Pioneer's Blue Light Specials

Pioneer speaker guru Andrew Jones, designer of Pioneer's Elite line of speakers and even more up-market (very upmarket) TAD designs, has been busy at the other end of the market. The very other end. The new Pioneer Audio Artistry by Andrew Jones line of speakers starts below $80/pair for the C-1 center channel and tops out at $199/pair for the biggest bookshelf model, the BS-41!

Designed primarily for distribution through Best Buy, you might wonder what all the excitement can bed about at such skinny prices. The demo room may have helped (a fairly large, prefab, and well treated space that Pioneer has used at past shows), as perhaps did the much pricier Pioneer integrated amp and CD player (about $1200 each) and ultra heavy Sound Anchor stands (28"-30" high).

Nevertheless, what they offered for their size and priced was hard to believe, with surprisingly solid bass, slightly rich midbass (they were placed near the back wall), a punchy midrange, and clean highs far removed from the scratchy top end most similarly-priced speakers offer. While they don't exactly obsolete Andrew's Elite and TAD designs (which likely have individual crossover elements selling for more than this) they might just surprise more than a few listeners. The pity is that you'll never hear their true potential in a Best Buy demo.