Polk SurroundBar 50 Sound Bar Reviewed

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Polk is a leader in the sound bar category, for good reason. While some sound bars depend on your room acoustics and dimensions, Polk's Stereo Dimension Array (SDA) Surround Technology is based more on psychoacoustics, so if your room isn't ideal acoustically, you can still get a very decent approximation of simulated surround sound. The technology manipulates sound coming from the single speaker to control how the sound arrives at your ears, allowing the image to be precisely steered and projected into the room, and therefore causing Polk's sound bars to consistently produce an immersive surround-sound image from a single speaker.

Additional Resources
� Compare the SurroundBar 50 to Polk's Surroundbar 3000.
� Read more sound bar reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com

The SuroundBar 50 is the longest sound bar in the Polk lineup at 51 inches, followed by the SurroundBar 360, the SurroundBar 40 and the SurroundBar SDA Instant Home Theater. The benefit of any sound bar is that you can mount it directly below your flat panel TV. Polk makes this easy, as the speaker weighs a mere 15 pounds and comes with an included wall mount. (Table stands are also included if you want to leave your walls unscathed.) This particular model is ideally suited for a 50-inch plasma or LCD set.
Hookup is a cinch. Just connect the supplied cable to your receiver, which combines all five channels into one wire, so you won't get confused. The speaker doesn't come with a subwoofer, so we recommend using one to boost the low-frequency energy. (Polk's SDA Instant Home Theater includes a wireless subwoofer, so check that unit out if you want one-stop shopping.)

From a performance perspective, the SurroundBar 50 pumps out five channels of audio via nine three-and-a-half-inch midrange drivers and three 0.75-inch tweeters, and does so with finesse. The 300 DVD has a nice, wide soundfield, reproducing intense sound effects with aplomb. Even with the volume up during some fight scenes, the sound bar performs like a hero. You really do feel like the surround effects are coming from speakers around the room. The audio is best when you sit directly in front of the speaker, rather than off to the side. While the virtual surround sound can't compare with the real deal, this Polk does an excellent job of trying.

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HTR Product Rating for Polk SurroundBar 50 Sound Bar

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Polk_Soundbar50.gifHigh Points

� The�PolkSurroundBar 50 offers immersive virtual surround sound that is surprisingly realistic, especially when you sit directly in front of the speaker.�
� This all-in-one package is a good space-saving solution for those who want the benefits of surround sound without all the speakers.
� Included speaker wire makes hooking up this unit to your receiver a piece of cake.

Low Points
� Move off to the sides of your listening area too drastically, and the accuracy of surround sound effects can drop off.
� The bass isn't off-the-charts low.

Polk's SurroundBar 50 is one of the better sound bars we've heard and is an excellent match for a set 50 inches or below. It costs $1,000, which, if you think about it, could buy you a complete Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box, such as Panasonic's SC-BT100. However, with the SurroundBar 50, you have the benefit of Polk Audio's many years in the audio biz and a sleek, space-saving design that looks great under any flat panel. In the end, for the price, you get a dynamic Polk sound that is a very suitable match for any larger-format HDTV, as the SurroundBar 50 is about as good a sound bar as you are going to find near its price.

Additional Resources
� Compare the SurroundBar 50 to�Polk's Surroundbar 3000.
� Read�more sound bar reviews�from HomeTheaterReview.com.
��Buy the SurroundBar 50 from Polk Audio.

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