Polk Atrium Sat30 and Sub10 Review Columbia SC
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Polk Atrium Sat30 and Sub10 Review
December 24, 2009 By Geoffrey Morrison
Rock Outside...without rocks
It seems like your only choices for outside speakers are bland white boxes, rocks, and tree stumps. Now I'm not dendrophobic, but even the best of these don't really look like tree stumps.
With the Sat30 and Sub10, Polk has made some speakers designed to blend a little more naturally, if less "organically."
Your first question might be, what maniac reviews outdoor speakers in December? Well, it's 66 degrees outside, which sure beats the temp in the summer, which can feel like double that. Summer is when we retreat inside.
The Sat30 is about the size of a small light fixture, which is not by accident. One of the installation options is to hang the speakers from the patio roof as if they are light fixtures. Inside is a 3.5-inch "Dynamic Balance Composite Cone" midrange. In front of that is a 0.75-inch "Dynamic Balance Polyurethane Tweeter," a layout reminiscent of car speakers. The frequency response of the satellites is a claimed 100 Hz to 22 kHz. These sats are "weatherproof." Polk says their design was tested down to -40 F and up to 185 F. It's never reached that hot here in the summer, as far as I know.
The Sub10 does a pretty convincing job of looking like a ceramic planter, or at least the base of a ceramic planter. Again, by design. Inside you've got a 10-inch "Dynamic Balance Composite Driver" with dual voice coils. These dual coils are powered by separate connections to your receiver/amp.
Because the Sub10 is passive, you'll be hooking it up to the same speaker terminals as the Sat30s, that is unless you have lots of extra channels on your amp. This results in a 4 ohm load on the receiver/amp (each sat and each "channel" of the sub are 8 ohms). This shouldn't be a problem for pretty much any modern amp or receiver, though you should read your instruction manual to be sure.
Installation was easy, regardless of how you want to install them. I chose the most time consuming; actually mounting them to some joists in my covered patio. The speakers came with a template for the pilot holes, and there were only two screws per satellite.
Alternately, as I mentioned earlier, you can hang the sats like the light fixtures their design mimics. Or, you can attach them to the included spike and stick them in your yard. They're also paintable.
What makes reviewing outdoor speakers of any variety a challenge is that the sound is going to vary depending on how and where you install them. For example, if you choose to hang them, the high frequencies are going to suffer if you're not sitting pretty close to under them. If you mount them to a wall, you may get a bump in the upper-bass frequencies (though often this is a benefit given the wide open spaces they'll be trying to fill).
I installed them on a joist in a semi-enclosed patio up near the roof. The sub was in a corner in the same area. I chose to...