Polk Signature S60 -- too much treble?

I just picked up a S60/S20/S35/HTS-12 combo. I'm driving these speakers with an older Onkyo 626 AV receiver. They are setup in my living room (30ftx20ft) that has hardwood floor (no carpet).

Previously, I was using a pair of really old JBL P30 speakers with the same Onkyo amp. IMO, the S60 in comparison presents a phenomenally wider soundstage than these old speakers. The clarity of the various instruments/vocals was also much improved.

However I feel like the high frequency portion of the sound is a bit much. I tried using Audessey XT and played with a various options available in the receiver (direct-mode, dynamic eq, cross-over..), and still feel like there is too much emphasis on the highs with mids taking a back-seat (I wonder if this is a preference thing). I'm curious to see what other folks' experience has been with these speakers. I'd also appreciate any feedback you have on improving the sound. Thanks!


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Comments

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,990
    edited December 2017
    Big space, hard surfaces, weak amplifier that is being strained.... yeah, you are going to have major treble issues. Which area do you want to work on first? :)
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,789
    Are you unhappy with the high frequency reproduction during movies or during stereo music listening?
    Got Dayens?
  • Nothing at all forward or harsh about the S60's tweets.

    Skip has it covered.

    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's;Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC; Audioquest Big Sur IC; LAT International speaker cables; PS Audio AC-3 power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Political memes posted as fact and accepted as fact, are sign language of the ignorant, for the ignorant

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there
  • cfrizzcfrizz Posts: 13,040
    I have the S60s, and I find they have a terrific balance between the tweeter and drivers and sound great for music.

    I also have hardwood floors, but the difference is that I'm running my system with separates, including a 405wpc amp, so the speakers have all the power that they need no matter where the volume knob is.

    Listen to Skip, and start making changes.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Oppo 103 BluRay, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Sony Bravia KDL-40R510C TV, Polk S60 Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, SVS NSD-12 SB12 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers
  • @DSkip - Thank you for that insight. Can't do much about the space. I don't suppose throwing down a thick carpet is going help much (or will it?). I guess I'm more inclined to start with the weak amplifier and improve that. Unfortunately the Onkyo NR-626 doesn't have pre-outs, so have to trade up to a better model for that. Any suggestions for how to go about this route?

    @Clipdat - It's during stereo music listening.

    @motorhead43026 @cfrizz - Thank you for that data point. I'm more inclined now to try swapping out the amp with something with more power. I've gotta say both your amps are way more expensive that the combo speaker set that I purchased :smile:
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 7,545
    edited December 2017
    Get a large area rug, center it in front of the speakers, keep the speakers directly on the floor. Any windows get some heavy drapes on them.

    The step above that is room treatments on the wall. Sometimes you can find those on Craigslist cheap.
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,893
    While that entry level receiver may be part of your problem, the cabling might also be contributing. What are you using for cables ?

    No offense meant, it's just that the better your speakers are, the more they will reveal the weak links in your system.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 1,774
    May want to figure out a budget before these guys bankrupt you.
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,509
    Yes listen to Skip.

    I use to have an Onkyo 626, it was not a bad AVR, not great either. It was not bright either.

    What speaker wire are you using? Monoprice 12AWG is bare min. If it's 16AWG RCA/Big Box store junk this could be part of the problem

    Not knowing the total of your setup here are a few things to look at.

    Speaker wire, Monoprice 12AWG is not bad but maybe invest a few bucks and get some of Doug's Furez http://douglasconnection.com/Raw-Speaker-Cable_c33.htm Very affordable and a big step up from the Monoprice stuff.

    Room reflections. no carpet on hardwood floors can cause some room gain in the upper end. Try a couple of throw rugs

    Your AVR is not the worlds greatest. Think about replacing it soon before the HDMI board fries out (common problem with Onkyo). Denon, Marantz or Yamaha are good AVR's. You can get a good one for less than $600 referb from A4L https://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/category/avreceiver/home-audio/receivers-amps/home-theater-receivers/1.html Or shop, look for deals. Amazon might still be selling the Denon AVR-X3300H for $599. Something with pre-outs is wise so you can spend more later adding an amp.
    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

    Family Room:
    Samsung UN60H,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, Sony DVP-NS3100ES, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk Signature S60
    Center: Polk CSi-A6
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk T15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

    Bed Room;
    Sony KDF-E42A10,
    Marantz SR5010, BDP-S270
    Main: Polk Signature S20
    Center: Polk Signature S35
    Rear: Polk R15
    Sub: HSU STF-2

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES
    Polk RTi4 about 15' up the wall
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,990
    Start with an area rug - the thicker the better. Make sure it is wide enough to be in front of both speakers. Maybe add some drapes in the room if you haven't.

