Re: Polk RTi A9 vs Klipsch RF82 vs JBL 890
Can we compare in terms of technology;
While technology does affect a manufacturers ability to accomplish their goals, the speaker still needs to sound good to you.
Speakers, for the most part aren't powered, Def Tech does add powered subs to enhance bass and it works well for them.
range of sound they produce,
Not sure what you mean here, if it is 'type' or timber of sound, then that is up to the individual designers, and also why you must decide what you like in a speakers sound. Certainly some speakers can be more dynamic than others, again, comes down to designers and your tastes.
number of drivers (is having more drivers better) etc?
This one is easy,NO, it all depends on how they are made/implemented. I have heard five ways sound like crap and two ways go down to 18Hz....
Is the speaker technology evolving like it does for avrs etc?
No, speakers, as all audio gear is constantly evolving, but the technology is, in my opinion, far closer to a plateau than AVR's, which have been slammed with changes. I consider speakers and amplifiers to be the most stable part of a system. I have had ten and fifteen year old amps that sounded great and would do me just fine in my HT, and I still own a pair of speakers I bought in 19846 after my freshman year in college that are awesome, but I have sold receivers that were a year and a half old as they were dated.
Klipsch has very high efficiency - would that be better? Efficiency translates into a higher sonic output with lower power (they play louder) so again it depends on your taste. I haven't owned Klipsch in so long I can't really comment on their new speakers, but in my time with them, they were always pretty edgy up top, and that is not to my taste so I got out of them and haven't even gone back.
Hope that helps.
I hate to be a broken record, but go out and try to listen to everything you can with material you are familiar with ands see what sounds best to you, this is the ultimate test.
Ken Taraszka, MD