Pioneer Speaker Bar - Possible Game Changer? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 606 Old 08-22-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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As I have mentioned before, Pioneer's entry into this category with a unit designed by Andrew Jones could be a game changer for those interested in accurate and dynamic sound.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/ch.Speaker+Bar.Compare

This will probably not be the unit for those looking for the loudest and boomiest bass or a psuedo surround experience.

Strictly two channel unit, but the designer states that the speaker bar is integrated correctly with the woofer. Something I have not heard from other units costing as much as five times the cost of the Pioneer.

An early review of a prototype from Sound & Vision
http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/blog/2013/06/26/pioneer-announces-andrew-jones-designed-soundbar-399

I am intrigued enough that I have pre-ordered one, due to be shipped mid to late September. Should be a good match for the ZT60 plasma to be delivered tomorrow morning. If you sign up at the Pioneer site for updates on the speaker bar, they will send you a coupon code to get $ 50.00 off of the bar on a pre-order before September 6 with 30 day return privileges if not satisfied.

I will post photos and some comments upon arrival. If possible may even do some comparison with my Infinity Beta 40's from my music system.

I have always considered a sound bar as a means of having decent to very good sound where space or room or spousal limitations prohibit. I have owned six different sound bars over the years and tested at least twice that many. For the most part, I don't get too excited over new announcements from even the best speaker companies such as KEF, B&W, Infinity, etc. However, this one has really gotten my attention. As I look deeper into the technical aspects of what Andrew Jones has done, I have even more respect for this design.

The proof is always in the listening. Will keep you updated in about four to six weeks.

David Freeman

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post #2 of 606 Old 08-22-2013, 08:15 PM
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I'm intrigued by this also. I assume you would plug the optical cable into the optical out of your tv? I have multiple devices so one optical connection will not work. I should have my VT60 next week and I just realized it only has 3 hdmi inputs which is crazy to me. My old Kuro had 4 and my sharp elite had 5. I could always get a hdmi switch though for that. Is that how you plan to use it or do you just have one source using optical?
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post #3 of 606 Old 08-25-2013, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Since the pioneer is 2.1 only, I am going to go with the single optical out from the TV with three components connected to the TV. DVR & Blue-Ray constant. The other HDMI will rotate between laptop and digital recorder or cameras.

The analog will be connected to an older Panasonic DVD player swapping with a MP3 player to be used for audio only.

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post #4 of 606 Old 08-25-2013, 10:09 PM
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The design and build philosophy from the man himself...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLsKnq3Rjz0


Very interested in hearing this bad boy myself!
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post #5 of 606 Old 08-26-2013, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I watched those videos myself. I feel a lot of his design philosophy will go right by some people and pooh-poohed by more knowing audiophiles. The idea of having dedicated amplifiers for each driver with custom designed 6th order crossovers built into the amplifier is actually mind blowing. This could actually be a much more accurate (neutral) speaker than the full size or book shelf speakers he designed for DefTech or Pioneer.

This is probably the most sophisticated speaker/amp design that I have heard about since Harold Beveridge's beutiful electrostatics back in the 1970's. If you were ever fortunate enough to hear one of these, you would never forget it. All you could hear was the music. No sonic signature from the speakers. No definition of where the speakers were located, their size or any of the other usual sonic clues we hear when listening to the typical monkey coffin or even most open design speakers.

Anyone who believes that they get a realistic 3-D image from five or seven channels should have the opporunity one time to hear a totally immersive sound experience.

And no, I do not believe that the Pioneer Speaker Bar will approach the Beveridge electrostatic. Just carried away remembering a great man who was not limited by what sells or what the industry thought.

http://www.audiocircuit.com/Home-Audio/Beveridge
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post #6 of 606 Old 08-26-2013, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

I watched those videos myself. I feel a lot of his design philosophy will go right by some people and pooh-poohed by more knowing audiophiles. The idea of having dedicated amplifiers for each driver with custom designed 6th order crossovers built into the amplifier is actually mind blowing. This could actually be a much more accurate (neutral) speaker than the full size or book shelf speakers he designed for DefTech or Pioneer.

This is probably the most sophisticated speaker/amp design that I have heard about since Harold Beveridge's beutiful electrostatics back in the 1970's. If you were ever fortunate enough to hear one of these, you would never forget it. All you could hear was the music. No sonic signature from the speakers. No definition of where the speakers were located, their size or any of the other usual sonic clues we hear when listening to the typical monkey coffin or even most open design speakers.

Anyone who believes that they get a realistic 3-D image from five or seven channels should have the opporunity one time to hear a totally immersive sound experience.

And no, I do not believe that the Pioneer Speaker Bar will approach the Beveridge electrostatic. Just carried away remembering a great man who was not limited by what sells or what the industry thought.

http://www.audiocircuit.com/Home-Audio/Beveridge

Well put David - wow, that brought back some memories. I remember hearing at length my late uncles experiences with a pair of model 2's that his buddy in California owned in the late 70's.

