So you're sick of listening to your crappy TV speakers, but don't want to spend a fortune on a separate audio system. Can you afford 200 bucks? $150? How about $130?
The Polk Signa Solo ($129/£149) is the cheapest sound bar we've ever seen in the CNET office. Unfortunately for the Solo, however, the standard of entry-level TV speakers has truly been raised thanks to Polk's own Vizio SB3621N-E8, which both cost just a few bucks more.and the incomparable
They both include subwoofers, and that's a big reason why the Solo doesn't sound as good as either one. Sure, it makes TV louder, and it has all the connectivity you need, but with two brilliant sound bars competing directly against it, the Solo doesn't make as much sense without a price cut. If the Solo was available for $99/£99, it would be much more recommendable to people who want an ultracheap sound bar but don't want a sub.
Design and features
The Signa Solo is a sound bar stripped to its barest essence with just two inputs (3.5mm and digital optical) and Bluetooth. It offers four 2.5-inch drivers with built-in bass ports, and the speaker will decode Dolby Digital soundtracks.
If you're measuring out a space to put the Solo make sure you have a rectangle at least 3.54 inches (8.99 cm) tall by 39 inches (99.06 cm) wide by 3.91 inches (9.93 cm) deep. The cabinet is black plastic and comes with a cloth grill and a modicum of controls at the top. As a welcome touch, the Solo comes with wall mounting holes at the rear.
As a Polk sound bar the Solo comes with a number of EQ settings including Movie, Music and a Night mode. The sound bar offers an approximation of surround the company calls "patented SDA digital surround."
Setting up the Signa Solo is pretty much a plug 'n' play affair, and we like that you can adjust the bass and dialogue level via the compact remote. Bass level control isn't uncommon, but few budget or even midprice bars let you adjust the dialogue volume level -- kudos to Polk for including that!
Evaluating the Signa Solo is first a matter of setting expectations. Does it sound significantly better than your display's built-in speakers? Absolutely!