I initially purchased the Vizio VHT510 from Costco (amazing price: $290). The Vizio is probably much better sounding than the Polk, mainly because it's not just a bar; it's 5.1 surround sound, with not only a wireless subwoofer, but two rear (wired) speakers as well. But it's Achilles' heal is the length (39.75") of the bar. The back wall of my 17' x 13' family room consists of a 6.5' wide floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace, on either side of which are bookshelves with large bottom cabinets. My 46" Samsung TV sits on top of the left cabinet. I have not seen a sound bar that would fit between the stand and the TV, so needed one that would fit on one of the shelves behind and above the TV. Problem is, my shelves are only 38" wide, so the Vizio would not fit there either. I toyed with the idea of mounting the bar high on the fireplace, but that would have been a lot of work; I'd have to use conduit to cover the wires from there to the TV and power source; mounted there, it would probably be outside my Comcast remote's beam (I wanted to program everything to turn on/off, control the sound, mute, etc. from that remote); and "madam" would have a hissy-fit over the aesthetics. So the Vizio got returned and I bought the Polk 3000 from HHGregg - for about the same price ($280). The Polk bar is only 31", so fits easily on the shelf.
Recommend this product?
Setting up and programming the Polk 3000 was easy. Not only did I have no worry about where to mount it, run wires thru conduit, etc., the bar makes it easy to program to work with the remote for your TV/DVR. It has a "Learn" button that allows you to do that quickly. However, Polk's instructions are not very explicit, so I had to figure some of it out myself. For anyone having trouble with Polk's programming instructions, you have to teach the bar to recognize 4 separate remote operations: power on, mute, volume up and volume down. The part that took me a minute or so to understand is that you have to teach it "volume down" separate from "volume up". Once you understand that, it's easy and it works perfectly.
As to how it sounds. . . well, it's a lot better than the TV speakers. But its name aside, it is NOT surround sound. The subwoofer can be "boomy" and from day 1, I found myself having to turn the volume down on the subwoofer when some ads come on or for scenes where it makes it more difficult to hear speech, then back up after the ads are over. Not only is this annoying, but you can only do it with the Polk remote; there's no "subwoofer volume control" on any TV remote that I know of.
I'm going to mention something that I haven't seen in any other review that I consider important to readers of reviews of sound equipment - the reviewer's age. I'm in my early '70s, so my high frequency hearing is severely diminished. If you're under 50, the Polk bar will undoubtedly sound different to you than it does to me. When frequency controls are available on a sound device, I usually increase the treble significantly to hear the music the way it was intended to be heard. Unfortunately, while the Polk bar provides a subwoofer volume control, it provides no mid- or high frequency volume controls.
Some users have had problems with the Wi-Fi connection between the bar and subwoofer. I have not. I have a router in the house that connects my desktop and laptop to the Internet, and a wireless printer used by those computers and guests with laptops. It did not cause a connection problem with the bar, nor did the bar's signal interfere with the computer connections. It may not have caused a problem because my router uses automatic channel switching (uses the channel that encounters the least interference from other devices). For all I know, it may switch channels when the sound bar is on. If your router does not have this feature, you may have to manually try different channels to see what works.
One caveat: Polk's technical support is essentially absent. I noticed a couple of times when I turned the TV on using the "All On" Comcast remote button, the subwoofer issued a continuous low-frequency growl, which I stopped by turning the Polk off and back on. I e-mailed Polk tech support about it, asking what caused it. No response. I think it was caused by my trying to select the channel on my DVR BEFORE everything else had finished its bootup. Since then, I've avoided doing that, and the Polk doesn't "growl". But, my experience with Polk's tech support suggests that if you buy it and have problems, you're on your own.
Read all comments (1)