AR Rating 81/100


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What We Like

  • An abundance of efficient features.
  • Impressive tone that’s both versatile and powerful.
  • Great build quality.

What We Don’t Like

  • The worst thing we can think of is the color of the baffles.

Polk Audio has always been the one to deliver interesting solutions in the bookshelf segment. Their Polk Audio RTI A3 speakers are among the most interesting models in the $300 segment. Let’s find out why.

Design

If you take your average bookshelf speaker, it’s going to come in a standard boxy cabinet with a rear firing port and a couple of drivers in the front. That rings even more true for the lower mid-range segment. Then Polk Audio comes around takes things in a completely different direction.

The cabinet of the RTI A3 is tapered toward the back, which was done to optimize the performance. Front panel features a tweeter that sits comfortably in their Dynamic Balance waveguide, right above the large woofer driver with a bass port right below it. Overall built quality is impressive. They have used decent MDF covered in black, glossy vinyl. Purely from an aesthetic point of view, Polk Audio RTI A3 looks great.

You don’t generally see too much variety in this price range, making these an exception to this unwritten rule. If you prefer a more subtle aesthetic, all you have to do is pop the grille on and you got yourself a stealthy pair of speakers.

Features

In terms of notable features, the list for RTI A3 is rather extensive. Starting with cabinets, we see an advanced design that does a lot to reduce cabinet resonance. On top of that, tapered cabinets improve clarity across the range. Two drivers, the 6.5″ woofer and 1″ tweeter, are both sitting in their individual, highly optimized enclosures.

Polk Audio wanted to squeeze the most of the drivers, which is arguably exactly what they achieved. Then we have the PowerPort technology that handles the airflow leaving the front of the speaker. These ports might look small, but they are actually much more efficient that many other designs on the market. The list goes on and on.

Bottom line is that Polk Audio really took it to the extreme with carefully designing every single component of these speakers. Even the grille was specially modeled to reduce sonic interference and diffraction.

Performance

The next logical question that comes to mind is how do these carefully designed speakers perform? In all honesty, they work better than we expected. For a lower mid range set of bookshelf speakers, you are getting a fairly uniform response across the range. Trebles are refreshingly vibrant, merging nicely with mids.

Once you start digging deeper into the lower ends of the range, the bass response you get is more than satisfying. There’s girth even though we are talking about a pair of 6.5“ drivers. What is most impressive about Polk Audio RTI A3 is their precision. They aren’t clinical as some speakers out there, but every subtle detail is nicely contained and presented in the best way possible.

You can enjoy classical music as well as more complex metal arrangements without having instruments melt into each other. If you spend some time to carefully position the speakers and find that sweet spot, you are definitely in for a treat.

The Rumble:

When all is said and done, Polk Audio RTI A3 is by far one of the most distinctive speakers in this particular price range. The color, width of tone and overall precision they bring is amazing, to say the least.


AR Rating 81/100


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