Customer Reviews: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers
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on July 5, 2013
I didn't buy these here at amazon because I got them for $89.00 shipped from somewhere else. I'm still breaking them in, so this is just a preliminary review.

They have a lot of bass for such a small speaker, it's really amazing. I'm not a big bass fan, not the over emphasis of bass anyway, like so many speakers pride themselves on these days. I still miss the old acoustic suspension speakers with the real and tight bass. On some bass heavy material the bass is a little to much for me with the Pioneers, but right now I'm playing Ennio Morricone music, which is not bass heavy, and these speakers sound beautiful. I'm playing them in a room about 16x24 with a 12' gable roof, and they can fill that room with sound, and play pretty loud.

I'm using these speakers with an Onkyo TX-8255 Receiver, and have them on Sanus 24b 24" speaker stands with blu-tack between the speakers and the stand top plates. The 24" stands seem to be the perfect height for these speakers, as the top of the speakers are at about 36". I wouldn't use stands any higher than 24" with these speakers myself.

Update: 7-21-2013:

I've played the speakers enough for them to be broken-in, and I really like and am impressed with the Pioneer's. I will say that on some recordings they can sound amazing for a speaker of this price, but overall there seems to be to much emphasis on bass, like the speaker is trying to hard to sound bigger. I'm going to try the Fluance SX6 bookshelf speakers next to see if I like them better. I'll let you know how it goes.

Update 7-27-2013:

Just got the Fluance SX6 bookshelf speakers today, and have been listening to them all day. Although they aren't really broke in yet I'm already thinking about going back to the Pioneers. The Fluance speakers are really well made, and you can tell the makers are serious about QC. The Fluances are very dynamic and can play very loud, they would make a good party speaker for sure, but the Pioneers sound more appealing to me, they have a nice smooth airy soundstage. To make a long story short the Pioneers are keepers for me.

Update 8-9-2013:

The Pioneers are really fine speakers. The more I listen to them the more I like them. How the hell they made a speaker this good for such a low price is amazing. I was thinking about eventually going with a pair of B&W 685 or KEF Q300 bookshelf speakers, and I'm sure they are a better sounding speaker then the Pioneers, but they are about $650.00+ a pair. I am enjoying the Pioneers so much I might just stick with them.

Update 9-15-2013:

Still loving the Pioneer's. This Andrew Jones must really be a speaker designing genius.

Update 11-29-2013:

I bought a Dayton Sub-800 8" 80 watt subwoofer to go with the Pioneer SP-B22's. My Onkyo TX-8255 doesn't have a sub-out, so I wired from the receiver's speaker out terminals to the subs speaker in terminals, and the subs speaker out terminals to the speakers using Monoprice 14ga. solid copper speaker wire, which is some fine speaker wire. The sub for the money is well made, and does a good job, but I got to thinking that from wiring through the sub that I have lost some signal quality, so after about a month of using the sub I went back to direct wiring from receiver to speakers with the 14ga. Monoprice speaker wire, and to me it does sound better without the sub. Maybe if I had a sub-out on my reciever, and could direct wire the speakers to the receiver it might sound better, but not sure. For now I'm happy without using the sub, and still loving the Pioneer's.

Update 1-1-2014:

I got a pair of Micca MB42X speakers to use with my desktop PC, and when I hooked them up to my Lepai 20 wpc t-amp I thought, man these speakers sound fantastic, I'll have to compare them to the Pioneer's. I unplugged the Pioneer's and hooked up the Micca's to my Onkyo TX-8255 to break them in, and see which I liked best. The Micca's sound great, and for such a small box filled my living room with great sound, and plenty of it, they would play as loud as I like. The Micca's have very good bass, but not as much as the Pioneer's. After I figured I got the Micca's broke in I hooked the Pioneer's back up. I was thinking I might keep the Micca's in the prime spot, but the Pi's have a little warmer, and sweeter sound that I really like, so the Pi's are back in the living room, and waiting to be challenged Don't get me wrong, the Micca's are fantastic, but to my ears the Pi's bested them.

