Top critical review
My untrained ears did not notice significant improvement over the basic Yamaha HT speaker it replaced.
29 December 2015
A bit of history about this purchase(you may skip this part): We've a Yamaha home theatre system that came with standard budget Yamaha HT speakers and a passive sub. We were overall satisfied with the system performance. However, the upgrade bug soon bit me. We upgraded the sub from passive to active one(Yamaha YST-SW012) and it resulted in a significant improvement in the system's performance. It was money well spent. Next in line for upgrade was the center channel speaker as it's probably the most critical speaker of the home theater setup. Most of the dialogues are sent to this speaker. So it's very important to have a good center channel speaker to hear the dialogues clearly and to make sure that the dialogues don't get muddled with the background sound/explosions in the movie. My research for a center speaker with good performance led me to the Pioneer SP-C22 and I bought it from amazon India(seller: avenue sound). I had a very high expectations from the speaker based on the rave reviews and was very eager to get my hands on it. The seller was quick in shipping the speaker and it got delivered to us the next day of ordering it so great job there.
The first thing I did after placing the speaker below TV and connecting the speaker is to re-adjust the sound level of all the speakers in the HT setup using Sound Meter android app. It helps in having a balanced sound stage at your regular listening position. I set the center channel sound level up by 3dB. Next, I set the sub cross-over frequency to 100Hz and set/kept the speaker size as small for center channel speaker from receiver's setup menu.
When I gave it a go, I was a bit disappointed. I did not notice any significant improvement in the system performance while listening to music(using stereo to 5.1 channel enhancer feature of the receiver). There was just a slight improvement in the overall performance of the system. I thought, other small satellite speakers in the system were diluting the improvement. Then I switched to a 5.1 channel movie to observe the speaker's performance for it's intended purpose. And sure, there was some improvement in the dialogue delivery. The vocals sounded more neutral and balanced. During the songs, the singer's voices sounded sweet. Still, to my untrained ears, the improvement from our old basic center channel speaker was not very significant. May be, our old speaker was not that bad :)
1. Balanced and neutral sound output.
2. Designed by Andrew Jones, the world renowned speaker engineer. He also designs ultra high end speaker systems.
3. Well built wooden cabinet, made from quality components.
4. Accepts almost all types of connections with it's 5 way gold plated binding posts.
5. Curved shape helps in adjusting the speaker angle to some extent(with the help of included rubber feet) so that the speaker faces directly at the listener.
6. Looks are acceptable. You can keep it in the living room.
1. Mounting the speaker can be a challenging task. The factors contributing to mounting problems are: It doesn't have any mounting provision; It's a big, heavy speaker; it has curved shape. I would recommend keeping it on a shelf below TV. I don't feel comfortable using clamp type mounts or mounting it above TV. We have to keep it in mind that the speaker cabinet has vents on the back so we should keep 5-6 inches gap between the speaker's back and the wall. Please take a note of the speaker's dimensions and weight and plan where to mount it before purchasing it.
I've been using it just for a few weeks. I'm satisfied with it's performance. I'm giving it 3 stars taking into account the price and as my untrained ears did not notice significant improvement from the basic HT speaker it replaced. So I cannot call it a "paisa vasul" purchase.
I'm planning to replace the front satellite speakers with Pioneer BS-22 pair(the upgrade bug is not willing to leave) next. I'm hoping the combined speaker package delivers better performance.