Polk Reserve 5.0.2: energy and vitality for immersive 3D surround sound

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The Polk Reserve 5.0.2 System home theater speaker pack includes the Polk R600 floorstanding speakers, Polk R100 compact speakers used as surround speakers, Polk R400C center speaker and Polk R900 Atmos speakers. These speakers are all equipped with Turbine cone drivers for a natural reproduction of the mids, as well as a Hi-Res Audio certified Pinnacle tweeter. Sold for less than €3,000, will this EISA 2021-2022 award-winning speaker pack be able to effectively bring to life the action scenes of Dolby Atmos movies?

The Polk System 5.0.2 R600 home theater speaker pack is designed to reproduce movie soundtracks with precision and energy.

Packaging & accessories

The packaging of the Polk Reserve speakers in this pack is particularly well thought out to protect them as much as possible: individual fabric cover, large pieces of packing foam, and thick cardboard boxes. All speakers are delivered with their user manual. The Polk R600s come with an Allen key for removing the feet and the Polk R900s with adhesive pads to place them on top of the floorstanders without scratching them.

Presentation

Polk R600 floorstanding speaker

The Polk R600 speaker is the backbone of this set and has a slimline design accentuated by its height-adjustable feet between which the bass-reflex system can be seen. Its cabinet, which is 1.06m high, 28cm wide and 38.1cm deep, has rounded vertical edges, which softens its silhouette.

Like all of the speakers in this pack, the Polk R600 floorstanding speaker has an elegantly designed cabinet with rounded edges that soften its silhouette.

This two-way speaker has a Power Port 2.0 bass reflex enclosure that uses X-Port and Power Port technologies. It is equipped with two 6.5” Turbine cone midbass drivers and a 1” Pinnacle tweeter whose overall frequency response ranges from 43Hz to 38kHz (-3 dB). A magnetically attached fabric grille allows them to be hidden if desired. The manufacturer recommends associating this speaker, which has a sensitivity of 87.5 dB/W/m, with an amplifier whose output ranges between 25 and 200 watts and is capable of supporting a minimum impedance of 4 ohms.

The Polk R600 floorstanding speakers are mounted on feet to clear the port underneath the cabinet. The damping pads ensure that the speaker is effectively isolated from vibrations.

Polk R400C center speaker

Responsible for reproducing dialogues as well as contributing to the coherence of front effects, the Polk R400C center channel speaker features two 6.5” Turbine cone drivers that frame the Pinnacle tweeter. This speaker covers a frequency range from 48Hz to 39kHz and can handle 20 to 200W. If you decide to put it on a TV stand under the TV, make sure to check the distance between the feet of the TV: the speaker is 61.5cm long and 35cm deep (and 19.6cm high).

Thanks to its two 6.5” Turbine cone drivers and Pinnacle tweeter, the large Polk R400C center speaker delivers dialogues with confidence and subtlety.

Polk R100 bookshelf speaker

This compact two-way speaker with an X-Port bass-reflex port on the rear panel can be mounted on a wall-mount or placed on a speaker stand to achieve the ideal listening height.

Its very compact cabinet (16.6 cm wide, 32.4 cm high and 25.9 cm deep) houses a 5” Turbine driver and the 1” Pinnacle tweeter shared across the whole range.

The Polk R100 bookshelf speaker features a 5” Turbine driver and the iconic Pinnacle tweeter.

With a frequency response ranging from 58Hz to 39kHz (-3 dB) and a recommended amplifier power of 30 to 150W, this speaker is perfectly suited to reproduce surround sound effects in a living room or a dedicated home theater room.

Polk R900 Atmos and DTS:X effects speaker

The Polk R900 Atmos speaker is a two-way model equipped with a Turbine midbass driver and a Pinnacle tweeter to ensure acoustic consistency with the other speakers in the set.

Designed to reproduce the vertical sound effects of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, the Polk R900 speaker can be placed on top of the Polk R600 floorstanding speaker or wall-mounted above the latter thanks to its built-in mounting system. In the first instance, the Atmos effects are reflected from the ceiling towards the audience, in the second, they are diffused directly towards them. A switch on the back of the speaker allows you to select the operating mode, with optimized equalization of the speaker’s response curve.

Underneath the Polk R900 Dolby Atmos speaker’s terminals is a switch that allows you to select the operating mode and adjust the frequency curve accordingly.

