|Industry||Loudspeakers, Consumer electronics|
|Founders||Matthew Polk, George Klopfer and Sandy Gross|
|Headquarters||San Diego, California|
Polk Audio is a manufacturer of audio products best known for their home and automobile speakers. The company also produces a wide range of other audio products such as amplifiers and FM tuners. The company is headquartered in San Diego, California and in 2006, was acquired by Directed Electronics. Polk Audio has also introduced smart speakers powered by the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Polk Audio was founded by Matthew Polk, George Klopfer and Sandy Gross in 1972. Matthew, George and Sandy met each other while attending classes at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. After graduating in 1971, the team collaborated on producing a sound system for a local bluegrass convention. Matthew designed the speaker system while George built the cabinets. After it was discovered the producers of the convention could not afford to pay for the system, George designed a logo for Polk Audio and attached it to the speakers. Sandy was behind the marketing of Polk Audio and also helped create Polk's worldwide dealer network.
After spending a short period of time dabbling in professional audio, Polk Audio turned its attention to high end home audio. With the release of the first successful model in 1974, the Monitor 7, Polk Audio started to become a recognized name in audiophile circles. Polk used a two way configuration on the vast majority of its speakers like the popular Monitor 10 and Monitor 12, typically with high performance 6.5" mid/bass drivers with rubber surrounds and passive radiators. The Monitor 12 was quite capable for its day, having bass response to 18 Hz, a free-air mounted tweeter and 500 watt RMS power handling. Later Polk speaker models used arrays of drivers, called SDA for Stereo Dimensional Array, to modify the crosstalk from the left speaker to the right ear and from the right speaker to the left ear, so as to expand the stereo image beyond the space between two stereo speakers. The SDA concept is still used in some current Polk branded speaker products. Polk has also ventured into automobile speakers.
In early 2015, all or most non-engineering/technical positions were moved from the Baltimore office to the parent company's headquarters in San Diego, California. At this time Polk's engineers joined with those of Definitive Technology and the Audio and Acoustics Research And Development [ARAD] center was established in Owings Mills. ARAD remains the center for the majority of loudspeaker development for the parent company Sound United which owns the loudspeaker brands Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and Boston Acoustics and electronics brands Denon and Marantz. The most tenured engineers and technicians are still at work on those loudspeaker brands today.
All contact information for Polk now links to its San Diego office but the ARAD office can be contacted separately.
- 5.1 Speaker Systems
- Wireless Speakers
- Outdoor Speakers
- Portable Speakers
- Vehicle Audio
- Phillips, Wes, Polk Audio Acquired by Directed Electronics, Stereophile, retrieved 2007-05-05
- Carman, Ashley (16 May 2017). "Polk Audio's new soundbar works with Google Home and supports 5.1 surround sound". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- Soper, Taylor (9 January 2018). "Polk Audio debuts first voice-controlled sound bar with Amazon Alexa". GeekWire. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- Polk, Matthew, Soundstage! Interview with Matthew Polk, retrieved 2008-01-12
- Hirsch, Arthur, Jobs being cut, moved at Polk Audio, The Baltimore Sun, retrieved 2018-12-22
- Polk Audio - official Web site