Five years ago I bought a pair of Sony B-3000 large 3 way bookshelfs with an 8 in, woofer for $75.00 on sale that my daughter now owns. Now for the price they were quite the rage and Sony was selling a lot of them. I mean, you hear these things and say, "How can I walk away from these nice speeks at this price!"
Well, back in 2010, Pioneer's Andrew Jones upped the ante with his curved-side line of speakers with a bookshelf, a center-channel and a small floorstanding models. Andy then reworked them with better drivers and crossovers and these too sold like hotcakes. My opinion of the upgraded model was, "They look great and sound good but where's the detail and depth I was accustomed to hearing with speakers like the original $200 Paradigm Titan?
Now, I'm always curious when a monster company like Sony or Pioneer kicks out a new series so I noticed last week online that Sony had a new line of budgets out and since they were in stock at my local store, I picked up a pair fo $219 + tax. I had also listened to the B&W 685's and the gloss rosewood Martin Logan Motion 10's in the Magnolia corner of the store just to update my recollection of the sound of these 2 speakers pairs in their demo room. The 'Motions' were clear and imaged really well but the B&W's just seemed too warm in the vocal range
What I liked about the old Sony B-3000's was that they did indeed sound balanced. So did the Andrew Jones'! I listen to a lot of live music and know what a piano and an acoustic guitar should sound like but for some reason the B&W 600's just sounded too warm in the critical midrange frequencies. Actually my Energy RC-10's also have a bit of midrange bloom but not as bad as the B&W's.
The Sony Core Series SSCS-5 bookshelves are a 3 way design with the bass port in the rear of the box. They are roughly 13 X 7 X 9 (HWD) with a frequency range of 53-50,000 Hz. Rated sensitivity is 87 db at 1watt/meter @ 6 Ohms, not the most efficient boxes you can find out there. Actually, like the Pioneer AJ's they like a little brawn from a receiver or amplifier. I have the Core 5's hooked up to an older Sony ES DA-555 that can handle difficult loads. I have them mounted on 24 in. metal stands on the long wall of my 16 X 11 daddy's den sized garden-style apartment living room. What Sony refers to as a midrange driver is actually a 1 inch dome supplemented by a 3/4 inch super tweeter. The foam woofer is 5 inches.
So, what are you getting for your 220 dollar pair? I'd say much more than can be expected. No 'disappearing speaker' tricks and a huge sweet-spot to wow your friends with. What you will get is a smooth, accurate sound, adequate bass, and midrange and a clear treble. In this case Sony gives you plenty of good sound for a budget price and a sound that doesn't sound budget in the least!