Klipsch Reference R-51M vs. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
$350 $160
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.00” × 7.00” × 8.56”
330mm × 178mm × 217mm
12.56” × 7.13” × 8.44”
319mm × 181mm × 214mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
62-21,000 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 realm of budget audiophile bookshelves, the Klipsch Reference R-51M and Pioneer SP-BS22-LR battle for supremacy. The R-51M delivers energetic, crisp highs with its trademark horn tweeter, thriving in detail and dynamic presence. It's an assertive performer, especially for rock and lively genres. Conversely, the SP-BS22-LR, designed by the revered Andrew Jones, leans towards a warmer, more balanced sound. The cohesion and smoothness make it a delight for extended listening sessions. Preference here will hinge on taste: Klipsch's in-your-face excitement or Pioneer's laid-back, refined poise. Both offer extraordinary value and an authentic high-fidelity gateway.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to selecting bookshelf speakers for your home audio setup, the abundance of options can be both exciting and slightly overwhelming. Two notable contenders in the affordable range are the Klipsch Reference R-51M and the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR. Both offer compelling features for the discerning audiophile on a budget, but they diverge significantly in design philosophy, sound characteristics, and overall user experience.

Klipsch Reference R-51M: The Horn-Loaded Heritage

Klipsch has a storied reputation for creating speakers with a distinctive sound, and the R-51M bookshelf speakers are no exception. These speakers bear the hallmark Klipsch Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, which is designed to deliver a more dynamic, lifelike sound. The R-51M's tweeter coupled with its 5.25-inch copper-spun IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) woofer, ensures a clean and powerful sound that can fill a room with ease. The high sensitivity rating of 93 dB also means they can achieve greater volumes with less power, making them an efficient match for lower-powered amplifiers.

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M arrow (at Amazon.com)

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR: Andrew Jones's Acoustic Alchemy

On the other hand, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers were crafted under the guidance of renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones. A master of creating high-quality sound at accessible price points, Jones's touch is evident in the SP-BS22-LR's custom-designed crossover, the sophisticated 4-inch structured surface woofer, and the 1-inch high-efficiency soft dome tweeter. These elements combine to produce a sound that is both warm and detailed, with a focus on creating a balanced audio landscape. While their sensitivity rating is lower, at 85 dB, these speakers still manage to deliver an immersive listening experience without needing to push the volume too high.

Design and Build Quality

Aesthetically, the Klipsch R-51M speakers exude a bold, industrial charm, with their copper woofers adding a striking visual element to any room. The build quality is robust, featuring a textured wood grain vinyl that gives the impression of a more expensive speaker. In contrast, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers maintain a more understated appearance. They are encased in a curved cabinet design that's not only appealing but also serves to reduce standing sound waves inside the cabinet, resulting in higher sound quality.

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

Soundstage and imaging are areas where these two contenders diverge further. The Klipsch R-51M, with its horn-loaded tweeter, projects a broad and immersive soundstage that can make audio seem to come from beyond the physical space occupied by the speakers. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, while providing a more intimate soundstage, offers excellent imaging and precision, allowing for finely detailed placement of instruments and vocals within the soundscape.

Room Compatibility and Versatility

When considering room compatibility, the Klipsch R-51M's higher sensitivity makes them a bit more versatile for various room sizes and types. They're likely to perform admirably in both small and larger spaces. Conversely, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers might be better suited for smaller to medium-sized rooms, where their warm, balanced sound can be fully appreciated without requiring excessive volume levels.

At the end of the day, choosing between the Klipsch Reference R-51M and the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers is a matter of personal preference and intended use. The Klipsch offers a more lively and effervescent sound, ideal for those who crave a cinema-like experience for movies and music that's full of energy. The Pioneer, with its focus on precision and balance, appeals to those seeking a refined and nuanced audio experience. Both sets of speakers shine in their respective domains, and either would be a worthy addition to an audiophile's collection.

Check Current Prices:

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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.