Polk Audio has just unveiled its new Monitor XT Series line of speakers, which is like a veritable Subway-style choose-your-own-ingredients-and-budget way of building a Dolby Atmos home cinema system with proper surround sound.
Polk has been making impressive hi-fi gear for decades – it's better known as a brand in in the US than the UK – and these speakers look right in its wheelhouse of offering seriously good audio quality for affordable prices.
The Monitor XT range's key trick is how flexible the options are. You could build a complete 5.1.2 Dolby speaker system for comfortably under £800/$800… or you could create a 7.2.4 home movie masterpiece setup for around £2,000/$2,000.
The range consists of:
In my example above, for the budget 5.1.2 system, we're looking at four of the XT15 speakers, the XT30 centre, the XT12 sub and a pair of XT90 height channels. You could switch the front two speakers for the XT60 tower to really crank up the power and still come in under £1,000/$1,000.
For my 7.2.4 example, take two of the big XT60 towers at the front, the XT30 centre between them, add four XT20 speakers around you, four XT90 height speakers, and a pair of XT12 subs because… well, why not.
I have to say, these aren't exactly the best-looking speakers in the world, but they're perfectly normal for this kind of thing, and at this budget, I don't mind at all – especially if they live up to Polk's usual bang-for-buck ratio.
You can get some of the best soundbars that offer excellent quality and even surround sound speaker to similar prices to these setups, and those are, admittedly, easier to set up and use. But for sheer dynamic power and the effectiveness of true surround sound, a proper separates system can't really be beaten.
As a partner for some of the best TVs or best projectors in a room you're gearing up as a home cinema (or home theater, for our US readers), I wouldn't be surprised if the Monitor XT are 2021's mid-range speakers to beat.
As well as being designed for Dolby Atmos system, they're also Hi-Res Certified, so it's definitely worth considering the stereo pairs for a hi-fi system too.
Terylene dome tweeters claim to handle sound frequencies up to 40kHz (higher than human hearing is generally rated for), and are matched with "Dynamically Balanced" woofers, with passive bass radiators in the towers.
The powered subwoofer features a 100-watt call A/B amp, and has control of its volume, polarity and crossover, which is great for those who like to fine-tune just how much of a thump their soundtracks give them, and how the subwoofer's and speakers' frequencies interact.