Polk Audio MagniFi MAX SR Review

When I first moved into my apartment, I spent a good deal of time in my bedroom so of course I had soundbars and such in there for my listening pleasure. Fast forward a bit later and I find myself more so in my living room propped on my couch watching TV. Now this sounds relaxing but problem is I’m not getting the sound I would like coming from just my TV. This is where the MagniFi MAX SR comes into play. The MAX SR is the pinnacle of their MagniFi line as it includes everything to give you that premium home theater experience. But the question is how good is the experience?

Style

The Magnifi MAX SR is designed to be your home theater system and to achieve this it comes in three parts. There is of course the MAX soundbar that measures 43” in width, close to 4” in depth and is just over 2” tall. It has a grayish black color tone to it with a silver ring in the middle. There are buttons on top giving access to volume, voice, and Bluetooth. There are various ports on the back such as 3 HDMI ports(not including the HDMI Arc port), Ethernet, optical, USB, and sync button.
Next up is the subwoofer which weights 13.5lbs, 14.54” tall, 14.62” width and has a depth of 12.11”. It’s a nice sized sub and will feel its presence in the living room. After that is the two 3” surround speakers that have the Polk emblem placed on each.

The MAX SR comes with a bevy of cables with power cables for each individual piece of audio equipment, HDMI cable, optical cable, aux cable, mounting brackets, and of course a remote complete with batteries. These will all be packed together in one box. I’m not a big fan of the remote. It is small and light and while some buttons are easy to press the vol buttons I wish were more clicky like the bass and voice and not caved in as shown. This results in me having to give an extra press or two achieve volume control.

 

Setup / Features

Once you unbox all your equipment then you can get a mindset of how you want to setup your system. Install may vary depending on what audio cables or TV you are using. I first hooked up the soundbar via the HDMI arc port to my TV. This essentially makes the soundbar a HDMI hub of sorts and you can disconnect your additional HDMI ports from your TV and connect them to those ports on the speaker. In this case I connected my TiVo Mini Vox, NVIDIA Shield TV, and Nintendo Switch to the soundbar. Make sure the cables are pushed in securely as they may feel like they are but aren’t. Seeing as this a wireless system of sorts you just need to plug in the subwoofer and surround sound speakers to power outlets. Once this is done you are going to use the buttons on the individual speakers and sync. This was quite the headache as it took a bit for me to get them all aligned. Sometimes the sub would work, or one surround speaker would work or vice versa. I eventually got it all together though.


In the meanwhile, since this has Google Chromecast built-in you can sync it with your Google Home system if you have one. If not, you can easily create one. Since I already have an account it came up quickly and was able to go in my list of devices. You will want to do this for updates as well. This system quietly updates in the background, so you won’t even know it doing it until you check what firmware is on which I’ll elaborate on more later. Having Chromecast built-in means, you can use it with apps such as Google Play Music, Spotify, Soundcloud and others.

Sound

The soundbar is packed with seven drivers ranging from four mids, two tweeters and one midrange. Audio is nice on the MagniFi soundbar which does emphasize a great deal on dialogue. It has a feature called “Voice Adjust” which you can adjust for hearing conversations by pushing to the front and everything else to the back. There is an actual button dedicated on the remote and you will see the levels via the led lights on the speaker. But overall using the speaker for watching shows and some movies has a nice presence and provides some thump.


Next up is the subwoofer and the surround sound. I have the subwoofer in front angling from the left side while the surrounds are under my couch to the left and right. I threw on some movies like Avengers Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and others that have action packed sequences and various things going on. Also, the fact they have Dolby Atmos in them as the system supports 5.1 Dolby Digital amongst others like DTS. Subwoofer gives off some killer vibes while the surrounds immersive you into the viewing experience. Sitting watching various content I was pleased with the results until I came across a glaring issue…

Through various times while and or listening to content I started to notice the subwoofer was making somewhat of a popping or tapping sound. At first, I thought it was my neighbors because the sound was so obscene. Also, the surrounds were making this chirping sound. This became more painful to bear when the room was dead silent, and you hear these random sounds. Sadly, come to find out looking online its been an ongoing issue for almost a year with threads on threads online. I did notice someone mentioned there was a firmware update “112” which looked to remedy the issue, and this was released just last week. My system did receive it and looks to have alleviated 90% of the issue. I don’t get it as much anymore, but I see it happens not as loud or annoying one in a blue since getting it last week. It only sucks to see this is going on in a product that has been on the shelf for quite a while.

Verdict

Having used the Polk’s MagniFi MAX SR over the past couple of months it’s a mixed bag for me. I love the simple design, wireless system and ease of use. Sound quality is superb and I enjoy it but the popping and chirping interference put a damper on the experience. Seeing I had this for a couple months and just now getting an update that looks to have fixed the problem is crazy. It is hard to recommend. If you are interested the set originally went for roughly $599.99 but you can find it in some places for $499 or lower at this point. There are other configurations with just the soundbar or even the soundbar and subwoofer combo.