The Best Surround Sound Speakers of 2016

by Brant David •

The Andrew Jones-designed Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR bookshelf speakers are designed to look graceful and classy, and their “virtual surround sound” qualities of clarity and power seem unable to be matched by any other speakers in their price range. They also come with embedded Dolby Atmos speakers for watching Atmos-coded Blu-ray discs in a home theater.

The Details

The Best Surround Sound Speakers of 2016: pioneer-elite-sp-ebs73-lr-06

Designed by renowned audio tech engineer Andrew Jones, the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR “bookshelf” speakers can be used as stereo front-liners or as surround sound generators. Two concentric, 1″ mid-tweeter arrays provide clarity beyond the peers of these speakers, but the 5.25″ woofers also give you expressive, richly detailed bass, which is not always the case when you’ve got a lot of power in the treble.

Placed strategically, the SP-EBS73-LR speakers provide an outstanding surround sound experience because of their three-way design. The tweeters and woofers are paired up with 4″ midrange drivers. This unique driver configuration comprises Pioneer’s CST (Coherent Source Transducer) Concentric Driver. The build quality is regarded as superb, enhancing the resonance of the speakers. (They are 7.4″ wide by 15.7″ tall by 9.7″ deep, with gracefully curved sides.) To have surround sound, it’s recommended that the speakers be placed on stands about a foot out from the wall to allow their rear bass port, which gets down to 50Hz, to breathe and to allow the sounds to have more reflective space.

If you like music that’s heavier than classical/orchestral, jazz trio, New Age, etc., then you’ll want to invest in HD Tracks to listen to pop, heavy metal, blues, etc. These speakers are so high fidelity that they have a slight “treble forwardness” quality that reveals the tiniest flaw of lower quality tracks, especially with rock music and it sub-genres because there’s so much loudness.

The SP-EBS73-LR speakers can be used alone as your stereo output, or they can be part of a multichannel system as flankers for Pioneer’s Elite SP-EC73 center-channel speaker.

The SP-EBS73-LR speakers also come equipped with Dolby Atmos technology, which has been designed to accurately pinpoint the precise location of an audio object within a 3-D audio space and thus give you a far more realistic audio experience while you’re watching Atmos-coded Blu-ray movie or concert discs. The Atmos driver in these Pioneers is in the top and flush-mounted in a 20 degree, angled baffle. But, for now, Atmos coded movie discs are limited.

The best feature of the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR speakers is simply the surround sound that you can buy without having to empty your bank account or go into debt. Retailing at US $700 to $750, it seems well nigh impossible to find a better surround sound system in this price range according to all available reviews.

Another Option

Another surround sound option, which costs several hundred dollars more than the SP-EBS73-LR speakers, is the Audio MASS System (5.1). Made up of a horizontally-aligned MASS Centre speaker, four MASS 10 satellites, and the MASS W200 active subwoofer, this system is praised by listeners for delivering power and sonic detail that’s exceedingly hard to match. The satellite speakers are so compact, standing on slender posts, that they can easily be placed so as to be nearly invisible, but they’re also designed with a futuristic or otherworldly beauty. The other two, larger components have the same eye-appealing quality. I should point out that you can find the 5.0 system for about the same price as the Pioneer speakers.

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