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Pioneer Speaker Bar - Possible Game Changer? - Page 5

post #121 of 602
VERY IMPRESSIVE THUS FAR FROM MUSIC!

Very early in the morning here so don't want to alienate my neighbours but am thrilled with my purchase.
post #122 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwf2tao View Post

Appreciate your feedback Goldbeck; curious what size room you are listening in...do you listen to any other genre's? Is this your main setup, or do you have other speakers you are comparing to? Thanks for any and all info!

Room size, about 12' x 14', viewing / listening distance about 8 feet (TV on a long side of the room.) Listen mostly to "classic rock" some jazz, some vocal, some blues. Movies run the gamut. My living room system consists of a modest NAD receiver driving a pair of Magnepan MMGs, which I love. If forced to choose between the two, the MMGs would win but would stay where they are since they're too big for the aesthetics of the room where my TV lives. Hope that helps. -Michael
post #123 of 602
Just an FYI for people that are considering ordering this. I ordered on the 18th directly from pioneer and called them today, (23rd). They said the speaker bars wont be shipping until the end of the month. They must have run out of stock, so if you want it quicker, go to amazon, newegg, or a local bestbuy.
post #124 of 602
Any reviews for how this soundbar is with movies? Especially dialogue clarity in movies at lower volumes. Seems to be a winner for music, but what about movies?
post #125 of 602
I've received mine from Amazon this afternoon. After unpacking it and setting it up, I noticed a couple of anomalies:

- The blinking LED for sync behind my bar is red, but the one behind the subwoofer is blue. The manual indicates that both should be blue, so I thought the fact that mine was red indicated that something was wrong. After messing around with things though, I've come to the conclusion that my bar's is simply red for some reason (maybe a manufacturing error?).

- The subwoofer was near silent upon me starting things up, which led me to check to see if it was working. I put my hand underneath it and felt a slight rattle/vibration. At that point I figured out that it was simply turned down by default for some reason (which is odd, considering that Dr. Freeman said he neede to lower his a little). I turned it up and problem solved.

Anyway, as soon as I started streaming music with my smartphone, I noticed the sub and bar didn't see to mix together well. I then noticed that while messing with the subwoofer during set up, I had set the mode to Movie. (It defaults to Music, for the record.) I set it to Music mode and -- after adjusting the subwoofer to a level that sounded natural for songs I was playing -- started getting an impression that was much closer to what everyone else here has posted. biggrin.gif

Music sounded pretty good, but I really like to listen to headphones for that more -- it's simply more convenient. (And yes, I frequent Head-Fi. tongue.gif ) So I set the bar to movie mode and put in an action movie that I had on hand. ("The Raid: Redemption", for the record.) I can say one thing right now: after changing the mode to Movie, the bass was plenty at the level the sub was set at while listening to music. Was it room-shaking? No, but closer than I had expected. I was quite surprised at the level of rumble that subwoofer emitted -- especially since it is physically smaller than I had expected from the photos.

I think the thing that really impressed me about this system is that, unlike the last two soundbars I've had (the Sony HT-CT100 and HT-CT150), it actually sounds a bit like a home theater system. Is it as powerful as the Paradigm system my friend has at his house? No, but it delivers the essence of it I'd say. Both Sony's, on the other hand, simply sounded "better than the TV's speakers". (Disclosure: I have not heard Sony's latest, the HT-CT260, in a proper environment, so I can't comment on that one.)

So yes, setting it up was a little bit of a hassle, but the reward was well worth it for me. If there's one thing I have to say, nitpicking, it's that dialogue wasn't quite as crisp as I liked. Then again, I always set the center channel of the sony's I had to maximum volume, so I'm not comparing apple-to-apples here. The dialogue is certainly still intelligible with the Pioneer, in any case.

Overall, big thumbs up. Just remember: Use the right mode when listening to music or movies. It does make a difference.

EDIT: CNET review in: Editor's Choice.

EDIT 2: The credit card remote is also a bummer, but that goes without saying. tongue.gif
Edited by drm870 - 9/23/13 at 5:26pm
post #126 of 602
As I posted before I have the Sony CT 660 which I like very much and got for $299. But after reading all the good things about the Pioneer I went out and bought one from Best Buy. I was intending to sell my Sony if this was truly a game changer.

After listening to it for the past few days I like the sound bar a lot for its quality but it is not a game changer as I would have hoped. The sound compared to the Sony was different but not much better. And I use my blu tooth connection a lot and I like the Sony over the Pioneer for it connectivity and clarity.

