Polk Audio RT5 Floorstanding Speakers

RT5

User Reviews (17)

Showing 1-10 of 17  
brigrizzme   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 18, 2003]
Strength:

Clarity, warm sound, flat response, nice bass for such a compact speaker, great for Jazz music and acoustics. Rubber instead of foam surrounds.

Weakness:

Durability. They are nice when they are working.

I would first like to state that I have always been a huge POLK AUDIO fan. I am very impressed with the sound quality of every speaker in the Reference Theater line. I purchased these speaker new in 1997 because of the way they represented brass in Jazz music. I thoroughly enjoyed their sound until one of my drivers froze. I knew it could be replaced so I set up a time to take it to my Polk retailer for repair. This is about the time the tweeter in my other RT-5 stopped working. I never over or under power my speakers. The warranty that came with the speakers covered the repair but I was without music for 2 weeks. I suggest owning a pair of these speakers only if you have another pair for reserve.

Similar Products Used: KEF K140, Klipsch KG5.5, Polk RT-16, Klipsch Quartet. -All powered with the same Adcom GFA 545 that the RT-5's were powered with.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
4
Philip Canard   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 02, 2002]
Strength:

The sound! Also has better build quality than the price would suggest.

Weakness:

None at this price point. These are NOT the best you can get if you can spend twice their price or more (Try the Vandersteen 1C). These are for value-minded people, not the well-heeled that can afford the best.

These aren't the world's best speaker, they are just the best speakers in the world at their price, at least as far as I have heard. They have a lot more going for them than just their "bang for the buck": easy to find on the used market (including the upgraded models RT35 and RT38i), made well enough to last a long time, very efficient which means they are a good match for low-powered tube amps, fairly good looking, good warranty support if you buy new, dealers everywhere, and easy to resell later. I have used them with a B&K ST-202+, Heathkit W5M, and am now using them with my Conrad-Johnson MF2250 while my new VMPS speaker kit is being put together. I especially like them with the Heathkit tube amp. The Conrad-Johnson really brings out the best in them, but a $2295 retail amp is too much for these little things. I found that they do not sound their best until broken in for several days, even weeks. The break in process had to be repeated after I let them sit in storage for 2 years after my last move. I will probably upgrade the crossover capacitor on the tweeter after my VMPS speakers are built in the next couple of weeks. They work best in a smaller room. I am using mine in the bedroom right now, and the balance is about right. They can sound midrange forward in a larger room, as the bass will be a bit lightweight. The bass is tight, however, with very good definition for this price range. They are perhaps the best audio purchase for the money that I ever made. The perfect loudspeaker for value-minded collectors of low powered vintage tube amps of less than 50 watts that want a compact monitor style loudspeaker that is efficient and mates very well with tubes.

Similar Products Used: Some small monitor speakers I built myself for about $200. Not as good overall. You usually get a better deal by buying used in mint condition than building yourself from new components.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Hal Welch   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 29, 2000]
Strength:

Great Sound, Well Built, Bang for the Buck

I picked up a pair of these fine speakers from Circuit City
Scratch & dent sale for 69.00 each(speakers looked perfect).
I am driving them with an old Onkyo Amp 50 watts per channel
(A8150) they sound warm and lively and impressive bass for their size. I have the speakers in a small room on 36" stands. very impressed for the sound vs the value.

Similar Products Used: Klipsch KG2
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Nazri   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 20, 1999]

HiI posted my review below previously. I would like to make extra comments.
After upgrading my speaker cable to a very transparent Kimber 4TC, the weakness of RT5 was revealed.
Clarity is good. Sonic balance is not good, the midrange is noticeably much too forwarded whilst the bass and highs are balanced. I would rate the speakers as BRIGHT (I compared with my older RTA8 which are warmer but slopier bass)
Soprano vocals like Celine Dion and Mariah would be piercing the ears when they scream at a slightly higher volume. At times, the speakers could sound a little boxy, maybe because of some resonance.

Overall, the speakers produce flat response except on the midrange. I would rate overall 4 stars and give this one a 3 stars because i previously rated 5 :)

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Jeff Smit   an Audiophile [Jul 02, 1998]

I recently got these as a surround speaker for my home theater. I use 2 pairs. I tried them for Music and they are just fantastic, they provided everything I expected from a mid-priced Bookshelf speaker. For Home Theater they are pretty good but the bass is not anywhere near satisfying. The Vocals however are very clear. The highs were not perfect but were very detailed and weren't over emphasized.
To Ronzo, I don't know what the HELL you're thinking. You may not like the Polk RT5's but to compare it to JBL is a shame. The JBL HLS610's have over emphasized highs and the horn's are not controlable they just throw sound everywhere and that is not what a horn is meant to do. A horn is only meant to spread sound over a wide area not to throw it up down left and right. JBL is great in the theater but when it comes to home they just aren't that good . Klipsch makes alot better horn speakers and they actually put time into making them. JBL only has 1 line of good horn speakers and those are the SVA Series and those have over emphasized highs BUT the sound is controlled and they are meant to be hidden behind a screen since screens do take away treble.

