Well, this is what happened. I own a KENWOOD stereo receiver (low distortion output) and wanted a second set of speakers to match my INSIGNIA main speakers (6 1/2" carbon woofers and coax 1" silk dome tweeter) which provide beautiful smooth tones and a wide soundstage. Very enjoyable.
Recommend this product?
I had purchased a pair of CADENCE F-17 speakers. But, as much as they sound OK, they just don't have the smooth sound characteristics of the INSIGNIAs. Their midrange just seems a bit too bright and their bass not as full and balanced. So, I am getting rid of them.
I went back to BestBuy with the thought of possibly buying a second pair of INSIGNIA speakers. However, the speakers aren't on sale at this time.
Then, I ran across the SONY SS-B1000 speaker systems. They were the last pair, open box, for a measley $27! That's about 50% less than what they sell for on the internet.
I am a little hesitant towards SONY speakers, as I do not always like their sound. However, at 27 bucks, I had to try them.
I am so happy I did. Their sound is so smooth. They actually sound quite a bit similar to my main INSIGNIA speakers. They are a great match. Treble is incredibly detailed, yet non-fatiguing. Midrange is very nice and bass is impressive for its size. These little speakers are delivering about 90%+ of the bass from the INSIGNIA speakers, despite them being about 1/3 the size.
As before, I placed these little SONY wonders on my rear SANUS speaker stands. I also placed small foam rubber feet under the SONY speakers.
The SONY speakers accept my 16 gauge wire easily.
I then played several recordings of which I am quite familiar. I also watched a couple of movies. All in all, I can't believe how well these little speakers perform.
All the harsh mid-bass resonance which I had to endure from the CADENCE speakers, as well as from another pair of speakers I had bought, made by AUVIO, was gone. Just very smooth non-fatiguing music.
These little SONY speakers are made of wood, with a black woodgrain finish (laminate I'm assuming).
I like the dimensions of these speakers. Just as my main speakers, they are deep cabinets for their size, meaning their depth is greater than their width.
This may not seem important. But, my experience tells me that one of the big problems with the AUVIO and CADENCE speakers I had, (mid-bass boom, peaks and hollow sound), may have partially been due to the dimensions of the cabinet.
Both the AUVIO and the CADENCE speaker cabinets were shallow (width was greater than their depth).
Acoustically, this design always seems to effect the woofer's performance. In such designs, the rear reflective wall is just too close to the woofer, causing resonances that are impossible to damp with damping materials, ducted bass ports, etc. The result always seems to be a unmistakable peak in mid-bass and a 'hard' sound which is annoying and out-of-character with the rest of the audible bandwith.
On the other hand, my INSIGNIA and these SONY speakers have depth that is larger than its width. And both of these speakers deliver bass that is impressive and seemingly larger than its size might dictate. That is my experience anyway.
These speakers are a bass-reflex type. Even though they are small, SONY has employed a small ducted port which seems to work very well. These speakers are well tuned and smooth. No mid-bass peaks.
The bass port is front firing, which I much prefer. As I've mentioned in other reviews, I do not like rear firing bass ports as they can cause phasing issues and their reinforcement of the bass delivered by the woofer does not seem to work as well as a front firing bass port.
The woofer is a 5 1/4" H.O.P. cone. I don't know enough about SONY H.O.P. cones. I just know this one sounds very clean.
The surround is a soft butyl rubber, which I much prefer, and the woofer seems to have a good amount of excursion (x-max).
The tweeter is a 1" Nano Fine tweeter. Again, I don't know enough about SONY Nano tweeters. It looks a lot like a combination cone/dome mylar type tweeter, with a phase plug in front.
All I can say is it sounds very nice. Highs are beautiful, yet not too sharp or shrill.
I do not know what type of crossover is employed. I am guessing a 2nd order, but I could be wrong. I have written SONY. If they answer, I will post it here.
The grille is cloth and is removable.
The rear input terminals are standard quick connect push types, but are of decent quality and, as stated above, have no problem accepting my 16 gauge wire.
This speaker is rated 8 ohms. Therefore, it should mesh well with virtually any home audio system.
Rated 120 watts. Probably peak. As I've mentioned in other reviews, I don't really believe such ratings, especially for such a small bass driver. For myself, I divide such a number in half and use that as a guideline.
And as always, I must state that it is the distortion level of your amp which is typically more destructive than its power output.
A high output low distortion amp is less likely to damage a woofer as opposed to a high distortion low powered amp. That is the 'short' version.
SPL is rated 87dB. And I agree. These SONY speakers are just slightly lower in sound output as compared to my INSIGNIA speakers, which are rated at about 90dB.
FREQUENCY RESPONSE is rated 80Hz-50kHz. I don't care about the claim to 50kHz. That is meaningless to me. However, these speakers play the audible highs just as nicely as my main speakers. That's what counts.
And the 80Hz rating is very realistic, maybe even conservative. My main speakers are rated to 50Hz, and they hit such notes without any problems These SONY speakers can keep up with them fairly well in the bass range. In my opinion, they deliver audible output extending below 80Hz.
Dimensions are approximately 10" x 6" x 7" (HWD).
I believe these speakers weigh about 6LBS each, according to SONY website.
I think I've found my rear speakers and I'm done looking. These SONYs compliment my main speakers very nicely. Their sonic characteristics are similar. They sound very clean. Bass is smooth. No mid-bass annoying peaks. No midrange shrillness.
I think these SONY speakers would compliment any system. They can even be used as main speakers without a subwoofer. As stated in other reviews, I'm not into wall shaking earthquake bass. For me, the bass output from these bookshelf speakers is pleasant and listenable. Plus, it is less likely to disturb the neighbors.
I am very impressed with these SONY SS-B1000 speaker systems. For their size and their price, they are surely worth an audition.
They have renewed my faith in SONY speakers.
ABOUT BASS OUTPUT:
As with all my speaker reviews, I'd like to point out I listen to my music and movies with a 'flat' setting (zero bass/treble boost). I do not employ any DSP or loudness enhancements. I much prefer the overall detailed sound which one derives when playing all settings flat through a reasonably good amp and speakers.
Obviously, there are many who will boost the bass/treble, etc. So, as always, I must state that such speakers as these may not be able to withstand the punishment associated with driving the woofers too hard via bass boosting. In such a case, a subwoofer is probably in order.
This is not a bad reflection on this, or any bookshelf speaker system. Bookshelf speakers are, by design, smaller with a smaller compliment of drivers and smaller drivers too boot. They can only do so much, physically speaking. No small bass driver can deliver the bass and output of a larger good quality bass driver.
So, if you want to loosen the nails in your home's frame, invest in a subwoofer when using these speakers. Otherwise, you will most likely just destroy the small speakers and/or seriously deteriorate their sonic performance.
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Amount Paid (US$): 27.19