One limitation I noticed was how much volume the S55s could deliver on their own. With the reinforcement of a full surround sound complement, there was nothing to be missed in that department; however, if you prefer a lot of volume for your two-channel listening, you might want to consider stepping upmarket to something that can deliver a bigger sound--especially if your listening space is toward the larger end of the spectrum. In terms of lower bass reproduction, the S55 can hit just about all but the very, very lowest notes. However, to get a really well-rounded, deep, tight, defined bass, you'll need to pair the S55s with a subwoofer (or two). I want to be clear that these two issues are not particular to the S55--you'd be hard pressed to find any floorstanding speaker at this price point which could deliver significantly better.
Comparison and Competition
The sub-$700/pair floorstanding speaker market has gotten incredibly competitive in recent years. One speaker that comes to mind immediately is the ELAC Debut F5, at $249.99 each. You may find that the ELACs exhibit a little better clarity, especially on the high end. However, the Polk's bass is a little weightier and projects a bit more volume into the room.
Finally, for just a little more money, Polk's own RTiA5 (at $399.95 each) makes a very good case for paying a little more to step up to even better sound.
The Polk Signature S55 speakers are spectacular speakers, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience I had with them. Tone, clarity, and overall quality of sound were better than I expected at this price range. You will probably find that they can just about keep up with any associated equipment you might have, barring the most premium or esoteric. As the foundation of a Polk Signature Series surround sound system, the S55 delivers everything you need for a perfectly thrilling movie, TV, or surround music experience. It also performs very well with two-channel music, although as I said above you might think about going slightly upmarket if you need a grander sense of scale for a larger room. For those who want to remain firmly in the sub-$700 price range, the Polk Signature S55 is an investment that you will not regret.
• Visit the Polk Audio website for more product information.
• Check out our Floorstanding Speakers category page to read similar reviews.
• Polk Introduces Signature Speaker Series at HomeTheaterReview.com.