It has become very apparent in recent months that the speakers than came with my Onkyo HT-R380 A/V amplifier is pretty poor, they only have a single 3 1/2 driver on each of the five satellites, which lacks real high end definition and there is a sizable gap in the low mid frequency range. The differences are highlighted when switching between the Onkyo HT-P380 speakers and the Pioneer SP-FS51-LR floorstanding speakers, both running in straight stereo mode. When switching the the Speaker B output which are running the Pioneer speakers, the sound is firstly much louder, a 35% volume jump, the sound is fuller and warmer, bass response is much improved even without the added weight of the subwoofer, and the overall clarity is much improved.
Yes, I realise that smaller speakers won’t give the same depth of sound as my floorstanders but that’s why there is a subwoofer to fill in the sub 500hz range, this is where the setup is lacking most. Although the lack of frequency response above 5khz is also troublesome, frankly my son’s $35 Hot Wheels CD/radio has a better frequency response, despite it’s 100hz low frequency cut off. I did try using my floorstanders as main left/right speakers but the blend of sound was poor with the Onkyo centre and rear channels, I’d rather have poor speakers that are matched in tone than speakers that don’t blend as the sound moves from speaker to speaker in 5.1 applications!
I would like to buy the matching centre and rear channel speakers for the SP-FS51-LR’s, but the issue is mounting them as they are quite bulky and not really wall mountable, especially when you don’t have solid walls. Which leaves me with using speaker stands, for the SP-BS21-LR rear speakers, and some sort of shelf above the TV for the SP-C21 centre. The shelf for the centre speaker isn’t such a huge problem, but the stands for the rear speakers are more troublesome as I have limited floor space, we have a bulky sofa running along the back wall and we also have two kids that will no doubt be constantly knocking the speakers off their stands, so I’d like to avoid stands!
I have been massively impressed with the Pioneer SP-FS51-LR floorstanding speakers so the choice is obvious from a sound point of view, I would like to get the matching centre and bookshelf speakers (for rear channels) but their size makes me think twice as I would like that quality of sound with smaller wall mountable speakers. I fear that smaller satellite speakers won’t come close to reproducing the sound of the much larger Pioneer FS51-LR, C21, and BS21-LR speaker setup!