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Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR Atmos Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR bookshelf Atmos enabled speaker. It is on kind loan from a local member. They cost US $749 for a pair. That may seem high for a bookshelf speaker but you are getting two speakers in one. An up firing two-way coaxial driver that is driven by its own terminals. And a front facing 3-way speaker with the same coaxial driver mated with a small "woofer."

Here is what it looks like:

Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker Audio Review.jpg

These are introduced back in 2014 and Dolby Atmos was all the rage (news, not delivery). Realizing getting people to stick speakers in their ceiling is hard, Dolby announced this upfiring scheme at the same time as the surround sound technology. They proceed to license a fancy crossover for it which cost a lot. I don't know if that is what is used here or not.

Overall, the speaker feels quite a bit more hefty substantial than the pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones design I tested earlier.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the grill removed. Frequency resolution is 2.7 Hz. Over 600 measurement points were used to assure high precision in higher frequencies. For the first time, I am also using averaging to lower noise in bass frequencies.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker can be used. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Audio Measurements.png


Well, we do have flaws. Disappointing to see that wide dip between 3 and 10 kHz. Good thing is that the early reflections more or less follow the same dip so EQ would be useful to fill that hole.

Sensitivity is specified I think at 86 dB which within the vague way that is measured, is OK. But if you look at the bass frequencies, you easily drop to 80 dB and lower. So as is typical of these little bookshelf speakers, they need more than a little amplifier to drive them.

Predictive in-room response is similar to on-axis so problem remains:

Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Estimated In-room Response ...png


As noted, what comes directly at you and what goes to the sides are similar in both vertical and horizontal axis (due to use of coaxial driver):

Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Early Reflections Audio Mea...png


Impedance measurement shows a dip to below 4 ohm so again, you need to have good amplification that can handle such low impedances:

Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker Impedance and Phase Audio Measurements.png


Driving the speaker with 10 volts (above are at 2.83 volts) shows a number of distortion sources correlating with the crossover frequency:

Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker Distortion Audio Review.png


This indicates the driver has too low of a break up point, or it is used above its comfort factor.

Eye-candy Speaker Measurements
Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker Waterfall Audio Measurements.png


Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker Horizontal Directivity Audio Measurements.png


Pioneer Elite SP-EB73LR Atmos Bookshelf Speaker Vertical Directivity Audio Measurements.png


Speaker Listening Tests
I started my listening tests with a single filter for the prominent room mode. The sound was OK but somewhat dull. So I dialed in a boost to fix the lower treble region and a dip for the final hump (yellow and purple dots):

Roon EQ.PNG


In short-term listening, this made a substantial difference. So much more brilliance and detail came to the forefront. Maybe a bit too much though if you listen for a long time so more precise adjustment and testing should be done to run with them. Still, the EQ I felt worked well here. I could enjoy my reference tracks.

Bass however was absent. There is just no deep bass here so overall tonality was light.

For kicks, I also played with the upfiring Atoms speaker. It sounded "interesting" and better than I thought it would. Despite using a single speaker, the special effects were remarkable in hearing sounds at times a few feet to the right of the speaker and such.

Conclusions
The hole in frequency response and high distortion around the crossover point rule out this speaker for any kind of hifi use, certainly at these prices. If you have it, then some amount of EQ fixes what is most broken here. A lot of the budget has gone into that up firing Atmos driver and crossover than goodness in the front part of the speaker.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Running way behind in my garden planting. Have tomato and peppers coming up but need to plant the next batch. Instead, I am reviewing speakers. If that made you feel sorry for me, good! Please donate using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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617

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#12
I recently got the center channel version of this. Seems very good for the money, has one woofer and a PR, along with the concentric array.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #13
The dip in response around 180Hz and the rise in THD are very odd considering the the bottom woofer takes over at 260Hz. However, the tweeter takes over at 2600Hz and we see a rise in distortion there, sad to see crossover distortion that high.
See the updated graphics with crossover frequencies on it.
 

MZKM

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#14
I recently got the center channel version of this. Seems very good for the money, has one woofer and a PR, along with the concentric array.
The partial-OCD in me wanting things to be symmetrical does not like that one woofer is real and the other is a PR.
More money, but I would only stand if it was something like this:

DefTech:


Salk:
 
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#15
Amir, have you already done some room EQ software reviews? I'd like to read them...
After all these speaker reviews ending up with a suggestion to use EQ, I guess we might benefit from your enlightened opinion also on this topic!

I use Audyssey with an app that allows to set the maximum frequency where the EQ is applied, I think it is pretty convenient.
Maybe you will even change a bit your mind on the below-par electrical capabilities of AVR's!! ;) you never know... maybe EQ is more important than crosstalk, distortion, etc... just a provocation..maybe :eek:
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #16
I have done a couple (Lyngdorf and Anthem ARC). Nothing extensive though. Love to do a side-by-side comparison but just no time to do it...
 

kokishin

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#18
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR bookshelf Atmos enabled speaker. It is on kind loan from a local member. They cost US $749 for a pair. That may seem high for a bookshelf speaker but you are getting two speakers in one. An up firing two-way coaxial driver that is driven by its own terminals. And a front facing 3-way speaker with the same coaxial driver mated with a small "woofer."

