Pioneer Speakers with Marantz SR7005 AVR

Can you advise me on the choice between the Pioneer S-31B-LR-K, SP-BS41-LR, and SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers? The 41 and 21 have the Andrew Jones design going for them, but by proxy, so does the 31, being derived from the EX range. However the 31 is slightly smaller and more expensive!

Reading your review of the SP-BS41-LR system prompted me to finally replace an old Bose Lifestyle 28 system (something I regretted buying shortly after getting it). I already got the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-ray player (awesome!); next, the speakers, then the Marantz SR7005 AVR as the heart of the system. The sub will be last; don’t know which one yet.

Declan McGlinchey

Congratulations on upgrading your Bose Lifestyle system; good move! According to Pioneer, "the 31B is not designed by Andrew Jones; it's part of a different series. It has a 3.5-inch driver, small cabinet, and is basically designed as a small satellite speaker." So why is the 31B more expensive than the BS41? Primarily because it uses more expensive components, such as carbon-fiber cone material rather than polypropylene and real-wood cabinetry rather than MDF.

Pioneer goes on to say, "The difference between the BS21 and BS41 is that the BS41 has a larger cabinet and 5-inch drivers (as compared to 4-inch drivers in the BS21). They're both used in the same capacity, but the BS41 will produce a louder, deeper sound, and it's more sensitive than the BS21."

Well, the BS41 is more sensitive than the BS21 by 1dB (85 versus 84dB), and the 41 is spec'd to go 10Hz lower (55 versus 65Hz). Also, the BS41 can handle up to 130 watts of power, while the BS21 maxes out at 80W.

Which ones should you get to go with the Marantz SR7005 (reviewed here)? According to our measurements, with five channels driving 8-ohm loads, the SR7005 reaches 0.1% distortion at 91.2W and 1% distortion at 112.1W; with seven channels driving 8-ohm loads, it reaches 0.1% distortion at 74.6W and 1% distortion at 89.6W. However, both Pioneer speakers are spec'd with a nominal impedance of 6 ohms, so these numbers will be higher with those speakers. (We don't measure with 6-ohm loads, but with two channels driving 4-ohm loads, the Marantz reached 0.1% distortion at 200.1W and 1% at 222.6W.)

Given all that, I'd go with the system we reviewed—SP-BS41-LRs for front and surround left and right, SP-C21 center, and SW-8 subwoofer. You could use the SP-BS21-LR for the surrounds if you want to save a few bucks, since the surround channels rarely require as much power as the fronts. But we're talking about a savings of only $200, which isn't much in the scheme of things.

If you have an A/V question, please send it to

Hillcountryliving's picture

Bought five of the centers on sale at Newegg and love them very impressed with everything about them for surround sound.

rooster19's picture

Hi Scott - do you think that the ratio of speaker:receiver is tilted too much toward receiver? Would he get more bang off his buck by spending $1500 on speakers and $500 on a reviewer than thr other way around?

Scott Wilkinson's picture
You make a good point. On the other hand, the BS14 and 21 are so good, they can easily compete with much more expensive speakers. Any why spend more than you need to? That also applies to the AVR, of course; Declan would probably be just fine with the Pioneer VSX-1021 ($550), Onkyo TX-NR609 ($599), or Pioneer Elite VSX-52 ($900), though the Marantz is a fine AVR.
hi.lalo's picture

Hi, I have a great deal for buying some 31B speakers. You said it uses more expensive components but what about performance?

Is it worth to buy a group of 31B speakers instead of the BS41/BS21 system.

I have no chance to do an audition of both at the same time. But what are your thoughts?

Scott Wilkinson's picture
I'm sorry to say we haven't reviewed the 31B, so I don't know how it performs. All I know is that the BS21 and 41 are both very special speakers, and the Andrew Jones imprimatur really does mean something. Speaking of which, Andrew will be the guest on my podcast on May 21, so stay tuned for that!
HardBoiled's picture

Thats an expensive avr and its 2 years old. I think a 2011 avr in the $500 - $800 range would be a better choice.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
See my response to rooster19 above...
albert26's picture

Just went to Marantz/ Denon Training,,that model is old,new r coming,,Marantz's need proper ventilation,or a fan,,,or Bacon & eggs in the morning,,Why don't listen to Monitor Audio, or KEF Loudspeakers,,they design lower end series ,that sound excellent.
Jap speakers ,, I don't know,,sorry
Good Luck Sir

albert26's picture

Sorry I forgot,,luv Mr Scott,but he did not mention DENON
New models arrive in 3 weeks,,CI series has 3yr warranty
great pre-amp section,,not bloaty ,like a Integra or Onkyo.
Ck NAD also,,