Did extended listening to Wagner Thursday evening. Let's face it, it may take a community to raise a child, but it takes a real speaker to raise Wagner. Am I disappointed? Not at all.
I looked over at my better-half and she was sitting on the sofa with her eyes closed, head moving witht he music as she imagined everything on stage.
With the recordings I was using, some true 2-channel instead of 16 channel mono, Wagner usually sounds like music. With the Pioneer, it sounds like very good hi-fi. This is not an insult as I have owned and heard sound bars that cost four or five times what Pioneer is asking and they did not sound like music or good hi-fi.
Once, I closed my eyes and listened for about ten minutes, the speakers almost vanished and I could really hear the music. I know this is a sonic effect that happens on almost any sound system. Based on what I keep hearing, I see nothing that would make me wish to return Pioneer's speaker bar. This is the first inexpensive device that I can actually enjoy with orchestral music and voice.
I used to use a record (vinyl) with a sliding tone from 20k to 20 that was excellent for locating the shallow or inadequate portions of a speaker's response. Even was good for spotting phase mis-alignment and room anomolies. Wish I had this now. However, for those whose primary or secondary purpose is to find a sound bar adequate for music, this is the best I have had my hands on and for now, I do not intend to look further. I never sought the Holy Grail even when I had about 20k invested at my old home (what was I thinking).
Things to look for that may or may not bother you.
High end is not as accurate or extended as a good pair of full range speakers.
Some hollowness in the lower mid-range.
The bass is extended and natural once the woofer balance has been trimmed in correctly.
Basically there is nothing missing.
My wife has been requesting a change in our living room for the past three years which includes no more Infinity loudspeakers. These are almost 50" tall and weigh about 50 lbs. each so they are rather difficult to hide. We have brought home and tested small speakers from B&W ($ 2,000 ouch), DefTech ($ 1,000 not as much outch), Mirage and a few others. Each spent a minimum of ten days in the house and even without comparing, the wife was always ready to send back before I was. Most had nice sound from mid-midrange to treble. All sounded as if they were missing something in the lower mid to mid bass making them sound to light for most of our listening which includes acoustic jazz and voice (should be easy).
The Pioneer has none of the deficiencies of the small form factor speakers we tested. With the woofer adjusted properly, these sound like a good full range speaker. The Infinity speakers present a sound stage that extends three to five feet beyond their physical boundaries as well as about five feet front to back in depth. Due to the closeness of the drivers, the Pioneer sounds like a very impressive one or two channel system.
I am not sure how to respond to the comments above concerning the size of the woofer. I am not sure how this is relative. Also, not sure of the listener's criteria for what sounds good and zero experience with the Klipsch. I am familiar with the sound of the original Klipschorn loudspeaker as my deceased father in law hand built two. One in the early 1950's (before stereo) and one in the early 1960's. At the time, Klipsch sold the plans to build the folded horn enclosure and also sold the drivers and crossovers. I had attempted something on a smaller scale when I was about 20 years old, but did not have the craftsmanship to make anything like these. Impressive speakers at the time they were built and probably still so today.
Just as I advise anyone looking for HDTV, don't judge anything (and I do mean anything) by what you see in the store. Same is true for sound. You can only make a proper judgement in your own home when the equipment is set up properly. If you are unable to do this, you should rely on trusted sources for review. And as info, I am not one of those trusted sources. Don't have golden ears or eyes.
Possum Girl - as info, I attempted to get the wife to try a small tower from DefTech as well as one from B&W. Both about 30" high and sounded like good full-range speakers in the store. She did not want even a small version of R2D2 on the floor.
Still hoping for some more voice and old time rock&roll this weekend. And I apologize that I don't even know some of the artists or groups that were mentioned for me to listen to. Will check with my 27 year old son and his wife to see if they have anything. If so, it will probably be an MP3 from the iPads. I don't mind MP3's. I own thousands.