Pioneer HPM 100 Speaker Review, Specs and Price

Pioneer HPM 100 Speaker Review
Pioneer HPM 100

Pioneer´s HPM Speaker Series
The Pioneer HPM 100 is, similar to the bigger HPM 150 one of the more popular classic vintage speakers. The HPM 100 is the standard variation of its series, with less expensive versions available, such as the HPM 60 or 40. The speaker, despite being produced for only three years from 1976 to 79 is still widely available and frequently in surprisingly good shape.

The HPM-100
The speaker is a 4-way bass-reflex system. It uses the same “High Polymer Molecular” supertweeter technology, as all speakers of the HPM series. Frequently, new owners of used HPM series´ speakers will test the supertweeter and come to the conclusion that they are not working, as they don´t seem to produce sounds. However, in most cases they work! If you encounter similar issues or are wondering why you cannot hear your supertweeters, check audiokarma.org or click here . In most cases they work just fine, but the high frequency they do cover can hardly be heard by the human ear.

To cover the midrange it uses a 4 inch cone with a bigger sized magnet. The HPM 100´s woofer is 12 inch carbon fiber cone. Using carbon fiber as a cone material was new at the time and considered a breakthrough in speaker technology. The woofer size of the HPM 100 can cause difficulties as it refers to the actual cone size. Therefore it does not fit into common 12 inch enclosures. Instead the diameter of the woofer is closer to 13 inches.
Reviewing the quality of the HPM 100, it has to be said that it is did not come close to the bigger HPM 150. They are overall decent household speakers, but have weaknesses in producing depths and a smooth soundstage. It is commonly claimed that the speakers have a coherency problem, which caused the drivers to not work smoothly with each other, which could however be attributed to “wrong” gear. An interesting discussion and collection of critiques can be viewed here.
The value for a pair of decent HPM 100 does usually not exceed $700. It is possible to find a pair for about $300 to $600 with a bit of luck. In most cases the price will be around $500, if the cabinets and drivers are in good shape.

Pioneer HPM 100 Price: $400-700
(Depending on overall condition)

 Pioneer HPM-100 Service Manual Link to Service Manual at audiokarma.org

26 comments

  1. The pricing estimate on these is extremely low. Your upper end price is not the very bottom of the scale for these. I would say pricing is 350 – 800 now depending on condition.

  2. Thanks for your comment, I increased the suggested prices. The article was published in 2012 and based on my experience with 2 pairs of HPM 100s I acquired in 2008/10. I agree with what you say. It is interesting to see how the prices of old equipment continuously increases year by year. I had to update some price estimates of Acoustic Research speakers multiple times within the past 3 years.

  3. Other flaws you didn't mention of the HP-100. The crossovers are crude and barely do much at all. As a result the drivers overlap in their response a great deal. In addition the mids are crossed over very high at treble frequencies, the thing is not a mid but more like a 5 inch tweeter. Because of the primitive crossover there is also no high filter on the mid driver and it operates well into it's breakup zone. You get a nice juicy peak at 5.2 kHz and loads of ringing and stored energy thanks to the resonant dust cap that buzzes like a ping pong ball. The woofer runs straight out to about 3 to 4 kHz and it covers midrange frequencies you'd expect to be emanating from the 5 inch midrange but doesn't. The woofer sounds reticent at mid frequencies and cardboard in the upper bass. Overall response of the speaker is not smooth and is marred by stored energy at many frequencies. Sound staging and sense of depth is almost non-existent. Worst of all is the standing distortion is so high that it produces listener fatigue in short order. For me all it took was a few hours and I knew I had to get rid of them. They do offer wide dynamic range, wide frequency response and wide dispersion so they are not bad as party speakers. But for critical listening? Yecchh, I'll never understand the unwarranted hype the HPM 100 gets, don't people have ears to hear with? can't they hear all the ringing and store energy? It's measurable and it's audible.

  4. I would agree based on powering with a modern cheap receiver in a bad listening room. After treating my room with the necessary sound absorbers and such, and driving with a 1977 refurbished receiver, I now love them. No fatigue! Smooth musical bass, clear mids, pleasant highs, wide stage (maybe not as deep as could be) what's not to like? I guess my old ears a too easily entertained.

