Pioneer vs Rockford Fosgate – Detailed Comparison

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Pioneer and Rockford Fosgate are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars,  subwoofers and amplifiers. 

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.

Rockford Fosgate Quick History

Jim Fosgate founded Rockford Fosgate in 1973 in his garage in Arizona, USA. The PR-7000 amplifier was introduced the same year. Rockford Fosgate sold its electronics under the Punch and Punch POWER brand name.

Camelback Capital Corporation purchased the company in 1980 and renamed it Rockford Corporation. Robert Pothier of Camelback Capital became president of the company in 1982. Rockford Fosgate is currently well known for pioneering car audio devices – car amplifiers and car speakers.

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.

Rockford Fosgate Sound Quality

Rockford Fosgate car audio devices are high quality and are normally of average price. The RF is louder, clearer, and has good bass. They are widely renowned as one of the best car audio brands on the market, providing drivers that produce high-quality sound.

Rockford Fosgate is a popular choice for persons who want to upgrade their sound systems. If you get a Rockford Fosgate amplifier, be aware that you will need to dish out more money for quality subwoofers and plan accordingly.

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.

Rockford Fosgate Features

Here are the features of the various products:

Car speakers

  • Polypropylene woofer cone with rubber surround
  • Power range from 2 to 45 watts RMS
  • Certified energy-auditor compliant
  • Frequency response of 48 to 22 kHz

Amplifiers

  • Punch EQ that adds a Bass Boost up to +18 dB at 45 Hz
  • Compact
  • Heat efficient

Tweeters

  • Built-in phase plug
  • Frequency response between 4 – 22 kHz

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.

Rockford Fosgate Build Quality

The bass speakers and woofers are built of die-cast, vented aluminum, or stamped steel frames. The cones are reinforced with Kevlar fibers to reduce cone distortion and piston flex.

The coax models or Prime Series car speakers are built in 5.25, 6.5, and 9-inch sizes using stamped steel frames and polypropylene cones.

The Punch Series is made of a rubber butyl surround that increases cone area and adds to the speaker’s efficiency.

The Punch Loaded enclosures are constructed of medium-density fiberboards and covered in industrial-grade carpet and offer the flexibility of vertical and horizontal mounting options.

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.

Rockford Fosgate Ease Of Use

Rockford Fosgate makes car audio equipment that are relatively easy to use. Besides, they come with user manuals for ease of setup. The amps also come with remote control systems to help you navigate easily and enjoy music even from the backseat.

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

Rockford Fosgate Cost

Rockford Fosgate products are generally average priced:

Tweeters: $20 – $50

Speakers: $50 – $100

Amplifiers: $200 – $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.

Rockford Fosgate Space Requirements

Tweeters and speakers are built in small sizes that easily fit in car spaces, with speaker sizes ranging between 10 to 15 inches.

The Fosgate tweeters are 0.75 inches, making them easily mountable on dashboards, pillars, or kick panels. The amplifiers, on the other hand, are equally built on smaller chassis and can be easily installed underneath car seats.

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.

Rockford Fosgate Remote Controls

Rockford Fosgate car amplifiers come with easy-to-use remote controls to help you easily navigate between features. This makes the amps much easier to use.

Connectivity Options

Pioneer Connectivity Options

Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most Pioneer speakers:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Rockford Fosgate Connectivity Options

The products support various connectivity options including:

  • RCA
  • Speaker level inputs
  • Bluetooth

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.

Rockford Fosgate Power Range

Rockford Fosgate manufactured a wide range of speakers with a wide power range. You will get speakers with as low as 20 watts RMS and as high as 350 watts RMS.

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.

Rockford Fosgate Frequency Response

Rockford Fosgate tweeters have a frequency response range of 4 to 22 kHz. The speakers respond well within a frequency range of 48 hertz to 22 kilohertz.

Component bass speakers deliver between 20 to 100 hertz, while mid-bass models deliver between 100 to 250 hertz.

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. Rockford Fosgate is generally high-quality and average-priced. Besides, the amps are very powerful. You may need to pay more to get a matching subwoofer! They are therefore a good pick for upgrading your audio system.

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