Polk have been in audio game for long, long time and feel it – in the best way possible. Lots of modern Bluetooth audio can feel disposable – cheap speakers designed to cash in on the number of teens with iPods. Polk take things a bit more seriously and craft wonderful looking devices that remind me of classic walnut-panelled stereo systems father figures would polish before playing some vinyl – probably something Zeppelin-Based.
“We designed Polk’s Heritage Collection for the listener who wants the unparalleled Polk Audio experience and appreciates the authenticity and heritage of our brand,” said Michael DiTullio, chief design officer of Sound United. “In addition to bringing great sound that makes listening to music a more shared experience, we wanted to reflect the retro design aesthetic, which is seen throughout the entire collection of personal audio accessories.”
I was sent a Camden Square to play with and it’s been following me around the house all week. It exemplifies all the good things about classic brands, neatly side stepping some of the more obvious pitfalls. I’ve seen some products from brands steeped in tradition, that seem to encapsulate a digital midlife crisis – replete with faux leather and terrible stitching. Polk thankfully eschew the tacky and have shrouded the Camden Square with a retro, etched metal top and chestnut leather sides. It’s very distinctive in appearance – without looking quirky for quirky’s sake. The Square can be popped up on its side when you’re listening late at night, or laid flat on its back when you really want the sound to bounce around the room. It feels hefty and is most certainly not a toy. There’s a little recessed groove around the back that you can use as a carrying handle, and I found myself moving the Square from room to room, either for background audio or for moderate dancing. And it was great. The onboard DSP and acoustic system balance the sound a various volumes. The Camden Square is a pretty loud, without being the loudest speaker, but it excelled at being just the right volume, without really distorting the sound. It’s not for bass-heads – it’s a bit more sensible than that, but being able to listen to sparking audio late at night or first thing in the morning without disturbing the rest of the house was a godsend.
I’ve charged the Camden Square once since it came into my hands. Polk claim it has 24 hours of charge on a moderate listen, and it certainly seemed to last for what felt like ages. In fact it’s still going. The Camden Square comes with a DJ Stream app that allows up to four users to connect to Camden and sync multiple playlists into one. This sounds like a good idea but is a bit too much hassle to actually use – having to make your friends all download an app sounds a bit too fiddly for the average person to actually engage with.
Classic design, brilliant battery life, and sound that’s sensitive to your surrounding, the Camden Square feels like a welcome throw back to the days when quality mattered.
Camden Square (RRP: £259.00) and out now from Polk Audio.
- Full range high performance drive units—two left and two right full range drive units include rubber surrounds for long life and 19mm voice coil for better control.
- Passive radiator acoustic design—A pair of optimally-sized rectangular 2″ x 3″ mass-loaded passive bass radiators, installed on opposing faces of the enclosure, provide extended bass weight and impact.
- Full Complement Bass (FCB)—Below approximately 200 Hz,
- All drivers reproduce identical summed monophonic (L+R) signal, for optimal bass reproduction with minimal distortion.