I just submitted my email for updates thru Pioneer. I'm very interested in hearing this stealthy little unit and maybe pairing it with my soon to arrive Vizio M70 - think I'll bring the Butch Vig produced "Gish" with me to put it thru its paces! wink.gif
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post #7 of 606 Old 08-27-2013, 02:07 AM
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The SP-SB23W has both digital (SPDIF) and analogue (RCA) inputs. Understand that the best signal path from source is via the digital inputs as the internal DSP and DAC would take care if the stereo reproduction.

What about the RCA inputs? Curious if there's a double conversion going on with the analogue signal - seems a waste if it is so.

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post #8 of 606 Old 08-27-2013, 09:31 AM
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I have the SONY HT-CT660 being delivered tomorrow.

Now I'm kind of wishing I held out for the SP-SB23W. Do you guys think the sound quality on the Pioneer is going to be drastically better than the CT660?
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post #9 of 606 Old 08-27-2013, 05:58 PM
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I really wish that Mr. Jones would come out with a 5.1 version of this soundbar.
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post #10 of 606 Old 08-27-2013, 07:49 PM
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drfreeman60,

How long did it take you to receiver the $50 off coupon? I signed up about 2 days ago and still haven't received anything.

Thanks!
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post #11 of 606 Old 08-27-2013, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YOTR View Post

drfreeman60,

How long did it take you to receiver the $50 off coupon? I signed up about 2 days ago and still haven't received anything.

Thanks!

+1
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post #12 of 606 Old 08-27-2013, 10:53 PM
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The owner's manual for SP-SB23W is now available for download at Pioneer's website given in the first post of this thread. Had a quick read of it.

The Bluetooth audio version is A2DP and not sure why AptX lossless isn't supported?eek.gif

The sub is wireless but doesn't mention the frequency it's operating at? The 2.4GHz spectrum is very crowded while the 5GHz has more room.

The audio frequency (including the sub woofer) is 45Hz to 20kHz. This is decent and if the sound quality is as good as a pair of bookshelf speakers, would like to use the SP-SB23W as the mains.

Steve

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post #13 of 606 Old 08-28-2013, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared2442 View Post

I have the SONY HT-CT660 being delivered tomorrow.

Now I'm kind of wishing I held out for the SP-SB23W. Do you guys think the sound quality on the Pioneer is going to be drastically better than the CT660?

I also have the HT-CT660. No one will know if it sounds "better" until release. My guess is even if it does sound better, it wont be by a big margin. It is obvious however that the HT-CT660 already wins in the style department, as well as features. Not to mention it comes with a nice remote. The HT-CT660 is a top performer sounding better than soundbars that cost twice as much. I will get one when they come out and compare the two though as I to am interested in this.
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post #14 of 606 Old 08-28-2013, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveting99 View Post

The owner's manual for SP-SB23W is now available for download at Pioneer's website given in the first post of this thread. Had a quick read of it.

The Bluetooth audio version is A2DP and not sure why AptX lossless isn't supported?eek.gif

The sub is wireless but doesn't mention the frequency it's operating at? The 2.4GHz spectrum is very crowded while the 5GHz has more room.

The audio frequency (including the sub woofer) is 45Hz to 20kHz. This is decent and if the sound quality is as good as a pair of bookshelf speakers, would like to use the SP-SB23W as the mains.

Steve

It states in the specs on the product page that the subwoofer runs on 2.4ghz
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post #15 of 606 Old 08-28-2013, 08:26 AM
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No $50 coupon here either (signed up last week). Maybe that promo expired?

Anyway, curious to see how this one fares against the Sony 660, JBL SB400 or HK SB30. I was nearly at the point of flipping a 3-sided coin for the latter 3 until I read about this new Pioneer.
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post #16 of 606 Old 08-28-2013, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I received the $ 50.00 coupon offer about a week after signing up for updates. (up for updates doesn't sound right) Who knows, maybe the offer was only for the first handful of people requesting information. I would think that Pioneer would attempt to get as many of these in user hands early if possible. Positive on-line reivews can boost sales for a niche product like this. Once available on-line from Amazon or even at BB and other B&M stores, the price will probably be discounted that much or more.

Looking at some of the comments, I have no idea whether this will sound the same, somewhat better or significantly better than what else is available. I believe that the HK unit uses Linkwitz-Reilly 4th order crossovers where almost everything else I have ever examined under $ 1K allows the speakers to only roll off naturally as well as using a single amplifier for all drivers other than the sub-woofer. Even with those limitations, most soundbars can sound considerably better than what comes built in to the new ultra skinny TV's.

I understand the comment on looks. However, keep in mind that it is much easier to craft a modern, very neat looking box out of plastic or metal. Also keep in mind that it is very hard to remove the sonic signature related to those materials when playing very loud (very loud is really not much of a consideration to me anyway). Jones' reason for using wood was to avoid sonic anomolies normally associated with the cabinet.

I will attempt to do an honest evaluation when I receive my unit.

