Polk Title.jpgThe mass appeal of Wi-Fi networked speakers is easy to understand. Having complete control of multiple speakers all over the house, changing songs, volume, or choosing a new playlist from dozens of music streaming services, all with your smartphone is entirely possible with technological advances in wireless music. It is an exciting time we are living in, and speaker manufacturers like Polk Audio are looking to capitalize.

Their latest release, the Omni S2 Rechargeable speaker is sleek and sexy, and will surely compliment any room. The clever folks at Polk designed it to be used on its side or standing up, a nice space saving feature that will appeal to those who want to hear their music without having to see where it’s coming from.

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The Omni Rechargeable is a genuine wireless speaker in the sense that you do not need to leave it plugged in to enjoy it. The rechargeable battery will provide about 10 hours of music, and can also be used while it’s being charged. While you are charging it up the first time you will want to download the Polk Omni app, which will help you to setup your speaker and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

The Polk Omni App

I found the app very easy to use, and I was streaming music in no time. I really appreciated the intuitive menu that pops up once the speaker and my phone were talking to each other, and provides immediate access to all of the options for streaming. The internet radio geo-located me and allowed me to quickly find my local stations, the music on my phone was easily accessed, and options such as Spotify were running in no time. The Wi-Fi antenna is a serious piece of hardware and provides you with the flexibility to be upwards of 100 feet away from your wireless router and enjoy the magic of streaming audio.

Although the Omni S2 Rechargeable doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities, there is an auxiliary input that will allow you to connect a source device directly, so you can still take it camping, or to the lake and enjoy the benefits of having a wireless speaker.

Polk S2 - Outdoor 2.jpgIt’s Safe To Use Outdoors!

The best thing about this speaker is that it is weather resistant, so you can take your tunes to the backyard, patio or fire pit and maintain control through your Wi-Fi network with your wireless device. It can even withstand some moisture and direct sun exposure, so there is no need to panic in the event you don’t cover the unit during a spring sun shower. I had the demo unit outside for 8 hours while doing some landscaping in the back yard and it made the workload much easier to bear having some 80s music keeping me going.

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DTS Play Fi

DTS is a very well known entity in the realm of home theatre, primarily for their excellent work in the field of mixing multichannel audio for movies. Before seeing the box the Polk speaker came in I had only ever seen their logo on the front of receivers, in movie theatres, or on the back of DVDs and Blu-rays, so my interest was immediately piqued.

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It turns out that DTS has been developing streaming technology of their own and it has partnered with some exciting brands, including Polk, bringing it to the masses. The best part of their system is that you can use different manufacturers products together, simultaneously, to transform your home into a wireless audio streaming paradise.

Consumer Driven Strategy? Nice!

This is ingenious. We can all understand that manufacturers would obviously want consumers to purchase only their products, and some consumers will undoubtedly go that route to keep a level of consistency through their home both audibly and visually. Others will appreciate the flexibility to purchase products that fit the unique spaces they will be used in.

You want different songs in different rooms, all playing through your Wi-Fi network, on devices made by different manufacturers? Done. And DTS is making it possible alongside major players like Polk.

Does it Sound Good?

I am always gripped with anticipation when I get to hear a new speaker for the time. I genuinely want every speaker to succeed, and recognize that the physics of audio are always at play. While smaller speakers are convenient, it is less likely they will be able to reproduce the entire range of frequencies our music was recorded in, particularly the low end, or bass.

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It’s All About That Bass

This speaker employs some interesting technology to overcome this challenge, notably the two passive drivers that are used to increase the bass response, and boy does that come through on this version the Omni S2. My first impression was that the speaker sounded boomy on the low end; the bass was overly present. As I turned it up, I found that the bass response didn’t really increase, allowing the remainder of the musical range to catch up, providing a much more pleasing listening experience. Polk has suggested that updates to the app will include an equalizer, which should allow users to roll back some of that obtrusive low end.

I played around with a number of songs and styles of music and once I figured out that this is a speaker that likes to be played at higher volume levels, and thrives with songs that are not bass heavy at lower levels, I took a liking to it and found myself carrying around the house like a toddler with their favourite teddy bear. It is definitely more suited for mid-large sized rooms, as the low end can be distracting in smaller spaces which naturally amplify sound.

The Omni S2 Rechargeable wireless speaker is a great option for anyone looking to begin their journey into Wi-Fi audio. The app is very easy to use and provides endless streaming options to satisfy your musical needs. The DTS Play-Fi functionality provides you with the ultimate choice on how you add to your system, future proofs your investment, and places ultimate control in the palm of your hand.

Falling asleep as a toddler to Dark Side of the Moon on a quadrophonic sound system my father built from scratch sparked a lifelong passion for high-quality audio and home theatre. My journey has taken me through broadcasting school, into a decade of large-scale, live audio and video production—I even had a stint in provincial politics as an MLA. Join me as I translate my enthusiasm and experience into insights you can use to enhance your understanding of the world of audio and home theatre.