The frustrating draw back to soundbars is that extremely couple entry-level selections give you an uncomplicated way to improve to a greater speaker technique. Shell out a couple hundred pounds for a standard bar now, and you will be trapped purchasing a brand name new middle speaker if you want to enhance to a whole encompass sound system—with focused encompass speakers and a subwoofer—down the line.

Which is why I’ve develop into a fan of the new Polk Audio React line of residence theater speakers. The most important Alexa-enabled bar, subwoofer, and encompass speakers are just about every offered separately, so you can commence with the bar, then acquire the other parts to fill out your complete 5.1 system at your leisure.

You could buy an complete 5.1 soundbar process as a bundle for considerably less dollars total than what you’d expend assembling a Polk React technique piece by piece, but you’d have to drop all the money at as soon as. With every part of the Polk React costing just a couple hundred bucks, and purchasable independently, it is an reasonably priced path to wonderful surround audio for those people with lighter wallets.

Alexa Inside

When you unbox the primary Respond bar you are going to immediately notice the round Alexa device developed into the center of the leading of the bar. It looks as while it was melted into the main speaker housing. The compact plastic circle features the very same controls you will figure out from other Alexa products, like the ability to mute the microphone if you don’t want to use Amazon’s clever assistant for everything.

I spent the broad vast majority of my time interacting with this cloth-lined rectangle by means of my TV’s possess remote, thanks to Polk’s wise inclusion of an HDMI ARC port that allows me use my TV’s distant to adjust the soundbar’s volume.

Photograph: Polk

That said, it was practical to use Alexa to set swift kitchen timers and other things I usually do with a wise speaker or my cellular phone, ideal on the soundbar. You hardly ever miss out on a cookie-baking timer if your Television present is literally interrupted by your soundbar’s chime.

In addition to the soundbar, Polk Audio despatched me the rest of the React surround-sound system to exam. Set up of the powered surround speakers and wireless subwoofer was a breeze, many thanks to quick guidance from Polk for pairing process, while you will want to make certain you have outlets (or extension cords, in my scenario) that achieve inside about 6 feet of every single speaker. The integrated electric power cables are extended than most but a bit quick for larger rooms.

The entire black program is classy and nondescript adequate that it easily receives lost in most spaces, which is either a reward or a downside, based on your aesthetic feeling. Individually, I like equipment like this to mix into the background.

Expanding With each other

I examined the soundbar initial on its personal and later included the subwoofer and surrounds, to simulate how I come to feel most people really should invest in this system. Even on its have, I was impressed with the 34-inch bar’s skill to job warm, bassy seem through my listening room. The audio was fuller and richer than I’d assume from a bar this sizing, and that made it effectively suited to stand-by itself listening.