What We Like
- Excellent build quality.
- Great overall performance.
- Lots of volume power.
What We Don’t Like
- Obvious conflict between the driver and the tweeter.
Polk Audio’s T15 have been around for a while, during which time they’ve managed to grow quite a fan base. As you’re about to find out, these are some of the best bookshelf speakers you can get under $100.
When it comes to design, price range these were created for was a limiting factor. This is why Polk Audio went with that standard black MDF combination we are used to seeing everywhere these days. With that said, if aesthetics are too big of a deal for you, chances are you’ll need to spend a bit more money to get what you want. The baffle is made of composite materials and actually does a decent job at keeping everything together.
Looking at the front of the speaker cabinet, we see the first interesting solution from Polk. Instead of porting the cab in the back, they’ve decided to do it in the front. There are a couple of reasons for this. Once peek at the back panel reveals a keyhole slot for wall mounting, which means that a rear port simply wouldn’t work. Overall, the speakers look average at best but are built pretty solid.
What Polk saved with that bland design, they’ve given back in hardware. Unlike most other bookshelf speakers in this price range, these actually come with a 5.25″ polymer composite driver. While we are still not firmly in woofer territory, that diameter is not all the common in affordable bookshelf speakers. On top of that, you have the .75″ Dynamic Balance silk/polymer composite tweeter that features neodymium construction.
Overall, the speakers themselves are pretty beefy. The overall power rating for the set is 100 Watts. That means you get 50 Watts per speaker. Lastly, both speakers come with a fair bit of magnetic shielding. This translates to a wide range of applications. You can use these as bookshelf speakers but also as a media surround system. Polk’s formula we’ve seen here might be simple, but it has brought us a very great performance in a price range that isn’t known for it.
Speaking of performance, let’s take a look at how these speakers behave in use. Trebles are pretty clear and defined, which is to be expected from a .75″ tweeter. Moving on to the mids section, we see plenty of girth and definition by default. However, there are few shortcomings which need to be addressed. First of all, low-end response is iffy at best. Once you start digging deep, the driver fails to keep up and starts to peak. Is this a deal breaker? Absolutely not, but you should know that you won’t be getting experiencing mind-boggling 808s.
The other thing is the transition between trebles and mids. There is a very apparent dip right around the 2.5kHz point. We can attribute this to the lack of a crossover and the conflict between twotransducers. While this transition issue isn’t something you can fix, there is plenty of room for improvements if you take the time to EQ the speakers properly.
At the end of the day, Polk Audio T15 are still one of the best speakers in their respective price range. The performance is good, to say the least, especially if you’re using them in a smaller room.