27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2008
I recently replaced all of my speakers, going with all Polk after having a haphazard combo of old Altec 3-way fronts, a Boston Acoustics center channel, and Bose satellite rears. I bought a pair of Polk Audio RTI A7 fronts, Polk Audio RTI A3s for rears, a Polk Audio PSW505 Subwoofer, and this unit for a center. I have to say that after a week I'm really pleased with the performance of the CSI A6. It delivers crisp dialogue for entertainment and sounds really great with music, especially when listening to multichannel audio. These speakers are rated at 55Hz -3dB lower limit, which is exceptional low-end response for a center unit. Like the rest of the RTi-A line the mid- and high-range response are excellent, getting all the way up to 26kHz -3dB upper limit. The unit projects a 3-dimensional sound field that's difficult to pinpoint. The result is a detailed, rich, seamless and enveloping sound stage when listening to 5.1 media.
In comparison to the Boston Acoustics center I used to have this unit has much better high-end and low-end response. Across the board things sound richer and fuller. It has unquestionably enhanced my HT setup. I also briefly tried out a Polk Monitor CS2, but again the CSI A6 wins handily.
It should be noted that this is a pretty big center: it's only 7.5" tall, but 24.25" wide and 14.5" deep. It also weighs ~30 lbs. Make sure you have the space for this.
Fit and finish are excellent. It has a curved cabinet like the rest of the RTi-A series, with a black oak finish and pewter-accented grilles. It also has a small adjustment rod that allows you to aim the speaker at the listening area. This is extremely handy.
If you want to talk output, it's powered by twin 6.5" polymer composite cones and a 1" silk polymer dome tweeter. It's rated at 200W max. This thing can take whatever I can dish. I'm running this on a Yamaha RX-V1800, and even near max volume the sound is unmuddied and well-defined, with very good low-end and exceptional mid- and high-range response.
Overall this is a good but not great buy. It's really nice if you're running exclusively RTi-A speakers due to the fact that everything is voice matched. Even if you have something like my old setup this is a great unit that's sure to enhance any HT. I can't however honestly say it's a great value unless you can find one going for below list, as $459.95 is a lot of money to spend for one speaker. The CS2, which is comparable in output (rated at 175W max), performance (60Hz-24kHz -3 dB lower/upper limit) and size (7.5"H x 21"W x 12"D, 21 lbs.), is going for substantially less on Amazon ($129.99 at last look). Nevertheless this is a high performance unit at an upper mid-range price, which for me ultimately made it worth it. Recommended.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2013
I purchased the Polk CS20 and was not very happy. It's a good value at $170, but it was not really as good as the B&W CDM center channel speaker that I was replacing. I have Proac Studio 1's from the mid-eighties and I was trying to timbre match them. I just replaced the rubber surrounds on my Proacs, so I got enthused about improving my sound system for movies and Blu Ray concerts. I was missing some movie dialog and concert vocals weren't as good as they should be. I really wanted the Proac Studio Center, but it is $1,200, so I was being cheap and trying to find something that sounds better for music and movies. My B&W sounded sort of muffled and also seemed to have exaggerated mid bass. Part of that was because it was too big and bulky to angle it up and part of it was that it only had one 5-1/4 inch woofer, so it didn't blend well with my other speakers. My Proac Studio 1's have 6.5-inch woofers, so about the same size drivers as the CS20 and the A6. (The B&W sounded much better when matched with my Proac Super Tablettes, which have 4-inch woofers.) I didn't see this more expensive Polk (A6) center channel until I was researching a replacement for the CS20. I kept the CS20 until the A6 arrived, so that I could compare them. The A6 has more bass and the bass is more solid. Part of that is probably the better drivers and it also has a much heavier speaker enclosure. For testing I set them up on 24" speaker stands side by side so that I could perform an A/B listening test. The CS20 starts to distort much sooner when cranking up the volume at even moderate levels. The midrange is very harsh on the CS 20 unless the volume is very low. The CS20 really strains and the A6 sounds smooth and natural by comparison. This is not terribly noticeable when blending with the other 5 speakers, but it was very noticeable when playing each speaker by itself during my listening tests. The A6 is much more musical and the CS20 sounds more like a P.A. speaker. I think that's why the CS20 is so popular. It's a great value and really makes movie dialog come alive. The A6 does that better, and sounds more musical too. My surround processor has a pink noise function so that I can compare the timbre of each speaker. The CS20 did not match at all, and the lack of bass was very noticeable. I was amazed how well it sounded based on just that test. The A6 had a very similar timbre to the Proacs but the C20 sounded like a much smaller speaker. It is quite a bit smaller, but I thought the difference in sound was greater than the difference in size.
