Home Theater Review

 

Pioneer SP-BS21-LR Bookshelf Loudspeaker Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
4 Stars
Value
5 Stars
Overall
4.5 Stars

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Pioneer_SP-BS21-LR_bookshelf_speaker_review.jpgHigh Points
• The SP-BS21-LR's build quality is fantastic and while it comes only in black, there's little to fault when you consider it appears and feels more robust than speakers costing twice the price.
• The SP-BS21-LR's sound is a touch warm with a slightly laid-back and polite top end that should serve a wide variety of musical tastes nicely, not to mention lower resolution downloads from, say, iTunes.
• Despite not having a great deal of bass, those with smaller rooms or thinking of using the SP-BS21-LRs as desktop speakers may be able to do without a subwoofer.
• While I only had a pair of SP-BS21-LR on hand for my demo, I have to imagine that they'd make fine home theater speakers as well, especially for those tight on space and cash.

Low Points
• While the speakers themselves may only cost $99.99, that isn't the true cost of ownership for you'll need to invest in floor stands or wall mounts to ensure you're getting the best the SP-BS21-LR's have to give. Also, if you want to hear every note of your favorite music you'll have to add a subwoofer as well. When you take all of that into consideration, the biggest knock against the SP-BS21-LRs is that you can get four of them plus a center and a subwoofer for $200 more with the SP-PK21BS speaker package from Pioneer.
• While built to a high standard and finished with an attention to detail, there's no mistaking the SP-BS21-LR for anything other than a loudspeaker, which for some may be a deal breaker when you consider there are a number of affordable, lifestyle oriented products currently available - products such as Orb Audio for example.

Competition and Comparison
At $100 there may be no competition for the SP-BS21-LR. That doesn't mean they're the only "cheap" bookshelf speaker available today. If you're considering the SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speaker you should also look at and/or consider Aperion Audio's Verus Forte bookshelf speaker, Orb Audio's Classic One Speaker System, Boston Acoustics' CS 26 bookshelf speaker and of course Paradigm's Atom bookshelf speaker. All of the before-mentioned speakers are on par with the Pioneer SP-BS21-LR and in some instances a little bit beyond, though they all have one thing in common and that is their incredible value and performance for the money.

For more on bookshelf loudspeakers including the latest news and reviews please visit Home Theater Review's Bookshelf Loudspeaker page.

Conclusion
There's a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Pioneer SP-BS21-LR bookshelf loudspeaker for it's a phenomenal overachiever when you consider a pair can be had for less than $100. The only reason I don't blindly recommend them to anyone looking to build a home theater or audiophile system on a budget is because I believe that Pioneer's 5.1 speaker package featuring four, SP-BS21-LR speakers mated to a matching center channel and powered subwoofer for $399 is the better value. Still, there's no denying the SP-BS21-LR is a great little loudspeaker.

Additional Resources
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews by HomeTheaterReview.com's stuff.
• Find an AV receiver to pair with the SP-BS21-LR speaker.
• Explore subwoofers in our Subwoofer Review section.

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