The year was 1972. President Richard Nixon made an unprecedented eight-day visit to Communist China and was later re-elected by a landslide. Police apprehended five men attempting to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex. Eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich were killed after eight Arab terrorists invaded the Olympic Village.
That same year, Johns Hopkins University graduates Matthew Polk and George Klopfer began building speakers in Baltimore, Maryland under the Polk Audio brand name. Their goal was to develop high quality two-channel speakers with improved parts for better sound characteristics. In those days, terms like home theater and surround sound had not been made up yet and the long-playing record (LP) was king. A typical stereo had large floor standing loudspeakers that took up nearly half the room.
Fast-forward 33 years. Polk Audio has grown to become one of the most recognized brand names for speakers worldwide. Polk Audio continues to develop a broad range of high quality loudspeakers that fit different lifestyles for both home and car applications. For home use, Polk has engineered numerous specialized lines of speakers including small satellite enclosures to complement the current flat panel display market. One of their newest systems, the RM6900 speaker ensemble, is a complete on-wall home theater speaker system with five matching satellites and a powered subwoofer.
The five satellite speakers in the RM6900 set have titanium extruded aluminum enclosures with a rounded back design. The rounded back not only stiffens the enclosure, but also breaks up standing waves for better sound quality. The silver-colored enclosures match many of today's plasma and LCD televisions and can be wall mounted to blend in with the surroundings. The mounting brackets included for each satellite have hidden wire channels and allow for 15 degrees of lateral movement. If you seek more adjustment positioning, the speakers, the center channel and satellites have threaded inserts on the back to use optional omni mount brackets, so the speakers can be fully aimed where desired. Additionally, two small shelf stands are included for the front left and right speakers for tabletop or bookshelf placement. Optional floor stands (SA-2 stands) are also available from Polk for the RM6900 system.
The left and right front satellites and center channel have two 3.5-inch mineral-filled polymer midrange drivers and a center-mounted .75-inch silk/polymer composite dome tweeter. The surface area of the dual 3.5-inch cones is roughly the same piston area as a 5.25-inch driver. The advantage of using the smaller drivers is a better force-to-mass ratio and a compact design for a smaller enclosure. The rear satellites have identical 3.5-inch midrange driver and .75-inch dome tweeter.
The satellites all share a feature Polk calls "Power Port". Simply put, there is a small port in each cabinet for air to enter and exit, which enhances low frequency efficiency and provides approximately two decibels of gain. Because there is inherent air turbulence flaws with most ported enclosures, Polk created a molded diffuser cone into the top of the grille frame to reduce unwanted port noise, often called "chuffing". The Power Port vents are nicely hidden under the wrap-around speaker grilles and diminish air turbulence by acting like a long, flared port.
The RM6900 system incorporates a thin subwoofer enclosure made from medium density fiberboard that can be tucked away out of sight. Where most subs have a front-firing or down-firing driver, Polk placed the 12-inch subwoofer and slot-loaded port on the side of the enclosure for a smaller profile. The slot-loaded port is wide to minimize port noise and the enclosure is internally braced to minimize resonance. Like the satellites, the design of the sub creates an unobtrusive look that blends nicely with home furnishings.
Click to Page 2 for Installation, Listening, and the Final Take.