Here is what it looks like:


These are introduced back in 2014 and Dolby Atmos was all the rage (news, not delivery). Realizing getting people to stick speakers in their ceiling is hard, Dolby announced this upfiring scheme at the same time as the surround sound technology. They proceed to license a fancy crossover for it which cost a lot. I don't know if that is what is used here or not.

Overall, the speaker feels quite a bit more hefty substantial than the pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones design I tested earlier.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the grill removed. Frequency resolution is 2.7 Hz. Over 600 measurement points were used to assure high precision in higher frequencies. For the first time, I am also using averaging to lower noise in bass frequencies.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker can be used. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

View attachment 55314

Well, we do have flaws. Disappointing to see that wide dip between 3 and 10 kHz. Good thing is that the early reflections more or less follow the same dip so EQ would be useful to fill that hole.

Sensitivity is specified I think at 86 dB which within the vague way that is measured, is OK. But if you look at the bass frequencies, you easily drop to 80 dB and lower. So as is typical of these little bookshelf speakers, they need more than a little amplifier to drive them.

Predictive in-room response is similar to on-axis so problem remains:

View attachment 55317

As noted, what comes directly at you and what goes to the sides are similar in both vertical and horizontal axis (due to use of coaxial driver):

View attachment 55318

Impedance measurement shows a dip to below 4 ohm so again, you need to have good amplification that can handle such low impedances:

View attachment 55322

Driving the speaker with 10 volts (above are at 2.83 volts) shows a number of distortion sources correlating with the crossover frequency:

View attachment 55336

This indicates the driver has too low of a break up point, or it is used above its comfort factor.

Eye-candy Speaker Measurements
View attachment 55324

View attachment 55325

View attachment 55326

Speaker Listening Tests
I started my listening tests with a single filter for the prominent room mode. The sound was OK but somewhat dull. So I dialed in a boost to fix the lower treble region and a dip for the final hump (yellow and purple dots):

View attachment 55327

In short-term listening, this made a substantial difference. So much more brilliance and detail came to the forefront. Maybe a bit too much though if you listen for a long time so more precise adjustment and testing should be done to run with them. Still, the EQ I felt worked well here. I could enjoy my reference tracks.

Bass however was absent. There is just no deep bass here so overall tonality was light.

For kicks, I also played with the upfiring Atoms speaker. It sounded "interesting" and better than I thought it would. Despite using a single speaker, the special effects were remarkable in hearing sounds at times a few feet to the right of the speaker and such.

Conclusions
The hole in frequency response and high distortion around the crossover point rule out this speaker for any kind of hifi use, certainly at these prices. If you have it, then some amount of EQ fixes what is most broken here. A lot of the budget has gone into that up firing Atmos driver and crossover than goodness in the front part of the speaker.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Pioneer SP-EBS73-LR.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Running way behind in my garden planting. Have tomato and peppers coming up but need to plant the next batch. Instead, I am reviewing speakers. If that made you feel sorry for me, good! Please donate using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Amir (et al),

Thanks for the review.

I bought these new in 2015 along with the floor standers and center. I have since replaced the center.

Since I live in a condo with a two foot thick concrete ceiling, I went the Dolby Atmos Enabled (up firing) speaker route. Back in 2015, these were about the only options for an Atmos based system.

My Denon 6200 offers Audyssey MultEQ XT32, which I utilize. However, I have always felt these speakers seemed slightly dull.

One issue I have is that Audyssey always reports the FL as out of phase which I ignore. I've tried switching the fronts and Audyssey still reports the FL is out of phase. I've always presumed it's because of my room layout/dimensions.

Anyway, I've wanted to open the speakers up and look at the wiring and the crossover but I can't figure out how to safely remove the drivers. There are no visible screws or fasteners. If you still have the EBS73's in your possession, can you eyeball them and see if you can figure out how to safely remove the drivers from their enclosures?

BTW, ASR is the most analytical forum I've ever participated in. You have amazing energy to post as many quality reviews as you do!
 
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#20
I have done a couple (Lyngdorf and Anthem ARC). Nothing extensive though. Love to do a side-by-side comparison but just no time to do it...
Go for the speakers! I don't know how much I appreciate your work..even if can't understand how you do all this..
I just read your technical background in your post, hats off.. how difficult it is to have this kind of careers outside Silicon Valley or USA in general? Not the right place for a rant on careers..but the engineer in me is crying..anyway thanks for your unbelievable efforts!

Is Amphion and Quad on your pending list? I would love to see a review of a panel speaker, especially a concentric design as the Quad and siblings..
 
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