We recently tested Pioneer’s BCS-303, a stylish all-in-one home cinema system that delivered decent (if not mind-blowing) surround sound and crisp hi-def pictures, all for a very reasonable price. As the BCS-303 showed, going down the all-in-one route doesn’t always get you the very best performance but does cut through the hassle that comes with buying separate components.
Here we’re testing another of Pioneer’s systems, the BCS-707, which is similar to the BCS-303 in most respects, except that its speaker configuration is considerably different. Whereas the BCS-303 came equipped with a set of five compact bookshelf speakers that you could perch discreetly around the room, the BCS-707 comes with four whacking great towers for the rear and front channels, which should make a real style statement when erected either side of a swanky flatpanel TV.
As you might expect at this sort of price, these tower speakers fall some way short of the meticulously robust build quality you get from the likes of Monitor Audio or Teufel, but the cabinets do feel reasonably solid and from a distance look rather attractive. The top half houses the drivers, which are covered by cloth grilles, while the gloss black panel at the bottom gives it a touch of contemporary class. Each tower needs to be screwed to a circular wooden base, rounding off the look nicely.
The speaker line-up is completed by a gloss-black centre speaker that’s compact enough to easily squeeze onto an AV rack shelf, and a slender passive subwoofer. It may be remarkably light and hollow but looks nice and the fact you can tuck it into a tight space is a real godsend. All of the cables you need are supplied in the box and connect to springclip terminals on the back of each speaker and on the main unit.
The combined Blu-ray player and receiver supplied here is the XV-BD707, the same unit used by the BCS-303 system. As we noted before, it takes no risks aesthetically with its straight lines and chunky dimensions (it measures 430(w) x 64(h) x 304(d)mm) but that doesn’t mean it’s not attractive – the snazzy gloss black finish and illuminated volume dial bring a bit of pizzazz. There’s a clear, easy-to-read display panel on the front, as well as a covered USB port and minijack input for an MP3 player. A row of small buttons runs along the top covering frequently used functions.