The second, is that at lower volumes, the listening experience is quite dissatisfying. I don't know if I'm just expecting too much, or if this is an absolutely normal thing that I should be thankful for (because it means they're good speakers or something?), but the bass drops out quite a bit and starts sounding pretty canned. This is not too big an issue, because it sounds good at higher volumes, but i'm just wondering why this is.
If "canned" means lacking bass, I am 99% sure you're experiencing what everyone experiences at low volumes: the Fletcher-Munson effect
or equal-loudness curve scenario. Simply put, your ears are less sensitive to the lower bass notes (and higher treble) at lower volume settings. This is why you see so many people have their graphic EQs set to the so-called "smiley-face" curve.
FYI: this is why so many older receivers, and thankfully more and more newer receivers, include switchable loudness compensation systems to (mostly) counteract this effect.
So, your Pioneers - and your ears
- are operating correctly as far as I can tell.
As long as I don't lose/don't lose too much high end clarity, i'd be completely satisfied, provided they fill in that mid-to-upper bass void that i have right now.
Since the towers seem to use the same tweeter and were designed by the same engineer, the only reason they might seem to have less clarity is that since the towers produce more (& lower) bass, this gives the perception
the towers produce a lower level of higher frequencies. I.e. this is one of those relative situations.
BTW personally this is why I think so many picky audiophiles think floorstanders and larger speakers in general are not as precise and "accurate" as small bookshelf models, not to mention they may not be positioning those larger speakers well enough to eliminate boominess and/or an over-production of bass.
I also give a thumbs up to the Primus line - not quite as warm as the Pioneers to me but still smooth and easy to listen to (compared to all those speakers out there that IMO are voiced primarily to better reproduce a movie's voices & sound effects i.e. an overall analytical/"crispy" sonic character). A 2-way speaker with a 6.5" woofer, like the Primus 163 crazyrob mentioned, is one of my favorite speaker configurations: they can usually produce very good bass for small-to-medium sized rooms and still have clean/realistic midrange output, all without a separate midrange driver. And if paired with a subwoofer, IMO can usually easily handle the "standard" 80Hz crossover point.