For me since I own the Sony and purchased it for $100 less and do not see a huge difference I will be taking the Pioneer back. It's a quality soundbar but not a game changer from what is out there in the market in its price range today. Hopefully they will keep improving on it.
post #127 of 602
Thanks for your input- I would be very interested to know what kinds of music/vids you have been listening to, and also how large your room is. Thanks.
post #128 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by hidef1099 View Post

As I posted before I have the Sony CT 660 which I like very much and got for $299. But after reading all the good things about the Pioneer I went out and bought one from Best Buy. I was intending to sell my Sony if this was truly a game changer.

After listening to it for the past few days I like the sound bar a lot for its quality but it is not a game changer as I would have hoped. The sound compared to the Sony was different but not much better. And I use my blu tooth connection a lot and I like the Sony over the Pioneer for it connectivity and clarity.

For me since I own the Sony and purchased it for $100 less and do not see a huge difference I will be taking the Pioneer back. It's a quality soundbar but not a game changer from what is out there in the market in its price range today. Hopefully they will keep improving on it.

Fair enough. I was coming from Sony's last-gen soundbars, so I am pretty happy, but I get the impression the current Sony models are better as well, so YMMV.

The CNET review is an interesting read. The Sony HT-CT260 is more convenient (they haven't reviewed the CT660), the JBL SB400 has more oomph and power for action movies, and the Sharp HT-SB60 has a more immersive soundstage. All those soundbars are better at certain things, according to the review, but none of them are a jack-of-all-trades in terms of sound quality the way the Pioneer is. I think this quote Moskovciak/Guttenberg sums up their review pretty well:

"And that's what really separates the SP-SB23W from the pack. While other systems may pack a louder, more powerful punch, the overall sound quality isn't nearly as good. The SP-SB23W was just great to listen to no matter what we threw at it, which is rare for a sound bar, especially when it comes to music."
post #129 of 602
For those who did not notice the note above, CNET's review is out...pretty comprehensive and very laudatory. Written by S Gutenberg, who I have found to be pretty good. But I also wonder, how many of these guys are just snowed by the A. Jones moniker...?
post #130 of 602
Surprised to read from CNET's article that Pioneer's speaker bar supports Bluetooth aptX codec - this is a big improvement in streaming sound quality. Can someone confirm this to be true?
post #131 of 602
Thread Starter 
A few answers to a few questions.

I have listened to music from the same DVD player (Panasonic) using both analog and digital cables. Could not do a true A/B test, but switching between the two, could not tell any difference. Keep in mind, you are dealing with some really old ears here. I asked by better half whether she heard differences and received one of those looks indicating I should go play with my toys and leave her alone.

Cnet review. Pretty much agrees with all of my impressions so far. I don't trust my sonic memory, but overall, a more natural sound, with music than any of the small bookshelf speakers I auditioned in 2011/2012. More natural sound than any sound bar I have listened to for an extended time. Includes quite expensive Yamaha DSP that I still own plus even more expensive units from B&W and KEF. The review was on the money when discussing the sonic transition (crossover) from bar to woofer. Seamless. No hole in the sound. I have not discovered that with any other speaker bar nor with any small speaker subwoofer combination. There were a number of the latter in my home for three to four weeks at a time over a fourteen month period and all were so lacking compared to the full range Infinties that were my main speaker, I gave up on the genre.

Also, I don't believe that Steve Guttenberg is wowed by the name Andrew Jones. The one thing that Andrew Jones has added is this unit was designed to sound natural. Reproduce a full range listening experience. If the expertise was not placed in the design, it would sound like just another sound bar. As it is, Andrew Jones has designed a unit that sounds like a good (very good) set of loudspeakers. Considering the constraints of the medium, this is no small achievement and an even greater achievement when you consider the price category this was designed to.

Questions to another user concerning his room. My family room is open. From the corner where the TV and speaker bar will reside to the back wall of the kitchen is over 60'. Room is almost 28' wide at the largest point. The transition is family room / dining room / kitchen as one large open area with 12' opening leading to the sunroom and 6' opening leading to my office.