    For the receiver, I'm going to do a shameless plug for the Pioneer SC-63 I'm selling. You'll be hard pressed to do better and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,990
    I wouldn't worry about cabling right now. It's important but it isn't the bottleneck to your system right now. A big open, hard room is disastrous for audio and the receiver just doesn't have the balls regardless of cabling.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,990
    Sigh... one more add. I'm going to advise against Wireworld in this case and tell you to look at Doug's Furez cables if you decide to splurge on some. They do well in this kind of scenario.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 4,314
    Uh ohhhhhh.....
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,893
    All the things mentioned play a role to correcting your problem. Better receiver, throw rug, better quality cables, source....tackle them one at a time. You'll hear an improvement with each step you take.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • audionewbie123audionewbie123 Posts: 9
    edited December 2017
    @tonyb @mloren - I used monoprice 12 awg speaker wire and the closed screw type banana plugs from monoprice. This was based on the following research https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-speaker-cable/
    https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-banana-plugs/

    @DSkip -
    look at Doug's Furez cables if you decide to splurge on some. They do well in this kind of scenario.
    - I don't understand. Are you saying these cables will help with my treble issues? Also, how much were you looking for your SC-63?

    I will add the rug and report if that helped. Thank you for the tips!



  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,990
    His can. His cables have a thicker midrange to them and that will help balance your overall sound now. However, I would wait until the other two issues were taken into account first.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 6,252
    Does the speakers menu set-up have the fronts set to small ?

    Is the subwoofer output set to yes ?

    I've had a receiver that would NOT let me have a sub set to yes and the fronts set to Large at the same time. Weirdest thing I've ever seen for flexibility set-ups.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,893
    @tonyb @mloren - I used monoprice 12 awg speaker wire and the closed screw type banana plugs from monoprice. This was based on the following research https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-speaker-cable/
    https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-banana-plugs/

    @DSkip -
    look at Doug's Furez cables if you decide to splurge on some. They do well in this kind of scenario.
    - I don't understand. Are you saying these cables will help with my treble issues? Also, how much were you looking for your SC-63?

    I will add the rug and report if that helped. Thank you for the tips!



    Imho....monoprice is at the lower rungs of the ladder when it comes to cables. The Furez from Douglasconnections would be miles better. There are other cheap alternatives too which are a few steps up which are Signal cable and Bluejeans cables. Signal cable may still offer a discount if you tell them your a member here.

    Yeah, usually the rule of thumb when trying to tweak your system or problem solve is to try the easiest and cheapest tips first. Everyones listening environment is different so what works for one may not work for another. Trial and error starting with the cheapest first.
    HT SYSTEM-2 channel
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Dynaudio Audience 72
    Polk FX500 surrounds
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k Ref 4420 amp

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 1,509
    Well at least you are using decent speaker wire. When I went from Monoprice to Doug's Furez I did notice a nice detailed difference. Thing about getting good cables is they are a one time buy.

    That AVR @DSkip has up for sale is a great deal. If you're not going ATMOS or DTS-X it will have enough power for your speakers.

    @tonyb is also correct, start with the lowest cost upgrades and see how it changes the sound.

    When I was a kid my parents told me to turn it down. Now I'm an adult and my kids tell me to turn it down.

    Family Room:
    Samsung UN60H,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, Sony DVP-NS3100ES, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk Signature S60
    Center: Polk CSi-A6
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk T15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

    Bed Room;
    Sony KDF-E42A10,
    Marantz SR5010, BDP-S270
    Main: Polk Signature S20
    Center: Polk Signature S35
    Rear: Polk R15
    Sub: HSU STF-2

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES
    Polk RTi4 about 15' up the wall
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • My first thought is that your old setup may not have had crisp enough highs all along and now you are confronting a listening space issue you never realized you had. Surface reflectivity is a BIG deal on the high end as the sound waves have more than enough cycles to modulate together between you and whatever surface is reflecting. This is why rooms 'ring' at the higher end. I'm working on a job in DC with the same sort of issues on the higher end. Similar dimensions at 17x30ft, wood floor, flat spans of drywall walls and ceiling.