David

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post #17 of 606 Old 08-30-2013, 09:10 AM
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How would this compare to the Sonos Sound bar alone
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post #18 of 606 Old 08-30-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I have not heard the Sonos sound bar. No dealers anywhere close to me. Have not heard the Pioneer either, but have a selection of choices to compare with at home (Yamaha, Sony, JVC, Vizio, Panasonic).

As I know of no way to do a decent blind A/B test on speakers as can be performed on the rest of the electronic chain, whatever impressions I come back with will be tainted with the fact that I will know with which unit that the Pioneer is compared. I have a cheap Radio Shack SPL meter from back in the day. Will attempt to match SPL at about 256 and 1K to keep the playing field even.

Although the soundbar's primary use in my home will be TV/Blu-Ray, I am extremely interested in how the unit holds up for music listening.

David

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post #19 of 606 Old 08-30-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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If I can figure out a decent way to do so, I will also compare to my Infinity Beta 40's. A lot of issues to deal with in order to do that.

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post #20 of 606 Old 08-30-2013, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post


Although the soundbar's primary use in my home will be TV/Blu-Ray, I am extremely interested in how the unit holds up for music listening.

David -

That is precisely my interest in this unit as well...

Thanks for taking the time to do this - its greatly appreciated! I look forward to hearing your review/comparison...
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post #21 of 606 Old 09-02-2013, 04:35 PM
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I signed up on the Pioneer site several weeks ago but have seen very little info...except it looks like they changed availability from September to late September- anyone seen or head anything more specific?
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post #22 of 606 Old 09-02-2013, 09:42 PM
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Amazon has it up for pre-order. $450 and ships in 1-2 months.
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post #23 of 606 Old 09-03-2013, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Amazon has it up for pre-order. $450 and ships in 1-2 months.

Very interesting. First time I have ever seen Amazon advertise a higher price than suggested retail. The two to three month delivery is also surprising.

I just visited Pioneer's site again to check for price updates. They still show pre-order price as $ 399.00 and the ship date remains mid/late September.

I continue to wait patiently for my unit to arrive at my doorstep.

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post #24 of 606 Old 09-03-2013, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Did anyone else ever receive the e-mail offering a savings of $ 50.00 on pre-orders? I am not usually lucky enough to stumble on to something accidentally, especially if it is not being offered to everyone with an e-mail address.

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post #25 of 606 Old 09-03-2013, 03:21 PM
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Did anyone else ever receive the e-mail offering a savings of $ 50.00 on pre-orders? I am not usually lucky enough to stumble on to something accidentally, especially if it is not being offered to everyone with an e-mail address.
im waiting and hoping! but... i just signed up a few days ago. will post when/if i get the offer. really look forward to your findings when you get it. this thing looks like it will be amazing...

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post #26 of 606 Old 09-03-2013, 03:31 PM
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My sense is you get the $50 off only when you actually pre-order at the Pioneer site- is this correct?
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post #27 of 606 Old 09-03-2013, 08:51 PM
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The more I read about this speaker bar system, the more intrigued I become. I can't wait to hear it for myself. It seems, given the fact that most consumers have yet to hear it for themselves, the main complaint seems to be that it "lacks modern design". I couldnt disagree more - in any good modern/industrial design, form follows function. In this case a simple composite wood cabinet with sides that curve toward the back perfectly serves its function while keeping cost at a minimum. The wood provides faithful sound reproduction and the curved sides eliminate standing waves inside the enclosure that can muddy the sound.

Below is a snippet I found from a tech at Pioneer on how they make the curved MDF for the enclosure...

"A 12mm sheet of medium-density fiberboard is inserted between curved aluminum plates, one convex, one concave, with each plate connected to a high-power RF energy source. The RF field that is created between the aluminum plates heats the resin within the MDF and softens it. The plates are then pressed together to force the MDF to take on the curvature of the plates. The field is removed, the resin recures, and the MDF takes on a permanent curvature.”


It seems they have really went out of thier way to design a sound bar with one objective - good SOUND.

Here's to hoping my "hopes" aren't too high as this seems to be exactly what I am looking for ...
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post #28 of 606 Old 09-04-2013, 12:09 AM
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^ i couldnt agree more! i love the style/design, it most definitely is modern. perfect blend with industrial furnishings and modern style.

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post #29 of 606 Old 09-04-2013, 08:58 AM
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Agreed as well. The design doesn't bother me (I actually quite like it). I think my only reservation at this point is the 2.1 and no HDMI support. However, I'm cautiously optimistic that the sound quality will make up for that.

Oh, and still no coupon code. Been about 2 weeks since I signed up for it.
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post #30 of 606 Old 09-05-2013, 06:36 AM
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This is the only website that seems to have an ongoing discussion about this soundbar. For the past three weeks I've been trying to contact Pioneer through their Canadian website to determine when this thing will be available to buy or pre-order in Canada. They simply don't answer their emails. Wish I could get some information somewhere. mad.gif
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