Spent the weekend rocking out (try to remove that picture of an old man rocking out from your mind - could cause serious damamge). Listened to oldies from 1965/1966 on MP3. There were Beatles, Monkeys, Troggs, Temptations, Supremes, Marvin Gaye, William Bell, Otis Redding, Barbara Mason, Roy Head, BJ Thomas, Billy Joe Royal, Paul Revere (and the Raiders), James Brown, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Cher (when she was still with Sonny), The Association, Elvis, Booker T, The Hollies, The Oneders (Wonders) from the Movie soundtrack, Dusty Springfield, Jackie DeShannon (What the World Needs Now), and so many others, I have lost track.

Guess What? Not a bad note or clunker in the whole lot. This was just pure fun. This was not sitting and listening for nuances of voice or the timbre of an instrument. Just working around the house with music at a reasonable level playing from another room. That probably does not sound like that great a test, but it is a test that has not been passed by any other reproduction device that has passed through the condo since we moved in November 2006 with the exception of the trusted full-range Infinity loudspeakers. With other sound bars and even the expensive book shelf (or in some cases slightly larger) the speakers had no sonic weight. They sounded hollow. It was no fun listening to the artists I listed above when the music was lacking. With the Pioneer we were singing to one another (cover your ears) and letting the music contribute to having fun doing things around the house. Notice, I said music and not electronics.

HDTV. Hooked the soundbar to the TV Sunday but only had a chance to listen to network TV, digital out from TV to soundbar. Nothing bad but nothing challenging.

Unfortunately it was decided that I needed to travel to Southern Mississippi and Louisiana for the remainder of this week and leave for Montreal for six days Sunday morning. Therefore, no time to do any further listening for the next ten or eleven days.

When I return, my new wall units should be installed and I can then hang the Panasonic ZT60 and the speaker bar. Will finally give you some photos when the room is complete.

Again, let me state, this bar is not for everybody. If you look at the Cnet comparison to the JBL, I can tell that many more people will be pleased by the JBL than the Pioneer and that is not a bad thing. I have heard the JBL and it is good. A little bass heavy for my tastes but that is a personal preference.

Thank you for allowing me to share.

David
post #132 of 602
Thread Starter 
Definition: Anal Retentive

I love popular music from my adolescence through about the time my son came along (1985). After that, I somehow listened less and less to ROCK 103 or the current good station on the radio.

In 1999 I discovered MP-3's. Converted my entire CD collection to MP-3 and started downloading MP-3's from MSN Music, Wal-Mart Music, Apple, Amazon, and many others.

In 2005, my grown son and I began researching all of my rock, rhythm and blues recordings and organized most by release date. When I place a CD of MP-3's from 1965 in the player, I have about 280 songs (10 hours) of non-stop music starting in January with the Four Seasons and ending in December with "Rubber Soul" (a real game changer). My total collection begins with Big Boy Cruddup (That's All Right Mama) in 1946 and goes through the 1980's with about 3,500 selections.

When I travel for work, about twenty weeks out of each year, I take along one or two CD's for companionship on long or short drives. Also great, for putting on (in) the CD player at home when working around the house or just sitting down and reading.

I know MP-3's are looked down upon by some well thought of experts. I also know the convenience of placing almost 300 songs on a CD when you are facing an eight hour drive sure beats looking for the next CD eight or ten times.

David
post #133 of 602
This sound bar needs a wired subwoofer output IMO. Only having the wireless option concerns me. It also severely limits the flexibility of the unit. If someone would want a better sub there screwed. Very frustrating IMO considering the price and sound quality of the bar itself. Hopefully an updated version will include this.

Just my 2 cents.
post #134 of 602
And I'd still like to see a 5.1 version.
post #135 of 602
So, Dr. Freeman, are you saying that this actually sounds better than (assuming you've tested them) Pioneer's bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer? Interesting...
post #136 of 602
An idea of size, sitting under a 60"
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
post #137 of 602
Thread Starter 
Believe it or not, never got around to trying the Pioneer bookshelf speakers designed by Mr. Jones. I do know his book shelf speakers received excellent reviews for their price category and even beyond. I have never paid enought attemtion to Pioneer's speaker line, or any of the far eastern companies, to know whether they had sub woofers to go with the small speakers.

My issue with the bookshelf speakers from the various companies was integration with either my current pair of BA powered subs or even with the manufacturer's own subs.

Most of the small speakers had little output below 75-80hz. When the main speaker cuts over this high, you actually need reasonable accuracy up to at least this level from the woofer. Many (all) that I tried spent too much effort in attempting to make their woofer a sub-woofer. What would have worked better would have been exactly what Andrew Jones did with the design of the speaker bar. The speaker bar has output down to 110hz where it crosses over to the woofer with smooth and linear output down to about 45hz. This is very close to the output of a decent full range speaker (and I have not met a bookshelf unit that qualifies as full range).

