For those of you looking for a pair of floor-standing speakers for your home that won’t break the bank, have a look at the Polk S50, S55, and S60. While probably not competitors for the likes of heavy-duty audiophile brands, the quality on offer here in this price range makes for great value for consumers looking for optimized listening pleasure in their home-theater and sound systems.
In summary, all three speakers in this series are solid pieces of equipment that offer a sleek, retro-futurist look and high-fidelity sound specs. The Polk S60 is the largest and heaviest of all three and offers the widest frequency spectrum. The Polk S55 and Polk S50 are closer contenders in sound but come with minute differences in size and weight.
Let’s have a closer look.
The aforementioned retro-futuristic aesthetic is probably the strong point of all three speakers. Available in what Polk calls 'Walnut' brown or black washed paneling, the bold, visible bolts and rounded and chrome bezels give these tall, skinny speakers bring a chic vibe that would look as comfortable in a minimalist living room as they would in a cozy study (when placed intelligently). Additionally, they come with stabilization stands which not just add to the aesthetic but add genuine utility. This ease in design is generally a big plus for floor-standing speakers, which can often tend to be somewhat clumsy and bulky in design.
That being said, none of the three are very light or portable. The Polk S60, as the model number probably gives away, is the largest of them all and weighs in at 50lbs. The Polk S55 follows with 44lbs, and the Polk S50 with 32lbs.
S50: 10.9 x 7.5 x 37.4 inches
S55: 12.5 x 11.7 x 41.5 inches
S60: 15.7 x 8.5 x 44.5 inches
Also check out the complete specifications of the Polk Signature Series.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
The sound quality performance you'll end up getting from a speaker will always depend on your room acoustics - particularly room dimensions and speaker positions.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is also why it's not unusual to see completely different reviews of the same speaker.
In one case the speaker might be placed in a sweet spot inside the room and hence the user might be satisfied. In other cases the same speaker might be ill placed and hence user might even have returned it.
The point most people miss here is that it mostly isn't even about the engineering behind the speaker itself. It's about where you place the speaker inside which room.
So, in order to solve this problem, I've partnered with Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD Andrea Cicero from AC Acustica and created Soundton - a simple, 2D, browser accessible online speaker placement calculator.
With Soundton, now there's a way to figure the sound quality of most speakers before you buy them.
Read more about its working principles at soundton.com/documentation/.
The end colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) acoustics.