Measuring solely 2.1 inches tall, 35.Four inches broad, and three.2 inches deep, the Polk Signa S1 is designed to be heard, not seen. In that tiny footprint, Polk has packed a multi-driver array consisting of two 1.25-inch drivers, a Four.Four-inch broad oval midrange driver, and two 1-inch tweeters.
You may wall mount the 11.35-pound Signa S1 with screws because of its keyhole hanger. There’s no particular mounting wanted. In fact, it’s also possible to place the soundbar on prime of or inside a cupboard.The advantage of such a slimline soundbar is that it received’t block your TV’s IR distant sensor do you have to put the soundbar on prime of a cupboard with the TV instantly behind it. Taller soundbars have the potential to dam your TV’s distant management port. Sadly, there are not any EQ choices to assist modify the soundbar’s sonics for these completely different placements that may adversely affect the midrange and bass.
The complementary subwoofer connects wirelessly to the sound bar. Polk anticipates client technophobia. The subwoofer comes pre-paired with the sound bar while you unbox the unit. Ought to the pairing go awry, the method to re-pair the sub with the sound bar is easy. The sub’s 5.25-inch driver is enclosed in a slimline cupboard measuring roughly 13.Four-inches tall by 6.7-inches broad by 12.Three-inches deep. The subwoofer is good for tucking away subsequent to a sofa or in a nook. A 5.25-inch driver received’t do a lot in a big room nor will it have the power to dig down to breed deep bass notes. However, Polk charges the entire system response to achieve right down to about 45Hz, which is equal to the frequency vary from a superb pair of monitor loudspeakers.
The Polk Signa S1 comes with 4 completely different modes. Film mode is alleged to reinforce the sound bar’s audio copy for TV and flicks; music mode is for music content material or programming with music; the night time impact mode reduces bass, reduces program dynamics, and boosts dialog intelligibility for low-volume listening; and voice modify isolates the voice channel to spice up dialog.
Organising the Signa S1 is straightforward and easy. You run both a Toslink optical cable (included) out of your TV to the soundbar or an analog Three.5mm-to-RCA stereo cable (not included). On this configuration, make sure that your TV is about for exterior audio or the interior audio system audio system are turned off. Double-check your TV’s consumer handbook otherwise you would possibly get sound from each the soundbar and the TV’s inside audio system.
There’s no HDMI port with audio return channel (ARC) or different HDMI inputs on the soundbar. Subsequently, you’ll want to attach all of your audio sources to your TV after which use your TV’s enter button to change between them.
Fundamental Bluetooth streaming
Most soundbars at this value level include Bluetooth streaming solely. The Polk Signa S1 isn’t any completely different. Activating a Bluetooth reference to the Polk Signa S1 soundbar shows a strong blue LED gentle on the entrance of the cupboard.
Talking of the Polk’s LEDs, the collection of 4 lets you realize what’s occurring. A single white LED glows to let you realize the soundbar is about to its optical connection. Two white lights point out the enter is about to the auxiliary analog enter. A single inexperienced gentle means the soundbar is receiving an audio sign encoded with Dolby Digital, and a single purple gentle let’s you realize one of many soundbar’s 4 audio modes is lively (film, music, night time impact, or voice modify).
These indicators aren’t nearly as good as they could possibly be. The purple gentle, for instance, is much too dim to be seen simply in daylight situations. Even in a completely darkened room, the purple LED was tough to see as a result of it is dimmer than the white LED and solely blinks on for a fraction of a second earlier than turning off once more. I discovered myself dismissing the entrance LED lights altogether and as an alternative trusted my ears to inform me what was happening. Whereas it’s straightforward to play armchair product designer, the actual fact stays that this can be a very fairly priced soundbar and it may be unfair to count on plenty of bells and whistles.
Strong distant management
Most soundbars at this value level include an inexpensive, skinny, credit-card fashion remotes. The Polk fortunately breaks that pattern. The Signa S1’s distant suits properly in your hand. It’s logically laid out with tactile buttons of various sizes and shapes so you possibly can navigate it with out trying. There are impartial toggle-inspired buttons for quantity and adjusting the bass quantity. There’s no approach to inform the precise quantity of both, nonetheless, and there isn’t a simple approach to reset the bass quantity to its default. The one suggestions you get is by way of the soundbar’s single entrance LED.
I discovered the distant to be a bit finicky. I had problem getting distant instructions to work as soon as I began to get previous about 20- to 30 levels off middle. Even once I was on-center, there have been just a few instances I needed to press the distant a second time for a command to stay. To be honest, maybe I used to be extra attuned to those points after utilizing the Vizio SB3651-E6 Smart Cast soundbar’s distinctive IR distant.
