Polk vs Klipsch: Which one has best sound systems

If you are into music and audio systems then you already know that Polk vs Klipsch is close competitors. Which one is better? Well, the answer is subjective and depends on lots of factors. Both these brand’s expertise is making affordable speakers with great sound.

If you want to choose between Polk vs Klipsch then spend some time reading this review because the brands differ in technology, audio quality, and many more. While both speakers focus on undistorted sound with appropriate treble and bass, some listeners found Klipsch to be too bright compared to Polk.

Others love the budget-friendly Klipsch bookshelf or tower speakers that have quality and aesthetics. Polk has smart soundbars compatible with voice assistants and Klipsch have some famous home theaters.

Define the Polk audio system

Polk is famous for affordable speakers without compromising sound quality. They have bookshelf or tower speakers and Command bars that are compatible with voice assistants. Some of the best quality of audio can be found if you increase the price and are most suited for audiophiles.

Polk manufactures car speakers for a long time now and some of them are the MM1 series and DB series. The company manufactures other products like FM tuning and amplifiers.

Define Klipsch audio system

Klipsch audio system is well-known for its bookshelf or floor standing speakers and home theaters.  They deliver quality music along with good décor. Recently they are working on making car speakers.

The Reference Premium Home Theater is one of the best Home theaters in Klipsch. It also has Dolby Atmos home theaters. They also manufacture headphones like T5 that are durable. Overall Klipsch is budget-friendly and has expertise in soundbars, speakers, wireless speakers, and many more.

Facts to compare Polk and Klipsch home audio system

When you want to distinguish the two best quality products, then you can’t just present your thought. You need to build a distinct line between them in terms of their features and usability. In this part, let’s compare these Polk and Klipsch home audio systems.

Technology

Different brands have their own patented technology that they use to improvise the audio system.  Both Klipsch and Polk have such engineering methods.

Klipsch technology:

Klipsch has famous horn-loaded technology in all speakers that serve high sensitivity and low distortion. The Tractrix® Horns are found in all Klipsch audio devices except headphones and subwoofers.

Klipsch uses Cerametallic woofers in Reference Series speakers. it has delivered deep and powerful bass. For tweeter, Klipsch has patented LINEAR TRAVEL SUSPENSION TWEETER (LTS) which reduces distortion and focuses on resolution and detail.

The WIDE DISPERSION SURROUND TECHNOLOGY(WDST) is found in surround speakers that enhance details of audio and make the speaker ideal for a room with ‘bad placement’ issues.

Polk technology:

Polk speaker has SDA technology known as Stereo Dimensional Array that produces a wider soundstage and better stereo image. It is used in traditional TV speakers or home theater systems.

Voice Adjust Technology makes sure you listen to dialogues with clarity. It is available in MagniFi Mini and MagniFi 2 soundbars.  Polk also has PowerPort Technology that helps to eliminate bass distortion.  It is a unique cone placed at the mouth of the port and allows smooth airflow.

Principle

Principle of Polk:

Different companies have different approaches to design and engineering their sound systems. Polk uses composite driver materials to avoid resonance, enhances bass with Power port, and ensures a broader sweet spot and soundstage.

Principle of Klipsch:

The fundamental principle of Klipsch is Horn technology. It ensures loud music with low power, direct audio towards the listener, high and low sound with clarity, and flat frequency response.

 TechnologyPrinciple in design
PolkSDA
Voice Adjust technology
Dynamic Balance
Power Port
Wide Dispersion Array
SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array)
KlipschTractrix Horn
Cerametallic woofer
WIDE DISPERSION SURROUND TECHNOLOGY(WDST)
LINEAR TRAVEL SUSPENSION TWEETER (LTS)
High efficiency/low distortion
Controlled directivity
Wide dynamic range
Flat frequency response

