Frequently Asked Questions

What speaker should I buy for the surround channel?

There are a few factors to consider when selecting a surround speaker. The first step is to decide where you want the speakers to be placed. Choose between on-wall, in-wall, shelf, or floor-standing. Look at the placement guidelines and select a location for the surround speakers as this will partly influence your choice.

If you’ve opted for an on-wall location, look for speakers that are easy to mount and offer mounting flexibility. Polk’s Atrium® Series speakers have built in wall mount brackets that accommodate a variety of mounting angles. The Polk F/X® Series models and most of our bookshelf models mount right to the walls with built-in keyhole slots. If there isn’t an ideal placement location, or running wires is a giant hassle then the Polk Audio F/X Wireless is a perfect choice. Just like the name implies, no muss no fuss, just provide a power source and the speaker does the rest.

In general terms the surround speaker should be as close as possible in tonal balance to your front three speakers. The better the front speakers you have, the better your surround speakers should be.

The type of surround processing you are using will affect which surround speaker will work best. If you’re building, or plan on having in the future, a Dolby Digital (AC-3) system, you’ll need a better quality speaker than if you will be using Pro Logic only. In the early days of home theater, the prevailing attitude was that the surround speakers didn’t need to be very good because the rear channel signal was not a full response signal. With discrete digital systems like Dolby Digital (AC-3) and DTS, the rear signal is full range, thereby placing greater demands on the surround speakers.

There’s a lot of talk about surround speakers with diffuse sound-field radiation, such as dipolar and bipolar type speakers. We recommend that you do not consider diffuse sound-field speakers that sell for less than $400, because the basic audio quality will suffer too much for the sake of the diffuse polar pattern feature. Under $400, get the best sounding speaker you can get which fits the location you have chosen and is easy to mount.

The Polk F/X model surround speakers offer terrific performance and the greatest degree of placement flexibility thanks to their switchable bi-pole/di-pole feature. For state of the art performance, we recommend the LSiM702F/X The F/XiA6 and F/XiA4 match the RTi and RTiA models. A very popular choice for surround channel use is the RTiA1 If you really want to push the performance envelope, add a powered subwoofer to the surround channels! For more specific surround speaker recommendations for systems with Polk front speakers, please refer to the front speaker product page.

This FAQ was last modified on July 27, 2014

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