Polk Audio HTS 12 Review
Another powerful American company with a long tradition, offering loudspeaker designs of every kind, surprised me a bit with its modest selection of subwoofers. There are only three, and two of them are so distinctive that they visually best match the Signature series and should be part of it.
Subwoofers and speaker sets from different manufacturers can be combined freely, as long as the sense is also needed when building “company” systems. In practice, the important restriction of this freedom is not due to the acoustic problems but to the aesthetics – we want a subwoofer that is difficult to hide to match the rest.
A compromise way out of this situation is to design enigmatic subwoofers, without clear individual features, simple black boxes with the loudspeaker effectively covered with a grille, or even better – hidden on the bottom panel.
However, when they stand out and shine to “please” us, the situation polarizes. Klipsch SPL-120 and HTS 12 will look great in proprietary systems and others. Let’s say it depends on your taste.
Both HTS, the smaller Polk Audio HTS 10 and the larger Polk Audio HTS 12 (the symbols are related to the diameter of the transducer), immediately attract attention with several elements large rounded edges, “openwork” lower part of the housing, and a shiny loudspeaker diaphragm.
We will also see them all in the Signature E series. An additional attraction is the choice of color versions – in addition to the obligatory black, there is also a white one (the grille remains black).
The glossy speaker diaphragm may suggest using a metal alloy (and maybe even titanium with its slightly yellow color). But instead, it is polypropylene, for which the manufacturer does not add any philosophy but declares that the drive system has been optimized using the Klippel method. This is an advanced measurement system -simulation currently used by many manufacturers.
The magnet has a diameter of 13 cm and, like almost all designs of this test – a tin basket. The amplifier (of course in class D) has a continuous power of 200 W RMS; the same was used in the smaller HTS 10 model.
The functionality of the Polk Audio HTS 12 subwoofer is basic and conventional; on the rear panel, we have a level knob, crossover frequency, phase switch, switch on modes (manual/automatic), an RCA pair for stereo connection, and an additional RCA for the LFE signal.
When collecting the subwoofers for this test, we inform the distributors of the assumed price framework the submitted designs must fit.
- Dynamic equilibrium technology is Klippel optimized to deliver clean and clear bass
- Dynamic balance driver offers better linearity, lower distortion, and greater durability
- Dominion port floor-firing design smoothly transitions air flow from the speaker
- Mediocre controls
Improving the port
The effective ground clearance is part of the “Power Port” system. I’m not particularly eager to use (repeat) the terms “system” or “technology” on such occasions, but let it be; this time, the manufacturer did work to complicate and improve the bass-reflex port. However, it will not fundamentally change its way of working.
The basic (for operation) part is a typical long, round (9 cm in diameter). High feet and bass reflex would be enough to work. From that moment on, all the additives are used primarily to reduce turbulence noises caused by the deficit of the opening area about the volume deflection of the loudspeaker.
The first and most frequently used accessory is the profiling of the outlet (when attaching the pipe to the housing wall). Consequently, a similar profile should also be made at the pipe’s other (inner) end. After all, the flow disturbance may be even greater, which, however, some manufacturers ignore (it also causes problems with assembly).
Grille – remove?
In multi-way speaker sets, the problem of the influence of the grille on the processing characteristics is so serious that we include it in our measurements, comparing the situation (on the main axis) with and without the grille. Almost always, the difference (to the disadvantage of the grille) is so clear that we recommend removing it, sometimes very definitely.
In the case of subwoofers, we do not bother with it because virtually no grille changes the characteristics to a noticeable degree. However, as we have explained many times, distinctive grilles affect radiation with the material covering the speaker and the frame on which this material is stretched.
The attenuation introduced by typical fabrics is very small. Still, the short wavelengths of medium and high frequencies bounce off the frames, interfere, and thus create additional unevenness in the characteristics.
In the case of subwoofers, the low-frequency waves emitted by them are relatively very long (about the thickness of the frames), so they do not bounce off them but “flow around” such an obstacle, just like the edges of the housing, spreading freely and in all directions.
Therefore, the subwoofers can be left without fear with the grilles on, as long as they are solid and well-mounted so as not to get into vibrations at certain frequencies and higher volume levels, which sometimes happens.
- POLK AUDIO HTS 12
- Level max. (dB) 113
- The lower limit frequency is 21-30
- Dimensions 47 x 43.5 x 46
- Filtering adjustment range [Hz] 55-100