Pros / The price-to-sound quality ratio is incredible.
Cons / The sound is bogged down during loud action sequences.
Verdict / These are the best floor standing speakers for less than $300 a pair.
The Polk Audio T50 floor standing speakers are often on sale for less than $200 per pair, which is astonishingly low price. The three-way design includes two 6.5-inch woofers, a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a dedicated 6.5-inch midrange driver. These speakers are efficient at converting amplification to sound due to a 90 dB sensitivity rating, which makes them more efficient than more expensive speakers in our lineup. The T50s aren’t going to rattle the pictures off your wall with chest-thumping sound effects, but they sound better than most sound bars and bookshelf speakers we’ve tested.
The compact and lightweight cabinet design is perfect for small entertainment rooms. The black semi-gloss finish hides fingerprints and dust well, and the five-way binding posts on the back panel make it easy to attach the speaker cables. The base of the enclosure is permanently attached, so you don’t have to tighten screws. The T50 comes with a black grille cloth that covers the entire length of the front panel, which is great if you have munchkins in the house that like to poke foreign objects.
To test the audio quality of each speaker pair, we watched an action sequence from the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” and issued a grade for dialogue clarity, bass response and overall sound quality. The T50 couldn’t compete with the best speakers we tested, so we focused our comparison on similarly priced speakers, like the Onkyo SKF-4800. The T50 outperformed the Onkyo speakers when it came to dialogue clarity, but the compact enclosure didn’t project the same impactful bass. If you add a subwoofer however, the bass is much better and that option is still cheaper than the Onkyo towers.
We issued higher marks for the T50 in our music listening tests, because the lack of bass is not as glaring when you listen to music. The vocal and acoustic instrument sounds were clear and concise, and we had no problem playing a variety of musical genres at a serviceable volume without distortion. If you are looking for a budget-friendly upgrade for streaming music in your small- or medium-size entertainment room, the T50 is a great option.
The T50 can’t compete with the best floor speakers we reviewed when it comes to audio quality and aesthetic value, but when paired with an entry-level AV receiver, and a subwoofer, this pair is a great low-cost audio upgrade.