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Polk Audio - 3.1-Channel Soundbar System with 8" Wireless Subwoofer and Digital Amplifier - Black-Angle_Standard

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Rating 4.4 out of 5 stars with 342 reviews

89%
would recommend to a friend

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    An astoundingly AWESOME audio solution! BUY IT!!

    Posted
    Shaunh20
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
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    The sound bar format, to me, has never been as good of a solution to home audio needs as the 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound solution with a dedicated audio receiver. In fact, I can honestly say I've always been a bit of a snob when it comes to sound bars. However I wanted a better audio setup for the bedroom and my wife strongly discouraged me from running wires all over the place so a soundbar it is. And to be quite honest we don't watch TV a lot in the bedroom so perhaps a soundbar was a better solution. Selecting Polk was fairly easy based upon reputation and reviews of previous sound bars on CNET. And if I was getting a soundbar I was determined I was going to get one of the best. When I received the Magnifi MAX it came in a huge, guitar type shaped box which was like..//wow, this thing is..big.. and indeed it is big for a soundbar in terms of width, so be aware of that. Right now we only have a 32" HDTV in our bedroom and this thing is nearly twice as wide so, for now, we are not going to mount it below the TV. I think this would fit nicely under a 40"+ TV though. So be aware if you have a smaller TV it may look a bit odd since the sound bar itself is so wide. Setup up was pretty easy, it took me about 20 minutes and most of that was simply rerouting HDMI. The system does come with some basic documentation and also comes with a mounting pattern you can use for marking the wall to make sure you can mount it correctly the first time. Getting started on the actual setup I ran the HDMI ARC from the TV to the Magnifi MAX, then ran my DirecTV receiver directly into HDMI 1 and the Xbox 360 to the HDMI 2. I then played some audio and everything worked, the subwoofer was already paired up with the soundbar out of the box. Next, I downloaded the app for the Chromecast from iTunes for my iPhone and iPad. Getting the app going was fairly straightforward but I'll admit that I was a bit disappointed to see that I was unable to cast video from my phone in Chrome to the tv considering the Magnifi MAX supports video output. However, I can say that all audio apps that I tried worked quite well. Using Spotify to cast some AC/DC Back in Black using the special music mode (which changes the soundbar from 5.1 to all-channel stereo) made quite impressed with just how loud and how perfectly clear it was. In fact, I never fully reached the full loudest because, well I've lost enough hearing from loud music...LOL If you're worried this soundbar may not be loud or clear enough, you have absolutely nothing to worry about!! Now, I will tell you that the most time spent on the setup was getting my DirecTV remote programmed to turn on the Magnifi MAX when we turned on the TV. To Polks credit the Magnifi MAX remote did control my 8 or 9 year old LG without any programming. However, getting DirecTV's remote to work correctly with the Polk was a source of some trial and error (note that is on DirecTV not Polk for not correctly updating their software for the remote). The strangest part of the setup on the DirecTV remote was that in DirecTVs software it did have a Magnifi MAX and I selected it and everything worked beautifully EXCEPT it wouldn't turn on the Magnifi MAX when I used the DirecTV remote to turn everything on. This was most certainly going to be a real issue because I knew my wife would not want to mess with turning on the TV/DirecTV and then finding another remote to turn on the Magnifi MAX, and honestly neither would I. I finally was able to get the correct combination for DirecTV by just selecting Polk Audio, "I don't know my model of soundbar", and then going through the options until I found out option #7 worked beautifully. Most of the other options did work on all aspects EXCEPT turning on the TV but option #7 did everything so option #7 it is. Be aware that when you turn on everything using your DirecTV remote you must aim it fairly straight at the Polk or it won't turn on. Now how does it sound? Well I must admit it didn't blow me away just listening to regular TV. It sounded good and I was pretty happy with it, especially the voice option to enhance voice. But at this point I was wondering if this was really worth the $500 price tag. It's not until we fired up The Orville that I became a true believer that, yes indeed this most definitely *WAS* worth the entry fee. Holy cow, the ship sound in the background fully immersed you and felt like a full on surround sound setup. And the bass was super bass. But despite so much volume and bass the soundbar provided utter clarity in dialogue. But the best was yet to come...I took it into my game room and hooked it up to my new Xbox One X on my 4K Samsung to see how it would handle 4K gaming. I really wanted to put it through the 4K paces in order to ensure the soundbar was able to not only process everything correctly but also did not introduce any lag in gaming. Setting it up here was super easy as well and I was up and running in about 10 minutes. After everything was setup I fired up some Assassins Creed Origins on the X and WOW!! The sound was amazing...it seriously rivaled my 7.1 setup that cost thousands of dollars more. And sadly, I imagine it may sound just as good if you buy the rear wireless speakers for another $149 (or just buy them for another $100 more when you buy this is what I'd strongly recommend, hey if you're already into this for $500 might as well go the full on monty). I have no clue how a sound bar can throw such directional sounding audio out from one source but it works. It's not going to do Atmos unfortunately, but I'll be darned if it doesn't do a great job of doing positional sound nonetheless. Next I fired up Fallout 4, a classic game from a while back in which I still enjoy. This game demonstrated simply incredible bass. I mean the bass is so good it makes me wonder if I don't have my home AVR bass setup correctly! When I fired a nuclear weapon at a Behemoth I really felt like I was firing a huge nuclear rocket. The bass was scary and made the game incredibly more immersive. If you don't have anything but TV sound you have no idea just how much you are missing out! After playing for a bit more I began to think "this may not be a good sound bar for an apartment" LOL. Thankfully there is a nightmode though which basically equalizes the volume so you don't get those super loud highs. Now as for the three different modes on the Magnifi Max - most of the time when you use the Magnifi MAX you will be using the Movie/TV mode and while I covered the Music mode above I will say that the Sports mode is probably something most of us will use less frequently. Basically it ups the volume for announcers and the like. I used it briefly during some NFL playoff football and didn't notice a huge difference and figured I'd just go back to the Movies/TV mode since I didn't want to forget the setting and leave it in Sports mode. The 4K video processing works great but I will say we did have one issue. While the wife and I were watching a movie on the Xbox One X using the Magnifi MAX we saw a couple of instances where the screen went black for a moment and we would see a bit of flickering. The wife said it "wasn't a big deal" but it was driving me nuts. I was thinking that the Magnifi Max was to blame and started to get worried. I thought it could be a cable issue though so I removed the HDMI cable going from the Magnifi MAX to the TV HDMI/ARC and replaced it with a newer HDMI cable which resolved the issue. Not all older HDMI cables can support 4K so be aware. Do not go and buy an expensive HDMI cable though, you can find good 4K compatible HDMI cables online for under $5! Also, using the video passthrough will not introduce issues with lag in gaming. I played for two days and never noticed any. So whats the verdict? The verdict is YES! That's what the verdict is. I have a newfound respect for soundbars after using the Polk Magnifi MAX for a full week. I can honestly say that they are nearly a replacement for a full on audio surround sound 5.1 or 7.1 system with a receiver and although not cheap at $499.99 MSRP it will still end up being thousands of dollars cheaper than going the AVR with speakers route. Not to mention the inordinate amount of time that setting up an audio-video receiver takes, running the cables, optimizing, etc. This is a serious sound solution to anyone that is looking for one and does not want to spend the time and money to setup a full surround sound setup. I'm stunned, STUNNED at just how well this soundbar did at everything I threw at it. Honestly if this supported Atmos and I didn't already have so much money wrapped up in speakers, cabling, stands, etc this would be something I'd seriously consider using in my home theater room every day. Yes, $500 or $600 isn't cheap but honestly this is a huge value for what it delivers and many folks out there are going to find it is more than enough to avoid setting up a complicated AVR and speakers, not to mention going that route will cost you at least three to four times the cost of this soundbar. It's quite simply an incredible value! Pros: very easy setup, nice remote, chromecast built-in, extremely loud, tremendous bass and high clarity, voice mode really helps enhance dialogue, delivers true 3D surround sound somehow, amazing AVR replacement Cons: no Dolby Atmos, no Chromecast video casting Recommendation: HIGHLY RECOMMEND - Definitely buy if you're looking for a super high quality, fantastic sonic solution that is worthy of replacing a dedicated surround sound system. Also, I'd strongly recommend that you buy the $599.99 version that comes with the rear wireless speakers. Because once you hear how incredibly awesome this system is you will want to buy them to complete your system. I certainly plan to.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good Sound Quality with some Minor Pitfalls

