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Showing 1-10 of 211 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 235 reviews
on December 1, 2011
This may sound a bit like a Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 review, but read on, be patient, and you'll see where I'm going with this...

When researching which new speakers to buy, I read a number of reviews. I eventually waffled between the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s and the Polk RTi A1s - both overwhelmingly favorably reviewed. In the end, I decided to take a chance on the Wharfedales. I spent hours trying to find them for sale online in the US, finally did find them, and made the purchase. There are no dealers that carry them in Oklahoma, and due to a lack of Stateside online retailer options, I paid full price, which made me a little nervous. To make matters worse, the day after I purchased the Wharfedales, Amazon slashed the price on the Polks by $75. Not wanting to pass on a great deal and knowing I could return whichever speakers I liked the least, I went ahead and got them too. The speakers arrived within a day of each other, and the first thing I did was test them in head to head competition to see if I had chosen wisely. Kind of fun, and quite revealing...

The Diamond 10.1s totally exceeded my high expectations and validated the flowery reviews I had read. These speakers not only look fantastic, more importantly, they also sound phenomenal. Even with a premium Onkyo receiver, I couldn't turn the volume up high enough to distort the tight, controlled, and vibrant sound emitted from these speakers before they blew out my ear drums. Simply amazing.

The Polks are also superb and performed nearly on par with the Wharfedales. When compared back to back, the Polks were ever so slightly brighter and harsher, if that makes sense. The Wharfedales seemed warmer and more refined; just as hard hitting, but more capable when handling the softer stuff. While the Polks are a hammer in the hands of a master carpenter, the Wharfedales are a chisel in the hands of a master sculptor.

Head to head for pure performance, the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s beat the Polk RTi A1s. However, the Polks are extremely impressive for the price. Keep in mind the Polks (on sale) were nearly half of the price I paid for the Wharfedales, and the difference in performance, while noticeable, is subtle.

I love both sets of speakers - the Wharfedales for their superior performance and the Polks for their great performance to price ratio. I was going to return the "loser," but there are no losers in this comparison. I'm so impressed with the Polks, I'm going to keep them. I'll happily find a use for them in a spare room and consider them a steal at just over $200. Truth be told, if not comparing them back to back in head to head competition, I'd probably have a hard time noticing the difference in performance just walking into a room where they are the featured speaker. The Polks hit hard, loud, and clear, and are everything you could want in a speaker. Not the best bookshelf, but likely among the best for the price.

I highly recommend the Polks! Although I prefer the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s for pure performance, the Polk RTi A1s are pound for pound, dollar for dollar, a fantastic buy.
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on March 27, 2016
I don't give 5 star reviews unless the product is truly beyond my expectations. These speakers meet that criteria. I have Klipsch Cornwalls in our family room because the open floor plan make sound pressure difficult. In my corner of our living room I needed a smaller speaker that could give good fidelity within a minimum amount of space. These Polks absolutely nailed it. Solid low end without "booming" & accurate, crystal clear highs. I got all that for little more than what I paid in tax for my Cornwalls.
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on March 11, 2017
Update - its been almost two weeks since my A1s were delivered. They still are up on the shelf as my B channel speakers. My A channel are Polk Audio RTI A5 small towers. They are now well broken in and their overall performance has settled down and improved (especially mid range and bass). When friends are over, I'll A/B demonstrate them with the A5 small towers. All that have heard them are surprised at how full their sound is and how good they sound for such small speakers. The A5s have an even fuller sound and a nice open, airy sound stage. Sometimes I'll forget that I left the B channel on and will listen for an hour or two. The A1s, A3s, and A5s all get out of the way of the music and just disappear. I'm still a few months away from getting an AVR. I have zero buyer's remorse for having bought these speakers.

Original review: I've been breaking these speakers in the last couple of days and I'm very pleased with their overall performance. They beat my expectations. I also have the Polk RTI A3s, A5s, the CSI A6 and these all have a full sound in the mid to upper bass and mid range. Some of the 5 inch 2 way bookshelf speakers I've heard sound thin in the mid to upper bass and lower mid range. The A1s instead have a full, balanced sound. They do great with action movies and all genres of music. Dialogue in movies is very clear. They do need a sub! These are bookshelf speakers with a 5.25" mid-range/woofer, not Cerwin Vega towers with double 12" woofers. These speakers also blend seamlessly with my A5s. Polk did a marvelous job at matching the sound signatures of the A1s, A3s, and A5s.

