Hand's On With The Pioneer SP-PK22BS Home Theater Speaker System

Pioneer SP-PK22BS Home Theater Speaker System
Pioneer SP-PK22BS Home Theater Speaker System. Images provided by Pioneer Electronics - Not to exact scale

Probably the most difficult decision a consumer has to make when putting together a home theater system is what loudspeakers to buy. You can often spend a lot of money on a speaker package that is very stylish and comes with a well-known brand name and later find out that you could have gotten a better sounding speaker package for a lot less.

On the other hand, this works both ways, as you can also be seduced by an inexpensive speaker package, or sound bar, that looks and sounds OK in the store, but isn't up to the task once you get it home.

Enter The Pioneer SP-PK22BS Speaker System

However, don't fret quite yet, as there are some very good speaker systems out there that don't require you to empty your wallet, but really deliver great sound. One example is the Pioneer SP-PK22BS 5.1 channel home theater speaker system from noted speaker designer Andrew Jones.

First up, the speakers and subwoofer in this system feature MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) construction. Also, the center and satellite speakers feature curved cabinet design which serves to reduce unwanted vibrations. Here is a rundown on each speaker that comes with the system.

SP-C22 Center Channel Speaker

The SP-C22 center channel speaker is a 2-way bass reflex design that incorporates two 4-inch bass/midrange drivers, 1-inch tweeter, and a rear-facing port for an extended low-frequency response.

Here are its additional features:

  • Frequency response: 55Hz to 20kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB. This represents how loud the speaker is at a distance of one meter with an input of one watt.
  • Impedance: 6 Ohms. It can be used with amplifiers that have 8 Ohm speaker connections.
  • Power handling: 90 watts maximum.
  • Frequency: 3 kHz. This represents the point at which signals higher than 2.5kHz are sent to the tweeter.
  • Weight: 13.4lbs.
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 18.1 x 7.1 inches.
  • Finish: Black

SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers

The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers (used for the front left/right and surround placement) are a 2-Way bass reflex Design that incorporates one 3-inch Bass/Midrange driver, a 3/4-inch tweeter, and rear-facing port for extended low-frequency output. Additional features include:

  • Frequency response: 55Hz to 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 85 dB.
  • Impedance: 6 Ohms.
  • Power handling: 80 watts maximum.
  • Crossover frequency: 3kHz.
  • Weight: 9 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Dimensions: 7 1/8 inches wide x 12 9/16 inches high x 8 7/16 inches deep
  • Finish Options: Black

SW8-MK2 Powered Subwoofer

The SW8-MK2 Subwoofer included in the SP-PK22BS speaker system has a bass reflex design as evidenced by its 8-inch down-firing driver and port. Here are its additional features:

  • Frequency response: 38Hz to 150Hz (LFE - low-frequency effects)
  • Continuously adjustable crossover frequency: 40Hz to 150Hz
  • Power output: 100 watts maximum (50 watts FTC rated)
  • Phase: Switchable to normal (0) or reverse (180 degrees). Synchronizes the in-out motion of sub-speaker with the in-out motion of other speakers in the system
  • Connections: One set of stereo RCA line inputs (low level), and one set of speaker connections (high level)
  • Power: On/Auto/Standby.
  • Dimensions: 12.2 inches wide x 14.2 inches high x 12.2 inches deep
  • Weight: 20.28 lbs. 
  • Finish: Black

Audio Performance - SP-C22 Center Channel Speaker

The first thing that stands out about the SP-C22 center channel speaker is its substantial build - it both larger and heavier than most center channel speakers used in compact, budget-priced systems.

However, unlike most budget-priced center channel speakers, the SP-C22 definitely delivers a lot in the sound department. The SP-C22 produced a strong output and distortion free sound across a wide frequency range. The quality of both movie dialog and music vocals was impressive, with just a slight roll-off at the higher frequencies - but definitely, provides the needed detail and depth for good center channel performance.

Good illustrations of center channel performance with movie examples included Jaws and Rise of the Guardians, while two good music examples include Norah Jones on Come Away with Me - Sade on Soldier of Love.

