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Sony isn't usually considered a bargain brand, but when it comes to the company's SS-B1000 Bookshelf Speakers, it's hard to complain that they're overpriced. They carry a list price of $70 per pair, but you can find them online for closer to $60 shipped online. (In weeks past, they were going for under $50 on Amazon.)
The caveat -- if there is one -- is that these are good old-fashioned passive speakers, so you'll need to connect them to an amplifier, such as an AV receiver. But bargain hunters can rest easy: pair them with Lepai's $25
The Sony speakers' build quality seems decent enough and their design is straightforward yet elegant, with a faux wood-grain finish and removable speaker grilles. Each speaker measures 10.7x7x6.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.4 pounds.
Remove the grille and you'll find a 5.25-inch polypropylene cone woofer and 1-inch Nano Fine balanced dome tweeter. There's no bass port on the back, just a set of plastic spring-clip wire connectors. The speaker's impedance is rated at 8 ohms.
Sony throws in some standard speaker wire, so you can link the speakers up to your amplifier of choice (as mentioned above).
In a mini shoot-out, we put these Sonys up against the
The Sonys measure an inch shorter but their dimensions are otherwise very similar to the Daytons'. Sony's step-up
In our evaluation, we started by hooking up the SS-B1000s to the $25
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."
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.