CEDIA 2016 was a big show for Polk, the venerable speaker maker based out of Baltimore, Maryland. The company unveiled its latest line of speakers, a low cost yet high-performance line it calls the Signature Series. With three bookshelf models, two center channels, and three towers in the mix, Polk's latest offering provides budget minded AV enthusiasts with brand-new options that—to my ears—hit the right notes relative to their price point.
Polk's new Signature Series S60 towers. Photo by Mark Henninger.
This midrange line consists of the S60 tower ($450 each), which features a 1-inch Terylene tweeter and three 6.5-inch woofers. The S55 tower ($330 each) cuts the woofer count down to two, and S50 tower ($250 each) gets by with a single 5.25" woofer.
The S35 ($300) slim center channel has the same 1" Terylene tweeter used by the rest of the line, as well as six 3-inch bass drivers that help keep its profile low. It's a 3-way design that explicitly addresses lobing issues intrinsic to horizontal driver layouts by using a cascading crossover. The S35 may also be used vertically as a standard speaker. Meanwhile, the S30 ($230) center channel features a pair of 5.25-inch woofers plus the 1" Terylene dome tweeter.
Polk's Signature Series S20 ($300/pair) bookshelf model combines the 1" tweeter with a 6.5" woofer, the S15 ($230/pair) drops the woofer size down to 5.25 inches, and the S10 ($200/pair) satellite speakers feature a 4" driver taking care of bass.
I commend Polk for including magnetic grills on all of its signature series speakers. These models all feature the company's Power Port technology, which is a novel design for the speaker's vent that "minimizes turbulence and distortion" according to the company.
At the show, I had a chance to hear a pair of the S60 towers belt out some tracks. I heard "Dark Necessities" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus "Come Rain or Shine" by B.B. King and Eric Clapton. These are real-deal towers that image well, are non-fatiguing, and generally sound plus look more expensive than their MSRP. This new line should bolster Polk's reputation of providing great performance for the dollar.