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Pioneer SP-PK21BS review: Best-sounding $400 5.1 speaker package

If you can handle its big and burly speakers, the Pioneer SP-PK21BS is the absolutely best-sounding speaker package we've heard at anywhere near this price.

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It can be hard to get excited about budget audio products, with even the best sound bars and home-theater-in-a-box systems just sounding "good enough." That's what makes the Pioneer SP-PK21BS 5.1 speaker system so impressive. Not only does it sound much better than everything else in its price range, it sounds legitimately great without qualification.

Its spectacular sound quality comes with trade-offs, though; the Pioneer SP-PK21BS system is absolutely huge compared with any of the competing systems. The oversize speakers also lack the furniture-level finish of some other speakers, so they stick out a little more as being "audio equipment" in the living room.

If you've got the space and don't mind bulk, we can unreservedly recommend the Pioneer SP-PK21BS as the best-sounding speaker system we've heard in the budget price range. It's a phenomenal value.

However, the size is a serious drawback for most buyers, which is why the smaller and more stylish Energy Take Classic 5.1 remains our Editors' Choice.

Read the full review of the Pioneer SP-PK21BS.