Polk’s Monitor speakers date back to the company’s inception in the early 70s, and they are in fact what largely built the company’s reputation – Polk pioneered the concept of HiFi quality loudspeakers that were affordable enough for homeowners and no longer exclusive to professional grade setups.
The latest iteration of Polk’s iconic Monitor speaker series came out in the early 2000s and was discontinued around 2010. However, second party vendors were moving enough volume when clearing stock that Polk actually decided to reintroduce them, and created the cosmetically upgraded Series II lineup. Both the Monitor 60 and 70 series II, despite being essentially 15 years old at this point, still remain two of the best selling and highly reviewed floorstanding speakers on the market.
Speaker type: passive, 3 way, front ported
Nominal power handling: 80 W*
Peak power handling: 275 W
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 90 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 30 – 25,000 Hz (+/- 3dB)
Unit weight: 47 lbs
Unit dimensions: 14.8 x 7.8 x 42 inches (depth x width x height)
Warranty: 5 years
*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.
Review and Discussion
The distinctly good feature of the monitor 70s is the 3 way design that dedicates a crossover to two built in subwoofers in addition to one dedicated to two midrange woofers. Basically, they’re designed to sound really good as standalone speakers, whereas most budget speakers are 2-way and best served with an external subwoofer added on. A 3 way designed is a higher end feature that isn’t common in speakers as cheap as the Monitor 70s, and its unusually excellent response floor reflects this. Beyond that, they have great power specs and will perform well in almost any room that isn’t exceptionally large.
The design is pretty plain and dated with the front cover on – black washed wood look MDF on 4 stands, the exact same look as the lower Monitor 60 tower speakers. However, if left uncovered, the 4 exposed woofers with the platinum colored cones actually look pretty slick.
These speakers are pretty large, and almost 50 pounds each, so they might take some lugging to set up – it’s a necessary concession to accommodate the extra hardware of a 3 way design. They used to also come in a cherry color, but it doesn’t appear to be available anymore. Polk has a 5 year warranty on all it’s passive speakers, which is pretty top of the line for budget speakers.
Our Take, As Compared to The Competition
The advantage of older speakers is that they don’t depreciate, but still they’ll often get heavily discounted from the original MSRP. This, we think, is why the Monitor 70s are such a good deal currently, especially so with the 3 way design with 2x dedicated sub and midrange woofers. If you’re looking for a good pair of standalone tower speakers that are inexpensive, to us the Monitor 70s seem like the pretty clear best choice as of now.
Polk’s equally popular Monitor 60s (reviewed here) are cheaper, but less powerful, and might be better for near-field listening rather than a full fledged home theater set up.
Polk’s newer TSi 500s (reviewed here) have the same general design and slightly superior specs, and we say the “best” choice between them will really come down to what’s the best deal at the time.
Another viable alternative is to just go with a more traditional 2.1 set up with an external subwoofer – it’s a little more equipment, but, external subwoofers are easy to add, have the freedom to be bigger, and also allow for the main speakers to really focus on the mids and highs which they’re usually optimized for. 2.1 will probably get you the most value for your dollar, but the price floor will be a little higher. Check out the links below for more information.
Relevant Links And Resources
See our overall favorite budget-tier floorstanding tower speakers here.
See our favorite budget-tier home theater subwoofers here.