    Posted
    pillboy
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    I’m going to start off by saying that any issues I experienced with the Polk MagniFi Max sound bar were for the most part self induced. Our newest television, a 4K UHD with rear-firing built-in speakers, is a prime candidate for an audio upgrade with a sound bar/subwoofer combo like this Polk. This is especially true since I struggle quite a bit with dialog in a lot of programming and the MagniFi Max features “VoiceAdjust” technology to enhance vocal content. This TV’s primary source material is from a DirecTV Genie Mini. This TV was previously hooked up to a competitor’s voice-enhancing sound bar (without a subwoofer) via an optical audio cable and the source devices were all hooked into HDMI ports on the TV (this sound bar did not HDMI pass-through as the Polk does). The TV has one HDMI jack with ARC (audio return channel) and three other HDMI inputs through which other components were hooked up. We also have a television with a sound bar/wireless subwoofer, and another TV utilizing an audio-video receiver, so in my defense, I am not a complete buffoon when it comes to audio and video equipment. However, I am not in the nerdy-hobbyist camp either. When I first connected the Polk, I connected an HDMI cable between the ARC labeled jacks on the TV and the sound bar per the directions in the accompanying Quick Start Guide, but left the DirecTV input directly to the television. I got no audio from the Polk…until I plugged in the digital optical audio cable. Things then worked as I expected them to, but I would get an annoying high-pitched screech for a fraction of a second when I changed channels using the DirecTV remote or when dropping out of rewind or fast-forward into play on DVR recordings. I then moved the HDMI connection from the Genie Mini from the TV to one of the HDMI jacks on the back of the Polk and no more screech. I now decided to remove the digital optical connection, and I still got output from the Polk. Great! Obviously there is more to getting all of these computers (they are no longer simple TVs, speakers, and antennas) to communicate properly with each other. Next I tried to use one of the streaming apps on the TV and…no audio from the Polk. Hook up the optical cable again, and I now get sound, so I guess that needs to stay connected. I tried various other combinations of HDMI/optical hookups in my quest to find audio/video nirvana, but won’t detail them here. I did finally get rid of the screech after calling Polk’s support line and they told me I should have the TV’s digital output set to “PCM” rather than “DD”…see, self-induced issue. This is kind of like the Cliff Notes version, and I struggled with the set-up longer than I care to admit. The manual that comes with the MagniFi Max is labeled “Quick Start Guide”, but is about a quarter of an inch thick booklet. It turns out only 20 pages of 95 are in English. Off to Polk’s website in search of a full User Guide, but the only support that currently appears for this product is a downloadable “info sheet” which is just an electronic advertising brochure. To be fair, Polk does offer email and phone support which I eventually used, but I am still a little disappointed with the lack of a more thorough manual for a device that has as many connections, features, and potential pitfalls for novices - and I like to think I am a little ahead of the average consumer when it comes to this kind of stuff. This sound bar system has a feature that I was not aware of existing in this kind of equipment in that it has Google Chromecast built into it. I downloaded the Google Home app onto my iPhone so that the sound bar could check for a firmware update, and for the fun of it I set up a Spotify account and streamed music through the MagniFi and I must say this part of my experience worked much smoother than setting up the TV connections. Did the sound quality match my dedicated 2-channel stereo system, no it didn’t, but the Polk is a big improvement over any portable Bluetooth speaker I have ever used with my phone and it should be a great feature for anyone looking to integrate their entertainment systems as much as possible. The wireless connection that automatically happens between the sound bar and the subwoofer has worked flawlessly, no matter how many times I interrupted the power supply to make changes in the sound bar to TV connections. Build quality of both components is top notch, with fit and finish befitting this price point. My old eyes would have preferred a little more contrast with the button markings on the remote and on the sound bar - the gold on black background, tiny print could easily be improved upon. The sound bar communicates visually to you through a series of colored LEDs on the front of it (it does not offer any on-screen graphics). They are kind of cryptic at first but eventually you find yourself referring less and less to the manual. Polk describes the sound bar as “low profile” so it doesn’t block the TV’s remote sensor, but by the same token this keeps the mid-range drivers to a relatively small size. The sound bar is 43 inches wide and this will make it hard to fit between the feet of smaller televisions that don’t use a central pedestal base. It would have been nice if Polk would have included some optional feet for the sound bar to raise it 1 to 1.5 inches so that television stands/feet could pass under it, especially since the bottom of it is not completely flat which makes it a little difficult to improvise elevating it slightly. The sound quality of the MagniFi Max is vastly superior to the built-in speakers of most any current-era flat screen television. Anyone considering a sound bar purchase really should consider a system with a subwoofer to get maximum enjoyment from their television and this Polk will not disappoint on overall sound enhancement and performance. People with issues of hearing dialog on the television will find this sound bar especially beneficial as I did. To cut down on remote control clutter, the sound bar is able to learn commands of your other remotes such as volume up/down and mute so that you can hide away the Polk remote. This programming worked flawlessly by following the instructions in the manual. Besides the remote, the MagniFi Max comes with wall mount brackets, and all of the cabling you may need to integrate it into your current system without having to buy any additional parts or accessories. The only reason I am not giving this product a full five stars is because the User Guide could have been more thorough regarding features and connectivity thus making set-up a little less painful.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Beautiful Unit, Powerful Speakers, Superb Sound

