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Pioneer VSX-LX70

The Pioneer VSX-LX70 is a top-of-the-line receiver which features 1080p upscaling, HD-audio decoding and a piano black finish.

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Philip Wong
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Philip Wong

Associate Editor

Philip Wong is an A/V, PC, photography and gaming enthusiast. Besides spending countless days and late nights fiddling with his home theater system and watercooled PC, he also hits the roads frequently on his iron horse to sweat it out. Now, who says geeks don't work out?

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3 min read

More commonly known for its popular plasma TVs in recent years, Japanese brand Pioneer has long been an established player in the A/V industry. Apart from being  instrumental in the optical disc business, Pioneer has also been deeply involved in A/V receiver design and development. In this preview, we will be taking a closer look at its current high-end offering, the "future-proof" VSX-LX70.

Upside
As part of Pioneer's new premium LX-series offerings, the VSX-LX70 has been given an alluring facelift. Easily one of the sexiest AVRs (audio-visual receivers) around, this is one piece of kit that will blend effortlessly with any flat-panel TV as part of a modern home décor. For starters, there is the classy black piano finish adorning the front -- simple yet uncluttered, the front panel is symmetrical and centres on a pair of oversized dials and two groups of six unobtrusive buttons sandwiched in between. To add a dash of color, there is also a soothing blue lighting effect to complement its chrome power button.

Enthusiasts may be quick to dismiss the VSX-LX70 as yet another showpiece but beneath that pretty face are some serious audio-visual processing capabilities. It's one of the next-gen receivers which can decode high bit-rate surround sound encoded in Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and High Resolution formats. To match its audio prowess, there is an inbuilt Faroudja DCDi video-processor to upscale standard-definition video sources up to 1080p via HDMI. This is on top of a film-centric 24Hz signal pass-through for pure, unadulterated video output.

Implemented using a set of USB ports and a network terminal, the Home Media Gallery function is compatible with various portable devices such as thumbdrives and MP3 players, as well as DLNA-enabled PCs. Another interesting addition is onboard MP3, WMA and MPEG-4 AAC decoding. Furthermore, with Web connectivity, the AVR is also able to access and stream live Internet radio, though the ability for firmware upgradeability is sorely omitted here. On a related note, Sound Retriever optimization can be activated to enhance the sound quality of such compressed audio, too.

Downside
For AU$2,999 we are sure Pioneer could do a lot more for its bundled remote controller -- for example, it lacks button backlighting which is a given nowadays, even for entry-level models. Though some may claim this as a cost-cutting measure, we would have preferred swapping out its LCD display for some illumination.

Additionally, it would be a lot easier to part with the good money if this set was THX-Ultra 2-certified. This stamp gives the users better quality assurance and a guaranteed power reserve for large systems. That said, Onkyo is just about the only company throwing in this certification at such a price.

Outlook
The Pioneer VSX-LX70 comes highly recommended -- especially if "wife acceptance factor" is a major consideration in your purchase. Its combination of fine aesthetics, future-proof specifications and value-added functions make this Japanese AVR a worthy contender and an excellent all-rounder. It will be interesting to see how this unit compares with the similarly-priced and excellent Denon AVR-3808. We'll keep you posted.

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