Material

  • Klipsch material
  • Driver: Klipsch usually has metal tweeters and Woofers. Metal drivers are available and inexpensive. They also dissipate heat quickly. However, there are issues with cone ‘break up’ or ‘cone cry’ which are often solved by the compromised solutions.
  • Enclosure: a speaker enclosure can be made of metal, wood, plastic, etc. To avoid resonance an ideal speaker material is medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Although bookshelf and floor standing speakers are made from MDF, Klipsch soundbars have a wooden enclosure and on-walls have ABS thermoplastic polymer.
  • Polk material
  • Driver: paper or plastic drivers are also available. Plastic drivers are very damped and lossy which means they have controllable break-ups and easy high-frequency roll-off. Paper drivers can accumulate moisture which can change it’s mass and damping properties.
  • Enclosure: usually wood, MDF, or thermoplastic material is used to avoid resonance or vibration. Polk uses MDF for a bookshelf or floor standing speakers.
  Driver materialEnclosure material
PolkS50Polypropylene mid/woofer, Terylene tweeterMDF
265-RTPolypropene mid/woofer, Silk tweeterWafer-thin sheer grille
T15A mineral-filled polymer mid/woofer, Silk tweeterMDF
KlipschR-820FAluminium LTS tweeter, Spun Copper IMG wooferMDF
RP-640DTitanium LTS tweeter, Cerametallic wooferABS
Bar 48Fiber composite tweeter, wooden subwooferHigh-quality wood

Audio

Polk audio

While it is very difficult to describe the sound quality of a certain brand, but a general idea can be summed up to give you a brief idea. Polk is well-known for wide soundstage and ensuring uniform sound so that there are several sweet spots.

Polk is responsible for producing ambient sounds like the soundtrack of a movie with clarity. The timbre helps to generate a pleasing sound. It is best for listening to music.

Klipsch audio

Klipsch has a warmer and natural tone compared to Polk. It delivers silk and smooth music tracks. The horn tweeters will general warm sound and if you want music with bass you can add a sub.

It has the best bold and engaging sound however the focus on ambient sound is not that strong compared to Polk. For some listeners, Klipsch sound little too bright which is actually the work of the horn-loaded technology.

 PolkKlipsch
Audio qualitySeveral sweet spots, emphasize on ambient sound with a broad soundstageWarm/soother tone.
Best for rocking music but some find it too sharp

Product specifications:

Polk vs Klipsch in-wall speakers

In-ceiling speakers are best if you have kids or pets in the house or don’t have space at all. When choosing in-ceiling speakers, you can look for self-enclosed ones that will deliver more bass. You can also look for stereo sound in speakers that will deliver sound from both left and right speakers.

Among the listed Polk models, the Polk audio v80 in-ceiling speaker has a larger woofer that will produce more bass. The CDT model of Klisch has a tweeter that rotates and the woofer can move 360° and pivot at 15° in any direction

  DriverPowerVoltage sensitivity
PolkPolk V801 8" Mid/Woofer,
1 1" Tweeter
10-100WPC[email protected] V/1m
Polk V601 6.5" Mid/Woofer
1 0.75" Tweeter
10-100WPC[email protected] V/1m
Polk IC603/4" tweeter,
6-1/2" woofer
Up to 100W91dB
KlipschCDT-5800 C II1" tweeter, 8" woofer50W RMS / 200W Peak[email protected] V/1m
R-2650-C II1" Tweeter, 6.5" woofer50W RMS / 200W Peak[email protected] V/1m
SLM-5400-C1" tweeter, 4" woofer120W Peak[email protected] V/1m

Polk vs Klipsch floor standing speakers

Floor standing speakers are best for audiophiles. If you have space and you are a music freak then you should go for these.  These speakers are large in size that means the driver gets more space to move air and produce better sound.

If we compare Polk RTiA9 vs Klipsch RP-280F we see that Klipsch has higher sensitivity but Polk has a wider frequency range. Driver materials and technology is different in Klipsch and Polk.

