Polk Audio Buckle review
Polk Audio Buckle review : Polk Audio’s latest offering to the market that is flooded with headphones for over-ear The Buckle could be akin to an homage to pilgrimage-themed times of our forefathers, however, they’re actually a different product from Polk Audio’s Heritage Collection. The line of minimal items demonstrates the company’s emphasis on rustic design with a modern approach. The Buckle appear to meet their names visually, with an edging of worn leather over the headband, an unassuming color scheme, and large, matte-finished pieces of metal.
On the Polk’s website The Buckle frames are displayed next to an whiskey flask, a passport as well as the compass that’s on a cord that is like it’s ready for some steamship-like adventure like TinTin. However, the $200 ‘phones come with modern features that include an ingenious iOS control system as well as a microphones built in the frame. We have recently taken the Buckle to a new location while observing how they performed as they ventured beyond the beautiful terrain, and into the world of audio technology today.
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Out of the box
The experience of unboxing from the Buckle is somewhat awkwardly wedged between budget and premium brand packaging. When we opened the box (oddly at the bottom, by design) we found the headphones wrapped within a thin layer of Biodegradable foam. The ‘phones were pulled to find tiny plastic bonds which created an effort to get them out of the way.
When we opened the headband, we found a plethora of white soft leather throughout the interior, giving off the fresh-headphone scent. The outside of the headband was covered in leather, but this time with a an textured brown coat. The ends of the band, our fingers touched heavy-gauge steel arms which supported turtle-shell shaped Ear cups that are set back to an angle. In contrast to other new headphones that we review We were shocked to see that the Buckle’s earcups do not fold backwards to allow to allow for a more compact travel.
The box also contained an assortment of smaller accessories like a felt tote bag and a headphone with a removable brown cable as well as a gold 1/4-inch adapter, and a bag of educational materials.
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Design and features
Although the Buckle are available in a classic colour scheme of black and silver the brown and white version has a bit more character, a little reminiscent of an earpiece from Doc Martins – whether or it’s something you’d like to have is entirely a matter of personal preference but we would favor a traditional style. The design is pretty solid , especially with the thick chunks of steel, however the high-end feel is affected by the plastic that covers the outside of the earcups. It appears a bit cheap.
The earcups are affixed to the metal arms of the headband with a rotatable vertices that will allow the cups to rotate 360 degrees on their perch that is angled. In each cup, there is a substantial padding that is surrounded by black screens that protect the Buckle’s dynamic drivers of 40mm. The drivers feature an impedance of 24 Ohm and boast a stunning frequency that ranges from 10Hz to 21.5kHz. Keep the lower boundary in mind when you read the performance section to come later.
The most distinctive feature of the Buckle is it’s integrated iOS controls dial as well as microphone. The device is embedded into the arm of steel that supports the right earpiece and is quite effective – when you’ve stopped trying to find the actual earpiece and instead focus on the earpiece itself. The dial is moved upwards and downwards against a slight resistance to control the volume in increments and a click allows users to play/pause, take calls, and switch between songs in the standard iOS way. The microphone is located in the lower part on the arms, near the 2.5mm headphones cable.
The cable is 48 inches long and ends with gold-plated connectors, the other end is placed at a 90-degree angle. Silver-plated accents etched around the jacks lend the cable an elegant cache.
The Buckle remain in good shape for extended periods of use due to the soft padding on the earcups. We did find the clamping pressure a little excessive for our tastes. We also felt that we wished for a little more cushion on top of the unit throughout the most long-running listening session.
In addition to the carefully-crafted style is an equally elegant sound signature. Its frequency response has been stylized, smoothing the treble frequency to a smooth, matte finish and also enhancing the bass and mid-range frequencies, creating dark and chocolaty hue. However it does Buckle also leaves plenty of room for instrument clarity, particularly within the far-flung edges of the stereo channels. giving plenty of punch and virtually no distortion.
In addition to the carefully-crafted style is an equally stylish sound distinctive.In the present Beats-driven headphone market isn’t it no surprise that the Buckle pay particular focus on the bass. The Buckle headphones delved into the deeper layers with remarkable authority during our review. The lower frequencies were well handled and had a full but stiff response that added positive gravitas to hip-hop and electronic tracks.
Despite the Buckle’s attention to below, to our delight, there were just some moments when we believed that the low-end was a bit overdone. The Buckle was able to handle one of our favorite track tests which is Nickel Creek’s “Reason’s Why,” with careful distribution of the stand-up bass, which could become a problem when headphones have low balance. Contrary to their roll-off treble response they also transmitted string clicks that came from the mandolin of the tune and the an acoustic guitar, with a sweet golden touch, revealing the tremors of the instruments through the darker parts of the sound like archeological artifacts found in the surface of an archeological excavation.
We weren’t impressed by the sluggish upper register however, in relation to the sparkling clips of hi-hats and snares that were usually relaxed, which reduced the power of the percussion and thus the entire of the tracks. The softness was ideal for super-hot tracks, such as Van Halen’s catchy title track “House of Pain.” However, under normal circumstances certain instruments could be buried a bit over the in the uppermost part, especially when placed within the middle of the picture, where most low frequencies get located.
However, putting those concerns aside, we were constantly amazed by the Buckle’s rich and diverse color palette. taking a deeper dive into the marrow of sawtooth synthesizers producing precise pictures of the resonant sound sounds and recreates the rich sound of the electric guitar with a stunning clarity. For the price of $200, there’s lot to be pleased with this distinctive sound.
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Sound and style that is laidback that is full of definition and lots of power and definition, the Buckle are a great addition to the middle-priced headphones that are over-ear. We believe that their suggested MSRP is a bit expensive, however at the current online price of just $200, the Polk Audio Buckle are a tempting option in a highly market that is highly competitive.
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- Sound that is powerful and distortion-free
- Mid-range that is rich and well-defined.
- Heavy-hitting bass
- Built-in iOS control
- Great value
- There is no excitement or presence in the treble.
- The image is a bit murky towards the center