    Posted
    JimC
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    First, the bottom line: the Polk Audio Magnifi Max is by far the best 3.1 sound bar in its price range. Its combination of features, sound quality, aesthetics and power is without match. When you invest in a great TV, no matter the brand, you are really buying just a beautiful visual delivery system. The speakers for even the most expensive flat screen televisions are just not comparable to the display. And yet much of the immersive experience of a memorable movie or exciting sporting event comes from that rich sound rolling over and around you. The solution is to add a nice supplemental sound bar to your TV to replace those pitiful little speakers built in to it. That sound bar should extend the range of the speakers and deliver deep bass which the built-in speakers just cannot produce. There are many sound bars available and they tend to fall into three categories – budget units (a couple of hundred dollars), mid-range systems (four to eight hundred dollars) and ultra-deluxe equipment (well over a thousand dollars.) How do you decide? Well, a good rule of thumb is to spend at least half of what you spent on the TV and ideally, two-thirds or more of the cost of the TV. The next issue is what kind of system to buy (2.0, 2.1, 3.1, 5.1 or 7.1) Those numbers indicate how many channels of stereo are created. 2.0 is traditional stereo, 2.1 adds a separate sub-woofer, 3.1 adds a center channel, 5.1 includes rear speakers for better surround sound effects. Finally, 7.1 adds two speakers on the left and right and positioned about where the listener sits. For most video sources 3.1 or 5.1 is probably the best choice. 7.1 systems have the problem of where to put the side speakers and most movies are encoded for 5.1 sound. Sorry for the long lecture, but to really appreciate the Polk Audio system you need to understand all of the above. Included in the box are a massive 8” wireless sub-woofer, the sound bar itself, power cords for the sound bar and sub-woofer, a sophisticated remote control, an HDMI cable, a stereo headphone cable, an optical audio cable, a pair of wall brackets for the sound bar (with a template for accurate positioning) and a complete instruction/set-up book. All are very carefully packed so don’t worry about opening up the box and finding damaged equipment. Besides the cardboard packing material all important components are in very nice cloth bags for added protection. The specifications on this equipment are outstanding. The sub-woofer has a down-firing 8” speaker driven by a powerful 160 watt amplifier. It is 14.6 inches square, 12.2 inches tall and weighs 13.5 pounds. The sound bar has a total of seven speakers, four 3”oval full-range drivers, two ¾” round tweeters and one 1” round mid-range driver. It is 43” wide by 2.1” tall by 3.8” deep. It weighs 6.1 pounds. The sound bar has an impressive 180 watts of amplification. Overall frequency response is 35 Hz to 20,000 Hz. The compact height of the sound bar (2.1”) is a real plus for those who have their TVs standing on a video table rather than wall-mounted. It should not block the screen of any such TV. Connections to and from the sound bar are accomplished with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, an optical input, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n/AC at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, three HDMI inputs (HDCP 2.2) and one HDMI with ARC. The sound bar also has Bluetooth and supports Chromecast streaming. The HDMI connections all support and pass-through 4K HDR video. Set-up is remarkably easy. Just plug in the power supply to the sound bar and plug in the sub-woofer. Next, attach an HDMI cable from the ARC output of the sound bar to the ARC HDMI input on the television. If you have other devices attached to the TV (such as a Blu-Ray player, game system, cable box, etc.) you can leave those HDMI cables as is. Or, you can route those HDMI cables through the sound bar. However, in either case the sound bar will take over the audio function from the TV as long as it is attached to the ARC port. As soon as you power on the sound bar it will connect wirelessly to the sub-woofer without any effort on your part. The sub-woofer can be located anywhere in the general vicinity of the TV because deep bass is not really directional. You can put it on the left side, right side or directly below the TV and the sound will be the same. You can now start listening to your video material through the sound bar immediately. The first thing you will notice is that deep rich bass which had been absent from your TV speakers. You can turn of the volume on the sub-woofer to floor-shaking levels if you wish! Next, the overall sound quality is superb, very clear, distortion-free with excellent midrange and highs. The remote can adjust the bass level and the center speaker output individually or you can use the preset equalizer settings for sports, music and movies. The key to the incredible sound quality is Polk’s exclusive SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array) technology which creates a true surround sound effect, and the seven top quality speakers in the sound bar. In addition, the device has Polk’s VoiceAdjust system which keeps spoken dialog intelligible by adjusting the center channel level independently. No more wondering what that character just said as the explosions were going off! It also supports both 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS Surround. For those times when you don’t want to disturb your neighbors with the pounding bass there is a Night Mode which lowers the bass and increases the VoiceAdjust level to allow you to clearly hear everything at a lower volume level. There is a wealth of added features which expand the role of the sound bar beyond its use with your TV. You can connect your phone, tablet or computer to it via Bluetooth. It has Chromecast which is used to update the firmware of the sound bar and allows voice control if you have a Google Home device. There is also an Ethernet connection. If you want to upgrade from 3.1 to 5.1 you can purchase a pair of Polk surround speakers which wirelessly link to the sound bar to further enhance your sound. The remote is already set up to control those extra speakers. One small quibble is that there is no on-screen display of the sound bar settings. A string of LED lights on the sound bar itself give the levels for base, treble and volume when changes are made but there is no on-screen display of that information. Not really a big deal but I felt I should mention it. Bottom line - the Polk Audio Magnify Max is a superb 3.1 system priced in the mid-range for sound bars which has features and performance of far more expensive systems. It is an excellent value for serious music fans who want to enrich their video experience. You will be glad you chose it!!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Powerful Bass, Clear Voice, & Great Audio

