Pioneer Announces $399 Soundbar Designed by Andrew Jones

Pioneer Electronics today unveiled a soundbar/subwoofer system designed by noted speaker engineer Andrew Jones who has a track record of designing affordable speaker packages that compete with systems that sell for much more.

Designed for high power handling with increased dynamic headroom and wide off-axis response, the SP-SB23W Speaker Bar features a curved, composite-wood enclosure housing six speakers, each with its own amplifier, an eight-channel active digital crossover, and Dolby Digital decoding. The package also includes a matching wireless subwoofer.

The Speaker Bar cabinet is made of composite wood because it is more resistant to unwanted resonances than the plastic used for many inexpensive soundbars and can withstand “flexing” that occurs when the system is playing at high volumes, according to Pioneer. Its driver complement—four custom 3-inch woofers flanked by two 1-inch soft-dome tweeters—is said to produce a wide dispersion pattern and each speaker is driven by an independent amplifier capable of producing up to 28 watts (1% THD at 1 kHz, 4 ohms). The use of an active crossover enables more precise filtering, which results in improved audio transitions between the woofers and tweeters, the company said.

In addition to Dolby Digital processing, the Speaker Bar has modes optimized for music, movies, and dialogue plus Bluetooth connectivity for wireless music streaming from Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and other devices.

The subwoofer uses a 6.5-inch driver tuned to 42 Hz (–10 dB) and is powered by a built-in 50-watt amplifier (1% THD at 50 Hz, 6 ohms); subwoofer level can be adjusted from the supplied system remote.

Accessories include an optical cable and wall mounts. The Speaker Bar will be available in the fall with a suggested retail price of $399.