Do you want 3D sound in your home theater—but don’t want the hassle of installing a multi-speaker surround sound system? A home theater soundbar could be your answer, and both Denon and Polk sell models that will give you this immersive listening experience in an affordable and user-friendly package.
Comparing the Denon DHT-S517 vs. Polk Signa S4, you’ll see these are very similar soundbars that can both work beautifully in a home theater. While the sound quality of the Polk Signa 4 is slightly higher, the more compact Denon DHT-S517 takes a slight edge on usability (>>> Find on Amazon). Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
Denon DHT-S517 vs Polk Signa S4 Side by Side
|Polk Signa S4
|20Hz – 20kHz
|47.6Hz – 16.7kHz
|HDMI, Optical, 3.5mm Mini Jack, Bluetooth
|HDMI, optical, 3.5mm Mini Jack, Bluetooth
|41.3” x 2.3” x 3.8”
|41.2” x 3.7” x 2.4”
|Find on Amazon
|Find on Amazon
Both the Denon DHT-S517 and the Polk Signa S4 use 7 drivers within the soundbar plus an external subwoofer. This includes up-firing speakers for overhead sound effects, creating a surround sound experience. Both also have a dialogue enhancement feature to add clarity to spoken lines, even when the soundtrack or effects are loud.
The Polk Signa S4 takes a slight edge here thanks to its added bass adjustment feature. It can also get a bit louder without distortion or other issues, giving it the capability to fill any space in your home with sound.
Higher sound quality: Polk Signa S4
Size and Weight
The combined weight of the Polk Signa S4 soundbar and subwoofer is around 22 pounds, and both are nicely compact. While the soundbar may be longer than some entertainment centers, it’s quite thin and won’t block remote sensors or other parts of your setup. Both the soundbar and subwoofer of the Denon DHT-S517 have similar dimensions to the Signa S4 but are lighter in weight.
More compact: Denon DHT-S517
The Signa S4 only needs a single cable to connect, and it comes included in the box. The wireless subwoofer pairs to the soundbar automatically, and the system also automatically syncs with most TV remotes, so most users can go from unboxing to watching movies in about 5 minutes.
The Denon DHT-S517 shares all those easy setup features, but adds an included Quick Start Guide to walk you through the process. It’s also simpler in terms of its sound customization, meaning fewer settings to fiddle with before you use it.
Easier to install: Denon DHT-S517
The Denon DHT-S517 packs a lot of power into a slim and lightweight package. The soundbar itself weighs just over 5 pounds and has low profile of less than 3 inches. This makes it easy to either mount on the wall or sit on your entertainment center without blocking any other equipment. Its extensive connectivity helps here, too. Along with eARC HDMI and optical inputs, it’s Bluetooth enabled and can stream music directly through popular streaming services.
Inside the Denon DHT-S517 there’s a 7-speaker sound system, with 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers, 2 up-firing speakers, and a center channel. Combined with the 40-watt subwoofer, this produces room-filling sound that’s well-balanced across the frequency range. Features like the Dialogue Enhancer make it an ideal choice for a home theater, giving you crystal clear movie and TV show dialogue even over loud music or sound effects. Dedicated Movie, Music, and Night sound modes let you further tweak the soundbar’s output.
The DHT-S517 comes with a quick start guide that walks users through the set-up process, which is straightforward enough you may not even need this info. It comes with a remote, and can also be controlled using most TV remotes automatically. Overall, it’s a user-friendly soundbar that you don’t need to be an A/V expert to install or control. Relevant comparison: Denon DHT-S517 vs Sonos Arc
- Immersive 3D sound
- Full bass from included subwoofer
- Crisp dialogue with Denon Dialogue Enhancer
- Quick and easy set up process
- Can be controlled automatically using most TV remotes
- Limited sound adjustment options
Polk Signa S4
When it comes to the sound quality and output, the Polk Signa S4 is very similar to the Denon DHT-S517. It also uses a 7-driver array with an external subwoofer, with dual tweeters and mid-range drivers along with left and right elevation speakers. It uses Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization technology to create a true 360° 3D soundscape without the need for a full surround sound setup.
You’ll also get full control over the sound put out by the Polk Signa S4. It has Bass Adjust Technology and a customizable VoiceAdjust feature, letting you tweak the sound balance to match your space and content. It also has a dedicated Night Mode that lowers the bass without affecting dialogue clarity, letting you enjoy shows and movies without waking the entire house. When you want extra bass power, the wireless subwoofer puts out the soul-shaking sound effects and music you’re looking for.
The Signa S4 has an easy 1-cable setup, and most users can install it in 5 minutes or less. It’s just as simple to control, and automatically syncs to most TV and projector remotes to streamline your home theater setup. Its Bluetooth connectivity allows for wireless streaming from services like Spotify, Amazon Music, or Tidal, with an eARC HDMI output to ensure the accuracy of your content from any source.
- Immersive 3D sound
- Customizable mid-range and bass levels
- Wireless music streaming through Bluetooth
- Fast and easy setup
- Low profile won’t interfere with other equipment
- A bit larger and heavier than the DHT-S517
Denon DHT-S517 vs Polk Signa S4: The Bottom Line
As you can see, the differences between these two soundbars are subtle. They also sell at a similar price point and offer an equal amount of value for home theater owners. It ultimately comes down to a question of ease versus customizability. The Polk Signa S4 will be better for those who like to manually adjust their home theater sound, while the Denon DHT-S517 is a bit more streamlined and simpler to set up and use (>>> Check the current price on Amazon). Whichever one you get, you’ll enjoy a full three-dimensional experience for all of your entertainment.