Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Sep 01, 2023 at 11:17 am
Latest change: Writing modified Sep 01, 2023 at 03:08 pm
Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR Picture

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is a premium 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar. With a hefty subwoofer and two satellite speakers, it's designed to bring an immersive, all-around sound right to the comfort of your living room. It lacks premium features like voice assistant support or a room correction tool. Still, it offers more basic customization settings like bass and treble adjustments and a voice enhancement tool.

Our Verdict

N/A Mixed Usage

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is great for mixed usage. This 7.1.2 soundbar offers versatile performance with support for many audio formats commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays. Its surround speakers are designed to bring a more all-around feel to multichannel content like Dolby Digital. It gets loud, too. That said, it doesn't offer as many sound enhancement features as more premium bars on the market. Its default sound is also a bit uneven, which impacts the quality of voices in the mix.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Supports Dolby Atmos.
Cons
  • No room correction.
N/A Dialogue/TV Shows

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is excellent for dialogue-centric podcasts and TV shows. This 7.1.2 setup reproduces voices with relative clarity and accuracy thanks to its discrete center channel. Though they're a bit recessed in the mix out-of-the-box, you can use its 'Voice' tool to enhance them for a clearer sound. Podcast lovers will also appreciate that the bar supports many wireless playback options, so it's easy to stream your favorite shows right to the bar.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Voice enhancement tool.
Cons
  • No room correction.
N/A Music

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is very good for music. Its subwoofer can reproduce a deep and extended low-bass that brings out all the thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM, and it gets really loud. There's a little extra boominess in the high-bass, too. Voices are recessed, though, due to a dip in the mid-range. You can always use its bass and treble adjustments to make up for this, as well as its 'Voice' enhancement tool to improve the sound of voices in the mix.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • No room correction.
N/A Movies

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is very good for movies. It supports many audio formats commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays, including Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. Its discrete center channel is designed to improve vocal reproduction in the mix, and its satellite speakers bring a more clear and real feel to multichannel audio. That said, its performance with height content like Atmos isn't the most impressive, as it struggles to create the illusion of height within the room around you.

Pros
  • Extended low-bass.
  • Supports Dolby Atmos.
Cons
  • No room correction.
  • N/A Mixed Usage
  • N/A Dialogue/TV Shows
  • N/A Music
  • N/A Movies
  1. Updated Sep 01, 2023: Added more detail to the Surround 5.1 box regarding test tone discrepancies.
  2. Updated Sep 01, 2023: Review published.
  3. Updated Aug 29, 2023: Early access published.
  4. Updated Aug 10, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  5. Updated Jul 21, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  6. Updated Jul 11, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  7. Updated Jul 05, 2023: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we’ll buy and test it soon.

Check Price

Black Magnifi Max AX SR
Searching
Finding Store
Black Magnifi Max AX SR
Searching
Finding Store
Black Magnifi Max AX SR
Searching
Finding Store

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is available in Black, and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version of this soundbar, let us know in the forums.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is a 7.1.2 setup that's the flagship bar from this manufacturer. Compared to other models like the Polk Audio MagniFi MAX SR, this soundbar supports Dolby Atmos content and adds two additional surround channels for better performance. That said, though, it doesn't offer as many sound enhancement tools as models from other manufacturers, and its height performance isn't the most impressive.

You can also check out our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars for movies, and the best soundbars for music.

Polk Audio MagniFi MAX SR

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is better than the Polk Audio MagniFi MAX SR. The AX SR is better built and comes with two additional surround channels. Plus, it adds support for Dolby Atmos, so you can take advantage of height content commonly found on various streaming services.

Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR and the Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module are both 7.1.2 setups with different strengths. The Sony is a better-built setup that comes with more sound enhancement features, such as room correction. Its stereo soundstage is better, too, and it brings a more immersive sound with height content. However, the Polk Audio gets much louder with less compression at max volume.

Polk Audio Signa S4

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is better than the Polk Audio Signa S4. The Max AX SR is a better-built soundbar with discrete satellites to improve its surround sound. It gets louder, too, and it offers a more extended low-bass. You have more wireless playback options, too.

Polk Audio Signa S2

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The S2 is a 2.1 setup that's designed for stereo content like most music and TV shows. It lacks discrete satellites and Atmos support, unlike the AX SR. If you want a simpler bar, though, the S2 may still be an okay choice.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR has a sleek, rectangular design. The exterior is covered in a good-quality fabric, and there's solid plastic on the middle top and middle back panel.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Locked
Enclosure
Locked

The subwoofer has a more square-shaped design than the Polk Audio Magnifi MAX SR. It sits up on four pegs. The driver and the port are underneath.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
Locked

The satellites have a similar design to the bar. They're mostly made of plastic with a fabric covering on the front. Their wedge-like shape makes it easy to fit them into corners without taking up much space.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The bar is pretty wide, so it doesn't fit between the legs of most 55" TV stands. It's not very tall, so it doesn't block out your TV screen, either.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

The sub is a bit larger than an average desktop computer. Still, it connects to the bar wirelessly, so you have some flexibility when setting it up in your living room.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)

Like the Polk Audio Magnifi MAX SR, the satellites are wide. They also connect to the bar wirelessly, which is a nice touch, and their power adapter cables are quite long to help you set them up in your room.

Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Locked
Bar Brackets Included
Locked
Mountable Satellites
Locked
Satellite Brackets Included
Locked

You can mount the bar and the satellites to your wall. The brackets aren't included, but you don't need to buy them separately, thanks to the setup's slotted design.

N/A
Design
Build Quality

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR has a good build quality. The bar and the satellites are mostly plastic, which feels solid and durable. The fabric coverings on both components are high-quality, and it doesn't seem like they could rip or tear easily. The subwoofer also feels solid and heavy. It's made of a melamine-like material.

Design
In The Box

  • Manuals
  • Mounting template
  • Power cables for bar and subwoofer (5.9ft / 1.8m)
  • 2x surrounds power supplies (10.2ft / 3.1m)
  • HDMI cable (5.9ft / 1.5m)
  • Remote with 2x AA batteries
  • 2x wall mount spacers

Sound
N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Channels
7.1.2
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR has a great stereo frequency response. Out-of-the-box, some boominess in the high-bass extends into the mids, which is great for genres with a lot of bass or if you want to feel the excitement in action-packed scenes. However, it does muddy vocals and instruments a bit. Also, the subwoofer tends to hold bass notes too long, which leaks into the rest of the mix. The dip in the high-mids means that vocals are a tad recessed, too. Overall, the sound is still suitable for most audio content, but the bar doesn't quite reproduce sound as the artist intended.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Locked
Suggested Bass Setting
Lock
Suggested Treble Setting
Lock
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Lock Hz
High-Frequency Extension
Lock kHz

If you prefer a more neutral sound with stereo content, set the bass to -2 and the treble to 2. The resulting sound is more even and balanced, especially in the bass range, as there's less boom in the mix. The added treble brings more clarity to higher-pitched sounds like cymbals, too. It's also worth noting that based on our subjective impressions, the 'Voice' preset improves the response in the mids, so you can hear dialogue more clearly with this setting turned on. We didn't test it extensively, but it's worth trying out if you notice that voices are more recessed in your audio.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
Lock dB

The stereo soundstage is decent. You perceive it to be a touch wider than the bar itself, but that's it. Focus is accurate, though, which is good since it means that you can pinpoint certain instruments to exact locations in the soundstage.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
Lock dB

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR gets loud, so it's a solid choice for listening to audio in larger, more open spaces. Audio reproduction isn't as clear at max volume, though, as the bar overcorrects the sound at max volume. You won't need to listen to it that loud, so it's not likely an issue.

N/A
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR has a great stereo THD performance. When you listen at normal volumes, distortion falls within good limits, ensuring clean and clear audio reproduction. As expected, there's a small jump in distortion when you push the bar to max volume, but it isn't easy to notice, even with real-life content, unless you're a discerning audiophile.

N/A
Sound
Center
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR has a discrete center channel designed to improve vocal reproduction. This channel's frequency response is very even and balanced, especially in the mids, which is where most voices reproduce. As a result, it's easy to follow along with the conversation taking place on screen.

N/A
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock
7.1 Rears
Locked

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR has two dedicated surround speakers. As a result, sound effects are more clear and real in the space around you than with a bar that comes without satellites. You get the sense that the action on screen is happening all around you rather than just coming from a speaker in front of you. The frequency response on these channels is uneven, though, so sound effects reproduce with a little extra boom, and they also seem a bit dull and veiled at times.

Some users have reported that the surround test tone is active on both speakers simultaneously rather than coming from one at a time as intended. We found that both surround channels and some drivers of the right/left main channels on the bar play simultaneously when sending a pure tone to a single channel. It's very faint and possibly a result of the Stereo Dimensional Array technology, which the manufacturer advertises to enhance the soundstage by sending audio to several drivers. Again, it's not the most noticeable, especially with real-life content, but it's worth noting if you want clean surround reproduction.

N/A
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Locked
Slope
Lock
Std. Err.
Lock dB
SPL @ Max Volume
Lock dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
Lock
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
Lock

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR uses two up-firing drivers built into the bar to ricochet sound off the ceiling, creating the illusion of height. The frequency response on these channels is rather boomy, as there's a peak in the bass and a lack of emphasis in the mids and treble. Certain sound effects, like voices, are less clear, while bass-centric sounds like explosions tend to overpower the mix.

Subjectively, the bar's soundstage with height content is just okay. The surrounds seem disconnected, missing, or overpowered at times, possibly due to the uneven frequency response on these channels. The sub brings a solid rumble in the bass, but voices are hard to hear in the mix. You can improve this slightly by activating the 'Voice' preset, which is nice. Overall, though, most of the action seems centered at the front, and the bar doesn't achieve much height. Busier, more action-packed scenes like car chases tend to hide some of these issues, but they're more noticeable with scenes that have less going on.

N/A
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Locked
Dialogue Enhancement
Locked
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Locked
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Locked
Bass Adjustment
Locked
Treble Adjustment
Locked
EQ
Locked
Surround Level Adjustment
Locked
Rear Level Adjustment
Locked
Height Level Adjustment
Locked
Virtual Surround
Locked

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR offers a limited selection of sound enhancement features. Compared to premium bars, it lacks room correction, so it sounds a little different depending on the unique acoustics of your space. Thanks to its bass and treble adjustments, you can manually adjust for this a little. There are also some EQ presets: 'Auto Mode', 'TV Mode', 'Movie Mode', 'Night Mode', 'All-Stereo Mode', and 'Music Mode'. The 'Voice Adjust' setting on the remote lets you adjust the dialogue in the mix. You can also control the height and surround levels. The 'Stereo Dimensional Array' feature is always active, too, and it works with a virtual surround feature to widen the soundstage and create a more 3D sound.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
Locked
HDMI Out
Locked
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
Locked
Full HDMI In
Locked
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
Locked
RCA In
Locked
USB for Files
Locked
Ethernet
Locked
Subwoofer Output
Locked

The bar has a lot of different physical inputs, which is a nice touch. It connects to your TV using HDMI or Optical connections. Plus, there are three different Full HDMI In ports to set up the bar as a hub between devices like a PC and a TV. You can use the USB port for basic MP3 music playback, too.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
PCM Channels
Locked

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR supports many common audio formats via eARC. You can watch common surround sound formats like Dolby Digital and lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Locked
Dolby Digital
Locked
Dolby Digital Plus
Locked
Dolby TrueHD
Locked
DTS
Locked
DTS:X
Locked
DTS-HD MA
Locked
PCM Channels
Locked

Via HDMI In, this soundbar can play back many different audio formats you'll likely find on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays.

N/A
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Locked
DTS
Locked
PCM Channels
Locked

The bar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS content via Optical. Dolby Digital is the more common, but DTS is often the fallback for higher-quality formats on certain Blu-rays.

N/A
Connectivity
Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR Latency Video Sample
ARC
Lock ms
Optical
Lock ms
Full HDMI In
Lock ms

The bar's latency is middling. Via ARC and Optical, latency is on the higher side, so you notice a slight delay between the audio you hear and the video you see. Fortunately, there's an 'Audio Delay' tool on hand to manually adjust for this if you have issues with any connection. Latency is lower with Full HDMI In, too, so you don't notice lip-synching issues over that connection. Some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, though.

N/A
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Locked
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Locked
4k Max Refresh Rate
Locked
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Locked
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Locked
8k Max Refresh Rate
Locked
HDR10 Passthrough
Locked
HDR10+ Passthrough
Locked
Dolby Vision Passthrough
Locked
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
Locked
FreeSync Passthrough
Locked
G-SYNC Passthrough
Locked
ALLM Passthrough
Locked

This soundbar can passthrough many common resolutions and refresh rates, which is handy if you plan to use it as a hub between devices like your TV and your gaming console with clear and crisp text on the screen. It can also passthrough various high-quality video signals commonly found on both gaming consoles and devices like an Apple TV, like HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.

N/A
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Locked
Wi-Fi Playback
Locked
Chromecast built-in
Locked
Apple AirPlay
Locked
Spotify Connect
Locked

You can wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar over many different platforms. You need to use Google Home, Alexa, or AirPlay to set up Wi-Fi playback since this feature isn't integrated into the bar from the jump. You can't stream content to the bar over Wi-Fi without these apps.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Locked

The display in front of the bar shows all the basic functions as you adjust them. You can also press the info button on the remote to see the current input, the source format, the preset mode, the Wi-Fi status, and whether the sub and the surrounds are connected.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

A couple of controls on top of the bar let you control its basic features. You can power it on/off, change the input, activate Bluetooth, mute the bar, and adjust the volume. On the back of the bar, some LED indicators show the status of the Wi-Fi, the sub, and the satellites. Also, you have the connect buttons for the surrounds and the subwoofer. They're automatically connected to the bar from the factory, but these buttons are useful if you need to do some troubleshooting.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is fairly simple but lets you control all the bar's features. You have buttons for more basic functions like the volume and options for the different presets and sound enhancement tools.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Locked
Google Assistant
Locked
Apple Siri
Locked
Microphone Mute
Locked

You can connect the bar to the Google Home or Alexa apps to stream audio from Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled devices from the bar. There's no microphone, though, so it can't receive voice commands.