Polk Turns 50 Today!

Hey everyone, we have an exciting share going out today on social media and I wanted to make sure that our forum members saw it first.

What is not included in the post is that we're working on an 50th anniversary project and we would like to involve some Polkies. So please, do take me up on the ask at the end of this post and share your Polk stories. I can't wait to read them.

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The Date: June 22nd, 1972.

The Place: Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The People: A group of friends and engineers, led by Matthew Polk, united by a love of music.

These sonic pioneers wanted to make the best possible speakers they could afford. But as students, they couldn’t afford much. So, they experimented with different materials and parts. They innovated. They refused to settle. And they ended up making speakers so good, that all their friends wanted a pair. Suddenly, a company was born. A company with one simple goal: GREAT SOUND FOR ALL. This isn’t just our tagline, it’s our mission: to make great sound available to everyone. Fifty years later, we’re not backing down.

We have a lot of exciting things planned for this coming year but most exciting to us is a special 50th anniversary, limited edition of our most awarded speaker to date: The Polk Reserve R200, signed by Matthew Polk himself. Make sure you stay tuned for updates, because only a small quantity of these special edition speakers are being made, and we expect them to sell out fast.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear some of your favorite memories of your experiences with our brand and our products. Please tell us your Polk stories in the comments below.

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Comments

  • muncybob
    muncybob Posts: 2,684
    Many...many...I mean MANY moons ago as a teenager I heard some Bose 901 speakers in a decent rig. While the sound was a better quality than I had ever hear from any of the systems I owned to that date, something seemed not quite right. Then I heard a pair of Polk SDAs at a dealers shop and loved the sound.

    So I saved up my pennies(took a while!) and purchased a pair of used SDA 2Bs from a different dealer. I still recall the look and grins my wife and I had just moments after playing the first record. It was one of those events that you'll always remember the time and place something happened. I still have those speakers and after some "upgrades" I think they still sound as good or even better than that first listen.

    Now the R700 speakers are calling my name...my wife doesn't know that yet :)
    Yep, my name really is Bob.
    Parasound HCA1500A(indoor sound) and HCA1000(outdoor sound), Dynaco PAS4, Denon DP1200 w/Shure V15 Type V and Jico SAS stylus, Marantz UD7007, modded Polk SDA 2B, Rythmik L12 sub.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,095
    edited June 22
    Matthew Polk was already locally legendary when I got to JHU in the summer of 1976.
    I will never forget :) the already rather battle-scarred white pair of Model Nines in the Rathskellar (The Rat) underneath (more or less) Levering Hall (the student union, such as it was, in those days). The drinking age in MD for beer and wine was eighteen in those days, so a student pub on campus was A-OK, and they never carded anyone AFAIK (I was still 17 that summer). :)

    I don't have any photos, though -- at least any that I can remember at this late date. ;)

    As an aside, the (off-campus, but nearby) JHU Grad Club had a pair of Altec Voice of the Theaters (probably A7s, but I wasn't tuned in to Altec in those days).

  • smglbrth
    smglbrth Posts: 1,392
    edited June 22
    I came into Polk later in the game, late 80's ;), and bought a pair of 5B's. They were nice but quickly wanted to move up the ladder. Basically, I wanted a bigger sound and it didn't help that the shop I bought these at had the "big boy" SDA's on hand for audition. Indoor concert is still all I can think of to describe those. Anyway, they recommended the 8t's so I traded the 5B's back for the 8t's (the absolute max I could afford back then). Took them to another shop, the place I bought all my other equipment, and hooked them up to see what I could get away with on matching. I still remember the guy looking at me, mumbled that he couldn't believe these little towers had that much sound/presence and just shook his head. It was then I kinda figured I had something special. Now my oldest son has them (rebuilt crossovers and such) and I am thoroughly enjoying my "newer" R600's.

    Been through the 11tl's, 5B's (again), 7C's, and SDA 2A's. I wouldn't have sold anything if I had the room but such is life. It's been many moons since listening to my dad's old Panasonic all in one "stereo" (turntable/8 track/radio) with Thruster speakers!

