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14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off I would like to say that I have been browsing this forum for a little while trying to decide which speakers I wanted to go with for my home theater set up, and secondly I'd like to thank everyone for their input in different threads regarding the equipment I was researching.

Now down to it, I am by no means a rich man(hell I just got laid off 2 weeks ago) but I enjoy owning nice things and consider myself to be a bit of an aspiring audiophile. I am a musician, a part time gamer and becoming a huge home theater nut. I am currently running a kenwood 5.1 receiver and plan to upgrade to a denon soon.

I sat out to find the best speakers for my application in a price range that wouldn't kill my budget and I was torn between the Klipsch VF36 and the Polk TSI500. After doing sh'loads of research and countless trips to best buy, I decided the TSI500s and CS20 would be my set up of choice. My plan was to run 2 tsi 500s as my front and 2 tsi500s as rear surrounds and the cs20 center.

So I ordered 2 tsi500s and a cs20 to really get a feel for what they offered and I was/am quite impressed, having never owned any home speakers this nice, I was blown away. I planned on ordering my 2nd 500s for the rears a little later once I was certain I loved the ones I had.

Well before I could order the 2nd set of 500s I ran into an unimaginable deal on the VF36s and thought this would be prime time to compare and contrast and see which speaker I preferred for my application. This is what i discovered:

First, I will go on sound and my personal interpretation of what each speaker does for me, then I will go on build quality with pictures.

I compared both speakers playing music and for movies/gaming.

The Tsi500s are a few db's quieter, i took readings at the speaker furthest from the tweeter and found the VF36s to be about 3-4 db louder at 2 inches from the cab measured in the same spots.

The horn in the VF36 is undoubtedly louder, at about 6 db average increase.

The Tsi has a little more of a relaxed sound, a very polite speaker with a smooth response across the entire spectrum.

The VF i found to be more crisp, clear and defined in the high end range. Not rude, but perfect.

The Tsi had just a little more mid range pronunciation, just enough to notice it in some areas.

The vf36, having less speaker surface area, had slightly more low end which I did not expect from a cabinet with 1 less speaker.

Over all I prefer the VF36 sound over the TSI500.

On to build quality:

First and foremost, the Polks were designed to be displayed with or without their grille, and look great both ways. The Klipsch however, has a non user removable grille, and for great purpose, their speakers are ugly. Amazing but ugly. It all comes down to personal taste and with the grilles on, I like them both equally.

Here is the klipsch disassembled:

Build quality:

Klipsch > Polk

Theyre both made from the same type of mdf, but the Klipsch seems to be made of a higher quality, better cut and finished wood than the Polk. The Polk had ugly unrefined edges inside behind the speaker and looked uneven in places. I accidentally tightened one of the screws on the Polk a little too much and stripped the wood, luckily there were more screws to secure the speaker.

The Klipsch tightened as tight as I could physically turn it, had much cleaner cuts and even though it is an unseen part of the speaker cab, was over all better finished.

Bracing was adequate in both speaker enclosures, but Klipsch seems to have went to extra mile with the bracing in the VF36 and even included a cross beam for structural support.

the polk:

the klipsch(note : the speaker on the Klipsch was so tight against the cabinet that the foam gasket on the rear of the speaker bonded its self to the cab and pulled a small piece of the paint off with it.)

the speakers:

the Klipsch had a monster magnet. Huge, looks as if there are actually 2 magnets on the speaker. I'm not sure how much I like the paper cone, but if Klipsch felt the need for better cone material I'm sure they would have included it. The only real downfall this speaker has is the foam surround, I would have preferred rubber.

the Polk:

Smaller and single magnet, poly cone and rubber surround.


Overall I feel as if the Klipsch is a better speaker, though the tsi500 is no slouch. It really just depends on what your tastes and preferences are. I like a clean, crisp high end and that's what the Klipsch offers. The klipsch dominates the Polk for music playback offering superior clarity and volume.

As it looks for now, I will be going with 2 more VF36s for my rears and a vc25 center the moment I find a new job and pay off some bills.

The Polks will find themselves in the bedroom or the garage.

Hope you guys find this, at the very least, an informal read! Feel free to contribute your thoughts, ideas and experiences with either.


20,348 Posts
Some body likes to play - I have taken their speakers apart before.

The build quality of the Klipsch is better over all. Next time you do

this - try to show some pictures of the crossover. Thanks for the


29,505 Posts

Originally Posted by nastynice /forum/post/19570398

klipsch seems to be the better built one, huh. that says a lot about a company. dammit, i just bought some polks too!!!

Polk's made in china, right? wat about klipsch?

More importantly you have to like the way they sound.

14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You hit it right on the head Close your eyes, turn it up and see which SOUNDS the best for your needs. I try not to fall into brand loyalty, but I do want the same brand if I am putting a system of any kind together. Right now I am running the VF36s as my fronts, the tsi500s as my rears and the cs20 center. It sounds great, but im a little ocd and want the same brand all around, so I will definitely be picking up the rest of the Klipsch speakers I need to finish out my set up. And then its on to subs, which is a whole new headache for me.
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