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Speaker Study (2013)

In late afternoon window light, a detail of a stereo speaker becomes an artistic abstraction.

(Pioneer’s SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers may well be the best audio bargain in 2013. Prestigious publications that normally feature “high-end” components costing as much as a car uniformly praise the performance of these $130-per-pair speakers as fully comparable to models that cost hundreds of dollars more. And I’ll agree that the sound is at least as impressive as the value for money.

Of course, reviewers of “high-end” merchandise inevitably need to find fault with anything they write about. Here, the complaints concern the unwieldy and unmemorable name, and the speakers’ unattractive appearance. I’ll certainly agree about the name: I end up having to look up the absurd alphanumeric string when I recommend them. And yes, the speakers are cheaply made in China of stained wood veneer. The designer clearly has chosen to spend his tight budget on audio performance rather than appearance. But in the right light— and with conversion to toned black and white, along with local-area contrast enhancement— the textures of the wood veneer and the cloth grille can make an interesting artistic study.)


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