Reviewers say the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT's audio is crisp, clear and booming in smaller spaces with reflective surfaces, but loses its luster in larger areas. There's no way to manually fix it either, as the sound bar offers no way to tweak most audio settings. Setup's a snap, though.
Big sound for small rooms. Both professional reviewers and home users agree that the sound bar loses a lot of its punch when it's placed in a larger environment, but when it's used in a smaller room with a lot of reflective surfaces, such as a den or bedroom, the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT performs admirably, playing dialog, action scenes and musical scores with equal aplomb. The system struggles at high volumes, however, and the experts say the name is a bit of a misnomer, as the surround-sound effects are minimal at best. Some users complain that the wireless subwoofer loses its connection occasionally, as well.
Simple -- almost too simple. The Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT's biggest weakness is one of its biggest strengths, as well -- the lack of granular audio adjust options. You can only tweak the master volume and the subwoofer output, which makes setup a snap, but you can't fine-tune the sound bar's particulars to match your room's acoustic environment. The easy setup is helped by the simple wireless subwoofer and the fact that your connection options are limited; the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT only has an optical audio port and a stereo analog connection. The sleek, dark design of the sound bar is eye-catching, though.
Dolby Digital decoders and that's about it. Seriously, that's it. There aren't even DTS decoders or an HDMI port.
Highly niche. If you're looking for a sound bar with dead-simple setup and better-than-budget-priced audio, the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT rides the line between dirt-cheap and full-priced, but the lack of features and flexibility skew the value proposition somewhat.
The Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT may sound great in small rooms, but unless you're dead-set against tweaking a few audio levels on your own, it's hard to recommend the sound bar over most of its competitors. The Best Reviewed Zvox Z-Base 580 (*Est. $500) is only $50 more, while experts say budget offerings like the Yamaha YAS-101 (*Est. $250) and the Vizio VHT215 (*Est. $270) deliver perfectly acceptable audio, they don't have subwoofer signal issues and pack even more features for hundreds of dollars less -- and the Yamaha sound bar even includes an integrated subwoofer and automatic calibration feature that makes setup just as easy.
1. Home Theater Magazine
Home Theater magazine subjects the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT to a battery of hands-on tests and gives the sound bar average ratings in most categories, although Mark Fleischmann says that it sounds really good in small rooms. The simplistic controls also give Fleischmann pause, though he says it could be a positive for novice home-theater buyers.
Review: Polk SurroundBar 6000 Soundbar Speaker System, Mark Fleischmann, June 29, 2011
Andrew Robinson comes to a totally different conclusion at the end of his long critique at HomeTheaterReview.com, giving the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT 4.5 (out of 5) ratings in Performance, Value and Overall categories. Like Fleischmann, he finds that the audio compresses at high volumes, however.
Review: Polk Audio SurroundBar 6000 Instant Home Theater Reviewed, Andrew Robinson, Jan. 31, 2011
The Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT has a good overall reputation with Amazon.com users with over 100 buyers checking in. While far more give positive assessments than negative ones, several owners do complain of a spotty connection with the wireless subwoofer. Some also wish that there was an on-bar indicator that showed the volume level.
Review: Polk Audio Surroundbar IHT 6000 Instant Home Theater (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2012
The pattern of satisfaction found at Amazon.com is repeated at Crutchfield.com; three-quarters of all reviewers give the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT a 4- or 5-star rating. The handful of complaints again involve the subwoofer working erratically.
Review: Polk Audio SurroundBar 6000 Instant Home Theater, Contributors to Crutchfield.com, As of September 2012
Most of the users who bought the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT also leave a 4- or 5-star rating, with a full 83 percent saying they'd recommend the sound bar to a friend. The easy controls win a lot of praise from this mainstream crowd, but once again, subwoofer connection issues plague several.
Review: Polk Audio - SurroundBar 6000 Home Theater Speaker System, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of September 2012