Applications: I plan on using them as surrounds in a 5.1 home theater system. If you have a small to mid sized living room, four of these speakers plus the CSI A4 would make a great home theater and home stereo music set-up. The A1s would also work in a bedroom/office/den/ small living room 2.1 channel stereo set-up. I presently have them hooked up to a Yamaha R-S500 2.1 channel stereo receiver. This receiver is a solid 75 watts rms and the RTI A1s are VERY easy to drive - no monster amp is required.

The A1s are well made, they look great with real wood veneer finish, and they are easy to place on a 12" shelf or wall mount (wall mounting brackets/feet are built into the back of the A1s and A3s). The rear power port makes them easy to place on a book shelf. They can be placed closer to the wall over other bass port speakers because their rear port disperses the air/sound out sideways from the speaker and not directly into the wall.
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on January 30, 2017
Very clear and spacious speakers. For under $200, I don't see how anyone can complain about them. I really enjoyed listening to them in my bedroom. My previous bedroom speakers were the similarly designed Polk Rti4 which were great speakers but the RTiA1 speakers are much better. In my family room, I have the classic Polk RT7 which I love after 20 years of listening to them. I may replace the Polk RT7 with the flagship Polk LSiM703 bookshelf speakers. However, I like the RTiA1 so much that I now have to compare the LSiM703 speakers with the RTiA3 speakers before pulling the trigger. I highly recommend the RTiA1 speakers for a bedroom or for rear speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 system. You can even use them as front speakers in a family room if you have a tight budget. In fact, I would consider getting these speakers as front speakers to save some money for a $400 mid-level receivers because these speakers are so clear that they may uncover the distortion and flaws in a low-end receiver. You can always getting better speakers later and then relocate the RTiA1 speakers to the bedroom or as rear speakers in a home theater system.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on August 6, 2016
Sounded somewhat bright, even strident, for my taste. Excellent clarity and imaging, just too bright. I even tried them with a known "warm" amp and they still sounded bright to me. An almost total lack of even the upper bass range, let alone deep bass (but didn't expect any deep bass anyway). Find I can't listen to them for more than 30 minutes to an hour without my ears getting irritated. I'll keep them, since I am using them in a seldom used guest bedroom, but may decide to replace them with Wharferdale Diamonds..
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on February 19, 2015
Very nice speakers for movies and music, especially for the price. Coupled with a nice sub (and a receiver that rolls over the bass to the sub properly) and the CSI A4 for the center, these provide a very balanced sound with nice highs. Might be a little underpowered for large spaces, but we don't have a large space here. These sound great bi-amped if your receiver can do that, but they come tied for single amping.

Word to the wise: most receivers won't roll over bass to the subwoofer if your speaker system is set to "LARGE" or similar; that's the primary difference between the two systems. I set my Pioneer receiver to the "SMALL" speaker setting after running the calibration routine and the bass rolls over very nicely to the subwoofer when playing music now. This is important for bookshelf speakers because no matter how well my receiver's calibration algorithm might think they reproduce bass, it just didn't sound full enough until I did that.

Second word to the wise: these speakers are deeper than they look in the picture. If you're wall-mounting them, make sure you're aware of that; look at the dimensions and make a mockup with a close-sized cardboard box or something and see how it looks on your wall before committing. I almost went for the RTI A3 speakers before I did that and realized they'd be sticking out of the wall a full 14 inches, and that's further than it sounds. As it is, it's slightly awkward-looking for my setup, but I was at least prepared.