    Happy Birthday Polk!
    Remember, when you're running from something, you're running to something...-me
  • BlueFox
    BlueFox Posts: 15,255
    Did you guys do something to the forum for the holiday? Yesterday, 6/21/22, the forum stopped working on my old iPad. All other audio forums work fine.
    Lumin X1 file player, Westminster Labs interconnect cable
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD; Pass XP-22 pre; X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers; SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • halo71
    halo71 Posts: 4,443
    edited June 22
    My first experience with Polk was when I was a kid. Was with my Dad at, I believe Custom Audio, in Little Rock Arkansas. Or might have been Memphis, TN. Don't remember now. But he was set on buying a new pair of speakers that day. We listened to a few models. 901's sounded horrible, a big pair of Klipsch sounded like toenails on a chalkboard. Got around to a pair of Polk SDA 1C's. Needless to say that is what we left with that day. And I remember always listening to music with my Dad on those speakers and loving the sound.

    Back in the early 2000's sometime. My Dad ended up giving them to me. And I still have them today.

    And since that experience with Polk all them years ago. IS probably why I own 9 pair of Polk speakers today.
    --Gary--
    Onkyo Integra M504, Bottlehead Foreplay III, Denon SACD, Thiel CS2.3, NHT VT-2, VT-3 and Evolution T6, Infinity RSIIIa, SDA1C and a few dozen other speakers around the house I change in and out.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,095
    Heck, I don't think I have nine pairs of 'em!
    But... no... I am not gonna count.
    :#
  • muncybob wrote: »
    Now the R700 speakers are calling my name...my wife doesn't know that yet :)

    Thanks for sharing this Bob. I already had some very nice looking and sounding speakers from another brand when I tried to bring home the R700s. My wife asked "why do we need more speakers?" And I said, "let's have a listening test and involve the kids." After we were done she said "I wanted to keep the pretty ones, but these Polk speakers sound amazing." Maybe something like that will work for you. Good luck!
  • halo71 wrote: »
    And since that experience with Polk all them years ago. IS probably why I own 9 pair of Polk speakers today.

    Nine Pairs? Wow! That's more than me and I work here. Thank you for sharing!
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 15,482
    I believe that Sean (a member here), who lives across the globe in Australia, has that many pair as well. One of our members, Ed, has 5 or 6 sets of SRT speakers. Lawd only knows how many pairs Russ has across this country and I know many here have more pairs than they reveal publicly.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~

    ~ I have found excellence ~

    ~ The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction ~

  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 3,552
    While I only have 8 pairs of Polks now, over the years I've had around 26 pairs plus several center channel speakers. I may have forgotten about some. The "pinnacle" is the L800! Not sure where Polk goes from there.

    :)

    My first knowledge of Polk was in a Base Exchange overseas in the late 1980s with, I think, a pair of Monitor 7s. That's how some Polks made it to Germany and other overseas postings.

  • Milito
    Milito Posts: 1,586
    edited June 22
    My first pair of Polk MOMO speakers were for my 2006 MINI Cooper S with an Alpine head unit.

    Later on I got some Polk 60's, then S55's, then LSiM 705's and finally L600's for the house.

    Happy Birthday Polk!
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Musical Fidelity M6si integrated amp, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, Audiolab 6000CDT CD Transport, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Fluance RT85, Ortofon 2M Bronze, Polk L600's, L400, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios, Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables.
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 23,608
    The first I had heard of Polk was at the MCX at MCAS Iwakuni in Japan. I bought a set of SDA 2b in a natural oak finish that was exclusive to the military exchanges at the time. I was unfortunate in pairing them with a Carver M500. It worked beautifully at the volume levels allowed in the barracks, but when I got home, and I was able to crank it up, things got rather dicey. I moved on from audio for a very long time as the need for a car and other things came first.

    It was when I moved to Indiana and the middle of nowhere that audio became a hobby once again. I have had all of the big vintage Polks, and a tone of other gear come through my possession over the past 15 years and am now proud to own the Legend L800/L900/L400 speakers and could not be happier with them.

    Thank you to Polk Audio for being a part of my audio journey for the past 35 years. Happy Birthday to the company and all those that played even a small part of making music fun.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR21, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Yamaha CD-S2100 SACD Player.

