Polk S15s sound better than S50s - Page 10 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #271 of 505 Old 09-05-2019, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
The Yamaha sub is a good option on a shoestring budget and will work well and sound pretty decent for a desktop setup or in smaller rooms. Among other things the amp isn't very powerful so output levels won't be that high so it does have limitations and can't compare to larger more expensive subs.

The more space you can give them from back and side walls, the less bloated they'll sound.
Yes, the Yamaha is a bit below my budget so I'll pick it up just to see what it adds as gajCA advised and then return it. For music, I'd prefer a sealed sub. I'll look at the RSL speedwoofer, Kanto Sub8, Rhythmik, and ELAC. I'd prefer something without an app since they do tend to malfunction. My Sonos app is picky so I have to use voice control or use another smartphone that it'll connect to.

The sealed sub will likely sound less bloated. The advice on keeping speakers 2' from walls doesn't always work since my s15 sound clearer right up against the wall.

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post #272 of 505 Old 09-05-2019, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
huh?
The larger KEF bookshelf has a larger woofer that'll provide better midrange.
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post #273 of 505 Old 09-05-2019, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Yes, the Yamaha is a bit below my budget so I'll pick it up just to see what it adds as gajCA advised and then return it. For music, I'd prefer a sealed sub. I'll look at the RSL speedwoofer, Kanto Sub8, Rhythmik, and ELAC. I'd prefer something without an app since they do tend to malfunction. My Sonos app is picky so I have to use voice control or use another smartphone that it'll connect to.

The sealed sub will likely sound less bloated. The advice on keeping speakers 2' from walls doesn't always work since my s15 sound clearer right up against the wall.
I have a sealed servo DD15 in my main home theater; 1250 watts, 15".

The two little Yamahas in my secondary room still sound quite good in my secondary room for music.

I have the money to replace them with any sub I want, two Rhythmik L12s, you name it.

But I'm not motivated enough to do so as they sound pretty darned good to me and everyone else that has heard them with music.
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post #274 of 505 Old 09-05-2019, 12:01 PM
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The larger KEF bookshelf has a larger woofer that'll provide better midrange.
Actually it'll have better dynamics and extention which comes at the cost of detail and clarity. This is why I preferred the Q100 to the Q300. I'd rather have better detail and clarity and let the sub add depth and extension. YMMV
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post #275 of 505 Old 09-05-2019, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
I have a sealed servo DD15 in my main home theater; 1250 watts, 15".

The two little Yamahas in my secondary room still sound quite good in my secondary room for music.

I have the money to replace them with any sub I want, two Rhythmik L12s, you name it.

But I'm not motivated enough to do so as they sound pretty darned good to me and everyone else that has heard them with music.
Your listening enjoyment would likely hit another level with dual L12's & LX16's.
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post #276 of 505 Old 09-05-2019, 12:58 PM
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Your listening enjoyment would likely hit another level with dual L12's & LX16's.
I'm sure it would be better but when my DD15 dies again I'll give the amp/EQ repair just one more shot before I pull the trigger on dual L12s for in there.

I don't need another 15" sub, I'd rather have duals and I've always preferred sealed for my main subwoofers.

The ported Yamahas are fine for the secondary room; I have them "sealed" with low density foam and EQ'd with a minidsp after running REW with my Umik.
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post #277 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually it'll have better dynamics and extention which comes at the cost of detail and clarity. This is why I preferred the Q100 to the Q300. I'd rather have better detail and clarity and let the sub add depth and extension. YMMV
What does dynamics and extension mean?
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post #278 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually it'll have better dynamics and extention which comes at the cost of detail and clarity. This is why I preferred the Q100 to the Q300. I'd rather have better detail and clarity and let the sub add depth and extension. YMMV
Do speakers with larger woofers (in the same speaker family) have less detail and clarity than speakers with smaller woofers?

I thought larger woofers would have better midrange?

