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Polk Audio Signa S2 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Mar 12, 2020 at 08:12 am
Latest change: Writing modified Sep 01, 2023 at 11:54 am
Polk Audio Signa S2 Picture
6.6
Mixed Usage
7.3
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.9
Music
5.9
Movies

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a straightforward 2.1 soundbar that comes with a wireless subwoofer. It has an excited, V-shaped sound signature that isn't the best-balanced we've reviewed so far. On the upside, it gets loud enough for most people, although it might not perform the best when pushed to its limits, as you might hear compression and distortion. On the upside, it's decently well-made and supports wireless streaming via Bluetooth.

Our Verdict

6.6 Mixed Usage

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a passable stereo 2.1 soundbar. It's a fairly good upgrade from your TV speakers when it comes to watching TV shows and listening to stereo music. However, due to its 2.1 speaker configuration, it doesn't have a great immersive listening experience with surround content and doesn't support Atmos, which is disappointing for movies.

Pros
  • Decent build quality.
  • Decent audio reproduction.
  • Can get loud enough for most people.
Cons
  • Sub-par sound enhancement features, limited customization.
  • Poor surround performance, no Atmos support
7.3 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is very good for TV shows. Although it doesn't have a dedicated center channel, it's fairly well-balanced in the mid-range and it also features a dialogue enhancement feature to help make voices clearer.

6.9 Music

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a decent soundbar for music. This stereo setup comes with a wireless subwoofer that creates a lot of bass, although it has trouble creating very low-end frequencies for a deep rumble. The sound signature of this soundbar is rather excited and follows a V-shape with extra bass and excess in the treble range. This makes songs sound too boomy or too bright, depending on the track you're listening to.

5.9 Movies

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is sub-par for movies. It doesn't support Atmos so you won't be able to get height effects. On the upside, it can decode Dolby Digital content but has to downmix it to stereo to be able to play it, which doesn't result in a very immersive listening experience, and it doesn't support DTS.

  • 6.6 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.9 Music
  • 5.9 Movies
  1. Updated Sep 01, 2023: Added market comparison with the Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR in the Surround 5.1 box.
  2. Updated Mar 27, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  3. Updated Mar 22, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  4. Updated Oct 20, 2022: Added a market comparison with the Vizio V Series V214x-K6 to the 'Sound Enhancement Features' box.
  5. Updated Mar 01, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  6. Updated Sep 21, 2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.
  7. Updated Mar 12, 2020: Review published.
  8. Updated Mar 06, 2020: Our testers have started testing this product.
  9. Updated Mar 06, 2020: Early access published.
  10. Updated Mar 04, 2020: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  11. Updated Jan 20, 2020: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a very straightforward system. Its 2.1 configuration is very simple and can be a good upgrade for your TV speakers. However, it isn't as well-built as some other affordable option in this price range like the TCL Alto 7+, but it performs decently well overall. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars with subwoofer and the best budget soundbars. 

Yamaha YAS-209

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a much better soundbar than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Yamaha has a better-balanced frequency response and performs better with music. However, it doesn't get as loud as the Polk, but it performs way better at max volume. It also has a lot more inputs and supports more audio formats, on top of being able to play content via Wi-Fi. 

Sonos Arc

The standalone Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Sonos is better built, and it supports Dolby Atmos content. It has better center, surround, and soundstage performances and has built-in voice assistant support. It also comes with a room correction feature. However, unlike the Sonos, the Polk comes with EQ presets.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Sonos is a 3.0 setup with a discrete center channel that offers a better soundstage performance. It's better built, too. Unlike the Polk Audio soundbar, it has a room correction feature and built-in voice assistant support. However, some listeners may prefer to customize their bar's sound using the Polk Audio's EQ presets.

Vizio V Series V51-H6

The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Vizio is a 5.1 setup that has discrete satellites, unlike the 2.1 Polk Audio. It reproduces a more extended low-bass. Also, it has better center and surround performances.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The Samsung HW-Q600A is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Samsung is a 3.1.2 setup that's better built and supports Dolby Atmos content. It has better center and surround performances, and it comes with more sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ. Also, it reproduces a more extended low-bass, so you feel some more thump and rumble in your audio.