    Posted
    optimummind
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    ======= Summary ======= The Polk MagniFi Max soundbar system is powerful, flexible, easy to setup & control, and delivers great bass with full high-quality audio. ======= Design & Connectivity Options ======= The Magnifi Max is a simple, cleanly designed, and robust home audio system with its 180W 43"-long soundbar (with 5 audio drivers) and its beefy 160W wireless subwoofer that measures 14.54" high, 12.11" deep, and 14.62" wide. The system blends in well with my TV and living room furniture. I chose to place the soundbar directly in front of my TV and it looks good. Should you want to, the box comes with mounting brackets to wall-mount the soundbar. The Magnifi Max comes with plenty of connection options. Behind the soundbar, you'll see 3x 4K HDMI ports, 1x HDMI ARC port, 1x Optical, 1x Ethernet, and 1x 3.5mm AUX. It is also packed with useful wireless connectivity options such as Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wifi (2.4GHz & 5GHz) with Chromecast built-in. Setup was simple and easy since the box comes with all the necessary cables (except ethernet). My 55" 4K Samsung TV has an HDMI ARC port so I used that and it has made syncing very easy between the soundbar and my TV. The soundbar turns on and off via my TV's remote control and the TV remote can also adjust the soundbar's volume levels as well. In order to change audio profiles & customize Bass and Voice Adjust levels, however, you have to use the remote provided by Polk. With the Polk Remote, you can toggle among the Movie, Sports, & Music audio profiles. You can also change audio source between TV ARC, Optical, and AUX. There is also a Night Mode button that lowers bass and boosts Voice clarity without increasing the master volume level. I activated the Chromecast functionality of the soundbar by opening the Home app (by Google) and following its installation prompts. The MagnifFi Max was automatically detected & setup was easy-peasy. Casting music to the soundbar from apps such as Youtube Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music worked flawlessly. Polk did a great job providing many different connectivity options that all work smoothly and effortlessly. ======= Performance ======= With the MagniFi Max's 400W power output and great factory tuning by the folks at Polk, everything I played on the soundbar sounded great. Polk calls their surround sound technology "Polk SDA surround" and its benefits are clearly heard and felt when watching movies. Their marketing claims of "immersive" and "multi-dimensional" sound live up to the hype and marketing speak. Sounds arrive in different layers and are well-separated, really enhancing the viewing experience. And the Polk Voice Adjust technology does a fantastic job at boosting the clarity and volume of spoken dialogue that can sometimes get drowned out by other sounds. As for music playback, MagniFi Max does an excellent job here as well. The audio is loud & clear, bass is punchy, clean, & hard, and the vocals & the instruments come through with great coverage and fidelity. ======= So is it any good? ======= Absolutely~! With its slim height form-factor, different mounting options, multiple connectivity options, and truly great surround sound technology, the Magnifi Max deserves shelf space in everyone's home entertainment system. Both movie- and music-lovers will definitely love it.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Pricey, But Great Sound and Lots of Functionality