As a note, I like the wall-mounting bracket/dispersal cone built into the back of these units. Makes for very simple wall-mounting; your screw in the wall (use a stud if you can, otherwise make sure you have an adequate drywall molly to screw into) and hang it from a keyhole slot on the dispersal cone. There are rubber feet on the back rear to stand it off the appropriate distance. There's enough space in the back to mount the speaker terminal wallplate (even a dual-channel one for bi-amping) and run a few inches of 12-gauge cable to the speaker without it messing up too badly; it hides everything rather nicely. The terminals accept 12-gauge wire pretty happily, which you should use if you can.
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on October 11, 2009
I researched bookshelf speakers for two months. I wanted a speaker that would fill the room with clean, rich sound for all types of music, especially jazz, classical, bluegrass, and rock. Everything sounds great on these speakers. I had Boston Acoustic floor speakers. I still love the the BAs, but I have not lost anything with the Polk and I have gained space. The speakers sit on top of a bookcase, about 6' off the ground, in a 14' x 14' room. I could not be happier.
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on March 24, 2017
These speakers are incredible. I compared them to many other speakers like the KEF Q100, Pioneer SPBS22, ELAC b6, and even the Miccaa mb42x. These are by and far the best, even though they are not the most expensive of the bunch. I am using these speakers as computer speakers and they are quite large for that so if size is a problem, the Miccas are smaller and still sound pretty good. But these are the best. I feel like they are the most balanced, the bass doesn't overpower the music, you simply get to hear all aspects of it. These are especially good if you do not have a center channel. I imagine the KEF Q100's would be significantly better if they had a center channel with some tweeters to balance them out. but otherwise I highly recommend these speakers to anyone looking for a pair of bookshelves for a 2.0/2.1 set up like mine.

+ Great price to performance
+ Sound incredible (subjective I know!)
+ Great Aesthetics
+ Wonderfully range
+ Bass is balanced, and doesn't muddy up other parts of the music

- Bass could be a little stronger
- They are quite large for computer speakers, but for most this probably isn't an issue.
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on January 2, 2017
Came to these from a set of Paradigm Monitor 3's that I've had for 16+ years... These Polks are superior to my ears, with wonderful clarity and no shrill behavior. These speakers are a phenomenal buy. I listen to everything from Beyonce to the Beatles and Beethoven. I use these in a 2.1 arrangement mated with a Klipsch R-10SW sub. Best setup I've ever owned, and all up cost well under $600.00.
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on January 20, 2016
Late last year I decided that it was time to upgrade the speakers of my surround sound system. The setup consisted of an Onkyo TX-SR304 powering American Acoustics (believed to be model 5550e) as the front speakers, Boston Acoustics VRC center and Boston Acoustics CR 97's in the rear. The age of each component varied from the mid 1980's for the front speakers, mid 1990's receiver and early 2000's for the center and rear speakers. In general it was a system which provided good but not fantastic sound in a 18 by 25 foot room.

Initially the plan was to secure a new AV receiver and floor-standing speakers for the front. After much thought and research, this plan was reduced to only front bookshelf speakers. The decision to not purchased the floor-standing speakers related to the power requirements being higher than my present receiver. Most speakers of interest to me quoted a power range of 25 to 400 or so watts. My current receiver has a maximum of 65 watts and the replacement receivers I was interested in had similar power levels.

As a result, the decision was made to purchase only new bookshelf speakers and, if needed, a sub woofer. After much investigation, it was decided to go with the Polk Audio RTiA1. Fortunately these were on sale after Thanksgiving.

The speaker has the capability to utilize a bi-wiring set up but my receiver does not so only a single pair of wires were connected. Whether this results in any loss of sound quality I have no way of measuring.

The balancing system on the receiver is manual so it took a little time to adjust the setting to a satisfactory level. In most cases a 30 to 40 per cent power level creates comfortable listening.

At first there did not appear to be much difference between the original front speakers and the new Polk's. However, after several days the difference became very pronounced. (Apparently there really is a break in period.) Both high and mid range tones were crisp and clear on both music and movies. The bass was not as pronounced as with the old speakers due mainly to the fact that the AAL speakers contain a large woofer. Also, during movies, as the sound moves around, this movement was much more obvious than with the old setup. Since the same receiver was used for both setups, the improved sound has to be related to the new Polk speakers.

To offset the loss of some bass, a Polk Audio PSW 10 sub woofer Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black) was added. Now there is a much better surround sound performance than before. The only negative is that since these are bookshelf speakers, and I do not have any bookshelfs, placement can be a problem. Right now they are on top of the old speakers while I decide whether to mount them on the wall or purchase speaker stands. There are pros and cons to each approach and my early view is to go with the wall mount.

In general I am very pleased with the Polk speakers. The sound quality is excellent and the price very reasonable. I certainly recommend them.
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