42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Wow - No Way Can They Sound This Good,
This review is from: Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 130 Watt RMS 2-Way Speakers (Pair) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
How can speakers this inexpensive sound this good? Sometimes life just isn't fair.
These Pioneer SP-BS41-LR (what a horrible name) were purchased to replace a pair of old Klipsch Kg 1.2 speakers that cost three times as much new. The price on these Pioneers was just too good to pass up, and I wanted something new.
The Pioneers have a very similar sound to the Klipsch speakers. A nicely balanced speaker that leans a bit toward clear clean highs and controlled lows. The big difference with the Pioneers comes in imaging; these speakers have much better defined image than my Klipsch speakers. They sound better farther off axis than the Klipsch. These are pleasant easy to listen to speakers. They sound great at low volume, something a lot of speakers have trouble with. Of course turned way up, they continue to output excellent sound, never sounding strained.
Andrew Jones designed these speakers. Jones worked for KEF and Infinity before joining Pioneer in 1994. The clear clean highs is a trademark of Infinity, Klipsch, and KEF, so these Pioneer speakers come by that trait honestly from Jones' design.
The speakers come with a nice instruction manual. These are rear port two way bookshelf speakers. The manual says for optimum performance, they should be 2 feet from a wall and not placed in a corner. They will still work fine on a shelf, against a wall, or in a corner (the manual goes into detail about corner placement to maximize response), but the sound won't be optimal.
These are well constructed speakers. The enclosure is satin black wood veneer (I read somewhere this is supposed to be vinyl, it is really wood veneer). I really like the design of the sides; it is rounded and tapered at the rear. These speakers are meant to be played vertically; the rounded sides make it impossible to lay them down. The speaker grills are fixed metal grills; there is no way to remove them without breaking the speaker. There is a small chrome Pioneer logo on the front that looks surprisingly elegant. The speakers weigh a ton, there has to be a lot of wood inside these. These are large speakers. In the time of super tiny speakers backed up with a subwoofer, these are huge. These are not interior design friendly speakers (man cave is the right location for these beauties). If pushed into home theater duty there is a very large center channel, the SP-C21. (Pioneer SP-C21 Center Channel Speaker (Black))
The binding posts are a little odd. They are angled upward in a fairly shallow recess, so the speaker wires dangle in mid air. I've never seen binding posts angled this direction; they are usually 90 degrees or angled downward so the wires flow down the back of the speaker. The posts are 5 way and accept bare wire, pins, spades, and banana plugs. In order to use banana plugs, the knurled collar has to be unscrewed and a little tiny colored plug has to be removed. These plugs seem like a needless addition.
I'm gushing over the sound. There is no way I expected these to sound this good. Stereophile reviewed these twice this year. One conclusion was that the test results were on par with speakers that cost $1,000 a pair. Two different reviewers really liked these speakers.
Speakers are the most personal part of a stereo system. These speakers are installed in a strictly two channel system. They are placed almost three feet from the wall, on speaker stands, are about 8 feet apart, and toed in slightly toward my chair, so they are almost optimally placed. The only source in this system is a Pro-Ject Xpression III turntable with a Sumiko Oyster cartridge. Connected to an NAD PP 2i phono prestage and an NAD 50W integrated amplifier C326BEE (a direct clean simple amplifier, not even A/B speaker selections to get in the way of the signal to the speakers).
December 27, 2011 Update: These are sturdy speakers. I accidently placed one speaker on a slippery surface, turned up the volume, and the speaker fell to the floor - about a four foot fall. It landed on the lower speaker grill and put a good dent in the grill. Everything else was fine.
For those of you that wonder if the grills can be removed - yes, but with a lot of work. It's a very tricky operation and it's very easy to scratch off paint or the wood finish. The grills are held in by friction and a bit of a gooey material around the speaker cone. If you are really careful with an ice pick, and push the pick into an edge hole in the grill and then pry outward carefully, the grill will start to come loose. You have to go around the grill in little tiny steps and it will eventually slide off. There is a metallic ring just around the outside of the grill that you can pry against. The speakers are butt ugly without the grill. It's really better to leave the grills in place.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 24, 2012 8:03:38 PM PST
I believe that these speakers are an anomaly being designed to be good at low cost. Retail is not supposed to work this way... I consider these a limited edition great speaker.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2012 10:49:04 PM PST
Daniel G. Lebryk says:
Yes, very well stated mousepotato.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 7:05:20 AM PDT
Robert J. Feit says:
original essay said u can't take off the grills. wrong! use a very small screw driver and pry carefully at the edges of the grills and u will get them off - the speakers look fantastice without the grills!
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 8:54:37 AM PDT
Daniel G. Lebryk says:
Robert, You are correct, the grills can be removed. BUT they are extremely difficult to remove without mangling them. One of my speakers took a good fall and slightly dented the grill. I had to work very hard and carefully to pry off the grill without scratching the paint or damaging the wooden face of the speaker.
Guess how they look without grills is a matter of taste - the grills are strictly cosmetic and do not affect the sound at all.
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