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A Review On: Pioneer SP-SB23W Andrew Jones Soundbar System

Pioneer SP-SB23W Andrew Jones Soundbar System

Rated # 4 in Soundbars
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Pros: Impressive sound (music + movies), easy setup, price, bluetooth

Cons: Styling, size, no 5.1 soundstage

I've had this Andrew Jones-designed Pioneer soundbar for a couple months now and have very little (if any regret). It has a few nifty features that while coupled with the audio quality, make this a top contender for any budget conscious soundbar consumer. First up, it is fairly easy to set-up. My only complaint here is that the instruction manual contains a few typos and misleading sentences. After a couple trial & error runs, it was pretty simple to figure out. Setup took maybe 15 minutes. It comes with a wireless subwoofer that is quite easy to sync with the soundbar. It also includes Bluetooth capabilities. I have had it paired with both my iPhone and iPad and it works quite well. The only quirk I encountered was that only one device can be paired at a time for it to work properly (minor annoyance).

Regarding the setup, I have it connected via optical cable directly to my HDTV. This was pretty easy to do after making some adjustments to my TV audio settings so the internal audio will be disabled. I also make use of the analog connection since I have my turntable connected as well. One of the soundbar's strongpoints is its quality music audio -- I make sure to take advantage of this when listening to records.

There is no front panel display on the unit and the remote is of the cheap, credit card-type. However, it does what it needs to. At the press of a button, you can switch the source (digital, analog, bluetooth), listening mode (movie, music, dialogue) and adjust subwoofer output. There's no volume level indicator, so you just have to go by what sounds right.

Last, but not least is the sound quality. In a word, unexpected. From what I gather, much of this is due to the Andrew Jones design of the unit -- constructed of MDF wood and curved body -- sound simply resonates from this unit in a beautiful manner. Movies and TV are fun to watch -- dialogue is crisp and clear while car chases are loud and immersive to satisfy the typical listener. Just the other day, I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -- the adventure scenes came off quite well. While not a dedicated 5.1 setup, it was very capable and filled the room with cinematic effects. The music audio is where I am most impressed. Listening to my vinyl records is a pure joy with this soundbar. Whether it's the twang of Waylon Jenning's guitar, a folksy melody from the new Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack or a bass/guitar combo from The Who's Tommy, the music simply engulfs the room -- and the listener -- which I was pleasantly surprised by.

Highly recommended.


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