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Help me choose between Polk Audio, KEF & Focal ... (1 Viewer)


Stunt Coordinator
Jun 13, 2008
Real Name
Ahmad Najeeb
Hi guys ... So I need to finalize speakers for my HT room ASAP, and in the past two 2 days I've gone to two different audio showrooms (the only main ones available in my locality), and have extensively demoed movie & music audio for some top range Polk Audio, KEF and Focal speakers ..

Here are the speaker configurations I tested .. There ARE configuration mismatches here n there, but oh well, it gave me an overall idea at least :)


Polk Audio:

1) 2x TSX-550 (for Front L & R) + CS20 (Center) + 2x DSW-660 (2x Subwoofers)
2) 2x RTI-A7 (for Front L & R) + CSi A4 (Center) + 2x DSW-660 (2x Subwoofers)
3) 2x RTI-A9 (for Front L & R) + CSi A6 (Center) + 2x DSW-660 (2x Subwoofers)
4) 2x LSi (number unknown) (for Front L & R) + CSi A6 (Center) + 2x DSW-660 (2x Subwoofers)


5) 2x KEF Q900 (for Front L & R) + KEF Q600C (Center) + 2x KEF-Q800DS (2x Side/Surround Speakers) + Rel R328 + Rel T9 (2x Subwoofers)


6) 2x Focal 826W + KEF Q600C (Center) (They didn't have the Focal center handy, so they used the KEF one) + 2x Focal SR800 (2x Side/Surround Speakers)
6) 2x Focal 836W + KEF Q600C (Center) (They didn't have the Focal center handy, so they used the KEF one) + 2x Focal SR800 (2x Side/Surround Speakers)

For KEF/Focal configurations above, they used a Denon receiver (Don't know the exact model) .. For Polks, no idea, but they kept switching the receivers to upgrade with the speaker changes ..

My impressions:

My opinion regarding Polk was that for music audio, they were all great ! But they sucked when I played Blu-ray movies on them .. By 'sucked' I mean the sound sounded just like that coming from a $300 HTiB .. I made a thread on this issue yesterday, located here .. It probably was because the room was far from any acoustic treatment, and the equipment wasn't calibrated at all (according to rep), but still, I'm a little doubtful about the Polks to be honest .. But still I want to know if it was an issue with calibration more like, or are Polks mainly music speakers ?

KEF and Focal demos were from another showroom, and the room here was mostly acoustically treated .. So this might unfairly give these speakers an edge over the Polks .. Having said that, both KEF and Focal sounded a LOT more believable in movies !! I mean *much* better result ! Again, this could have been because this room was acoustically treated, whereas the Polk showrrom was not .. So its hard for me to determine the cause with the Polks ...

Focal speakers were located in the same location where KEF were located, and both Focal and KEF sounded more or less the same to me .. Maybe, KEF had slightly better vocal sound reproduction, but Focal I think had slightly better reproduction of sounds such as car crashes, things smashing, etc .. Also, for some reason I liked the sound from 826W somewhat better than that from 836W, even though the latter is the newer model ..

So which one ?

Out of all of the above, my first pick would have been the Focal lineup, with the 826W's for the fronts L+R .. But a few internet searches revealed that they costed an absolute fortune ! :eek: .. So unless I can find them for relatively cheap, I have to decide between the KEF or Polks .. KEF obviously sounded much better for movies, but that may have been due to an unfair advantage of the room being acoustically treated for their demo .. Also, although KEFs are financially manageable, they're still a bit on the expensive side for me .. Polks were perfect cost-wise .. I would've gone with either A7 or A9 L+R .. But then again, they didn't sound awesome to me in movies, something which I'll use my HT room for 60% of the times.. :rolleyes:

So guys, please help me make a decision here :cool:


HTF Expert
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Jul 4, 2012
Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
Real Name
If the price was too high on the Focal W(30th Anniversary)...what about the V?

By the way, the Focal's (this one at least) needs to be paired with an AVR(or amps) capable of running a consistent 4ohm load. Every review of the 826/836 shows a 119hz dip under 2ohm. IF you intend to watch lots of movies...lots of information in that range.


Stunt Coordinator
Jun 13, 2008
Real Name
Ahmad Najeeb
Don't think they had those on display ... Actually I had to catch a flight too, so I was kind of in a hurry ..Whats the price/quality difference between the V and W ?Haven't really started looking for an AVR yet .. Will probably do in about 12 hours :P ..What sub would you suggest to go with the Focals ?Same question for a KEF setup, as that's the one I'm most inclined towards right now I think .. Would've been Focal, if they weren't so darn expensive !

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