    Posted
    Jaron
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    Pro -Comes with HDMI, fiber optic, and 3.5mm audio cables -Three HDMI inputs, can act as A/V receiver -Strong subwoofer -True center channel makes it 3.1 -Automatic input switching -Automatic remote control compatibility -Low profile -Can be extended to 5.1 system with wireless surround speakers -4K / HDR pass through -Chromecast streaming Con -Few equalizer and sound curve options -Expensive -Wall mounting template somewhat vague -Soundbar display is confusing Overall I'm not usually a fan of premium soundbars. Bars in the $200 - $300 range generally produce good audio, if not great, are fairly affordable, and are still small enough to fit in small TV rooms. Things change around the $400 mark. Generally for that price, you can get a basic A/V receiver, speakers, and possibly a sub and get as good or even better sound than the premium soundbar. Not to mention having a regular receiver makes it easier to manage your various game consoles and home theater devices. At around $500, the MagniFi MAX runs that risk of being simply too expensive for not enough audio. However, it includes a few features that make it more desirable than most soundbars. First, it has three HDMI inputs, all with 4K and HDR signal pass through. That means it can act as a basic A/V receiver. Second, it has a meaty subwoofer to fill out the sound curve. Too many "premium" sound bars claim they include a sub in the bar itself, but you can't cheat physics. Small 4" drivers can't replace the oomph you get from an 8" or larger sub. Third, it has a dedicated center channel. Instead of just 2.1, you're getting a 3.1 system for added clarity of a voice/center channel in movies. The MagniFi also comes with all the cables you may need, including a hi-speed HDMI for 4K video, fiber optic, and a 3.5mm stereo cable. It may not seem like much but it means you don't have to hunt for a cable you may or may not already have to complete installation. Along with the HDMI, TOSLINK, and 3.5mm analog connections, the MagniFi also has Bluetooth and WiFi. To go with the WiFi, you can stream Chromecast compatible apps directly to the sound bar. The soundbar seems to automatically switch between most inputs ( at least between the wired ones ) so changing inputs on the remote isn't always necessary. This does play some havoc if you have an advanced programmable remote like a Logitech Harmony. And if you want to expand your sound down the road, Polk offers wireless surround speakers that easily pair with the Magnify to give you a 5.1 setup. On the convenience side, the MagniFi is pre-programmed with common IR remote codes. This means it will work out of the box to respond to your existing TV remote to control volume and some basic commands. It can also be mounted to the wall like most soundbars and includes the necessary brackets to do so. In the box is also a handy printed template to help you measure the mounting distance. However the template makes it seem like you need to mount the brackets exactly where it specifies. In truth, the sound bar can be adjusted horizontally more than a few inches on the brackets, so as long as the brackets are level with each other, you don't need to worry much about their placement. This also gives you flexibility to make sure the brackets are bolted to wall studs instead of just hanging in the sheet rock because you thought it was an inch or two off. The two big downsides of the MagniFi, apart from the steep price, are the limited equalizer controls and the confusing front display. The remote can adjust the subwoofer volume and the higher treble range, but that's it for customization. Otherwise you're limited to three sound curve presets ( movies, music, and talk TV and sports ). Even a three-band equalizer control would have been nice. It does include a night audio mode which helps keep the sound clear and strong while not overly loud, something I find helpful to not wake the kiddies at night. Seeing the status of the input and sound mode requires a lot of memorization. Instead of a small numeric display that would tell you volume level and other information, you only get a series of LED dots in a line. As you adjust the volume, the dots will go up and down. The volume also adjusts in very small increments, which people will either love or hate. Each input is represented by a number of lights ( HDMI 1 is one light, TOSLINK in is six lights, etc ). While I suppose this doesn't distract from the TV itself, it's also far from informational. Overall, I think this is a good product. The sound quality is strong and clear. It's not overly treble or bass heavy, but pleasantly neutral. The sub is wireless and can be placed nearly anywhere in the room. While $500 is certainly a lot of money, you're getting a great 3.1 soundbar, an A/V receiver, and a lot of wireless connectivity options that take it beyond typical home theater functionality. You might be able to duplicate the functionality and sound quality using independent receivers and speakers for $500, but the MagniFi crams all that into a small and convenient package.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Powerful, flexible soundbar with 4K HDR support

    Posted
    daytonadan
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    • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

    There's good news for all you people out there who want to downsize from that bulky receiver and big speakers you use now for TV sound and music but don't want to give up the beefy sound you get from that system. Say hello to Polk's Mangifi Max, a powerful state-of-the-art soundbar that can not only come close to matching the sound quality of much larger home theater audio systems, but handle up to three input devices -- Blu-ray player, game system and streaming media box, for example. The Magnifi Max system consists of a 43-inch long soundbar, packed with seven speakers, and a rather large wireless 8-inch subwoofer that adds an amazing amount of low-frequency punch to all sound sources. The combination produces surprisingly full, clean and balanced sound but really shines on the Dolby Digital and DTS sound tracks attached to most movies. The full size soundbar connects to your TV via an HDMI out port , much like you would see on a regular home theater receiver. And just like most of those newer receivers, the MAX supports both ARC (audio return channel) and the latest 4K HDCP 2.2 and 4K HDR passthrough. So you are good to go with almost any new device you may have, including those using Chromecast. Support for that is built in. Which means you can use the soundbar just for audio from streaming music services like Spotify. (You will need to downlaod the Google Home app on your smartphone to set this all up) Bluetooth is also built in so you can stream audio that way too from your phone or other bluetooth audio device. Overall sound quality is quite good and can be shaped using pretty decent presets for movies, sports and music. Polk claims you can get simulated surruond sound with this setup, using their own patented SDA surround technology. Well sorta. It does provided a wider sound than stereo but, not surprsingly, lacks the definition of a real surround sound setup with discrete rear speakers. For those who are more demanding, Polk has you covered too. It sells an optional pair of wireless rear speakers that are compatible with the Mangnifi Max. Or you can buy the entire system, complete with rear speakers in the Magnifi Max SR setup. Polk seems to have though of everything with the Magnifi Max, including a unique "voice adjust" technology, which allows users to put more emphasis on the voice frequencies, which often drop out in some surround sound tracks. That's a welcome touch. There's also a "night mode" which dials back the bass and pumps up voice. Speaking of having everything covered: All the cables you will need are included, high speed HDMI, optical and even an auxiliary cable. Almost unheard of these days. Setup should be straightforward. The subwoofer and soundbar both require AC power connections (there is a substantial mid cord brick on the soundbar connection). Plug those in, run HDMI out from the soundbar to the TV and plug in any HDMI devices into the HDMI ports on the soundbar. (There are optical and aux ports too if you want to go that route for the sound.) Initially, the HDMI connection produced only silence and no picture on my LG TV. After some reserach I discovered I had to go through an obscure "SimpLink" setup first before the TV would recognize my Fire TV box running through the soundbar. This apparently is necessary on LG sets that support ARC and use external speakers. Once I sorted all that out, everything worked fine. One nice feature of the Max is that the IR receiver used in the soundbar is preprogrammed to work with most LG, Sony. Vizio and Samsung TV remotes. So your existing TV remote probably already controls the soundbar volume, muting, etc. But there is a dedicated remote as well, which you need for the specilized functions of the soundbar. My only real beef with the Max is the way it uses a row of tiny multicolor lights on both the front and the back of the soundbar to tell what the soundbar is doing. Its like learning a foreign language. The number and color of lights that are on at any particular moment and whether they are blinking or not tell you something, you just aren't likely to know what it is. The printed instruction manual (amazing but true) does explain it but you aren't like to remember it all. How about an LED readout in plain English? Or easily recognized logos that light up. Not too much to ask at this price point and in fact is common on soundbars cost a third as much as this one. But thats a minor quibble. All in all, this is a very good alternative to using a receiver and a bunch of big speakers. It may not be able to match the best big speaker systems out there but sounds pretty darn good and is worth serious consideration.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Poor frequency balance and Bluetooth performance