  Frequency responsePowerVoltage sensitivity
PolkPolk RTiA930-26kHz +/- 3dB50-500W[email protected] V/1m
Polk T5040Hz-20kHz +/- 3dB100W RMS (150W)90dB
Polk S6026Hx-40kHz20-300 WPC90dB
KlipschRP-280F32-25kHz +/- 3dBCont/peak: 150/600[email protected] V/1m
RP-28F35Hz-24kHz
+/-3 dB
150/600[email protected] V/1m
RP-4000F37Hz-25kHz75/300[email protected] V/1m

Polk vs Klipsch home theater

If you are a movie-freak and occasional music listener, and you have a large room, then you should definitely go for a home theater. Both Polk and Klipsch are well-known for their surround sound with deep bass; however, some think the Klipsch is too bright.

Between Polk Signature vs Klipsch Reference home theater, Reference 5.1 doesn’t include Dolby Atmos whereas the Signature Series 5.1.2 has.  The sensitivity and frequency range in speakers are considerably better in Klipsch than in Polk. This means Klipsch can get louder and Polk can produce sound at a lower and higher frequency than Klipsch.

  Frequency responseRecommended amp powerSensitivity
PolkPolk tl1600 (5.1)40-22kHz10W89dB
Signature Series 5.1.2S20: 39 Hz – 40kHz
S35:53 Hz–40 kHz
S60:26Hz–40 kHz
RC60i:40Hz-20kHz
S20:20 - 125 Watts
S35:20 - 150 Watts
S60:20 - 300 Watts
RC60i:20 - 100 Watts
S20:88dB
S35:88dB
S60:90dB
RC60i:89dB
Polk Fusion T series (5.1)T15:60Hz – 24kHz
T30/T50:38Hz – 24kHz
T15:60Hz – 89dB
T30/T50:90dB
KlipschKlipsch R-610F 5.1R-610F: 45-21kHz (±3dB)
R-52C: 89-21kHz (±3dB)
R-41M: 68-21kHz (±3dB)
RMS/peakR-610F:85W/340W peak
R-52C::100/400W
R-41M:50/200W
R-610F:94dB
R-52C:95dB
R-41M:90dB
THX Ultra 2TX-T2 SE:35-22k
TX-T3 SE:33-22k
TX-12sub:16-200
Input power RMS:
TX-T2 SE:150W
TX-T3 SE:200W
TX-12sub:200W
TX-T2 SE: [email protected] V/1m
TX-T3 SE:[email protected] V/1m
RP-6000FRP-6000F : 48-25kHz +/-3dB75/300[email protected] V/1m

Polk vs Klipsch bookshelf speaker

Bookshelf speakers are very famous for people seeking a pair of speakers. This is because they are fit into your small spaces or apartments. While they should be placed on stands, you can also put them on an open table or shelf.

Sensitivity, driver sizes are some of the important factors while choosing a bookshelf speaker. A full range bookshelf speaker produces wide soundstage and might not need a sub. We should look for more sensitive speakers because they can get louder and need less power.

Comparing Polk Audio RTiA1 vs Klipsch 51 II, they differ in the number of drivers, driver size, and sensitivity. 51 II has more sensitivity and an extra tweeter compared to RTiA1.

  DriverPowerVoltage sensitivity
PolkPolk RTiA11 5.25" Mid/Woofer20-125 WPC[email protected] V/1m
Polk LSim 7031" tweeter,
3 1/4" midrange
6 1/2" mid/woofer
20-200WPC[email protected] V/1m
Polk S601 5.25" Mid/Woofer,
1 0.75" Tweeter
20-100 WPC[email protected] V/1m
KlipschRP-600M1” tweeter,
6.5”woofer
Cont/peak: 100/400W[email protected] V/1m
R-41M1”tweeter,
4” woofer
50W/200W[email protected] V/1m
RB-51 II1”tweeter, 5.25” woofer75W RMS/300W peak[email protected] V/1m

Polk vs Klipsch subwoofer

The subwoofer is a crucial device for the extra oomph in movies and music.  It is responsible for the tighter and punchier effect. While some want room-shaking bass while others need less than that. The ideal size of the woofer in sub should be 8” or more.