I ask because I went to both Best Buy as well as a friend's house and listened to the Polk s55. It sounded very good for music in both locations right up against the wall. The 2 6"woofers seem to sound very good. Also, when I play music through my s30 center (2 5" woofers), it sounds better than single-woofer bookshelves.
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post #279 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
I'm sure it would be better but when my DD15 dies again I'll give the amp/EQ repair just one more shot before I pull the trigger on dual L12s for in there.
Does crossing tower speakers with a sub provide any advantages over bookshelves with subs? Would towers provide better sounds over the cutoff and/or smoother rolloff?
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post #280 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
What does dynamics and extension mean?
Extension = slightly deeper bass
Dynamics = fuller sound

NOTE: Better extension and dynamics does not necessarily mean it'll sound better.
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post #281 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Does crossing tower speakers with a sub provide any advantages over bookshelves with subs? Would towers provide better sounds over the cutoff and/or smoother rolloff?
Larger towers will have more presence, dynamics and bass extension even if crossing over at 80hz. They'll also generally have the ability to play louder than the bookshelf version.

Given your negative experience with the S50's, I'm not sure you'd be very impressed with the larger S55 either.
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post #282 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
The two little Yamahas in my secondary room still sound quite good in my secondary room for music.
I picked up the Yamaha sub. Yes, it adds a lot of body and presence to music with the s15 bookshelves. Now that I got a taste of how good it can sound, I'd like to go further if I can. I also listened to the s55 towers with a sub at a better BestBuy location and at a friend's home. The tower+sub combo adds something to music (not to HT) that the s15 do not. Midrange?

Does a tower with more/larger woofers crossed with a sub provides cleaner and more midrange than crossing bookshelves with a sub?

(I know I didn't like the s50 but somehow the s55 sounds nothing like my s50 did.)
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post #283 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Given your negative experience with the S50's, I'm not sure you'd be very impressed with the larger S55 either.
I kinda agree but I also wonder if I gave the s50 a good try. it was scratch and dent and wonder if a woofer was defective? I didn't cross with a sub, didn't place it right, and didn't break it in. The s15 sound great only after 100 hrs of blasting FM while I'm out of the house (clarity improved, noisy feeling reduced, vocals improved). The imaging improved with toe in (voice appears to come from center!) and proper positioning, which I'm not sure I did properly with the s50.
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post #284 of 505 Old 09-08-2019, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I kinda agree but I also wonder if I gave the s50 a good try. it was scratch and dent and wonder if a woofer was defective? I didn't cross with a sub, didn't place it right, and didn't break it in. The s15 sound great only after 100 hrs of blasting FM while I'm out of the house (clarity improved, noisy feeling reduced, vocals improved). The imaging improved with toe in (voice appears to come from center!) and proper positioning, which I'm not sure I did properly with the s50.
It didn't really sound like you were giving the S50's a fair shake, but you seemed perfectly fine with the sound from the S15's - and I think you'll like them even better with the addition of the sub.
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post #285 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
The tower+sub combo adds something to music (not to HT) that the s15 do not. Midrange?

Does a tower with more/larger woofers crossed with a sub provides cleaner and more midrange than crossing bookshelves with a sub?

(I know I didn't like the s50 but somehow the s55 sounds nothing like my s50 did.)
What you're getting is better dynamics and fuller sound. Now that you've been around the block a few times and have a better understanding proper placement and break-in, no harm in trying the S55's with the sub.
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post #286 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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What you're getting is better dynamics and fuller sound. Now that you've been around the block a few times and have a better understanding proper placement and break-in, no harm in trying the S55's with the sub.
Thanks, the s15 give great clarity and detail. Not having an audio or classical background, I can't quite explain the difference from the s55. Same clarity but just more warmth? In contrast, s15 has slightly thinner sound (still very clear and good quality but just less of it). (This is with gajCA's sub at 80 Hz.) I'd say the s15 is more like my Sonos One but the s55 is more like the Google Max I tried. I guess that's what you're getting at with dynamics?

From old AVS posts, Ray Guy and gajCA commented positively on the s55. But I saw one post saying something like the difference of towers from bookshelves come only when the towers are exercised more. Does that mean towers must be played at higher volume to sound better? I can't do that since s55 is more efficient so it'll be louder with less crank of my volume knob.

Remember my room is 12 X 13 feet but the sidewall is open to the rest of the 2700 sqft house (there's no R sidewall in the room).