    In retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Walker Precision Motor Drive,

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,095
    edited June 22
    From March, 1975: the earliest mainstream (hifi) press Polk ad I found (in Audio magazine) when I went on an archaeological expedition for such ephemera in 2018:

    x4g1fpg3qa6z.png

    https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/180156/a-project-for-2018-compendium-of-polk-audio-ads-etc/p1

  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,095
    edited June 22
    oops, I forgot this one!
    I believe that @Gardenstater originally unearthed curated this ad, from Audio in September 1973.

    guhbrpva6dka.png
    https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-Audio/Archive-Audio-IDX/IDX/70s/Audio-1973-09-OCR-Page-0116.pdf

    @CarlJacobson_POLK AFAIK no one "here" on the Polk forum has ever determined whether this early verion of the Seven with a piezo tweeter ever actually existed!? If you get bored at work one day, feel free to do some sleuthing! ;)

    Here's the Model Nine in an Audio ad from 'way back in November of 1973. These did exist. :p (for better or for worse).

    woabur3qr8ot.png
    https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/IDX-Audio/Archive-Audio-IDX/IDX/70s/Audio-1973-11-OCR-Page-0099.pdf

    PS I left that McKay-Dymek AM antenna ad on there, too -- 'cause it was, indeed, a very nice AM active antenna. :)


  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,095
    edited June 22
    The not-particularly common Polk Audio LF14 subwoofer (late '70s or very early '80s).

    26830474734_6519b94dde_c.jpg

    10730006646_b79c0b4f8c_c.jpg

    10730225563_e71aff4c90_c.jpg

    10730024914_b41f04ebd8_c.jpg

    6uttebm0q6n0.png
    source: https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Archive-HiFI-Stereo/80s/HiFI-Stereo-Review-1981-06.pdf page 18
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 30,095
    Just stumbled onto this Polk bon mot from 1986

    sdpxkusop04i.png

    https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Archive-High-Fidelity/80s/High-Fidelity-1986-10.pdf

    @CarlJacobson_POLK Hope my miscellaneous ramblings are on point (enough) for this thread.

  • Willow
    Willow Posts: 10,575
    Happy 50th Polk Audio
    TV room- B&W 703, SVS PB10 NSD, Marantz NR1607, Parasound 1500a, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (Yellow) with Acrylic platter, Pro-Ject phono pre, MIT AVT 2 speaker cables, MIT AVT 1 and AVT 2 ICs, XLO Jumpers, Signal Dig Coax, Signal Cable Magic Power Cables x3, Samsung QN75Q7DR Qled 75" tv, Harmony 1100, Sony BDP-S6200, Marantz DV-4200 (as Transport), Cambridge Audio DAC Magic100, Monster 3600MKII, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox 360 Family room Samsung 55JS7000 Android Mi Box3 and Apple TV, Polk Magnifi Max. - Pool /Gazebo Yamaha RX-A1010, Polk Patio 25x4, Rotel RDV 1045 (as CDP) MIT AVT3 ICs - Work - Spotify Premium, Neutron App or Amazon Music to my FiiO Kunlun into my Grado SR125e

  • Viking64
    Viking64 Posts: 5,758
    My first pair of Polks were Monitor 4s that I bought in 1990. A year later I upgraded to my 2.3TLs. I detected a noticeable difference in sound quality and imaging. All hail the man in the white lab coat!
  • Toolfan66
    Toolfan66 Posts: 15,306
    HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY POLK AUDIO!!!!
  • gmcman
    gmcman Posts: 1,667
    Happy Birthday Polk Audio! Thank you for providing this incredible experience.
  • DaveHo
    DaveHo Posts: 3,268
    First pair of Polk's were a pair of 10b's. Bought new in '86 with money earned from my after school/weekend grocery store job. I made a whopping $3.35/hr, minimum wage at that time. Think they sold for $650 a pair. Needless to say, it took awhile to save up for them. They were paired with an Adcom GFA-535, GTP-500, Nak BX-125, Magnavox CDB-650, and a Sony linear tracker with an Audio Technica cart. Some of those components were gifts some I bought on my own. Have had many Polks over the years and my main rig today is Polk.
  • skrol
    skrol Posts: 3,165
    edited June 23
    I had been into sound recording and reproduction at an early age. In my teens I was experimenting with a 4 speaker set up and phasing to cancel crosstalk. Then I read an article about the Polk Audio SDA. Crap! Someone was already on to this. Then I noticed that Polk was in my home town of Baltimore. Cool! I was hooked and went to audition. I had no money to buy until 1991 when I bought a pair of RTA-11TL that I still have today. In the early 90's Polk Audio had an opening. I had my EE degree and applied but didn't get the job. That's ok, I really didn't expect to but it was cool to try.

    Happy 50th Polk Audio
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Benchmark DAC1, Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i; Technics SL-J2, Parasound PPH-100.

