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Bose vs Polk Audio – Detailed Comparison

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Bose and Denon are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars, and subwoofers.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Bose Quick History

Bose is an American audio equipment company established by Amar Bose in early 1964. It is well-known for making high-end speakers, headphones, car sound systems, and other professional audio equipment.

Amar Bose started Bose because he was unhappy with the sound quality of a stereo he had bought. He did this to try to make sound systems better than they were at the time. Amar had taken the time to find out how important sound reverberation was to the sound system‌.

As a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Amar Bose knew how important research was to making excellent products. Therefore, he had made this the driving force for the company’s growth over the past few decades.

Polk Audio Quick History

Polk Audio is an American audio device manufacturer best known for its home and car speakers headquartered in San Diego, California.

A wide range of additional audio devices, such as amplifiers and FM tuners, are also produced by Polk Audio. Polk audio was purchased by Directed Electronics in 2006.

Sound Quality

Bose Sound Quality

There is a lot of criticism about Bose speakers as it relates to sound quality. Many people believe Bose is an overhyped company that focuses too much on marketing and not enough on R&D to improve the quality of their speakers.

Many audiophiles for example lament the fact that Bose speakers tend to not have clearly defined highs and lows (bass). This is where the phrase – no highs, no lows, must be Bose came from.

While the above may be true, to Bose’s credit, some psychoacoustics has been a primary focus in the development of Bose audio equipment. This focuses on the effect of the reflected sound arriving at the listener’s head and thus tries to mimic a live performance with all their speakers.

This psychoacoustic design began with the Bose model 901, which was manufactured in 1968, and as a result of its success, it is still in production to this day.

But because Bose’s psychoacoustic approach is unusual and most audiophiles criticize it, but that doesn’t make it sound any less impressive. The sound fills the room, making it seem like a live performance without losing any of the high, mid, or low frequencies.

Polk Audio Sound Quality

The downside to Polk devices is that they aren’t of the best quality when it comes to sound, so if you’re looking for a high-end sound system, it could be worth stepping up your budget a little. Polk speakers are best as entry-level speakers.

This means that they may not appeal to expert audiophiles and cannot be used for professional purposes.

Features

Bose Features

Bose has features for expressive audio, intuitive controls, and modern components for better use. It is pretty easy to identify a Bose product when you see one. Some of the most common features of Bose devices are patented and device-specific.

Most Bose speakers support all audio formats, like Flac and Wav. They also have voice support, like Amazon Alexa, built-in music streaming platforms, like Deezer and Spotify, and seamless wireless connectivity for listening to music in multiple rooms through the Sonos set up and SoundTouch.

You can also expect to find a micro USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack/aux cable on a typical Bose device.

Most Bose headphones also have a background noise canceling feature that blocks out all the surrounding noise and allows you to focus on the sound from the headset. Because of this feature, Bose headsets are a great choice for professional uses like conference calls.

Polk Audio Features

Polk audio devices come with some features that make them more suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

  • Auto-off timer
  • More physical input such as (HDMI in port, AUX port)
  • All controls are on the rear edge
  • Slim, compact design that allows you to place them on walls.

Build Quality

Bose Build Quality

Bose products are not something you can rely entirely on when it comes to build quality. The build quality can be divided into the internal build and the external structure.

However, for a brand that has been a big player in the audio equipment industry, Bose seems to focus more on the internal build quality at the expense of the structural delivery. Therefore, this leads to a great-sounding device that has a poor structure.

Although, another factor that might be worthy of note is the fact that the build quality varies from device to device. While some Bose products fall short of expectations, others are extremely durable.

For example, while most Bose speakers are usually reviewed to be of below-standard build quality, the headphones have enjoyed excellent reviews. An example of this is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones, which most users have reported to have one of the best build quality.

Polk Audio Build Quality

On average, Polk audio build quality is comparable to industry standards. The Polk T50 is a great example of this.

Although Polk made the T50 sound better by sacrificing some build quality, the speaker is still reasonably strong and, given its popularity, replacement parts are easy to come by.

Ease of Use

Bose Ease Of Use

A great number of Bose products are easy to use. This means that even without technical know-how, you can operate them without stress.

For example, the QuietComfort 35 II headphone has a design that can be turned 360 degrees, adjusted to an angle, and can be folded easily.

