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Polk Audio speakers, Denon receiver

Win - win

Denon%20AVR-1612%20receiverThe Denon AVR-1612 home theater. First I got one of these...

When we built our house two years ago, we decided to put a home theater in our basement. Our first purchase towards that project was a Panasonic plasma TV.

Unfortunately, we had to make do with a prehistoric shelf system for the sound. It was definitely not the greatest audio source — especially for those big Hollywood blockbuster movies.

As an advisor here at Crutchfield I see lots of new products. And with so much great gear to choose from, it took me some time to decide on what to get. I do have some favorite brands, which narrowed the field somewhat. I love the sound produced by Polk Audio speakers, and the Audyssey MultiEQ® technology in the Denon and Onkyo receivers has always really impressed me.

Quick! To the Labs!

Polk%20Audio%20Blackstone%20TL250%20speakers... then I got some of these to go with it. The Polk Audio Blackstone TL250 home theater speaker system.

As luck would have it, right downstairs from my desk are our new Crutchfield Labs. In the Labs, we have a home theater listening room which had Polk Blackstone speakers and a Denon receiver set up.

One day I went down on my lunch break with a fellow advisor and we started watching Avatar on the system. I was sold in less than 5 minutes. Based on my first-hand experience in the Labs, I purchased the Denon AVR-1612 and the Polk Audio Blackstone TL250 speaker package.

Tips for system setup

My basement is somewhat of an acoustical nightmare. It’s unfinished and a weird shape. So I didn’t have the option of just throwing a speaker in each corner. But the actual installation proved not to be that difficult. And I learned a few lessons during this process.

First, measure your space. Making sure that your receiver will fit on the bookshelf without having to bother your neighbors for a hacksaw is very important.

Second, understand that you are always going to need more speaker wire than you think. Always.

Finally, go ahead and invest the money on speaker wire connectors. They’re not that expensive, and they make installation much easier.

Audessy MultiEQ calibration

After everything was installed and connected, then came the real fun. It was time to calibrate my speakers. Calibration means making small adjustments to each speaker so that the sound will be balanced in the chair or sofa where you’ll sit to watch your movies. It can be a time-consuming process, unless your receiver has Audyssey MultEQ — which my Denon AVR-1612 did.

Included with the receiver is a small microphone necessary for the Audyssey setup. You set the mic where you normally sit to watch movies. When you activate it, software inside the receiver sends a test tone to each speaker individually. It then uses the differences to form an acoustic profile of the room, and tailors the speaker settings to ensure the sound is balanced where you sit.

What a great experience. And it was fun watching my boyfriend sitting in the “sweet spot” ever so still, silently holding the Audyssey microphone while the test tones sounded. The process was quick and easy. When it was done my speakers sounded amazing —  in spite of my acoustically challenged room.

A Hollywood ending

Now when we watch those Hollywood blockbusters, the experience is totally different. The Polk Blackstones fill the room with sound and we’re completely enveloped in the movie.

I would recommend the Denon AVR-1612 receiver and Polk Audio Blackstone TL2 speaker combination to anyone. The sound from the Polks and the quality performance of the Denon receiver enriched our home theater experience. And thanks to Audyssey MultiEQ, my job as a semi-professional installer a breeze.

Dolly has been a Crutchfield advisor since 2009.