    HT:
    Marantz SR7010, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW110 , Marantz UD5005, Pioneer PL-530, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, AVR-888, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, 5B, TSi100, RM7, PSW10 (DXi104 upgrade); Pioneer: CT-6R; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, CDR-615; Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii, Sony CDP-650ESD, Technics SA 5070, B&W DM601
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,772
    Back in 2002 or so I was like 13 or so. I was just starting this hobby and working for my dad building houses. Was paid like 25 or 30 a day, prison wages 😅. After the summer I had enough for a Sony receiver and a set of Polk rt35i.

    I remember back in those days Polk versus Infinity was a real topic

    Good times!
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • halo71
    halo71 Posts: 4,443
    VR3 wrote: »

    I remember back in those days Polk versus Infinity was a real topic

    Good times!

    Back in those days? Dang I feel old. You were what, around 5 years old in the mid 90's when Polk and Infinity came together to make the Eosone line of speakers? I still have a pair of those as well. Great speakers. RSF-600's I think. I also have several pairs of vintage Infinity's as well.

    --Gary--
    Onkyo Integra M504, Bottlehead Foreplay III, Denon SACD, Thiel CS2.3, NHT VT-2, VT-3 and Evolution T6, Infinity RSIIIa, SDA1C and a few dozen other speakers around the house I change in and out.
  • dromunds
    dromunds Posts: 9,541
    Happy 50th Polk! Best wishes for the next 50! My first pair of Polks were SDA 2A’s. I’m currently rocking L-200’s (just recently sold my LSiM-703’s and R-200’s which were both awesome). I also currently have a pair of Peerless Monitor 4’s on a second rig (fantastic little fellows). I have in the stable Monitor 5 Peerless, Monitor 7 Peerless, Monitor 7C’s with RD0-194’s and rebuilt crossovers, LSi-15’s, LSi-9’s, LSi-FX’s, LSiM-706, LSiM-704, CS-350LS, 400i, RT-16’s, RT-35i’s, RTi-38’s. I’ve bought, enjoyed, and sold many other Polks. Many different brand speakers have come through here and tried to displace my Polks and failed. The only ones I’ve kept are Infinity Kappa 8’s and Dahlquist DQ-30i’s and DQM-9C’s with rebuilt crossovers, although all these are currently out of the rotation.
  • gudnoyez
    gudnoyez Posts: 7,827
    Belated birthday wishes to Polk Audio. My journey started with a pair of RTIA5's then came A3's, A9's, a couple pairs of CRS+'s, a pair of 2B's 2.3tl's, FXIA6"s. And 2 centers CSiA6 and a CS10 plus 2 PSW111's. Still have them all minus one pair of CRS+'. I have shifted to other hobbies as of late. however a pair of L800s could be on the Horizon.
    Home Theater
    Parasound Halo A 31 OnkyoTX-NR838 Sony XBR55X850B 55" 4K RtiA9 Fronts CsiA6 Center RtiA3 Rears FxiA6 Side Surrounds Dual Psw 111's Oppo 105D Signal Ultra Speaker Cables & IC's Signal Magic Power Cable Technics SL Q300 Panamax MR4300 Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables Audioquest Forest USB Cable

    2 Channel
    Adcom 555II Vincent SA-T1 Marantz SA 15S2 Denon DR-M11 Clearaudio Bluemotion SDA 2.3tl's (Z) edition MIT Terminator II Speaker Cables & IC's Adcom 545II Adcom Gtp-450 Marantz CD5004 Technics M245X SDA 2B's, SDA CRS+

    Stuff for the Head
    JD LABS C5 Headphone Amplifier, Sennheiser HD 598, Polk Audio Buckle, Polk Audio Hinge, Velodyne vPulse, Bose IE2, Sennheiser CX 200 Street II, Sennheiser MX 365

    Shower & Off the beaten path Rigs
    Polk Audio Boom Swimmer, Polk Audio Urchin B)
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,772
    halo71 wrote: »
    VR3 wrote: »

    I remember back in those days Polk versus Infinity was a real topic

    Good times!

    Back in those days? Dang I feel old. You were what, around 5 years old in the mid 90's when Polk and Infinity came together to make the Eosone line of speakers? I still have a pair of those as well. Great speakers. RSF-600's I think. I also have several pairs of vintage Infinity's as well.

    Yep, I know back in the 80s.and 90s the competition between the two was dramatically different.... But considering the brand now is solely car audio, USB battery packs and zero home audio... That conversation is long gone!
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro