Although I am generally enthused about the possibilities Atmos and object-oriented audio tech may offer in the home environment, the proof will be in the implementation pudding--and whether any given implementation will surmount the financial cost/sonic benefit hump. (I'll just ignore the Spousal Acceptance Factor metrics, eh?)
Accordingly, it's appropriate to look at Pioneer's just-announced candidates, in a few possible configurations that may be problematic, particularly to the consumer pocketbook.
Assuming one buys the basic 5.1.4 system, with a center, L+R (whether floorstanders or bookshelves), and SL + SR (whether floorstanders or bookshelves)--jibing with historically similar adoption rates for "yesterday's" (literally!) surround sound systems whereby 5.1 systems vastly outnumber 7.1, let alone 9.x or 11.x (e.g. via Audyssey DSX, etc.)--then Pioneer Elite offers a simple plug-n-play solution for most.
But what if you want a 5.1.4 system, but don't want to use the center speaker--preferring three identical speakers across the front (whether floorstanders or bookshelves)? One is forced to pay extra for the top-mounted concentric drivers. Or, come to think of it, even more with the bookshelf-as-center option, as one would have to spring for a whole pair while just needing one unit...and one without an extra midrange-tweeter module, at that.
Similarly, 7.1.x systems using the Pioneer products offered force one to buy two pairs of the bookshelves or floorstanders for surround duty, when the top-mounted drivers of one pair are unnecessary--unused but paid-for. And paid-pretty- dearly-for, at that; they surely leverage Mr. Jones' considerable engineering expertise (see below), but undoubtedly are relatively costly to manufacture, compared to non-concentric driver pairs This all assumes one wants to use only speakers from this new line in a complete system, for obvious timbre-matching and dispersion benefits.
A simple solution would be to also offer versions of the floorstanders and bookshelves without the top-mount Atmos concentric pairs--and singly, in the case of the bookshelves. Of course, these presumably would be cheaper--and also would be fantastic for those looking for non-Atmos surround sound options: because it's the lure of the new concentric drivers that's the BIG news, today--and REALLY should float our boats around here.
I've agreed with several commenters here at AVS over the years, who've longed wistfully for Mr. Jones to apply his considerable expertise, from his stints at KEF and TAD, to making a Pioneer concentric-driver-based speaker. That time's arrived, and I'm excited to hear them.
However, I'm not so enthused about having to pay for extra (expensive) drivers. Also, I do assume I'll find them wonderful, sound-wise, and'll want to see this driver system employed ubiquitously through the line to the bottom! Anyone else? So just make versions without the top Atmos drivers, guys!
A further observation: yes, these are "Elite" in engineering design...but look like the same bargain-bin "black-oak" vinyl wrap over MDF as the current AJ/Pioneer designs--at a relatively huge price premium. I don't know that the retail price points match the aesthetics, given the huge competition at this price level.
Maybe some different vinyl wraps? White? (My first choice, as otherwise I'm gonna have to break out the white vinyl automotive paint and make a mess...) Cherry? Oak? Teak? It's all colored, textured vinyl. Shouldn't break the bank...aside from the "costs" of compelling/coercing retailers/distributors to stock multiple SKUs...
Just my latenight insomniac first thoughts/miscellaneous ramblings after stumbling upon this news...it'll be interesting to see how other speaker manufacturers present Atmos designs, as there clearly will be room for different interpretations/products--some perhaps radically new. Meanwhile, if Pioneer's Atmos interpretation is what has helped AJ get this concentric driver unit into initial production--perhaps, rather a Trojan Horse?--(and assuming we love what we now can only anticipate) we all should rejoice for Pioneer speakers in general, oblivious to the overall fate of Dolby Atmos in the home.
Last edited by willdao; 06-26-2014 at 01:58 AM.