I used Eagles Farewell 1 Tour (Glen Frey and Don Henley solos) Blu-Ray for most testing. I also used Muddy Waters Fathers And Sons using the 2-channel to 5-channel mode, and compared the 5-channel setup to the 2-channel setup. The CS20 was not bad, but the A6 sounded much smoother, and you could tell the difference in bass even when running in the 5-channel mode.
I mounted my speaker under the TV, so I needed something to point up at an angle. The CS20 angle was too steep, so I had to prop it up in the back. The A6 had a leveling system, but I didn't need it because the lesser angle just happened to be perfect for me. My system is crossed over at 80HZ. I would not recommend running either speaker at full range. They really need a subwoofer and Polk says that in the manual. Just to clarify, Polk says to run them in the small speaker mode, which I guess is a more user friendly term for crossing over at somewhere between 80Hz and 100Hz on most systems. I used 80Hz on mine.
I may still buy a Proac center channel if I find a good deal on a used one, but I am very happy with my purchase after upgrading to the CSI A6.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2012
This is a great center speaker with very clear vocals and presence. You should always buy the biggest center channel possible since it carries 60% or more of the movie. It will also give your dialogue more presence, overall weight and anchor the system. Timbre matched with all RTi speakers.
CSi5 vs CSi A6: get the one that best matches your system aesthetically, they are both very similar except that the CSi A6 is newer, looks better, little bit on the warmer side and slightly maintains resolution over a greater distance. The CSi5 has a more angular cabinet while the CSi A6 is rounded. Functionally, the CSi5 can be placed upside down and with the shape of its cabinet you could tilt the speakers slightly upwards. This was a plus if you had to mount your center in a location that was a little lower than ideal. It would project the sound upwards toward the listener's ears more effectively. The CSi A6 is not as deep and the height is slightly shorter.
CSi5 7-11/16" H x 24" W x 14-1/2" D (19.53cm H x 60.96cm W x 36.83cm D)
CSi A6 7 3/4" H x 24" W x 14" D (19.68cm H x 60.96c W x 35.56cm D)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2012
This polk center speaker is amazing. I spent quite awhile researching speakers and deciding what I should get and where to get it from. I'm no audiophile, but I wanted to start building my system with quality products that were going to last me for many years and sound great. My price range wasn't unlimited, and this speaker was actually a little out of my price range. However, if I was going to go over budget for anything it might as well be the center speaker since it handles so much of the dialogue in tv shows and movies. Right now I have this hooked up to a marantz S5006 receiver with some 12 AWG speaker cable. Also in my setup are two JBL floor standing speakers (old but classics, they still sound awesome, the woofers are original and the tweeters are replaced) a panasonic 46" plasma, and a polk subwoofer. I know most audiophiles or serious audio people really don't care for the polk subwoofers, but I got it for a heavily discounted price and although I see what they mean when they say it gets sloppy it works just fine for my purposes. I plan to someday replace this sub, but for now it packs plenty of punch and as long as it isn't cranked up still sounds pretty good.
