Polk CS20! Aural Delight!

Sep 15, 2009 (Updated Sep 16, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Design, Sound Quality

Cons:None

The Bottom Line: Another excellent Polk speaker! Excellent sound, beautiful design! You cannot go wrong with the CS20


My Home Theater is evolving and my bank balance is decreasing! I still needed to buy a new center channel to match my new Polk R50 towers that i had just purchased. It is important when buying speakers that the fronts, meaning the center and the left and right channels are timbre matched so that you get the best sound possible. That being said, my choices were limited to the Polk CS10 or its bigger brother, the CS20. I opted for the CS20!

Following on from the great deal I got on the R50 towers, I found another great deal for the CS20. New, this center channel speaker will cost roughly $250, I purchased a refurbished CS20 directly from Polk, which to me, means new for $100. Polk has an online store where they sell refurbished products at huge discounts, it is on ebay and i won this in auction from them, so your milage may vary. They are the only speaker company i know of that offer this. Another bargain that eased some pressure off of the wallet.

The center speaker of any home theater is the most important speaker in the whole setup. 80% of the sound you hear while watching TV or Movies, will come from this channel. Most importantly all of the dialogue comes from the center channel, so your speaker must be able to handle all of that sound and not get lost in your other speakers, which is why it is so important to get a match on the fronts. This way you keep the same tones and tolerances throughout the front speakers

Polk make excellent speakers and the CS20 is not an exception to that rule. It is available in two colors, the same as the R50's, you can either get black or cherry wood. The cherry wood finish that Polk uses is absolutely gorgeous. It looks stunning.

The speaker is good size for a center speaker, 7- 3/8" in height, 23" in width, and 10-3/4" in depth! This speaker also weighs a lot, coming in at just under 20lb! Make sure you have enough space, and a sturdy stand for this small beast!

The design in great! Looking at it from the front and you see the flat front, from the side you will see sweeping lines that are gorgeous and actually serve a purpose. Positioning speakers is very important to overall sound quality; this Polk fixes a common problem. The center channel needs to be at listening height to get the best sound from it. A lot of people put the center channel speaker underneath the TV, which often means the center channel is not at listening height, ultimately meaning you will not be getting the best imaging and sound from the speaker.

You can do one of two things with the CS20. You can place the speaker on its flat bottom if you have somewhere to put it where it will be at listening height, if not you can flip the speaker upside down so that it sits on the curve! What this will do is point the speaker up into the listening area so that the sound is projected upward towards your ears! What an excellent design feature!

Take of the grill and what will you see?  Two 6.5" woofers that are made of organic fibers, and a 1" silk dome tweeter! I love how this speaker looks with the grill off! It is very easy on the eye! Around the back you will find the binding posts, which i love, because it means you can use banana plugs, which means making the connection much easier.  You will also find a vent at the back as this is a vented enclosure!

This speaker has a nominal impendence rating of 8 ohms which is what most modern receivers are rated at these days, my onkyo 605 included, and it has an overall frequency response of 48Hz-25 kHz. The nominal power ratings range from 20 - 150 watts.  The Upper -3dB Limit is rated at 24kHz dB and the lower -3db is rated at58Hz dB. Efficiency is rated at 91 dB

The sound that the CS20 produces is beautiful! Dialogue is crisp and clean, never again will you miss important parts of the dialogue from your favorite show or movie! Bass response is impressive, not ground breaking, but it packs enough of a punch for a center speaker and is better than i expected.. Mids are reproduced incredibly well as are the highs, the tweeter does an excellent job.

Overall the dynamic range and imaging from this center speaker is excellent! Whether listening to music, watching TV Movies, the center channel makes so much difference!  Movies I have watched before, sound even better now! Small differences in the soundtrack come out, whether it be some dialogue i had trouble hearing before, or a sound effect that was not apparent before, the CS20, makes audio come to life. The sound is clean and clear, not muffled, it really makes a huge difference when watching TV or a movie, it makes it far more enjoyable.

Polk has done it again with the CS20! Their products continue to amaze me. The sound quality is excellent. The build quality is excellent and they are affordable as well! If you need a new center channel, consider the Polk CS20


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