Polk Atrium 8
The Bottom Line
The Polk Atrium 8 is the flagship speaker of the Atrium line and brings all the best work of Polk’s outdoor speaker innovation to one speaker. This is a bright-sounding speaker with a fair bit of volume to them. They are fairly heavy, but it’s not going to be easy to create a light speaker that’s powered with 6.5″ drivers.
The Polk Atrium 8 SDI outdoor speaker is the flagship of the Atrium line, which over time, has become one of the best patio speakers on the market. Since this is a flagship product, it is both large and more expensive than the Polk 4 and Polk 6, which are also some great speakers in their own right. But what it brings to the table justifies both its size and pricing.
How They Perform
The SDI in the name of the speaker refers to the single/dual input switch, which basically means that this speaker can be used on its own as a high-performance stereo speaker. However, with the flip of a switch, two of these speakers can be paired together to function as separate left and right speakers.
Even though the Atrium 8 can be used as a single speaker, for the best stereo spread, I would still recommend using these speakers in pairs. The enhancements that stereo audio provides over mono audio cannot be overstated. The result is that the Polk Atrium 8 ends up providing an impressive soundstage that can carry an immersive audio experience across your patio or outdoor space.
Given the name of the speaker, one may have expected to find 8″ woofers driving these. However, inside the Polk Atrium 8 is a 6.5″ dual voice coil driver with a polypropylene cone, which is coupled with two 1″ anodized aluminum dome tweeters for the high-end. While this configuration is similar to what we’re used to seeing in the rest of the flagship outdoor patio speakers, Polk Audio have managed to refine the craft on the Atrium 8 to a point where it’s hard to fault the performance of these speakers.
These speakers utilize up to 125W of power per channel, which is enough to create some impressive volume when paired with the right amplifier. Aside from the volume, we’ve found the Atrium 8 to provide some of the best outdoor sound quality in this price range, and the sound signature of the Atrium 8 aligns closely with the competitor speakers in this market. The Polk Atrium 8 puts out just over 90dB of volume and covers a frequency response range of 45Hz to 27kHz.
The bass performs best around the upper bass frequencies, but the lower-end bass is somewhat fickle and dependent on the acoustics of your setup area, so we recommend careful consideration around your outdoor speaker placement. When there isn’t much to bounce the bass, it can sound a little tighter than ideal and lack some of those low-end rumbles. The bass is still very much present on the Atrium 8, though, and Polk themselves have pushed their inclusion of the power port bass venting, which they claim adds 3dB of extra volume.
The midrange is fairly balanced, not what we’d consider particularly warm, but also far from being too recessed. The treble presents with bright flares of sound that have enough depth to them to not feel like harsh spikes, which is often a problem with patio speakers of lower price ranges.
The Atrium 8 Design
While the Polk Atrium 8 is relatively compact for what you get, it is still a large speaker. The cabinet features a durable, mineral-filled polypropylene design, and the bracing is molded-in. I also appreciate that the speaker is designed for easy installation thanks to its speed-lock mounting system. Of course, these larger speakers are going to be a bit more challenging to install, just due to their increased weight – but the Atrium 8 was far from a problem to get installed.
The Polk Atrium 8 is designed in such a way that it allows you to mount these speakers either vertically or horizontally with the 180° speed-lock mounting mechanism. While this may not seem like much of a feature, some eaves are particularly small and by having the versatility to move the speaker in its rotation, it can allow you to mount the Atrium 8 in areas where a vertical-only alignment wouldn’t have been possible. Keep in mind that how and where you mount may slightly adjust the way your speakers sound, depending on the architectural acoustics.
The driver enclosure is manufactured using mineral-filled polypropylene, ensuring a durable cover that can protect your drivers from outdoor elements. And when we examine the speaker in detail, the rest of the speaker enclosure follows similarly impressive attention to quality.
Tucked away in this speaker, you’ll find patented technologies for both dynamic balance and Klippel optimization to ensure you get a more realistic sound.
While the Polk Atrium 8 isn’t manufactured in the United States, it will no doubt appeal to some to know that this speaker was designed and engineered in the US.
Our Thoughts of the Polk Atrium 8
The Atrium 8 isn’t a ground-breaking speaker. Instead, it’s a reliable one. The Atrium 8 can be compared with something like the Klipsch AW-650 and performs in a similar sphere. The Atrium 8 can be considered a safe choice for adding some solid sound to your outdoor area.