Pioneer Sp-Bs22Lr review

A link to the technical info:

Description: Two-way bass-reflex bookshelf speaker (not magnetically shielded). Drive-units: 1" soft-dome tweeter, 4" structured-surface cone woofer. Frequency range: 55Hz–20kHz. Nominal impedance: 6 ohms. Sensitivity: 85dB/2.83V/m. Maximum input power: 80W. Crossover frequency: 3kHz.
Dimensions: 12 9/16" (320mm) H by 7 1/8" (180mm) W by 8 7/16" (215mm) D. Weight: 9 lbs 2 oz (4.1kg).
Finish: Wood-grain vinyl.
Serial numbers of units reviewed: LNV004559VC (auditioning), LFNV0082030C (measuring).
Price: $159.99/pair. Approximate number of dealers: 50+ (plus Best Buy).
Manufacturer: Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., PO Box 1540, Long Beach, CA 90801-1540. Tel: (800) 421-1404. Web:

And the info blurb from the official website:

70 Years of Audio Firsts
These speakers come with a remarkable pedigree of over 70 years of Pioneer audio heritage and industry firsts. Like every speaker we build, these are engineered to offer incredible design and amazing sound quality. But then that's exactly what you'd expect from speakers designed by internationally renowned speaker engineer, Andrew Jones. As Pioneer's Chief Speaker Engineer, Andrew has designed some of the world's finest loudspeakers, some costing as much as $80,000. Now he has brought his high-end expertise and passion to the creation of this affordable bookshelf speaker. And while the price is considerably lower than some of his other efforts, the expectation and delivery of accurate sound reproduction are the same.
Thinking Out Of the Box
Typically you'll find most bookshelf speakers not only come in a box, they are a box. And while that might be better for production costs, it isn't better for sound reproduction. The SP-BS22-LR speakers utilize a true curved cabinet design. So besides the aesthetics being considerably more pleasing, this stiffer design reduces standing sound waves inside the cabinet, resulting in high-performance and exceptional sound quality.
As you look at them, you'll also notice our unique speaker grills. They're beautiful and elegant in their own right, but not for their own sake. They protect the speakers, but are also removable if you prefer to see the drivers themselves.
The Inside Story
Crossover: The job of the cross over in a speaker is to break the audio signal into low, high and sometimes mid-range frequencies. It's an important job, and it uses circuitry like inductors and capacitors to accomplish it. Much of the competition uses an extremely simple, low-cost cross-over made up of a single capacitor and inductor. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR utilizes a sophisticated 6 component high quality cross over. The reasoning is simple: we do it because it's one more way of insuring high quality sound that makes its presence known.
Woofer: There are many challenges designing and manufacturing a woofer capable of delivering true bass performance. In the SP-BS22-LR, we've added a structured surface to the 4-inch woofer. By doing so, not only is rigidity improved, so is bass accuracy. Engineers have also vented the pole piece, again improving bass response from the same size woofers in previous models.
Tweeter: To widen the sweet spot of the 1-inch High Efficiency Soft Dome tweeter, we've engineered a custom wave guide. Increasing tweeter efficiency, together with newly designed crossovers, allows the SP-BS22-LR's play louder using less power.
Whatever your system, the SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers are ready to step it up with authentic audio reproduction to bring your listening experience to the next level.

And a link to the centre speaker:

Links to other reviews:

I read a lot about this speaker and how it was a budget pocket rocket, so this piqued my curiosity, and I managed to get one from USA, freshly minted during one of my travels..

At USD 129, this is one serious bargain. On cursory examination, with the knuckle rap test, you can certainly feel that there is solid value for money here. The finish is a basic ash veneer, but the cabinet is solid, and as others online have written, the parts that go into making the tweeter and woofer cost a lot. So much that my DIY friends have remarked that they won't be able to assemble the same parts for that kind of money..

Even the binding posts are gold plated, not something I have seen with the offerings from companies like Gale or JPW, which are some of the previous budget speakers I have tried. This is clear evidence of the things a large company can do with mass production and bulk volume.

So how does it sound?

Now my usual front pair of speakers is the B&W 804D floorstander, which can go down to 29Hz, and has that fancy diamond tweeter.. so it's different...

But it's really good for the money, in such an impressive way that speakers up to $500 might worry...

First what it can't do:

It's still a 4" cone in a small cabinet, and there's a physical limit to the amount of bass, and the scale as a result. But it does try to go down, and you will get some bass in the high fifties, but it's better at reproducing music that doesn't plug the scale. This baby is begging for a solid subwoofer to back it up, much like the older BBC speaker...

That seems to be a good comparison actually, as this speaker sparkles on mids and a more than decent treble.

So after a run in period, I decided to try it with some of the gear that I use with the more expensive B&W, then try it with some other stuff I have that is closer to it's selling price.

With the Marantz PM 11 S3 powering it, and the NA 11 S1 as a source, plus some solid stands, it showed good soundstage, depth and a good pace. The treble seems a little more prominent, but I think it's more to do with the lack of deep bass than a really bright tweeter... and the grilles do make a difference, so keep them on if you find the sound too bright.

The Marantz gear smooths out the treble nicely, but I won't try these puppies with the really bright gear, and that also applies when I moved down to more basic gear..

I have the award winning Denon RCD 39 mini system available and it does bring the sound up a few notches compared to the supplied Denon house speakers.

A simple system might be a Marantz PM 5005 or 6005 plus a SA 7005 or the like and some QED Classic speaker cables or some of the budget inter-connects from Wireworld or the like.

It's isn't too hard to drive and in my opinion, but I did not try it with a tube amp. With the Denon, that only has 30W on tap, it did not sound anemic at all, but the soundstage was more compressed and there were some details missing, but with the right music flowing, you won't miss it if you are using it as a background speaker, which is what I am doing right now.

It catches onto a rhythm easily, and despite lacking deep bass, it's pretty impressive and when I used some compressed music, it was not too bad.

It's size and cost make it a good speaker to be position in some student's hostel room too, and make be the first speaker for someone starting out, or it can also be used as a surround pair in home theatre.

Speaking of HT, I also bought the centre and that was another remarkable speaker. Both centre and fronts have that sloped cabinet, ala Wharfedale and it's a decent size, which means it carries the male baritone voice quite nicely.

Comparing it to my HTM4 centre isn't fair, but it did a decent job of resolution and if you set it to 'small' it's got enough resolution and for someone tight on funds, you can do a lot worse for HT.

At such a low price, it's a no brainer to try out, and you may end up keeping it for more than just a mini system.


 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.


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