PS: Unless you really know what you are doing, having the ability to add a different woofer is probably a bad idea. I studied filter theory in my 20's and even with that background, it is not a simple matter to match a sub-woofer to a speaker. When I visit a home with good speakers and a sub-woofer, the sound is usually muddy to my ear. Most people cross over the sub-woofer at too high a frequency then boost the level too high. Going back 30 years there were many speakers available with excellent transient response. With the current crop of integrated systems, i seldom hear a sub or woofer with decent attack. When you hear this, you will know it.

David
post #138 of 602
The interesting thing is that most people on this forum seem to consider the 8" subwoofer that comes with Andrew Jones' full-on 5.1 surround system to be the weak link of the set. Everyone seems to recommend the BIC F12 at a minimum to go with it (though I'd have trouble seeing myself with a sub that big in my living room).

EDIT: Andrew Jones said in his Twit interview that he targeted the Music mode of the soundbar to sound like his bookshelf speakers. With that in mind, I myself had -- through process of elimination -- deduced that the added control over the crossover Jones' has with the soundbar (as opposed to letting the user set it) was what could make it sound better than his bookshelf unit. Cool to see you seeming to indicate that you agree.
Edited by drm870 - 9/25/13 at 8:20pm
post #139 of 602
Any guess on when the "honeymoon" will end and we'll see this below MSRP? I've been holding out for a soundbar for a few months and had it narrowed down to this, JBL400 and Harman Kardon SB30. Given the quality and pricepoint, I think the Pioneer is at the top of the list -- just a matter of when to buy it. Getting impatient of waiting. smile.gif
post #140 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dario33 View Post

Any guess on when the "honeymoon" will end and we'll see this below MSRP? I've been holding out for a soundbar for a few months and had it narrowed down to this, JBL400 and Harman Kardon SB30. Given the quality and pricepoint, I think the Pioneer is at the top of the list -- just a matter of when to buy it. Getting impatient of waiting. smile.gif

Dario -

You and me both! I still have yet to see it show up at any stores locally. But I think as we near the holidays, we'll start seeing $349, if not $329 from the likes of Costco.
post #141 of 602
Let's be serious. It's a $50 difference. You'd spend that for a Steak. Just get it now and be happy. I already own three and have been listening to oldies all morning. Do the damn thing.
post #142 of 602
For those of you interested there are some very good articles and an interview of A Jones in the e-version of Stereophile...very interesting discussion of design criteria and choices that were made for either $ or engineering...sometimes surprising. And he compares the design process to his work on the TAD's. Good stuff.
post #143 of 602
Its not the money for me - just stating where I think the pricing will be at in the very near future for guys like Dario still deciding.

For me its about buying locally so I can hear it for myself first and so far, nobody has it in stock. I currently am using an older Bose Lifestyle system that pairs well with my older TV. The Pioneer is going to go with our new 70 inch TV set-up that we'll have all sorted out in about a month (to include many changes to the room).
post #144 of 602
The thing sounds great. The thing is cheap. I seek value in my life. Speaker delivers way above its price point. I have bought two for my house. One for my sister.
post #145 of 602
You are truly a gentleman and a scholar....
post #146 of 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwf2tao View Post

For those of you interested there are some very good articles and an interview of A Jones in the e-version of Stereophile...very interesting discussion of design criteria and choices that were made for either $ or engineering...sometimes surprising. And he compares the design process to his work on the TAD's. Good stuff.

I had previously read many articles in Stereophile over the years about the work of Andrew Jones but had not seen that new interview - very interesting read! Thanks for the heads-up JW!



Here it is for those interested...

Surpassing Expectations: Pioneer's Andrew Jones - interview for Stereophile


"Engineering is a game of challenging the rules while at the same time being bound by them."
post #147 of 602
Thread Starter 
Peter - thank you so much for the link. What a great interview and what great insight AJ has. Anyone interested in loudspeakers of any size or configuration would be well advised to give it a read.

It is quite interesting his comments on bass transducers. This was an area that greatly interested me in the 1970's when there were very few speakers with accurate bass. This was always surprising as bass should be the easiest to design and configure as all of the parameters for linear and accurate bass response, which incidently is all physics and I don't think that physics has changed since then, had been known and written about for years.

