Sound in Three Dimensions

Pioneer Dolby Atmos-Enabled Elite Speakers

November 17, 2014 GP100 By

Dolby Atmos is the biggest advancement in movie sound since Dolby Stereo first wowed Star Wars audiences in 1977. Like almost every leap forward in the theater industry, it’s all about doing more with more. Years of focus on additional dimensions, pixels and inches have enhanced the visual impact of cinema experiences. Atmos does the same for sound. It exponentially expands the number of distinct audio channels and speakers available to movie audio engineers, allowing them to mimic our real-world listening experiences better than ever before. Pioneer isn’t the only brand to introduce Atmos equipment for the home this year, but its new Elite Speakers stand out for replicating the technology’s immersive qualities without needing the additional ceiling-mounted speakers used in Atmos theaters.

pioneer-speakers-gear-patrol-right Breaking the mold is nothing new for Pioneer and TAD’s chief engineer Andrew Jones. He’s become a legend in his field; he designed everything from the $45,000+ TAD Model-1 to Pioneer’s award-winning set of six home theater speakers that retailed for less than $400. His latest innovation comes in the form of a 4-inch coherent source transducer (CST) driver placed atop the SP-EBS73-LR bookshelf and SP-EFS73 tower models. The extra driver, complete with a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter in the center, is designed to bounce select frequencies above 180hz off of the ceiling based on the room height specifications provided by users during the setup process. The result is a true 5.4.1 system that simulates the experience of hearing sounds from above with no additional footprint.

As the first cabinet speakers to bear Pioneer’s “Elite” branding in nearly a decade, the $3,140 set is far more expensive than Jones’s entry-level home theater speakers, yet still on par with plenty of systems that lack such bleeding-edge chops. More importantly, rather than seize a golden opportunity to convince us we need more speakers than ever before, Jones has challenged the industry to make more from less.


SP-EFS73 Tower
Maximum Power Input: 140W
Frequency Range: 38Hz to 20Khz
Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms
Sensitivity: 86 dB
Weight: 35.3 pounds

SP-EFS73 Bookshelf
Maximum Power Input: 140W
Frequency Range: 50Hz to 20Khz
Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Weight: 15.7 pounds

Ben Bowers

Ben Bowers is the chief content officer and co-founder of Gear Patrol.

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