Sony SS-B1000 review:

Sony SS-B1000

In our evaluation, we started by hooking up the SS-B1000s to the $25 Lepai LP-2020A+, a 20-watt-per-channel amplifier. We started with Neil Young's "Live at Massey Hall" CD and The Dirtbombs' raucous "Party Store" CD. I later hooked up my iPhone to the Lepai and ran more contemporary fare through the speakers, everything from Flo Rida to The National to Adele. We also hooked the speakers up to an Onkyo TX-NR616 receiver.

Before hearing the Dayton speakers, we were fairly impressed by the Sonys. By "fairly impressed," I mean that we didn't expect a whole lot from $65 speakers and the SS-B1000s managed to deliver decent sound with reasonable clarity and good bass for their size. The Daytons were a little bit better-balanced, with a bit more detail. While they had a little less bass, the bass was more well-defined.

Looking for a word to describe the Sonys, I decided they were slightly congested. OK, that's two words, but one of them is a modifier.

Steve expanded on that in his review of the Daytons, saying the Sonys' "dynamic impact was scaled back and the treble was muffled and less clear than that of the B652s. The Sony sounds acceptable for a budget speaker, but the B652 is definitely a step up on the performance scale."

The fit and finish were quite good, considering the speakers' modest price point.

Conclusion: A reasonable choice
When you're reviewing a $65 speaker, your reviewing criteria tend to change. In my book, anything at this price point that sounds decent -- or even halfway decent -- puts it in "good value" territory. The Sony SS-B1000s certainly fit that description, and although we felt the Dayton B652s sounded better for the money, the Sonys weren't far off and offered better aesthetics and arguably slightly better build quality.

I agree with my co-reviewer's assessment that speakers from Aperion Audio, Boston Acoustics, and Definitive Technology sound significantly clearer, but they also cost significantly more (three times as much in many cases).

At $20 more than the Daytons, the Sony SS-B1000 Bookshelf Speakers may not qualify as an exceptional value, but perhaps they'll dip down into the $50 range again in the future. In the meantime, they're a very good bargain nevertheless.

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