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Polk Audio XRt12

XM reference home tuner

15 Reviews

Item # 107XRT12

This item is no longer available.

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Overview

Our take on the Polk Audio XRt12

With the XRt12, Polk has set the standard for XM home tuners. Not only do its sleek lines and clean design integrate with the other components in your home rack, its unbeatable sound quality lets you experience XM in all its expansive digital glory. One listen, and you'll agree that this is the finest way to enjoy XM at home.

With the XRt12, Polk has set the standard for XM home tuners. Not only do its sleek lines and clean design integrate with the other components in your home rack, its unbeatable sound quality lets you experience XM in all its expansive digital glory. One listen, and you'll agree that this is the finest way to enjoy XM at home.

The key to the XRt12's sound quality is its top-of-the-line Burr-Brown converter, regarded as the best in the business — it translates the digital XM signal into analog sound with unerring accuracy. Another performance advantage is the premium preamp circuit board, which provides a cleaner, lower-distortion signal than the circuitry used in plug-and-play tuners. And you can even adjust the XRt12's output level to match the other components in your system.

The XRt12 is packed with advanced features. A video output sends channel, song, and artist names to your TV screen for easy reading from across the room, and the information is also displayed on the tuner's front panel. In addition to a stereo analog audio output, you get optical and coaxial digital outputs, so you can make a digital connection to a compatible home theater receiver (and you'll be covered when XM offers multichannel sound).

Access your favorite channels easily with 20 presets; you can also save the names of up to ten of your favorite songs (handy when you're shopping for music). You can search by channel or category, and preview all XM content before you change channels. A wireless remote control and home XM antenna are also included. A subscription to XM is required — learn about XM's programming. (Satellite radio service is available only in the lower 48 states — not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. Territories.)

Product Highlights:

  • dedicated home XM tuner
  • Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter
  • video output (composite) sends channel, artist, and song info to your television for easy visibility
  • optical and coaxial digital outputs
  • analog audio output (stereo RCA jacks)
  • 4-line blue LCD
  • 10-song memory
  • 20 channel presets
  • search by channel or category
  • antenna with 23-foot cord
  • full-function remote control
  • subscription to XM required (service available anywhere in the lower 48 states — not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. Territories)
  • 17"W x 2-3/8"H x 12"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • XM Satellite Radio Reference Tuner
  • Wireless remote control
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • XM antenna with attached 23' cable (terminated with a single SMB connector)
  • 43" Optical digital cable (with Toslink connectors on each end)
  • 81" A/V cable (with composite video and stereo RCA audio plugs on each end)
  • Owner's Manual
  • On-line registration card
  • "Congratulations! You have XM." card
  • XM Satellite Radio channel list
Reviews

Polk Audio XRt12 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(15 Reviews)

Polk Xrt 12 good when it works

Kenneth M. from Chicago, Illinois on 8/15/2014

The Polk XRt 12 XM tuner sounds great when it works. I have problems getting it to work and staying on when it works. The tuner may shut off after 15 minutes or after one hour and the timer, which automatically turns the unit off, is not on. Many times when I turn the unit on the XM symbol appears on the blue screen and that's all. Other times it goes to the XM channel I was previously tuned to and the word "loading" appears on the blue screen and XM never comes on. When the tuner works, it's great. When I complain to Polk via email about the receiver, I get a message that they haven't made the tuner for 7 years and don't have parts for it. So in other words "tough luck, you paid us for the tuner and now we disassociate ourselves from ever making it."

Pros: Sounds good

Cons: It's a touchy unit. Difficult to get it to work.

Polk Audio XRt12

Wes from Detroit MI on 4/10/2008

There is a sound difference! I am an audiophile, and have around 90k invested in my sound system. With that said, I have never been happy with the sound of any XM radio (I have tested over 5 diff units). The problem with XM radios is the sound tends to feel like you are lessening to it down in a sewer. I could not ever fix this problem, even with the many different sound processors I have. With the Polk unit this problem is gone! It actually sounds like a halfway decent mp3. True C.D. quality sound is still farfetched, but it is defiantly the best sound you will/can get with an XM radio. Dislikes: Remote is very ugly and big (good thing is my old Delphi remote still works with it) You must use the remote to quickly get to your presets. There is plenty of space on right side of unit that should have had 1-10 presets engineered there. Hope this info helps.

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As I Expected from PolkAudio

Rich from Burbank, CA on 3/28/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent reception as expected. My system runs on Yamaha power and PolkAudio speakers and I am happy with the results. The antenna is just sitting on top of the cabinet and gets an excellent signal however, it's going outside as soon as I have the time to run the cable. Until then, I'm enjoying my Decade 40's music and looking forward to baseball season.

