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Old 08-05-2014, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Pioneer SP-BS22 vs. Cambridge S30

Hello all. I'm getting closer to finishing my computer project and I'm looking for a nice 2.1 setup. I've done a lot of research and this is what I've come up with on a strict $400-500 budget (not including amp)

Speakers: Pioneer BS22 or Cambridge Audio S30
Sub: HSU STF-1
Amp: NuForce N22 or some A/V receiver.

My room is about a 10' x 15'. I built a pipe desk that is around 74" x 36" so either one should fit nicely. I will also be buying some AudioEngine speaker stands. My biggest question is the bookshelf speakers. I've seen the Noaudiophile review that states that Pioneers are pretty harsh in the upper range but sound pretty good if albeit a little narrow with proper DSP corrections. The Cambridge sounds like it's amazing for the price point so I'm leaning towards it but if I can get similar performance out of the Pioneers for cheaper then I'd like to do that. Thoughts?
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:20 AM
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For me the Cambridge is better - has more detail and definition, plus good tight and controlled bass.

The Outlaw sub is on sale and free shipping - I would aim for it.
https://outlawaudio.com/products/m8.html
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:18 AM
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I believe zieglj01 knows a lot about the cambridge and can give you more information, but I think it is widely accepted here that Cambridge S30 is the better speaker. They were also much more expensive last time I checked.

However, IIRC, the cambridge are not recommended for near field applications, which is what it seems you are wanting them for. The BS22s are not what I would call harsh by any means, and are great for near field applications. I think this is the case when you can save some $$$ by going with the BS22s and spend it towards the sub and not really compromising on your LR choice.

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Old 08-05-2014, 10:44 AM
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I have two pair of the BS-22's, one in a near field computer room setup running off a small class D amp of about 40 wpc, with two subs, and I have a set in my bedroom running off a little 8 watt T-amp. I've even used them for a bit as mains in my main system running off a 200 wpc B&K amp, and I have never noticed any harshness, in fact, I find them to be a very well tonally balanced speaker, with shocking bass capabilities for such a small woofer. Even more shocking is the low price. I paid $99 for one set and $79 for the other. I know of no other speaker that can touch them for anywhere near their price.

Sure, there are plenty of speakers that cost more and perform a little better, but the BS-22's really are, to me anyway, a great sounding speaker and an incredible value. I actually could live with the Pioneer's in my main setup if I had.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
For me the Cambridge is better - has more detail and definition, plus good tight and controlled bass.

The Outlaw sub is on sale and free shipping - I would aim for it.
https://outlawaudio.com/products/m8.html
Now for a tight budget and for more of a higher level sound signature- I would aim for
the AAL Monitors (Pioneer modded speakers) they are better than the Cambrigge S30.
The price is real good - he will start taking orders again around Aug 12
http://philharmonicaudio.com/folio-m...ages/AALS.html

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Old 08-06-2014, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89grand View Post
I have two pair of the BS-22's, one in a near field computer room setup running off a small class D amp of about 40 wpc, with two subs, and I have a set in my bedroom running off a little 8 watt T-amp. I've even used them for a bit as mains in my main system running off a 200 wpc B&K amp, and I have never noticed any harshness, in fact, I find them to be a very well tonally balanced speaker, with shocking bass capabilities for such a small woofer. Even more shocking is the low price. I paid $99 for one set and $79 for the other. I know of no other speaker that can touch them for anywhere near their price.

Sure, there are plenty of speakers that cost more and perform a little better, but the BS-22's really are, to me anyway, a great sounding speaker and an incredible value. I actually could live with the Pioneer's in my main setup if I had.
This is the frequency response of the speakers and at around 12k it spikes so yeah they do sound a bit harsh or bright at that level. They do seem like a nice deal but I might go with zieglj01 suggestion and go with the custom Pioneers.

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Old 08-06-2014, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikaru12 View Post
This is the frequency response of the speakers and at around 12k it spikes so yeah they do sound a bit harsh or bright at that level. They do seem like a nice deal but I might go with zieglj01 suggestion and go with the custom Pioneers.

I have two pair of them, and have never noticed any harshness, and I hate speakers that sound harsh. Graphs are nice and all, but it also depends on who and how someone is measuring the speakers. I've listened to the speakers though, and not someones graph.

Stereophiles measurement graph looks less severe, but the one you posted really isn't that highly boosted, it's just the way the graph was done. Besides, 12khz is high enough in frequency that it shouldn't lead to a description of "harsh", such as what one hears when say 2-5khz is boosted.