Update 5-30-2016

Been awhile since I've updated here. I switched to Polk Audio Monitor 40's for my main system about a year ago, and like them more than the Pioneer's. I still have the Pioneer's in my closet, and got a lot of enjoyment out of them. The Polk's will play louder, and have a sound I really like.
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on July 12, 2014
My initial experience with the SB22's did not go well. The first shipment arrived in a box that had clearly been dropped by FedEx. Cosmetically, the speakers were okay, but after hooking them up, it was clear something was wrong with one (the one, it so happens, that was on the side of the smashed box corner). So I took a flashlight and looked through the port hole in the back of the offending speaker and, lo and behold, a piece of insulation was dangling there, along with a wire. That explained the noise issue. So, I generated and RMA, and Amazon dispatched a replacement pair, along with a prepaid return label. (Long story short: "Boo, FedEx. Yay, Amazon!")

Luckily, the ever-dependable UPS delivered the replacements in an immaculate box. I pulled out the new pair and everything was in order. Now I had a chance to listen to them properly.

Wow. I was thrilled. For less than $100 a pair (when Amazon has them on sale, which is frequently), you simply cannot buy a better bookshelf speaker. (Okay, I've read that the Micca MB42Xs are great, too. But I haven't heard them, and the indications are that the Miccas are, at best, equal to the Pioneers.)

These Pioneer's are definitely not studio monitors. If you want the most neutral speaker, that might not be ideal. But for everyday listening, that's probably a good thing. (All speakers have their own character, after all.) In the BS22s, there's a subtle bit of upper-high roll-off, as noted in some reviews, but that makes the speaker sound a bit "warmer" and makes them less fatiguing for long listening. The midrange is excellent. To a certain extent, I could hear the subtle "boxiness" in some male vocals on these speakers that a few reviewers have dinged the BS22s for. But it's very subtle, and paired with an amp or receiver that reproduces mids well, this (very minor) "boxiness" disappears. The bass is incredibly tight and robust for bookshelf speakers. Stunning, really. Using them in nearfield listening, I had to debate if I really wanted a sub. (Eventually, I did go for it, picking up the matching SW-8MK2 when it was on sale for $95 on Amazon. It's an excellent addition.)

In short, these are excellent bookshelf speakers for the price.

***Update 8/22/14***

The BS22/SW8-MKII combination has broken in nicely over weeks of intensive listening. In fact, I was so thrilled with them that I snatched up another SW8-MKII and the Pioneer FS52s when they went on sale on Amazon. Once again, I have no regrets on the purchase. They are fantastic speakers for the price.

Reading through the more skeptical reviews, I think there are two genuine criticisms worth addressing, and one general point to be noted:

1.) As I mentioned in my first review, the highs in both the BS22s and the FS52 (perhaps moreso in the FS52s, though I haven't listened to them enough to break them in yet) sound a bit "rolled off." Now, they don't sound muffled, and it's not clear to me that they're actually "rolled off." (Frequency response graphs that accompany several online reviews seem to indicate the high end is fairly accurate in these speakers.) The highs on these Pioneer's are very, very smooth, which is notable if you're used to a very bright speaker. At first, a bright speaker might sound better, because it grabs you more. But on long listening, you're going to prefer the one with the smoother high end. This is particularly true if you're listening to MP3s, even high birate ones. The "digital harshness" people talk about when it comes to "lossy" formats like MP3s is usually most easily heard in things like acoustic guitar string plucks or symbol crashes. The DAC you use (in your receiver, amp, or external box) will, of course, affect the extent of this harshness, but, all else equal, I find that the Pioneer speakers are very, very forgiving on digital music (even as, like all good speakers, they reveal limitations in poorly recorded albums, regardless of bitrate or format). The Pioneers eliminate much of the digital harshness, in part, because the highs on these speakers are so smooth. So, while these speakers might not satisfy those who prefer a very bright speaker, if you don't have strong feelings on the issue, you won't be sorry buying the Pioneers.

