Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Norvan Martin
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:
Pros and Cons of Klipsch:
- Pros: Known for producing high-quality speakers and headphones with excellent sound quality and strong bass response. Many of their products are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and can be a good fit for a home theater setup.
- Cons: Some of their products can be expensive, and some users have reported issues with durability.
Pros and Cons of Polk Audio:
- Pros: Known for producing a wide range of speakers, including home theater systems, soundbars, and outdoor speakers. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and value for money.
- Cons: Some users have reported issues with durability and reliability of some of their products.
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.
Klipsch speakers use horn-loaded compression drivers which causes them to have an emphasized high-end. There are many people who like this sound, but there are also many others who find it fatiguing as it causes discomfort.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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
7. 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.
8. 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.
This remote is powered by lithium batteries and has a 10-meter range. Note that no program or special setup is required.
9. 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:
10. 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.
11. 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.
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.
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.
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
For this comparison, the speakers were placed at the same floor level, next to each other, and 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
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.
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’s heavier hitting sounds until it reached peak range.
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.
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 Can’t 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 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.
Is Polk Audio The Best?
Polk isn’t the finest quality of speakers, but they are one of the inexpensive brands on the market, particularly for in-wall speakers and good in-ceiling speakers. So, you can’t grumble too much about value as they are going to execute well.
Is Polk Better Than Sony?
The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a strikingly better soundbar than Sony HT-S350. Its sound contour is better balanced, although a bit excited. However, it is not as well built as Sony. The Sony also performs better at max volume, but its deep-toned and detail-lacking sound signature might not be worth it for most.
Who Makes Polk Audio?
Sound United, the parent company of many audio brands, including Polk Audio and Definitive Technology, announced that it had acquired the D-M Group (now owned by Sound United) – the parent company to several audio brands, including Denon, Marantz, and Boston Acoustics.
Is Polk Made In China?
The Polk Star speaker system, their Lsim 707 loudspeaker, is finished in China. Still, the buyer is told that they are made in China, and the valuing certainly mirrors what they are made in China, and Polk even runs ½ price sales on their speakers once or twice a year, making the acquisition an even better transaction.
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 a wide range of music.
Bring well-recorded albums with which you are familiar 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.
Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics.