Polk Audio Surroundbar 50

February 5, 2008 by



Polk Audio SurroundBar 50

The people from Polk first started to get into the market of sound bars in 2005. They have created a few models since and all of them were better than what most people expected. Now, it is time to review the SurroundBar 50. This system is larger in width than most sounds bars around, but it also looks better than them. The design is simplistic, without any unnecessary LED lights or screens. This is a passive system, so a secondary piece of equipment is required.

Design

This sound bar is not your average black, rectangular shaped unit. The rounded shape is unique in the world of sound bars, but it looks great. You can get the Surroundbar 50 in black or titanium and both of these options look equally attractive. The unit is quite large in width: no less than 51 inches. The rounded shape makes it easily mountable in front of your TV without blocking the view or the signal from your remote control. It is only 4.5 inches high and 5 inches deep and weighs around 15 pounds. These measurements are perfect for 50 inch screen TVs, but you can fit it along any other system as well. If you don’t want to place it in front of your TV, you can always mount it on the wall, a set up which will certainly look stylish.

The set up process is easy thanks to the included bracket. On the interior, the Surroundbar 50 contains nine midrange drivers which measure 3.5 inches each. They are accompanied by three tweeters which measure 0.75 inch each.
Most sound bars differ in size and the producer usually ads a touch of uniqueness, but the Surroundbar 50 is one of the best looking systems around. If you have a TV set which has a great design, you shouldn’t ruin it by adding an audio system which doesn’t bring anything new. The Surroundbar 50 will look great next to any flat panel TV and it will certainly grab people’s attention.

Setting up the Surroundbar 50
You will have to connect the system to an AV receiver through the included 5 channel flat cable. It is 15 foot long so if you need a longer cable, you will have to get it separately. If you don’t know how to set up the wires, you should get an amplifier because the connections will be easier to make.
As for the menu, things are relatively simple. You just have to set the left, right and center levels to 0dB and the surround channel to +3dB, as recommended in the manual. After that, you simply have to set the speaker delay to 0 and the crossover control to 100 Hertz or a little more. The first thing you will notice after starting the sound bar is the lack of a subwoofer.

The people from Polk highly recommend adding a sub to the SurroundBar 50 and you shouldn’t forget about this recommendation. This unit wasn’t built to work alone so you can’t use it without the proper equipment and expect high quality sound on all levels. The user guide should make things easier when it comes to set up, so keep it close to you.

Polk Audio SurroundBar 50

Sound quality

One of the biggest problems that sound bars have to face is different room shapes. Most systems will use the bouncing sounds of the walls technique and the result won’t be that great if you have large furniture pieces or anything but a perfectly square room. Luckily, the SurroundBar 50 is not based on this technique. It will generate surround effects directly from its speakers through the SDA surround technology. The virtual sound will be produced through signal processing and the result will be better than what you get from most audio systems. This technology was developed by Polk and it certainly brings something new to the table.

When listening to music, you will notice a clear difference between playing it from a CD and playing form a DVD or Blu-Ray. If you have most of your music on CDs, you should find a way to get it on DVDS because the quality difference can’t be neglected. All music genres will sound amazing, so you shouldn’t worry about this aspect.

If you are getting the SurroundBar 50 for movies, you won’t be disappointed either. It offers great clarity in all sorts of situations and the dialog will never sink under explosions or other ambient sounds. The surround sound is present, but like with all other systems of this kind, you won’t get the full effects. This is the limitation imposed by having a single speaker instead of 5 or 7 across your room. Those who are sited right in front of the system will hear better sound than those who are on the sides. The effects of a HD movie will be fairly good since the SurroundBar 50 offers a reasonable sound stage and high quality sound on all levels, especially if you have a subwoofer.

Pros and Cons
The best part about this system is that it will look great no matter where you place it. It is easy to set up and it will bring something new to your room. The Surroundbar 50 offers high quality sound with only a few cables and it won’t let you down in any circumstance. If you plan on sitting right in front of the speaker, you can be sure that this Polk unit can replicate the sound which you would normally get from a 5.1 channel system only.

On the downside, you will have to buy a separate subwoofer and you have to connect this passive system to your own amplifier or AV receiver. You should be aware of this before you decide to purchase the SurroundBar 50, so make sure that your budget can cover these expenses. Also, if you plan on watching a movie with a bunch of your friends, those who will be sited on the sides of your couch won’t notice the full surround effect.

Conclusion
At the recommended price of $1.000, the system should satisfy even the most opinionated customer. No matter what you expect from a sound bar, this system can offer it, as long as you combine it with the right amplifier and subwoofer. Music playback is amazing no matter how you look at it and even the most demeaning movies will sound immersive at the end of the day. The surround sound is truly impressive if you get into the sound stage and the only minor flaw is the fact that you won’t get full 360 surround at all times, which is nearly impossible with a one speaker sound system.

Buy Polk Audio SurroundBar 50 Surround System (Single Speaker, Black)
from Amazon.com Now!







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