Matthew Polk and George Klopfer founded their company, Polk Audio, in 1972. Their goal was excellent quality speaker systems that were affordable to the average consumer. Polk Audio was one of the first to actively use advanced scientific developments, which allowed them to soon create unique acoustic speakers and achieve recognition in the global audio market. They began to be called acoustics specialists.
To date, Polk Audio has patented more than 50 of its own scientific developments in the field of acoustics. The company is located in the USA in Baltimore (Milan), but Polk Audio products are known throughout the world. Household and car speakers are successfully sold in more than 50 countries. The company has won many awards and has been awarded more than once for high-quality innovative developments and advanced technologies. Time shows: if you chose the right path from the very beginning, then success is guaranteed. This is also proven by the story with one of the largest American brands – Polk Audio. A company that has grown from a handful of educated enthusiasts to a leader in speaker sales in the United States. And here’s how it all happened. In 1971, Matthew and George hand-assembled custom-made speakers for sounding large spaces. This was not Polk Audio yet, but this was the foundation for many years.
The year 1972 delighted the world with the appearance of the film “The Godfather” and the hockey “Super Series”, the first official visit to the USSR by American President Richard Nixon and the beginning of the work of the company, which eventually grew into one of the world leaders in the production of acoustic systems.
Three friends Matthew Polk, George Klopfer and Sandy Gross, like many at the time, were completely dissatisfied with what the huge American stereo market was offering. What was available couldn’t even play music acceptably, and good systems were too expensive. Small American companies also paid little attention to the appearance of their products. There was nothing left to do but simply create new systems ourselves. All three had interesting original solutions, higher technical education, and good hearing with an awareness of how it should sound, which provided the prerequisites for a successful project. Taking the slogan “Good sound should be affordable” as a basis, the company still strictly follows it. And indeed, if you take any Polk Audio product, you can clearly see the same high attention to the main five consumer properties: sound quality, workmanship, design, applied technologies and price, which remains within reasonable limits. No device can be very cheap, because this will affect the other four qualities for the worse. One of the important components was the creation of our own development and design center using computer and scientific tools. In 1973, friends organized production in a private house.
In 1975, Model 7 was released – a classic large shelf three-way model that quickly gained popularity among music lovers and audiophiles. The following year, a larger version appeared – Model 9, which had as many as two midrange speakers. At the beginning of the new decade, Polk Audio already has serious production facilities.
In the mid-80s, Matthew Polk became interested in research in the field of sound shaping and created the SDA – Surround Dimension Array system, which was reflected in the legendary top-end SDS-SRA system.
The approach and result were so unexpected and unusual that the company was excluded from the American audiophile community for almost 15 years. The following year, Polk Audio created a small line of smaller models based on SRS-SDA. The development team continued to work on various speaker systems, always following the motto.
In 1990, on the rapid wave of development of home theaters, a line appeared that was called Reference Theater. (RTA). Next year, the fifth generation of SDA systems is entering the market and, despite all the obstacles, it is finding its admirers.
1997 is the year of birth of the legend in the form of the incomparable updated RT series. The use of active bass drivers in top floor-standing models made it possible to do without a separate subwoofer in relatively small rooms. The use of specialized dipole-bipolar rear speakers has become almost a standard for Polk Audio cinema sets to this day. The huge central channel made you forget about subtle dialogues, truly creating a large-scale sound field that was balanced with other speakers. The appearance of another proprietary invention – Power Port – made the bass unexpectedly deep and intelligible despite the small dimensions of the speakers. RT has become one of the few reference audio systems for home theater and multi-channel audio systems, while having a very affordable price for such capabilities. At the end of the century, another legend appeared – the Polk Momo MM6 car speakers (photo 1999-1) which for many years became a calling card in the world of Car Audio. At the same time, a completely complete solution in the field of single-box home theaters appears in the form of the RMDS model with the “expensive” and “thoroughbred” sound inherent to Polk Audio, which is still not found in this class of equipment.
Millennium returns Polk Audio to the American audiophile community thanks to another legend – the LSi9 bookshelf speakers. This system occupies the same position as the Model 9 in 1975, only this time at the top of the line. The legend was also reflected in the production – the entire LSi line was produced for almost 10 years: the last speakers were shipped from the factory warehouse in 2010. Based on the home LSi, an uncompromising car speaker system of the SR series was created, which also became legendary.
In the mid-2000s, devices such as soundbars began to actively develop, and in their products Polk Audio used developments from the mid-80s – the SDA system, creating serious competition for Japanese and European manufacturers.
And finally, in 2011, a modern legend came into the world – the LSiM line, which absorbed all the company’s many years of experience. At the same time, the production program includes a huge range of traditional and built-in speakers, automotive components, as well as headphones, sound bars and a new product in recent years – the Omni multi-zone wireless audio system. Polk Audio is responsive to the needs of the home entertainment market.
Over the course of its existence, the company logo has undergone two changes. The original one was cut out of cardboard with scissors by Klopfer back then, in the garage. Then a strict “Hi-Fi” style nameplate appeared. In 2012, the latest transformation of the logo took place in the style of modern trends. Today, Polk Audio is one of the few manufacturers that has its own acoustic laboratory, specialized software (including the Klippel distortion tracking system) and more than 70 patents in the field of speaker production. As before, absolutely all products are developed in the USA. The company uses only its own speakers in its products. The company continues to develop tirelessly, using its own developments in new areas of the home entertainment market, while maintaining the highest quality of its products.