The Best Loudspeakers Under $500

Imagine for a moment if you could hire one of the most well respected speaker designers in the industry.  You know, someone who has designed speakers costing $40,000, $60,000, or 78,000  (yes, there are lots of zeros there).  And now imagine if you could get him to design killer speakers for $500/pair?  How would you react?

Now what if I told you that the speakers weren’t $500, but $129.99/pair. You’d probably say that it’s crazy. It’s not possible.  Well, it’s happened.  And you have Pioneer to thank.  Oh, and you also have a pretty famous speaker designer by the name of Andrew Jones to thank too.

If you’re not familiar with speaker designers, then let me just tell you that Andrew Jones is a big name in the industry.  Most recently, Andrew Jones has been designing speakers for TAD.  TAD is the high end and incredibly well respected speaker line of Pioneer.  When talking about the TAD Reference One Loudspeaker,The Absolute Sound wrote, “The TAD Reference One is among a handful of the world’s great loudspeakers…”

The TAD Reference One Loudspeakers, designed by Andrew Jones,  is one of the best speakers in the world and sells for $78,000/pair.
But most of us don’t have $78,000 to drop just on speakers alone.  That’s where the Pioneer SP-BS22LR Bookshelf Speakers come in.  They have put fantastic, audiophile sound into the reach of most of us.  You’re likely saying to yourself that’s not possible.  Well, it is.  The Pioneer SP-BS22LR bookshelf speakers have been getting rave reviews everywhere.  Stereophile named them as a product of the year winner.  Home Theater Magazine (now Sound and Vision) gave them a stellar review. The Absolute Sound said, “The BS22 is simply one of the great buys out there, without reservation.”Scott Wilkinson in the Home Theater podcast raved about them.
Many in the audio industry trade publications are calling these the best speakers under $500/pair and some have even been bold enough to claim that they rival some speakers approaching $1,000/pair (you can check out my list of “Best loudspeakers under $1,000“).  I certainly believe the former, but I put less stock in the latter.  Nevertheless one thing’s for sure: if you’re looking for an audiophile gift this Christmas and budget is tight, then you certainly should make it a point to check out the Pioneer speakers designed by Andrew Jones.  
In case you’re wondering, you don’t need to go into a HiFi or specialty store to find the Pioneer SP-BS22LR speakers. You can search online or just walk into the nearest BestBuy.
I have to applaud Pioneer sincerely for focusing a major name like Andrew Jones into bringing audiophile quality to an unheard of price point for audiophile speakers.  If you want to learn more about Andrew Jones and his design philosophy, check out this YouTube video below.


  1. These are not bad speakers by any stretch, but the Audioengine P4's blow them out of the water. That being said, Audioengine's speakers cost closer to $300, but they are also under $500 and side by side, there is no contest. I bought the Andrew Jones speakers after reading all the hype, and I found them very disappointing. After a week, I returned them back to the store. Not bad, but there is better to be had in this price range.

  2. These are certainly great speakers… but best under $500 is complete exaggeration. I could name quite a few off the top of my head that sound better under $500. AudioEngine P4, Cambridge Audio S30, NHT Absolute Zero, PSB Image, B&W 686, Axiom Audio M2 … the list is quite long.

    That being said, these are outstanding speakers, best speakers under $200 per pair easily.

  3. Note to us (nit-Pickers)

    There are no perfect speakers at any price, one of us will always find something to fault. Audio from our listening point of view is totally subjective and, outside of a lab, everything we say is opinion. Mine is, at this price point, the Pioneer SP-BS22LR's are close to perfection as anyone has gotten. Nicely done!

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