Polk Audio is famous for its speakers and sound systems, but did you know that they also make headphones? Well, at least they used to. Unfortunately, after a lengthy search, Polk Audio no longer manufactures Buckle headphones, their old flagship over-ear headphones or headphones. The style-focused Buckle, released in 2013, was hoping to take the headphone scene by storm. And with a unique design, sturdy parts, and decent audio quality, the Buckle seemed like it had everything going for it.
So are Polk Audio Buckle headphones any good? And did the Buckle deserve to be the headphone associated with the death of Polk Audio’s headphones?
Best Deals Today
Finding a new pair of Buckle headphones is easier said than done. We found one third-party seller on Amazon, but only for the black colorway. We also found one from Polk Audio through Walmart. That said, you can find decent sets for well under the original $200 MSRP when these headphones came out in 2013.
- Polk Audio Buckle (Amazon) – $54.90
- Polk Audio Buckle (Walmart) – $69.90
Polk Audio Buckle Overview
Release Date and Price
A lot of the release information about the Buckle is hard to find. From what we could gather, it seems like the release date was September 20th, 2013. Polk themselves does not advertise the existence of the Buckle at all anymore. The original MSRP had to be lifted from reviews of the time, and we think it was around $200.
We would also like to point out that these headphones, priced initially at $200, were noted as being negative in many reviews around their release.
From what we can tell, Polk only made one model of the Buckle Headphones. There are two different colorways, though. One is brown leather with white accent pieces, and the other is black with silver accents.
Polk, as a brand, tends to focus on the looks and style of their products. The Buckle is no different. The biggest selling point these headphones featured were their classy and sleek looks. At the time of their release, many over-ear headphones did not appeal to the person who wanted to look classy but also use headphones. Many of their competitors were big, bulky, and made of plastic. Beats by Dre was the most popular over-ear headphone at the time.
Some other things to note are the controls for Apple devices built into the earpieces instead of the cable. For a set of headphones that are wired only, it is an exciting choice. But now we see that all the time, so maybe Polk was an innovator in that trend. This remote can only pick up calls and raise or lower volume. Voice assistants weren’t quite a thing yet.
- Size: 6.9″x7.2″x.3.3″
- Weight: 28.8 oz
- Style: Over-Ear
- Sound Output: Stereo
- Connectivity: Wired
- Noise Isolation: Yes
- Cable Length: 48″
- Replaceable Cable: Yes
- Drivers: 40mm dynamic drivers
- Extras In The Box: 3.5mm-to-1/4″ Adapter and Cloth storage pouch
- Warranty: 1 year*
*We have heard reviews stating that customers have experienced difficulty when they are trying to use their warranty. So your mileage may vary, but it seems like Polk is no longer supporting any warranty that comes with the Buckle headphones.
Polk Audio Buckle Review
After looking into the Buckle in-depth, we just had to get our hands on a pair and try them out for ourselves. Our headphones came in a reasonably regular headphone box, but we had read some reviews when they first came out saying they received theirs in a faux wood box. We would love to see one of the original boxes. If anyone still has one, please leave a comment with a picture. Enough about the box, though. Let’s dive into the fun stuff. Are the Polk Audio Buckle Headphones worth it?
A key focus of these headphones is design. And they do not disappoint in this regard. The overall construction is solid, and a lot of it is made of metal, besides the plastic earcups, which is a letdown. Unfortunately, we could not find a brown and white Buckle pair and had to settle for the secondary colorway of black and silver. Although the black and silver Buckle is not a bad-looking headphone by any means, the brown and white seem like it would stand out more and give off that classic design feels Polk was going for.
Of course, design and style vary from person to person, but these headphones look excellent and stand out from the over-ear headphone crowd even today.
So the Buckle looks good, but does it sound good? The Buckle sounds pretty good, but they are not studio-level headphones. For many people, though, you do not need studio-level quality headphones. And don’t get us wrong, the Buckle is no slouch in the sound department. Polk has a proprietary tuning called Dynamic Balance, which regulates the internal resonances of the drivers and housing to keep your music sounding natural and close faithful to the recording.
Coming from 2013, these headphones also put a lot of focus on bass. We are not huge fans of heavily bass-driven headphones, but these headphones had to compete with Beats, which is pretty much only bass. Despite its slight flaws, we think the sound quality is on point at around $70.
Polk Audio Buckle: Pros and Cons
- Rich sound with minimal distortion.
- The overall design and build quality is well done.
- Free 1/4″ adapter in the box.
- Hard to find in today’s market
- Only wired connection
Polk Audio Buckle: Is It a Buy?
If we were writing this review in 2013 or 2015, we might have had a harder time recommending them as a buy. $200 for a pair of headphones that are only wired and don’t offer exceptional sound quality is a lot of money.
But now, at the time of writing, with these headphones only being $50 or $60, it might be the perfect pair of headphones. And a lot of that comes from the Buckle’s style and design.
Again, the design is a personal choice. If you don’t like the look of these headphones, that is understandable. The sound quality is not good enough to make these headphones a must-purchase for someone who doesn’t like their look of them.
That being said, the sound quality is pretty comparable to most over-ear headphones nowadays. Plus, we like the look of the Buckle, and if we could get our hands on a brown and white, they would easily be a daily driver headphone.
Check out the Polk Audio Buckle on Amazon.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©IKagadiy/Shutterstock.com.