Sound outside: Polk's Atrium speakers rock the great outdoors

Polk Audio's Atrium Sat30 and Sub10 are a step up from typical outdoor 'rock' speakers.

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

I'm a city boy, so I don't relate to the "outdoor" speaker category all that well, but I certainly acknowledge the need for such things. For me outdoor audio is limited to my iPod and whatever headphones I'm reviewing. Geoffrey Morrison over at Home Entertainment magazine sees the bigger picture so he reviewed the Polk Audio Atrium Sat30 satellite ($150 each) and Atrium Sub10 subwoofer ($300), and came away pretty impressed by what he heard.

It's a plus that Polk managed to avoid the usual styling gimmicks that most outdoor sound systems rely on, so instead of bland white boxes, rocks, and tree stumps, the Polk satellites look like lighting fixtures; the sub resembles a planter.

Polk Audio Atrium Sat30 satellite and Atrium Sub10 subwoofer
Polk Audio

The speakers feature a 3.5-inch "Dynamic Balance Composite Cone" midrange driver, mated to a 0.75-inch "Dynamic Balance Polyurethane Tweeter." Frequency response is 100 Hertz to 22 kHz. Polk claims Atrium designs were tested at temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Fahrenheit up to 185 F. So even if the weather vacillates, the Atriums won't let you down.

The Sub10 sports has, you guessed it, a 10-inch woofer, which Polk's marketing crew dubbed a "Dynamic Balance Composite Driver." Hype aside, the woofer boasts something a little unusual: dual voice coils. These dual coils are powered by separate connections to your receiver/amp, so please understand, the Sub10 isn't a powered sub.

Morrison installed the sats on a joist in a semi-enclosed patio up near his roof. The sub was in a corner in the same area. He found the sat's tweeter was "...impressively good, delivering detailed highs without sounding harsh or gritty, which is what I've heard in many outdoor speakers."

Morrison also liked the sub: "Bass is good, though it benefited/[was]harmed by placement. I placed the unit in the corner, which gave a nice boost to the bass, though it was almost too much. At least, standing in the patio area it was. Out further in the yard, it blended better with the sats."

The Sat30 and Sub10 are part of Polk's Series Outdoor/Indoor Loudspeaker line.