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 users agree that the Polk SurroundBar 6000 IHT 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 sound bar performs admirably, playing dialogue, 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 much in the way of audio adjustment 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. Keep in mind that even the Dolby decoders are of limited value; most TVs can't pass 5.1-channel audio fed to their HDMI inputs, and the limited connections will preclude connecting components such as Blu-ray players directly to the sound bar.
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.
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 that 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 160 buyers checking in, far more give positive assessments than negative ones – though 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 August 2013
The pattern of satisfaction found at Amazon.com is repeated at Crutchfield.com; most owners 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 August 2013