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Old 08-06-2014, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikaru12 View Post
This is the frequency response of the speakers and at around 12k it spikes so yeah they do sound a bit harsh or bright at that level. They do seem like a nice deal but I might go with zieglj01 suggestion and go with the custom Pioneers.

I'm not sure what the source is for that frequency plot, but it's kind of misleading. The port and woofer response are shown individually--so it looks like there's a big droop in the middle bass, when the combined response is actually quite flat. I've measured dozens of these things and yes, all of the tweeters have a peak above 13 k. But that's actually fairly benign in practical terms. Further, 90 percent of my measurements show a drooping response in the 3k - 9k region, and not the slightly elevated response shown. As noted above, the bass response is remarkable both in terms of quantity and quality for such a small driver.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:16 AM
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Stereo.de also measured the Cambridge - and it looks better than that graph in post #6


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Old 08-06-2014, 08:19 AM
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The problem with the graph in post # 6 is the way the graph was done, where each line in the graph is 2db vs 5db, so any deviation looks way worse than it really is. It's pretty hard to compare that graph to more tradition 5db graphs.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post
I'm not sure what the source is for that frequency plot, but it's kind of misleading. The port and woofer response are shown individually--so it looks like there's a big droop in the middle bass, when the combined response is actually quite flat. I've measured dozens of these things and yes, all of the tweeters have a peak above 13 k. But that's actually fairly benign in practical terms. Further, 90 percent of my measurements show a drooping response in the 3k - 9k region, and not the slightly elevated response shown. As noted above, the bass response is remarkable both in terms of quantity and quality for such a small driver.
I obtained that frequency response from this article written: http://noaudiophile.com/Pioneer_BS-22/
Whetherthat website is a realiable source for certain low cost speaker reviews, I'm not sure. The author seems to have a preference for the Mika bookshelves which I suspect might have some bias.

I have found another frequency response graph from soundandvision.com:


The legend might be too general for any real close examination.
@89grand : What's your biggest gripe with these speakers if you had one? I don't need super detailed speakers because otherwise I'd get some studio monitors or something. I don't have anything 24bit to make use of anyway, lol.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikaru12 View Post
The legend might be too general for any real close examination.
@89grand : What's your biggest gripe with these speakers if you had one? I don't need super detailed speakers because otherwise I'd get some studio monitors or something. I don't have anything 24bit to make use of anyway, lol.
Honestly, I don't have much to complain about. If I had to list one, I guess it would be the rear port. I can really move some air, so you don't want them right up against the wall. That's not really a complaint so much as many people might think such a cheap speaker can just be placed where ever and that isn't the case with these.

I find them to be pleasant to listen to even for extended periods of time. I used them as mains for a little bit even though I have larger, and more expensive speakers I could have used, because I really like listening to them. I find them to be very good speakers, and not just "for the price", but really a nice speaker to listen to. I wouldn't have felt ripped off if they were double their price. I've definitely heard speakers that cost more and sound a lot worse. Of course one persons "pleasant" speaker may be too laid back for some, and someones idea of a "detailed" speaker may be described as harsh by me.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:57 AM
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You can't go wrong with the BS22s. They are somewhat laid back, and in my experience, they are great for 2.1 nearfield listening you intend to do. They are really pleasant to listen to, and they are not harsh. Maybe that noaudiophile guy has a very bright room, but he wouldn't be my first choice for speakers reviews anyway. And his graphic looks really inconsistent with what has been reviewed by many others.

Like I said before, the Cambridge S30 may be the better speaker overall, but I believe the BS22 are better suited for your nearfield setup.

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Old 08-06-2014, 01:07 PM
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I've had both but not at the same time. Both are good sounding speakers. I never once thought the BS22's were harsh. They are laid back and it seemed like the treble rolled off early imo. Tweeter was the week point in those. I wish I could demo them back to back. I think I would take the S30's.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hdnewbie21 View Post
You can't go wrong with the BS22s. They are somewhat laid back, and in my experience, they are great for 2.1 nearfield listening you intend to do. They are really pleasant to listen to, and they are not harsh. Maybe that noaudiophile guy has a very bright room, but he wouldn't be my first choice for speakers reviews anyway. And his graphic looks really inconsistent with what has been reviewed by many others.

Like I said before, the Cambridge S30 may be the better speaker overall, but I believe the BS22 are better suited for your nearfield setup.
Thanks for the help! I might actually just give them a shot then or zieglj01 AAL speaker suggestion. Quick question while on on this thread. I hope the NuForce will be enough. The used A/V's that I see listed on CL or eBay have terrible THD's at the price point I'm looking at ($200-$300).

