I was not expecting much when I picked these up for review. I had read mostly positive opinions of the company over the years, but mostly associated with "budget" equipment for comparison. I decided to dive a little deeper and contact pinnacle via email and then by phone.
Pinnacle was formed in 1976 by Rich Rothenburg and his family. Operations at the time of the PN-60 were in Plainview, New York. The company has remained family owned to this day.
Pinnacle holds a patent on their bass port technology called "Diaduct Bass Accelerator Port tube", which is essentially a port angled in a cabinet to gain length. A longer port length given the same width can lower bass tuning in an enclosure, this becomes critical with smaller sized enclosures. I have heard many marketing claims over the years, some held true while others left a bad taste in my mouth. Pinnacle's port design, though not an engineering masterpiece seemed to make sense.
I set the PN-60's up on my reference stands in my smaller listening room 3 feet away from back and side walls. The speaker they replaced were the B&W DM602s. What a change in sound! The first thing I noticed was clarity. The Pinnacles produced the entire spectrum with better resolution and detail than the B&W's. The bass was tighter and deeper, instruments were fleshed out in the soundstage, and overall sound was far more realistic. The treble is where the PN60's were the most impressive. Cymbals, brass instruments, and the leading edge of the music was defined in a highly detailed way without being harsh or artificial sounding. Being a drummer I noticed the excellent cymbal reproduction immediately. As I listened more and more I tried different types of music. Tool's Lateralus sounded excellent on the PN-60's. Danny Carey on the drums sounded powerful, immediate, and visceral as he should. Well recorded live jazz was also a treat to listen to. Brass had bite and air that any speaker near this price shouldn't. The Seas of Norway sourced aluminum dome tweeter along with a well thought out crossover design definitely contributed to what I was hearing in the high end.
Focusing more attention on bass performance, I switched back and forth with my reference small speakers from Dynaudio, the Contour SE's. The difference was not night and day but was still noticeable on every track played. The Pinnacle's measured in-room -3dB was 40Hz with useable output to about 33Hz, very impressive for a 6.5" driver. The difference was in accuracy and speed. The Dynaudio's could play a double bass drum at very high listening levels with no breakup or smearing of sound, whereas the Pinnacle's could not. Of course, the Dynaudio Contour SE is the only stand mount speaker I have decided to hold onto for years with so many others passing through, and the price of a used set will run around $1700-$2200, the Pinnacle's typically run between $50-$200. The difference in sound is far smaller than the difference in price. Moving the B&W's back in really showed just how good the Pinnacle's were in the bass department. The B&W's bass response was muddy and soft while the PN-60's were tight and focused. I found myself having to listen much harder to keep track of bass instruments with the B&W's. Soundstage presence and imaging were first rate with the Pinnacle's, leaving little to be desired and besting all but a handful of speakers I have heard under $1000/pair.
I really enjoyed my time with the Pinnacle's. These are probably the best value in speakers I have heard. I give these my highest recommendations for someone looking for speakers under $500-$700 range. They do not have the fit and finish of a Sonus Faber or the brand appeal of B&W but they are very close in sound to those brands $1500+ speakers. The Matrix 805 is only slightly better than these, mainly in midrange detail and high level dynamics. Keep an eye on Ebay for these, then save your money for a better source, amplification, or family vacation.
Build Quality, Fit & Finish: 6/10
Sound Stage Depth: 7/10
Sound Stage Width: 8.2/10
Bass Accuracy within Speakers Low Frequency -3dB point: 8/10
Midrange Accuracy: 7/10
Treble Accuracy: 8.6/10
Percussion Disc Dynamic Test: 7.5/10
Ease of Use: 10/10
Associated Equipment: Benchmark Dac1, VPI Scout 1.1 Turntable w/Soundsmith Zephyr Cartridge, McCormack DNA 1 Deluxe Power Amplifier, McCormack RLD-1 Pre-amp, Blue jean Cables, Nordost Blue-Heaven Cables, Dynaudio Contour SE, B&W DM602s3, B&W Matrix 805.