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THIS UNIT ROCKS THE FOOR

no from UNION CITY, NJ on 7/25/2007

I HAVE A GREAT SYSTEM AND THIS UNIT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE THE ORCHESTRA IT'S RIGHT NEXT TO ME .IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SPEAKERS AND A GREAT AMP , YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT IT . AT TIMES I HAVE TO LOWER THE VOLUME BECAUSE IT'S LOUD AND CLEAR . IN MY OPINION WHEN YOU HAVE BIG SIZE FLOOR STANDING SPEAKERS AND A GREAT AMP , MUSIC WILL SOUND AS GOOD AS IT WAS INTENDED . THANK YOU .

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The XRt12 Leaves You Guessing What's Playing

rrufer from Castro Valley, CA on 7/18/2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The POLK XRt12 promised to be just what I wanted, a satellite radio receiver to be used in my audio system, not in a vehicle. When I temporarily installed it and put its antenna on my window sill, all channels came in fine. I then drilled a hole in the wall and sited the antenna on the roof, where the signal level was four bars.<BR><BR>After using it for a while, I noticed that the display on the front panel (and the video output to my TV monitor) was not showing the complete song titles. I checked the Xm website streaming and found out that all the song titles were fully displayed there.<BR><BR>It turns out that the XRt12 truncates all the displayed information (artist &amp; song title) to 16 characters. A call to Polk Technical support verified that this is a design limitation. That's pretty restrictive for what should be a top-of-the-line product. I shouldn't have to go to the Xm website to find out what's playing!!<BR><BR>The other features of the receiver and the remote control are versatile and easy to use. <BR><BR>I've been using a Sirius KENWOOD Rx for several years and this receiver is a much better source of audio than it ever was. <BR><BR><BR>

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XM polk component tuner

berryG from Bayside, NY on 1/6/2007

I bought this item because I expected it to be a big improvement over the Delphi unit I use with adapter for my Marantz model 7 premap. It was not: The sound I ultimately got from it was no better than the Delphi; in fact, at first I thought it actually increased the annoying hi-end tiny sound you get with the treble on all XM stations, regardless of home audio system or speakers being used, but actually it did not. It sounded about the same. Never the less, I am happy with it because it fits nice as a component into my home audio system. A good FM station finely tuned on a good FM tuner, not even HD, still sounds more musical than XM, less compressed, even if there is some hiss and occasional commercials. But don't get me wrong, I am keeping my XM!

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Polk Audio XRt12

Earl from Leesburg, VA on 12/27/2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Simply Superb in every way!

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Short Lifespan

Anonymous from Portland, Oregon on 7/18/2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought my Polk Audio XRT12 on 4/14/05. Just lastweek it stopped powering on. This product, along with all my electronics, was absolutely well cared for. It is unacceptable for any product in this day and age to last just over one year (which, as luck would have it, is just passed the warranty period). <BR><BR>I wouldn't buy this product again.

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Welcome addition to any home system.

Robert from Andover, KS on 2/18/2006

I recently purchased Polk Audio's Xrt12 XM home tuner to add to my primary audio system; since doing so I've truly enjoyed listening to XM's wide content selection. While not perfect Polk's Xrt12 strikes an excellent balance of price, performance, and quality of construction for the average home user. With current pricing as low as $219 after rebate I can honestly recommend this product without any reservation. <BR>

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Disappointing Product

Raymond from North Little Rock AR on 12/2/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I was looking for a good XM Radio unit because my local radio stations were changing formats. My wife and I are audiophiles.<BR><BR>I got the unit within just a few days of ordering it. Setup was easy, instructions were clear. Item was well packed for shipping by Crutchfield. But the sound that was billed as "audiophile" was compressed on many channels and lifeless. The variety of channels offered on XM Radio was worse than what my local cable company offered on its music channels.<BR><BR>If you are used to audiophile sound, you won't get it from this Polk unit or from XM Radio.

