klipsch system vs polk audio
(Last Updated On: November 24, 2020)

If you have the chance to choose between a Polk and Klipsch speaker, you may find yourself battling with a difficult decision.

This is especially true if the speakers have similar features or if they cost the same.

The Klipsch vs Polk debate has been going on for a long time. So today, we will put this debate to rest with an in-depth comparison between them.

These types of debates aren’t about cheap speakers either, it’s about quality at the highest level. So, let’s get to it!

 

You can also check out the following comparisons:                                                    Klipsch vs KEF Speakers                                                                                                Klipsch vs MartinLogan

A Quick History – Klipsch vs Polk

Klipsch History: Klipsch is the brand name of Klipsch Audio Technologies, an American loudspeaker company founded in 1946.

Since then, Klipsch has grown to become respected as a worldwide brand – known for manufacturing high end, high fidelity sound systems including loudspeakers, public address systems, and even personal computers.

One enduring mark of Klipsch speakers is the horn. Klipsch manufactures horn-loaded speakers in order to promote high efficiency, low distortion, and good dynamic range.

Polk History: Polk is the brand name of Polk Audio, an American loudspeaker company founded in 1972 and best known for its line of home and automobile speakers and other audio devices including amplifiers, FM tuners, and smart speakers.

So, as you can tell, these two companies have been longstanding in the audio industry and both have respectable brands, well known all across the world.

 

1. Which Is More Respected?

Klipsch and Polk are both very respectable brands. In general, though, Polks are often seen as budget speakers. However, for premium sound, most people will go with Klipsch.

Polk does have a high-end line but it’s not as well regarded as Klipsch. That’s for a number of reasons, but it’s mostly historical.

There are other reasons though, for example, generally, Polks are less efficient than Klipsch speakers.

2. Features Comparison

In general, you want to only compare speakers of comparable features and prices. In terms of features, we mean you want to compare their frequency response, max volume, power handling, construction materials, weight/size, impedance levels, efficiency, etc. to determine which are ‘best’.

3. Sound Quality Comparison

Most Klipsch speakers are smack-you-in-the-face, brutal, rocking speakers. They use aluminum compression dome tweeters with horns that make for ‘hard’ and ‘crisp’ sound.

Some would say they sound harsh. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but many people love them!
As for Polk, many people will tell you they love the clarity of soundtracks on these speakers, especially at high-frequency levels.

These speakers use silk dome tweeters that are ‘smoother’, ‘softer’, and ‘mellower”. Klipsch speakers tend not to offer the kind of ambient, high-frequency detail as Polks, even though they tend to be more dynamic.

This is because some of the subtle nuances of various media are lost with the warmer sounding speakers

 

Example Comparison: Klipsch Reference I R-15M vs Polk T15

Listening to the same soundtrack on similar features and price Polk and Klipsch speakers, we could easily distinguish the sound of an actor’s footsteps as he walked down the street from other ambient sounds with the Polk speakers.

In another case, we were able to hear the rubber crossing the metal strings of the violin. Often with Klipsch, this kind of detail was indistinguishable, but it may depend on what you are listening to. So, HD soundtracks will perform better with many Polk.

On the other hand, the Klipsch speaker had a warmer and in many ways more natural overall sound than the Polk.

In other words, Klipsch is silkier smooth and cool while Polk is more ‘tinny’ is a good way to describe them.

 

Models

Many Klipsch fans out there will tell you they only recommend Klipsch speakers from the Reference line (or Palladium).

Why? Because the tweeters in the reference line are about the most revealing you’ll ever hear.

Klipsch R15M vs Polk T15

On the other hand, we wouldn’t say there’s any premium Polk model that stands out or any that we would downright not recommend.

Comparing Klipsch Monitor and Floorstanding Speakers vs Polk Monitor and Floorstanding Speakers

In this example, we will be comparing Klipsch Reference I R-15M Monitor and R-28F Floorstanding speakers to similar model Polk bookshelf monitor (Polk T15) and floorstanding speakers.

For this comparison, the speakers were placed at the same floor level, next to each other, aimed within the same general direction.

In addition, the media in these cases were symphonies from Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

 

Our Listening Test: What We Noticed

Klipsch Pros
1. The Klipsch speakers provide a much wider frequency range than the Polks!
2. The sound was also brighter.
3. The symphonies sounded as if we were in the same room as the orchestra.

Klipsch Cons
1. Though providing a wide frequency range, the Klipsch speakers apparently sounded as if they were completely missing certain instrument sounds – woodwinds and clarinets, or the details of this frequency range.
2. The Klipsch missed most of the details of the bass including the piano heavier hitting sounds until it reached peak range.

Polk Pros
1. In this case, the Polk speakers had a spectacular body or detail. The articulation of the instruments and notes was far more revealing.
2. The Polks had no problems reproducing the details of most instruments including woodwinds, although the sound wasn’t completely clean.
3. The symphonies sounded as if the orchestra was some distance away.

Polk Cons
1. Limited frequency range even though the bass was fuller.
2. The symphonies sounded as if we were some distance away from the orchestra. The sound was just slightly damped.

 


Best Klipsch and Polk Speakers On Amazon:


Best Klipsch Speakers On Amazon

These are some of the best Klipsch speakers available on Amazon today:

Best Polk Speakers On Amazon

These are some of the best Polk speakers available on Amazon today:


 

What If I Cant Test The Speakers In Person?

Auditioning speakers is important because audio is a subjective thing, and it doesn’t really matter how a speaker looks on paper, what matters is how it sounds to you.

However, you may not be able to audition speakers if you are purchasing from Amazon or BestBuy, for example.

If you aren’t purchasing from a store and so can’t hear each speaker, then you need to guess the sound quality/type in another way.

One way to guess how the speaker’s sound is by way of determining which material the speaker’s woofers/tweeter are made from.

For example, metallic woofers (especially aluminum) with which Klipsch speakers are made tend to sound more reference, however, poly paper/kevlar/silk materials with which Polk speakers are made tend to sound “warmer”.

In addition, the horns give Klipsch speakers a distinctive, bright sound that some people may appreciate and others don’t. Remember, rushing into any purchase without patience and research is often a bad idea.

 

Bottom Line:

The bottom line is, if the speakers are similar in terms of features and price, your best bet is to listen to both speakers.

You can use this live audition to determine which speaker is best for you because it really comes down to your own personal preference. For example, some people prefer Polk for music, but many only appreciate the top-end offering.

In order to tell which of the speakers you will “really” like, you should listen to them with a wide range of music.

Bring well-recorded albums with which you are familiar with and have listened to several times and make sure you pay close attention to the midrange and listen for balance and vocal clarity. Do you have a Klipsch or Polk? Tell us about your experiences!

By the way, you can also check out our Klipsch vs KEF comparison if you are also interested in KEF speakers.