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post #287 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I picked up the Yamaha sub. Yes, it adds a lot of body and presence to music with the s15 bookshelves. Now that I got a taste of how good it can sound, I'd like to go further if I can. I also listened to the s55 towers with a sub at a better BestBuy location and at a friend's home. The tower+sub combo adds something to music (not to HT) that the s15 do not. Midrange?

Does a tower with more/larger woofers crossed with a sub provides cleaner and more midrange than crossing bookshelves with a sub?

(I know I didn't like the s50 but somehow the s55 sounds nothing like my s50 did.)
Try 100hz crossover for music with the S15s.

I wouldn't expect the difference between the S50 and S55 with a sub in play to be that significant to be honest but I haven't heard either so just guessing.
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post #288 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Try 100hz crossover for music with the S15s.

I wouldn't expect the difference between the S50 and S55 with a sub in play to be that significant to be honest but I haven't heard either so just guessing.
What about in the 100 Hz - 500 Hz range where much of my music resides? Does having more and larger woofers improve that range?
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post #289 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 10:43 AM
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What about in the 100 Hz - 500 Hz range where much of my music resides? Does having more and larger woofers improve that range?
Well, technically "no" but it's possible you were just listening at higher volumes when listening to the S55s; you'd have to listen level matched.

The larger speaker, of course, does have the potential to play louder.

Note this chart from Sound & Vision where the top line is the S60, the bottom line is the S20. Green trace is the S35.

In that comparison the reviewer opined that a 5.1 using all S20s, with a sub in play, should sound as good as the S60/S20 combo.

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post #290 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 11:04 AM
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What about in the 100 Hz - 500 Hz range where much of my music resides? Does having more and larger woofers improve that range?
Its difficult to explain without you hearing it. playing full range (no sub) you likely hear the difference between the S50 & S55. With a sub in play you'd have a harder time. With the sub, you'd use an 80-90 crossover with the smaller S50 and a 60-80 crossover with the S55.
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What about in the 100 Hz - 500 Hz range where much of my music resides? Does having more and larger woofers improve that range?
The Midrange wouldn't really change. The differences will be as explained in previous posts.
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Very helpful, thanks. The sub is great.
As you can see the S60 does have a bit flatter response in the frequencies you mentioned vs the S20 so that may, (or may not), hold true in the S55 vs S15.

Yeah, the sub is not bad for the money.

For me, adding a second, was a huge improvement over just one as I could not have a single one near my front three and adding a second eliminated the localization of the subs.
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post #293 of 505 Old 09-09-2019, 12:23 PM
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Thanks, with the sub, would I hear a difference for music between the s15 vs s55?
The towers will have more presence and I don't mean physically.
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Exactly what I'm wondering about. I get from gajCA that S&V runs a test of pulses/beeps across the freqs and that shows s20 as good as s60. But what about for real music containing multiple freqs at the same time. I wonder if towers will provide more fullness and a warm enveloping feeling.
Yeah, lots of people complain about this and that here but Sonoma County/Santa Rosa is a great area. I've lived in Brazil, Colombia, UK, Belgium, Connecticut and Miami and while I loved all those places for certain things I prefer living here.

The S60 chart shows more "fullness" in the 100hz to 500hz area but I can't tell you if the S55 does as well or that it is common when comparing bookshelf to tower versions of a speaker.

Here is an interesting article done by a German Magazine comparing the bookshelf version of a speaker to the tower version.

They have frequency response charts as well.

"Compact or floorstanding speaker – which is better? To answer this question, STEREO put both versions of the same line by Canton, Dynaudio, Q Acoustics, Rosso Fiorentino, and Wharfedale in the sound booth and let them duke it out."

https://stereo-magazine.com/archive/...-goliath-66475
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post #295 of 505 Old 09-10-2019, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is an interesting article done by a German Magazine comparing the bookshelf version of a speaker to the tower version.
Really very interesting. The tests were in 2.0 not 2.1. Here are the points I collected from the article

Why bookshelf may be better:
1. Correct toe in harder to get right for towers (this actually took me 3 weeks of trying to get right for the s15)
2. Tower with downward port should not be put next to wall (but I have no room to pull speaker from wall)
3. Sounds similar to tower in mid to high range
4. Recommended for medium size room (is my 12 X 13 foot room medium sized?)
5. Impedance response of tower not as linear at that of bookshelf (what does this mean?)
6. Bass on tower can overpower or muddy the sound (but this will be remedied by the sub, right?)

