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CNET First Look
Pioneer SP-PK21BSIf 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.
-Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak at cnet.com and this is the Pioneer SPPK21BS. This is a 5.1 speaker system and it's available direct from Pioneer for $400. The two things you need to know about these speakers is that they sound incredible. And as you can see, they're huge. There are 4 satellite speakers for the front and surrounds and they come in at a little over a foot tall. The center channel is one of the largest we've seen at nearly 20 inches wide and it's not gonna fit under your TV, so you need either a separate cabinet or a shelf to put it on. You'll also see that it has a curved bottom, so it doesn't quite sit level, but it doesn't really affect its sound quality. The 100-watt subwoofer is actually average sized for this system and it has just a simple cube shape. All the speakers have a faux wood finish, which isn't quite nice as the high gloss finishes available on some competitors. Around back, you'll find sturdy metal speaker connections that can accept banana plug, spades, or bare wire. Now, if you're Now, if you're willing to put up with the size of these speakers, the pay-off is that you get the best sound quality we've heard from a budget system like this. The Pioneer has no problem getting loud without distortion and it delivers the kind of powerful sound that you just can't get on smaller systems. Even more impressive is that it sounds great with two channel music too, which most budget systems can't handle. When we put it head-to-head with the editor's choice award winning Excellent Take Classic System, the Pioneer definitely had the edge at higher volumes, although to be fair, it is a much larger system. So altogether, if you care more about sound quality than style and you're on a budget, the SPPK21BS is the hands down best pick and an outstanding value overall. But if you're looking at the speakers and you're realizing they're just too big for your room, check out the smaller but still Excellent Take Classic System. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Pioneer SPPK21BS.