Polk Audio SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater

October 15, 2008 by



Sony HT-CT100 Soundbar

 

For years, the only solution for improving the sound quality coming from your flat TV was getting a large 5.1 surround system which usually damaged the design of the room. You can’t add that many speakers without feeling a little claustrophobic. Plus, you will always have to deal with tons of wires. Luckily, there is an alternative: the Polk 360 Surround Bar. This new type of sound system can be fitted above or beneath your flat panel TV and it will look great. You can also mount in on your wall in just a few minutes.

Besides taking almost no space, you will receive high quality surround sound once you start using it. When Surround Bar systems first appeared, people used to avoid them because the sound quality wasn’t amazing and you had to buy an external receiver for the perfect experience. Now, the situation is different and the Polk 360 Surround Bar has solved all of these problems. With the Polk 360 Surround Bar, you will get virtual surround sound, but you can easily find a place for it and the great design of the system will always look attractive.

Some people might avoid this sound bar because it doesn’t come with a separate subwoofer. However, such an addition would have increased the price of the system without adding much to the sound quality. If you don’t plan on throwing a huge outdoor party, these speakers can easily offer you a great experience, even without the subwoofer. Those who want to spend thousands of dollars on the ultimate surround sound experience should probably start searching for the proper 5.1 or 7.1 channel system, but if you want to get a amazing audio set that does take too much room and comes with a DVD console, you should learn more about the Polk 360 surround bar.

The company has been around since 1972 and even if it hasn’t gained worldwide recognition, they know their way around creating sound systems and you can be sure that the quality of the Polk 360 is not questionable.

Some people might be reluctant to buying this system because of the hefty price tag: $1195. However, those who can afford it will certainly get their moneys’ worth.

Polk Audio Surroundbar 360

The Technology behind the POLK 360 Sound Bar
The people from Polk are not beginners when it comes to audio systems. In fact, the Polk 360 Surround Bar couldn’t be here without the Stereo Dimensional Array surround technology. This feature was developed for a previous model and it was drastically modified and improved in the last few years. Now, you can be sure that you will get the highest quality possible from this version of the sound bar.

The Stereo Dimensional Array system creates the illusion of surround sound by harvesting the power of eight drivers. The advantage of the Surround Bar 360 is that it can capture signal from its own DVD player or from other players. The console comes with all the inputs and outputs you need, you just need to find the right cables.

Setting up the POLK 360 Sound Bar
The surround bar has to be connected to the DVD console through a 15 food cable. Besides that, you will have to plug in a power cord, some speaker wires and a video signal cable. An important detail that everyone should know before buying any audio system is its size. In this case, we are talking about a 44 and half inches wide Sound Bar. It is 4 1/8 inches high and 4 7/8 inches deep. A good part about it is that you can even mount it on a wall thanks to its weight of only 12 pounds. If you want to place it near your TV set, you can put it on top of it or in front of it. You will also have to figure out what to do with the DVD console. It is 16 and a half inches wide, 3 3/16 inches high and 11 and a half inches deep. You shouldn’t have any problems finding the right place for this piece of equipment.

You won’t face a lot of problems when setting up the Polk 360 Surround Bar. In fact, you just have to take a look at the manual and plug in a couple of wires. Even if you decide to mount the system on a wall, it won’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes. Most audio system manufacturers claim that their products are easy to install, but this one actually is. After you plug in a couple of wires, the default settings don’t have to be tampered with at all, expect if you are looking for something in particular.

There are many inputs, outputs and ports on the back of the console: 3 RCA audio inputs (TV, AUXI and CBL/SAD), 3 optical inputs, one COAX digital input, AM/FM antenna connectors, 2 composite and 2 S-video inputs and for outputs you will notice composite, component video, S-video, a subwoofer output and HDMI. You can also add your USB flash drive to the USB port. However, you can only use the flash drive for pictures and only if it has a capacity of 1 GB or less. Besides, you can’t add more than 100 files which might be a problem for some. The only thing missing is the HDMI input. This is one of the biggest problems that the system has and some people will certainly miss it. You will receive the FM antenna with the system.

