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

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 8,310
    Are you unhappy with the high frequency reproduction during movies or during stereo music listening?
  • 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 SDA2BTL's; LAT International speaker cables, ZU Mission IC's and power cables all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    Other; S60'S, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All vintage Polk have had crossover rebuilds and tweeter upgrades.

    There are three things that give a man a false sense of courage, a keyboard, alcohol and a firearm.
    Motorhead, 4.12.20

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there

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  • cfrizzcfrizz Posts: 13,420
    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.
    Marantz AV-7705 PrePro, Classé 5 ch. 200wpc 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: 9,141
    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.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,466
    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-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 2,129
    May want to figure out a budget before these guys bankrupt you.
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 2,315
    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 UN75RU710DFXZA,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk LsiM 705
    Center: Polk LSiM 704C
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk S15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

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

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES AVR, Sony DVP-NS3100ES for disc
    Cerwin Vega AT-12 (blasters) Advent Prodigy (listening)
    Old sony 12" Sub
    Mini tower PC with 400GB of music
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 5,094
    Uh ohhhhhh.....
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,466
    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-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • 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!



  • Tony MTony M Posts: 9,165
    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: 32,466
    @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-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • mrlorenmrloren Posts: 2,315
    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 UN75RU710DFXZA,
    Denon AVR-X4400H, Emotiva XPA3 GEN3
    Oppo BDP-93,Sony UBP-X800BM, WD Live HUB.
    Main: Polk LsiM 705
    Center: Polk LSiM 704C
    Front High/Rear High In-Ceiling Polk 80F/X RT
    Surrounds: Polk S15
    Sub: HSU VTF3-MK5

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

    Working Warehouse;
    Sony 2100ES AVR, Sony DVP-NS3100ES for disc
    Cerwin Vega AT-12 (blasters) Advent Prodigy (listening)
    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: 13,420
    Nice post. Welcome to Club Polk JLStice!
    Marantz AV-7705 PrePro, Classé 5 ch. 200wpc 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: 325
    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: 2,631
    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 A31 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A23; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 8,310
    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.

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,836
    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: 25,836
    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.

  • audionewbie123audionewbie123 Posts: 9
    edited December 2017
    Clipdat wrote: »
    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.

    I will give that a try. Thank you.
  • mhardy6647 wrote: »
    maybe I missed it -- but, perchance, are their any sort of tone controls on the OP's amplifier/receiver thingy?

    I've tried playing with the 2 tone control settings on the receiver. It works, but not ideal.

  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 2,129
    DSkip wrote: »
    The speakers will smooth out some over time but not enough to completely kill your current sound. Like we mentioned before, a rug might be all you need to suit your needs. It is probably your cheapest option and might just warm your room up from a design point as well.

    You thinking of opening up a rug department?
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 6,598
    One thing I will note is that a rug that will actually positively affect your space from a design perspective will most definitely NOT be your cheapest solution. In a room that large you will need at least an 8x10 rug to help, and a quality, good looking rug that size will cost you at least $200 bucks. At that price I would buy a new receiver first...
    Living Room 2.1: Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkii; Martin Logan Grotto sub; Musical Fidelity A308; Cambridge Azur 851N
    Game Room HT: Denon AVR-X4200w; Definitive Technology SM350; Definitive Technology LCR2000; Definitive Technology Procinema 800; Mirage Nanasats; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5
    Master Bedroom
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Definitive Technology SM45; ACI Titan Subwoofer; Squeezebox Touch
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 2,763
    edited December 2017
    JLStice wrote: »
    ....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...

    You've hit the nail right smack on the head! Right off the bat the op audionewbie123 comment about the much wider soundstage pointed to the good and bad of the Signature speakers in his room.

    Maybe the OP knows this but maybe not. Just hanging paintings on the wall can alter the sound or dampening in a room. So, think of a room as a unique space that may need attention to produce the type of sound you are after.

    As far as receivers...the lower end Onkyo units sound different that the higher end units. I found the higher end units were more musical, powerful, and balanced overall ...on the top end as well. In comparison, the Pioneer Elite SC units were more lively and hot on the top end...and powerful! The Elite SC units are great for home theater and more subdued speakers...and those that want to ROCK the HELL out using an AVR. Only a dedicated amp setup will fair better that the SC units for banging out the tunes or movies. Getting a better receiver is always nice but might not totally fix your issue and may cost quite a bit more for better performance.

    Nevertheless, once you get used to the well adjusted sound of a good stereo / HT setup you will not want to go back to a lesser setup. Consider this example.... I previously had a very nice higher end Onkyo avr ($2099 list, 55lbs, four transformers) / Parasound amp (3 ch, high current) in my main TV room. I have rotated several different speakers over the years. Nevertheless, life happens and I had to sell the gear and now have a basic lower end setup in the room. I have an old cheap Sony AVR, Polk RT600 mains and CS400 center in the mix until I can fix an midline Onkyo unit I picked up for cheap. (I'm a tech that buys used stuff and fix it up as a hobby.) The point here is that my wife who is not into audio at all noticed the sound different and stated how hollow, tinny, and bright the system sounds now. She flat out said that I spoiled Her to good sound and clear dialog for TV and movies. This is the same women that gives me that look when I bring new speakers and gear into the house. I'm not making this story up!

    Nevertheless, I agree to try different speaker positioning, and a rug first. Then, if that does not do it maybe consider wall dampening and/or ceiling dampening.

    Here is a good read on understanding the effects of dispersion in a room: http://sanderssoundsystems.com/technical-white-papers/147-dispersion-white-paper

    There is tons of info around the net on these issues, dampening, etc. It all comes down to knowledge, trial and error. That's audio!

    FAMILY ROOM
    HDTV - Sharp AQUOS LC-70LE600U 70" | AVR/Streamer - Onkyo TX-NR3008 | Amp - Parasound HCA-1203A
    Blu-Ray/Media/Gaming - Sony PS3-320GB / Microsoft Xbox One | Broadcast - Xfinity X1 Platform
    Front Spkrs - Coming...DIY Statement II | Center Spkrs - Coming...DIY Statement II | Rear Spkrs - Artison Portrait LRS
    Sub - DIY Stereo Integrity HT 15 | Sub Amp - Dayton Audio SA1000
    Wire - Audioquest Type 4, BJC Belden 5000 | HDMI - BJC Belden | Power Cables - Pangea | Surge - Monster
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