Polk Audio Signature S15 Review

Polk Audio Signature S15

At the time of writing (June 2017), there is almost no honest review posted online about these speakers, so I figure I could do some public service by writing one, specially for those considering to purchase. Note that this review is completely voluntary. I did not get payment or favors from anyone so this is as unbiased as it can get.

Let me begin with the end: these speakers are a terrific value at US$220! I’ve been listening to, and looking at, my personal pair for a few weeks now and I still can’t believe I am getting this much sound and build quality for about the same price as adidas Ultraboost sneakers (plus some loose change).

As usual, I will save word count by not enumerating the specs and features; Google will help you with that. Instead, let me tell you what these speakers are like.

Build. For those of you who haven’t seen an actual pair let me confirm that they look as good, if not better than their glorious photos on the web. The cabinet finish is flawless, the binding posts look business, and the drivers look–and feel–premium. Yes, I did touch the woofer lightly: no cheap foam surrounds that disintegrate with humidity here. Only butyl rubber with a deep roll that can probably take some serious excursion. No, I did not dare touch the tweeters, but yeah they look money too. The magnetic grilles are just cloth on a plastic frame. Putting them on is like draping Kate Upton with a bath robe. Just no.

Sound. It almost feels like cheating. No way can $220/pair be this detailed, articulate, snappy and full-bodied. They are overqualified to do mere Spotify streaming tasks. Feed ’em with Hi-Res recordings (mine came from an Astell & Kern AK120II) and it will deliver treble and midrange resolution that you weren’t looking for, at this price range that is. You’ll immediately notice that the tweeter is the star of the show here. They’re definitely over achievers that punch well above their weight. Sometimes, those one-inch wonders are slightly over-zealous, almost as if the 5.25″ woofer is playing catch up. Perhaps the larger models in the Signature line are more balanced as they have bigger and/or more woofers that can keep up with the eager beaver tweeter. Fortunately, even if the tweets seem they had too much caffeine, they never sounded fatiguing or harsh to me. I think they like being fed by warm amplification such as the NAD C316BEE that I’ve paired them with. On to the woofers: they are definitely no slouch. They serve satisfying bass and in most cases you wont crave for a subwoofer. The Powerports are probably doing their share. The midbass can sound a bit boosted, but then, I remember the price tag and forget this complaint. Overall, the speakers are agile, nimble, and if I may use and old school term: they have “attack.” Furthermore, they are equally poised whether in party or sleeping-toddler mode. My guess is that their high efficiency (89dB SPL) has a lot to do with this.

Verdict. These speakers are uber-fun! They cause involuntary head bobbing. They’re like that cheeful friend with a good sense of humor, brightening up the room they’re in. The S15’s are able to deliver regular and ample servings of detail and resolution. They will never leave you wanting. In fact, these speakers will occasionally surprise you and make you say “hey, I didn’t expect these speakers are capable of that!” They’re perfect for the bedroom or the proverbial college dorm. If you’re a Spotify-streaming broke audiophile like me who believes music deserves some level of respect, get these speakers, a NAD C316BEE, and a Google Chromecast Audio and call it a day.

 

Advertisements