Why tower may be better:
1. Can play louder, more efficiency
2. More harmonized sound due to more bass
3. More balanced (what does this mean?)
4. Bass boost at 100 Hz creates more warmth (this is important to me)
5. Bookshelves strain in free space in larger room (my room is open to rest of the house on the right side)
6. Guitar, voices sound better at higher volume (this is important to me but not sure how high they mean)
7. Complex structure in music sounds better (what does this mean?)
8. Makes more demands on amp (this is strange. I thought towers are easier to drive because more efficient)
9. Tower is better with bass heavy music (but this will be remedied by the sub, right?)

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post #296 of 505 Old 09-10-2019, 01:09 PM
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4. Recommended for medium size room (is my 12 X 13 foot room medium sized?)
Your room is probably considered small. Mine is 8' x 16' - not much different than yours, and it's small.

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6. Bass on tower can overpower or muddy the sound (but this will be remedied by the sub, right?)
Yes, it can be remedied with the sub because you'd be setting a crossover high enough so that the sub handles those lower frequencies.

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8. Makes more demands on amp (this is strange. I thought towers are easier to drive because more efficient)
Towers generally require more muscle to drive them. They are more efficient (if I am to understand correctly) because it doesn't take as much for them to get as loud as a bookshelf, but if you look at the amplifier requirements for towers vs. bookshelves, you will see that towers have higher power requirements.
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post #297 of 505 Old 09-10-2019, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Really very interesting. The tests were in 2.0 not 2.1. Here are the points I collected from the article

Why bookshelf may be better:
1. Correct toe in harder to get right for towers (this actually took me 3 weeks of trying to get right for the s15)
2. Tower with downward port should not be put next to wall (but I have no room to pull speaker from wall)
3. Sounds similar to tower in mid to high range
4. Recommended for medium size room (is my 12 X 13 foot room medium sized?)
5. Impedance response of tower not as linear at that of bookshelf (what does this mean?)
6. Bass on tower can overpower or muddy the sound (but this will be remedied by the sub, right?)

Why tower may be better:
1. Can play louder, more efficiency
2. More harmonized sound due to more bass
3. More balanced (what does this mean?)
4. Bass boost at 100 Hz creates more warmth (this is important to me)
5. Bookshelves strain in free space in larger room (my room is open to rest of the house on the right side)
6. Guitar, voices sound better at higher volume (this is important to me but not sure how high they mean)
7. Complex structure in music sounds better (what does this mean?)
8. Makes more demands on amp (this is strange. I thought towers are easier to drive because more efficient)
9. Tower is better with bass heavy music (but this will be remedied by the sub, right?)
The impedance response is likely due to trying to get deeper bass than necessary in some instances but generally towers will play a bit louder with same amp power.

You know the very large S20 might be what you are looking for as it does have a rise toward 100hz that I'm not sure the S15 does.

The only reason I got rid of my very nice bookshelves for towers was due to cats knocking over the bookshelves as they use the speakers to leap to a window.

I still have a dent in the wall as a reminder of how wise that decision was.
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post #298 of 505 Old 09-10-2019, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Great idea. However, from your graph above, the s20 dips from 100-500 Hz?

It might fit my stands. The stand top is 7 X 9. The s15 base is 7.5 X 10, which fits nicely -- very stable without blutack or anything to hold it down. The s20 base is 8.5 X 14, which will overhang a bit but may still work.
But have no idea how that compares to the S15 but for sure it'll have more at 100hz +/-.
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Geoff A. J., California
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post #299 of 505 Old 09-10-2019, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool

My room. How's that for WAF? No wires visible!
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Last edited by Vikram Iyengar; 09-11-2019 at 08:56 AM.
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post #300 of 505 Old 09-11-2019, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
My room. How's that for WAF? No wires visible!

Sorry haven’t been following the thread as much as others, but when you listen to multichannel music, do you bring your center forward, in front of the edge of your table? You’ll have serious reflections that could/will mess up your experience. Even outside of music and just watching tv or movies in 3.1.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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