You guys are 100% correct in giving the models a listen to determine which one is best for me. Having been out of the A/V for some time, I wanted to get a general feel between the manufacturers, ie whether or not Klipsch, Energy, or Polk have let themselves go.
In your opinion, out of the three brands listed, who traditionally makes a better quality product?
As a speaker designer, I'd opine all three brands make good quality products. Klipsch tend more towards higher sensitivity and *maybe* a brighter sound, which some might feel is less accurate. Polk has a long history of what I think of as a neutral, accurate sound.
The Klipsch horns can be quite polarizing-the sound is quite different from the dome tweeter used by most everyone else. As an acoustic engineer, it rather bugs me that their horns are square with multiple steps inside. That can be good for controlling dispersion, but negative for the time response.
Those are just engineering opinions. The actual sound ya gotta hear for yourself.