Budget Speakers, Premium Sound. A Review of Pioneer's SP-FS51 Tower Speakers
Dec 3, 2012 (Updated Dec 3, 2012)
Review by Brett Day
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Over the years I have used many different brands when it comes to home theater speakers from Polk, to Klipsch, to Sony, and for various reasons I parted ways with those speakers. I have been wanting to build another home theater and recently, while in a Best Buy store, I found the Pioneer SP-FS51 tower speakers on clearance for $179 for the pair, and at that price I could not pass them up. I have now used these speakers for a few weeks and would like to share my experiences with them.
Recommend this product?
How do they look?
To be honest the Pionner SP-FS51 tower speakers are really quite pleasing to the eye. One of Pioneer's big selling points of these speakers is that they were designed by Andrew Jones. Andrew Jones has been designing speakers for years now, and until recently his cutting edge designs have been incredibly expensive, but The SP-FS51's break that mould.
The Pioneers are one soild piece of thick particle board, which is a far cry from the solid oak Polks I have had in the past, not that this is a bad thing, but you can certainly tell a difference in build quality when compared with the likes of Polk and Klipsch. Having said that, I have been surprised by the overall build quality of the Pioneer's which is really very good. The speakers are fairly heavy and weigh in at 23lbs per piece. The towers are not the biggest I have ever owned but at 31.5 inches tall, with a width of 7.9 inches and a depth of 8.7 inches, these speakers still take up quite a bit of real estate next to your TV or entertainment center.
All of the speakers I have owned in the past have had a seperate, removable mesh speaker cover that covers up the actual speakers, which really helps the speakers look slick and aides in helping the speakers blend into their surroundings, but the Pioneer's do not have a speaker cover. The triple 5.25 inch woofers and the 1 inch tweeters are proudly displayed for all to see. This could be a deal breaker for some because honestly staring built-in metal speaker grills is not everyone's cup fo tea, and it gives the Pioneer's more of an industrial feel rather than one of elegance, but it is this boldness that makes me love them even more. .
Around the back of the speakers you will find the binding posts for the speaker wire, and while they are made from plastic (apart from the wire terminal) rather then metal, it is not cheap plastic and they do not feel like they will break very easily, and they can accept banana plugs which always makes connecting speaker wire that much easier.
The overall design really makes these speakers take center stage in your home theater, and that is not a bad thing seeing as they play such an important role. The design. unlike most speakers of this type are not squared, instead they have a curved case which not only looks good, but also makes the acoustics even better, and while the overall Andrew Jones design may take some getting used to, you will not be disapointed with their overall look in your home.
How do they sound?
When I saw the Pioneer SP-FS51's in the store they were on clerance, which meant that they were not connected to a receiver, this meant that I could not demo the speakers before I made my purchase which is something I always recommend you do, but the stores return policy and the price made me pull the plug, and I have not been disappointed with my purchase.
While the Pioneer's do not compare to more expensive speakers from the likes of Polk and Klipsch, they do produce some of the best sound I have heard from budget speakers.The SP-FS51'shave nice mid and lower ranges, which gives them a nice, full sound, while the highs are crisp and clean.
The three way, 6 Ohm speakers are capable of handling 130 watts at max output, and they have a frequency response of 45 Hz-20kHz, with a sensitivity of 87dB. While most receivers today should be able to power these speakers without any problems, just be sure and check your receivers ratings before using them.
The Pioneer SP-FS51 speakers are capable of producing some bass,but you should not rely on them to produce the type of lows that will shake your walls when you favorite hero blows up the bad guys, so you will still need a seperate subwoofer for really good bass response.
Overall the sound that the Pioneer speakers can produce is really quite excellent, especially for the price. I have not been able to fault them at all since my purchase, and they sound good no matter what the source may be. I have watched numerous Blu Ray's, listened to countless CD's and MP3's, and have never been disappointed while watching regular broadcast TV. The speakers have handled everything that I have thrown at them, I really am impressed.
If you can find a pair of these speakers at a local store for under $200, do not hesitate to jump all over them. The Pioneer SP-FS51 tower speakers are easily the best speakers in the budget category, especially when you take into consideration that most towers in the budget category normally cost about $200 each. I was a little nervous going in to the deal because I had never heard Pioneer speakers before, but I have been incredibly impressed with both their looks and their overall sound imaging. I would highly recommend these speakers if you can find them for the right price.
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Amount Paid (US$): 179
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