Klipsch vs. Polk: Which brand produces a better quality car subwoofer?

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If you have to choose between a Klipsch vs. Polk speaker, you might find yourself battling with a tough decision. The Klipsch vs. Polk debate has been going on for a long time as they have a variety of similar features with similar price tags. So, here is an in-depth comparison between Klipsch vs. Polk car subwoofers.

Over the years, I have found that subwoofers significantly improve your vehicle’s audio system’s performance. Personally, I enjoy a good bass output that allows me to feel and hear the rumble in my music or movies. Consequently, the real audio power of a system comes from the low frequency, which lays the foundation of rhythms, making you tap your feet and nod your head when listening to your favorite song. Subwoofers are dedicated speakers with the sole role of delivering low frequencies in your music. Regardless of the type of music you enjoy listening to; whether loud or soft, a quality subwoofer can improve your audio experience enormously.

As a music lover, I often find that car speakers have trouble producing adequate, smooth, and clear bass output due to their minimal nature. Installing a premium quality subwoofer makes the difference between a good-sounding and a great-sounding audio system. With proper installation, it adds the rich and deep bass to your sound tableau. However, there is a massive myriad of subwoofers available in the market.

Klipsch and Polk are both reputable brands in the audio industry. They both produce a wide variety of audio equipment for a wide range of applications. Generally, Klipsch audio devices offer audio enthusiasts with premium sound quality, while Polk is known to produce budget speakers to the masses. Both brands have high-end lines, with Klipsch speakers being more dominant in this category, mainly because of their numerous years of expertise in the industry. Without further ado, let us quickly delve into this Klipsch vs. Polk article review to understand which brand has better quality car subwoofers fully.

What are the major differences between Klipsch vs. Polk?

Product name Klipsch R-112SW Subwoofer Polk Audio PSW505 Powered Subwoofer
Impedance 8-ohms 4-ohms
Frequency response 24 Hz – 125 Hz 25 Hz – 160 Hz
Power handling 300 watts RMS with 600 watts Peak Power 300 watts RMS with 460 watts Peak Power
Sensitivity in dB 118 85
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Klipsch vs. Polk –How do they compare to one another?


Impedance plays an essential role in your vehicle’s audio performance. The voice coil in your speaker and subwoofer is responsible for the resistance property in your sub. Generally, the lower the impedance, the easier it is for an amplifier to supply power to a subwoofer. If the amplifier cannot handle the level of resistance in the sub, it results in producing more power than it can handle, leading to overheating and total shutdown of your amplifier.

Klipsch R-112sw Subwoofer has an impedance of 8-ohms, while Polk Audio PSW505 Powered Subwoofer consists of an impedance rating of 4-ohms. As such, the Polk Audio PSW505 Powered Subwoofer produces more output compared to the Klipsch Subwoofer at similar input wattage due to lower resistance.

Frequency response

Frequency response in a subwoofer shows its ability to perform across various frequency ranges at different volume levels. Generally, subwoofers can produce frequencies ranging from 20 Hz – 200 Hz effortlessly without any distortion. Crossovers limit the frequency response of subwoofers as they use low-pass filters to permit only frequencies of a specific hertz and below to pass through the subwoofer.

The Klipsch R-112sw Subwoofer has a ‘flat’ response of 24 Hz and a maximum frequency response of 125 Hz. As a result, it delivers crystal clear high and low sound frequencies with absolutely no distortion and minimal cone breakup. Due to the subwoofer’s seamless crossovers and wide frequency response, you will receive a deep, dynamic, and powerful as it picks up on every note played on the low end.

On the other hand, Polk Audio PSW505 Powered Subwoofer contains a frequency response ranging from 23 Hz -160 Hz. The bass response of this equipment is assisted by a rear long wide vent, positioned at the bottom of its cabinet to allow clear and smooth low-frequency output. The slot vent at the rear of the subwoofer reduces any lingering turbulence, delivering a tighter and deeper bass response.

Power handling

Any raw component subwoofer needs an external power amplifier to deliver impactful and powerful bass output. A powered subwoofer, like that of Polk Audio PSW505, does not require an additional power source as it has an in-built amplifier. However, it is advisable to go for as much power wattage as your budget allows, as it translates to the amount of bass output your equipment produces.

The R-112sw Subwoofer from Klipsch is a 300 watts RMS continuous and 600 watts Peak Power audio device. It comes with an in-built all-digital Class D power amplifier that produces ample power with true-to-source accuracy and high efficiency in reproduction. Its absurd amount of power handling shows the subwoofer’s ability to get high performance at low volume levels without straining.

Polk Audio PSW505 Powered Subwoofer has a continuous power handling ability of 300 watts RMS and 460 watts Peak Power. As a result, it delivers more noticeable and richer sounding audio quality void of any distortions even at extremely high volume.


