By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Polk Audio continues to sharpen its focus on “solutions and applications-oriented products” with the planned launch of wireless subwoofers and a wireless speaker that reproduces two to four surround channels from a single cabinet, product manager Al Baron said.
Many of the solutions, he said, “will attract a class of customer not prepared to deal with the challenges of component audio.” One of those solutions is the $399 WRS Wireless Surround F/X, a wireless active rear surround bar that, from a single behind-the-couch chassis, delivers two to four channels of surround sound through a combination of DSP and driver placement. Surround sound is delivered wirelessly to the speaker via an included transmitter.
Another solution is the company's first wireless-ready subwoofers, which are designed to provide more placement options and dispense with unsightly speaker cables running along the floor.
In another product launch, the company is upgrading the sound quality and weather resistance of its Atrium outdoor speakers, which mount on exterior walls or under eaves. The new models also add a speed-lock mounting system that enables one-handed placement by installers on ladders.
Here's a closer look at the products:
Wireless rear surround bar: Polk is targeting second-quarter availability of what could be a first-of-its-kind surround speaker system. The active single-chassis WRS Wireless Surround F/X, when placed behind the main listening position, reproduces two to four surround channels delivered via 2.4GHz wireless transmitter, which is connected to an A/V receiver or other audio component. The $399 8-inch by 20-inch by 8-inch speaker combines active DSP and passive Controlled Dispersion Array driver placement, which bounces sound off the ceiling and sidewalls, to deliver an enveloping soundfield and directional cues. A three-position switch optimizes response for placement on the floor, on a waist-high surface, or on a higher shelf or mantle.
The speaker array in the ported cabinet consists of a downfiring 5.25-inch woofer and two 2-inch drivers, one firing to the left and up, and the other to the right and up, from angled baffles. The transmitter connects to an audio component's speaker — or line-level outputs.
Wireless-ready subwoofers: Three new wireless-ready DSW Pro Digital subwoofers can be connected wirelessly to home entertainment systems via a plug-and-play kit to enable more placement options. The company already offers a wireless sub with built-in wireless.
The wireless kit, the $119 PWSK 1, consists of a small wireless dongle that connects to the subwoofers' amplifier plate and uses the subwoofers' own power supply. An included compact wireless transmitter connects to an A/V receiver. The lit uses the wireless platform used in Polk's PSWi225 subwoofer.
The three new Polk wireless-ready subwoofers are the compact DSW PRO 440wi at $449 with 8-inch woofer and 360 watts of amplification. The DSW PRO 550wi at $559 sports 10-inch woofer and 400 watts of power, and the flagship DSW PRO 660wi at $679 features 12-inch woofer and 500 watt amplifier.
The subs set sail in the second quarter.
Atrium outdoor speakers: In upgrading its two-way Atrium outdoor series, Polk said it improved sound quality, weatherproofing and reliability while making installation easier when installers on ladders attaching them to outdoor walls or under eaves. New anodized-aluminum tweeters and molded woofers were designed for outdoor use, with the tweeters described as “immune” to the weather while delivering smooth indoor quality and broader dynamic range for outdoor use. A weather-resistant port in larger models adds efficiency and an additional 3dB of bass output.
Six models in the lineup included three sealed-enclosure models priced from $100 each to $329 each. Two ported models are priced at $399 and $499, the latter capable of being used as either a left-right speaker or a single-speaker stereo model. It features dual-voice-coil 6.5-inch woofer and two 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeters. A slider switch lets installers select single-channel or stereo mode. Sliding the switch to single-channel mode covers the second input to prevent improper hookup.
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