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HAPPY WITH PURCHASE

DLEMORE from JACKSONVILLE, FLA on 11/25/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I received this item on Wednesday, Nov 23rd 05 from Crutchfield in two business days, as promised by Crutchfield's CSR "Elvis", after upgrading to UPS two day air for $15.00 (Crutchfield offered free ground)....I wanted commercial free music for my Thanksgiving guests and got it. Its really hard to rate or review this item because of so many varibles...XM'S music compression, age of music recorded, type of music, component used to connect to, speakers used, power of amplifier with built in equalization or not etc etc. As a past AM and FM radio station disc jockey, I've listened to alot of music and different formatted radio stations and can say this receiver made by Polk, even with the minor possible negatives mentioned, is well worth the money and subscription to XM. I would say if you have a sub-woofer and have an amplifier such as the Yamaha or Denon that has the "7 channel stereo music" option...use it. You get much better lows and of course you can eq your entire system!!! Over all I would say the best way to really test this receiver is to order it with a 30 day return guarantee from Crutchfield and connect it to YOUR SYSTEM. If XM decides to go with 5.1 surround sound at a later date, you will be ready, with this receiver's digital coax and optic outputs. I gave this receiver 4 stars out of a possible 5 because I felt some of the channels of XM could of used a higher bit rate, which would have given some of the channels I listened to a "fuller body sound" Also, it would have been great if XM had 5.1 discrete sound now, rather then have to wait for it.

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Polk Audio XRt12

Brent from Long Island, NY on 6/2/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have just received, activated, and been listening to the reference reciever and it is a vast improvement over the sound quality of the XM Roady(hooked up to a Harman Kardon AVR235 and the Harman Kardon HKTS8 speakers). The setup is easy, the menus are nothing fancy, but they do the trick, and the ability to scroll the titles is a nice feature. The tv out as well is nothing fancy but does what it needs. Overall the product is great with the exception of not being able to program stations to memory on the unit itself(this must be done on the remote) The memory can be accessed through the unit, but not programmed.

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Nice upgrade from a Skyfi, but not a reference-quality product

Indytim from South Bend, IN on 2/26/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Just replaced Delphi Skyfi in home system with Polk XRt12. Polk is connected via TOSLINK to Rotel RSP1068 Pre/Pro. Rotel RMB1075 5ch amp powers B&W 805 speakers. Video-wise, Polks composite output goes through Rotel 1068, outputs to TV.<BR><BR>Pros --<BR>- The finish is attractive. Cool blue LED screen complements blue lights on the Rotel equipment.<BR>- Its a significant step up to get Polks video display on TV screen. Now I can actually see the numbers of the channels Im changing to while Im seated on the couch. Two thumbs up for this feature!<BR><BR>Cons<BR>----<BR>More cons than pros with this product... <BR>- First, not a "reference" quality product. It does not have the heft, finish, nor superlative audio quality one associates with reference-class components. Not that I expected it to be for $299.. But its disappointing when yet another once-fine audio company succumbs to marketeering and slaps the label "reference" on what is nearly a commodity-grade product.<BR>- Burr-Brown DACs dont help if youre using Optical output, since output is digital anyway.<BR>- Audio is better, and high-freq noise Skyfi had is gone.<BR>- Remote interface (not the control, but the response to remote control) is EXACTLY the same as on Skyfi. In fact, this "reference" product apparently has Skyfi guts hidden inside it - menus etc are EXACTLY the same. This and the Skyfi have some goofy none-standard protocol, so universal remotes like my Rotel RR1050 cant learn all of the commands. The hope of fixing this problem was one of the reasons I upgraded, and it didnt help.<BR><BR>Bottom line: not a significant step up in audio quality, but a leap forward in video output display, so muc

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Excellent Service and Product

Cmbmedic from Fredericksburg, Virginia on 2/25/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Ordered it on February 23 and Delivered on February 24, 2005 (less than 48 hour turn around). Excellent service Crutchfield! Installation a breeze! I especially wanted the optical and coax connections for my DAT Player and CD-Recordable. XM Satellite subscription expensive per year, but the five year subscription is $499.00 plus ($15.00 installation fee) a savings of $100.00 over the years. Can be moved to your auto if needed later. AudioPolk instructions easy to follow - signal strength in living room excellent. Optical and Coax outputs easily add excellent quality to recording (don't worrry about SCM yet - not like DirectTV). Changing channels easy to follow. Presetting channels easy (10 per A and B side). Recommend for any audiophile.

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Excellent Product

Scott from Muskegon, MI on 2/8/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have had this product since mid December 2004 after purchasing it from Crutchfield. Both my vehicle and home consists of Bose speakers which means I want the best possible sound quality I can get. This product, although pricy, delivers the best possible sound quality for XM home listening as Polk contends. If you have high quality speakers, this is worth the money. There is a night and day difference in the audio quality this unit delivers compared to plug and play units, especially with high and mid range. Not only is the sound much crisper, it is also much louder than an analog connection can deliver with other units (I have not used the analog connection this unit provides).

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Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features
Inputs And Outputs Notes

Features

Overview: The Polk Audio XRt12 Reference tuner is a component-sized XM Satellite Radio tuner that fits into your audio rack along with your receiver and other A/V components. The XRt12 is equipped with audiophile-grade components which will insure you will hear all of satellite radio's potential sound quality.