    Posted
    Gerbil
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    The Polk ManiFi MAX provides a great compliment of connectivity options, but its audio performance is severely lacking, and it suffers from Bluetooth interference issues. [ Pros ] - Includes a fairly comprehensive compliment of connectivity options. I consider this the greatest asset of this sound bar. - Both Dolby Digital and DTS technology are supported. - Setup was quick and easy. - Wirelessly connected subwoofer helps reduce wire clutter. - Two rear surround sound speakers can be added later if desired for the full 5.1 channel experience. [ Cons ] - Frequency balance is probably the worst among any dedicated speaker system I've heard. With full 'voice' boost, passable performance can be achieved while watching TV and movies. However, when listening to music, the high and high-middle frequencies are horribly dull--regardless of voice/bass balance--with vocals being easily drowned out, sounding distant and muted. Even when comparing this sound bar to my portable Bluetooth speaker and my smart assistant speaker--which is not a fair comparison by any stretch of the imagination (in favor of the sound bar)--I actually prefer the latter speakers and am left wondering how this sound bar could possibly sound so bad. Comparing to other audio equipment it should more reasonably be on par with was even more disparate. I brought a family member over to help compare these devices through blind testing as a reality check to make sure I wasn't somehow being overly biased, and they reached the same conclusion (with the same amount of surprise). Somewhat amusingly, I found the music mode to be the worst for listening to music (or for listening to any sound source, for that matter). - There seems to be major problems with the Bluetooth implementation. Sometimes when trying to pair a Bluetooth device, the pairing would fail, and I could not make further attempts until I turned the sound bar off and on again. Worst yet, there were major interference issues with other Bluetooth devices. For example, having a Bluetooth mouse in the general area, playing audio caused the mouse cursor to stutter horribly, and moving the mouse cursor caused the audio to stutter horribly. I tested this interaction on two different laptops, with the same outcome on both. I did not have this kind of interference problem when simultaneously using the mouse and playing audio via Bluetooth to my various other audio output devices, from the previously mentioned laptops. - It takes a fairly long time to recover from sleep mode, which is entered after some duration of no audio input. - Very loud sounds are emitted from the sound bar when devices connect to or disconnect from it via Bluetooth. - There is noticeable audio output delay, even when using the stereo audio cable, with no apparent way of disabling post-processing to help alleviate this. [ Conclusion ] The Bluetooth interference problem greatly impedes using this sound bar as a sort of sound hub for the home, and the poor frequency balance makes listening to music on this sound bar an unfortunate experience. If it were to be used primarily for watching TV and movies--and your TV supports HDMI ARC or you can adjust the video output delay to compensate for the audio output delay--then this sound bar offers a passable experience. However, there are better options available at this price point and lower.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Nicely packaged but lacking on some fine details

    Posted
    mkcar1
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    I would not replace my main 5.1 system with this but if you want to add some sound punch to a room without any current equipment - this unit with its wireless options and compact design make it worth a serious look. Also this does have the wireless sub-woofer but did NOT include the wireless back speakers. First the positives; Nicely designed and its minimal height/weight/length makes it easy to use on a TV’s pedestal and still not block the TV’s IR control. I tried with Samsung and Sony with no issues. Easy to see/read inputs/outputs on the back of the soundbar. Its height and weight make it easy to move about while setting it up. There are 3 HDMI inputs with 1 HDMI output. There is also an fiber optical in, aux in (3.5 mm) , hard wired Ethernet attachment, USB (for service only) and LED lights to indicate that sub-woofer and/or back wireless speakers are synced. It comes with pretty much everything you need to get it connected – 6 ft HDMI cable, 6 ft fiber optic cable, 6 ft 3.5 mm aux cable, sound bar power cord, sub-woofer power cable, 2 mounting brackets. The remote fits in your hand easily. You can use it to fine-tune the bass and/or voice. It also has movie/sports/music presets. It has a night feature that cuts back ambient sounds and focuses on voice. There are also controls built into the top of the soundbar that are easily accessed, depending on how you have it mounted of course. There are lights that come on the front of the soundbar when using the remote to indicate sound, bass, voice levels when pressing those buttons on the remote. These lights also indicate what input you are using as well as indicating dolby, dts, night mode, bluetooth or chromecast is on or being used. I had it all connected and ready to roll within 15 minutes – including syncing the sub-woofer (very easy, just press the sync buttons). Adding it to my to my Google Home app on my phone was pretty straight forward too. Sound is awesome. Spatial I think best describes the sound as it seems to fill the room. The sub-woofer gives it that punch in the chest boost to make your movies/games come alive. It has Chromecast capability built in and I believe it uses 2.4 or 5 Ghz wireless but I didn’t try this and instructions are not clear as to its use. Bluetooth sync was easy and sounded good using music from my phone. I did not try mounting to the wall. Negatives – at least for me ; While remote fits nicely in your hand it is not illuminated and makes it hard to find or use in dark room. No outgoing Bluetooth, aux output or headphone jack. Would have been nice to have at least one of these to be able to use (wireless) headphones as a direct option. No onscreen display so its hard to tell how much bass, voice or preset you are using as there is no indication unless you press one of the settings buttons on the remote. So EQ support is not very good. Sound bar comes on when it detects an input signal. Since there are times I don’t want to use the soundbar this is an issue. It seems this would easily be solved by just turning it off if not wanted. Augh – there is the rub. I did just that and if I changed channels or paused what I was watching and re-started it – the sound bar turned itself back on!!!!! If you are always going to use the sound bar this is a useful feature, but it is an issue for little old me. I did get around it by just unplugging the fiber optic connection – but that’s a pain. Also that wont stop it from coming on if using an HDMI input.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    An Awesome Audio Upgrade!

