Polk Goes Deep with New Subwoofer Technologies

Company debuts slew of new speaker products at CES.

By Jason Knott
January 09, 2007
To say that the engineers at Polk Audio have been busy this past fall would be an understatement. The company debuted at CES (booth 21240 in the South Hall) a slew of new products and two new patented subwoofer technologies designed to automatically adjust for room acoustics and placement conditions.

The first technology, the Polk Room Optimizer (PRO) system, makes room equalization easy using four simple preset pushbuttons on the remote control for its new subwoofers that automatically correct for room boundary effects. Based on where the integrator (or homeowner later) places the subwoofer in the room, he would select one of the four most typical placements: "long wall," "short wall," "in corner," or "mid-room." The EQ presets introduce frequency equalization to correct for boundary effects on the bass signal.

The second technology is called Distortion Suppression Technology, which is designed to maximize output and dynamic range while reducing distortion. This technology is designed to provide zero latency and optimize the dynamic output of the subwoofer by generating a corresponding signal that counteracts subwoofer distortion.

These technologies are among the highlights of Polk's CES product announcements, which include:

  • A new line of high-performance subwoofers (DSW PRO Series),
  • A new line of compact powered subwoofers (DSW MicroPRO Series),
  • New center-channel (CSi) and surround speakers (FSi),
  • Polk's first-ever in-wall subwoofer (CSW155),
  • Polk's first dedicated center- (LCi-C) and surround-channel (LC65FX and LC80FX) models for its popular LCi Series of in-walls,
  • And, last but not least, a redesign of Polk's RTi Series of freestanding box speakers.

Full CES Product Details:

DSW MicroPRO: The four DSW MicroPRO Series models join six other new powered subwoofers from Polk Audio being introduced at CES 2007. The four DSW MicroPRO models range in price from $950 to $1780 and feature proprietary digital engines and the Polk Room Optimizer (PRO) and Automatic Polk Room Optimizer (AutoPRO) systems.

Polk's consumer research confirms what CE retailers have known for years—consumers want small subwoofers with the performance of big units. All DSW MicroPRO models are compact designs, considerably smaller than traditional subwoofers of similar performance. Special attention was given to the cosmetics of the active drivers, allowing a grille-free design. Three of the models sport high gloss black lacquer finish. The DSW1000 is finished in satin black and may be painted to match room decor.

All four models are powered by a 1200-watt (continuous) digital BASH amplifier with an integrated proprietary Digital Signal Processing engine.

DSW Pro: This is Polk's mid-line subwoofer line ranging in price from $480 to $700 and using the PRO technology. The DSW PRO models replace Polk's current PSW350, PSW450 and PSW550 models. Like the MicroPRo Series, all DSW PRO models are powered by digital BASH amplifiers with an integrated proprietary Digital Signal Processing engine.

CSW155: This in-wall subwoofer features a 10-inch long-throw, shallow basket woofer mounted in a slot-vented enclosure. The woofer cone is a reinforced flat diaphragm driven by a Neodymium magnet. The enclosure is fabricated of MDF wood and a 1/8-inch aluminum panel on the rear. At 60-inch(L) x 13.5-inch(W) x 3.5-inch(D), the CSW155 fits in standard stud walls without any protrusion into the room. Bass frequencies are launched into the room through a supplied vent measuring 12 x 12 inches. To ease installation the CSW155 is supplied with all mounting hardware and adhesive damping strips that eliminate buzzes and rattles.

CSi and Fxi: These two center- and surround-channel speakers are specifically designed to match Polk's new RTi Series of floorstanding and bookshelf loudspeakers. These new products feature all-new drivers and tweeters and striking new contemporary cosmetics.

There are two new CSi center channel models and two new FXi bipole/dipole surround models, all of which replace existing CSi and FXi models. The two center-channel models will be available in black oak and cherry real-wood veneers. The two FXi surround models will be offered in black and white laminate finishes. The bass/midrange drivers used throughout the range are the same used throughout the new RTi A Series "front" models and use polymer/mineral composite cones. The redesigned 1-inch tweeter is the same used in the latest generation RTi Series: a silk/polymer composite dome for smoother response and better detail than the tweeter used in previous Polk center and surround models. It features a neodymium magnet, low-viscosity Ferrofluid cooling and a finned heat sink on the back of the magnet for better power handling and reliability.

LCi Series Center and Surround: The new products feature technologies used in Polk's LSi Series freestanding speakers to deliver the sound quality of stand-alone models, such as Polk's Ring Radiator tweeter. The drivers have aerated polypropylene cones, the same material used in Polk's LSi and LCi Series speakers, for detailed midrange response usually found in freestanding audiophile speakers. The LCi-C is rectangular in-wall loudspeaker with a horizontal orientation—a form factor preferred by consumers and custom integrators, according to the company.

Redesigned RTi Series: These freestanding loudspeakers occupy the "Better" position in Polk's bookshelf speaker positioning strategy. The new RTi products feature all-new drivers and tweeters and new contemporary cosmetics. The models feature "Power Port Plus," an enhancement of Polk's patented Power Port venting technology.

There are five models in the range, three floorstanding, and two bookshelf models, all offered in cherry or black oak real-wood veneer finishes. The new tapered enclosure design serves to break up internal enclosure standing wave resonance resulting in audibly clearer, more accurate midrange response, says the company.

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