HitMaster Gaming Studio Monitor

Review

posted 1/5/2010 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
Polk Audio has been in the gaming audio business for many years, but mostly on the PC side. Last year, Polk debuted the SurroundBar Instant Home Theater with one of it stated purposes to enhance gaming audio without having to invest in a full-fledged home theater system. We took a look at it and found that it was exactly what the company stated and a heck of an option to make your gaming audio better.

This year, Polk identified an area of untapped potential and set about creating a simple and inexpensive way to get bigger and better sound than basic TV speakers or any crappy Home Theater in a Box can provide. The Polk Audio HitMaster Gaming Studio Monitor is their latest (and first dedicated) product geared toward gamers.



The Specs:

Model:
Polk Audio HitMaster Gaming Stage Monitor
MSRP:    $99
Total System Watts:    60w Continuous; 100w Peak
Frequency Range: 40Hz – 20 kHz
Control:  Volume knob back plate
Audio Inputs:  RCA Analog, Mini Jack
Audio Outputs:   RCA Analog (Daisy Chain)
Tweeters:          2 – 1” Neodymium Horn Tweeters (3” x 5” horn)
Driver:      6 1/2" Mid woofer
Dimensions:  14” (W) x 9.5” (D) x 8.5” (H)
Weight (lbs):         13 lbs


Out of the Box and Setup
The HitMaster comes packaged in a plastic bag between a pair of molded cardboard end caps in a fairly secure position. It really doesn’t need much more than this, as it fits nicely in the center of the box and doesn’t have any surfaces that are highly susceptible to scratching unless the box was severely damaged. Inside the box lies the HitMaster powered monitor, a 9-foot RCA audio cable, power cord and a Quick Start guide.


The audio source comes from either the traditional analog audio cable or a mini jack for use with any device that has a headphone or mini line level out. This includes any iPhone, iPod, MP3 player, laptop and yes, even that old Walkman that is still in a closet somewhere. As far as getting up and running, there probably isn’t a simpler speaker to setup on the market right now. Plugging in the RCA analog audio cable (or mini jack) and the power plug are the extent of your tasks. Turn on the power, dial up the volume and away you go.



Aesthetics
Right out of the box, you can tell that this little speaker means business. The design and appearance of the HitMaster are not just for eye candy, but highly functional and practical at the same time. While the Polk and HitMaster logos are prominently displayed on the grill of the all-black monitor, its angles and dual port design ensure that a wide range of audio will come out of its driver and dual horn tweeters.

The top sports a rugged little handle for carrying it around, while the back has the two analog inputs, fuse, power switch, dual ports and volume knob. One other thing about the HitMaster that shows its toughness is that everything with the exception of the logos on the grill is screwed down. The carry handle, feet and corner guards will not be falling off because some cheap glue failed, they are there to stay.


The mesh grill looks sharp and sturdy, but it may be a little too thin to handle any sustained abuse. While the edges and corners were stout, when I pushed against the dead center (above the driver), it had a “give” of about a quarter inch. Any type of major pressure to this area would have a chance of pushing the grill in, and possibly leaving a permanent indentation. However, while any battle scar this may leave would give it character, it would take a serious blow to that area to break through the grill and get to the driver underneath. It may be smart though to make a mental note to keep any Pete Townsend wannabes away from it.

Basically, the HitMaster is designed to give off the look and feel of a small stage monitor that would normally be in front of a guitar player. The fact that it was designed with band games in mind doesn’t hurt, as the angled design and portability makes it a nice companion for your primary gaming area or on the go. However, it will work in any application by sending big time audio out into the room for all to hear.
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