XM Satellite Radio: XM Satellite Radio programming offers 170 digital radio channels including 69 channels of commercial free music, plus news, sports, talk, comedy, and other entertainment programming from coast to coast. XM also offers instant traffic and weather alerts for 21 major US cities, as well as live sports broadcasts from Major League Baseball, NHL, the PGA tour, Indy car racing and several major college conferences. In addition to the XRt12, you will need an XM Satellite Radio subscription in order to enjoy XM programming.

High Gain XM Antenna: The XRt12 is equipped with a premium high-gain XM antenna with a 20-foot cable. If additional cable is needed, you can connect up to two 50-foot extension cables, for a total of 120 feet. The antenna must be mounted in a position that allows it to best receive the XM signal, either via satellite or, depending upon where you live, the XM Terrestrial Repeater system. A signal strength indicator is available on the display to allow you to optimally aim the antenna.

Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): The XRt12 has a built-in high quality Burr Brown Digital-to-Analog converter for superior sound quality. Burr Brown DACs are widely regarded as the best sounding, and are frequently used in high-end digital surround processors.

Preamp Section: Typical plug and play satellite radio receivers use headphone amplifiers which introduce noise and distortion into the system. This unit's premium high-gain audio preamp section is extremely quiet, low in distortion, and its wide response matches the output of typical CD or DVD players. You can adjust the XRt12's analog output to match other components in your audio system.

Internal Layout: To minimize noise and interference, the major sections of the unit (power supply, display, audio, XM module, preamp) are configured on separate circuit boards.

Display: The XRt12 features a 4-line blue XM display, which shows the channel name, channel number, artist name, song title and signal strength. For best visibility from a distance, you can switch to a larger-sized text. The brightness and contrast of the display can be set to a level between 1 and 10.

Presets: You can store up to 20 channels in preset memory. They are organized into two groups of 10 channels.

Channel Skip/Add: You can skip channels in the XRt12 channel list to prevent them from being accessible in search mode. "Deleted" channels can still be accessed by direct entry or preset.

Preview Channels: While listening to a channel, you can scan through the XM channel lineup, see what channels are available, and what is currently playing, and then decide if you want to leave your current channel. You can switch the display information from channel name to artist name or song title.

Memory: The memory function saves whatever information is on the display screen for later recall. If you wish to remember the name of a particular song or artist name, pressing the memory button on the front panel stores the information until you need it.

Auto Shutdown: You can set the tuner to automatically shut itself off after a preset amount of time. The Auto Shutdown feature can be set to 60, 120, or 180 minutes.

Front Panel Controls: You can control the main functions of the XRt12 from the front panel. In addition to the power button, the front panel also features display, memory, menu, and enter buttons, and select up/down and category up/down rocker switches. Direct tuning is not possible from the front panel due to the lack of a numeric keypad.

Remote Control: The XRt12 can be controlled by the supplied wireless remote control. Although the remote does not control volume (the receiver/amp does), you can increase or decrease the analog audio output level if it is too low or too high. The remote features a 10-button numeric keypad, plus power, mute, preset/direct, jump, display, and menu buttons. You can navigate through menus or channel lists using the arrow keys and the XM "select" button. Dimensions: W=2.247", L=5.383", D=0.921".

Specifications:

  • Signal to Noise Ratio: >80dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD + N): <0.1%
  • Channel Separation: >50dB

Inputs And Outputs Notes

Direct Digital Outputs: In addition to the analog outputs, the XRt12 offers two direct digital outputs (one coaxial, one optical). A 43" optical digital cable is supplied. These digital outputs let you take advantage of the ultra low noise and distortion benefits of pure digital sound, and be able to take advantage of the Digital Signal Processing features of your surround receiver or processor. If and when XM starts broadcasting in surround format (technically feasable), the unit will be ready to send digital surround signals to your multi-channel system.

Video Output: You can display channel information as well as artist and song title information on your TV screen by connecting the XRt12 to your TV via the supplied composite video output. A 6.75' A/V cable is supplied for connecting the unit to your TV.

12-Volt Trigger: If you have a receiver or preamp with a 12-volt trigger, you can connect a 3.5mm mono mini-plug cable between the receiver/preamp and the XM Reference Tuner and switch the tuner from Standby to On or vice versa without having to separately press the power button. As long as the XRt12 stays plugged into an active AC outlet, the unit will respond to 12-volt trigger signals.

RS-232C Connection: The rear panel has an RS-232C connection for use with compatible 3rd party whole house audio distribution systems, such as Crestron, for remote room control of tuner and display of tuner data on remote keypads and other control devices. It is not compatible with computers.

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