New Polk Loudspeakers Designed for High-Resolution Multi-channel

June 15, in DVD-Audio News

HE 2003: Polk Audio has announced a loudspeaker line-up specifically designed for high-resolution audio. In a complete re-design of their CSi center channel and FXi surround loudspeakers, the new products have been specifically designed to match Polk’s new RTi Series of floor-standing and bookshelf loudspeakers and feature all-new drivers and tweeters and striking new contemporary cosmetics.

There are two new CSi center channel models and two new FXi bipole/dipole surround models. The two center channel models will be available in Black Oak and Cherry real wood veneers. This marks the first time that Polk center speakers in this price range will be offered in a choice of real wood veneers. The two FXi surround models will be offered in Black and White laminate finishes.

These new models feature the latest generation Dynamic Balance drivers and tweeters. The bass/midrange drivers used throughout the range are the same used throughout the new RTi Series “front” models and use polymer/mineral composite cones. The redesigned 1-inch tweeter is the same used in the latest generation RTi Series: a silk/polymer composite dome for smoother response and better detail than the tweeter used in previous Polk center and surround models. It features a neodymium magnet; low-viscosity Ferrofluid cooling and a finned heat sink on the back of the magnet for better power handling and reliability.

In order to meet the demands of the new high definition multi-channel music formats such as SACD and DVD-Audio, the FXi surrounds are wide bandwidth loudspeakers with excellent fundamental sound quality that matches Polk RTi front channel models. For enveloping and non-localizable surround effects the FXi models feature components mounted on opposing baffles set at a 45º angle. This arrangement provides the listener with an ideal balance of direct and indirect sound.

One baffle contains a Dynamic Balance mid/bass driver and 1” dome tweeter, identical to the components used in Polk’s RTi front and CSi center speaker models, for smooth effects panning without tonal shift. The other panel has an additional 1” dome tweeter and a switch that allows the speaker to be switched between Bipolar and Dipolar radiation patterns. This feature, pioneered by Polk Audio in 1994, enables the user to select the polar pattern that gives the best performance for the chosen room placement. A Dipolar pattern is preferable with side-wall, in-line with the listener, placement. For rear wall placement, the Bipolar setting provides better performance. The FXi3 will retail at $209.95 each, while the slightly larger FXi5 retail at $299.95 each.

The CSi center channel models are magnetically shielded to allow safe placement next to televisions or video monitors. Both models feature gold plated 5-way binding posts. The CSi5 offers dual inputs for bi-amplification or bi-wiring. Computer designed tweeter faceplates, stand-off grille and baffle-edge radii all contribute to minimizing diffraction for more open and spacious imaging. The CSi models are available in either Black Oak or Cherry real wood veneer.

The top-line CSi5 center speaker ($479.95 each) features Polk’s patented Power Port™ technology that reduces turbulence at the mouth of the port. Power Port vastly reduces “chuffing” or “port noise” and provides deeper, more powerful bass than could be achieved with conventional ported or sealed designs of comparable size. The CSi5 also It also features a second port on the front baffle, an Acoustic Resonance Control (ARC) port that is tuned to cancel internal standing waves that would ordinarily distort midrange reproduction. Patented ARC technology gives the CSi5 unusually clear, natural and detailed midrange performance.

The CSi5 uses a cascade tapered array – that is, one driver plays only bass frequencies, and the other driver covers the bass and the midrange. This technique avoids the “lobbing” effects that plague other horizontal oriented, multi-driver center speakers. The result is broad, even sound coverage for off-axis listeners. The CSi5 comes with an adjustable “kickstand” on the rear of the cabinet that allows the deep center speaker to sit securely atop TVs with shallow top surfaces. The smaller CSi3 is priced at $239.95 each.

The new center and surround speakers are designed to compliment Polk’s re-designed RTi range, also revealed at HE 2003. The two larger floor-standing models, RTi10 and RTi12, use multiple long-throw 7” woofers to combine the wide dynamic range benefits of a single large woofer with the tight, punchy, accurate bass response of small woofers. The RTi10’s dual 7” woofers have 50% more surface area than a single 8 inch woofer while the RTi12’s three 7” woofers have the same surface area as a single 12 inch. Combined with Power Port Plus, these multiple woofers deliver deep high impact bass with speed and accuracy.

The new RTi Series will be available in authorized US and Canadian retailers in October 2003 priced between $129.95 each and $769.95 each. There are five models in the range, three floor-standing, and two bookshelf, all offered in either Cherry or Black Oak real wood veneer finishes. Fit and finish is the best in Polk Audio’s history. All-MDF construction with extensive asymmetric cabinet bracing ensures resonance-free enclosures for clean and accurate sound.

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