Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Aesthetically pleasing, balanced high quality sound
- Difficult setup, initially confusing touchscreen remote
As a receiver and speaker system, the LX70 performs fantastically. Setup is complicated, but it does excel in surround sound and digital decoding.
Price$ 3,499.00 (AUD)
Pioneer's HTP-LX70 home theatre system is designed to complement its range of KURO televisions and its Blu-ray players, specifically the BDP-LX70. The HTP-LX70 is a little fiddly to set up, but the sound quality makes it worth the hassle.
Unlike most conventional home theatre setups, the HTP-LX70 has its receiver and amplifier within the subwoofer housing. This means that the enclosure is quite large and, at 11 kilograms, is by far the system's heaviest component. The system has a contemporary, minimalist look, and both the subwoofer and satellite speakers are finished in piano black. There is also a small control unit that sits separate from the subwoofer. It has a smooth crystal fascia and a crisp LCD that is clear enough to be viewed from across the room.
A novel feature is the system's touchscreen remote control. It's large and heavy, requiring four AA batteries, but it is definitely a cooler option than a standard remote. The combination of regular buttons and touchscreen options can be confusing to operate at first, but with experience it became easy to manage.
Set up of the system was complicated and took some time to complete. Rather than following a conventional 5.1 setup with two rear, two front and one centre speaker, this package "virtually" creates the centre speaker's sound using two additional drivers placed on the side speakers. There isn't much difference in terms of sound but it does require some effort to work out how to best place these speakers.
Once they were properly arranged, we found that audio quality was startlingly good. The little satellite speakers were able to deliver exceptional clarity and the subwoofer gave the audio a lot of punch. Highs from the satellite speakers were even and measured, with no distortion to be heard even at painful volume levels.
Mid-range was another area where the HTP-LX70 held a surprise. Most home theatre systems with satellite speakers have a noticeable lack of mid-range sound reproduction, but this system's satellites were able to create a warm, rich sound. This definitely gives the system an edge in vocals and movie dialogue over competing units.
Bass was impressively well-controlled. It extended deeply and added a nice kick when necessary, but at the same time it was never dominant or overbearing. It blended in nicely with the mid and treble ranges during our tests. Overall, the sound was quite well balanced, meaning it will be suitable for a wide variety of sources, including games, movies and regular broadcast television.
HDMI is the primary connection option, with three connections provided, as well as optical input and analog RCA connectors. An iPod jack is also included, along with a 3.5mm jack for other MP3 players. The unit's receiver also supports video transmission through the HDMI port — using any of the three HDMI inputs — and is also able to upscale lower quality video to 1080p.
There are a number of customisation options. Bass and treble are independently adjustable; changing these had noticeable effects on the clarity and warmth of the music. The receiver supports the most common and recent audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio — two formats becoming increasingly common with the release of Blu-Ray movies.
Pioneer's Effective Sound system is also included, which alters the sound for dialogue enhancement and mixes stereo sound into surround, using all the speakers for music playback.
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