Pros / It received an A in our audio quality tests.
Cons / The speaker isn’t as efficient as its 94 dB sensitivity rating suggests.
Verdict / The Polk MM1 series is one of the best car speaker series on the market. It has excellent power handling specifications and performed very well in our tests.
The car speakers in the Polk MM1 series can double as marine speakers. This means they’re made of tougher stuff than typical car speakers and partly explains why they have excellent power handling specifications. The Polk MM1 speaker we tested, the MM692, also came out as one of the top contenders in our audio performance tests, making it one of your best options as you shop for after-market car speakers.
To test audio performance, I repeatedly played a 20Hz to 20kHz sine tone through the speaker and recorded the results, then used a frequency analyzing plugin to create the speaker’s average frequency signature. I used this signature to analyze the speaker’s performance and graded the accuracy of its high-, mid- and low-frequency reproduction. Overall, the MM1 car speaker received an A for audio performance, with an excellent midrange and highs.
The MM1 series speaker received an A for accuracy in the high tone range – only the Alpine Type-S and Infinity Reference X received better grades. However, these frequencies are so high, you likely couldn’t tell the difference in quality between those three series without frequency analyzing software. That said, you would hear the quality difference in speakers from lower-performing series, like the JL Audio Evolution C2 series, which produce grating highs that rake across your ears.
The midrange is where the Polk MM1 really shines – it received an A+ for accuracy in the mid frequencies. This is where the body and detail of the tones reside, and the speaker’s performance in the midrange is a big reason why it received an A for overall quality.
It received a B+ for its low-frequency accuracy, which means it has one of the best bass responses we tested. In fact, it had one of the lowest frequency responses in our tests, around 25Hz, but it got less accurate as it transitioned into the midrange near 470Hz.
One of the Polk MM1 series’ selling points is its power handling specifications. It has a 94 dB sensitivity rating, which is the highest we've seen for a car speaker. This rating suggests that if you supply the speaker with 1 watt of power, at 1 meter away, the sound it projects will reach 94 dB. It's also rated to handle 150 watts continuously, with a peak of 450 watts. Both specifications mean you can really push this speaker.
In our comparative loudness tests, the Polk MM1 speaker received a B+, which is good but not as great as its sensitivity specification suggests. With a sensitivity rating of 94 dB, you'd expect it to be louder than other speakers supplied with the same amount of power, but that simply wasn't the case. However, it was still very loud and certainly makes good use of its power handling.
The car speakers in the Polk MM1 series are also marine speakers. This means they are constructed of tougher materials than those used to make your typical car speaker. The materials are rated to handle water and sun for extended periods – and this shows. When you hold a Polk MM1 speaker, it clearly feels sturdier and beefier than a typical car speaker. It may not mean much in a car, but the thick rubber woofer should be less likely to blow out than a paper woofer.
The series has speakers for all the common installation sizes – 6 x 9, 6.5 and 5.25 inches – as well as component speakers and subwoofers. You can outfit your entire sound system, which makes the MM1 series versatile.
During our audio quality and comparative loudness tests, the Polk MM692 from the MM1 series proved to be among the best car speakers. Its overall audio quality was second only to that of the Alpine Type-S speaker, and its power handling is excellent, even though it isn’t the most efficient speaker at producing volume. When you look for a speaker upgrade, the Polk MM1 series is an excellent place to start.