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Polk Aiming To Hold On To Step-up Customers, Expand Base

NEW YORK — In its biggest product launch in 1 1/2 years, Polk Audio introduced 13 products here during the Home Entertainment 2001 show with the twin aims of holding onto Polk customers who want to step up and attracting customers who don’t normally shop for speaker separates.

A new logo replaced the company’s 28-year-old logo, updated to reflect the company’s desire to “design and produce more advanced speakers and audio products,” said chairman and co-founder Matthew Polk.

As part of that mission, the company introduced its first LSi series of step-up speakers described by marketing manager Paul DiComo as “the most neutral, accurate loudspeakers ever offered [by Polk].”

To attract consumers who want component quality but won’t shop for components, Polk unveiled replacements for its two Digital Solution home theater electronics/speaker packages.

In its other introductions, Polk unveiled:

  • two new home theater sub/sat systems, expanding its selection to four SKUs from three.
  • three new indoor/outdoor speakers.

Additional new products will be announced in about a month, DiComo said.

Although the LSi speakers, due in November, were developed because existing customers wanted to step up and stay with Polk products, DiComo explained, another reason was to deliver the enhanced resolution and detail of DVD-Audio and SACD technologies. As a result, the company used ring radiator tweeters to deliver extended response, low distortion, and high levels of dynamics, detail and transparency, he said. For woofers, Polk used a new aerated polypropylene to suppress cone resonances as well as deliver a light rigid cone.

Of the six LSi speakers, two are bookshelf models that break new ground for Polk. Whereas the company never offered bookshelf speakers at more than $500/pair, the two new pairs are priced at a suggested $800/pair and $1040/pair.

Two towers are priced at $1,740/pair and $3,000/pair, the latter with built-in side-firing powered subwoofer. They’re accompanied by a $579 center channel a switchable bipolar/dipolar surround at $940/pair.

In launching its second-generation home theater electronics/speaker packages, Polk adds DTS decoding, six-channel analog inputs (with bass management for DVD-Audio players), shallow-depth speakers suitable for wall hanging, and a separate delete-option Polk-branded DVD-Video player packaged with universal learning remote. The prices are a suggested $2,599 and $2,999, minus $200 if the DVD player and remote are deleted.

Both models, due in July at a suggested $2,599 and $2,999, use small satellite speakers, whereas one of the first-generation models, priced at $3,699, used full-size floorstanding speakers. DiComo said consumers preferred smaller speakers.

The step-up system features larger satellites, a better tweeter, and higher power.

The systems’ shallow-depth speakers will also be part of a six-speaker package sold separately from the electronics. The two speaker packages, due in June at a suggested $1,989 and $1,499, expand the company’s six-speaker package selection to four SKUs.

The new indoor/outdoor speakers are priced at a suggested $239, $359 and $459/pair.