    Posted
    SteveL
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    Bottom Line: I would highly recommend the Polk Audio MagniFi Max for anyone looking to upgrade from their TV’s built-in speakers or from an older/inferior sound system. Pros: fantastic sound, ample connectivity options, built-in Google Chromecast, unobtrusive status lighting, very useful Voice Adjust and night modes Cons: remote buttons are too soft/squishy, might use a lot of electricity Review: Built-in TV speakers are mediocre at best. As picture quality has improved, the stock audio experience has actually gotten worse. I’ve owned various home theatre systems in the past, and the Polk Audio MagniFi Max is easily the best sounding system I’ve owned and likely one of the best soundbars on the market. All of the cables you need are in the box, and setup is easy and straightfoward. I had no issues using the HDMI passthrough, and the wireless sub connects to the bar automatically. The power light is a dim amber that is barely noticeable; the status LED lights (which convey volume, balance, and mode) are bright and easy to follow, but they completely shut off once you’re finished adjusting the settings. The top of the bar offers a set of control buttons, which is useful if you’re using it as a music speaker in your living room. Design-wise it’s sleek and unobtrusive, except the center speaker, which is labeled ‘Voice Adjust’, is encircled in silver plastic, which is a little distracting. The system offers fantastic sound, and I was particularly impressed by the balance of highs, mids, and lows. In the past, I’ve found that many systems produce good lows and highs, but the mids tend to get washed out. The system also features three preset equalizer settings that help better tune the audio. Perhaps the most useful feature, however, is Voice Adjust (the remote includes separate buttons for it), which allows you to manually adjust the volume of the dialogue. I can’t rave about this feature enough, since dialogue is a consistent problem for home theatre setups. I only have two minor issues with the system. First, the soundbar wouldn’t power on when I connected it to my power strip (all of my other devices run fine off of it). Instead, I ended up having to plug it directly into the wall to even get the AC adapter to light up. It makes me wonder how much power the bar will end up using. Second, the remote is well laid out, but the entire face of the remote is made of soft rubber that is common in remote buttons. Overall, the whole remote just feels soft/squishy to me.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Excellent sound, easy set up, big bass

    Posted
    Fasioe
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I have had a receiver with a 5.1 system for the past 10 years. Recently the receiver has been cumbersome and the subwoofer ran its course. I wanted a new modern system with no wires, Bluetooth, and that would be easy to set up and maintain. I considered a lot of options including a new receiver and subwoofer, but ultimately the cost and desire to be wireless led me this way. The soundbars are nice and offer a lot of features, but picking the right one is a task. I originally opted for the LG SK5Y cause it was on sale. It was easy to set up but lacked the punch I was used to, especially from the subwoofer. I returned it, did more research and testing, deciding for the money the Polk MagniFi Max was the best option for me. And was I ever right. First off it is packaged wonderfully and the set up took just minutes. It literally is plug and play, even the subwoofer. I hooked it up using the optical wiring to the TV and then ran hdmi from the blu-ray to the tv as well. The sound was just what was looking for. The 8” subwoofer packs a lot of power and rattled the room like my 10” subwoofer in my old system did. Here are the features I like: My tv remote works with the volume, so I don’t have to hold 2 remotes in my hand. Hooked up to my Google Home system and now I have a powerful speaker system I can tap into and can say “ok Google play my ———- playlist on the MagniFi Max” Polk has added a Voice option to boost the clarity of speaking parts when the volume is turned up. We watched Avengers: Infinity War and could hear all the dialogue even in bassy hard to hear parts. The subwoofer is great, I was worried going from a 10” to an 8”, especially after the 6.5” LG. No worries, the subwoofer does exactly what you want it to do. There are lights on the center console that let you know how loud it is, it is nice for reference as the LG offered no indication as to max/min volumes Sounds good in low and high volumes. Comes withan optical, hdmi, and 3.5 mm aux cord. Also is available for a wall mount. The design of the soundbar and subwoofer is nice and sleek. Remote allows for movie, sports, music, and night modes. They all work nicely. Value for what you get is the price of much more expensive systems.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    I really wanted to like this soundbar. :(

