Let’s start on quite a positive – these are part of an award-winning series of speakers. Designed by the legendary speaker guru, Andrew Jones, the Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeakers sit at an entry-level price point. In fact, these are one of the least expensive floor standing speakers you’re likely to find.
So, the question is, how good are these speakers and are they worth more than the entry-level price might suggest?
Let’s get this Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeaker Review underway and find out.
Features & Specifications
These are relatively small floor standing speakers. They measure in at 10.7 x 8.9 x 35.2 inches and weigh a fairly modest 25.81 lbs. However, their size and dimensions, mostly their height, is enough to elevate them away from the bookshelf speaker category.
In fact, the size of these speakers has even grown by 3″ over the previous model. This was due to feedback from customers wanting a taller speaker to push the sound closer to ear level. It’s a good move, but due to the limited width of these speakers, we feel this is about as tall as they should go. Any taller, and it’s going to seriously change the overall aesthetics.
The Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeakers have three woofers, all measuring 5¼ inches. These are paired with oversized magnets to produce some nice low-end coverage. This is something we’ll look at in more detail a little later.
There is only one sole 1″ soft dome tweeter at the top of the cabinet.
These are engineered and designed by Andrew Jones, so it comes as no surprise that the crossover system is complex and comprehensive. It will also come as no surprise that it functions brilliantly and extracts some excellent sound from these affordable standing speakers.
These are not powered speakers, so you’ll need to hook them up to a receiver to get them working. The only connections onboard are the two binding posts at the rear of the speakers that can take either banana terminated speaker cables or bare wires.
The speakers are suitable for use with home theatre systems, for gaming, listening to music, or any kind of audio source you can think of. They have enough quality and versatility to be used just about anywhere.
Build Quality & Design
As mentioned in our introduction, these are part of a series of highly acclaimed award-winning speakers. In our opinion, rightly so. Unfortunately, what they aren’t, is also highly acclaimed for their external design.
We’d love to tell you that these are really well-made speakers, put together by skilled craftsmen, using the very finest of material. We really would. But obviously, we can’t. Quite frankly, the best we can do is tell you that they’re alright.
These are MDF cheap looking cabinets with a rather uninspiring black stain painted over them. We should be clear here that the cabinet quality is perfectly OK and perfectly in keeping with speakers at this price. It’s just that they don’t look great. It’s so Pioneer and so typical of what they’ve done over the years, and it looks oh so boring and oh so bland.
Please listen to us, you good people from Pioneer, it doesn’t have to be this way. Honestly, it really doesn’t. There are manufactures using the same materials with the same budget that come up with much better looking and much better-designed cabinets than these.
The guys at Pioneer need to take a trip to their nearest audio shop and take a look at some Polk speaker cabinets. Therein is a lesson on how to build attractive and exciting speaker cabinets with inexpensive materials.
If you can give us an extra 3″ woofer, then surely you should be able to improve the looks too?
One element of the design we do like is the curved panels that taper to the rear of the speaker. These help to improve the sound quality by reducing the incidence of any internal standing waves.
Better still, the Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeakers also have two bass reflex ports. These help the speakers to reach down nice and low to keep distortion to a minimum.
Two nice design features from Pioneer. And two nice design features that are also squarely aimed at sound-quality.
The speakers come with a detachable grill, which on balance we think is probably worth using. They are well designed so as not to interfere with the flow of sound, and they also hide a little bit of that awful black stained finish.
Fortunately, a lot more care has been taken with the internals and the sound dynamics of the Pioneer SP-FS52 speakers. What’s on the inside is a very different story to the outside.
So, let’s take a closer look at that…
Considering their price, these speakers sound amazing across all musical genres. We’re really not surprised. Anything that Andrew Jones puts his talents and name to is rarely anything other than awesome.
The complex crossover system that’s employed works brilliantly to blend the sound between the three woofers and the tweeter. The crossover sounds seamless and is a lesson to even premium-priced floor standing speaker manufacturers on how to design a crossover.
The bass is full and well defined at most volumes.
You can feel the resonance of the bass at lower volumes. Furthermore, it gets down nice and low with very little distortion. For most genres of music, other than hip-hop or similar bass-driven music, they’re good enough to use without a subwoofer.
However, if you plan to use them for gaming or for movies, depending on your tastes, this might be another occasion that you’d possibly need a subwoofer.
Otherwise, the Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeakers do a great job of representing the lower frequencies considering their size and cost. There are obviously plenty of speakers that will provide better detail at lower frequencies and higher volumes, but the increase in cost won’t be small.
The mids really shine and create an excellent vocal presence. This is true for both male and female voices. The vocals sound full and very natural sounding. This is also true for the spoken voice, which makes them great for listening to the TV or movies when its dialogue rich.
These are very much the opposite of the scooped-out sound signature that a lot of people are used to listening too. The speakers might lack some of the initial excitement from this kind of sound, but they more than makeup for it in the huge amount of detail that’s not lost under a deluge of bass.
The Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeakers have a surprisingly good treble extension and can reach the higher frequencies with ease. Things like cymbals feel particularly clear and lifelike. The trebles will roll off at the very extremes but stay incredibly clean and clear for speakers in this price range.
Again, we have to reiterate just how good these speakers sound considering their price-point.
Compared to any similar speaker in this price range, all kinds of music and musical genres sound better, balanced, and more composed. They also have more refinement and a better level of sonic clarity. This is through all frequencies from the lows to the highs.
The speakers have a fairly flat response and, on the whole, stay true to the source material. They don’t sound too rolled off or bass-heavy. They create a smooth and easy to listen to experience.
Finally, the soundstage is good for a 2.0 system. They excel with densely layered recordings and make you feel like you could actually reach out and touch the instruments involved in their various locations. This is no mean feat considering their price.
Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeaker Pros & Cons
- Smooth crossover.
- Low levels of bass distortion.
- Clean and clear trebles.
- Outstanding value for money.
- The cabinets are uninspiring and cheap looking.
Lots of Other Options
Even though we heartily recommend these speakers for the incredibly low price, they may be unsuitable for some other reason, such as size. If that’s the case, please check out our reviews of the Best Bookshelf Speakers under 200 Dollars and the Best Bookshelf Speakers under 500 Dollars currently available.
It might also be worth taking a look at our reviews of the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Speakers for Vinyl, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best In Ceiling Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, and the Best Home Theater Speakers on the market.
There are a couple of things we could be critical of, as far as these speakers are concerned. But, there’s genuinely very little to be critical of about their price.
We think Andrew Jones and Pioneer have done an excellent job of producing some great sounding speakers at this low price-point. There’s no doubt that you would have to pay a lot more to get anything close to this quality.
If you can get past the dull exterior of the Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor-Standing Loudspeakers, you’ll be rewarded with an audio system that can produce some great sounds across a wide section of musical genres.
If you have a limited budget, we’d advise you to take these over any similarly priced speakers. We’d also advise you to take these over most soundbars that are two, three, or even four times the price.