Polk Audio’s SurroundBar 360: Ready for Prime Time
Polk Audio will soon commence shipment of its SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater, a two-piece surround system it demonstrated in prototype form at the January CES.
The system, which will retail for $1,195.95, consists of a single, 44-1/2-inch-wide multi-channel eight-driver speaker and a separate electronics console housing an upconverting DVD player, SDA signal-processing amplifier, AM/FM radio and numerous inputs.
It uses a new, active version of Polk’s proprietary SDA (Stereo Dimension Array) technology that creates a 360-degree surround field from the SurroundBar. The company’s Power Port Bass Venting system adds to the performance quotient, supplying bass with no need for an outboard subwoofer.
According to Polk Audio founder Matthew Polk, the system, nine years in planning, was designed “not to create an illusion of speakers behind you, but rather the illusion of having lots of speakers so that we cancel out the cues telling you where the speakers are.
“The room shape and size are completely agnostic,” continued Polk, at a demonstration of the system. “It doesn’t need to bounce sound off walls to work; it uses the geometry of your hearing system to do what it needs to do.”
Polk said the system is “the thought balloon customers had over their heads when they heard, ‘home theater in a box.’ Many of those systems took out the performance and left the aggravation. This is the home theater in a box of the future.” The aggravation-delete factor with this system, said Polk, is its no-brainer setup; there is only a single speaker cable and a plug that needs to be inserted into a wall outlet.
A 3-1/2-minute demo DVD that gives customers an overview of the product and uses licensed program material from films, video games and other sources has been prepared to help get the message across at the retail level, he said. Different types of displays are being readied for different retail environments and also, as an accommodation to installers, Polk is making standalone cable ends available for situations where longer cable runs are needed. “The appeal of this system for custom installers,” said Polk, “is that it lets them easily put more speakers in even more places. They like it, and have become huge supporters of the technology.”