Since I’m the first to review it on Wal-Mart, I’ll try to be detailed and informative so others can decide if this is the right soundbar (surroundbar) for them.
SOUND QUALITY/PERFORMANCE & FEATURES = 5 of 5. I have absolutely NO complaints about the audio quality of the mids and highs on the surroundbar. This reminds me of a 2.1 speaker set up, meaning the surroundbar acts like two floor-standing speakers with a subwoofer. Many will be disappointed that there’s no Optical Audio Out feature, but this is described as SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array). I interpret that as meaning it won’t replicate a true 5.1 surround system experience, but a 2.1 sound experience is still very good and much improved over the stock speakers that come with LED/LCD and Plasma HDTVs these days. I could not find an Audio Out on my tv, so I plugged the Analog Audio Cable directly into the blu-ray player which is probably better anyway since it’s directly connected to the source. Allow a few hours for the break-in period, although it sounds great right out of the box. Subwoofer is down-firing which works well if it’s a downstairs set up with hardwood floors. But for those who want to use it in their master bedroom (like I did), you’ll have to turn up the bass volume at least 75% due to carpet flooring even though I put right next to my bed. As for the sub’s power, it’s more than enough to fill a bedroom or living space of an apartment or condo. I tested it downstairs and it’s still sufficient to fill an average-sized family room in a house, but the sub feels a little underpowered for a large room. I recommend increasing the sub up to 90% max volume. The sub feels balanced, not over-powering and very convenient that it’s wireless, so it easily can be placed anywhere with a power outlet nearby. If you prefer more *thump* for a subwoofer, this IHT (Instant Home Theater) may not be for you (you may be better off buying a soundbar and sub separately). As for the surroundbar, it has no digital display (not a good idea Polk Audio), so it’s tough to tell what level volume you’re at, just gotta play it by ear until it’s loud enough for your taste. Still, this isn’t a major setback, just more of an inconvenience.
MISC. NOTES: Size is compact for a soundbar (31.75” x 4.5” x 4”). I like the matte finish (vs. glossy finish), less reflective surface is preferred since I placed it in front of the tv. Surroundbar does have some weight to it, so make sure it’s properly mounted on the wall. Otherwise, it has rubber feet and sits very close to the surface. If you prefer some height to it, use the two stands included, that’s what I’m using. It has rubber lining on the stands, so it’s secure and won’t slide off easily. Be aware that it may block the remote sensor if placed in front of the HDTV. Another minor inconvenience if not mounting the surroundbar onto the wall. Some soundbars are very short in height and don’t pose a problem in blocking the remote sensor, but the sacrifice is smaller speakers and possibly less sound range quality. I found that Polk Audio’s surroundbar to be a good combo of size, not too tall that it blocks the tv screen and not too long that it exceeds the length of the tv or would interfere with other equipment placed nearby (i.e. cablebox, blu-ray player, etc.). The equipment is securely packed in the box, no damage or missing parts when I opened it. Also, syncing the remote to the surroundbar is a chore. Sure it looks easy on the video that’s on Wal-Mart’s Polk Audio ad, but I’ve repeated it several times on my Sony blu-ray remote and have run into syncing problems (i.e. I’ll press Volume Up to sync and afterwards volume goes up fine, but it won’t turn volume down). At least there’s a compact remote control that comes with it for convenience which I’ll probably end up using.
Overall, I would rate this product “5 of 5” stars. Remember, this was meant to be an easy IHT sound system with less cords and quick set up out of the box. If it lacks the connections and sound range (this is stereo with analog audio plugs) you’re looking for or if you prefer heavy bass during music or watching movies, I’d recommend looking elsewhere. BUT…if you prefer high quality and sound balance in a compact set up with very little cords to deal with and on a budget (vs. buying speakers, receiver and subwoofer separately), then I would HIGHLY recommend Polk Audio’s Surroundbar SDA IHT. Plus, if you shop around, Wal-mart is about $50 - $100 less vs. other online stores, that’s why I bought it on their website. Plus, having a physical store nearby to return/exchange is very convenient, too. Thanks for taking the time to read this review.
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