The best method to understand whether the sub suits the audio system is by subwoofer crawl technique. To reduce cold and hot spots in the room it is ideal to have multiple subs like 2 or 4.

If we compare Polk hts 12 vs Klipsch r12sw, we see that there are similar specs like frequency response, power, and front-firing 12” drivers.  R12SWi has a copper IMG woofer and HTS 12 has polypropene.

  Frequency responsepowerDriver
PolkPolk HTS 1228-120kHz (-3dB)200-watt RMS (400-watt peak)12” front-firing
Polk PSW 12130Hz-250Hz100W dynamic power12” driver
Polk PSW 1040-160 Hz (-3dB)50W RMS10” front-firing
KlipschR-12SWi29Hz-120Hz +/-3dBCont/peak: 200W/400W12” front-firing
C-308ASWI28Hz - 150Hz +/- 3dB300/600W8" Front-Firing
SPL-15018Hz - 125Hz400/800W15” woofer

Polk vs Klipsch center-channel speaker

Center channel speakers are very important for dialogue clarity and reproducing such noise that would go unnoticed. It focuses on sound effects, music, and 50% of the soundtrack and enhances the surround sound.

Typically it is best to match the center channel with other surround speakers for maximum performance. While buying a center channel you should look into the number of drivers, bi-wire capability, frequency response, etc.

The placement should be exactly above or below the TV. If we compare Polk S35 vs RP-504C, then there are differences in drivers and sensitivity. The S35 has a smaller woofer and sensitivity than RP-504C.

  DriverRecommended Amp Power Per ChannelVoltage sensitivity
PolkPolk CSiA42 5.25" Midrange
1 1" Tweeter
20 watts -180 watts[email protected] V/1m
Polk S351 1" Tweeter
6 3" Mid/Woofer
20-150W[email protected] V/1m
Polk CSiA62 6.5" Mid/Woofer
1 1" Tweeter
20 watts-200 watts[email protected] V/1m
KlipschRP-504C1 1” tweeter,
Dual 5.25" woofers
Cont/peak: 150W/600W[email protected] V/1m
RP-250C1 1” tweeter,
Dual 5.25" woofers
100/400W[email protected] V/1m
RP-42 II1 1” tweeter,
Dual 4" woofers
75 RMS/300 Peak[email protected] V/1m

How to enhance the audio of your speaker system?

If you think you bought one of the best-reviewed speakers at a high cost, yet the audio is not up to your mark and you are wondering what could go wrong? Well, a number of things need your attention to make sure your speakers deliver the optimum performance.

Placement

Speaker:

The Placement of the speaker is more important than you think. It is difficult to say exactly where to put the speakers because every room is different with varying setup of furniture.

For more details, see this article: Ultimate guide to speaker placement. In general, you can follow these basic rules:

  • Place the speakers away from the wall, around 6”
  • Toe-in the speakers towards you.
  • Move your listening position away from the wall, at least afoot.
  • Speakers should remain flat, not tilted
  • If they are bookshelf speakers, the drivers should be at your ear-level.

Subwoofer:

Subwoofer placement is as important as the placement of the speaker. Placing the sub against a wall or the corner of the room will create punchier bass which might be too much for a given room.

  • Move away from the sub from the wall at least 1 foot
  • Use subwoofer crawl technique: Place a sub in your listening position, walk around the room with SPL meter, listen /measure the spot where the bass sounds ideal.