Anyways, back to the product at hand. This center speaker came out of the box and immediately blew me away (probably because I was coming from a smaller logitech surround sound system). However, I will give my logitech system it's due, for a $250 5.1 channel system that lasted me all through college and some serious abuse both physically and from cranking up the sound it trudged on and still works as well as the day I got it. Again I apologize for the digression. Now, after a few weeks of playing with the A6 and tweaking some settings on the receiver, this thing sure does sound sweet. I use it for blu-ray movies, tv, video games and music. Blu-rays sound amazing, the clarity and crispness I get from this speaker make me not regret shelling out a few hundred extra bucks. Now that I have this and have heard what an excellent center speaker sounds like it makes me just want to keep going and upgrading some more, but in this regard I must learn patience. For video games, I had the same reaction. Character dialogue came through sharp and crisp. Action noises, music and anything else noise wise you hear in a video game sounds much better. When I listen to music, it is usually through airplay, but sometimes I listen to internet radio or connect my iPod directly. For this I switch to multi-channel stereo and I'm confronted with some very loud, awesome sounding music. Again, I'm no audio expert and I doubt I could use half of their terms to correctly describe my experience, but I can tell you that this is an amazing speaker. It looks great (I have it in cherry) and sounds even better. Based on some of the specifications I can say that my speaker may be a little under powered. My marantz receiver supposedly delivers 100 watts per channel, and I assume I'm at least close to that because it is a high quality piece of equipment. That being said, a bit more juice probably wouldn't hurt, especially since I've read in reviews elsewhere that the higher quality polk speakers tend to suck a lot of power. All in all a great purchase and one that I do not regret in the slightest.
I apologize for the rambling nature of this review. I tend to type as I think which is a bit jumbled.
If you just skip to this part, here are the important bits:
I am no expert, but an enthusiast nonetheless
I am upgrading from a vastly inferior product which may make me biased on how good it sounds
I have compared to other brands in the price range in person including klipsch, bose, JBL, and others
To me, and I think to the majority of people just looking for great sound at a price that won't entirely kill the wallet this speaker is second to none
BEWARE OF SIZE, this speaker is huge look at the dimensions before you buy
Make sure you have something capable of powering it, under powering this speaker will make it sound mediocre at best (this includes your receiver and your speaker wire)
If you can always try before you buy, sonic quality is a very personal thing and what sounds best to YOU is the most important thing
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2015
It is important to mention that this speaker is HUGE! This is the biggest center channel speaker I have ever seen, particularly its depth. Before ordering, make sure that you have enough room. That being said, I am extremely satisfied with this speaker. The center speaker is the most important speaker in your home theater and the A6 doesn't disappoint. This is def a full range speaker and the depth and clarity of the dialog is fantastic. I have pushed this speaker relatively hard and it doesn't struggle at all. The crossover is set to 80Hz but I experimented with 60Hz and the speaker handled it with ease. I highly recommend the cherry finish. It gives the speaker an elegant appearance especially combined with the "teardrop" design. I would highly recommend this speaker to anyone
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2012
It's a shame the cherry is so much more expensive but is is beautiful.
Here is what I went with:
RTi A7s for the right and left
CSi A6 for the center
RTi A1s for the surround right and left
RTi A1s for the rear surrounds
2 PSW125 subs both in front
The cherry of the PSW line doesn't match the RTi line. Amazon let me return and get two black. Great cheaper anyway.
Is Polk worth the money I can't say there may be better deals but this setup looks and sounds great. I am very pleased.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
It's paired with two RTI A7's and an 10-inch subwoofer. I bought the center speaker because I'm old, a retired studio musician and gradually losing my mid-range hearing. I was having a hard time hearing dialogue on TV. Not anymore. This punches it up very nicely and it's not even turned up in the system that loudly. Be aware, it is big--24" long by 14" deep by 7.8" high. I had a hard time getting it into the cabinet below the TV. Polk is top drawer stuff. I had a pair of towers for 30 years, still working fine, before the Nashville flood took them out. This is in spite of the cats knocking them off the pedestals they sat on numerous times--a 3 foot crash to the floor and they weighed 40 pounds each!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
This speaker sounds Amazing. I auditioned a lot of speakers before deciding on the polk RTi & CSi lines. Overall they sound excellent and for the price range nothing else really came close to me. I auditioned both the CSi A4 and the CSi A6. The CSi A4 is no slouch by any means, but the CSi A6 is a must if the space is not an issue. It is big, but with it comes big and beautiful sound. I really wanted the C4 and was impressed with it, but the A6 fills out the mid range so much better I had to get it even though space was an issue for me. I liked it enough to rearrange my living room in order to accommodate it. The main reason for this is that the center channel does MOST of the work in the home theater setting, so I figured the fuller sound was a must.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
I upgraded my front center channel with the CSI A6. It is very clear and voices are now significantly easier to hear.
The only suggestion I have is make sure you have room for it! It is huge - taking up almost an entire shelf on my LCD stand.
I am very happy with this purchase.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2013
This is a System Review of the Components I bought to Build my Ideal Surround system that would fit my Great Room.
I am putting it in all of the Components as Reviews for those who might find it helpful for Building a System. I hope it helps.
I was coming from a Pioneer Receiver with Bose Acoustimass Speakers all around.
I upgraded to the Following:
- Denon AVR-X4000
- Polk LSi7 (Fronts)
- Polk CSi A6 (Center)
- Polk OWM5 (Surrounds)
- Polk PSW505 (Subwoofer)
The Denon was easy to setup and allowed me to BiAmp the Polk LSi7's which are 4 ohm loads. So there are 2 Amps driving each of my LSi Fronts.
This sounds quite spectacular with really good separation running Music which is best listened to in 2.1 which the Amp Defaulted to.
This was the Biggest upgrade in sound from my old setup, it lacked when playing music. All the different types of music sound fabulous including the Heavy stuff like Three Days Grace which is my Favorite style.
Surround for Movies and Games is off the Hook. Watched Prometheus because it happened to be on Cable one night. The Scene when the Water is Raining down in the Cavernous are where they talk about Terraforming was really awesome. It sounded like the Rain was coming from above and I am only running 5.1 since I wanted to Bi-Amp my LSi7s. The LSi7s are 4 Ohm Loads but the Amp Handles them with no Problem. I have read that the Denon can handle the 4 ohm loads although not advertised. The Manual does list a Spec for "Dynamic Power" of 130w x 2 Ch @ 8 Ohms and 190w x 2 Ch @ 4 Ohms.
The Internet Radio works well from what I seen. I have an XM subscription which I added the Internet Streaming for $3 a month and that is great to have on my Receiver. The Interface for Tuning XM Stations is just so-so but it works. The HD Radio automatically tunes in for FM Stations that broadcast one. I have a Synology DiskStation that I use to Back up my Business Server, on that I put all of our Music and installed the Media Server Application and boom my MP3s were playing.
This Receiver also has Plenty of Pre-Outs as well. So down the Road if I want to an External Amp like the Emotiva to drive my LSi7s it is capable and I can add Front Height Speakers. My Living Room doesn't accomodate the other possibilities that this receiver supports like Surround Back etc.
The CSI A6 Center is a VERY HUGE Speaker, so make sure you have room for it. It blends well with my LSi7s and OWM5s and I never have trouble hearing the Dialogue. With my Bose System I had the Center Cranked and Dialog was tough to hear. I always thought that the Movie Industry didn't know how to mix sound, because the Music was always too loud and the Dialog too soft. I guess it was my Surround System all this time. You should never skimp on your Center Channel because this is where all the dialog is going to come from.
The LSi7s I bought because I have read about how Musical the LSi Series was. The LSi7s being the Smallest of the Series and the Largest I could sneak past the Wife... LOL. These Speakers are Top Notch with any Music I tried throwing at them. I was worried about the 4 Ohm Load but after much reading it appears many Receivers if they have the Wattage can handle these ones because they Average a 6 Ohm Load with only a Few 4 Ohm Spots in the Frequency Graph. The Denon AVR-X4000 also had the BiAmp mode option so I removed the Gold Jumpers and Ran two sets of wires to each and it works very well.
The OWM5s are Fairly big themselves at 7x16 inches. But I didn't want my surrounds to fall behind the rest of the System. With 2 Midrange 4.5" and a Tweeter they Keep up quite nicely to the rest of my System.
Finally I have the PSW505 Subwoofer. The Audyssey wanted me to turn the Level Down to just below Half on the Sub so it has Power to spare.
It sounds great with Music and Movies or Games. Explosions reach a new level of Awesome. Must Watch Star Wars 1-6 in order next!
The Denon allows adjustments of Subwoofer Level and Saves Separately for each input. So I could up the Bass a little for FM Radio and XM Radio and it would not effect my Movie Level Adjustment.