Monday, March 30, 2015

Pioneer BS22 Grill Mod: Before and after measurements

Pioneer BS22 Grill Mod: Before and after measurements

The Pioneer BS22's have been one of the most recommended and highly reviewed entry level or budget speakers in recent memory. While very good at the price point they are not perfect. 

One known issue is how very non-transparent the grills are. I've read some second hand accounts that Andrew Jones designed the speaker with these grills in mind, or at least to be used specifically with the grills on. But after the measurements, I can't see that as anything but marketing hype, the all to common, "it's a feature" excuses. 

That all being said, I find the Pioneers to be a bit muted and subdued as is, and always listen with the grills off. So, I decided to see if the grills or more specifically all the plastic in front of the tweeter could be modified and help correct this "feature". These are my results.

In the above graphs you have close mic measurements on top (mic at tweeter) and then 1 meter measurements at below. 1/6 octave smoothing used on both.

As you can see, with the grills on there is a pretty large dip at centered at 8.5khz. (in RED), removing the plastic (in GREEN) didn't have all the effect that I had hoped for, but there was some measurable improvement. How well that translates to your ears, I'm not sure. Removing the grills entirely (in BLUE) is still the best option for the flattest frequency response from the tweeter. 

Does modding the grill make a huge difference? No, not really. But if you prefer the look of the grills being on or you are trying to protect the tweeter from little fingers; I do think it is a worthy and easy mod to make. 

Below you can see how much was cut out of the grill. Nothing too extreme and there is still plenty of strength to the grill.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Infinity Primus p163 measurements and comparisons.

Infinity Primus p163

The Infinity Primus line of speakers has been long standing go to choice for those looking to put together a solid home theater or music set up. The Primus p163 specifically, is very commonly suggested as good choice for the front two or three speakers for the those looking to build a nice entry level home theater. Overall the combination of positive technical reviews and a happy user base continue to make these a popular choice.

I have personally used the entire line, minus the p252 and the matching subwoofers. Overall I have been very pleased with their performance to price ratio and prefer the Infinity's to other common budget values like the Pioneer BS22 and Micca MB42x

Previously I've reviewed the Infinity Primus p143 and thought that they were great performers for the price and should be an option for everyone looking for a sub $100 set of bookshelf speakers.

First let's look at two professional measurements of the Primus p162

In 2007, Stereophile did comprehensive review of the Primus p162 and provided theses measurements.

SoundStage! Network created these measurements of the p162 in an actual anechoic chamber.

In a quick comparison of the two measurements were can see that they match up very well. There are some obvious differences though. The low end from about 60hz to 200hz is measured as a bit more inflated in the Stereophile measurements, my guess would be probably due to the close mic measurements taken, and the large spike at 700hz (due to some nastiness out of the port) is softened a bit. But overall you can tell they are measuring the same speaker and getting very similar results. 

Here are my measurements of the Infinity Primus p163

These measurements were all taken outside, at 1m distance.

After 500hz, my outdoor measurements match up very well with both the Stereophile and the SoundStage Network. I was not able to do close mic measurements on the Primus p163, so unfortunately I can't compare the mid and port measurements to Stereophile or NoAudiophile, though I trust that their near mic responses are accurate. Equally unfortunate is the floor reflections that affect the measurements before 500hz. However, the Primus still remains very close to +/- 3db throughout

The green trace is what I wanted to highlight the most here and what shows show adjusting placement a little bit in relation to the seating position can really bring out the best in the Primus p163. By raising the tweeter to just ABOVE ear level, much of the elevated tweeter response is diminished and made for a measured response of +/- 2db or less for 800hz until the tweeter begins it's steep drop off after 16khz. While the extension might not be as great as other speakers, I'm very impressed with the flat measurements.

Next are some comparisons to popular reviewer NoAudiophile

strategicdeceiver AKA NoAudiophile, has also recently taken detailed measurements and made an EQ correction file to address some of the response issues and mellow the tweeter direct on axis response.
When the review came out, I was initially a bit skeptical because the measurements were so different in regards to the p143's tweeter output at 7khz and above, as the use the same driver. The cross overs look very different, p143 vs p163, but I lack the knowledge to understand the results of those differences. Perhaps some tweeter attenuation is designed into the p143. When I began my own more detailed look at the p163 I was able to confirm very similar tweeter measurements.

Grills on

Grills off

EQ corrected response vs Speaker raised 2 inches

In my measurements, by raising the speakers just a few inches in relation to your ears (mic position) you could achieve results very similar to those of the EQ file does.

I have not used the EQ files and have since moved houses; so I probably wont be able to recreate the exact some 1m responses, instead will have to make new ones which will have their own possible issues. But I don't disagree with any of the EQ aspects. I do think his listening impressions are very colored and don't accurately represent the impressions that many others do due the obvious room issues in his testing workshop.

I personally like the Infinity line more than the Pioneer Andrew Jones. I think they are better speakers, I find the Pioneers to be too warm and even a bit muddy. At full retail price, I do not think the Infinity Primus p163 represent all that great of a value when you have some very exciting bookshelf options just under $200. I also don't know of anyone buying them at full retail either. I would suggest to those looking at the p163, to move up to the Infinity Primus p363 Tower and wait to pick them on when they are on sale for $99 each. You'll save on the need for speaker stands, and they have been very well reviewed and do not seem to have the same elevated treble after 7khz


Overall I like Infinity Primus line a lot. I think the p143 is one of the best tiny speakers you can find. The rest of the Primus line has a large following behind then, and when on sale, I don't think anything new in the same price can beat them. I would avoid being right in line with the tweeter, get a little below them if possible to mellow them out. If you can't do that, then use the EQ file made by NoAudiophile. But if you are still looking at the Primus line, a better idea would be to jump up to the p363 towers.

Emotiva B1 Review: The Wonderful World of Ribbons (AMT).

Emotiva B1: The Wonderful World of Ribbon (AMT) Tweeters Welcome to my review of the Emotiva B1 bookshelf speakers. With the recent...