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Polk Audio's New SurroundBar Single Speaker Solution

by January 09, 2006
Filed under: Loudspeakers

Polk Audio announced the introduction of the SurroundBar loudspeaker featuring Polk's patented SDA Surround technology. When connected to any multichannel receiver, the SurroundBar delivers an immersive surround sound experience from a single, slim, front mounted speaker styled to complement the latest shallow screen TV's and without the need for rear mounted speakers. SurroundBar will be delivered to retailers in October 2005 with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $949.95.

The Surround Bar was designed to offer an enveloping surround sound experience for anyone who wants better sound from their TV but does not want to install rear mounted speakers. The Polk Audio SurroundBar delivers surround sound from a single, multi-driver loudspeaker located under (or over) the TV screen using Polk's patented "SDA Surround" technology which traces its roots to the legendary Polk SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array) loudspeaker systems of the late 1980's. This technology is based on fundamental research into the way in which our ears process sound and perceive the direction of sounds. It uses a patented combination of signal processing and acoustical geometry that complements the spacing between your ears to produce surround sound without the need for rear mounted speakers. Since the SurroundBar works directly with the hearing mechanism and requires no special room characteristics it can deliver a room-filling surround experience in nearly any location in almost any type of room, even outdoors.

The SurroundBar is composed of a single 43" wide extruded Aluminum enclosure housing seven mid-range drivers and three dome tweeters. The product may be wall mounted above or below the TV with the supplied bracket. It may also be used on a shelf or on top of a TV with its supplied cradle. Both the cradle and wall bracket allow the speaker to be aimed up or down. The product is available in either Titanium or Black anodized finish.

The SurroundBar may be used with any surround sound receiver. All 5 primary channels are connected to the SurroundBar via a supplied 25 foot multi-channel speaker cable consisting of five pair of color coded wires in a sheathed bundle. However, any choice of speaker cable may be used. The five sets of binding post inputs on the back of the SurroundBar are color coded and clearly marked for simple, straightforward connection. The SurroundBar performs down to 80Hz and can be enjoyed without a subwoofer. However, Polk Audio recommends the use of an optional powered subwoofer for a full-range home theater experience.

The original SDA technology, developed in the early 1980's was a two channel technology developed to allow stereo reproduction of a soundstage extending beyond the actual speaker locations. SDA Surround utilizes the same basic principles but expands the technology to allow for reproduction of surround sound without the need for rear speakers. A brief listening test did show that the technology performed somewhat to claims. Additional testing would be needed to verify all of the claims. One nice feature of the technology is that it doesn't require the use of side walls to reflect sound around the user making any room a viable candidate for the speaker.

For more information, visit www.polkaudio.com .

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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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