW Pro 500 went in my layout's customary subwoofer location, to the left and behind the front left speaker, with my preamp/processor's sub output connected to its unfiltered LFE input.
All of the Polk satellites include wall-hanging facilities, and the dual-ported A3's rear vents incorporate a nifty wall-standoff/turbulence-reducer that Polk calls a PowerPort. But I can't recommend wall-mounting for the front trio of speakers: When I listened to them with my stands set right against the wall, the sound was excessively warm and bass-heavy - precisely what you'd expect from a midsized two-way so located. Moving the A3 pair (and the CSi A4) roughly 3 feet out from the wall made a dramatic improvement.
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