Also known as frequency efficiency and quoted in decibels (dB), frequency sensitivity measures how loud a speaker performs with a given supply of wattage. The higher the sensitivity rating of a subwoofer, the lesser the amount of power required to reach its highest bass output level.

Klipsch R-112sw Subwoofers have a sensitivity rating of 118dB, meaning you do need a lot of power to make them produce considerable sound pressure levels. Alternatively, the PSW505 Powered Subwoofer from Polk Audio consists of a sensitivity rating of 85dB, and it has a more rigid woofer cone, increasing overall sound distortion.

Klipsch vs. Polk –A comparison review

Klipsch R-11sw Subwoofer Overview and Key features

Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer

Klipsch Audio Technologies is an American manufacturer of loudspeakers established in 1946. Their products include high-end fidelity sound systems, like public address audio devices, loudspeakers, and personal computers, among many others, which have the reputation of being one of the older and most prestigious brands available in the market. Many people consider Klipsch as manufacturers of high-range budget speakers as most of their products lie at the top of the premium budget range, although they have more expensive speakers in their product range as well.

If you are looking for a decent bass supplier and you do not want just to hear the drummer of your favorite band, the Klipsch R-112sw Subwoofer is the ideal choice for your audio system. Its clean and sturdy construction, distinctive eye-catching appearance, and tight bass output have made it quite popular among many audio enthusiasts.

The Klipsch R-112sw Subwoofer is a 12-inch device with MDF casing that has a black and brushed polymer veneer to offer a clear contrast to its copper-colored membrane with cerametallic material. As a result, the subwoofer has excellent stiffness-to-mass ratio and astounding damping properties.

It has an in-built Class D digital power amplifier with 300 watts RMS and 600 watts Peak Power, giving the subwoofer a frequency response of 24 Hz – 125 Hz and a sensitivity rating of 118dB. The subwoofer also comes with a variety of controls, like a compulsory Gain Control, an adjustable low-pass filter, and a phase switch.

R-112sw delivers a deep, smooth, dynamic, and powerful bass output, allowing you to feel the impact of your favorite music. It comes with a front-firing slot port with excellent internal geometry to reduce port noise for smooth and undistorted low audio frequencies. The subwoofer also has a front-mounted LED power indicator to let you know when the system is on or off.

What we like

  • It comes with an automatic and variable phase reversal switch, automatic signal sensing, and a low-pass filter
  • Powerful and high-quality power amplifier that delivers 300 watts RMS and 600 watts Peak Power
  • Extensive frequency response ranging from 24 Hz – 125 Hz
  • Blue/red LED colored indicator to indicate whether the system is on stand-by mode or turned on
  • It comes with a brushed black polymer veneer cabinet polished with a satin-painted plinth for a glossy and appealing design

What we do not like

  • Attached to an expensive price tag compared to its competitors in the same category


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Polk Audio PSW505 Powered Subwoofer Overview and Key features


Polk Audio is an American manufacturer of audio devices founded in 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland. The brand is best known for its affordable line of the automobile and home speakers, as well as other audio devices like FM tuners, smart speakers, and amplifiers. Over the years, Polk Audio has continuously strived to be the best and elevate the sound experience of all its users. The brand understands that technology is continually evolving and, in turn, their products need to be updated continuously to remain relevant in this modern society.

The Polk Audio PSW505 Subwoofer is one of the most popular subwoofers available in the market due to its affordable price, quality speaker, and high-powered amplifier. It consists of the ordinary budget speaker cabinet with MDF casing and a black laminate surface, giving it its attractive appearance. Sitting on four plastic feet, the cabinet’s front faceplate has a black plastic grille that is easy to remove, but not very durable.

The subwoofer has a digital amplifier that produces 300 watts RMS continuous and 460 watts Peak Power. Its material construction of polymer and cellulose allows the equipment to remain as flexible and durable to handle the maximum load during its performance. A vital part of this subwoofer is its slit phase inverter and wide and long phase amplifier that significantly reduces sound distortion and noise.

With this PSW505 subwoofer from Polk Audio, you will receive its wide amplitude-frequency of 25Hz – 160 Hz, allowing it to deliver low bass frequencies with exceptional clarity. It also has a continuously variable crossover of 60-120 Hz and a sensitivity rating of 85dB.

What we like

  • Delivers clear and powerful bass output
  • Accurate and simple adaptation to different sound types and stereos
  • Massive slot load venting for maximum bass clarity
  • Durable and attractive MDF construction
  • High-quality in-built power amplifiers

What we do not like

  • The subwoofer is pretty bulky and has a budget speaker design, which is not as appealing to the eye as its competitors


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The reputation of Klipsch and Polk are not without credible foundation. Both these brands have a lot to offer their consumers and a wide range of premium quality products, ideal to fit any budget. As such, deciding between these two brands is a challenging task. It is best to test both subwoofers and determine the best one according to your own personal preference.


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Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change'.
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