Fast and straightforward setup
The Polk Signa S1 was a bit of cake to arrange. I examined the speaker/subwoofer combo in my residence theater area, the place I’ve a devoted 7.2.6 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio setup. As a result of I’m in the course of reviewing a Marantz SR7012 A/V receiver, I discovered it simpler to attach my Oppo UDP-203 UltraHD Blu-ray participant on to the Polk Signa S1 soundbar with a Toslink optical cable. Whereas the Signa S1 comes with a super-thin 4 foot Toslink Optical cable, I used my six foot Audioquest optical cable as an alternative, as a result of the included cable was one foot too quick to achieve to my audio tools rack. For many makes use of, the Toslink’s four-foot size will probably be greater than sufficient as a result of as I discussed above you’ll usually feed the soundbar out of your TV’s Toslink optical output.
Connecting the soundbar by way of Bluetooth to my iPhone was simply as straightforward. The audio streaming is there as a pleasant comfort do you have to want it, however it could’t be expanded to be a part of a whole-home streaming setup. I actually want that this soundbar got here with DTS Play-Fi like Polk’s Omni S6 wireless speaker that I beforehand reviewed. Together with DTS Play-Fi would have made this soundbar an unbelievable worth.
Powering up the system took roughly 10 seconds earlier than any sound would come out. I discovered that to be a relatively lengthy wait so I powered the soundbar off after which on once more just a few instances and seen the identical preliminary delay. Be warned, your TV will probably be on and enjoying earlier than the sound kicks in.
Makes dialog extremely intelligible
For the cash, the Signa S1 has an incredible capacity to render dialog extra intelligible. On the draw back, the Polk Signa S1’s weaknesses are much like different soundbars at this value level: Compressed dynamics, lack of prime finish sizzle, and a superb however not authoritative backside finish.
Enjoying Star Wars Rogue One gave the Polk a run for it’s cash, revealing each its strengths and weaknesses. Clear dialog was a determined energy. Actors’ speech was straightforward to know throughout a wide range of content material. And if you must improve it even additional, the Polk comes with three dialog-enhancement settings, which it calls Voice Regulate. When Director Orson Krennic has his ominous viewers earlier than Darth Vader in Chapter 27, for instance, each Vader’s and Krennic’s voices have been pristine in opposition to John Williams’ rating and the soundtrack’s background sounds.
Activating every of the three Voice Regulate settings made Vader’s and Krennic’s voices much more pronounced. The way in which all these voice enhancement methods work, nonetheless, is by boosting frequencies inside its explicit vary and de-emphasizing some others in response to an algorithm. As a result of the system can’t particularly discern voices from background sounds, the system tends to lift all sounds within the vary it’s affecting.
Consequently, on the two highest Voice Regulate settings voices are actually clear, however the general sound turns into unbalanced and synthetic. As soon as once more, this isn’t essentially a knock in opposition to the Polk particularly. This can be a attribute that I’ve famous constantly throughout many soundbars. Till we are able to have true object-based dialog adjustment as promised by way of DTS:X, any voice enhancement expertise will fall in need of perfection.
Trying to different facets of the Polk’s efficiency, the highest finish was rolled off. Cymbals lacked lifelike sizzle and horns have been robbed of their luster and dynamics. Returning once more to Rogue One, Chapter 27, for instance, when Krenic visits Darth Vader on Mustafar: The scene opens with a wide-angle view of the volcanic planet. Director Krennic’s shuttle buzzes throughout the sky as John Williams’ ominous rating takes middle stage. The Polk simply couldn’t reproduce the total affect of John Williams stunning rating as I’ve skilled in my reference system or by way of dearer soundbars.
My listening area is sort of giant—about 24 ft by 13 ft with a gap to the precise aspect and rear. After I turned up Polk’s quantity, I seen a touch of clipping. In Rogue One Chapter 32, “10 males like 100,” for instance, Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor are addressing the insurgent assault workforce earlier than reaching Scarif. Jyn and Cassian’s voices exhibited a little bit of harshness at larger volumes that wasn’t current once I had the soundbar enjoying at decrease quantity ranges.
I additionally examined the Polk’s “night time” setting, which adjusts the soundbar’s output for late-night listening so that you don’t get up your loved ones or the neighbors. I discovered the night time setting to be extremely efficient. It normalized and capped your complete audio vary however dialogue remained completely intelligible as different sounds and frequencies recessed into the background. Not all late-night settings on soundbars work as marketed. For my part, Polk did an impressive job with this setting.
Put the Signa S1 in your quick listing to audition
Polk’s Signa S1 soundbar does a superb job of elevating your listening expertise past the constraints of your TV’s built-in audio system, and for an especially modest funding. Chief amongst its strengths, the Indicators S1 does an impressive job of constructing voices and dialog clear and intelligible, and it does so in an ultra-slim footprint. The soundbar and wi-fi subwoofer include simply sufficient extras to make it a strong worth. Should you’re on a strict price range and pissed off by your TV’s subpar sound, the Polk Signa S1 must be in your quick listing to audition.