    Check the angle of the speakers, which can make an immense difference. If your new Polks have a wider high-end dispersion pattern from the tweeters than your older ones, they may need more angling. If they're angled inward and spaced as far to the sides as possible that helps and gives the most channel separation, but it isn't always practical or aesthetically pleasing to do that YMMV. Put a sound absorbent object or panel to the side of the speakers (in the listening space, not literally beside them). In our case, we're going to be using things like canvas paintings NO glass (seriously NO exposed glass in the listening environment if you care about your sound), cloth furniture, and tapestries on the taller vertical surfaces. If it's not a complete pain in the **** I'd do textured ceiling, consider it if you don't have that already but know it is nearly impossible to un-do if you go that way. Decorate... just no glass.

    Our space is built to accommodate small acoustic performer groups, dj's, and dancing. I tune spaces with my portable Casio grand. I've remodeled with all of the sound isolation in the walls, which absorbs most low frequencies that could have otherwise built up a strong drumming in such a long space, but the higher end has to be dealt with very differently. We even have round corners on all of our drywall to fan reflections. I am building in an exposed rough brick-faced fireplace on the longest flat surface as a sound break and the wall opposite the sound stage (litterally here) will also rough exposed brick, too. Getting that high end clear and crisp is an art, have fun with it.
  • cfrizzcfrizz Posts: 13,040
    Nice post. Welcome to Club Polk JLStice!
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Oppo 103 BluRay, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Sony Bravia KDL-40R510C TV, Polk S60 Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, SVS NSD-12 SB12 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers
  • spongersponger Posts: 260
    Any chance that they need to burn in some more before the mids loosen up enough to balance things out? I know that it's a contentious issue for some as to whether such a thing as the so-called "break-in" period even exists. So, I am not making an empirical claim either way. Just thought I'd mention it since it doesn't appear it's been discussed based my quick overview of this thread.
    Denon AVR 3312CI
    S15
    Sony 790S
    Denon DP 300f
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,150
    cfrizz wrote: »
    Nice post. Welcome to Club Polk JLStice!

    Agree, excellent points. It’s like the ads for super high end speakers where the speakers are sitting in a vast room with bare walls, tile floor, and huge windows looking out to parkland. Looks nice but won’t sound good in that space. Of course, the speakers never have speaker cable running to them either.

    Got to match speakers to their environment to make them sound good.

    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Toshiba HD-DVD Player; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 Preamp; Sonic Frontiers Power 2 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Pioneer Elite SC97 receiver; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,789
    I have the similar Onkyo HT-RC360 and I've never really been happy or impressed with it for music listening. Although it does sound great during movies, no complaints there.

    One thing you could try is hooking your music source up to one of it's different inputs and then experimenting with all the settings. I know you mentioned you already tried the various Audessey settings. But I still think it wouldn't hurt to give it another try.

    Switch to an input you haven't previously used or configured and then play around with the various speaker settings, crossover frequencies, speaker size selections, and enabling the "Music Optimizer" option.
    @Clipdat - It's during stereo music listening.

    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,335
    edited December 2017
    maybe I missed it -- but, perchance, are their any sort of tone controls on the OP's amplifier/receiver thingy?


    ... or am I just hopelessly stuck in the 20th Century?

    :/

    (PS I do realize that it's probably all auto-EQ computer smart calibrated-"I'm-sorry-Dave-I-can't-let-you-do-that" and all... but it still seemed worthy of mention (even if just for entertainment purposes, you know?).

    :)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,335
    edited December 2017
    Actually -- if it's a TR-NX626 (??), it does indeed have tone controls, per the manual I found at https://www.onkyousa.com/Downloads/manuals.php

    zbpsfcx9dgfc.png


    Now, I have no idea if said controls are accessible from whatever mode the OP is using the thing in... but I still was pleased to see I am not 100% out of touch (only about 97%...).
  • sponger wrote: »
    Any chance that they need to burn in some more before the mids loosen up enough to balance things out? I know that it's a contentious issue for some as to whether such a thing as the so-called "break-in" period even exists. So, I am not making an empirical claim either way. Just thought I'd mention it since it doesn't appear it's been discussed based my quick overview of this thread.

    I have noticed some positive change in sound characteristics during my 50 hrs of listening. It's possible there was some breaking-in effect, but hard to know for sure since, I have been changing speaker position, cross-over settings, audessey.
  • JLStice wrote: »
    My first thought is that your old setup may not have had crisp enough highs all along and now you are confronting a listening space issue you never realized you had.

    I think you are right about my old setup. Never really had crisp highs.

    Didn't realize how important room surfaces are for quality sound reproduction. Thank you for your detailed response, very insightful.
  • Yep2 wrote: »
    In a last ditch effort, I used a mirror on my ceiling best I could to see both speakers, & installed a single acoustic drop ceiling panel there.
    That was the ticket!
    Trial & Error.
    Wow. One ceiling panel made all the difference. Interesting.

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