POLK AUDIO: Interview with Matthew Polk – co-founder

TNT-Audio write: Probably there's no need to briefly introduce you and your Company to the audiophile community, since Polk Audio is one of the best known loudspeaker brands in the Planet but, for sure, some newbie this side of the pond may need to know how your biz started back in 1972.

Polk >
I met my future partner George Klopfer the first day of classes at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I was a Physics major and an audio hobbyist, sort of a nerd actually. I was the kind of kid that would drive local audio store proprietors nuts because I spent a lot of time talking about and listening to audio gear - without buying anything! George majored in History. He spoke 4 languages fluently and had gone to school in Rome. A very sophisticated guy. For some reason we became great friends probably because he was sort of an audio nut also.

We both graduated from Hopkins in 1971 and I continued at Hopkins as graduate student in Marine Biology (Don't ask why. It seems silly now.) George moved to New Jersey where he proceeded to get fired from a succession of jobs. George is a brilliant guy but he's fundamentally unemployable.

You could say he was born to be his own boss. Meanwhile I found out that I hated Marine Biology. So, when George came back to Baltimore while between jobs I was receptive to his suggestion that we start our own business. About that time friends were asking my advice on putting together a sound system for a Bluegrass Convention they were sponsoring.

George, who is a terrific cabinet maker, offered to build the system if I would design it. I agreed and, voila!, we were in business. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) our friends couldn't afford to pay us for the system.
So, George and I became part owners of the system and put the Polk Audio name on it. (At that time George designed the original logo that we still use today) Since we didn't have any money for new amps or mixers we used lots of old monaural Macintosh and Marantz tube amplifiers and monaural preamps which were available very cheaply on the used market in those days.

People who heard the system were very impressed. And, in fact, it sounded damn good. Almost immediately we picked up some customers who wanted us to build similar systems for them. I just wish I still had some of those tube amps.

For lots of reasons pro-audio wasn't the right business for us. Plus, my real interest was .....