Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: Passive, 3-way, back ported
Continuous power handling: 30 W*
Peak power handling: 100 W
Impedance: 6 ohms
Sensitivity: 87 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 53 – 50k Hz
Unit weight: 10 lbs
Unit dimensions: 7 x 9 x 13 inches (width x depth x height)
Warranty: 2 years
*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
Sony’s SSCS5 budget bookshelf speakers have a unique 3-way design – instead of a built in subwoofer, which is what we’d normally expect, the speaker actually features two tweeters with dedicated crossovers. The upper so called “super” tweeter gives the speaker an extremely high response ceiling of 50k Hz, and is designed to work in tandem with the speakers compatibility with their proprietary Hi-Res audio codec.
It sounds neat, but, the problem is that the human ear can only detect frequencies up to 20k Hz, on average. In our opinion, a 3-way design with bookshelf speakers is much better to dedicate to a subwoofer to fill in the bass that usually lacks with 2-way bookshelf speakers. Instead they have a 53 Hz response floor, which is decent but not stellar, so like most bookshelf speakers these are probably best suited to be in tandem with a subwoofer.
The SSCS5’s 30 W (approximate) operating power with an 87 sensitivity rating is fairly low for passive bookshelf speakers. This isn’t necessarily bad, but we’d say these are best suited for near-field listening, and might fall short in a full fledged home theater system. But because they’re passive they’ll need a receiver for power, so they won’t work if you’re looking for computer/desktop speakers that will just plug in and play.
The design is pretty boilerplate – grain vinyl finish with a foam grill that covers the drivers, which you can choose to remove. The speakers are a bit large and bulky, but that’s to be expected with a 3-way speaker that houses more components. Sony has a 2 year warranty for its passive speakers, which is OK but not top of the line – other companies will offer 5 years of coverage on passive speakers.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
On paper, there are better and more powerful speakers available for the same price. However, the unique design and proprietary audio codec has led to many users raving about how great these speakers sound for playing music. If you’re looking for HiFi near-field speakers and pairing them to a receiver isn’t an issue, then these are definitely worth consideration, especially if you can snag them at a discount which we’ve seen them go for recently.
If you’re looking for something that’s powerful enough for a home theater system we’d recommend the Klipsch r-15m for starters (reviewed here), which are multiples more powerful and around the same price.
If you’re looking for something that can just plug in and play, Edifier makes a wide variety of great and well priced powered bookshelf speakers, no receiver required.
If you’re looking for a 3 way speaker that is really designed to be standalone and not need a subwoofer, we recommend the Yamaha NS-6490 (reviewed here), which features a full sized 8 inch subwoofer built into the unit.
Our current picks for the overall best budget bookshelf speakers