Pioneer was as soon as king of the budget speaker market, providing a host of car and home speakers that pumped up the quantity for a pittance. However, in recent years, the corporate has found its numbers within the entry-level market slipping behind a legion of upstarts providing better efficiency at lower costs. To solve the issue, Pioneer referred to as in its version of ‘The Wolf’: Chief Design Engineer and guru behind Pioneer’s renowned TAD speaker line, Andrew Jones. Jones’ experience has paid off to date, reinvigorating Pioneer’s entry line-up with worth packed systems.
Pioneer SP-SB23W: Design
The Pioneer SP-SB23W is attractive sufficient with the speaker screen connected, but removing it reveals a lot sexier configuration, unveiling an array of well-crafted drivers that look spectacular considering the bar’s price class. Flanked out to the far sides are 2 1-inch dome tweeters, while twin pairs of Three-inch midrange drivers line-up in the direction of the center. Every of the drivers is individually powered with a 28 watt internal amp. The wireless subwoofer boasts a 6 and half inch woofer inside, provided with 50 watts of energy. The whole system frequency response is listed at 45Hz-20kHz.
Behind the sound bar is a small choice of inputs, together with the IEC power cord port, an analog RCA input, and a digital optical input. The Pioneer SP-SB23W Bluetooth connection rounds out the supply choice, with no 3.5mm input or HDMI input to be found. Additionally on the back is a main energy switch, and a bright red LED power indicator.
A small choice of buttons is set into the bar’s major control panel, permitting adjustment of volume, supply, and standby power. The remainder of the system’s features are accessed by the small remote, which affords basic controls for volume and mute, supply selection, subwoofer level, and standby energy, in addition to Bluetooth controls to search and pause music out of your transmission system. The Pioneer SP-SB23W additionally has the power to learn your TV remote, permitting you to make use of one remote on your whole entertainment setup.
The bar presents little in the way of representation, flashing a couple LEDs for source and sound mode, which additionally pull secondary duties indicating volume adjustment, and many others. The stripped-down configuration offers a general idea of system status, but we would not have complained about an actual display.
Digital options for the system include Dolby Digital decoding, Eight channel DSP, and a trio of sound templates together with film mode, music mode, and dialog mode. The included manual seems to have mixed up the description of every template, but our testing revealed that the music and movie modes had been comparatively related in sound, whereas the dialog mode accentuated the midrange and rolled off the bass pretty heavily helpful for watching regular broadcast programming without accentuating music and sound effects.
Pioneer SP-SB23W: Performance
We began with Zack Snyder’s visually riveting 300, and right from the beginning, the Pioneer SP-SB23W exhibited a luxurious and wealthy colour from the midrange down, and a detailed lower to the treble that allowed for an instantly enjoyable listening experience. The system confirmed its prowess for dialog on the film’s onset, carving out a clear and textured display of the narrator’s gritty baritone voice, and a soft. A particularly revealing moment got here when the Spartans came upon a younger boy, the final survivor of a slaughtered village. The kid’s whispered account was excellently outlined, with clean, sharply carved lines that allow us hear each phrase clearly without straining our ears.
The system additionally added some welcome definition to the remainder of the manufacturing. The thunder bolts and rain solid down from the sky because the Persian ships approached within the maelstrom had ample depth. And the gratuitous battle scenes displayed visceral moments, such as snaps of slave driver whip, deep plunks of arrows on shields, and uninteresting metallic sweeps of swords because the small pack of Spartans defended the chasm to their doom. There was a contact of tinny colour to the treble right here and there, but it surely was not something that caused us trouble.
Transferring through a variety of content, the Pioneer SP-SB23W continued to impress. The bar confirmed good stereo separation in moments just like the dragon scene in Harry Potter, permitting our ears to observe detailed sweeps across the screen. However more impressive was the system’s penchant for the finer details. As we explored each movies and broadcast content material, we found ourselves specializing in benign moments just like the thick ruffling of a newspaper, the movement of clothes, or the casting of sound off environments like closets or stone corridors, all of which created a deeper level of sonic engagement.
They are saying subtlety is an art form, and that rings especially true within the sound bar/subwoofer relationship. Whereas the Pioneer SP-SB23W little sub did not supply the huge, thunderous expanse of bigger models on the deepest areas of the sound, it blended very properly with the smaller drivers, mixing decrease dialog, impactful door thuds, and musical bass strains into the upper realm effortlessly. The one actual complaint we had with the low finish got here when we tried to move the cupboard away from the bar, which created some directional publicity of the upper frequencies produced by the sub’s small speaker cone.
The Pioneer SP-SB23W additionally sounded nice for music playback. Soundtracks just like the spread-out latin percussion within the background of Dexter impressed, as the Pioneer SP-SB23W showcased the array of devices with good definition, without coming out of the background at an overwhelming level. And we continued to benefit from the warmth and detail of the sound signature whereas auditioning songs from our Apple iPhone. The system leant a golden touch to acoustic instruments and vocals, whereas the clean upper register kept the assault of cymbals, high strings and brass tight. Older recordings like Neil Young’s “Alabama” came via just a hair muddy, exposing what we heard as a roll-off within the upper midrange. Still, the system provided good stereo spacing and plenty of accuracy, permitting us to enjoy it throughout our entire music catalog with few complaints.
Pioneer SP-SB23W: Verdict
Andrew Jones’ design chops spawned a worthy efficiency in Pioneer SP-SB23W, and we loved listening to the system for all of our house theater needs, from action movies, to dramas sitcoms, and music. The system’s wealthy and clear sound signature, ample stereo spread, and musical low end provided simply the right boost of sound quality, bringing our home theater experience to life; all in a neat and compact package.
If you plan on plugging in for most or all of your home theater needs, Pioneer SP-SB23W does present a wonderful sonic experience at an inexpensive value. Just do not say we did not warn you.
- Best value home theatre system. Period.
- Professional piano-black design
- Booming 200 Watt subwoofer
- Easy set up
- The Pioneer SP-PK21BS gives comparable sound at the same worth.