All in all the RT5 is a very good speaker for Surround Applications but if you want it as your main speaker than go for the RT400p as it is a floor standing speaker with very good inner cabinet structure.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Mike Johnston   an Audiophile [Jul 05, 1998]

I just bought a pair of RT5 speakers home from Circuit City to try them in my own (music-listening, two-speaker) office system. I find them bright, despite the fact that my system is vinyl-based and I used speaker cables (Sumiko OCOS) that are on the smooth and warm side (with grainier heavy-guage zipcord they're awful). They've got some good qualities--lots of detail and smooth treble principally. But the deficient bass isn't compensated for by a lovely or luscious midrange, as I generally prefer. On soft- or full-sounding records (Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line" for example) they sound good, bringing out more detail and transient attack that I'm used to. But on brighter, more processed-sounding recordings (Golden Palominos right now), they haven't got much to offer. Vocals are okay but juuuust short of being edgy and thin.
This is about the third time I've been misled by a _Stereophile_ review of a small, cheap two-way speaker. I'm a little mystified by their propensity to review inexpensive mass-market products in this category but in no other; and I suspect that they're not really "hearing" these little speakers because they're "reviewing" them on stereo rigs costing tens of thousands of dollars, rather than listening to them on the more ordinary equipment that such speakers almost always will be mated with. Honestly, pairing these Polks with a Krell amp is just ludicrous. No one in the real world would _ever_ buy and use such a combination on a regular basis.
Verdict? Among the less offensive exemplars of bright, thin, electronic-sounding mass-market trash I've heard, but members of the species nevetheless. I'll be taking these back to Circuit City. And still searching for a replacement for my ancient Revox Studio 3s, that have been retired and then come out of retirement as many times as Frank Sinatra (but are heading inexorably towards Frank's most recent, final "retirement"...).

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Ronzo   a Casual Listener [Jun 30, 1998]

After reading a glowing review of the RT5's in Stereophile Magazine, I decided I had to hear them for myself. I was in the market for a decent pair of inexpensive ($300 or less) bookshelves, and the RT5's seemed to fit the bill. So I went to my local Polk Audio dealer (Circuit City) and gave them a good listen. I used Arturo Sandoval's Latin Train CD to demo them, and Circuit City used an Onkyo amp/preamp to supply power. Here are my impressions:
1.) The worst bookshelves I've bothered to audition. Even worst than the Infinity RS2000.3's that I had returned to CC after being disappointed with their performance in my home. However, they are not the worst speakers I've ever heard.

2.) They have a surprising amount of bass for their size - easily equaling the output of some 8" driver bookshelves. But the bass is rather boomy and distorted, not very musical.

3.) Despite their being rated to 25kHz, it sounds as if the tweeters are barely tweeting! The highs were rather muted an unnatural.

4.) The big boomy bass that these speakers have made the bass guitar and bass drum sound like the lead instruments in Arturo's band! Too much bass! (And yes, the bass and trebel controls were set in the neutral position on the pre-amp.) Not only was there too much bass, but it was also of poor quality.

5.) These speakers had plenty of midrange, but it wasn't very accurate. Arturo's trumpet sounded rather unnatural when being played through these little speakers. However, they did a very fine job reproducing tenor sax.

6.) I did an A/B comparison with a pair of JBL HSL-810 speakers sitting right next to them. The HSL-810's have an eight inch woofer compared to the Polk's 6.5 inch driver, but they were priced the same at $150 USD each. Overall, I thought the JBL's did a much better job reproducing highs and bass, but the midrange was somewhat subdued as compared to the Polk's. I actually liked the JBL speakers better.

If you think you might want to get a pair of these speakers, I highly recommend comparing them to both the JBL HSL-810's and HSL-610's before buying. Some might actually like the Polk's better, but I think most will prefer the JBL's.


OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Rich Simpson   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 10, 1998]

Despite what other members on this board say, I and a number of friends wholeheartedly disagree. I auditioned mine at The Good Guys (although I purchased from Crutchfield) along with speakers from Yamaha (typical Japanese speakers-crap) Klipsch, Sony (crap) Energy, Bose, and a few others that escape my memory. FOR THE PRICE, (key here-OF COURSE $1000 speakers sound better!) they were the best I heard. In fact, they were superior to speakers that cost up to about $500 by other brands. The highs are crisp and clean, the midrange is smooth, and bass is tight, though a bit lacking. Opera and classical music sound absolutely incredible on these, jazz and big band are impressive, and rock is about average-not quite enough bass oomph for most. Team these with a good subwoofer and you've got a system that will blow away most tower speakers. I'd just like to note that a friend of mine who used to build speakers with a small, now defunct audiophile speaker company called RTR and who is an audiophile with a complete Linn system and has friends with $10,000 systems was extremely impressed by the sound of these on songs like Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," where the vocals are incredibly clear and by the theme from "Bohemian Girl" by Puccini. Listen for yourself! These speakers are the best thing for the price and then some.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Bob   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 12, 1998]

Polk Audio RT5 Bookshelf Speakers

Specifications:

Woofer: 6.5 inch
Tweeter: 1.0 inch Polymer Dome
Frequency Response: 39 Hz - 25 kHz
-3db Response: 54 Hz - 23 kHz
Efficiency: 89 db
Impedance: 8 ohms
Height: 14.5 inches
Width: 8.5 inches
Depth: 9.75 inches

Home Page: www.polkaudio.com

Stereophile Class "D" speakers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Ronzo   a Casual Listener [Jun 16, 1998]

Polk Audio RT5 Bookshelf Speakers
Specifications:

Woofer: 6.5 inch
Tweeter: 1.0 inch Polymer Dome
Frequency Response: 39 Hz - 25 kHz
-3db Response: 54 Hz - 23 kHz
Efficiency: 89 db
Impedance: 8 ohms
Height: 14.5 inches
Width: 8.5 inches
Depth: 9.75 inches

Home Page: www.polkaudio.com

Stereophile Class "D" speakers

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 17  

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