How I Conduct Detailed Measurements

One thing that is very important to me at Affordable Home Audio is that when I talk about speakers, I try and do so from as informed a position as possible. Within monetary restrictions, I talk about speakers which I can hold in my hands and test myself. An important part of any discussion of speakers is speaker measurements.

There were many techniques developed years ago for making engineering measurements of speakers. Gated sine, white noise response, all sorts of things made it possible to understand both frequency, temporal, linear and non-linear aspects of audio equipment.

These techniques necessitate the use of either very large spaces, like your backyard, or a very expensive anechoic room, in order to perform. Reflections in the room make it impossible to analyze speakers using these traditional techniques. Most businesses focusing in audio (the company I work for included), and university labs have an anechoic room for acoustic testing. Below is a great example of an anechoic chamber, made by Paradigm Audio.

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Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Vs Micca MB42X

One of the toughest things to do when buying speakers is picking between two good choices. You have to weigh your options between the various strengths of speakers which reviewers always hold in high esteem. It is therefore key to understand the differences between them so that you make an informed decision.

Both the Pioneer BS22 speakers and the Micca MB42X are commonly chosen as the first speakers for a new audio enthusiast. They are both speakers which are well regarded and get lots of praise from enthusiasts.

There are good reasons to choose one versus the other. The Pioneer BS22 is clearly a cut above the Micca in performance, but the Micca MB42X costs 30% less and has a much more compact size.

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Pioneer Bs22 and Micca MB42X

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Pioneer BS22 vs Dayton B652-Air

When looking at speakers, a common thing to wonder is what are you getting for your extra money. While bother the Pioneer BS22 and Dayton B652-Air are considered “good for the money” and “budget” speakers, the Pioneer speaker costs twice as much.

I will use this post to help explain what exactly you’re getting for twice the money.

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Pioneer BS22-LR Alongside Dayton B652-AIR

 

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Dayton Audio B652 vs. Dayton Audio B652-AIR

Dayton Audio makes two versions of its well-received B652 speaker. The first costs $40, and the second has an upgraded tweeter and costs $60. I’ve reviewed the Dayton B652 here, as well as the Dayton B652-AIR.

Dayton B652 (right) and Dayton B652-Air (left)
Dayton B652 (left) and Dayton B652-Air (right)

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Why I’m Not Like Other Tech and Audio Writers

If you’ve read as much work from tech journalists as I have, you have probably noticed it kind of stinks. Most of what sites like Gizmodo, Engadget, the Verge, Ars Technia, CNET, et cetera put out are either just rehashes of company press releases, amateur analysis, second rate political opinion pieces, or some combination of the three.

That’s not happening here. Most tech writers are not technical experts. They are people who have degrees in finding, aggregating and condensing information from a variety of sources. They aren’t in any position to be an authoritative source on anything. They don’t, at a fundamental level, understand the things that they are reporting on.

Some outlets are obviously better than others. There are people who are experts on listening and know how to use laboratory instruments to understand a piece of electronics. Those people will give you measurements alongside their reviews and are people you should look to for advice and reviews. In addition to legacy publications like Sound and Vision, and Stereophile (two brands owned by one group), you should check out:

  • Average Joe Audiophile is run by a dedicated amateur who has been doing in depth frequency response measurements for a couple of years.
  • No Audiophile is run by another dedicated amateur who loves to open up speakers and review them for computer use.

However, as far as I can tell, there aren’t any people blogging about tech who actually have jobs in the field. I have worked on audio and acoustics problems in the air, on the ground, in your house, in your car and underwater. I’ve worked on them for every sort of customer. I am a dedicated enthusiast. I worked on acoustics and sound problems in academia. When it comes to working with sound, I’ve been there. My 9-5 job is working with sound. When I got my Master’s from Georgia Tech, I took classes in audio and acoustics, and worked on sound related problems for my research.

That’s what you get by reading someone like me. I know and understand audio products almost as well as the people making them. I could be doing those kinds of jobs if I wanted to change what I’m currently doing. And because you’re reading someone who knows their audio so well, you won’t be reliant on a non-technical person repeating information someone else tells them. I can give you straight, unfiltered opinions from an expert.

Keep watching this space, Affordable Home Audio is going to be an interesting place.

Pioneer Andrew Jones BS22, FS52 and C22 Speaker Reviews

I don’t know why this review has taken so long. I’ve owned the Pioneer Andrew Jones line of speakers for my surround sound for about 18 months, and I’ve been extremely happy with them. I’m certainly not the only one that feels that way. This line of speakers has been wildly heralded throughout the audio community. This line of speakers is one of the best bargains in audio, giving you great performance at an entirely reasonable price. There’s a reason I used one for the banner of this website.

There are three speakers in this line, each with their own specialties. They each serve a dedicated role in a home theater, and the differences are pretty standard for the industry.

The SP-FS52 Tower Speakers ($130 each) are the best of the bunch. These are tower speakers, which should be the best speakers in any home theater set up. With three large woofers in a four foot tall enclosure, this is no surprise. If you’ve never bought a pair of tower speakers, these are the best first pair of tower speakers you can buy. They will teach you how great large speakers can sound, and how they fill the room with sound. Compared to the bookshelf and center speaker, these will have more bass, have fewer floor reflections, and do a better job at high volumes. However, a pair of tower speakers costs twice as much as the smaller pair of bookshelf speakers.

The BS22 Bookshelf speakers ($127/pair) are a real bargain that make this line of speakers so popular. Bookshelf speakers can fit in almost any listening environment and are very versatile. They are about a foot tall, and are seven inches wide. You can use them in a modest sized home theater like mine without ever running into volume issues.

The C22 Center Speaker ($97) is quite adept as a center speaker, and comes with all of the benefits and issues inherent in a Mid-Tweeter-Mid design. If you’re buying the set for a home theater, make sure to get one as your center channel. 60% of a movie’s soundtrack comes through the center channel, so don’t skip out on one.

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Pioneer BS22 bookshelf speaker mounted as a rear surround speaker. Ghostbusters poster in rear
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Tower and Center speakers in my home theater

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