Went to my local BB after work today. Took in my own CD's and the salesguy let me play with speakers as long as I wanted. The BS21s were positioned next to Polk T15s, Polk TSi100 and a Klipsch bookshelf speaker, maybe the Icon VB
1. First thing you notice is the build quality. These are well made solid speakers, the curved shape is like my Jamo E660 and E680 towers. Also similar to the Polk RtiA1 or A3 bookshelf speakers. Much better build quality than the Polk T15.
2. The metals grilles are unique. Doesn't look like they come off either. Neither a plus or minus. Distinct styling stands out from the other boxy speakers. At 12 3/4" they were taller than both Polk speakers.
3. Speakers have a low sensitivity of 84db. This was noticeable when switching back from the Polks and Klipsch which are much more sensitive. No way to equalize the volume between different sets. I'm sure the uninformed listener may prefer the other brands just based on initial loudness. The Pioneers are also 6 ohm speakers if that matters. My Jamos are 6 ohm and my Denon receiver doesn't have a problem with them. My HK doesnt either.
4. Sound is more neutral and balanced on the Pioneers. The Polks and Klipsch are bright! I still don't like the horn tweeters on Klipsch. When switching back and forth on music both the other brands annoyed me with their highs!
5. The BS21 didn't blow me away but for $89 I liked them better than the competitors. I wished I could have tested them against the Energy CB-5 in the Magnolia Audio room. Electronics Expo puts them on sale for under $100/pr
on occasion. Pretty solid bass for a 4" driver on the BS21. Probably due to the large enclosure.
6. The Pioneers only have a 1 year warranty while the others have a 5 year warranty. I guess you have to make some concessions in order to build a $89/pr
7. The FS51 towers sound really good. My only complaint is their height. At 31" they're kinda short so I had to squat down to get the tweeter at ear level. Still when switching back and forth between the FS51 and Klipsch and Polk towers, I liked the Pioneer better. I guess I just dont like a really bright speaker. The FS51 comes with an attached base plate so they're very sturdy. Should have no worries about kids knocking them over.
8. I think the real steal of the bunch is the C21 center. That's a big speaker and comes with dual 5.25" drivers for $79. The sound is nice and clear too. I managed to have the FS51, C21 and BS21 all powered on all the same time in All Channel Stereo using the Yamaha receiver connected to the speaker selector switchbox. I turned it up pretty loud and a few people came over to listen to War's Greatest Hits. I didn't have a subwoofer switched on but there was plenty of bass from the small towers.
9. The BB demo CD was a CD-R which must have been burned from low bitrate MP3's. the sound quality was way worse than my CD's and really takes away from the capabilties of the speakers. Bring your own music if you want to get the best from the speakers!
0. If you like an overly bright detailed speaker, the Pioneers may not be for you. Give them an honest listen before deciding. I like them.