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Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Flat Panel Home Theater System - Review and Rating

Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Page 2 - Evaluation and Final Take

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Subwoofer/Amplifier Combo with Speakers

Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Subwoofer/Amplifier Combo with Speakers

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Ergonomics: Design - Connectivity - Functionality

In terms of ergonomics, there are two distinct features that affect the functionality of the HTS-LX70; first the incorporation of all the amplifier, tuner, and connections into the same cabinet as the subwoofer, and, secondly, the remote LED display/system control unit (similar to a removable car-stereo face plate).

This unique design eliminates the need the for an additional large-sized AV Receiver. Since you can place the LED Display/Control unit just about anywhere (as long as you have enough cable length running from its subwoofer/amp connection. You don't have to allow for additional space on your shelf for an AV Receiver.

The Speakers

Pioneer has introduced an innovative cubic speaker design that allows the speakers to be placed around the room for a more enveloping surround sound experience, or placed on the left and right side of the television, which provides a front-based surround sound experience.

I found that the traditional front-rear speaker setup provides a better surround environment, which the LX70 speakers produce very well.

Speaker Connectivity

Two things I don't typically care for in most all-in-one home theater systems is the use of cheap speaker wire and proprietary speaker connections on the connection panel of the amplifier.

That being said, with the color coded connections, as well as the color coding on the back of satellite speakers, everything was easy to identify and connect.

Also, the length of the speaker wire provided, including for the surround channel speakers, was long enough for a small or average-size room.

Speaker Calibration

Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Subwoofer/Amplifier Combo - Audio and Speaker Connect

Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Subwoofer/Amplifier Combo - Audio and Speaker Connections

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Another practical function that is included is the MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System). Using a provided microphone, the MCACC uses a series of test tones to gather information about your room in relation to your speaker placement.

However, the MCACC, along with similar systems by other manufacturers isn't perfect. In my case the main and surrounds were right on - but center channel and subwoofer needed some further tweaking. In this case, you can always go into the manual setup menu and make corrections.

iPod Connectivity

The HTS-LX70 offers the ability to connect an iPod to access and play music files on the LX70. An adapter cable is required, but it is included with the LX70. However, on the downside, although it is easy to plug your iPod in to the system, you cannot control the iPod functions or file access via the LX-70's remote control. In other words, due to the lack of iPod control and the shortness of the iPod adapter cable, you have to stand close to the LX-70 LED display and fiddle with the controls on the iPod to access your music.

Audio Performance

As far as audio performance goes, the more demanding sound samples from DVD and Blu-ray sounded good, especially the surround effect, with was both spacious and directional, but not quite as dynamic or present in center channel dialog as the comparison systems.

One surround example; The "echo game" scene in House of the Flying Daggers, displayed very good spaciousness and directionality, but did not have quite the same dynamic impact when compared to the other systems used.

Additional examples that produced similar listening results, included the opening battle scene in Master and Commander and final battle in The Golden Compass

Also, audio-only CDs lacked some of the center vocal presence and depth they would get from a more substantial system. An example of this are cuts from Come Away With Me by Nora Jones, who has a very distinctive "breathiness" to her voice. The recordings sounded good, but did not have quite as much presence and depth when compared to the other systems used in this review. Another example are cuts from An Ancient Muse by Loreena McKennitt. The LX70 had a spacious soundstage than the comparison systems, but still lacked some of the impact and depth.

However, although the center channel presence and depth was not optimum on the LX70, I did find the center channel dialog and vocals had excellent center staging.

With regards to general audio performance, the midrange and highs were adequate, sound effects and subtle transient details were well placed in the surround field, but did not sound quite as dynamic, in most cases, as the comparison systems. However, the subwoofer was tight enough on the lowest frequencies.

Taking all factors into consideration, especially with the very small satellite speaker design, the real-world audio performance of the HTS-LX70 was better than I would have expected just from looking at the setup, especially with regards to surround imaging and sound placement. However, the comparison systems used provided more vocal depth and dynamic listening experience than did the HTS-LX70.

Final Take

Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Remote Control

Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 Home Theater System - Remote Control

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 is a good effort in design and performance, but is expensive. It provides a very good surround sound experience, in tandem with a DVD or Blu-ray Disc player.

This system provides several input options, including three HDMI inputs. Although the HDMI connections are pass-through only for video, the LX70 has the ability to extract HDMI audio signals from a DVD or Blu-ray Disc player, and can also decode most surround sound formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master audio. The only drawback with its surround sound processing is that 7.1 channel signals have to be reproduced with the LX70's 5.1 channel configuration.

I found that the HTS-LX70 was easy to use, and provided a good listening experience, based on its design. However, if you are looking for something for a large room, you should consider a more traditional receiver-speaker-subwoofer approach than that offered by the LX70. Also, keep in mind that the price point for the HTS-LX70 is about $1,800, which is expensive for a home theater-in-a-box system.

On the other hand, with styling becoming more important in home theater installations, especially those that incorporate a flat panel LCD or Plasma Television, the HTS-LX70 may be a great choice, especially in comparison with some of the even more expensive "stylish" systems that are on the market.

Taking all factors into account: Audio Performance (especially in terms of surround sound staging), HDMI video pass-through/switching, Styling, and Price Point, I give the Pioneer Elite HTS-LX70 a rating of 3.5 Stars out of 5.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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