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Polk ES60 Tower Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 17 6.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 71 28.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 138 55.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 25 10.0%

  • Total voters
    251

AdamG

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@amirm

I believe these are not the specs for the Polk ES60 Tower, but for the ES50 model instead

Great job taking on this big speaker though!
That was my mistake not Amir’s. I screen grabbed the wrong part of the PDF file. The correct specs are now present. Apologies for the mixup. :facepalm:
 

jbattman1016

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These (and other) speakers provide a a LOT of people with a pretty affordable hi-fi system. If I had the space for floor standing speakers, I likely would not get these, but I'm sure people at home are happy when they watch their streaming content.
 

mhardy6647

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But physical, mechanical things like speakers don't lend themselves to same optimization. Think of what it would take to have a flat response down to 20 Hz with 110+ SPL. That is not just not possible in a cheap and small speaker.
I totally agree, but reading @amirm's comment quoted above caused me to reflect on the lack of a financial pole (so to speak -- or tenet, if one prefers :)) in Hofmann's Iron Law*.

I paraphrase glibly:
* Small Enclosure Volume
* Bass Extension
* High Sensitivity
Pick two.

_________________
* The name reflecting Josef Anton Hofmann, the "H" in KLH.
An interesting 1971 article from Audio on the topic (sort of) written by Henry Kloss (the "K" in KLH) popped up when I checked the spelling of Hofmann's name. :) I found it to be a fun read; YMMV, though, of course.

1707495264520.png
EDIT: Piddle! I checked the spelling and still typed it wrong! Corrected now! :facepalm:
 
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GXAlan

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I would much rather have a balanced and linear speaker that may not play as loud, then a roller coaster of a speaker that I could listen to loudly. With the Ascend I could later add a sub and high-pass it and get the best of both worlds anyway.

Half of SPL is “loud” but the other half is “room size”. We know that bass and volume are primary determinants of subjective sound quality and stereo (and multichannel) can mask some frequency irregularities too.
 

beagleman

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I would much rather have a balanced and linear speaker that may not play as loud, then a roller coaster of a speaker that I could listen to loudly. With the Ascend I could later add a sub and high-pass it and get the best of both worlds anyway.


You still will not get the same thing in the end.

I have almost exactly the scenario you describe. A really nice bookshelf WITH a nice sub, and still in some ways it does not equal my "okay" towers that do not measure quite as well, but will play louder and are more sensitive.

Its not just deep bass you sacrifice, but overall ability to play loud easily with no strain, and so on.

My cheaper towers, simply have more physical presence and impact, but I GET what you mean overall to some extent, but the reality, a pair of big towers simply can belt out more sound far easier, even when using a sub with the great bookshelf.

The bookshelf is lacking not just a bit in overall output, but more that 80-500hz range, it can not do as loudly overall.
 
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uwotm8

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I would much rather have a balanced and linear speaker that may not play as loud, then a roller coaster of a speaker that I could listen to loudly. With the Ascend I could later add a sub and high-pass it and get the best of both worlds anyway.
Me too, being an audio geek and listening in nearfield (like really near!)
For most of the normal:) people these Polks will win easily against way more decent 5" woofer monitors.
Especially if mid/far field (say, 2 to 5 meters distance, 18...30 m2 room).

Add a fast firing sub(s) to genereic decent 5" monitors mentioned above and now you have a full-scale system, well, okay, spin-off version of it. Now many not-so-expensive towers will probably lose.

P.S. As old joke says, there are basically two types of loudspeakers: good ones and bookshelf:D
 

Hart

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Those two lines of speakers were made from 2002, till a few years ago....when they released the Reserve and Legend series.

I am not sure where you are going with your comment, but over the last 20 some years Polk has had some truly good speakers.
They did not just start making good speakers in the last couple years.


