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Pioneer vs Kicker – Detailed Comparison

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Pioneer and Kicker are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars,  subwoofers and amplifiers. Kicker also produces car audio products.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Pioneer Quick History

Pioneer is a Japanese company whose full name is actually Paionia Kabushiki-gaisha. It was started in 1938 by Bozomu Matsumoto. The company started as a speaker, radio, and other audio equipment repair shop.

Since the company started, it has been a big part of making sound systems for homes, businesses, and other personal uses, like car stereos. Pioneer was the first company to develop a dynamic speaker (named Pioneer A-8) made of original parts for domestic use.

The Pioneer brand is the manufacturer of some of the major audio equipment today. This includes the first dynamic speaker for the home, which was also the first Hi-Fi speaker.

Another example includes the first professional LD player, which also became the foundation of today’s Blu-ray disc and DVD players.

Kicker Quick History

Kicker, an American audio company, headquartered in Stillwater, Oklahoma, was founded in 1973. Many companies have tried to copy their square solo-baric L5 & L7 subwoofer over time but in vain. The Kicker is well known for making some of the most reliable and powerful amplifiers in the car audio industry.

The company boasts an excellent quality line of the full range and component speakers. Besides, they recently developed other home audio products such as Zune Dock and headphones.

Kicker traces its origin back to 1973. The company started as a two-person operation focusing on hand-building professional sound and musical instrument speaker systems. The company majorly manufactured products for churches, entertainment and auditoriums.

In 1980, Kicker Performance Audio built the high-performance stereo enclosure market. This was when Steve Irby – the founder and president of the company, developed the Original KICKER – the Original KICKER being the first full-range speaker box constructed mainly for automotive use.

Kicker introduced its first Kicker Solo-Baric subwoofer in 1992 and the first Kicker Solo-Baric L7 square subwoofer in 2000 It continues to release more audio products with increased innovation and training and skills development.

Sound Quality

Pioneer Sound Quality

To be fair, Pioneer home sound systems are only good as entry-level audio equipment. Although they provide a decent listening experience, they are best for non-demanding listeners.

However, in terms of car speakers, Pioneer speakers offer a quality that is convincingly worth every penny. The sound calibration on most Pioneer receivers (like the one on the Pioneer VSX-932) makes the sound more personalized.

The Technical Audio Devices (TAD) from Pioneer were produced in 1975 with the view of delivering high-end professional audio delivery. But, it has continued to deliver quality sound and can be found in most professional speaker brands.

Pioneer has also partnered with the amazing Gary Stewart Audio to deliver some of the best-sounding club speakers that keep the party going.

Kicker Sound Quality

Kicker produces excellent sound quality, though at a little higher cost. If you compare some of the best subwoofers from other brands with Kicker products in the same category, Kicker outsmarts many. The company continues to produce concert-like audio quality across a wide range with accurate sound and renowned bass.

Take Kicker 12” 800 Wall Comp VR, for instance. This is a cheaper product, easy to install, and delivers plenty of punch. With an RMS power of 400 Watts and peak power of 800 Watts, this subwoofer from Kicker can handle any music.

It has a higher sensitivity, good power handling capacity, and superior audio quality. It is, however, not quite as nuanced as a high-end subwoofer.

Therefore, although you might notice some sound distortion on some kicker speakers, it is generally a result of some external interference. Kicker speakers produce typically good quality sound, and the bass is ultra-clean.

Features

Pioneer Features

For many good reasons, the Pioneer brand has been more popular in ‌car stereos and entertainment.

This is because of the continued research, development, and improvement of its features. Some of the major features of the Pioneer car audio system include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Streaming features
  • Touch screen
  • Built-in navigation
  • Real-time traffic

But most of these features are also found on other Pioneer devices, with only minor changes to make them work better for this one.

The other features that are common to other Pioneer devices include Dynamic leveling, digital inputs, HDMI with ARC, Dolby Atmos, and DTS: X for a rich and immersive audio experience, and other features for ease of use.

Kicker Features

Kicker speakers feature suitable power handling devices that make them more likable. The car speakers especially come with average superior audio quality with superior low-end accuracy.

Whether you choose to listen to Kicker at its high volume frequencies or mid-level settings, the sound quality delivery and performance are always on top of its performance.

Let’s look at the Kicker CSC65 CS Series 6.5-inch performance features.

  • 200 Watts RMS Power per 2 pairs
  • 300 Watts Max per speaker
  • 5-inch 4-ohm 2-way car coaxial audio speakers
  • Polypropylene cone to protect against heat and sunlight
  • EVC technology for improved woofer performance
  • 5 inch PEI dome tweeters

Build Quality

Pioneer Build Quality

Pioneer products have a good build quality. This includes the use of aluminum panels and an excellent finish to protect them for a long time.

Even beyond the physical build, Pioneer audio devices have improved a lot on the components, which has improved their reliability over the years.

However, the fact that Pioneer makes different devices is a factor that cannot go without mentioning. While Pioneer AV receivers and car stereos are known for their powerful build quality, some of the other products from the brand are not so durable.

Kicker Build Quality

Kicker speakers boast very good design and build quality.

NEW KICKER 43DSC69304

For instance, the Kicker CompQ subwoofer has a more solid build with a sleek appearance that reflects its outstanding build quality.

Ease of Use

Pioneer Ease Of Use

One of the major features that make most Pioneer devices easy to use is the ability to connect to other devices easily.

This is clear in the car audio system, where they offer different levels of the device without making it hard to use. This includes everything from the touch screen on more expensive car stereos to the easy-to-use menu button on cheaper ones.

