Bookshelf Speakers

Pioneer S-2EX Monitor-sized Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The S-2EX are a 3-way bass reflex speaker that has a sloped front baffle that helps create a time-aligned transducer configuration. Pioneer calls it a coherent source transducer. The design allows each driver to project sound that arrives at the listener at the same moment. I saw a cut away view of these speakers at CEDIA and was impressed with the thick (2 inches) front baffle and internal bracing. These are some of the strongest built speakers I have ever seen.

The speakers weigh in at over 60 pounds each. The top concentric driver contains a beryllium tweeter inside of a midrange transducer, similar to the KEF UniQ driver. Beryllium is an expensive metal to play with as only about 200 pounds of this material are mined each year. In powder form, it can be harmful (as in fatal) if inhaled. The beryllium is vaporized and deposited onto copper dome and then heated. The copper is etched away leaving just the beryllium dome tweeter behind. It is very rigid and light weight.

Only a few other companies make beryllium tweeters due to the cost. If you are lucky enough to hear one in action, they really do sound marvelous. The 5.5" midrange cone is made of magnesium. Both drivers share the same magnet structure but have a wave guide in between them. The 7" woofer is made of a one piece composite construction for greater rigidity and lower distortion. It contains ten layers of aramid fibers, resins and unwoven carbon fibers.

The port is located in the front under the woofer. Even though floor spikes are supplied for these speakers, they really need to be placed on stands to get the best performance out of them.

Pioneer S-EX2 Speakers

The back of the speakers are tapered. High quality dual binding posts finish off the back of each speaker. They can be bi-wired or bi-amped. Make no mistake, these speakers are built and designed to play music at high volumes. Rapping on them with my knuckles produced a solid thud…and hurt my knuckles.

My set came in a very dark mahogany color. My wife's first reaction to seeing them was, "Those look really good with your stuff". My HDTV, stand and audio equipment rack are all black and the S-2EXs did look good in my room. For the first three weeks of auditioning I left the grilles off, but put them on for the last 2 weeks. They looked and sounded fine either way. The grilles by the way, have small bolts that hold them into place. It was a bit tricky getting them on because the instructions were not very intuitive, but once on, they were very secured. All in all, these are very handsome looking speakers with a solid look and feel in their design.