2.) Many call the sub the "weak link" in this system. Don't believe it. Or, if you do, realize that it comes with a very big asterisk. This is a great sub for the price. Very tight and musical. (It's not bloated or flabby like a lot of -- actually, nearly all -- budget subs.) Now, if you're looking for a deep-reaching sub to use for movies -- one that will rattle the fillings out of your teeth during explosions -- this sub will definitely disappoint you. However, if you want a nice musical sub that will blend in with these speakers, you're going to love it.

3.) Finally, it's worth remembering that a lot of the "these speakers are overrated" reviews on Amazon are coming from audiophiles who are used to $1k+ speakers. This is actually a compliment. Why? Because these are the people who would normally not even consider rating sub-$100 speakers. These Pioneer's are astounding in that they've received glowing reviews from publications that rarely pay attention to "budget" equipment, let along fawn over said budget equipment. (And, as mentioned above, you can look at the frequency response graphs in many of these audiophile magazine reviews to see that, despite some Amazon reviewers' protests, these are very well-balanced and accurate speakers.) I have no doubt, though, that the audiophiles used to McIntosh equipment and the like who bought these Pioneers as a throwaway whim might not think they live up to the highest of high end speakers. But isn't that actually a compliment that these Pioneers are even being evaluated alongside such expensive gear?!? I think so. Quite simply, many speakers that cost hundreds of dollars (let alone those that can be had for less than $100) sound awful. Just go into a local big-box electronics store and sample some. Their limitations are apparent very, very quickly. That's not the case with these Pioneers. Are they perfect? Of course not. But they're amazing for the money, and for the vast majority of people -- even budget audiophiles -- these are speakers that you're going to be very, very happy with.
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on November 6, 2012
I had a $300.00 pair of loudspeakers that passed my listening test nine years ago, but I have been noticing a drop-off in the highs the past few years. I play classical music of all types over my system, and wasn't sure if it was the speakers aging or my ears! I read countless reviews about the Pioneer speakers being so great for so little money, that I went ahead and ordered them. Even without the full 30 hour break-in period, I nearly fell on my can when I heard these at home the first hour! Already the string and wind instruments sound like they should, but the amazing thing is the width and depth of the soundstage is incredible. My previous speakers never sounded this good! I have been a regional symphony musician (double bassist) for 30 years.

I purchased these new, second generation Pioneer speakers as I had read that Jones even further worked on the tweeter lens and woofer structure. Try the Solti Mahler 7th on these and you'll be trying all of your best recordings on these speakers! I think the bass is clean and tight, and get tons of sound at half vollume from my ten year old 100 watt JVC receiver. The speakers are mounted three feet high, and the ports (in back) are about six inches from the wall. It is important to do this to help the bass and soundstage even further.

I ordered my speakers from Amazon on a Thursday, and was able to track them toward their delivery the next Monday. They were pack in an additional box and there were no signs of rough hadling. Oh, my previous pair of speakers that I though were so fine have a name that begins with a "P" and ends with an "M". Most of you will know who I mean.

Buy these Pioneers now!
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on January 23, 2016
This review is for the SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers. A little about me is that I am an audio producer and have been producing music for more than 6 years. I bought these speakers when I moved into a new house and was setting up a new yoga room. I wanted good sound without spending a lot of money in my yoga room.

When I very first turned these on I was disappointed, but that quickly changed once I got to know the speakers. There are many points that should be understood about these speakers:

1. There's a break in period before they start sounding good. After about 50 hours of playing music I don't notice any more changes occurring to the sound. In the first 5 hours the changes to the sound of the speaker were dramatic. At first kick drums seemed to have too much of a "pop" sound, but that has appropriately softened out.

2. After breaking the speakers in, the treble sounded like it was lacking detail. Boosting the treble on my receiver however did not solve the problem. It still sounded "washy" but then too much of it. Instead I removed the front speaker grills (this can be done with just your hand by lifting up gently by the 4 points where they're mounted). Suddenly the treble came alive. The "dark" sound of the speakers vanished and I could hear the subtle things in recordings like on my studio monitors (e.g. in a lot of piano recordings you can hear the player moving the foot pedals). Take the speaker grill off of these if you safely can (however this isn't always wise if they're in living room with kids, dogs, etc.!)

