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Polk Audio TL1600 Review

The Polk Audio TL1600 has four satellite speakers, a center channel and an impressive subwoofer.

Our Verdict

The TL1600 performed well in our movie and music listening tests, and the speakers are the perfect size for a small entertainment room.

For

  • This speaker package has an impactful and accurate subwoofer.

Against

  • The satellite speakers aren't loud enough for a large room.

The Polk Audio TL1600 has four satellite speakers, a center channel and an impressive subwoofer. This Polk home theater speaker package is not the most cost-effective package we tested, but it outperformed more expensive packages from reputable brands, like the JBL Cinema 610, in our listening tests. The main left and right speakers have the same 2.5-inch woofer and 0.5-inch tweeter as the center channel and surround speakers and pair well with the 8-inch down-firing subwoofer. This system isn’t quite loud enough to fill a large entertainment room with theater-quality sound, but it is the perfect size for small- and medium-sized rooms. We don't test full home theater systems any more, but do have guides to the best soundbars and the best smart speakers.

These home theater speakers look as striking as they sound. The satellites and center channel have a unique curved cabinet design that is acoustically inert because they don’t reflect sound waves from parallel surfaces. This design feature helps avoid coloration and looks modern and stylish. The high-gloss Blackstone finish is designed to match the high-gloss finish on most televisions. Since the subwoofer is matte-black, it helps hide dust and fingerprints, and is compact enough to compliment most home theater furniture. The center channel is a bit wider than some we tested in compact packages. However, it’s short in stature, so it shouldn’t block your view if you place it on the same surface as your television. All the speakers in this package have multiple wall-mounting options, including keyhole mounts and universal thread mounts.

The center channel is the most important component in a 5.1 package because it’s responsible for most of the dialogue in movies and vocals in music. The TL1600’s center channel is one of our favorites among the packages we tested. It has the same 2.5-inch midrange driver and 0.5-inch silk dome tweeter as the satellite speakers, but the speaker designers decided to add an additional midrange driver, for a total of two. The cabinet that surrounds the speakers is curved like the satellites to avoid reflection, and has rear-firing bass ports to help it blend in with the subwoofer.

The subwoofer in this package is one of the best we tested. It has all the important connections, including RCA and speaker level inputs and outputs in case you have an older receiver that doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer output. It also has an adjustable crossover, which can help you customize the low-frequency content to match your room and the movies or music playing through the system.

The Polk Audio TL1600 home theater speakers are the perfect size for small- and medium-size entertainment rooms. This package is often available for less than $300, which when paired with an entry-level AV receiver, gives you a superior sound quality and surround sound experience compared to similarly priced sound bars.

Billy Bommer

When Billy isn’t testing audio products and writing reviews for Top Ten Reviews, you can find him at the top of a snowy mountain peak looking for fresh powder, or in a studio or live music venue working as a sound engineer and musician. He has been critically listening to speakers and using audio production software for more than 15 years in a recreational and professional capacity. He has been the Audio & Travel Writer for Top Ten Reviews since 2017 and does his best to make product recommendations based on his hands-on experience using these products in a real-world scenario.