First Impressions: Polk Audio HitMaster

by: Dan -
More On: HitMaster Gaming Studio Monitor
Back in October, Polk Audio announced that they were bringing the HitMaster Gaming Monitor to the market in the first part of 2010. The speaker system was touted as a way to bring more realism to band games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero, by adding a stage monitor like presence to replace the poor quality found in television speakers. Polk Audio has sent GamingNexus one of the very first review samples to come available so we can get a hands on before it is unveiled at CES 2010 next week.

Cosmetically, the HitMaster is almost identical to the press release photo from October, with the exception of the front grill sporting the HitMaster logo now and some extra padding on the corners of the face. The speaker has a rugged, yet elegant design to its cabinet, with the top featuring a carrying strap, the front corners have protective covers and the bottom have four rubber feet to accommodate setting on carpet, wood or any other flooring surface and maintain a level placement. The back panel features stereo jacks in (primary hook up), stereo out (daisy chaining), a mini plug in (for iPods or other portable devices), volume knob, on/off switch, power plug, fuse and ports. As advertised, the unit sports a single 6.5” driver and dual 1" horn tweeters (3" x 5") beneath the grill to go with the dual ports out the back.

In initial tests (utilizing The Beatles: Rock Band and Rock Band 2), the HitMaster produced a really good audio range that accentuated the midrange and highs (probably due to the dual horn tweeters), but handled songs with bass just as well. Keeping in mind it is more geared toward the guitar and bass players than singers and drummers, this makes sense. I played a slate of Beatles songs and several Red Hot Chili Pepper titles and came away impressed at how the HitMaster stacked up to TV speakers and most Home Theater in a Box. Unfortunately, Polk only sent me a single speaker, so I was unable to test with multiple daisy chained together to see what kind of sound field it is capable of producing. Overall though, it creates a pretty cool audio experience unlike most gaming setups.

We will bring a full review and an interview about the HitMaster with Mark Suskind, Vice President of Product Line Management for Polk Audio prior to the products official unveiling at CES on January 5th. The price point looks to remain at $99 as stated in the October announcement, but I will confirm that in my interview with Polk. Meanwhile, check out the first pictures of the HitMaster below.

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