3. A lot of other reviewers describe these as "dark" (aka lacking treble). The ideal listening position for these speakers is with your ears level with the middle point between the woofer and the tweeter and the front of the speakers pointed directly at you. In this position they're actually slightly bright, and if you look at frequency response graphs, you see about 2db hill from bassline at ~12KHz (though there's also about 2db drop at 8KHz).

4. The tweeters on these speakers radiate more energy upwards than downwards when facing forward in the normal woofer at the bottom orientation. Therefore in you're going to be listening with the speakers below you, keep them in a normal orientation. However, if the speakers will be above your listening position, it works best to flip the speakers 180 degrees so that the tweeter is on bottom and woofer on top. This is what I did, as my speaker position is at chest height for a good compromise for listening both standing and sitting when practicing yoga. If your ears are below the speaker when it's normally oriented, these speakers will sound very dark.

5. These speakers resonate a lot (compared to $1000 studio monitors, in their price range they're about normal). If you look at a spectral-decay graph, there's a big region with a several millisecond delay from the mid-bass all the way to midrange. Therefore these speakers will resonate whatever you put them on. If you put them directly on a desk, TV stand, or shelf, the problem will be worsened. These speakers either need speaker stands or to be put on a piece of audio foam which will prevent most of the frequency transfer. At first, I didn't like the low and midrange until I put them on a piece of audio foam I cut up (link below for those interested) and got a huge improvement in sound. Previously the low end on anything with fast bass sounded washed out, but this cleaned up the sound of the speakers. This is why some other reviewers describe the bass like it's "trying too hard." Put these on foam! You'll be glad you did.
Seismic Audio - SA-FMDM2-Charcoal - 2 Inch Charcoal Studio Acoustic Soundproof Foam Sheet - Noise Cancelling Foam Sound Dampening

6. Google speaker positioning and play around with the positions of your speakers. This can hugely affect sound. I'm limited as I wanted my speakers to use up as little room as possible (and are probably too close to the wall); but if I had more room I would likely move my speakers further from the wall.