Subwoofer

  • Type of sub:
  • Active subwoofer: has a built-in amp. Better to use because you don’t need an external amp to power it.
  • Passive subwoofer: it needs an external amp to power the sub.
  • Size: for small rooms, small subwoofers are recommended and for large rooms, you should take 12” or 15” sub.
  • Check audio by crawl technique: make sure the subwoofer is placed at the right place by using the subwoofer crawl technique mentioned above.
  • Power of sub: the recommended minimum amount of power for a subwoofer is as follows:
Subwoofer size Min. power (W)
8” 50
10” 75
12” 100
15” 150
18” 250

AV receiver or amplifier

AV receiver:

AV receiver has all units in one box including amp, preamp, tuner, radio, input selection, volume control, etc. people who are movie-freaks and have a home theater where you want to connect TV, speakers, soundbars, the console in one point, you should buy an AV receiver.

The receiver should have at least 5 channels or 7 channels with a sub for Dolby Atmos.’

  • Adjust crossover frequency: set the crossover frequency by adding 10Hz to the lowest frequency of the speaker. Usually, the crossover frequency is around 80Hz.

Amplifier:

The amplifier takes in an audio signal amplifies it and delivers it as an output which makes the setup complicated. It comes with a separate preamp, amp, tuner, processor, etc.   and will be ideal for people who are an audiophile.

  • SNR: if there are two SNR, 50dB, and 70dB, 70 dB will be better. The larger the ratio, the better the sound and the audio will be free of acoustical effects.
  • THD: total harmonic distortion of a quality amp should be less than 1%.
  • Required power: this term can be very misleading and confusing. Amp with one channel at 1kHz will consume different power when all 5 to 7 channels are running at the same time. It is better to measure power with 2 channels at 20Hz-20kHz.

For an average-sized room, 80 watts per channels at 20Hz to 20kHz will be sufficient. If you want to know more you can read Understanding speaker amplifier.

  • Streaming lossless audio: the speaker will play audio tracks from the source so the source is important here. Users should save the audio track in CD quality in lossless file size like FLAC, WMA, ALAC, or 24/96 files.

The lossless files should be stored on a PC or laptop where the space is not limited and several files can be saved. Then a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is needed to transfer the tracks to the speaker with the least interference. The DAC eliminates the noise floor (background hiss) and makes sure the sound quality remains high.

FAQ

At the end of the article, we’ve compiled some of the most asked questions. And also we’ve tried to provide the best solution to them, let’s find out more about this section!

What is the rear center channel speaker for Klipsch?

the rear center channel speaker known as EX or ES is found in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 processing. These are used to direct sound at the center and create a room-filling experience just like the front center channel speakers.

You can use the front center speakers as the rear speakers and you can have the freedom to choose two rear center speakers.

How to connect the wireless sub with ManiFi Max soundbar?

Follow the steps below to connect the wireless sub successfully:

  • Power the sub, bar, and rear speakers.
  • Press the ‘SYNC’ button on the bar and hold for 5-7s. wait until you hear the chime.
  • Repeat the same with the subwoofer.
  • Press the ‘SYNC’ of the first rear speaker and hold for 5-7s. release the button when you see the green LED.
  • Repeat the same for the second rear speaker.

How to connect Klipsch speaker wire with speaker or receiver?

you can connect the speaker wire to the binding post but for convenience, you can add banana plugs or spades at the end of the wires. However, if you use bare wires for the connection they will work fine too.

Are Klipsch speakers ideal for audiophiles?

While some people argue that the horn technology and tweeter can’t produce sound as it should, this is not the case because the horn technology is also used in monitors or speakers in concerts.

Klipsch is ideal for audiophile because they deliver detailed and accurate music at an affordable cost.

Conclusion

Polk vs Klipsch, which should you buy? Well, if you are looking for a warmer sound with a broadening sweet spot and low budget you can easily go with Polk. On the other hand, Klipsch plays bright audio due to horn-loaded technology and metal woofers which some people prefer over others.

For those music lovers who like room-shaking or smack-on-the-face bass then Klipsch will be ideal for you. Polk is well-known for delivering the ambient sound of movies with clarity even at high frequency.

Also while comparing Klipsch vs Polk speakers; you should look for specifications like frequency response, voltage sensitivity, and others. At the end of the day, it will depend on your room size, décor, placement, audio source, and ultimately on the speaker you prefer.