The Polk Soundbar SDA Instant Home Theater is a system which can increase the sound quality you get from your flat screen TV when watching movies or listening to music. The package includes a sound bar which can be placed wherever you want and a wireless subwoofer for maximum mobility.
Design The sound bar is covered in black cloth and the Polk logo plate is silver. The design is attractive as usual, but you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary. The subwoofer looks really good next to the sound bar, but you will probably have to find some other place for this 12 inch cube if you want to increase the quality of sound offered by it. This woofer measures 6.5 inches and it can reach 130W, which is reasonable for a $500 audio system.
On the top of the sound bar, you will notice a few buttons and the power indicator light. You can switch the system on and off, adjust the volume or teach the unit to recognize another remote, which is one of the most important features.
Setting up the Soundbar SDA IHT The package contains two sets of power cords, mounting brackets, the manual and the analog audio cables.
The name “Instant Home Theater” is great for describing this product; after you find a place for it, you can just start the unit and it will offer you a great sound experience. Setting up the system is easy and getting it out of the box will probably take longer than the actual set up. You just have to find a socket for the power cords and connect the system to your preferred audio device.
The Soundbar SDA IHT can learn functions from any remote control. You just have to point it at the system and tell it which control you want it to learn. You won’t get a separate remote for these controls, so you might as well take a couple of minutes and program your current remote to fit this audio system. The process is pretty straight forward and you should be able to do it even without consulting the manual.
The 2.4 GHz subwoofer will pick up the signal no matter where you place it and it won’t disappoint you in any way. The connection between this piece and the sound bar is strong and it can’t be interrupted by distance or other objects which run on the same frequency.
All in all, the entire set up process shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes from the moment you first see the system.
Sound quality The sound field created by the Soundbar SDA IHT will satisfy your needs and the presence of a subwoofer is certainly noticeable. If you get this audio system right after watching a movie or listening to music on your TV’s speakers, you will be amazed by the result. The difference between TV speakers and this sound bar is truly unbelievable and each concert you watch will make you fill like you are in the front row. HD movies will clearly offer you a feel of surround sound and even if you won’t get the full 360 degree effect, you will still enjoy it. A good method of testing the surround capabilities of the Soundbar SDA IHT is playing a first person shooter. You will hear your enemies coming from your left or right and even from behind you. The sound will slowly wrap around you and the experience will be much more satisfying. If you don’t feel this effect immediately, you should find the sweet spot because this system won’t offer the uniform quality you usually get from 5.1 channel systems.
Pros and cons The system is really easy to set up and anyone can do it in a matter of minutes. The design of each piece is attractive and it will look great no matter where you place it. You will get extra mobility thanks to the wireless subwoofer and the connection between this piece and the sound bar is very strong.
The main problem with this system is the lack of a remote. This won’t bother you if you already have one for your TV set, but there are some people out there who will need to go out and purchase a universal remote for this system.
Conclusion At the end of the day, $500 is a cheap price for the Soundbar SDA IHT. This system won’t disappoint you when it comes to audio quality and the included subwoofer is something you don’t usually get from such a cheap audio system. The unit is recommended to those who plan on using it for a little bit of everything: music, movies and games. If you want to focus your attention on one particular aspect, you should buy a system which works perfect in that domain.