If you're looking for an AV receiver to pair with your new Blu-ray player then the VSX-LX51 offers all the features you need and then some. Pioneer tells us that many of its customers are buying this receiver together with the BDP-51FD Blu-ray deck and we can see why - not only do they complement each other aesthetically, but their well-matched feature lists also make them ideal bedfellows.
Design-wise, the LX51 is a class act. Dressed all in black, it boasts an understated elegance but the subtle blue lights inject a touch of hi-tech glitz. It's covered in knobs and buttons, which makes it far from minimal, but because everything blends into the black fascia you don't really notice the clutter.
There's a well-sized display panel, which communicates all of the relevant info in a clear manner, such as the current sound mode or audio format. The dials on either side are for changing the input and volume level, and the panel of front connections includes composite, analogue stereo and optical digital inputs, a USB port and an input for the MCACC setup microphone (more on this later).
Like any AV receiver worth its salt, the back panel is teeming with connections. The inclusion of three Deep Colour-compatible HDMI inputs and one output is a definite highlight, and we like the fact that one of the inputs is specifically designated for a Blu-ray player. You won't be stuck for digital audio inputs either, with three optical ports (and one output) plus two of the coaxial variety, plus you'll also find 7.1-channel analogue inputs and more analogue stereo, composite video and S-video inputs and outputs than you'll ever need. Elsewhere there are three sets of component video inputs (and one output), as well as a generous array of sockets for custom installation use.