 Beyond the car stereos by Pioneer, their home theaters are extremely easy to use. It offers different setting options and sound changes that give it a more customized output.

But you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to use these because everything is marked and there are manuals to help.

Kicker Ease Of Use

Kicker engineers put more effort into researching and developing skills to ensure their audio products are manufactured with the highest precision.

They understand that the speakers, for instance, are an excellent way to deliver sound quality for various uses by multiple users.

Therefore, the kicker speakers are built in a manner that makes them easy to use both at home and in the office. They produce excellent sound quality and will fit any form of use. Here are the benefits of using kicker speakers:

  • Usable on a wide range of applications
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent customer service just in case you face any issue with any kicker products

Cost

Pioneer Cost

Denon products are distributed between low-cost, average-cost, and high-cost devices. They have some of the best products at a low price as well as elite high-end devices.

However, when the chips are down and we compare the device with an equal device from other popular brands, you might realize you get the best value for your money.

Here are some price ranges for different devices from Pioneer:

Stereos: $100 – $500

AV Receivers: $250 – $1500

Soundbars: $250 – $800

Speakers: $100 – $800

Headphones: $50 – $400

Kicker Cost

The average costs of Kicker products are: 

Speakers: $10 – $1000

Amplifiers: $40 – $1000

Subwoofers: $40 – $1000

Space Requirements

Pioneer Space Requirements

Pioneer audio devices vary from size to size, but Pioneer AV Receivers are known for having a bulky build. This factor makes space consideration a serious business when considering a Pioneer AV receiver.

AV receivers are made to last for a long time, but if they get too hot often, they may break down sooner than expected.

Different devices will always require different amounts of space to function properly. This is because the space will depend not only on the size of the device but also on the amount of ventilation it can provide.

The home theater is another Pioneer product that might need special attention when it comes to space. Pioneer home theaters are quite tall and require as much space as possible.

Kicker Space Requirements

Kicker has perfectly developed three new ultra-thin, down-firing enclosures known as TRTP-Series. You can purchase the enclosures both in-store and online.

They also come with a single 2-ohm terminal available in 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch models. The famous KICKER CompRT thin subwoofer alongside the reflex passive radiator permits bass upgrade without increasing the depth.

These kicker enclosures are barely five inches high and can fit anywhere from behind the pickup seat to behind the back cargo area of a hatchback. Also, the down-firing design makes it possible to include them in tight spaces and still be able to deliver peak performance.

Therefore, these and other kicker products are designed to fit in small spaces while still ensuring their performance is optimized for a better sound experience.

Remote Controls

Pioneer Remote Controls

Most Pioneer devices come with a remote control that makes it easier to operate across the room. This remote can also be easily replaced by getting another one from the popular audio store in case of damage or loss.

Pioneer also has a digital remote control app that can be downloaded from your app store. However, to use the remote control app, the device must be compatible with it and they have to be connected to the same wireless network.

Kicker Remote Controls

Wireless remote control is a crucial feature of many audio products today. Kicker makes its products user-friendly by including remote control systems for hands-free management of your entertainment equipment.

Kicker KMLC remote control for Kicker LED marine speakers and subs is a special hands-free control system compatible with kicker TVs and allows quick toggling between programs without changing your sitting positions.

Connectivity Options

Pioneer Connectivity Options

Klipsch devices have several connectivity options including both wired and wireless choices. These include Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, HDMI, USB Audio and Analog/AUX, and so on.

This allows you to connect your Klipsch speaker to a lot of different devices such as phones, personal computer, TV or used as part of a system of other speakers. The support for voice assistants also allows quick WiFi connection for several different speakers.

Kicker Connectivity Options

Kicker products are built with the changing technology in mind. They, therefore, accept a wide range of connectivity options.

Most Kicker speakers, for instance, will be able to connect to other Bluetooth speakers within their Bluetooth range. Below are some of the main connectivity options you can use with Kicker:

  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Wi-Fi
  • HDMI
  • RCA

Power Range

Pioneer Power Range

Most Pioneer products are power efficient, i.e., they deliver the best audio quality with minimum power consumption. For example, the mid-range Pioneer elite VSX-LX303 AV receiver is rated at 100 watts per channel.

Kicker Power Range

Speakers: Up to 480 watts peak power

Subwoofer: Up to 1800 watts peak power

Amplifiers: Up to 5000 watts peak power

Frequency Response

Pioneer Frequency Response

Most Pioneer sound systems have smooth frequency responses and a rich sound output that lets them send out sound in a wide area. For example, the frequency response for Pioneer TS series speakers is something around 34Hz to 42Hz.

However, the frequency response differs according to each device, which means you might have to check the user manual for each device to understand its frequency response.

Kicker Frequency Response

The frequency response of Kicker products is essentially wider. For instance, the Kicker 11 KB600W speaker works perfectly well within a frequency range of between 55 Hz to 21 kHz. However, some of the products have much narrower frequency ranges.

For instance, the Kicker 11HS8 Hideaway is built to operate within a frequency range of 25 – 150 Hz with a bass boost of 6+db at 40 Hz.

Conclusion

Pioneer products cut across audio equipment for home, professional, and car use. However, they are more popular for the production of car stereos that are affordable, easy to use, and meet industry standards. If you need an audio device that’s well-affordable and with good build quality, you might consider Pioneer devices. However, you might have to overlook the sound quality a little bit. Kicker excels in many ways from build quality to sound quality. For instance, the speakers deliver very clear highs. It is, therefore, a very good option if you are considering upgrading your sound system.

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