Customer Reviews: Polk Audio SurroundBar IHT 6000 Instant Home Theater (Black)
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on December 3, 2010
I've had the Polk IHT 6000 Soundbar for a week now and it has been an interesting experience.

I got a new 60 inch Sony LED-LCD TV and was looking to have sound to match. My old sound system was really great with a Yamaha AV Receiver, 3 Infinity speakers in front, 2 JBL surround speakers, and a 10 inch Polk Subwoofer. The sound from that system was awesome, but the wires and speakers everywhere was too much for me anymore, and with the new big TV I no longer had room for the receiver.

I went looking for a soundbar and tried several. Sony, Vizio, and Polk. I tried the Vizio since it was the only soundbar out there with separate rear channels and a wireless sub. It was great looking and great in terms of functionality, but the sound was awful. Muddy, nondistinct, just all around bad. The Sony was OK, but a little tinny and I didn't like that you had to wire everything to the sub first and then to the soundbar... I was trying to get rid of wires. Then I got the Polk.

The Polk's sound is full and rich. The setup is easy, one audio wire, one power cable. I was very happy, but not thrilled and still felt a longing for my old system which went bye by on ebay. After doing a good amount of research, I found that I may have had the soundbar placed wrong. It was above my TV angled down, kind of close to the ceiling (this is in my basement so the ceiling is low). I decided to move the soundbar to just under the TV (They are both wall mounted). It is much closer to ear level now

All I can say is WOW. The difference in sound between the locations is astounding. I am now TOTALLY happy with the Polk Soundbar. The sound is full and rich and really great. It is NOT however as good as a true 5.1 or 7.1 system, but it is pretty darn close and considering how nice it looks and how easy it is, I have no regrets. The surround effects are good but not like a true surround system. If you need to have true surround, this is not the system for you. I am very happy with it, and with a blu-ray in the player, that sound really does fill the room. You do get the feeling that there is surround sound, but it is just a feeling, not the reality you get with a true 5.1 system. Don't get me wrong though the sound is VERY good.

With that said, there are some negatives. First off, there are no audio settings like bass or treble, there is however a sub level adjustment (more on that later). Polk feels that you get what you get. I wish I could boost the treble a little, or that they would put a quality tweeter in the center of the soundbar. The sub level adjustment is OK, but it is basically a volume control for the sub, and there is no level indicator, so I have no idea if it is set at 1 or 10. It is just a guess.

I have also listened to the B&W Panorama soundbar and the Yamaha sound projector. Those 2 units do a better job than the Polk, the Yamaha is slightly better, and the B&W is a lot better, but the Yamaha is a thousand dollars more expensive and not nearly worth the extra expense for such a slight improvement over the Polk. The B&W is truly amazing and a true audiophile solution, but at well over 2 grand, it was way out of my price range.

In conclusion, the Polk soundbar IHT 6000 is in my opinion the best soundbar out there under $1500.
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on April 3, 2011
First I'll start off by making a statement I'm sure has been beaten into the ground in reference to soundbars. This is not a replacement for a true surround system. That being said, the 6000 is pretty darn close. My setup is a Bluray player connected optically, and my HTPC, 360 and Wii running analog out through the TV....I'll explain why.

The one issue I have is with the optical input. The 6000 has a built in Dolby Digital decoder BUT, and this is a big does not have the ability to decode Dolby True HD or any DTS soundtrack. So assuming you have your Bluray player connected to the 6000 via optical, pop in The Walking Dead or the Back To The Future trilogy. You will be greeted to...silence. To fix this you will either have to pick an appropriate sound format using he disc menu (usually a 2ch DD signal is an option), or do what I did....set up any DTS soundtrack to default to 2ch PCM using the BR players setup menu. Its an easy fix but really defeats the purpose of using the optical connection. And considering the fact that most Blurays either use DD True HD or DTS Master Audio, it makes me wonder if the Dolby Digital decoder is necessary at all. If your playing a standard DVD pretty much all of them use 5.1 Dolby Digital, at least that's something. Polk seems a year or two behind the curve when it comes to audio formats. At best it's a novelty and a bullet point to put on the box.

*Also, for all you guys running the optical out from the back of your TV to the 6000, this is a rather pointless endeavor. A vast majority of TVs WILL NOT pass through multi-channel digital audio. What the TV does is downmix the signal to a 2ch PCM signal. So while the signal is still getting pumped out as "digital", its all basically a stereo mixdown signal, no matter what the source. So...if you see a blue solid light on the front panel, its either PCM or analog. If its steady green the decoder is on. Most likely if your running it rough the optical out on the TV, you will see a blue light.