The Polk R900 speaker has a frequency range of 70Hz to 32kHz (-3 dB) and can withstand an amplification of 45 to 100W.

Pinnacle tweeter

Each speaker in this Polk package has a Pinnacle tweeter with a ring radiator. This unique 1” tweeter has a central cone-shaped waveguide that improves high-frequency dispersion to extend the sweet spot. The rear of this driver is damped to eliminate unwanted resonance.

Exclusive to the American manufacturer, the Pinnacle tweeter demonstrates great clarity and proves invaluable in bringing detail and precision to soundtracks.

The Pinnacle tweeter delivers accurate, transparent highs with no distortion up to the highest frequencies. The characteristics of this tweeter allow the Polk speakers to be certified Hi-Res Audio, guaranteeing an accurate and very detailed sound.

Turbine cones

Also inherited from the Legend line, the Polk Reserve speakers’ midbass drivers feature a Turbine cone. This polypropylene foam injection-molded cone has a unique geometry that increases rigidity and damping without increasing mass. The Turbine cone is mounted on a flexible surround designed to maximize the throw for improved bass response.

Each speaker in the Polk Reserve pack features the proprietary Turbine cone driver to deliver a lively response and to distribute sound as widely as possible.

Power Port 2.0

The Polk R600 floorstanding speaker, Polk R400C center speaker and Polk R100 bookshelf speaker all feature a bass-reflex enclosure using proprietary PowerPort and X-Port technologies.

The PowerPort on the rear panel of the Polk R100 compact speakers and Polk R400C center speaker allows for smooth airflow, therefore eliminating flow noise.

The PowerPort fluidifies the airflow out of the cabinet to eliminate unwanted noise. X-Port technology adds optimized closed-pipe absorbers to eliminate unwanted resonance from the port and cabinet. Together, these two technologies make up the new PowerPort 2.0, which delivers smooth, clean, and well-maintained bass while retaining a high level of midrange detail.

Underneath the Polk R600 floorstanding speaker, the large port benefits from PowerPort and X-Port technologies that improve airflow and bass distribution.

Reinforced cabinets

The cabinets, bracing and internal chambers of the Polk Reserve speakers are designed to reduce standing waves and eliminate unwanted resonance. This reinforced structure is engineered to deliver clean lows and clear, uncolored mids. High fidelity sound as promised by their IMAX Enhanced certification.

Key specifications

  • Certified Hi-Res Audio and IMAX Enhanced
  • Reinforced chassis to limit distortion and vibrations
  • Pinnacle tweeter with waveguide
  • Turbine cone midbass drivers
  • Frequency response (-3 dB): 43Hz to 39kHz
  • Sensitivity: 85.5 to 87.5 dB
  • Recommended amplifier power: 25 to 200W

See all the characteristics of the Polk Reserve R600 5.0.2 System speaker pack

Listening conditions

For our review, we connected the Polk Reserve R600 5.0.2 System speakers to the Denon AVC-X6700H A/V receiver using NorStone B250 speaker wire. We also paired them with the Magnat Omega CS 12 subwoofer which was connected to the receiver’s Sub output. We used a 4K Blu-ray player to play UHD 4K Blu-rays with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio tracks, then watched movies on various streaming services (Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video) via Android TV built into the TCL 65C825 TV used for this test.

Energetic and responsive, the speakers in the Polk Reserve R600 5.0.2 System pack were particularly effective at reproducing the explosive soundtrack to Saving Private Ryan.

Listening impressions

We began our test of the Polk R600 5.0.2 System speakers with the 4K HDR Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos audio version of Saving Private Ryan (20th Anniversary Edition). Already very impressive in Dolby Digital, the landing scene took on a whole other dimension with the 3D Atmos sound effects.

The Polk speakers fully demonstrated their energy and responsiveness. Bullets whistled past us and over our heads with stunning realism. Their impact in the water and on the metal sides of the boats, the machine gun fire, the explosions: with the sound effects produced by these speakers, it was easy to imagine the horror suffered by the Allied soldiers during the landing at Omaha Beach.

Despite the absence of a subwoofer in this pack, the speakers were able to produce energetic and impactful lows that gave the sound effects substance. Of course, it is advisable to combine them with a subwoofer like the Magnat Omega CS 12 to add weight and amplitude to the soundtrack.