Audio Performance - SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Satellite Speakers

In support of the SP-C22 center channel speaker, the SP-BS22-LR satellite speakers provided for the left, right, and surround channels provide a wide dispersion for an immersive sound listening experience, while at the same time providing good direction placement of sounds. Distinct details in surround effects (glass breaking, footsteps, leaves, the wind, motions of objects they travel between speakers) were reproduced well, without being overly bright or harsh.

For music listening the SP-BS22-LR's are a little restrained with the detail produced by acoustical instruments but held up well against the EMP Tek comparison speakers I used. As a result of their bass-reflex design with rear mounted port, the SP-BS22LR's definitely produced a fuller response in the lower midrange and upper bass frequencies than their physical size would indicate.

Some of the music examples that were used to reveal how the SP-BS22-LRs handled acoustical instruments and vocals included Norah Jones' Come Away With Me and Al Stewart's A Beach Full of Shells, both on CD.

Audio Performance - SW8-MK2 Powered Subwoofer

The SW8-MK2 subwoofer is definitely a good match for the rest of the system, using the subwoofer crossover test on the THX Calibration disk, the SW8-MK2 transitioned seamlessly with satellite and center channel speakers. Also, using both the Frequency Sweep Test provided on the Digital Video Essentials Test Disc and the Buzz and Rattle and Subwoofer Crossover Tests on the THX Calibration Disc, the SW8-MK2 easily produced strong low frequency sounds down to about 50Hz, but definitely dropped in audio output as it approached 40Hz, then becoming increasingly faint below that point.

The SW8-MK2 provides a good bass response for both movie and music listening in a small (13x12) or medium (15x20) size room, but it doesn't reach down into the bottom depths of room-shaking LFE territory like its larger, more expensive cousins.

Some of the examples used to check LFE performance included U571 (depth charge scenes), Battleship, Jurassic Park (Tyrannosaurus of course!), and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Low-frequency music tests included Heart's Magic Man (CD), Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on SACD, and the Eagles Hotel California on DVD-Audio Disc.

On the other hand, the bass produced by the SW8-MK2 was fine for most music recordings played, without the boominess that can often plague inexpensive subwoofers.

SP-PK22BS Speaker System: PROS

  • Excellent sound quality for the price.
  • Physically well-designed and constructed. Molded curved construction design on the center and satellite speakers.
  • Heavy Duty screw-on speaker terminals.
  • Removable Speaker Grills.

SP-PK22BS Speaker System: Cons

  • The subwoofer is too subtle for larger rooms.
  • Down-firing subwoofer requires careful unpacking and placement so as to not inadvertently puncture the speaker cone.
  • No wall mounting option for center and satellite speakers.
  • The speakers not magnetically shielded - If you are using an older CRT TV, you need to place the speakers about a foot or two away to prevent magnetic interference.

The Bottom Line

After listening to the Pioneer speaker system provided for this review, I can honestly say that these speakers are impressive, especially for the price. The system provides an immersive surround sound field, as well accurate sound placement.

For music listening, the system provided a good balance between vocals and instruments, with sufficient depth.

One suggestion is that it would great if the SW8-MK2 also provided its own line out so that you could "daisy-chain" two of them together for better coverage in larger rooms. This would eliminate the inconvenience of using a Y-adapter from a receiver's subwoofer output, and not users have receivers that feature two subwoofer outputs.

Once again Pioneer, in partnership with Andrew Jones, has delivered an inexpensive home theater speaker line and system that causes one to pause as to why they need to spend a lot more for the same, or just slightly better sound quality, especially for a smaller room area. You have to give this system a listen, you will be hard-pressed to find a better sounding system priced under $1,000.

NOTE: Each speaker in the system can also be purchased separately.

Also available for the SP-PK22BS is the SW-10, which provides a larger, more powerful, subwoofer option.

The SW-10 features bass reflex design using a 10-inch down firing driver in combination with a front-facing port. The SW-10 has a frequency range between 30 Hz – 150 Hz with a maximum output power of 400W at its peak. The subwoofer weighs 29.8 lbs and has the following dimensions (WHD) 14-3/10 x 15-3/10 x 14-3/10 (inches).

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.