  5. I do know what Joe Bigliogo is talking about, with enough watts it's plain to pick up, my "Liquid Cooled Acoustic Monitor DBIV Speakers" are much better with more power, the HPM"s sound better with 150 watts or so, put 600 watts to the DBIV"s & rattle my neighbors false teeth,,, in his mouth, so he told the police lol!!! But I love my HPM 100's, I've had them since 76 or 77 in the Army in Germany, they still blast!!!

  6. There are two versions of the HPM-100. The HPM-100B is the 200-watt version, and you can distinguish it by the ring around the woofer port. The 100-watt version is the HPM-100A, and it doesn't have the ring.

  7. Wow, I have to think you either had a bad pair or simply your tastes are completely out of whack with just about everyone I have come over and audition these classic speakers. Some of my YouTube hits have garnered over 40,000 views with nary a bad comment. What type of music do you listen to?

    https://youtu.be/hMiMa0GDZYU

    Check some of my other posts as well….

  8. Looking through the reviews on some speakers I’ve had, I saw this page. Talking with others (and reading these reviews), I often found the sound of HPM-100s tend to polarize listeners. Not having heard them since I was much younger, I was excited to get a mint pair from the original owner for a great price. IMO, they’re beautiful looking speakers, and at first, I thought they sounded quite good.

    Then I did an A-B comparison with my Marantz HD-880 speakers (which I felt to be a comparably-priced model) – and knew the HPMs wouldn’t be around for long.

    While comparable in the bass section, I found the HPMs to be far too forward in the mids and highs. The HD-880s seemed to disappear while delivering their sound, which I’d have to describe as uncolored. Back and forth, I kept arriving at this same conclusion, and my non-golden ears found the colored sound of the HPMs too fatiguing. Given their reputation, it didn’t take long to find a new home for them. Kind of sad, but knew it had to be.

    One listener’s opinion. Thanks for taking time to set up this site! Very interesting.

  9. Hi Joe, I had my HPM 100's for over a year. Tried to like them but couldn't. I was powering them with what I thought was a quality receiver, a Sony DA555ES. I recently acquired an old fashioned two channel 35 WPC Sherwood s2730cp receiver built in 1983. Connected it up to the Pioneers and I am stunned. The 100's blossomed. The home theater receivers of today are not designed for stereo sound and are simply not a good match for the Pioneer HPM 100. Listen to them with a good two channel receiver and I believe you will hear what I am saying.

  10. Hi Joe, I felt the same way about the HPM 100 as you until I switched from a home theater receiver, a Sony DA555ES, to an old style two channel Sherwood receiver, model S2730cp. A low end receiver from 1983. It completely transformed the 100's. They went from, "I can't listen to this over hyped speaker to true musical bliss. It is all about what is powering them and let it not be a home theater receiver.

  11. I have two sets of HPM 100As. The crossovers in tow of them have bit the dust. So I'm wondering what I should do to replace them or have them repaired or restored or upgraded. I've heard there are some good upgrades but don't know of anyone offering this service or is it a DIY project. Not sure I'm up to that. I love the sound of these speakers and have them hooked to a NAD7600 Receiver with a Yamaha EQ. The second set of speakers hooked to this system are DCM TimeFrame 600s which also sound good but different. I love the clean crisp sound of the HPMs with that smooth bottom end coming through the mix.

  12. got a pair of 100's I'd like to mount to the wall. No holes or drilling for me…all the large hangers I've found are to small and only 66lbs. Any ideas on a company or how to hang these to the wall? I believe they weigh 72 lbs.

  13. I have been able to get my hands on 4 pairs of these over the years and my problem has been I'm am a JBL fan boy. These are true Rock Speaker made to be driven by over distorted Guitars and booming drums if you play jazz or blues or classical then these might not be for you if you want something you can drive hard and loud then get a pair. I set up a pair for my daughters 21st birthday party with a Marantz 4270 in stereo mode only 70 watts per channel told her don't over drive them and put the stereo into distortion 1100 o'clock on the volume control MAX. I came outside after several hours and those damn kids had the volume control set at 3 o'clock I thought for sure some of the voice coils were going to be fried pulled the drivers put the ohm meter to them not one voice coil melted. She said everybody at her party thought she had hired a DJ Professional and she said they talked about that party for months to come and it was all because the kids now a days have never seen or heard real vintage gear we grew up with. A back story for these collectible speakers is Pioneer head hunted JBL designers of the L100 series. Those JBL speakers were so popular for the rock guys they hired the guys from JBL to design a new speaker for Pioneer to Kill off the popular JBL L100 speakers. The called them the JBL Killers thats why the carbon fiber woofers and those high frequency ribbon tweeters Iv'e been selling vintage gear for over 20 years and it has been a profitable hobby I'm in between Los Angeles And San Fransisco and have been able to sell almost all the Japanese gear from this era trust me these things are harder to find If you have an SX 1250 SX 1010 or a SX 1980 any silver face Pioneer you got to have a pair of these at lease connected to your B side of your speaker selector switch.

