ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
$500 $160
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
12.56” × 7.13” × 8.44”
319mm × 181mm × 214mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 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 battle of affordable audiophile bookshelf speakers, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and Pioneer SP-BS22-LR represent remarkable value. The UB5s, designed by the legendary Andrew Jones, boasts a concentric driver design that delivers a cohesive soundstage with excellent imaging. The SP-BS22-LR, also from Jones's drawing board, offers a balanced and warm sound on a tighter budget. The ELACs have the edge in detail and build quality, while the Pioneers are easier to drive, making them more versatile with modest amplifiers. Both speakers punch above their weight, but the UB5s are the clear choice for discerning ears seeking precision.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to selecting the ideal bookshelf speakers for your home audio system, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR stand out as two noteworthy contenders. Both speakers come from respected figures in the audiophile world, with the Uni-fi UB5 being part of a line conceived by the acclaimed designer Andrew Jones during his tenure at ELAC, and the SP-BS22-LR being one of Jones's earlier creations for Pioneer. This comparison will look beyond the brand prestige to focus on the nuanced differences in sound quality, design, and overall performance that define each speaker's listening experience.

Sonic Character and Performance

The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers offer a remarkable soundstage with a coherence and precision that is a notch above many in its class. The concentric driver design provides a more even dispersion of sound, which results in a more lifelike auditory image. The UB5s are known for their deep, controlled bass, crisp highs, and remarkable midrange clarity, which allows for the nuanced textures in music to emerge with a presence that is both commanding and refined. These speakers show off their strength in a well-balanced mix, casting a wide net over genres from classical to rock with ease.

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 arrow (at Amazon.com)

The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, on the other hand, punches above its weight class, delivering a sound that is surprisingly full and dynamic given its more modest price point. While it may not reach the depths of bass or the heights of treble extension that the UB5 can, the SP-BS22-LR offers a warm and smooth sound that is never fatiguing, making it an excellent choice for long listening sessions. The sound remains clear and coherent, with a commendable performance in the midrange frequencies, which is a must for vocal clarity and instrumental separation.

Design and Build Quality

In terms of design, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 flaunts a sophisticated build quality with a cabinet that not only looks good but contributes to the overall acoustics of the speaker. The three-way design, featuring a separate woofer, midrange driver, and tweeter, allows for each driver to specialize in its frequency range, which helps to minimize distortion and create a clearer sound. It's also a hefty speaker, indicative of the solid construction and high-quality components contained within.

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

On the other hand, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR maintains a more conservative aesthetic, with a straightforward, no-frills appearance that is typical of entry-level audiophile gear. Despite its simplicity, the build quality is solid, and its curved cabinet design is not just for looks—it reduces standing waves within the cabinet, resulting in less audio coloration. The SP-BS22-LR's design is an example of functional simplicity and is a testament to how good engineering doesn't always have to break the bank.

Value Proposition

Value is an integral part of any speaker evaluation, and in this regard, the UB5 and the SP-BS22-LR cater to different ends of the market. The UB5 is undoubtedly a premium offering, with a price tag that reflects its higher-end driver technology and superior sound quality. For the audiophile who is looking to invest in a speaker that offers a serious upgrade to their listening experience, the UB5 represents a worthwhile investment that can be the cornerstone of a high-fidelity sound system.

Meanwhile, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR shines as an incredible value proposition for the budget-conscious listener or the newcomer to the high-fidelity audio scene. Its performance-to-price ratio is particularly impressive, offering a gateway into hi-res audio without the intimidation of a steep price. For those looking to dip their toes into the world of better sound quality without diving headfirst into the deep end, the SP-BS22-LR stands as an economical and satisfying choice.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 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.