Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: passive, 3 way, front double ported
Continuous power handling: 90 W*
Peak power handling: 300 W
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 89 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 20 – 27k Hz
Unit weight: 55 lbs
Unit dimensions: 9 x 18 x 42 inches (width x depth x height)
Warranty: 5 years
*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
Polk’s RTi series is a higher end lineup of speakers that includes three different tower speakers, the RTi 5, 7, and 9 respectively. The RTi5 is a smaller and more compact two way tower speaker, while the larger 7 and 9 are three way, meaning they have built in subwoofers with dedicated crossovers.
The advantage of a 3 way speaker, especially one that’s a larger tower speaker, is that it’s much better designed to sound great as a standalone speaker, whereas most bookshelf speakers aren’t really designed to reproduce the full range of sound and are intended to work in conjunction with an external subwoofer.
The RTiA7 is loud, powerful, and has an excellent response floor of 20 Hz, and will certainly suffice as a standalone pair of speakers for a home theater system. It’s also large, and heavy at 55 pounds, so just be ready to lug them into place a little bit, but one nice advantage of tower speakers is you just have to set them wherever on the floor then you’re done.
The speaker comes in either black or cherry wood washed MDF, and has an interesting curved side design where the front is wider than the back. The chrome trim on the ports, drivers and stands contrasts nicely with either color. The drivers are a silk/paper blend, as opposed to a similarly popular metallic polymer blend, the former of which is generally more precise but more prone to wear and tear. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue though with indoor speakers, and Polk has a 5 year warranty on all its passive speakers which is pretty top of the line.
Another nice feature is the larger 7 inch subwoofer, which we think might explain the curved design choice. Bigger subwoofers generally perform better, and one common issue with all in one speakers is that the subwoofers wind up needing to be smaller to actually fit in the cabinet.
If you’re looking for maximum value and performance for your dollar, we do generally recommend opting for traditional bookshelf speakers with a subwoofer. But, we do recognize that many like how cool tower speakers look, or not having to deal with placing a separate subwoofer.
All in all, if you like the look of tower speakers and want performant standalone speakers, the RTiA7 is, as of the time of this writing, a very solid choice for the price. And that wasn’t always the case – while they’re slightly superior to Polk’s very popular Monitor 70 3-way tower speaker (reviewed here), the original MSRP was far more expensive. But, they’ve been significantly discounted since then, and while we think the Monitor 70s are still the best overall deal, the RTiA7 is definitely a worthwhile competitor for not all that much more money.
They’ll be overkill for some people with smaller rooms, though, and a smaller pair of tower or bookshelf speakers might be perfectly sufficient and less expensive. Consider Polk’s popular smaller Monitor 60s (reviewed here), also 3-way and very inexpensive.