Online speaker reviewing was not a big thing till recently and we were mostly at the whim of Stereophile and a handful of other big audio/video magazine online reviews, hence why Polks earlier lines are not as well known.
Again, twenty two years is a long time. I listened to them maybe five years ago and though they were not very good, especially against current offerings. I understand you are a fan, that's fine, I am not saying you should not like them.
 

natna

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In the graph, "shame(ful) resonanses" should be written... :)
 

AdamG

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Yes Polk is crap, but a well established name too. Don't understand.
Possibly the result of low expectations going in? I’m guessing here. There is also the value proposition that Polk is selling a product at a lower price and that increases the score. Getting more for your money is certainly an attribute worth some consideration. Just a thought. ;)
 

Toni Mas

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Possibly the result of low expectations going in? I’m guessing here. There is also the value proposition that Polk is selling a product at a lower price and that increases the score. Getting more for your money is certainly an attribute worth some consideration. Just a thought. ;)
Yes price is very low... Hence the performance too... If the brand name were less notorious, no mercy at all would be shown.
 

375HP2482

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Yes Polk is crap, but a well established name too. Don't understand.
A broadside against an entire brand says more about the commenter than that brand's specific product, and perhaps would find more of an audience over at AVS.

Regarding the brand Polk, it may be worthwhile to mention their inexpensive T50 towers, which my good friend bought a few years ago for $99 to accompany his new 77" Sony OLED. Speaking as someone with years of experience in speaker manufacturing, I hold the T50 in high regard as one of the best examples of skilled engineering.
 
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doxon

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So about that 500hz resonance.... The cabinet is 15.7" deep, and 1/2 of 500hz wavelength is 13.56". Subtracting out some cabinet wall thickness, the interior dimension is nearly spot on for 1/2 of 500hz. No wonder there's a resonance. A simple diagonal internal panel would likely break that up without stealing much internal volume.
 

ROOSKIE

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Wouldn't high quality standmount bookshelf speakers and two high-end subwoofers produce a substantially better audio experience? Not sure cheap floor standers would hold a candle.
Yes, I fully agree. Based on my experiences budget floorstanders do not beat out solid monitors and well integrated subs. I don't exactly consider the ES60 'cheap' but they are still budget priced. I think your subs and m126be's will beat these speakers handedly. (I've used the ES20 and ES15 sets, but not the towers)
You still will not get the same thing in the end.

I have almost exactly the scenario you describe. A really nice bookshelf WITH a nice sub, and still in some ways it does not equal my "okay" towers that do not measure quite as well, but will play louder and are more sensitive.

Its not just deep bass you sacrifice, but overall ability to play loud easily with no strain, and so on.

My cheaper towers, simply have more physical presence and impact, but I GET what you mean overall to some extent, but the reality, a pair of big towers simply can belt out more sound far easier, even when using a sub with the great bookshelf.

The bookshelf is lacking not just a bit in overall output, but more that 80-500hz range, it can not do as loudly overall.
This is going to depend so much on the particular speakers and the particular configuration of subs and the room size.

Yes there will most likely be much more power required(but that is cheap in 24). Recommend some pro amps and 200-400watts per channel which sounds absurd to some but is not.
You will also have to highpass the mains around 80-120hrz and be good at blending the sub(s) in which for some is tricky
High passing a bit higher up hands off the bulk of the hard work of the 50-100hrz'ish region to the big subwoofers.
I'm a believer that much of the sense of largess and scale comes from the 50-100hrz region.

I've had and used many 2 & 3 way monitors speakers with 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 combos.
Plenty of the configurations could hang with and even beat just about any tower in my room. There would be no possible way for a bigger soundstage, louder listening and more scale as everything was already fully maximized and nothing was being held back.
This is in a medium room, about 2800 cu ft.
Now if I was dealing with a large room like many do have I do expect this to change. Even imagine some huge 900 square foot grand room with 30ft vaulted ceilings, prolly want some serious stuff there.
Same anticipation of change is true in a smaller room. My old listening room was roughly 13x15 @1600cuft, in there I absolutely would get zero sonic benefit to towers vs monitors +subs, even modest subs and even when using smaller 2-ways with 5.25" drivers.

I'd be curious what particular towers and what bookshelves+sub you are refering to in your post? Do you mind revealing them?

This is one of the best articles for folks on this topic of 'speaker size'
The author (who I've seen on ASR in the past) does a great job exploring and contrasting a very small speaker and a very large one.

 

ROOSKIE

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Yes Polk is crap, but a well established name too. Don't understand.
I'm no Polk fanboy. While I have really liked a few models, I have also not personally liked some models that others have.
That said Polk is far from crap.
In fact most of their current lines are very decent and good values.
Some are superbly measuring speakers.