I listen to music on these with a 1-2db boost on the bass and a 1-2db cut on the treble. Overall in this configuration the speakers are slightly warm sounding, clear, and just pleasant and fun to listen to. These speakers are a steal at $100, as with the above tips you won't get better sound until you spend 3-5 times as much.
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on April 27, 2014
I was researching a speaker system for a 2 channel stereo system that would be dedicated only to music. While my equipment was fine, I wanted better speakers. Stereophile magazine, which usually reviews very high end gear ($20,000+ speakers!) uncharacteristically twice-reviewed a $129 pair Pioneer SP-BS-22 speakers (reviews are available on the internet). A Stereophile reviewer concluded that "dynamically" those Pioneers played about as well as Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers. The 10.1’s are considered a major bargain—at $349. Up to this point, I was bent on buying 10.1’s, which are universally lauded for playing way beyond their price point— the 10.1’s are considered to be as good as or better than speakers that cost twice as much. Reviewers agree on 10.1’s, and you will find reviewer comments like these: 10.1’s have crystal highs that seamlessly blend with mid-range delivery…roll off is imperceptible…they have decent but not earth crushing bass response. Stereophile complimented Pioneer SP-BS-22 speakers simply by mentioning them in the same sentence with the 10.1’s. The Pioneers were “…nothing short of amazing….” A Stereophile reviewer couldn’t figure out how Pioneer could sell speakers that good for that price. Hu-m-m-m. Curious, I bought the Pioneers knowing I had thirty days to return them--what could be the harm in that? I set up and played the Pioneer’s. Stereophile’s conclusions aren't hype. Although obviously they don’t play with the authority of the 10.1’s, these Pioneers sounded very, very good, and they were very, very accurate—Stereophile’s comparison of the two was apt. The Pioneers had excellent dispersion; they lacked only low bass punch to really fill a room. Neil Young’s Massy Hall 1971 acoustic, live concert CD sounded…live, as in, I was there. The Stones’ live Stripped CD was… lively, but the Pioneers were low on bass. Fast surveys of jazz tracts revealed lifelike vocals, throaty horns, and clear pianos. They blended well. None obscured or competed with the others. At one point, a tract’s faint tinkle of wind chimes emerged from the music exactly as if wind chimes were hanging in the room with me, chimes I had never before heard in that song. I have a poorly mixed, low quality $2 Count Basie Orchestra CD that I use to test my equipment. If that lousy CD sounds better than it should, I know I have improved my equipment. Basie sounded way better. Wow, great so far….Then I switched on my Martin Logan Dynamo 300 subwoofer, and viola, magic time! With more bass, the Pioneers could concentrate on making clear sound. Streisand’s sonically smooth Third Album played like a soft breeze moves over silk. My biggest test is Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, a movement of which is better known as the theme for Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: Space Odyssey. There’s no hiding from this piece. At moderate to high levels, its kettle drums move and shake things. The tract’s first thirty seconds can befuddle speakers quickly—you find out speakers’ weaknesses right now. Lesser speakers aren’t fast enough, will run out of breath, and they will distort quickly under load. If, when turned up to high levels, speakers can handle Zarathustra’s sudden switches in volume and tone, and if speakers can endure its frequent change of instruments--all without losing composure--they pass my test. The Pioneer speakers are rated for 80wpc and weren’t broken in, so I didn’t want to push them to rocket, blast-off levels. But at what I surely would call LOUD, my 12’ x 17’ room was filled with truly exceptional, distortion free music—my ultimate Strauss test was easily passed. I concluded the Pioneers are not “colored” to hide weaknesses; rather, they are designed to be neutral and precise. The Pioneer speakers and the Martin Logan subs total cost was $229 + shipping. Now, in my listening room, my cobbled-together system plays like a $1,200 system—or more. Now come on…is it possible that a $229 speaker + sub setup produces sound comparable to speakers found in a $1,200 system? Here’s your answer. I’m replacing a pair of almost new, major brand name, powerful tower speakers that retail for $600 and change. Their downfall is that they are designed to emphasize sheer power in AV multichannel systems, so they are not especially musical. The difference is best explained this way: when I am in the next room, with the towers I hear reproduced music; with the Pioneers and the ML subwoofer, I hear the music itself, as if the band is playing in the next room. I get far better music for $229. My nephew will get the towers to upgrade his multichannel AV system. I don’t mean the Pioneer speakers and ML sub are a little better than the $600 towers: I mean that for music, the Pioneers and subwoofer sound far better, as in, not-even-close better. Are the Wharfedale 10.1’s an improvement over the Pioneers? Of course, and I can afford them. But the Pioneers are so satisfying I don’t feel I need the Wharfedales. I agree with Stereophile magazine that the dynamics of those two speakers, if not equal, are comparable. A note on the Martin Logan Dynamo 300 subwoofer: it has an 8” bass speaker, so it won’t blow the roof off of the house in a multi-channel AV setup. However, unlike under-$500 crude thumpers, the ML sub is musical, subtle, and refined. It has sufficient punch to produce excellent music. Like the Pioneers, it performs way better than its price point. At its $300 list price, it is a decent acquisition; at its current Amazon price of $129, it is a steal. Match the over-performing Pioneers with the over-performing ML sub and I guarantee that you will have a wonderful 2 channel music combination.
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on September 5, 2014
I didn't really need any speakers, but I've been reading so many good reviews and reports from audio enthusiasts in various forums and publications that I have been curious about these speakers for a couple years. Finally ordered a pair on sale and received them yesterday. I have large Klipsch Forte speakers in my living room flanking a custom built cabinet I designed to match the speakers. The set looks great - nothing will ever supplant them. Right now, though the little Pioneers are sitting atop the Fortes while I audition them for a few days - the Klipsch are disconnected and my big, heavy Adcom 200wpc, very high-current amp is driving the little Pioneers. My other two systems have Paradigm speakers connected that are also much more expensive - and larger than - the Pioneers. They'll hold their spots, too. So, you see I bought the Pioneer just for fun.

