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Pioneer DCS-370 - 5.1-Channel Home Cinema System
The aim of this all-in-one cinema system is to bring Pioneer's enviable video and audio prowess to an affordable price point and throw some useful features into the bargain. The system is made up of a combined DVD/CD/amplifier unit (XV-DV363), a passive subwoofer (S-DV370SW) and five tallboy speakers (S-DV370T), the latter making this look and feel more like a ‘serious' home cinema system than many bookshelf-style systems.
The entire system is dressed in Pioneer's customary piano black finish, which gives it a stylish yet unpretentious air. The main unit is surprisingly slim considering it houses the disc mechanism and amplification circuitry. Its eye-catching silver disc tray is a nice touch, and with only a light smattering of buttons on the front it looks pleasingly minimal.
The S-DV370T speakers are each over a metre high and sturdily built, as is the unimposing subwoofer - though it's lighter than you might expect a sub to be due to the lack of built-in amplification. The speakers and sub plug into the rear of the main unit using supplied colour-coded cables, making setup a quick and pain-free procedure.
The main unit is capable of delivering 60W per channel, matching the speakers' maximum input power rating. It will willingly accept DVDs, CDs, Video CDs and Super Video CDs, plus it'll decode DivX, MP3, WMA, JPEG and even non-DRM MPEG-4 AAC files from discs. It's a shame Pioneer couldn't squeeze DVD-Audio and SACD support onto the list but it was probably viewed as an unnecessary cost.
Music and photos can also be played back from a memory device plugged into the front-mounted USB port, which is a nice feature that makes it dead easy to transport content from your PC (but you can't connect a PC directly).
Among the unit's other talents are the ability to decode Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, plus Dolby Pro Logic II for turning stereo sources into 4.1 surround. There's also a range of Sound Field Control (SFC) modes, two bass modes (for music and movies) and bass/treble adjustments. Sound can be tweaked to perfection using the built-in test tone.