They do own a KNFS now so expect stuff to get even better.
 
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KaeliKoo

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Would be nice to see the Encore T6 against this Polk. I suspect the main differences will be related to the difference in the port design. Too bad monoprice can't keep anything in stock.
Was thinking the exact same, how this Polk would measure against Encore T6 with similar features. I picked up a pair of the Encore T5's last year for $180/pr and they surprised the holy heck out of me for their size & soundstage.
 

Dougey_Jones

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Those two lines of speakers were made from 2002, till a few years ago....when they released the Reserve and Legend series.

I am not sure where you are going with your comment, but over the last 20 some years Polk has had some truly good speakers.
They did not just start making good speakers in the last couple years.


Online speaker reviewing was not a big thing till recently and we were mostly at the whim of Stereophile and a handful of other big audio/video magazine online reviews, hence why Polks earlier lines are not as well known.
The LSi series are extremely impressive even all these years later. Whenever people ask me what speakers to buy, if they’re looking for used speakers that’s my first recommendation.

Some of my most enjoyable listening sessions ever were using stand mounted LSi7’s.

Still regret selling them.
 

beagleman

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Yes, I fully agree. Based on my experiences budget floorstanders do not beat out solid monitors and well integrated subs. I don't exactly consider the ES60 'cheap' but they are still budget priced. I think your subs and m126be's will beat these speakers handedly. (I've used the ES20 and ES15 sets, but not the towers)

This is going to depend so much on the particular speakers and the particular configuration of subs and the room size.

Yes there will most likely be much more power required(but that is cheap in 24). Recommend some pro amps and 200-400watts per channel which sounds absurd to some but is not.
You will also have to highpass the mains around 80-120hrz and be good at blending the sub(s) in which for some is tricky
High passing a bit higher up hands off the bulk of the hard work of the 50-100hrz'ish region to the big subwoofers.
I'm a believer that much of the sense of largess and scale comes from the 50-100hrz region.

I've had and used many 2 & 3 way monitors speakers with 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 combos.
Plenty of the configurations could hang with and even beat just about any tower in my room. There would be no possible way for a bigger soundstage, louder listening and more scale as everything was already fully maximized and nothing was being held back.
This is in a medium room, about 2800 cu ft.
Now if I was dealing with a large room like many do have I do expect this to change. Even imagine some huge 900 square foot grand room with 30ft vaulted ceilings, prolly want some serious stuff there.
Same anticipation of change is true in a smaller room. My old listening room was roughly 13x15 @1600cuft, in there I absolutely would get zero sonic benefit to towers vs monitors +subs, even modest subs and even when using smaller 2-ways with 5.25" drivers.

I'd be curious what particular towers and what bookshelves+sub you are refering to in your post? Do you mind revealing them?

This is one of the best articles for folks on this topic of 'speaker size'
The author (who I've seen on ASR in the past) does a great job exploring and contrasting a very small speaker and a very large one.

I have 2 systems, one uses the configuration in question. I simply meant, it can not TOTALLY equal a large tower in all regards, but yes in some ways can be better.

I found running my decent bookshelves with 2 subs to be ideal, one for each side of the room, but then of couse you are basically doing a 3 way speaker.


Bookshelf plus sub in my case, although I use several bookshelfs in rotation, right now are my newish Wharfedale 12.1, which are a "bit" limited output wise. So hence some of my comments. Although I have others that are not so limited and so on.
Sub/subs are 2 Velodyne CT120 models from the mid/late 90s

Nearly ideal sound wise, but simply limited to moderately loud due to 5" woofers and a bit low sensitivity overall.


The cheap tower I mentioned in my case was an Advent AS2, which is not a well known speaker at all. Two 6.5" woofers with a Vifa tweeter, and only made for a year or two.
Output wise, it can easily do about 5-6 db more than the wharfedale 12.1s overall. A quite decent, but not great tower, but what I meant in my example.
A very neutral speaker, without a rising high end, that can also do 40hz quite well.
00y0y_5M8LpS6hve7_0t20CI_600x450.jpg
 
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