Polk History

Our Story

More than 50 years of uncompromising quality.
Early years


In 1972, three John Hopkins University graduates, Matthew Polk, Sandy Gross, and George Klopfer, set out to create loudspeakers that would provide the most accurate, lifelike sound possible.


Polk, Klopfer, and Gross opened up shop in a ramshackle 18th-century mansion on Notre Dame Lane in Baltimore. The sprawling twenty-room home, which they nicknamed “The Addams Family house,” was lit by gaslights and was only partially heated. For a few years, it served as both factory headquarters and living space for the founders and their spouses, plus a few friends who were willing to split the rent.

By keeping business costs to a minimum and experimenting with materials and parts to develop simple systems designs built around high-quality components built in-house, the trio innovated ways to develop high-performance products that represented great value.



With the release of the Model 7, better known as the Monitor 7, Polk began gaining recognition in audiophile circles.


The Monitor 7 was designed to provide the powerful, balanced sound that Matthew Polk found missing in the market: European loudspeakers, which offered great-sounding mids and highs and accurate imaging, lacked dynamics and bass output and couldn’t handle high volumes.

“At Polk, we believe that great sound is for everyone. We create loudspeakers and systems that elevate the listening experience for audiophiles, audio enthusiasts, and everyone in between.”
Matthew Polk



In 1975, Polk moved to Dickeyville, a former mill town on the western edge of Baltimore. Three assembly workers joined the team, bringing the total employee count to six and production output to ten speakers a day. Within a year, Polk would earn its first $1 million.


A second product breakthrough came in 1976 with the launch of the Model 10, also known as the Monitor 10. Like the Monitor 7, the Monitor 10 was a two-way speaker that used small drivers to drive larger passive radiators. Rock fans loved cranking up their Model 10s: They had even more bass than the 7s and unlike many competing speakers, could be played at top volumes without blowing up.


In order to meet growing demand, we moved to an even bigger space and built our first assembly lines. Thanks to expanded production capabilities, two workers could now build 120 passive radiators in a day. 


When it comes to signature Polk technologies, SDA, or Stereo Dimensional Array technology, is at the forefront. The groundbreaking system, introduced in 1984, solved a fundamental limitation of stereo reproduction called inter- aural crosstalk, which happens when a sound intended for one ear is also heard by the other ear due to acoustic interference. This affects perception of sounds in space, leading to a narrow stereo image.

Today we’ve ushered our patented SDA technology into a new era, fitting it into a smaller form factor found in the MagniFi Mini and MagniFi Max sound bars.



Growing fast, gaining recognition, going public.

We were on a roll in 1986, earning honors and making bold moves toward expansion. Our growth was acknowledged with a coveted spot on Inc. magazine's list of the 100 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. We turned up the heat that summer, making an initial public offering on the NASDAQ, which would allow us to expand our reach and impact. To accommodate this growth, we relocated to 5601 Metro Drive in Baltimore, where our engineering team is still based today.

Renaissance Period

1990 - 2010


Throughout our history, we’ve tested the waters with all sorts of audio products, from speaker wires to tuners to tone arms. But the late ’90s and early aughts were truly a Renaissance period as we delved into new markets and new product categories.


Iconic loudspeakers introduced during this time include the classic LSi Series, which later evolved into the LSiM Series.


Polk entered the world of automotive audio in 1999, partnering with legendary Italian design firm MOMO to develop streamlined high-fidelity sound systems for cars. Custom-install and marine sound systems would soon follow.


Our first sound bar, the SurroundBar SDA, was released in 2007. Seven years later, the MagniFi Mini debuted, offering enveloping, room-filling sound in a sound bar measuring just 24 inches wide.


With new sound bars came new sound-optimizing technologies: Our patented VoiceAdjust system, introduced in 2014, let listeners raise and accentuate dialog without impacting the rest of the soundtrack—a total game changer for TV viewers everywhere.

Continuous Innovation

2015 - 2021


In 2015, most Polk employees relocated to Sound United headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The engineering team remained in Baltimore, establishing the cutting-edge Audio and Acoustics Research and Development (ARAD) center in Owings Mills, where products are still designed and engineered today.


The Signature Series, Polk’s first loudspeaker line to feature exclusive Power Port technology and the first to earn Hi-Res Audio certification, was introduced in 2016.


The groundbreaking MagniFi Max SR, introduced in 2017, offered true 5.1 home theater surround in a streamlined sound bar system.


SDA technology returned to Polk speakers in 2018 with the introduction of the Legend Series, appearing in the L800 tower loudspeaker. This new flagship series, the culmination of more than four decades of acoustic innovation, was engineered from the ground up with new drivers and refined cabinet and port designs. The result? well-rounded, tactile sound with stunningly spacious imaging.


In 2021, Polk introduced the Reserve Series, which brought essential Legend Series acoustic technologies to understated, affordable speakers.



Celebrating five decades of innovation behind world-class sound.

In 2022, Polk celebrated a major milestone: 50 years of audio engineering excellence. To mark the occasion, we released the R200AE, a limited-edition collectible version of our iconic Reserve R200 bookshelf speaker. This special speaker was more than a commemoration of our anniversary; it was a tribute to our decades-long commitment to offering the best listening experience. The R200AE featured a refined cherry finish, redesigned crossovers, and upgraded connectors. Each speaker was numbered and signed by Matthew Polk.

At the same time, Dolby Atmos and other immersive platforms began making huge inroads in home entertainment, bringing the thrills of movies, music, and games with immersive, 360-degree sound to living rooms everywhere. Our Atmos offerings grew more expansive than ever, from Legend, Reserve, and MagniFi Series height modules to the MagniFi Mini AX, which offers immersive Atmos sound in an ultra-compact 13-inch sound bar.

In the spring of 2022, Sound United joined Masimo, a leading developer of medical technologies. We immediately began leveraging the strengths and resources of both companies to innovate in new directions and expand our reach.


Today, Polk is a leading international brand, but we’ve never lost sight of our founders’ vision: delivering the best possible sound for the best price.