Sony SS-B1000 Loudspeaker Review
It's my opinion--without
reservation--that a loudspeaker system is one of the hardest things to
Everyone hears things differently,
and everyone's perception of what “sounds good” differs. If you're not
convinced, just look at all the different kinds of music that are out
there today. How many of them do you like? (Editorial comment:
I remain unconvinced that anyone actually likes rap music outside of
those people who drive by your house at 3 AM in a car whose sound
system has more horsepower than does the engine...and even then I think
it's the rattling body panels adding that special something to the
music. The same is true of almost anything played primarily on
bagpipes, although I don't know what purpose it would serve.)
Okay...I'll stop. This is supposed to
be a serious review, not a commentary on types of music that I don't
like. Seriously, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, from
country to 50s/60s/70s rock to instrumentals, movie scores, “classical”
music and even a few entries from the “alternative” genre. If I think
it sounds good, I'll listen to it.
I don't claim to be an audiophile
(primarily because so many of them are, well, nuts) but I was blessed
with good hearing and I really do like music. Today, at 27 years of
age, I still have no problem picking up the high pitched switching
whine of a PC power supply from across a decently sized room and over
the other noises that are coming from the rest of the computer. I can
perceive the imperfections that are present in many otherwise perfectly
good compressed digital audio recordings. They don't ruin the music for
me. I just know that they are there.
With my recent purchase of an
Insignia NS-R2000 stereo receiver, I started to test it with some
speakers that I had kicking around, thinking that I might buy some
better speakers later on. I mentioned this to my dad, and before I knew
it, he'd picked up the very speakers I'd been looking at: the Sony
SS-B1000 bookshelf speaker set.
With a street price of $50 or so,
some people might already be looking down their nose at these speakers,
wondering how they could possibly be any good at all. After all, a
person can easily spend thousands of dollars on stereo speakers, and at
that price, they surely must be a LOT better than what $50 can buy.
That's not necessarily so. A well engineered, thoughtfully designed
product doesn't have to cost a fortune.
The SS-B1000 speakers are rated at
eight ohms impedance and will accept up to 120 watts of input power. I
drove them from the already mentioned Insignia NS-R2000 stereo
receiver, which manages 100 watts of power delivery with everything
cranked wide open, probably a fair amount of distortion and perhaps
with a little help from a following wind. This doesn't matter a whole
lot, as most listening takes place at relatively low output wattage.
Even with things really cranking, you might be surprised if
measurements of the power output were taken.
These Sony speakers come highly
recommended. Not only do they fit into a tight spot (they'd sit very
comfortably on a small bookshelf), but they produce very good sound.
The highs are clear but not overpowering, midrange has a solid presence
and bass is a lot better than you'd expect. They don't look like
anything that would rock the neighborhood, but I will assure you they
could comfortably support the listening levels of a moderately sized
party in your house. I was able to use the stereo receiver to drive
them well into the territory of unwise loudness, and they took it very
Some people would add a subwoofer to
complement these speakers, but I don't think it is necessary. It won't
hurt, but you don't have to.
No matter what I listened to, the
speakers gave a very good account of themselves. However, when I
listened to a favorite radio program of mine, the speakers did make one
flaw evident. I could hear the announcer overloading things a bit and
causing a bit of clipping, seemingly at the point of the station's
I don't believe this was the stereo
receiver or speakers, as I retrieved a cheap radio and gave it a
listening to around the same time. I had to listen harder to hear it,
but it still seemed to be there. And that's one of the problems with a
good set of speakers—they can bring out things that you didn't notice
being there, things that might detract from your enjoyment of the music.
Of course, that statement comes with
a disclaimer. People smarter than I (or at least better versed in
product testing methodology and research theories) state that it's easy
to fool yourself into believing something is (or isn't there) if you're
so inclined. So all I can say is with any degree of certainty is that I
thought the same clipping distortion was there on the cheaper radio,
and that it was just hard to find, so much so that I hadn't noticed it
All things considered, however, these
speakers are a steal at the price. If you need a decent set of stereo
speakers and don't have a ton of cash to spend on them, these are for
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© 2010 William R.
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