June 21, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
Another day, another soundbar. OK, that’s a good thing, especially when those soundbars are coming from a company like Polk that really knows speakers.
This week Polk introduced two soundbar systems, the 9000 and 5000 Instant Home Theaters (IHT).
The $849 SurroundBar 9000 IHT (pictured below) features 45 watts to each of its eight drivers (five 2½-inch midrange drivers and three ½-inch silk dome tweeters). A separate wireless sub packs 150-watts and an 8-inch driver. Because it’s wireless, you can place it nearly anywhere in a room, up to 50 feet away from the soundbar (it still needs a power outlet).
The 9000 uses a Polk technology design called Optimized Center Array to create a more realistic center speaker experience with increased dialogue clarity, better midrange performance, improved dynamic range and off-axis response. Another technology, SDA, is designed to eliminate crosstalk between channels.
It includes two optical inputs, two analog audio inputs, but no HDMI, and will decode Dolby Digital and DTS signals.
At a little over 44 inches wide, the 9000 is designed to complement 55-inch TVs.
The $399 5000 IHT is a bit smaller at 31-inches wide. It’s matched with a 6.5 inch driver wireless subwoofer. It also includes Bluetooth for streaming music from your cellphone or tablet.
Both systems include Polk’s Digital Logic technology, which uses digital signal processing to optimize the acoustical performance.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.