Pioneer SP-PK52FS 5.1 Speaker System Review

Discussion in 'Loudspeakers' started by admin, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
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    Here is our complete review of the new Pioneer Andrew Jones SP-PK52FS 5.1 Speaker system. For $549 you get a pair of SP-FS52 Towers, SP-C22 Center, SP-BS22-LR surrounds and SW-8mk2 subwoofer. Our review has detailed measurements and analysis. Incredible performance per dollar, perhaps the best on the market!

    [​IMG]

    Discuss "Pioneer SP-PK52FS 5.1 Speaker System Review " here. Read the article.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2013
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  2. monkish54 Audioholic General

    monkish54
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    Great review, Gene!!

    Those measurments look great!

    My BS-22 doesn't sound quite as good as my Philharmonic 2, but for $129** it can't be beat! There isn't a speaker under 1k that I feel comfortable recommending over the Pioneers. Andrew did a phenomenal job!

    **Andrew and Chris were nice enough to ship me a pair free of charge. I have recomended the Pioneers to more people than I can count on my hand. It is by far the speaker I have recommended most on this forum. They definitely got their monies worth!

    Thanks again, Andrew & Chris! :D

    BTW, you have a PM, Gene!
  3. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    thanks for the compliment, though I didn't receive a PM from you?
    gene,
  4. crimedog Audiophyte

    crimedog
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    TigerDirect currently has the bookshelves for $80/pair, center speaker for $68, and subwoofer for $90 although no longer with free shipping. They seem to have run out of the towers. I ordered a pair of bookshelves for my computer to go with a 75w integrated amplifier.

    Thanks for an interesting read, although it's not something that I would put in my living room it is something that I'd recommend to friends and family who are just starting up. I agree that it would be very interesting to see what AJ can do at 2-3x the price.
  5. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    Great review. I'm still shocked at how good the towers are for what I paid. I was only able to place them about 6" from my wall (which worried me at first), but there is still plenty of bass output (which was unexpected). I did hear a bit of resonance in the midrange as you stated, but don't notice it all that often. The best thing about these speakers is the clarity and lack of distortion. I usually use them as the front right and left for TV and movies so I often forget how good they are as I don't have a matching center, but once I go to two channel mode I grin every time. I'm glad to see you have the same impression of the soundstage that I noticed. I thought it was because my room is so small and they couldn't "open up" as much (is that the right way to say it?), but it's still pretty good.

    Thanks again for the review.
  6. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    I'd probably give them a slightly lower mark for appearance because they aren't going to win any beauty contests, but that really doesn't matter compared to the sound they provide.
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  7. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    Agreed but at $129/ea, I just couldn't give lower scores in any category. It didn't feel right ;)
    gene,
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  8. matteos Enthusiast

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    They sound like a quality budget speaker, I'm not sure about the four star rating for appearance though, although they are better looking than the previous incarnation... They still look like super cheapo speakers.

    Oh you already answered my comment before I posted, lol.
  9. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

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    One of the reasons I like them. No sense in buying a speaker with a fantastic finish when it's going to be behind a screen. It could be bare MDF for all I care.

    Sound is more important than looks any day, but in all honesty they don't really look all that bad.
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  10. chilepastor Enthusiast

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    Nearly bought them

    Helpful review. I auditioned the towers to compare them to a pair of Paradigm Monitor 7's I found on Craigslist. Buying something new vs used certainly interested me. They did sound amazing for their price range (which is where I needed to be looking/listening). However, after going back and forth & listening to each twice, I went with the Paradigm M 7s. Looking back, it may be because the 7s were broken-in, or the different listening environments, but the Pioneer's seemed overly bright to me. In the end, because of stumbling on a great deal, from a retired guy who was downsizing to bookshelves, I got those Paradigms for $200. If I hadn't found that steal, I definitely would have purchased the Pioneer 52FS. If I'd had a budget of $4000, it would have been interesting personally to see if I liked anything better in that higher price range.
    I love the idea of getting the bookshelf pair for my office, have an old Denon receiver to use, & expect that combo will be way better than any computer speaker system out there. May need the Pioneer Sub? Can a better sub be found at that price?
  11. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

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    That is really quite interesting because I've owned quite a few of the older Monitor series and they are very bright, both in the upper midrange and the highs. "Break in" is not a factor, but the setups you listened to them in might have played a role for sure. By contrast the Pioneers are FAR from bright right out of the box. IMHO, the highs are slightly dialed back on my BS22-LRs making them very even handed with all material.
  12. monkish54 Audioholic General

    monkish54
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    Well that is lackluster. Now it's gonna sit as an unread notification FOREVER. :p

    I'll resend it. :D
  13. jotham Audioholic

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    I recently purchased the FS-52 towers to replace some Axiom M40 speakers primarily because of the hype. I certainly enjoyed the warm sound of the Axioms but they would break down when the music got really loud. My impressions of the FS-52 towers is that they are more overall accurate than the Axioms they replaced but in one area, they also fell short.