Right out of the box they spell quality. Construction is outstandingly good for a speaker at this price - that remains true at twice their regular price. The curved cabinets are heavy, attractive, and designed to quell unwanted vibration. Grills are attractive and also designed with sound as a consideration. While this isn't surprising given the designer, it is unheard-of at this price. You don't have to wait for a sale for this to constitute a steal. However, all the design pedigree and quality materials and construction wouldn't matter if the speakers failed to deliver sonically. They don't fail - this will be the best speaker some, possibly many, folks have ever heard. Are they perfect? No, there's no such thing at any price.

They don't have the bass of my large Fortes, nor did I expect they would. They don't sound anemic at all, these little guys may be taking steroids. The mids and highs are gorgeous. I've been listening to all kinds of music, from rock to jazz to classical and opera. I don't feel cheated, as though I were missing a lot; in fact, they sound wonderful. You will find no better sound anywhere near this price, and for many people the small size is a huge plus, right along with the small price. Those in the market for a bookshelf speaker should try a pair of these even if considering a larger expenditure. Don't let the low price deceive you, these are seriously good speakers. Very highly recommended; I could actually live with these.

EDIT/UPDATE: I failed in my first review to mention that I used the Pioneers with a powered sub-woofer; I consider it essential for this speaker, unless the listener is willing to sacrifice the lower octaves, basically from 100hz down. Apartment dwellers who wish to avoid annoying their neighbors would be an example of the type situation in which such a restriction may be desirable.

Also, the mids are indeed very good...but more complex, multi-instrument passages are a bit more of a resolution struggle for this speaker. However, that's judging it at pretty high standards, and many speakers more expensive than this model share the same issue. When price is factored in, the Pioneer comes in well above the average. I'm currently using them atop my Fortes again, until I can get the recapping done which the 30yo Klipsch need, and I'm really missing them. I will likely bring my Paradigm Mini Monitor speakers from the media room to the living room until the recapping is done. The Mini is much larger than the Pioneer and pricier - and it shows sonically in comparison with the Pioneer, which will benefit from the smaller room.

I stand by my earlier review, though I probably overstated its midrange ability. On the other hand, as long as the reader understands that the low price is a major factor in play, then my comments are appropriate.

One last point: Since the time I bought these speakers, Dayton has upgraded the old B652 to the B652AIR which sports an air motion tweeter which may make the speaker more sonically competitive with the Pioneer. I haven't heard the new model, so I cannot be sure of that, but it is one that may be considered by those looking in this price range.
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on September 5, 2015
The subwoofer sounds great. No problems there. But the power's "Auto" standby mode doesn't save any power at all. Well, the LED power light goes off, so I guess it saves a few milliwatts.

Power Mode: Auto (off/standby) = 5.7w-6.0w draw
Power Mode: Auto (on/no sound) = 5.7w-6.0w draw
Power Mode: Standby (off) = 5.7w-6.0w draw
Power Mode: On (No sound) = 5.7w-6.0w draw
Power Mode: On (Music Playing) = 6.0w-8.5w draw (of course, varies with volume and bass amounts)

I liked the idea of saving power without having to unplug, so this is disappointing. I was hoping it would only leech a watt or two in auto standby mode... or at least save some power (besides the LED power light).
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on May 7, 2013
Although this speaker has some limitations that become glaringly obvious when I do a side by side comparison to my Reference 3A DeCapo I speakers, such a comparison is totally unfair since the DeCapos cost $3000/pair!

Considering their cost, the "musicality" and sheer listening fun of this speaker is amazing. I have numerous extended (4+ hours) listening sessions with these speakers, and I can say that with excellent sources they sound amazing- good high frequency extension, nuetral and balanced midrange, and good mid bass.

There is plenty of midbass when powered adequately- I had to use my 120 w/pc Quad 909 amp to allow these speakers to have a decent mid bottom. When driving with my 17 w/pc Qinpu they sounded mushy and soft in the bottom end (in fact my Qinpu started to go intermittent when trying to drive these speakers, I think it overheated).