Vizio M Series M512a-H6

The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Vizio is a 5.1.2 setup with discrete satellites. It can reproduce a more extended low-bass, and unlike the Polk, it supports height content. Its soundstage, center, and surround performances are better, too.

Polk Audio MagniFi MAX SR

The Polk Audio Signa S2 and the Polk Audio MagniFi MAX SR are two different soundbar setups. The SIGNA is a 2.1 setup that's decent for dialogue-centric content and music. The MagniFi MAX is a 5.1 setup that scores better overall. Unlike the SIGNA, it comes with discrete satellites and more wireless playback options. It has better center and surround performances, too. However, we noticed a lot of issues with the audio when listening to real-life content on the MagniFi Max. Other users have reported similar experiences.

Samsung HW-B550

The Samsung HW-B550 is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. They're both budget-friendly 2.1 bars, but the Samsung soundbar performs best. It has more sound enhancement features, like a graphic EQ that lets you customize its sound to your liking. It's better-built, too, with a more balanced sound out-of-the-box than the boomy Polk.

Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR

The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The S2 is a 2.1 setup that's designed for stereo content like most music and TV shows. It lacks discrete satellites and Atmos support, unlike the AX SR. If you want a simpler bar, though, the S2 may still be an okay choice.

Bose Solo 5

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The Polk has a better overall sound, and its dedicated wireless subwoofer provides more bass. It can get noticeably louder and supports audio formats over ARC. However, the Bose feels more premium and is shorter, which makes it a better option if you're looking for a compact soundbar.

Yamaha YAS-207

The Yamaha YAS-207 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Yamaha's sound profile is better balanced and is suitable for a wider range of stereo content. Its subwoofer also creates deeper bass, and the bar creates a better overall phantom center channel. It also features a bit more inputs like a Full HDMI In port. On the other hand, the Polk isn't entirely covered by mesh and feels a bit more durable.

Samsung HW-T450

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a slightly better performing 2.1 setup than the Samsung HW-T450. While both bars have a similarly bass-heavy sound profile, the Polk can get slightly louder but with more compression artifacts present. It also has an HDMI ARC input so it supports Dolby Digital, is center and surround performances are a bit better, and it has a dialogue enhancement feature. However, only the Samsung supports DTS via its Optical Audio In port.

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a bit better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Bose is a 3.0 setup with a standalone design that's ideal if you don't have a lot of space. Despite its smaller size, it has a better soundstage, and it also has a better center channel performance. The Polk does come with a dedicated sub though, so it can reproduce a little more low-bass than the Bose.

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

The JBL Bar 5.1 Surround is better than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The JBL is a 5.1 setup that can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has better soundstage, center, and surround performances, too. Also, you can find more sound enhancement features, such as room correction.

Samsung HW-A450

The Samsung HW-A450 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the Polk Audio Signa S2. The Samsung soundbar has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, which some listeners may prefer. It also reproduces a more extended low-bass, and it has more sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ. That said, the Polk Audio is better built with an HDMI ARC port.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The soundbar has a very straightforward design. It's mostly made out of plastic and there's a mesh-like fabric covering the front. The fabric is tighter than some other soundbars like the Yamaha YAS-207, but it could still rip or tear.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes
Enclosure
Ported

The subwoofer looks rather cheap. The materials used don't look premium and the small glossy plate around the front port looks fragile. The front of the sub is covered by a mesh panel.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No

This setup doesn't have satellites.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 35.4" (89.9 cm)
Height 2.0" (5.0 cm)
Depth 3.1" (7.9 cm)

The bar isn't too long and might fit between some 55" TV's stands. It's also rather slim and won't block the bottom part of your screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width 6.7" (17.1 cm)
Height 13.7" (34.9 cm)
Depth 12.3" (31.3 cm)

This subwoofer is rather small and doesn't take much more room than a typical desktop computer.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A

This system doesn't come with satellite speakers.

Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
No
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of this soundbar is decent. Its fabric doesn't feel quite as durable as soundbars that have a metal grill protecting the drivers. The bar itself is mostly made out of plastic and there's a tight mesh fabric on the front. However, the subwoofer feels rather cheap. It's made from fragile-feeling melamine and doesn't feel very durable.