    I listen to a variety of music but sometimes I just need loud hard rock or industrial music to get me through a marathon session of dish washing. I felt that the Pioneers start to fall apart when I really turn them up, with noticeable compression kicking in.

    It could certainly be my old receiver (yamaha vx-992 / 80 wpc) running out of headroom but I'm also wondering if maybe I'm just expecting too much out of these very affordable speakers. I've only got one set of speakers that seem to have unlimited dynamic range (emotiva ERM 6.3s) without sounding compressed so I obviously don't have a lot of experience with full range towers.

    There's a question in here somewhere I swear! Gene, or anyone else who owns these, do these towers have a pretty definitive SPL limitation or are they just power hungry and my old-school yamaha has met it's match?

    Aside from the SPL problems I've experienced, they certainly are clean and affordable speakers but I wouldn't mistake them for a high end speaker. God only knows what Andrew Jones could accomplish with $400/speaker budget.
  14. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

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    How big is your room? Mine isn't all that big and I can get them loud enough to hurt and they don't really seem to break up. My room is only ~1500 cubic feet though so they don't have to try as hard. My receiver is rated at 55wpc higher than yours, but I doubt I ever use all the wattage.
  15. afterlife2 Audioholic Spartan

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    Very cool review Gene. Funny that you mentioned Sibilance. I had a Beatles LP song Till There Was You that had alot of sibilance when I had the 52 towers, but then they were not even close to break in. I only had them for 3 weeks.:( I also thought the 22 center was probably the best one I had, besides the one I have now. I had no problems with these loud in volume either. I'm wondering If Andrew Jones is working on the 2nd edition of these anytime soon?
  16. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

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    I think you made a good upgrade to the Pioneers but they do have limits too. Try bass managing them with a powered sub and your receivers bass management to see if that cleans things up a bit. The only issue is your older Yammie Xover is a fixed 90Hz setting. You can chose a sub with speaker level in/outs and use the subs xover to bass manage the Pioneers as an alternative, but I don't recommend doing this if your running 5.1 as the older Yamie receivers won't provide fullscale LFE info back into the main channels with the sub channel disabled. You may want to try external amplification to see if things improve before making any speaker changes though.

    If you want a speaker that can play LOUDER than the Pioneers, consider the EMP E55ti's but they don't have at much detail and brightness in the top end as the Pioneers.
    gene,
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  17. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

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    These are V2 of the series so I don't think they have any changes planned ATM. I certainly hope not otherwise it would obsolete my review ;)
    gene,
  18. jotham Audioholic

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    After thinking about the review a bit, I went back into my room and made some changes. The room isn't too large but it does open into the kitchen. The bigger challenge is the acoustics suck with all sorts of reflective floors and walls such that high frequency sound is excruciating. I think the Pioneers have great top-end and as a consequence, the treble frequencies are basically killing me.

    I usually toe-in my speakers but with the Pioneers, that was exacerbating the problem so I set them to neutral. I also used the crude tone controls of the Yamaha to accentuate the bass a bit and reduce the treble a click. All of those quick changes did help a lot.

    What I think I need to do is control the room's high frequencies better and ideally have some room-correction for the Pioneers. I'll see what EQ I have available on the Yamaha but in general, I think the problem is mostly the room.

    In my most recent testing, I decided that the receiver is fine with the power requirements of the Pioneers. I was mistaking ear pain for driver compression :)

    Thanks for everyone who chipped in with suggestions. I really want my dish washing to be a less painful chore <label for="rb_iconid_12">[​IMG]</label>
  19. gmichael Audioholic Spartan

    gmichael
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    I had a pair of the Pioneer project 100A speakers back in the early 80's. They were too big to be called bookshelf style and too small to be called towers, but they sure sounded great. I am not surprised that Pioneer is making good budget speakers again. I am more surprised that it has taken them this long.
  20. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

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    That is a really interesting review. It looks as if they just miss being a great speaker. That 5db peak at 4.5 kHz is very unfortunate though. That is right in the sibilance band and quite honestly must be annoying. I suspect it is a woofer break up mode after the crossover not properly tamed. The higher peak will not be nearly as damaging.

    I would have thought a crossover mod would take care of this. For very little increase in price this could be taken care of I think,hhhhhh and would add a disproportionate increase in listening pleasure for the small added cost. I'm tempted to buy a pair and publish the crossover mod. Those speakers invite a tinker, as the mid band is phenomenal at that price. They seem to me to be ripe for a DIY upgrade.
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