Polk is a brand that has historically made affordable yet high-quality speakers, which haven’t necessarily made it into the realms of elite audio. Like many other speaker brands, they are constantly evolving to suit consumers’ demand for Dolby Atmos support.

Fortunately, their XT90 Height speakers offer one of the cleverest solutions on the budget end of the consumer audio market.

Polk’s XT Series

The XT series is a sort of “mix and match” audio system. Twinned with an Atmos-enabled amplifier, the speakers allow consumers to build their own home configuration and create an immersive home audio setup.

The series includes the following speaker models:

  • XT12 Powered Subwoofer
  • XT15 Bookshelf
  • XT20 Bookshelf
  • XT30 Center Channel
  • XT60 Tower
  • XT70 Tower
  • XT90 Height Speakers

All of these speakers are interchangeable, so you can build the exact configuration that fits your room and even continue to add to the speaker system.

However, when it comes to immersive sound, it’s the height speakers that really make the magic happen.


Upfiring speakers are becoming much more common in audio soundbars and surround sound systems. The XT90s are a standalone set of speakers that fire up into the ceiling when paired with an A/V receiver with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X enhanced content capabilities.

The design adds a whole new axis to the sound field, and this can provide a new experience for home audio enthusiasts, without having to break the bank.

They’re sold as a pair at a very reasonable price, and – for the sake of convenience – they’re designed to sit perfectly on top of the Monitor MXT20 bookshelf speakers and MXT60 & MXT70 floor-standing speakers. You don’t have to worry about finding a spot on the wall to mount them, but you are able to if you so wish thanks to the keyhole slots on the back.

The Sound

Tested alone, the sound is pretty meaningless. Upfiring speakers are, of course, a complement to a much bigger system.

A simple 7.1.2 setup using speakers in the Polk XT range can yield surprisingly great results. The speakers support object-based mixes, which means that you can listen to the latest movies in Dolby Atmos and hear helicopters flying above or jungle sounds darting at you from all angles.

The audio doesn’t have pinpoint accuracy in terms of building a 360-degree soundstage, but this will often be the case with upfiring speakers. That said it does a very good job for movies, especially when twinned with the respectable rumble of the X12 sub, and it is pretty great for listening to Dolby Atmos music, too.

In summary, for those who want to have the control and flexibility to build their own system, the XT range is fantastic and doesn’t require you to spend a fortune. The upfiring speakers add a vertical axis to the sound, bringing immersive audio without breaking the bank or overcomplicating the system.

For the money, the XT90 height speakers are very respectable and help make 3D sound much more accessible in the home.

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About the Author
Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his site, Subreel.