Despite being one of the largest electronics companies in the world, Sony isn’t all that well known for having made stellar speakers. In recent years though they’ve come out with a few very HiFi products, but they cost well within the five figures. Not exactly in most people’s budget. The SS-CS3s, released circa 2014, were thus a nice surprise: really decent tower speakers at a very affordable price.
Speaker type: passive, 3 way
Nominal power handling: 43 watts (approximated*)
Peak power handling: 145 watts
Impedance: 6 ohms
Sensitivity: 88 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 45 – 50,000 Hz (+/- 3dB)
Unit weight: 25 lbs
Unit dimensions: 10.25 x 9.1 x 36.3 inches (depth x width x height)
Warranty: 2 years (does apply to purchase from Amazon.com)
User manual: click here
*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.
Review and Discussion
It’s always great to see an additional company throw a hat into the ring, as more variety and competition generally leads to better products all around, and the SS-CS3s are certainly a viable competitor in the niche of budget-tier tower speakers.
The first thing that jumps out about these is the absurdly high frequency response ceiling of 50 kHz. Most loudspeakers rarely go above half that. It’s the result of an interesting 3 way design that features two tweeters, per their proprietary High-Resolution Audio. We’re not sure if we buy that it will noticeably improve the highs, as the human ear can only detect up to ~ 20 kHz.
The power specs are decent for the price and these should comfortable fill a small to medium sized room. With a 45 Hz response floor and no subwoofer built in, those who would use these mainly for music might benefit from a separate subwoofer. This is usually the case for budget-tier floorstanding speakers.
How do they look? Eh, pretty plain? There are flashier looking tower speakers out there with distinct designs if that’s something you care about. 25 pounds a unit isn’t too bad for set-up, the entirety of which is pretty much just carrying them to the right spot.
The one thing we don’t like is that the cones are exposed. That’s not bad per say, but most tower speakers come with at least a full frontal grill-foam cover. Sometimes you want that in case a guest inadvertently or rudely pokes at a cone, which can definitely damage a speaker.
Sony offers a two year warranty on their home-theater speakers, which is about average for this price-tier.
These are perfectly decent speakers, and plenty of people like them. However, we’re inclined to favor similarly priced speakers that either boast more power or better bass, especially if that means not having to purchase an additional subwoofer, and we do think people who are looking at these are counting their dollars. The “High Res Audio” with two tweeters might make the mid/highs sound better as claimed? Maybe? But, well… that might remain unavoidably subjective.
See our current picks for the overall best budget tower speakers