Polk’s curvaceous little speaker, the RTi A1, is a looker. The speaker’s smoothly rounded sides incorporate Polk’s new Damped Asymmetric Hex Laminate Isolation (DAHLI) cabinet technology (a 6-layer laminate with 5 viscous layers). The goal is to produce an acoustically inert structure to house the drivers, and my samples’ cabinets were finished in a lovely real cherry wood veneer (black ash is also available). The wood veneers and curves are a nice alternative to the boxy competition.
The driver complement includes a 5.25-inch polymer/composite mid/bass woofer and 1-inch silk/polymer dome tweeter; the Mylar bypass capacitors in the crossover are said to extend high frequency response and improve treble detail.
Tip: The RTi A1 will probably sound best when placed near a wall.
The RTi A1 felt tonally lightweight, the midrange and mid treble tended to emphasize detail, so older, more aggressive recordings sounded edgy. Deep bass was lacking, which wasn’t exactly a big surprise considering the speaker’s petite dimensions, but mid bass was also reticent.
I used The Coryells [Chesky], a sweet sounding audiophile CD to suss out the RTi A1’s talents. Murali Coryell’s earthy vocals had a wonderful presence, but the acoustic guitars were lacking in warmth. On the upside the stand up bass was very present and articulate. Still, the instrument was too lean to be convincing.