Polk's new single-speaker surround system doesn't need a subwoofer!

Polk's new SurroundBar 360 system includes a built-in DVD player and makes enough bass on its own that it doesn't need a subwoofer.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
Matthew Polk (left) poses with The Audiophiliac. Adam Sohmer

Mr. Polk Audio himself, Matthew Polk, was in town last week at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan to demo his newest creation, the SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater ($1,200).

I reviewed Polk's SurroundBar 50 in June and liked it well enough, and while the SurroundBar 360 doesn't replace the older model it's more highly evolved. First off, it's a powered system so there's no need to buy an A/V receiver to use it. And as you might have judged by its name, the new one is a two-piece, speaker and console/DVD player system. Just add a display and you're good to go.

Oh, and one more thing--you won't have to add a subwoofer--the SurroundBar 360 makes a fair amount of bass on its own. When Polk played the system I assumed there was a sub somewhere in the hotel room, but in fact the skinny speaker produced a big, fat bass sound all by itself.

Closer listening revealed the bass wasn't truly subwoofer deep, but I imagine the SurroundBar 360's plentiful low-end will be adequate for most buyers. Bass gluttons can hookup a powered subwoofer to the SurroundBar 360.

Like the SurroundBar 50, the new speaker uses Polk's patented SDA technology to produce surround sound from the SurroundBar 360's eight drivers.

The SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater electronics console features HDMI video output and Faroudja DCDi2 upconversion technology. You can watch your S-Video or composite video sources such as your old VCR upconverted to 480p, 720p, or 1080i resolution. Yes, it would have been nice if Polk included a Blu-ray player, maybe next year. The speaker should be in stores sometime in September.