Originally Posted by citsur86
So far what I think I've gleaned from the forum looks like 2 pairs of Pioneer BS22s as fronts and rears as well as a C22 center is going to be the best for my money. I don't have a sub recommendation yet so any speaker or sub recommendations would be much appreciated! I'm at about $385 with the 2 pairs of BS22 and C22. So I only have about $120 to spend on a sub - though I might be able to stretch to $200.
Stick with you're original idea for the Pioneer Speakers. Andrew Jones is an amazing speaker designer. Basically you're getting a very very talented and gifted audio engineer that mentored under the founders of our industry at the peak of R&D development during the Golden Age of Audio. He helped produce legendary products at KEF then broke off on his own to form the high end engineering company TAS. There he designed and built state of the art audiophile products priced in the upper stratosphere of the high end audio market for tens of thousands of dollars.Here is a link from an interview with Andrew Jones of Pioneer:
Pioneer is a giant behemoth astride the entire consumer electronics industry. They enticed Andrew to join them with the challenge of applying his considerable talents to "trickle down" the essence of quality in his hand built $20,000 designs into products that sell for under $200 and could be mass produced for the general market. He had already reached the pinnacle of boutique audiophile excess, now he was to figure out a way to replicate that with entry levee mass market practicality. The hope was that his incredible talent coupled with Pioneer's enormous R&D capacity could crack this dilemma and produce a product that audiophiles would buy but college students could afford. They succeeded in spades. Here's an interview between Scott Wilkerson from AVS and Andrew Jones regarding the Pioneer challenge that was broadcast on Home Theater Geeks called "Good Speakers for Less
Just one example this success is Andrew's design for the the traditional commercial mass market center channel speaker
in a 5.1 theater setup. Most manufacturers use a common design in their main floor standing stereo speakers
called a D'appolito Speaker Array
which places the tweeter at the center between two midrange drivers above and below. This is on purpose because all speakers beam and the cone shaped sound wave emanating from the tweeter in the middle will interact with the cone shaped sound waves emanating from the midrange drivers above and below. Like ocean waves that you might observe at the beach, these colliding wavefronts intersect and combine into high peaks and low troughs. This "intermodulation" between these two wavefronts will reach your ear concurrent with the sound directly from the individual drivers and can be interpreted by the brain a distortion in the sound.
However, the good news is that our brains have evolved to be sensitive to the sound of this type of distortion mostly when it's coming horizontally from the left to the right, not vertically from the top to the bottom. Turns out when we were scurrying throughout the bush in prehistoric times we were much more worried about being attacked and eaten from predators surrounding us on the ground that flying in from the sky above. The vast majority of food we hunted was by listening to rustling in the bushes beside us rather than listening for bird calls from the sky.
As a result, our brain minimizes intermodulation distortion from a vertical D'appolito Speaker Array
with the tweeter between two drivers above and below, while it amplifies intermodulation distortion from a horizontal D'appolito Speaker Array
with the tweeter between two drivers to the right and left.
Well, of coarse, most manufacturers lay their center channel speaker on it's side to fit under the flat screen TV. This usually necessitates using a horizontal D'appolito Speaker Array
with the tweeter between two midrange drivers to the right and left. Does that mean that ALL center channel speakers suffer from IM distortion? Not necessarily so…
If you have the product cycle time, research budget, and design expertise, you can develop a crossover design (the part that divides the sound frequencies between the different drivers) that compensates and minimizes the effect of IM distortion. Sort of like using noise canceling headphones on a airplane (they add in frequencies that are the opposite polarity of the outside noise which combine to cancel out that noise) the crossover can be custom tailored to boost or reduce countervailing frequencies to offset the unique distortion pattern from the specific combination of drivers at the exact distances they are mounted apart on the font baffle. Of course this is an iterative engineering process of trial and error, requiring the time, budget and expertise to winnow the design down to a successful product with little or no IM distortion.
Because of this expensive engineering process, most commercial speaker manufactures ignore intermodulation distortion between the drivers and use a basic standard crossover in their entry level and mid priced products. It doesn't make much difference because they're competing against similarly handicapped designs from all the other manufacturers at these same price points. When you start getting into speakers costing significantly more, some manufacturers address this, but many leave it alone even in their most expensive designs.
What about the Andrew Jones designed center speaker for Pioneer? Not only does it have a compensating crossover network, but every year since the center speaker was first introduced, Andrew kept tweaking the drivers, introducing updated, tweeters, midranges, enclosure material, cabinet and baffle shape, and of course redesigning the crossover to compensate for the new parameters with minimal IM distortion. That's a lot of engineering value to get in a speaker that's priced around a cart of groceries from Costco.
Take a look at last year's 2013 front center channel
redesign video that he posted on youtube:
Here's the 2013 redesign youtube video on the main right and left speakers
Here's the 2013 redesign youtube video on the bookshelf surround speakers
Regarding your sub. The Andrew Jones designed sub is a quality product that's a fantastic match to the rest of that system. However if you put that part of your budget back in the bank and save up just a little more money, you can have a little fun, and way way outperform the Andrew Jones model with an absolutely killer sub that's DIY.
Look at a DIY flatpack with any one of a number of inexpensive drivers from Parts Express. They don't take a lot of skill to assemble, just a screwdriver and a couple tools and you're on your way o affordable subwoofer nirvana. The other advantage of a DIY sub is you can always upgrade for minimal cost by swapping out the woofer for a more expensive driver later. For about $249 you can start with a really nice driver like the Dayton Audio
RSS460HO-4 18" Reference HO Subwoofer from Parts Express:
For $189 + shipping you can get a Marty Cube
Martysub Flatpacks/Veneer Flatpacks
Or for $177 + shipping you can get a DIY Stonehenge