The Soundlink Micro is another Bose portable Bluetooth speaker that is designed with a freestanding mount which makes it ideal for use anywhere including the bedside, bookshelf and other places. This includes poolside too since the Bose Soundlink Micro is waterproof and can stand easily.

Polk Audio Ease Of Use

The controls on Polk Audio Bluetooth equipment are easy to use. A lightweight design and high-quality materials ensure that the user is comfortable while using them.

Cost

Bose Cost

One of the most important pieces of information you need to understand before choosing a Bose product is the fact that they are quite expensive. However, most people will unconsciously prefer to buy Bose products. This is basically for two reasons:

  1. Bose has a brilliant marketing strategy which makes them one of the most popular brands in the world.
  2. Bose speakers have a sound that makes your brain mimic the feeling of being in a live show. This is because of the tremendous investment by Bose in research and development.

Unfortunately, there are so many brands in the audio equipment industry with less prestige than Bose but which offer similar quality products at a lower price.

Check out the price tags for their most common products:

  • Bose earbuds: $180 – $450
  • Bose headphones: $100 – $550
  • Bose bass module speakers: $400 – $850
  • Bose Soundbar: $300 – $850

Polk Audio Cost

Polk’s speaker collection shows that good-sounding speakers do not have to be expensive. They have home speakers to suit every budget.

So do you want tower speakers but don’t want to spend more than $500 on them? There are Polk audio speakers that sell for less than $500 and still have great sound. They’re commonly available for around $300 or less a pair, and they sound fantastic.

Here are some price ranges for Polk audio products:

Home speakers: $200 – $2500

Soundbars: $100 – $500

Car speakers: $100 – $500

Space Requirements

Bose Space Requirements

Most Bose products, including the home theater, AV receiver, and speakers, do not require too much space as they aren’t normally large and bulk. They include shelf speakers, minimal home theaters, and AV receivers with pretty sleek designs.

Bose speakers such as SoundLink Color Bluetooth speakers can be used on the bookshelf without disturbing the arrangement of books.

Polk Audio Space Requirements

Most Polk Audio devices are space-efficient. Take, for example, Polk’s LSiM 703s speakers which are 16.8-inch tall bookshelf speakers with a 6.5-inch midbass, a 3.5-inch woofer for low frequencies, and a 1-inch tweeter for high frequencies. This implies that only a minimal amount of space is needed.

Remote Controls

Bose Remote Controls

entertainment without stress. They add this remote to almost all Bose products except for the headphones.

A pretty interesting factor to admire about the Bose remote control is the fewer buttons. The remote control adds usability to its delicate design. It allows you to perform all the desired tasks with a few clicks of the buttons.

Polk Audio Remote Controls

Polk Audio produces speakers that are compatible with their own remote control as well as those of other remote control manufacturers such as HQRP and Motiexic littlefishlittlecat.

This remote is powered by lithium batteries and has a 10-meter range. Note that no program or special setup is required.

Connectivity Options

Bose Connectivity Options

Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most Bose speakers:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Power Range

Bose Power Range

The power rating of Bose devices is not shown on most of their devices. But, according to different reviews from their users, the power range depends on the kind of device.

For example, the power range of an average mini home speaker like the Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is around 30 to 50 watts. The wattage of a larger speaker, such as the Bose Soundbar 300, is around 65 watts.

Frequency Response

Bose Frequency Response

Most Bose speakers have a frequency response of around 25Hz to 20kHz. However, for most Bose headphones, the frequency range is between 100 Hz and 10 kHz.

Polk Audio Frequency Response

Polk audio frequency responses are usually in the region of 50Hz to 50kHz. The Polk Audio Signature Series S10 2-Way Surround speakers, for example, have a Medite MDF cabinet frequency response of around 67Hz to 40 kHz for excellent treble reproduction. It can endure 20 to 100 watts of continuous power.

Conclusion

For those looking for a sound system that can simulate a live performance, Bose products are the best option. However, most audiophiles feel this is not a natural sound and it is hence heavily criticized amongst audiophiles.

Polk is unquestionably a fantastic option if you need a good home audio system, but there are other companies that are equivalent or even better than Polk audio. However, if you need a good entry level speaker that doesn’t cost much, Polk Audio may be your go-to.

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