Polk Audio Soundbar 360

Sound Quality
The Polk Surround Bar 360 was close to getting the Best of CES award at the Consumers Electronics Show in 2009 so you can be sure that the sound quality will be top of the line. The system contains eight 2 and a half inch drivers. Four of these drivers are situated on each side of the surround bar and the distance between these two sets is of 18 inches.

If you are watching a full HD movie, you will immediately notice that the Polk 360 Surround Bar is indeed a surround system. Even in a somewhat large room, you will hear certain ambient noises from your right, left and even from behind you. This is a great achievement for any system which doesn’t come with 5 speakers. Looking at a single speaker and hearing sound from all directions is not something that seems possible, but apparently it is. You won’t have to struggle to notice the surround sound because the sound bar offers it without even trying. Moving across the room won’t lower the quality of the sound. No matter how big is your room or where you want to sit, you will enjoy a great sound experience. However, the sound can be different from point to point, but not necessarily in a bad way. You can move the system around or change your position and see if you like the result. The outcome may differ depending on the acoustics of your room.

A good part about the experience is that you won’t miss the subwoofer. The sound is clear and clean and it can reach low and high notes without struggling. The console can decode Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Pro Logic II. The end result will be something very similar to what you get from a 5.1 surround system. In fact, there are many 5.1 channel systems which can’t offer the quality offered by the Polk 360 Surround bar. Until now, Polk systems used a technology which allowed great 180 degree sound. Now, you can get the full surround experience with the help of two of the 8 drivers available. They are the ones responsible for these tones and the results are surely impressive.

The engineers had to study the human head and how the position of our ears affect the way we hear. You won’t place the surround bar behind you, but it has the ability of fooling your ears and your brain into thinking that certain sounds are coming from that area.

Polk Audio Soundbar

Music
If you plan on buying the Surround Bar 360, you won’t use it for movies alone. The sound quality offered when playing music is exceptional and you have to take advantage of it. No matter what type of music you play, you will enjoy it in a whole different manner. Some of the sounds which go unnoticed when listened through regular speakers will now appear vivid and exciting. You can experiment with different genres until you see exactly what this system can offer. The Polk Surround Bar 360 won’t disappoint you in this category.

Video Quality
The default video setting is 16:9. When you start testing the DVD console, you have to pay attention to every detail. This system can display resolutions of 480p, 720p and 1080i. This means that your TV set will have to do the rest of the work and convert the 1080i to full HD (1080p).

Controls
You will receive a remote control along with the Polk 360 Surround Bar. The good part about it is that you can program a few buttons to fit your needs, but the bad part is that you will have to aim it directly to the system. If you don’t, you will get no response. You can also use this remote for your TV and satellite or cable box, but getting used to it might take a while.

You will also notice a few buttons on the top of the console. Here you will find the power switch, the source select button and the volume and eject buttons. You will certainly notice the resemblance between a piano and the buttons of this console and this type of design is surely attractive.

Conclusion
The Polk 360 Surround Bar could be your all in one system, if you don’t need a Blu-ray player. You will be able to listen to radio or play CDs and DVDs, but you won’t watch full HD movies that come on Blu-ray.

In the end, the POLK 360 Surround Bar comes with advantages and disadvantages. You can be sure that the sound quality will exceed your expectations, even without a subwoofer. The system is attractive and it can be mounted anywhere thanks to its light weight. Its design won’t go unnoticed. On the downside, you will have to settle for a simple DVD player, even if Blu-ray movies have already entered the market. The DVD console has some problems with the pause function. If you keep it on long enough, it won’t remember where to resume the movie from. Luckily, you can download a firmware upgrade and install it through the USB port. This is a simple process and it is completely free. Some of the major problems of this system can be solved by connecting a HD player through the console, maybe even your PC if you have the right graphics card. The system is definitely worth buying, especially if you can get passed the lack of a Blu-Ray player.

Buy Polk Audio SurroundBar 360° DVD Home Theater System (Black)
from Amazon.com Now!

 







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