Pros:Incredible surround imaging, great sound quality, stylish and well-priced.
Cons:Not exactly 360-degree surround, a little lacking in midrange.
The Bottom Line: The SurroundBar spells the end for separate surround speakers!
Do you consider the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) when you are looking for home cinema equipment? Are you sick of looking at wires sprawled over your floor? Then consider the SurroundBar!
Recommend this product?
I already owned a decent 5.1 system, but my wife and I were sick to death of the wires which I had to drag around my room to reach the rear surround speakers. I knew there had to be a better way! Then I noticed an advert in a home theater magazine which advertised the Polk SurroundBar, and the photo was enough to grab me - a single speaker bar, wall mountable and no wires visible!
This seemed too good to be true. I assumed that either the sound sucked or the surround sound claim was bogus. I took a chance and bought it along with my new plasma HDTV, brought it home and installed it. I wall mounted the backplate a few inches underneath my wall-mounted plasma, gave it a try and...well...WOW! I started to look around the room for the sources of the noises I was hearing, but the only speaker I had active was the single bar in front of me!
The surround sound was, quite honestly, magic. While it doesn't wrap you in 360-degree surround, it gets very, very close - probably around 270-degrees. The effects are quite striking - it's as if there are two surround speakers mounted to the left and right of your head. Don't believe me? Go find a demo room in a store and get them to run the test tone on the connected A/V receiver. You'll become a believer pretty quickly!
Mounting the speaker was a cinch. You simply pick your mounting position, drill 4 holes (preferably into studs, the speaker has a decent weight!) using the backplate as a guide, and then secure the backplate to the wall. Then drill a 1-inch hole through the big speaker-wire hole in the center of the backplate, feed your speaker wire through the hole, connect it up, and latch the speaker onto the backplate. 30 minutes, tops!
It looks so darn nice on my wall. Since there's a few inches of a gap between the TV and the speaker, it looks like they are both floating on the wall! It's a very cool, tidy and modern look. Have a look at www.polkaudio.com for an example of how it looks.
The bar itself has lots of speakers inside it, but not as many as the more expensive competition (the Yamaha YSP system). It has 5 speaker hookups hidden at the back - one each for center, front left, front right, surround left and surround right. Luckily, the bar comes with a long 5-in-1 speaker cable which makes fishing behind drywall really simple.
The speaker performs extremely well, but you will definitely need a good subwoofer to complete your system. The bar has lots of speakers, but all the cones are less than 4" in size. With cones that size, you'll never get a very defined mid-to-low range. If you don't already, try and get a good subwoofer that has a crossover frequency control - this will allow you to use a high crossover ceiling and give the subwoofer as much of the midrange work as possible. Therefore, don't get rid of that subwoofer when you sell your old surround speakers!
Another thing to recognize is that you are recommended not to hook the subwoofer up to the subwoofer speaker output - instead Polk instruct you to hook it up to the left and right front outputs. This was a little weird for me because I wasn't so sure about wiring two speakers up to one output (one for the subwoofer and one for the bar), but hey, it sounds great! I haven't experimented enough yet to know if hooking it up to the subwoofer output would help or not.
This product is just great. The only real negative is that it will make your old surround speaker system gather a lot of dust!
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