JBL Bar 2.1 vs Polk Signa S2 which is better?

The JBL Bar 2.1 and the Polk Signa S2 are two great soundbars that can really enhance your TV audio experience. They both have many similarities, but also a few differences that might make one more suitable for you than the other. This guide will help you decide which device is right for your entertainment system without breaking the bank.

Company Profile:

JBL (James Bullough Lansing) is an America audio equipment company that is founded in 1946 and James Bullough Lansing is the founder of JBL. The company initially manufactured home and automotive speakers, later expanding into numerous other segments of the sound market. JBL was purchased from Motorola by Harman International Industries in 1993.

Polk Audio is a supplier of high-performance consumer electronics products made in the USA and around the world. Polk’s philosophy has always been to combine cutting-edge technology with contemporary industrial design to create superior audio products for both home and professional use.

The JBL Bar 2.1 promises a lot of good things such as fantastic sound, outstanding build quality and wireless connectivity which was never seen before in any other soundbar. The device comes with a hefty price tag and has been available for purchase since 2017.

The Polk Signa S2 is a 2.1 channel soundbar that has been around for quite some time now but its performance still exceeds expectations by a good margin. The device can be purchased from various online retailers across the country.

Both the devices are priced to compete with each other so let’s find out which one will come on top in this JBL Bar 2.1 vs Polk Signa S2 face-off!

Design & Build Quality:

JBL Bar 2.1

The JBL Bar 2.1 is a sleek looking soundbar that could easily be mistaken for a wide-screen TV if one doesn’t look carefully. The only difference would be the presence of an oval-shaped LED screen displaying relevant information such as volume and wireless connectivity on the right side of the unit. Then there’s also the JBL logo in the middle which glows blue when the device is powered on.

The majority of the soundbar’s front is occupied by a 6″ long oval-shaped wired remote control panel through which one can adjust volume, switch inputs and change DSP modes as well. The buttons are easy to press and have good tactile feedback but they aren’t backlit which means one has to turn the lights on during nighttime.

Moving towards the top of the unit, we can see that it has an asymmetrical design and is divided into two sections – The top half houses the wireless receiver and other electrical components while the bottom half has been reserved for the speakers.

The entire JBL Bar 2.1 unit measures 21″ x 4″ x 3 inches and weighs a total of 5 pounds which means that this soundbar is slightly bigger compared to its direct competitor – The Polk Signa S2.

Polk Signa S2

The Signa S2 is a compact and lightweight soundbar that comes with a wired remote control. The device has an interesting design and it’s hard to believe that the entire unit including 2 speakers and a wireless receiver packed into this small form factor.

The front of the device has a glossy plastic finish but thanks to its extremely slim design; one won’t be able to see dust or fingerprints on the soundbar. The majority of the front panel is occupied by speakers while most of its body has been covered in fabric which gives it a clean look.

The Polk Signa S2 measures 22.5″ x 2″ x 1 inch and weighs 4 pounds which means that it’s slightly smaller than JBL Bar 2.1 and a bit lighter as well.

The Verdict: Tie

Design-wise both the soundbars have been designed to perfection with JBL taking more of a minimalistic approach. While the Polk Signa S2 is an all-rounder which will easily blend into any environment, JBL Bar 2.1 does come with a lot of advanced features such as wireless connectivity which is a good addition since most people will be using it with a TV.

Build Quality:

JBL Bar 2.1

The JBL Bar 2.1 has been superbly built and the company didn’t compromise on materials when designing this device which shows from its luxurious build quality. The entire device has been made out of high-grade materials and one can feel its quality in hands.

The top half of the unit is made out of metal while the bottom half has been crafted from a combination of metal and wood which gives it a premium look. The soundbar uses glass on the top to reflect sound waves towards the listener while also allowing it to look stylish.

The entire unit feels sturdy and there are hardly any loose ends. It comes with a built-in wireless receiver that can be used to connect compatible devices through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity while one can use wired options as well. It has a few HDMI ports, optical input and even USB connectivity which means one can use it to charge smartphones or tablets. Overall, the JBL Bar 2.1 is definitely one of the best-built soundbars in this price range and looks like it will last for years.

Polk Signa S2

The Polk Signa S2 is also well built but it’s not as good as the JBL Bar 2.1 at least in terms of build quality. The soundbar has been made out of plastic and one can feel its cheapness while holding it, even though it doesn’t exactly feel flimsy.