Sucks that the Cambridge wouldn't work for my situation because they sound great. I know Cambridge makes some great amps/gear!
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by hikaru12 View Post
Thanks for the help! I might actually just give them a shot then or zieglj01 AAL speaker suggestion. Quick question while on on this thread. I hope the NuForce will be enough. The used A/V's that I see listed on CL or eBay have terrible THD's at the price point I'm looking at ($200-$300).

Sucks that the Cambridge wouldn't work for my situation because they sound great. I know Cambridge makes some great amps/gear!
No one can guarantee that the Cambridge S30 will not work up close for you.
However, they do sound better as regular (set-up) bookshelf speakers.

The AAL speakers with the tweeter change and re-work crossover - gives you a
nice step up, for good clean smooth and detailed sound with nice definition.

The Tascam PAR-100 receiver, has good clean sound - and the price is real good
http://www.ebay.com/itm/TASCAM-PAR10...item3ce5b79111

However for a little more - you get the PAR-200 with 20 more watts - with pre-outs
and powered zone 2. The Ebay seller is a good one
http://www.ebay.com/itm/TASCAM-PAR20...item3ce5e2241f

Enjoy the adventure search and decision.

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Old 08-06-2014, 02:20 PM
 
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I'd personally go with the AudioEngine P4s for the this application. They are designed for an excel in near-field application on desk. The S30 is probably the best speaker of the 3 for traditional bookshelf/stand usage but for use on a desk in near-field I'd have the most faith in the P4. I've heard the P4 and Pioneer. While the Pioneer is an excellent value I much preferred the sound of the P4.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:38 PM
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
No one can guarantee that the Cambridge S30 will not work up close for you.
However, they do sound better as regular (set-up) bookshelf speakers.
I wasn't suggesting they would sound bad, just not ideal based on what i have read in the past.

Below is the quote from a thread of a few years ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post
Quote:Originally Posted by roark

How do you think these S30's would fare as a desktop system for a computer so sitting nearfield, say 3 to 4 feet away? I figure with an inexpensive receiver/amp it would then be in the $300 range total. How do you think that type of setup would compare to other computer/desktop systems? And has anyone heard any of the Audioengine speakers that are often used as desktop systems that I usually see getting great reviews and if so how do you think they compare with the S30's?

Thanks.

roark


I had a pair of Audioengine P4's on my desktop for a short time... and have demo'd the Cambridge S30 in the same setup...

I sold the P4's because I thought they were too bright. Even in my main room with them on stands and me sitting about 10ft away... they were too forward for my tastes.

In nearfield, the S30 is more forward than the NHT Absolute Zero or PSB Image B4... and can sound a little aggressive at times... but still enjoyable, and I recall the P4 being brighter in this setting, to the point that I didn't enjoy them.

One thing to note... I'm using an integrated amp with a built in 100Hz xover... This is likely why the S30 still worked pretty well even on my desk against the rear wall.

Had they been run full range... I suspect the upper bass would've been overemphasized and the lower mids may have been "muddied" up more.

Because of the surprising low end capability... this type of placement isn't idea for the S30. They really belong on stands out from the wall a little bit.

That said... I still found them enjoyable when used on my desktop. I just prefer the NHT Absolute Zero more in this setting.

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Old 08-08-2014, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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@zieglj01 : Thank you for all the amp suggestions. I think I'm going to go with the AAL's. The crossover change sounds like it would be significant.

As for those suggesting active speakers, I've definitely thought about it but something about having a separate amp with speakers sounds better although maybe not since my budget is kind of low and the speakers and amp might be better matched for each other.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Smith View Post
I'd personally go with the AudioEngine P4s for the this application. They are designed for an excel in near-field application on desk. The S30 is probably the best speaker of the 3 for traditional bookshelf/stand usage but for use on a desk in near-field I'd have the most faith in the P4. I've heard the P4 and Pioneer. While the Pioneer is an excellent value I much preferred the sound of the P4.
While the P4 may have been designed for desktop use... it was designed with little if any baffle step compensation (I assume this was to offset the boundary reinforcement in the low midrange and upper bass that results from putting the speakers on a large flat surface).

The result is that the tweeter runs considerably hotter than the woofer...
http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...audioengine-p4

And at least to my ears, having them on a desk did not balance the sound at all... They sounded very forward/bright to me...
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:59 AM
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@zieglj01 : Thank you for all the amp suggestions. I think I'm going to go with the AAL's. The crossover change sounds like it would be significant.
That is smart, and a good choice - enjoy the adventure

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