Polk Audio RTi-A1-A3 Series Bookshelf Speakers Review

Last updated on: 11-3-18
Bottom Line: currently significantly discounted from their MSRP, but still comparatively expensive with no distinctions to justify it. Better competitors are available for a similar price, other Polk speakers included.
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the A1 and A3 shown respectively in the black and cherry variants

Important Specs Overview

ModelRTi A1RTi A3
Speaker Typepassive, 2-way, front ported(<-- same)
Continuous Power Handling37.5 W*45 W*
Peak Power Handling125 W150 W
Impedance8 ohms(<-- same)
Sensitivity (db/W/m)89 dB(<-- same)
Response Range50 - 27k Hz40 - 27k Hz
Woofer Size5.25 in6.5 in
Unit Dimensions (w x d x h)7.5 x 11.5 x 12 in8.5 x 14 x 15 in
Unit Weight12 lb16 lb
Warranty5 years(<-- same)

*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.

Review And Discussion

The RTi-A series is one of many of Polk’s full home theater speaker system line-ups. It consists of two bookshelf speaker variants, the 5.25 inch RTi-A1 and 6.5 inch RTi-A3. They differ slightly in size and power but otherwise have the same design, hence both being reviewed in a single article here.

The RTi-A1/A3s are fairly standard 2-way bookshelf speakers, save for a distinct front side port. The power specs are on the lower side, but plenty loud for near/mid-field listening. While the response floor is fairly decent, 2-way bookshelf speakers such as these are almost always best suited to play in conjunction with a subwoofer.

The RTi speakers use rubber polymer for the tweeters and a silk paper blend for the woofers, which have the potential to be more performant than commonly used metallic or plastic blends, but are more prone to wear and tear. Polk offers a 5 year warranty on all its passive speakers though, which is fairly top of the line coverage.

These speakers run pretty large and heavy for 2 way bookshelf speakers, and have a unique curved cabinet design that makes the front wider than the back. They each come in a fairly standard black and cherry colored wood washed MDF. We’re not crazy about the chrome bezels of the tweeter and port, it looks kind of jarring, but you do have the option of putting a standard foam-grill cover on them.

Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition

The RTiA speakers have become significantly discounted from their original MSRP, but they’re still quite expensive for the modest specs they bring to the table, with nothing really that distinguishes them from competitors which are still a lot cheaper, or a lot more powerful for a similar price. Check out the links below for some such recommendations.

Relevant Links and Resources

The best budget bookshelf speakers

The best budget subwoofers – 2 way bookshelf speakers almost always do best with a subwoofer, and they’re easy to add on to just about any system, so it’s worth looking into.