Combined with the Magnat Omega CS12 subwoofer, the Polk R600 5.0.2 System speaker pack is formidable on even the most epic soundtracks!

Still in France but 22 years later, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of the movie Ford v Ferrari plunged us into the atmosphere of the paddocks and was incredibly immersive. The voice of the announcer echoed through the grandstands while the vehicles raced by at full speed. The engine noises were very realistic and the voices had a nice presence and were always intelligible. It was easy to empathize with Ken Miles behind the wheel of his Ford GT as he struggled to overtake the last Ferrari in the race, his powerful V8 engine roaring through our test room.

Compared to…

Prestige Facet HCS 24F 5.0.2

Sold for €2,650, this Elipson speaker pack contains the Elipson Prestige Facet 24F floorstanding speakers, Elipson Prestige Facet 14C center speaker, Elipson Prestige Facet 6 ATM Atmos speakers and Elipson Prestige Facet 7SR surround speakers.

Slightly more affordable than the Polk pack, these Elipson speakers are both precise and smooth in the highs thanks to their fabric dome tweeter. However, the Pinnacle tweeter of the Polk R600s provides more definition and realism.

The Elipson Prestige Facet HCS 24F 5.0.2 speaker set offers a soft and precise sound with generous and deep lows.

The lows produced by the Elipson column speakers have a nice impact and are wider and deeper thanks to the 7.8” drivers. Although they don’t go as low as the French speakers, the Polk models are more responsive and a little more energetic: the Turbine cones are very agile in this register. Naturally, the use of a subwoofer remains essential in our opinion to fully enjoy movie soundtracks, but the Polk speaker pack offers a satisfactory reproduction in the low end of the spectrum.

Focal Chora 826D HCS 5.0.2

This Focal Chora 826D HCS 5.0.2 home theater speaker pack is made in France and includes the Focal Chora 826D floorstanding speakers with integrated Dolby Atmos drivers, the Focal Chora Surround speakers and the Focal Chora Center speaker for under €2,700.

The speakers of the Focal Chora 826D pack are very appealing with their two-material and two-tone look, directly inspired by the Focal Kanta speakers. This design allows them to be easily integrated in a refined interior as well as in a living room with a classic or even vintage decor. However, their glossy finish is less well suited to a home theater room than the satin finish of the Polk speakers, which is more discreet and generates fewer reflections.

The speakers in the Focal Chora 826D HCS 5.0.2 pack are very expressive and provide a rich and coherent sound.

In practice, the Slatefiber cones of the Focal Chora speakers provide a dynamic and realistic sound. The lows are expressive while remaining nuanced, the mids are rich and textured, and the highs are detailed. The different elements of the soundstage are very coherently structured.

The Polk speakers are also very expressive, with textured effects and voices. They are a little livelier on movie soundtracks as well as music. They also offer a little more presence and amplitude in the lows and more detail and clarity in the highs than the Focal speakers.

Who are they for?

The Polk R600 5.0.2 System is for those who want a versatile, mid-range home theater speaker pack to enjoy movie and concert soundtracks in a room of 20 square meters to 40 square meters, or an even larger space if you add a subwoofer. Offering convincing 3D spatialization on Dolby Atmos and DTS:X tracks, this Polk Reserve speaker system can find its place in a large living room or dedicated home theater room. Ideally, it should be used with a Dolby Atmos A/V receiver delivering 80 watts per channel or more, such as the Denon AVC-X6700H or the Marantz SR-7015.

The Marantz SR-7015 A/V receiver is the perfect choice to efficiently power the Polk R600 5.0.2 System speaker pack.

Conclusion

Polk’s R600 5.0.2 System speaker pack is a very coherent set that offers a stellar performance with multi-channel Atmos content. Precise and nuanced, they effectively deliver three-dimensional sound effects while preserving the intelligibility of dialogue. They also add impact to action scenes, with beautifully lively bass.

Power them with an A/V receiver like the Marantz SR-7015 or Denon AVC-X6700H and combine them with a powerful subwoofer such as the Magnat Omega CS 12 and you’ll have a very effective Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible home theater system.

We liked

  • Their design and build quality
  • The coherent soundstage 
  • The precise surround sound effects

We would have liked

  • To have kept them!

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