For over 40 years, I have listened to people who had no inkling dismiss a speaker because the woofer was "too small to be any good". Or, "My speaker has a 12" woofer, isn't that fantastic". Well when paired with a 2" tweeter crossed over at 2khz, probably not, but maybe possible.

Sub-woofers is a seperate category that makes me cringe even more. Over the years, I have heard many very good subs. That is when they are used as a sub and not as a glorified boom-box accompaniment. Originally, when you purchased a sub, you also needed to find the correct electronic crossover, power amplifier then know how to configure crossover point, levels, order, etc. At least powered subs reduced most of the cost and much of the headache. It also made it easier to completely screw things up.

One final comment.

Since the Pioneer Speaker Bar will not be sold in audio salons, you would be much better off purchasing one and listening in your home than attempting any type of audition in a retail environment. I heartily support Best Buy and have purchased four Sound Bars from them. The Infinity Beta 40's in my sunroom came from Circuit City in 2002. Of all of these devices, I never bothered to listen to any in the store knowing there was no way to have any feel for how good or bad that they may sound.

Listening to the Pioneer Speaker bar and comparing to other similar devices at Best Buy or CostCo will tell you only that the units do not sound alike. The Pioneer will probably be very unimpressive as accurate sound does not sell in short term comparisons. Bright and punchy do much better in comparisons. However, if you have the time to set up a decent a/b test matching SPL within .25db and use natural music, not sound tracks or movies, you should be able to queue in on which unit is more accurate in a relatively short amount of time. Finding a big box retailer to allow such a comparison will prove quite the challenge.

Alas, unless you can match the SPL's accurately, you will still not have an accurate comparison. A SPL increase of as little of .25db tends to make the louder unit always sound better.

Take home the units that you are interested in. Listen to them for several days and make a decision based on which unit best meets your needs. And that unit may not be the Pioneer in the event that you think I am pushing anyone in that direction. It always surprises me when reading or hearing critiques based on three minutes of a comparison in the store or some totally irrelevant spec such as woofer size or claimed amplifier output power.

David
post #148 of 602
^^^

You bet bud...


The way Andrew Jones approaches loudspeaker design (at both ends of the spectrum) puts me in mind of a 1969 Q & A with the late great Charles Eames addressing the challenges to good design in general...(below)


Q: What is your definition of design?
A: A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.

Q: What are the boundaries of design?
A: What are the boundaries of problems?

Q: Does the creation of design admit constraint?
A: Design depends largely on constraints.

Q: What constraints?
A: The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible (and) his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints - the constraints of price, size, strength, balance, surface, time, etc.; each problem has its own peculiar list.

Q: To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number (the masses)? the specialists…the enlightened amateur…a privileged social class?
A: To the need.



and I most certainly plan on bringing it home to make the final decision. The reason I'm waiting to buy local is two-fold primarily - I like to support local business (despite arguments to the contrary, I see Best Buy and Costco as local business - the people that work there live and spend thier pay checks locally) and most importantly if something goes wrong, I like to be able to return things immediately. I don't have the temperment for packaging something back up and waiting on a refund.
post #149 of 602
Ok, help a noob with this...I've narrowed my choice down to this bar and the onkyo 2.1 (below). Which one is going to sound better? How would be pluses or negatives for each system? Which would be more powerful? It's going in a condo, family room. will be main system for the house/movies/xbox/music listening. I really like the simplicity of the 2.1. It will install really cleanly with my setup.

http://us.onkyo.com/Products/model.php?m=LS3100&class=Systems&source=prodClass
post #150 of 602
So I have been looking for a setup for the family room, fairly large room 20X19. Distance from the TV would be about 15 feet.

I went to a local store to listen to some speakers infinity and polks and also got the chance to listen to the Yamaha YSP 2300, the guy said that he has the 3300 and it is really good. I liked the fact that there would be no wires etc and that it comes with hdmi connection etc.

So I came home and started reading up and the YSP's have got some good reviews. and then I found out about the Pioneer Speaker bar.

So my question is have any of you been able to compare the YSP vs the pioneer. what do you think.

My main criteria would be for movies and tv, but also will be listening to music (streaming) ability has to be there. I know the pioneer has Bluetooth steaming, does the YSP have it too.

The second thing is the price ysp is much more expensive than the pioneer, but if its better I don't mind spending the money.

Going soundbar will also make the wife happy.

so any sugestions.
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