6.5" Premium Bookshelf Speakers by Sound Appeal
The Sound Appeal/AV-Express marketing department has been spitting mad hate at other speakers, saying that they have something that beats out all of the budget players including the venerable Micca MB42x and Pioneer BS-22's.
Let's see what they are selling and how they perform.
I disassemble the speakers I review after my listening notes are done, but I find that putting the guts of the speakers at the front of the review gives you the reader additional perspective.
This tweeter is a silk dome unit. It looks alright, but the marketing material says it's a 1 inch unit.. this is not one inch, it's 3/4 inch.
The tweter's bezel is metal, something you normally don't see at this price, and the magnet is larger than the fly weight tweeters I'm used to.
Anyone old enough to remember the IMPP subwoofers from Pioneer, or the SM series from Infinity back in the early 90's will enjoy the look of these. Injection molded polypropylene is an interesting cone surface, that has the potential to sound pretty good. The surround is butyl rubber and seems to do the job.
The woofer shows a small magnet and not much in the way of x-max capabilities.
This cabinet looks nice enough, but seems to be out of worse material than any other speaker I've reviewed. The foam that is supposed to line the walls was just thrown into the box, no glue or anything and ended up just flapping around the bottom of the box. The marketing material says the walls of the cabinet are 1/2 inch, but it's not. It's 3/8's. This is strike two for dishonesty for those keeping track.
This is not the crossover I was promised. This is a 12db/octave filter on the tweeter while the woofer runs full range. This is not a "crossover" as only one of the drivers is being filtered, and there is no crossover point.
Let's take a second to check the marketing material:
The delicately tuned 12dB/octave crossover is matched to the performance of the woofer and tweeters capabilities. The smooth roll off ensures the woofer is never producing tones not within its optimal operating range, ensuring that the bass and upper mid range frequencies are true and not muddy.
They are riding a very thin edge here, with the "smooth roll off of the woofer" maybe implying that the woofer is running full range.
The delicate transfer to the tweeter creates an unnoticeable transition of the upper frequencies via high quality capacitors and coils often found in much more expensive speakers.
The "high quality" parts here are anything but. The cap is electrolytic and the coil looks like a 5 cent part from the bin.
This is strike three. At this point in the review if you care at all about dealing with an honest company you should just mark Sound Appeal and AV Express off as a company to never give your business. For those of you who don't really give a shit, and just want to know how they sound I'll continue.
This trumps the Pioneer BS-21's metal monster as the worst grill I've ever seen. Not only does it cover up half of the tweeter with solid plastic, it also took a claw hammer to pull them off of the speakers. I have never had that feeling that I was going to crush a speaker trying to get the grill off until now.
This port is on the front, it's also a slot. While it looks better than many other options, fuck these liars and their branded fucking port.
Push tab terminals.. I honestly don't have a problem with these as long as they work. These worked half of the time only needing to be readjusted once in my review process. It's definitely a cheap part, so it may break if you try to cram a banana plug into the hole. Also, fuck Sound Appeal and be sure to never do business with them.
Up on stands, tweeters slightly above ear level worked best. The grills are a sonic abomination, so after much pulling and prying they were immediately set aside.
I've got these pulled out from the wall about a foot, and they hang out almost entirely in front of my monitor.
The Sound Appeal's, which are made by a dishonest company, are being powered by an old Onkyo HT-R520 I picked up for $40 at a yard sale which is also doing digital to analog conversion via an optical cable that runs from my computer. Music was a mix of Spotify premium 320kbps streams and FLAC files made up of what used to be my CD collection.
Tone is boomy and sparkly.
I can hear distortion from the tweeter, it's crackling along with the music, I check the push tab terminals to make sure the connection is good and it does not help.
Vocals are recessed, as in it's really hard to hear over the boomy mess the speaker is making out of the lower midrange.
The distortion from the highs are giving me a headache.
There is no deep bass. I'm hearing 60Hz, but it's not as much as it should be, and below that there is not much going on.
If I move around the sound changes drastically. Overall these don't sound that bad tonally, but they sound wrong everywhere.
I'm not hearing any obvious cone breakup unless it's that distortion sound, but it would have to be very high.
The top line is the on tweeter axis response, the lower blue line is an average of 12 off axis measurements which will give you a better idea of how the sound works in a speaker that has cancelation issues and has been marketed by a group of con artists. The claimed frequency response is 47Hz-20kHz at -3db. Using the best case of my measurements I'm showing 97Hz-17kHz as the -3dB points.
These speakers have such drastic cancelation and random frequency response issues that I am unable to do anything with them at all using DSP.
As a consumer I am pissed at the complete lack of honesty from this Sound Appeal/AV-Express. I'm used to companies fudging the frequency response, and maybe even bullshitting the woofer size a bit.
Sound Appeal/AV-Express got the tweeter, the wall thickness of the cabinet, and the crossover design intentionally wrong in the sales material.
Not only that, they then proceeded to promote the speaker as if it's better than other speakers that actually do what they claim.
AV-Express even went as far as publishing obvious bullshit measurements of it's speaker(on the best possible axis) and other speakers(on the worse possible axis) to try and fool even the well informed consumer.
Hopefully this review will save a few people the trouble of dealing with this company.
Check out the system finder to see what I recommend.
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