Here's the kicker though: Nothing in the last two paragraphs matter. No matter if you're connected through 2ch analog, optical multi channel or optical PCM, the sound is vastly superior to your TV's speakers. I watch most of my movies and shows through my HTPC, connected to the TV via HDMI, then using the downmixed 2ch analog to the 6000. Its really like night and day. Even though im using the 2ch analog connection which some may view as the "worst" connection, the 6000 still amazes. I'd say the 6000 does about 75% job of recreating multichannel audio. But this will depend on the size of your room and how close the walls are. And when you get lucky and find a Bluray that actually is compatible with the 6000 (in my case T2: Skynet Edition), the sound is even more brilliant. In my opinion though, the 2ch analog sounds better than the 2ch PCM optical...has more of a "spacious" feel. So unless I'm watching a Blruray that I know has DD 5.1, I keep it analog for all sources.

And unlike those chepos Sony and Samsung, Polk actually includes everything you need....optical cable, analog cable and adapters. Whens the last time Sony packaged anything but composite cables (thanks for nothing).

The set up was DEAD SIMPLE. Literally had it set up and running within 5 minutes of removing it from the box. What will take a little while is getting the sound just I stated above. There is also some trial and error when it comes to the subwoofer placement. Don't get me wrong, that lil' devil sounds great. I found it fills the room better when placed in a corner. The same general rules apply to this sub as to any other...just be cognizant of the 50ft wireless range.

*Also very important. I've read reviews on soundbars that use wireless subs where some people have had problems with wireless network interference. Im using an older generation Linksys G router that sits about a foot under the soundbar. I have had no dropouts or any type of interference. Im sure this will vary, just sayin.

Please Google the 6000, its has overwhelmingly positive reviews from actual professionals. I hope my review has been helpful, and at the very least had shed some light in reference to the built in decoder.

**EDIT After reading a bunch of reviews on Amazon Ive come to the conclusion most of the negative reviews are from:

A. People who are expecting 7.1 surround
B. People who didnt have the common sense to read the instructions.

-I hate it when products get bum reviews from bad consumers.

7/10/12 LONG TERM UPDATE. Since the initial install I have a cable box in the mix. Im using the optical out to connect. Since most broadcasts are in 5.1, everything sounds great. I have also upgraded to a Linksys E2500 router. No signal degradation on either the 2.4 of 5ghz bands. Programing my cable remote to the soundbar also couldnt have been easier. BUT, i still keep the factory remote around in case I want to adjust the bass settings.
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on October 29, 2010
After installing a 60" Samsung LED-LCD TV, I was disappointed with the TV speakers. My TV is mounted on the wall with no visible wires, so I was looking for a self-contained, amplified speaker system that would improve the audio experience. This unit is exactly what I wanted: easy installation with just power and optical audio hook-up, easy mounting under the TV to conceal the wires, and a wireless sub-woofer that you just need to plug in for power (anywhere in the room up to 75 feet away from the sound bar). The sound is fantastic and the sub-woofer produces the lows that were non-existent with the standard TV speakers. This is a 3.1 system that simulates 5.1, but it is a great compromise to the higher end units that really require a separate amplifier. Many of the less expensive units were 2.1 and did not put out the same power - this unit produces more than enough volume for a large room. My only complaint is that I wish there was a similar model 50+" wide for the larger TVs, but this unit looks just fine. Construction quality is what I would expect, and the unit is light enough that it does not require special mounting brackets - just two screws. I had the unit mounted to the wall and operating within 15 minutes.
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on September 23, 2011
I love the sound from this system. I've a small living room which would not accommodate a true surround sound system well and I did not want to deal with wiring a 5.1. The size and sound from this system is perfect for my home. The bass, which may have troubles filling an extremely large area, works very well in a small to average environment. Also of note is the easy of setup. Connect the optical cable, plug in the bar and sub, and sync - then you're ready to go.

Unfortunately, the system does not work well around other wireless devices. When watching Blu-rays and listening to music, the system works fine, but when I play my Wii or Xbox 360 the subwoofer loses its connection to the bar and stops working. Sometimes I can play for up to an hour without the sub going out of sync, but it always ends up happening. Many times and several times in a row it would immediately go after sync right after I fixed the problem. Polk lists the wireless sub as a feature but it's actually the worst part of the package for anyone with other wireless devices in the same room.

All the pros listed at the start of the review (great sound, good looks, and an easy setup) are completely undone by the system not working.

A note on Polk's customer service: I've been unable to get assistance from Polk support. I've posted on their troubleshooting forums (listed as a direct line to Polk customer service) but have received no reply in 6 days. My email has also received no reply. I planned to call, but their support line is only open from 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST and I do not plan to take time off work in hopes for assistance.
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on April 25, 2011
Great sound bar, it has more than enough power to simulate the theater feel to it. Playing music with the pandora was great through my blu ray player, music sound quality will make you want to listen to more music. Watching blue man group and all I can say is wow.

Comparing this system with my Onkyo S7300 home theater system watching dark knight and saving private ryan, onkyo still is a better system since it has real sound coming from behind you. But polk will keep you on your toes.

