[Review] Polk’s T Series speakers are an easy, affordable upgrade to your home theater |

We’ve reviewed (and thoroughly enjoyed) a few different Polk speakers before, but today we’re test driving some of their bigger, more serious offerings. The T Series is Polk’s value line of home theater speakers, promising to deliver a killer home theater experience without doing too much damage to your wallet.

The T Series of speakers includes the T50 tower speakers, T30 center channel speaker, and T15 bookshelf speakers, plus a 100 watt powered sub. We’re checking out a setup with two T50 speakers, a T30 speaker, and the sub, so let’s dig in and see how they hold up.

The design of the T Series speakers is fairly unassuming, which is more or less what you should be looking for in most home theater setups. They all rock a plain black woodgrain finish with black grilles, and they very easily blend into pretty much anything layout.

If you’re feeling bold and want them to stand out, though, they’re designed to look slick with the grilles off, too. In the T50 there’s a single silk dome tweeter, a 6.25-inch driver, and two front-firing bass radiators in the tower, and they look just the right amount of aggressive. The T30 features a single tweeter and two drivers, and the T15 bookshelf speakers sport a single tweeter and single driver with a bass port for some extra low-end thump.

Personally, I’m a bigger fan of these plain black styles than brown woodgrain finishes or bright colors. I can see the appeal in, say, a dedicated music or gaming room, but for a home theater in a living room, I’m picking black every time.

All of these speakers come with a 5-year warranty from Polk, and they support Dolby and DTS sound formats right out of the box. They’ll easily connect to most existing home theater equipment, too.

The T50 towers are the flagship product of the T Series line, and you could honestly probably rock these on their own. Alternatively, if you’re looking to start with a couple of speakers and build out, this should be where you’re looking.

They’re full range speakers that do a relatively good job at everything you throw at them. The frequency response covers 38 Hz to 24k Hz, so they can handle a lot of media on their own without needing a subwoofer. The sub helps, for sure, but there’s plenty of punch out these towers on their own.

The mids are balanced very well and are probably the best aspect of these speakers while also the least exciting thing to talk about. They do the job well without coloring your sound much, and there’s plenty of clarity regardless of whether you’re jamming out to music or watching movies.

The tweeter on the T50 is probably going to be the most divisive part of the sound here. The high end on these speakers is really, really hot, which is excellent if you like that sound, and great for clarity. I personally don’t mind a little extra sizzle on the top end, but with a bright amp you might find the sound a little fatiguing if you don’t EQ it back a bit. I also found it tough to listen to without the grilles, since those do a goob job of rolling off some of that high-end, but again, an EQ will go a long way here.

At its MSRP of $149 per speaker, the T50 offers an okay value. However, these things pretty regularly can be had for around $80 or $90 new, and at less than $200 for the pair that’s some of the best value for entry-level speakers that you’re going to find. They really shine in a musical setting, but as cinema speakers they more than hold their own. You’ll eventually want to add a center and sub if you’re building out, but in a small room or a bedroom these can easily be all you’d ever need.

Buy it now: Best Buy, Amazon, Polk

When you’re ready to step up your movie experience to the next level, a center channel speaker is the logical next step. Having a dedicated speaker in between your stereo speakers will handle things like dialog, adding an extra level of clarity and letting your two front speakers handle what they’re meant to do.

They’re designed to complement the T50 tower speakers or T15 bookshelf speakers, and they do a pretty good job at blending in while adding to your cinema experience.

The focus of a center channel speaker will be mostly in the midranges, but the T30 does pack in a silk dome tweeter and a rear-firing bass port to pick up the slack when needed.

When mixed with the rest of Polk’s T Series system, the T30 will deliver on its promises of clarity and immersion. However, it does seem to place a little more focus on the lower-mids section of an EQ, which in my experience can cause a little woofiness in dialogue. It’s a small gripe, though, since it was easily EQed out with a few cuts on my Onkyo receiver, and using something with better room correction like the Denon AVR-S940H got everything equalized without any extra input on my part. Just know that if you’re not using capable room correction, you might have to tinker with your EQ to get this speaker sounding its best.

Polk’s MSRP for the T30 is $129, which ends up feeling like the T50 in that its a little pricey for what you’re getting there. But also like the T50 you can frequently find it for less than $100, and that makes the value proposition significantly better, even if it’s not quite as much of a steal as its bigger tower cousins.

Buy it now: Best Buy, Amazon, Polk

The next most crucial step in a full home theater setup is the subwoofer, which will help those extremely low frequencies that your regular speakers are always going to struggle with. Polk offers the PSW108 sub as a compact option that still has enough thump to fill out your room.

It’s a smaller 10-inch sub, so it might not be enough for extremely large rooms, but I had pretty great luck with it my medium-sized living room where everything is set up. It’s got enough thump for everything from explosions in video games to screeches and crashes in movie car chase scenes, and it can handle your thumping rock music, too.

While the PSW108 does deliver plenty of thump, in some situations it felt like it could use a little more punch, even after EQ tweaking and intense room correction. Some scenes had a little too much boom that couldn’t ever be really dialed in, except by pulling back some of the low-end frequencies that took away from the experience overall. For the price it’s not bad, but if you want something that’s going to deliver perfect chest-pounding punches from gunshots without getting too mushy, you might have to look elsewhere, and likely above the PSW108’s price range.

But as a complement to the rest of the speakers, it’s a pretty solid option. If you’re in love with Polk’s brand and speakers, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, but if you’re willing to mix and match, this might be the one piece of the T Series setup that you can budge on, especially at its $199 price point.

Buy it now: Best Buy, Amazon, Polk

While not perfect, the Polk’s T Series speakers do offer some pretty insane value, especially from the towers. And with how affordable the entire lineup is, if you’re looking to start building out your home theater, or if you’re upgrading from some smaller satellite or home-theater-in-a-box speakers, you’ll be hard pressed to find much else that can deliver this kind of value.

There’s room for improvement on the extreme ends, with the towers being a little too hot on the high-end and the sub being a little too mushy on the low end, but everything else in the middle is going to make your ears happy, and your checkbook won’t hate you for it.

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo’s Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.

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