Design
In The Box

  • Remote
  • Battery
  • HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Optical cable (5.9 ft / 1.8m)
  • 2x power cables (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Wall-mounting spacers
  • Manuals

Sound
7.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Music
Slope
-0.44
Std. Err.
3.26 dB
Channels
2.1
Low-Frequency Extension
49.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.2 kHz

The stereo frequency response is decent. This bar has a rather excited sound profile that has a V-shape. The bar sounds either too boomy or too bright depending on the tracks you listen to. The small subwoofer creates powerful bass, but it doesn't get quite low enough for a good rumble.

7.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Music
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
-0.44
Std. Err.
3.26 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
49.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.2 kHz
7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.45 dB

The stereo soundstage is decent. This soundbar isn't particularly long, but its soundstage seemed a bit larger than the bar itself but not longer than a TV. On the upside, the focus of objects in the stereo soundstage was very good and they seem to be coming from a specific pinpoint and accurate location.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
95.6 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.66 dB

The Polk Audio Signa S2 has good stereo dynamics. This soundbar can get loud enough for most people, but cranking it up to its max volume might create noticeable compression artifacts.

6.3
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.58
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
10.19

The stereo total harmonic distortion performance is mediocre. You shouldn't notice anything at a normal listening volume, but when pushing the bar to its limits, there's a noticeable jump in THD throughout the range.

5.8
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-1.44
Std. Err.
5.48 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
93.6 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.55
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.22

Due to being a 2.1 system, this bar has sub-par center channel performance. Since it doesn't have a dedicated center channel, it uses the left and right channels to create a phantom center. This doesn't sound as clear and natural as a dedicated channel, and this soundbar has a rather bass-heavy sound profile.

3.3
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Slope
-1.47
Std. Err.
5.51 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
91.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.72
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.04
7.1 Rears
No

The Polk Audio Signa S2 has bad surround performance, but it's expected for a 2.1 soundbar. While it can receive surround sound signals, the bar downmixes everything to stereo to play it. This results in a less immersive experience and sounds seem to be coming from in front of you rather than around you. The Polk Audio Magnifi Max AX SR is a good alternative if you want a more premium surround sound.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Not Supported
Slope
N/A
Std. Err.
N/A
SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
Weighted THD @ 80dB
N/A
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't support Atmos content. If you're looking for a setup that can support Atmos content, check out the Sony HT-X9000F or the Polk Audio Signa S4.

4.5
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
No

This soundbar has limited sound enhancement features. It lacks room correction, meaning it might sound differently depending on your room. On the upside, unlike the Samsung HW-T450, it has a dialogue enhancement to make voices clearer. It also has a night mode to uniformize the noise from different types of content, which is nice. There are also a few EQ presets for movies and music. If you prefer a bar with more features, check out the Samsung HW-B550 or the Vizio V Series V214x-K6 instead.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
No

This soundbar has fairly limited inputs. It only has a single HDMI ARC port, an optical input, and a typical 3.5mm audio jack.

6.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

Over its HDMI ARC port, the Polk Audio Signa S2 only supports Dolby Digital content. This should be more than enough for people who only watch content coming from streaming services or Blu-rays, as this is the most common audio format. However, some Blu-ray discs are DTS-only, which could be an issue if your favorite movie is one of those.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

This soundbar doesn't have a Full HDMI port.

6.0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
No

Unlike most soundbars, it doesn't support DTS over its optical port and can only play Dolby Digital content.

7.3
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
83 ms
Optical
75 ms
Full HDMI In
N/A
6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No
Spotify Connect
No

You can easily stream music, podcasts, or audiobooks from your phone or any smart devices via Bluetooth to the bar.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
No
HDR10 Passthrough
No

This soundbar doesn't support any of the high-end passthrough signals.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The interface of the soundbar is rather barebones. There are only a few lights that change depending on the input you're on and they flash at different speeds when changing the volume. The lights become green when playing Dolby Digital content.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The controls on the bar are very straightforward. You can switch inputs, power the soundbar on/off, raise or lower the volume, and you also have a Bluetooth button.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is very small and only has a few buttons. It's not a universal remote, so you won't be able to control other devices with it.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
No