  14. I have gone from ESS AMT1's to Acoustat 2's which I have used for at least 15 years powered by a fully modified (Jim McShane mods)Citation 11 .Just recently I
    bought a pair of HPM 100's to check out and resell . Well I'm keeping them !

    BTW I have connected the Hi output to Some ESS Heil drivers and the bell type tones are improved .

  15. Hello, my HPM100 is represented with a pioneer sx1280 heavy receiver. The sound is phonomial, well balanced and the power from the receiver wakes these babies up. Try using a older pioneer SX series or Kenwood KR series receivers.

  16. Just saying: my hpm 100s still rock. Don't know what Joe has paired his with. Maybe he needs a good amp or DVR to fire them up.

  17. love mine I have big amps on them hifi dacs and cables check them out on my utube post tjmcdonald pioneer hpm 100s full review and back ground history

  18. Hello – I would be curious to hear from the author or anyone else regarding the rarer HPM-100 Plexiglass version. I have a pair of these in somewhat disheveled condition but would be curious what they might go for. These were apparently used as dealer promo models, so there weren't many made.

  19. Agreed. I've tried numerous newer model home theatre and surround receivers and honestly thought maybe my old "party beasts" were wrecked. Not so. I went shopping and obtained a match for my original SX 780 preamped receiver (mint condition, no less) and the beasts are back! My neighbors are not happy. Wait until I replace the turntable and break out my album collection..oh boy!

  20. In 1977 i was offered a good deal on the HPM's. A young woman approached me coming out of Rax, asking if i wanted to buy speakers. She lived next to Rax. I went upstairs with her to see them, (among other things) I bought them. At the time i had Klipsch La Sacala's and didn't need them. So i sold them to a friend. Forty three years later i purchased them back from my friend. I was so surprised. I loved the sound! They were so much like a pair of JBL L100. Clear, clean and uncolored. Yes i had to pair them with a good power amp (ESS series Eclipse 500A). I had to adjust EQ to my taste. I listened to Old rock, new pop, classic and even country, adjusting EQ for each. I'v owned many different high end speakers, but i must say these HMP 100's are super. What a pleasure to own! BTW, i'v never encountered a speaker that did not need some work with EQ. These 100's are now
    in my Studio Aux. room.

  21. The first time I heard a pair of minty HPM 100’s paired with a marantz vintage receiver, was the moment I fell in love with vintage gear.
    I scored a great pair on CL and found a marantz 2285b. Now, I’m satisfied. It plays anything I throw at it quite well. The walls shake and my neighbors come to my house for BBQ when they hear that baby fired up.

  22. I have a pair of the 200 watt versions. I got them for Christmas when I was 15. I am 55 and they are still cranking strong. I have them paired with another pair of JBL 4312c studio monitors. I push them with a nice,rebuilt Marantz 2230 receiver,a cheap Teac EQ,a old Panasonic direst drive turntable,and a old Denon CD player. The receiver is under powered for these speakers and I have blown up 2 previous receivers cranking these speakers. Now I don't run my Marantz past 12 or 1 o'clock. Not to loud,but enough to drive the speakers and give fidelity to die for. I don't what you guys dissing these speakers are doing or driving your system with,but EVERYONE who has heard my system said now they understand what good high fidelity is all about. No new system will hang with good vintage gear such as the HPM100's. Everyone has their own opinions of stereo gear. Also,just because you have a great system and have been listening to music for years does not mean you have a good ear. Good ears are developed just like any other skill. I play 5 different music instruments which have helped me develop a VERY sensitive ear. Listen to them yourself and form your own opinion. Not everyone has good ears to hear the benefits of high end stereo gear even if they claim to be an audiophile.

    1. Well said!! Have had my hpm100s and pioneer sx5580 since 76. Everyone that hears it has the same reaction. Damm!

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