Midrange is laid back but "honest" sounding. Excellent tonal nuetrality. No hint of overly forward midrange- if anything it's a bit soft (The DeCapos are just the opposite, they are pretty "forward sounding" due to a peak they have in the 1K range).

For the pioneers, the laid back nuetrality helps to avoid excessive sybilance on the vocals and is an acceptable trade off to my ears.

The highs are also on the "relaxed" side, not screechy at all- great for digital playback.

All in all this is a very sweet sounding speaker, great for digital music playback where more often than not excessive grain and sybilance is an annoying artifact in the treble. I find myself turning up the volume with no complaints from the wifey. This is a good sign. These speakers play _music_!

Unless you want to spend triple the asking price of these speakers, I doubt you will find anything as rewarding for long term listening. But be aware that they will need a lot of power to sound their best.


Out of long time curiosity based on fabulous reviews and my belief in minimalist crossover design, I purchased a pair of Cambridge Audio S30 speakers. From a price/performance/market standpoint the S30s are a direct competitor to the Pioneers, so here are my impressions after comparitive listening:

The S30s are much more "forward" sounding. The mids/upper mids of the S30s are more pronounced and bass does not seem quite as deep as with the Pioneers. The S30s sound excellent, there is no excessive sibilance in the mids/highs, and - especially for rock - they are more "attention getting". This can provide more "fun factor" but, over long listening sessions this can contribute to the infamous "listening fatigue" syndrome (where you feel you need a "break" from listening and the sound gets mildly annoying or irritating).

A consideration between the two speakers is amplifier power. The Pioneers need a _lot_ of it to sound their best. In my opinion at least 60 wpc and ability of the amp to pump current down to 4 ohms.

The S30s are much more efficient and sensitive. They sound fine driven by my Qinpu 17wpc tube/op amp hybrid (the Pioneers sounded "blah" driven by the Qinpu, and in fact that amp overheated and went intermittent trying to drive the Pioneers)

Another plus for the S30s is that they sound much better at really low level than do the Pioneers. The Pioneers just completely die at low listening levels- dynamics and mid/highs just go flat. The S30s on the other hand sound pretty dern good in the mids/highs right down to very low listening levels, and the dynamics don't suffer too much. This is a big advantage whenever it is neccessary to really cut the volume to avoid getting clonked on the head by a family member during later evening listening sessions.

All in all to sum up, if you have a lot of high quality amplifier power, and listen to a wide range of music at medium to higher volume levels I would tend to recommend the Pioneers.

If you have a low power amp, or for whatever reason you need to keep the volume low for extended listening, and/or your prefer more "forward" sounding speakers, you will probably prefer the S30s.

Both speakers are quality designs and simply make different "trade off" compromises at the price point...
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on August 31, 2013
I was getting into vinyl and didn't want to break the bank in case I lost interest. These speakers were on sale at best buy so i picked them up. I had pioneer's back in high school and many pioneer home theater receivers over the years so I trust the brand for the most part. Even though they are connected to a cheapo stereo receiver (also from best buy) they sound great. I'm using the Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB turn table which has great reviews and now comes with an excellent needle cartridge for great sound right out of the box. This is the perfect setup for someone who enjoys great sound, wants to get into vinyl, doesn't want to break the bank, and frankly, doesn't want to get into all the technical details either. I just want to plug it all in and listen to some great classic vinyl, and I want it all to sound good. I don't count myself a crazy audiophile, but I can tell good sound from bad. Bottom line: Great speakers for the price. High quality and value you just won't get elsewhere. The pioneer website has a good video about these speakers worth watching.

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on November 19, 2012
Onkyo Tx-NR616 receiver
Pioneer Sp-FS52-LR tower speakers
Pioneer SP-C22 center
Pioneer SP-BS22 Bookshelves
Polk Psw-10 Sub woofer

These speakers really top off the set, I am actually looking to buy another set for some Front high speakers (7.1 configuration). The produce rich, accurate tones and the bass is surprisingly deep for a smaller size speaker. The finish, like all the SP line, looks great. All-in-all these speakers really compliment and complete the SP line.

Would highly recommend!
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