Gadgets 1120

Published on July 3rd, 2010 | by Greg


Polk Audio Brings Affordable, Serious Audio To Gaming

When we think of gaming audio, we usually imagine starting at a monitor, playing in the dark, with a nice set of headphones on (or better yet, a gaming headset, like any of the ones we’ve checked out). But Polk Audio’s Hitmaster offers something a little different- a pretty unique, fairly portable solution that adds some punch to your console gaming sessions.

This is nothing more, or less, than a great unit for those who have been stuck using the speakers built into your television or another low-powered system. We’ve been to quite a few music gaming parties where the guitars were good, and the TV great, but the audio was coming through the LCD or plasma screen’s mediocre speakers. Of course, real audio comes with a host of downsides- cords and cables, typically lots of space, and certainly a hefty price tag. In one product, Polk solved these problems- but we do want to emphasize the relatively limited audience.

This won’t replace any real 2.1 audio set- the bass isn’t anything to get too excited about, and the sound separation is of course minimal. We wouldn’t recommend watching movies on the HitMaster for instance. Rock Band and Guitar Hero, on the hand, were nearly perfect- lots of punch, and it certainly helps that the monitor looks like… well, a monitor, adding to the environment. Volume is more than sufficient- we were able to enjoy the audio from the next room even when the knob was only turned up half-way. And other games, especially in the racing and fighting genres, benefited nicely from the wollop of sound.

We tested with an Xbox 360 and a PS3, but the Wii, PS2, and even other devices like your iPod or iPhone are supported. The only inputs are RCA and mini-jack though, no HDMI, which shouldn’t be an issue for most setups. At 12.75 pounds, it’s light enough to take to your friend’s house, with a handle for that express purpose. Build quality is pretty good, we traveled a bit and it took some hits without an issue. You can daisy chain a few HitMasters together supposedly, though we didn’t try it out. What you can’t do, however, is adjust the bass/treble level, one thing we would’ve liked. Available widely for under $100, students and teenagers now have an affordable music box that still offers a good blend of durability, portability, and sound.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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