    Posted
    MTCowboy
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    Let me begin by saying that I am reasonably competent with tech and have used other manufacturers' sound bars in the past. Then, as now, I do not recommend them as an alternative to a full blown, AV receiver and discrete speakers solution. However, there are simply times and places where a good sound bar is the only practical solution. Polk speakers are well known and regarded in the industry and that is part of the reason that I am so surprised and disappointed with this product. Let's start with the positive - the packaging is creative and very well designed. Every item is protected not just with molded styrofoam but also with individual cloth-like coverings.The unit is very lightweight (even the subwoofer) and the low profile allows you to place the soundbar in front of your TV without blocking the screen (unless it's the SONY A1E!). The package includes a complement of cables including optical and high speed HDMI (very welcome!). A nice remote is also included. Now the bad stuff.... Setting the unit up was very difficult. The manufacturer has abdicated setup to the Google Home App which is great when it works, but a total pain when it stumbles. To be fair - Polk is not at fault for Google's app but when that is the sole tool provided for setup... well, let's just say that it was a frustrating afternoon. I did finally get the soundbar to show up in the app but there was no real way to troubleshoot the problems after that. There appears to be no way to force a firmware update. You are simply instructed to wait overnight! My first go-to was the Internet. The "support" there is virtually non-existent. The only visual cues offered on the soundbar are a group of unlabeled LEDs that indicate different things based on what you are trying to do and are virtually worthless. Specifically what problems am I having? Well, the unit doesn't always want to connect to the wireless subwoofer, it also randomly enters a sleep state and requires me to manually turn the power on. Worst of all, when connected vis HDMI it suffers from random audio dropouts. I have confirmed this with two different sources. At this point I simply ran out of patience. This product is one of what I would call an "upper mid-range" solution. It is reasonable to have some higher expectations at its price point and unfortunately it falls short. My suggestion - try another soundbar or, better yet, opt for a discrete solution!

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good quality and sound. Don't like update method.

    Posted
    sdunnin
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    My rating for this is a solid 4.5. This thing ships in a rather odd shaped box but I guess that it reduces packaging which is a worthy objective. I found the MagniFi MAX to be a very capable sound bar. I have it laying flat on TV stand in front of the TV but it does come with wall mount brackets if your installation needs are such. The Subwoofer truly was plug @ play as it automatically synced with the sound bar as soon as it was plugged in. Subwoofer is fairly good sized so you may not be able to completely hide it but it is wireless so you are free to put it wherever you want. Sound is crisp and clear. I experimented with all of the different modes (music, movie, sport) and notice that it does seem to enhance each type of program somewhat by changing level of bass, dialogue and direction of output. Night mode is also a really cool feature that turns down the bass and optimizes output for lower volume levels which is handy for not angering your sleeping spouse :-P. You can also control levels of bass and voice frequencies to tailor it to your liking. My particular setup used both the supplied HDMI and Optical cables as my TV did not have the HDMI audio return channel (ARC). This worked great and the TV did support CEC so I am able to control the volume level with the TV remote without having to program the soundbar to learn the TV's IR. The soundbar also supports a number of pre-loaded IR codes as well if there is no CEC support. The one thing that I really did not like was the fact that you have to rely on Google Home on a mobile device to setup wifi and download updates. Since there already was a connection from the soundbar to TV via HDMI I would have rather seen the setup on the TV. Being that I do not use that app for anything else it is yet another one that I have to install for a single and rarely used purpose. Having Apple devices I think may limit the usability of the built in Chromecast as well. Being that as it is there was only app I use that was even compatible to stream (Tune-In Radio) via the Home app on my Ipad. Others that I stream with (Amazon, SiriusXM) had no capability to stream in this manner. If you already utilize Chromecast or have Android devices this might be more usable than it was for me. I was able to connect to the MagniFi MAX via Bluetooth with no problems and found that connection to work quite well making it the better option for me anyway. I also wish the power indicator light was a little bit brighter as it was sometimes hard to tell if it was turned on or not. My overall impression was that it is a very good looking and sounding bar, easy to setup, with nice features and a good looking remote. If it wasn't for the lock-in to Google Home for receiving updates I would have given it a 5.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Really Good with Some Draw Backs

    Posted
    kbdrigg
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I've had this system at the top of my list waiting for it to come out since November. Polk went all out with ease of set up and beauty from the box to the soundbar to the bass the even the remote. It is absolutely a beautiful system including possibly the easiest/best remote I have ever used. The Voice Clarity system they have to turn up voice works pretty well. It made it a little easier to hear people in very loud scenes that I'm not even sure the were supposed to be heard like people mumbling before jumping out of a plane for example. The system is very powerful for the Wattage. At 50%, I had to practically scream at someone in the room with me to get them to hear me. For it's price range and even some bars above it, the sound quality was really, really good overall. I really wanted to like it, but there were somethings that unfortunately made me return it for another. The Voice Adjust system states in the guide to work with Movies, Sports, TV Shows, but does not mention music. I listened to some instrumentals and heavy vocal songs and thought the soundbar handled well, but then my roommate put on some very mixed music/instrument heavy like Alabama Shakes, and the soundbar did not preform well. The voice was very overshadowed by the instruments. We checked it against another soundbar and a Harman Kardon portable speaker, and those two didn't have this issue. Even with the voice featured turned up, the singers sounded as if they were back stage as my roommate put it. I wasn't planning on listening to a lot of music on it, so I may could have got past that. There may be an update in the future to patch the Voice system to better perform with music (which should be possible with the WiFi chromecast built-in, but can't verify that it is possible). However, while testing a scene in Band of Brothers at about 50% (although that is very loud, but in theory no where near capacity), there was a significant amount of static in the speakers. Although I may never would have used the volume at that level, it did concern me. Ultimately, I choose the 3.1 JBL in the same price range, I found it to have better sound on my movies and music. However, to get that I had to give up looks and extra features. So if you want a soundbar system in this price range that has chromecast built-in that sounds good and looks incredible and has the ability to go 5.1 with added rear speakers, I'm not sure you can get a better system in this price range. But if you are not hinging on chromecast and/or looks or are planning to invest to go to 5.1 in the future, then I would consider some other respectable audio companies before you buy.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Excellent SoundBar that's Surround Upgrade Capable

    Posted