The Polk Signa S2 isn’t meant for people who like to show off and its design is more suited for a small room or a bedroom. The top of the unit has a fabric covering which will attract stains and could also get damaged if not handled carefully.

The Verdict: JBL Bar 2.1

While both the soundbars have been built well, there’s no doubt that JBL Bar 2.1 is a more premium looking and feeling soundbar that will attract a lot of attention in any setup. Both the devices come with their own set of pros and cons but ultimately if the build quality is what you are looking for, JBL Bar 2.1 is the winner here as well.

Connectivity:

JBL Bar 2.1

Since the JBL Bar 2.1 is more than just a soundbar, it can be used with TVs as well so one doesn’t have to worry about connecting their TV directly to the speaker. The device supports Bluetooth and has a USB port that can be used to play music from a compatible storage device. One can also use the HDMI input along with the optical input to connect it to a TV or other HDMI devices directly. It has an inbuilt Wi-Fi receiver which can be used to play music from services such as Spotify and even online radio stations.

The soundbar also comes with its own remote and one can use their smartphone as a remote control by downloading JBL’s app. The soundbar has a 3.5mm input if one wants to connect their smartphone directly and use the device as a boombox for personal listening.

Polk Signa S2

The Polk Signa S2 is meant more for people who own TVs and will mainly be using it with them rather than for personal audio consumption. It can be connected to TVs via HDMI or optical input and has an inbuilt Bluetooth receiver which means one doesn’t have to worry about carrying remotes around if they want to switch between TV channels. It comes with the company’s own set of remotes for volume adjustment and other functions.

One can also use the Polk Signa S2 as a USB hub and charge their smartphones by connecting them to one of its USB ports. It doesn’t have any other audio input options but considering it’s meant more for TVs, these inputs are enough.

The Verdict: JBL Bar 2.1

The Polk Signa S2 is great for people who mainly want to use it with their TVs but if one wants a device that can be used with multiple devices in a home theatre setup, the JBL Bar 2.1 definitely has an edge here.

Sound Quality:

JBL Bar 2.1

The JBL Bar 2.1 comes with a total of 3 tweeters, one in each bar while the third is placed at the bottom for bass. The soundbar has two mid-range drivers placed just above the tweeters while there are two woofers that are placed on either side of the main unit.

The JBL Bar 2.1 sounds extremely detailed and offers really crisp highs and a decent amount of bass. The device is also loud enough for a small to the medium room and can get really loud without any distortion even at max volume.

Polk Signa S2

The Polk Signa S2 uses a forward-firing driver which has been placed vertically in the centre of the unit while there are two passive radiators on either side. The device has two tweeters placed in the same unit while there are two mid-range drivers placed just below them. There is also one woofer at the bottom for bass output.

As for sound quality, the Polk Signa S2 is not as good as the JBL Bar 2.1 and offers less clarity in the sound. The bass output is also not as good and the soundbar struggles to fill a medium-sized room with sound and can get really loud without distortion.

The Verdict: JBL Bar 2.1

The Polk Signa S2 definitely doesn’t live up to its price tag and sounds very average in comparison to the JBL Bar 2.1. If one is looking for an entry-level soundbar, the Polk Signa S2 might be a decent option but if they are willing to spend more, the JBL Bar 2.1 offers way better value for money.

Price:

JBL Bar 2.1

The JBL Bar 2.1 costs around 500 USD. Considering the sound quality and features it offers, this definitely seems like a decent price tag and can be considered good value for money.

Polk Signa S2

The Polk Signa S2 costs around 650 USD. It’s an entry-level soundbar and so it doesn’t offer as many features as the JBL Bar 2.1 but considering its price, it should at least have a better sounding driver assembly and still misses out by quite a margin compared to the JBL Bar 2.1.

The Verdict: JBL Bar 2.1

The Polk Signa S2 is priced too high for an entry-level soundbar and the JBL Bar 2.1 is the clear winner in the price department.

Conclusion: Final Verdict – JBL Bar 2.1

The Polk Signa S2 offers decent features but doesn’t really sound very good when compared to the JBL Bar 2.1 which is available at almost half its price tag. The bass output is less, the sound is not as detailed and everything just sounds kind of average. The JBL Bar 2.1 offers better overall value for money compared to the Polk Signa S2 even though it can’t be connected to TVs via HDMI.

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