Review: Polk Signa S1 soundbar wireless sub combo

EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,894
edited April 2018 in Speakers
This is by no means a super long review, or even much of a review but I wanted to post my thoughts on the Polk Signa S1 soundbar.

I'm not going to rundown its dimensions, speaker sizes or any of that. Hit this link for that info

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Background:
Our old Polk 1000 surroundbar died late last year after serving as our staple for years. We decided to hold off on replacing it for quite some time as we found the TV speakers sufficient.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and my wife decided to purchase a new soundbar. I came home and my wife told me she decided we needed to get a new soundbar and she had already ordered the Polk Signa S1, and if I didn't like it I could shove it :smile:.

Knowing NOTHING about this soundbar (or really any of them for that matter), I quickly dived into the Polk homepage to read about it.

It is a wired soundbar with a wireless sub. That's pretty cool I thought to myself, hopefully the sub doesn't suck.

It was delivered to our door within a few days.

Packaging:

First of all the factory packaging was very nice, the cardboard was pretty thick, albeit a PITA to get open as it was put together like a origami puzzle. The foam packaging around the bar and sub were about what I expected. It included a remote, 2 power supplies (one for the sub and surroundbar), and an optical cable. It might have had a set of RCA cables as well, I honestly forget.

Something I would have appreciated (but didn’t expect) would be longer, thicker optical cable. I'd hazard a guess that included optical cable is 16 gauge, and maybe 6 feet long. I understand Polk anticipates the soundbar being placed very close to the TV, if not directly above or below. A thin short cable keeps the clutter minimal. My counter argument is that many people are now routing cables through their walls to avoid seeing them, extra length is needed for that connection, as well as thickness for strength. I promptly replaced the stock optical cable with another cable I had that was longer and thicker.

Styling:

This will be fairly short. The soundbar is nice. Its not really tall, is thin and wide, but not TOO wide. The grill cloth is very nice, color scheme is simply and elegant, it will fit in just about any room and fade away and not draw attention to itself. Polk did a great job here. Also because the sub is wireless, you can plug it in to any outlet nearby to help hide it away. Polk hit a home run with this aspect in my honest opinion. I don’t want to be drawn to how LARGE, or SHINY the soundbar is. I want to be drawn in by the SOUND and how BIG it sounds given its form factor. I didn't expect anything less.

Connecting it up:

Super easy to connect things up. You plug in the soundbar, you plug in the sub, and you connect the soundbar to the TV. The sub and soundbar wireless sync'd and I had to do nothing to get that to work. That was quite nice I must say.

The soundbar has Optical and Auxiliary (3.5mm) physical inputs, and allows for audio over Bluetooth. I had to admit having Bluetooth makes this thing pretty awesome IMHO. We've used it once or twice already and it's super easy to use. In my case, I connected it via Optical

Features:

The soundbar can decode Dolby via optical. Don’t think it can via Aux but not sure. I don’t have it connected that way so I could care less. There is a set of small colored LED's that indicate what input you are using, and features are activate (Dolby & Voice Adjust). The LED's are easy to see, but not overly bright and blinding. Good job here Polk.

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The remote has a bunch of buttons and features such as Voice Adjust (of which there are 3 levels), Movie/Music or Night modes, and then Bass Up/Down and Volume. Since I'm all in on Harmony remotes, I haven't really been using the included remote, though I did program most of the buttons into my Harmony.

Sound quality & Usage thoughts:

This will be one of the shorter sections. This is a soundbar.... that I use...... in my bedroom. I don’t spend a lot of time listening here, but I wanted to list my impressions anyway. So first of all, for a bedroom this thing is overkill. It can get really loud, clear and full. The sub doesn’t call notice to itself, but its there and helping. Will it replace the SDA 2A's and 4 12's downstairs…. Nope. For a bedroom or a smaller room that you casually watch TV in, it’s a PERFECT FIT! I've actually been debating disconnecting the sub as the bar itself does what I need, and the sub carries farther into the house than I really want late at night. Again, for my setup that’s bad, for most folks, that's good.

The voice adjust feature does exactly that. It makes the voices a lot louder and clearer, though I think IMHO the frequency boost goes a bit too far down in the frequency range as it adds a lot of bass to male voices that makes the sound carry farther than I'd want.

We use the night mode often and it's very nice. It mutes everything a bit, so you end up turning up the volume, but the sound doesn’t carry as far through walls, so IMHO that’s a win.

Now with all that said, if I had to choose between this soundbar and the Polk Woodbourne (now discontinued for a year or more)… no question the Woodbourne would win. But that’s not really fair as the Woodbourne, when it was still around, retailed for almost triple what this does. Also the Woodbourne is a lot bigger and not really a fair comparison looks wise either. I still have the Woodbourne on my list to find/buy, but for outdoor use. My bedroom, thanks to the Signa S1, is set. I would even put it in the loft, but then I'd have to get rid of my other speakers in there, and that’s not gonna happen.

I'm not familiar with any other of Polks current soundbar offerings so I can't do a compare there, but if this one is good, the pricier ones can only be better.

I've used bluetooth once or twice to listen to the radio from my phone in the morning, or Spotify as I get ready. Its stupid easy to use for that, and really nice to not have to screw with the TV.

Conclusion

So to sum all this up, for what you pay for this soundbar (it goes on sale pretty frequently), it’s a steal of a deal. You get a soundbar that is perfect for a bedroom, bar area, or even a smaller living room if you just want to step up from TV speakers. It gets quite loud, digs decently low and again is a great bargain at its pricepoint.

Setup is a breeze and it offers good connectivity options and features.

I give it two thumbs up!
"....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
Post edited by EndersShadow on

Comments

  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,078
    Nice review. Now it makes me wonder how the bigger ones sound from Polk.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R, Tyler Highland H2, Aries Mini, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac 11, W4S recovery, Wireworld Platinum Starlight, PS Audio Direct Stream JR.

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T

  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,894
    erniejade wrote: »
    Nice review. Now it makes me wonder how the bigger ones sound from Polk.

    Agreed. However for a fair amount of people this would be all you'd ever need in a bedroom. Its more than we need.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • mdaudioguymdaudioguy Posts: 5,082
    Nice write-up! No Dolby digital over AUX. It's just an analog stereo input. Agree 100% on the cheap optical cable. They should spend an extra quarter and provide a more robust cable. I've yet to have one fail, but I'm always concerned that it can easily get pinched or kinked. They use the same cable for the Magnifi series.
  • Our Signa 2 sound freezes if we don't move sound up or down for let's say 15 minutes or change channels on TV. When happens have to shut both soundbar and TV off for like two minutes. Then works again. As long as we keep changing sound all is well. But if we don't ...
  • Our Signa 2 sound freezes if we don't move sound up or down for let's say 15 minutes or change channels on TV. When happens have to shut both soundbar and TV off for like two minutes. Then works again. As long as we keep changing sound all is well. But if we don't ...

    Is it connected to your tv via HDMI arc? Have you tried connecting via optical connection to see if it resolves the issue? (Sounds like it might be an arc issue. Try also updating your TV firmware)
  • Great review. The value and performance on the Signa s1 and S2 I think is really excellent.
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