ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 vs. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

Note: the 3D models above approximate the external volume of the speakers, and may not accurately reflect their shape.

ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
$330 $160
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.43” × 7.09” × 9.21”
341mm × 180mm × 234mm
12.56” × 7.13” × 8.44”
319mm × 181mm × 214mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-35,000 Hz 55-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 5.0
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 7.5

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the clash of compact titans, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 and Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers represent remarkable value in the budget audiophile arena. The B5.2, designed by audio maestro Andrew Jones, delivers a robust soundstage with tighter bass and sparkling highs, thanks to its 5.25-inch aramid-fiber woofer. The Jones-crafted Pioneers, albeit earlier creations, offer a warm, balanced sound with a 4-inch structured surface woofer, but they're slightly less dynamic. Both sets punch above their weight, but the ELACs edge ahead with a more refined and responsive listening experience, ideal for discerning ears seeking depth and detail on a budget.

Speaker Comparison

The world of bookshelf speakers is a battleground where manufacturers relentlessly innovate to produce the best possible sound from a compact form factor. At the forefront of this battle, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 and Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers stand as two commendable warriors, each with their own unique set of strengths. The ELACs, designed by the renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones, carry a bit of an audiophile pedigree, while the Pioneers are the result of Jones's earlier work, aiming to bring high-quality sound to a more affordable price point.

Design and Build Quality

Beginning with design and build quality, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers showcase a more modern and refined aesthetic, with a black ash vinyl finish that exudes a certain sophistication. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, while not quite as sleek, sports a curved cabinet design that not only looks distinct but also serves to reduce standing sound waves inside the cabinet. The build quality of both is robust, ensuring that they can confidently serve as the cornerstone of a budget-conscious audiophile's sound system.

ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Comparison

When it comes to sound, the differences become more pronounced. The ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers deliver a clearer and more precise soundstage, demonstrating superior separation and detail retrieval across a variety of genres. Their 5.25-inch aramid-fiber woofers in tandem with the new waveguide around the tweeter contribute to a well-balanced and accurate sound. In contrast, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers, with their structured surface woofers and 1-inch high-efficiency soft dome tweeter, offer a warmer and more forgiving sound, which can be beneficial for less-than-perfect recordings.

At the low end, the ELACs have a tighter and more articulate bass response than the Pioneers, which is impressive given the compact size of both speaker sets. However, the Pioneers hold their own with a full-bodied bass that belies their modest dimensions, albeit with a bit less control than the ELACs.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR arrow (at Amazon.com)

Performance Across Different Settings

One key factor to consider is how these speakers perform in various room sizes and setups. The ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers, with their front-firing ports, are a tad more versatile when it comes to placement. They are less fussy about being close to a wall, making them a good fit for smaller rooms or setups where space is at a premium. The Pioneers, with their rear-firing ports, need a bit more breathing room to sound their best, which could be a consideration for those with limited placement options.

Another aspect of performance is power handling and sensitivity. The ELACs, with a sensitivity of 86dB at 2.83v/1m, are slightly less efficient than the Pioneers, which boast a sensitivity of 85dB. This means that while both speakers will benefit from a robust amplifier, the Pioneers might require a touch more power to truly shine. Nevertheless, in a typical listening environment, both speakers will perform admirably with a wide range of amplification.


In conclusion, the choice between the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 and Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers is one that hinges on personal preference and specific use cases. The ELACs favor the listener who prioritizes detail and soundstage precision, while the Pioneers are better suited to those who enjoy a warm and lush sound signature. Both sets of speakers represent tremendous value in the budget audiophile market and are capable of delivering musical enjoyment that belies their modest price. Ultimately, the decision will rest in the ears of the beholder, and either choice is a testament to Andrew Jones's mastery in speaker design.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.