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Pioneer vs Sony – Detailed Comparison

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Pioneer and Sony are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars,  and ssubwoofers.

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.

Sony Quick History

Sony Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of consumer electronics products incorporated in 1946 by Ibuka Masaru and Morita Akio as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation.

Before this, Ibuka had used his Japanese Precision Instruments Company to supply electronic devices during World War II. He met Morita while they worked for the Imperial Japanese Army as engineers designing heat-seeking missiles during World War II.

In 1952, Ibuka made efforts to license the transistor from Bell Laboratories in the US before Morita signed a deal with Western Electric there the following year. The agreement led to the production of the Totsuko’s transistor radios, the Sony’s TR-63, in 1955. In 1958, Sony became the official company name.

The name was derived from the Latin word Sonus which stands for “sound.” Its pocket radios were the company’s most significant success and led to its international brand recognition.

In 1960, Sony Corporation of America was created with headquarters in New York City. Sony then introduced the MD-5, the first all-transistor desktop calculator, in 1964 during the New York World’s Fair, followed by the historic shipping of its first Trinitron color television in 1968.

Sony currently focuses on research and development (R&D), planning, designing, manufacturing, and marketing of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets.

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.

Sony Sound Quality

Sony products generally sound good. Compared to other competitors, Sony is a premium brand that takes a lot of time to research and develop its sound systems, making it one of the best-sounding audio products.

The soundbars are feature loaded, have great surround sound performance, and most of them support Dolby Atmos content. Sony is at the forefront of technology innovation, its sound-loving engineers work tirelessly to maintain the standard of its high-quality Hi-Fi speakers.

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.

Sony Features

Sony is known to manufacture high-quality products. Some of the key features of Sony speakers include:

  • Bluetooth speakers with prolonged battery life
  • Compact designs that make them easily fit in every home or office space
  • High-quality sound

Key features of Sony TVs include:

  • Good picture quality
  • New frame tweeter technology with sound-from-picture reality
  • Two-position stand
  • New Ambient Optimization
  • Hands-free capabilities such as remote control systems for easy management of TV programs
  • Easy connectivity
  • Compatibility with 4K 120fps

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.

Sony Build Quality

Sony was initially known for good-quality products. In fact, Sony originally maintained a high market price to compensate for the high build quality despite many customers saying they charged so high.

Most people say that Sony manufactures premium audio products with fantastic sound quality and build.

No company can handle a wide array of products like Sony while maintaining high quality. Sony leads in manufacturing cameras, audio, and mobile phones, among many other products. Besides, they offer a fantastic after-sales service.

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However, some people note that the build quality they get from Sony is generally bad. This is mainly from customers who buy the Sony cameras who say they have had a problem or two with their Sony cameras, and even after Sony fixed them, the situation became worse.

Therefore, whether Sony products are of good build or not remains an opinion whose outcome mainly depends on the type of product and the experience of individual users.

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.

Sony Ease Of Use

Some Sony products are not easy to use. For instance, getting Sony KDL-32EX650 to work is not very easy. Besides, setting up a wireless network takes a long time.

Also, setting up the Bravia KDL-40WD650 (Bravia is a Sony brand) is more complicated despite Sony 43XG7005 being the most intuitive and easy-to-use Sony TV with a quick and responsive menu.

The speakers are however easy to use with the Bluetooth ones easily connecting to your devices to provide on-the-go entertainment.

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

Sony Cost

The cost of some Sony products are listed below: 

Speakers: $40 – $4000

Receivers: $20 – $1000

Amplifier: $30 – $500

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.

Sony Space Requirements

Every person wants to maximize their small spaces. This is why every audio manufacturer puts more effort into researching to use versatile drivers that can deliver high efficiency while reducing the volume of materials used.

Sony products are generally constructed with a compact design and build. They take smaller spaces than other products and will perfectly fit into your small spaces whether you buy a smart TV or home theater system.

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.

Sony Remote Controls

Some people report that remotes for Sony KD-55XD8005 TVs, KD49X8309C, KD49XD8077 and KD-55X8508C, among other brands, have occasional problems. The issues are mainly that the remote controls become unresponsive occasionally and have to be troubleshot to continue working.

Sony remote controls are, however, generally excellent and responsive. However, where the remotes show problems, Sony offers quick customer support to ensure you continue using your remote control perfectly to enjoy your TV programs.

Connectivity Options

Pioneer Connectivity Options

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

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Sony Connectivity Options

When it comes to connectivity options, Sony is one of the most evolving brands in the market today. For instance, Sony Bravia (Bravia is a Sony brand) comes with a wide range of connectivity options, from USB to wireless connectivity channels.

Some of the connectivity options supported by different Sony products include:

    • RCA for older products
    • USB ports
    • HDMI ports for digital connectivity
  • Bluetooth
  • Composite video inputs
  • Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity

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.

Sony Power Range

Like many audio products in the market, Sony products work perfectly well with the conventional power range of 110 V – 240 V.

They have a shallow standby power consumption, and the TVs are built with a power-saving mode backlight on and off control to help minimize power consumption.

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.

Sony Frequency Response

Most Sony audio products deliver within the frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. This frequency range effectively supports a good delivery of audio outputs for both the Sony speakers, subwoofers, and even the Sony TVs.

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. On the other hand, Sony is good for playing jazz sound. The brand is versatile with numerous connectivity options and good build quality. Besides, there are products for all price ranges.

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