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Polk Audio SIGNA S2 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 12, 2020 at 08:12 am
Polk Audio SIGNA S2 Picture
Test Methodology v0.8
6.7
Mixed Usage
7.9
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.8
Music
5.8
Movies
Channels
2.1

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

6.7 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.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.9 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.

See our Dialogue/TV Shows recommendations
6.8 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.

See our Music recommendations
5.8 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.

  • 6.7 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.8 Music
  • 5.8 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

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a budget entry-level soundbar system. This 2.1 setup comes with a wireless sub, which the similar Signa Solo doesn't. It's a simple and straightforward soundbar and its main competitors are the Yamaha YAS-207, the JBL 2.1 soundbar, and the Sony HT-S350.

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

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

This setup doesn't have satellites.

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

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 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
Sub Width 6.7" (17.1 cm)
Sub Height 13.7" (34.9 cm)
Sub 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
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

This system doesn't come with satellite speakers.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

The back of the bar is very straightforward. You have the power input on one side and the other inputs on the other side. The soundbar has universal mounting holes if you want to wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the subwoofer is very straightforward. Since its port is at the front, you only have the power cable running at the bottom of the sub.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 system doesn't have satellites.

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
HDMI Cable Length
5.0 ft (1.5 m)
Digital Optical Cable Length
5.8 ft (1.8 m)

  • Remote
  • Battery
  • HDMI cable
  • Optical cable
  • 2x power cables
  • Wall-mounting spacers
  • Manuals

Sound
7.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
-0.51
ST Std. Err.
3.60 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.0 kHz

The stereo frequency response of the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 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.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.45 dB

The stereo soundstage of the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 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.

7.3
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
95.4 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
3.02 dB

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
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.58
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
10.19

The stereo total harmonic distortion performance of the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 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.

5.6
Sound
Center
C Localization
Phantom
C Slope
-1.45
C Std. Err.
5.49 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
93.6 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.55
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.22

Due to being a 2.1 system, the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 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.

3.2
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
-1.44
Sr Std. Err.
6.09 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
91.2 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.72
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.04

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 be able 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.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
N/A
H Slope
N/A
H Std. Err.
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't support Atmos content.

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
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
No

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 has limited sound enhancement features. It lacks room correction, so it might sound differently depending on your room. On the upside, it does have a dialogue enhancement to make voices clearer, and it also has a night mode to uniformize the noise from different types of content. There are also a few EQ presets for movies and music.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1
HDMI Out
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
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, the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 doesn't support DTS over its optical port and can only play Dolby Digital content.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
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
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
N/A
HDR10 Passthrough
N/A

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

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar and you have the pairing button at the back. The only connection that the subwoofer needs is a power cable.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This soundbar doesn't have satellites.

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
Universal Remote
No

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 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
App
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
Acts as the Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 doesn't have an app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 goes into a standby mode after a few minutes of inactivity, although we don't have the specific timer. Also, it supports HDMI CEC, which means you'll be able to control some basic functions like power and volume with your TV remote when using the HDMI port.

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. 

Bose Solo 5
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. It 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
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Yamaha YAS-207 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. Its 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 SIGNA S2 isn't entirely covered by mesh and feels a bit more durable.

Yamaha YAS-209
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a much better soundbar than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. The YAS-209 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. 

Sony HT-S350
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 is a noticeably better soundbar than the Sony HT-S350. Its sound profile is better balanced, although a bit excited. However, it's not as well-built as the Sony. The Sony also performs slightly better at max volume, but its bass and detail-lacking sound signature might not be worth it for most.

TCL Alto 7+
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 is slightly better than the TCL Alto 7+. It has a better stereo frequency response and a slightly wider-sounding soundstage. On the other hand, the TCL feels more robust and better-built. The Alto 7+ also has a better center performance, which might be better if you watch a lot of TV shows.

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