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Klipsch vs Polk Audio – Detailed Comparison

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Klipsch and Polk Audio are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry.  Klipsch focuses on the hifi market and targets audiophiles while Polk Audio focuses on the budget customer. 

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

Klipsch Quick History

Klipsch Audio Technologies (also known as Klipsch Speakers or Klipsch Group, Inc.) is an American loudspeaker manufacturing company based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company was founded in Hope, Arkansas, in 1946 by Paul W. Klipsch. Klipsch audio also makes loudspeaker drivers and enclosures, as well as complete loudspeakers for high-end, high-fidelity sound systems, public address systems, and personal computers.

It has expanded a lot and has undergone a lot of changes since its establishment. Klipsch audio still manufactures some legacy speakers that have been around since the days when the genius of P.W. Klipsch made his first speakers.

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

Klipsch Sound Quality

Klipsch speakers are well-known for the high quality, stunningly precise sound they produce, which can be matched by only a few select brands. The speakers produce crisp highs, powerful bass, and full, encompassing sound with low distortion. However, many people don’t like the Klipsch sound because it can tend to sound ‘bright’ or harsh.

Klipsch speakers use a horn tweeter (Klipschorn), which is what makes horns and brass instruments sound more realistic. They are ideal for higher frequencies, which is why Klipsch speakers are often recommended when dealing with high-frequency sounds (like movies and certain music genres). This is also why high-efficiency design is a core Klipsch design principle.

Klipschorn design, patented by the founder, Paul W. Klipsch himself, is a fully horn-loaded three-way speaker, which means that it houses three separate speaker units, each with their own diaphragm and horn in three frequency ranges: high, mid and low. Separating the frequencies in this way ensures less frequency modulation distortion. The Klipschorn design is still used in many Klipsch speakers, which explains their quality audio and energy efficiency.

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

Klipsch Features

Klipsch devices are best known for the premium sound they produce, but they also have a host of features to ensure a wholesome experience for users.

Below are some common features that Klipsch speakers are known for:

  • HDMI-eARC connectivity: Single Cable, Single Remote
  • Dolby Atmos Decoding for immersive surround sound, stereo multiple channel systems
  • 8K Video Pass-Through
  • Dialogue enhancement mode for crystal clear voices
  • Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, HDMI, USB Audio, and Analog/AUX and optical audio input connectivity
  • Built-in universal wifi for existing Smart Home ecosystems- featuring Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Spotify Connect
  • Klipsch Connect and Klipsch stream are two apps that can be used with your speakers. There are a lot of features included in the apps apart from controlling your Klipsch sound system. They are available for both iOS and Android.
  • Efficiency and low power consumption: Due to the company’s use of horn-loaded speakers, they are able to manufacture speakers with high sensitivity (efficiency). It also makes the speakers consume less power compared to similarly performing speakers.

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

Klipsch Build Quality

High-efficiency design is a core Klipsch design principle, and this is evident in all their products. Klipsch devices are very popular for the quality and sturdy materials that are used in their construction. This gives their products excellent performance and remarkable durability.

The materials used in construction, such as wood, cerametallic material or plastic, are carefully selected for their acoustic, aesthetic and durability properties. 

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

Klipsch Ease Of Use

Klipsch devices are very easy to set up and use. With a wide range of ports for easy connectivity, such as the HDMI Arc port, setting up is as easy as plugging in and playing. Remote control support and iOS and Android apps also make it much easier to use your Klipsch devices.

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

Klipsch Cost

Because of the materials used in Klipsch speakers, they tend to have premium prices, such as the RP-8000F floorstanding speaker, which costs from $800 to $1000 apiece. But they deliver much more than what you pay for. If you really care about the quality of the sound and the durability of your speaker, it is easy to overlook the cost.

There are also a few Klipsch product lines that do not cost as much (the Klipsch Reference RSB-3 home cinema speaker costs from $150 to $300, while a Klipsch Reference On-Ear headphone costs from $99 to $200), but sometimes this results in lesser than premium sound quality.

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

Klipsch Space Requirements

Klipsch speakers have a wide range of sizes, and therefore require different amounts of space for effective operation. For example, there are portable PC speakers that can be easily placed on a desk while there are large cinematic models that require much more space.

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

Klipsch Remote Controls

Klipsch supports some universal remote controllers as well as custom-made Klipsch remotes. This brings additional functionality to your devices.

Klipsch also has apps for both iOS and Android that can be used to control your Klipsch sound system remotely. The apps also allow for the use of voice assistants like Google Assistant, Spotify Connect, and Amazon Alexa, which respond to simple voice commands. Klips stream allows you to stream directly from music platforms such as Spotify and Amazon Music.

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

Klipsch Connectivity Options

Klipsch devices have several connectivity options including both wired and wireless choices. These include Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, HDMI, USB Audio and Analog/AUX, and so on.

This allows you to connect your Klipsch speaker to a lot of different devices such as phones, personal computer, TV or used as part of a system of other speakers. The support for voice assistants also allows quick WiFi connection for several different speakers.

Polk Audio Connectivity Options

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

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Power Range

Klipsch Power Range

Klipsch speakers consume much less power compared to other speakers of the same performance range. This is largely due to the horn tweeter that is used in their speakers, which reduces the need for a high-powered amplifier to boost the sound produced. 1 Watt RMS produces a 105 decibel at 1 meter sound pressure level (SPL), which is about 14–20 decibels higher than ordinary speakers.

The power range is different for each of the various Klipsch devices, so it is advisable to check the information included in the user manual.

Polk Audio Power Range

It can endure 20 to 100 watts of continuous power.

Frequency Response

Klipsch Frequency Response

Klipsch speakers have very pleasing and natural frequency responses. The speakers all have frequency ranges that all lie within the recommended frequencies to produce full and natural sound.

Due to the diversity of devices produced by Klipsch, there is a wide range of frequencies ranging from about 30Hz to 15KHz. The information about the frequency response of a particular device can be obtained from the user manual.

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. 

Conclusion

Klipsch has been in the speaker component manufacturing business for over seventy years and they have the experience to make great sounding speakers as shown in their array of quality devices. If premium quality sound is what you want, Klipsch speakers are great options to try out. if you need a good entry level speaker that doesn’t cost much, Polk Audio may be your go-to.

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