Set up is way too easy, but if you are interested in buying this product, you need to understand two things. IHT 6000 does not support DTS format, but they made a software call digital logic that can convert regular stereo sound to surround sound(and it works). You can connect this soundbar straight from tv or blu ray or your reciever. If you connect from blu ray, make sure you set your DTS setting in disable, downmix or pcm mode. It will play dts mode. If you don't, you won't get any sound. If your tv don't have digital optical output, and it has coax output, there is a coax to digital optical converter box you can buy for 17 bucks.
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on November 15, 2013
I installed this soundbar today for a client. The setup is so easy, and the sound is undeniably worth the money. When you open the rather large box, you find a sound bar that does not have RCA inputs on it. This was concerning to me at first, until I found that Polk had the presence of mind to include an adapter from 3.5mm (The jacks that are on there) to female RCA. Also they included an optical cable, which is what I ended up using. The cable was cheapish, but unless you are a real crazy audiophile, I doubt you'll ever notice the difference. The wireless subwoofer bangs out some really deep bass, and also connects flawlessly to the main sound bar. The aesthetics of the unit are also pleasing. It looks modern, without looking too flashy. The ease in setup was nearly as amazing as the quality sound. This is an absolute five star purchase. Thank you Polk for making such a wonderful product.

It's also worth noting that a harmony remote easily picked up the code for this soundbar. Although there is a provided remote, it is a tiny little remote that you will lose, I promise.

The only con I could find at all is that the bass is set rather high from the factory, but turning that down is as easy as can be.
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on April 13, 2013
When I first got this it sounded great...then after 6 weeks the Subwoofer stopped working...Amazon said I passed the date for returns....I sent email to Polk and got NO response. So I have a sound bar with no Subwoofer...Polk's customer service SUCKS!
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on December 29, 2010
Purchased this system a few weeks ago to replace our 5.1 system in our living room. We where looking for a system that will blend in with are decor and not make the room look cluttered. Well after listening to all the soundbar systems under $1000 we ended up purchasing the Polk surround bar 6000. I must say it is a nice little system for movies and sounds good with most music. I did find that movie, and music that are a little bass heavy cause the wireless woofer to sound flabby even with turning the woofer level down. So if your into hip hop / pop style music I would stay away from this system. Now for my opinion of simulated surround. Our room has four walls for the sound to bounce off of to create the illusion of rear speakers as stated in the polk manual. Since I am a musician hobbyest and have an ear for picking up nuances in recordings and such. The effects that you normally hear from the sides to the rear of your listening position fall short with this system. Example when a jet flys over or you hear a traveling bullet from a gun shot the effect will not pass over your head but seems to stop about mid way between your ears and the surround bar. Also we still have not been able to program our Dtv remote to the polk. Now for the positives.. The surround bars sounds better than most of the current lower end options out there. The vocals on movies and music do not have that speaking though a tin can effect I have heard from the Sony, and Samsung. Also the built in amplifier has enough volume to please most people. On music this little system sounds pretty darn good for what it is. If we had to purchase all over again I would have bought the Bose Cinemate GS II system. The Bose sounds far better. More dynamic punch, better simulated surround, lower, tighter, more musical bass response.
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on May 20, 2012
The good:
- You can't overstate how convenient it is that the main soundbar is so thin and light. My TV is in a corner on an angle, so I needed a unit that could sit at the same angle without protruding too far. This fit the bill perfectly.
- The sound quality is as good as you can expect from a setup like this. Forget about the surround effects being believable in any of these things, but the Polk unit does a fine job of presenting a far bigger sound stage than it's own width would imply.
- The IHT systems are in the Logitech Harmony remote database, so if you're using this system (I am - love it BTW) then ditching the included remote takes all of 5 min.

The "wish it were different":
- The wireless subwoofer is nice for cable management. However, the crossover frequency between the bar and the sub is high enough that you can easily localize the sub. Sooooo, you need to keep the sub pretty close to the bar anyway. Since the sub needs to be close, it would be nice to have a wired connectivity option because...
- The wireless connection is 2.4GHz band, and doesn't seem to be Bluetooth protocol because it REALLY screws with most WiFi networks. I run DD-WRT firmware on my router, so I have lots of options to try and make these things co-exist. No dice. If the TV is on, the WiFi (at least the WiFi-G clients - N is more tolerant) are toast.
- Speaking of the sub, it would be nice to have more fine-grained control of the volume. The steps are too big, and it often ends up that you really want to be in the middle of two steps.
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on September 26, 2012
This bar has great sound and the fact that you can use your tv remote to change the volume is a nice feature. The problem that makes it so frustrating and practically useless is the fussy sub woofer. When I first purchased the soundbar, the subwoofer quit working after a week and I had to exchange it for a new one. The replacement has also demonstrated problems. The subwoofer constantly looses connection, or plays static and inaudible noise. Besides the problems, the bass setting does not save when you turn the soundbar off. Every time you turn in back on, it defaults to a high bass setting and you have to turn it down. I wish it would save the bass setting that you set before you turned it off and that they offered a wired connection to counteract the connection always being dropped.
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