Pioneer VSX-LX51 AV Receiver - Pioneer VSX-LX51

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Pioneer VSX-LX51 AV Receiver

Summary

Our Score:

9

To take the stress out of the setup procedure, the VSX-LX51 features Pioneer's unique Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration, which automatically tunes the sound quality to suit your room using a nine-band equaliser - simply plug the supplied microphone into the relevant port on the front and let the automated system do its thing. Incorporated into MCACC is Phase Control, which corrects frequency delay and aligns the phase within each speaker.

The VSX-LX51 musters 7 x 150W of power and supports every audio format under the sun, including lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. It's also THX Select2 Plus certified, which makes it best suited to rooms with a listening distance of between 10 and 12 feet, as well as ensuring that the product meets THX's stringent quality criteria.

There's also a staggering array of surround modes which can be used in conjunction with regular surround sound decoding, or to boost two-channel material up to 5.1. Highlights include a virtual surround back mode, which adds a phantom speaker between the rears, Advanced Cinema/Concert, which use signal processing to replicate different listening environments and Real Phantom, which creates a virtual centre channel for people who don't want a centre speaker in their system.

But we've barely scratched the surface. The USB port on the front enables you to connect a portable audio player and listen to MP3 or WMA files, plus the Advanced Sound Retriever boosts the quality of these compressed audio formats. Additionally, if you don't fancy rigging up rear speakers, the Front Stage Surround Advance mode generates virtual rears from the speakers positioned at the front of the room. Add other wizardry like Dialogue Enhancement and digital noise reduction into the mix, and it's clear that the LX51 makes a formidable audio epicentre.

It's also worth mentioning that despite its vast array of features, the unit is fairly easy to use. The setup menu can be viewed on your TV via the video outputs, and uses a crude-looking but straightforward menu system that enables you to make all the usual tweaks like assigning inputs or changing the sound settings. But if you're not hooked up to a TV then you can use the front display. The remote is generally well laid out and you can navigate the basics with ease, but many of the buttons are labelled with confusing abbreviations that will take you some time to figure out.

Gdub

January 25, 2009, 8:44 am

Nice review Danny Boy, but nobody goes to the trouble of loging in just to laud out praise :) It would be nice if you would mention what speakers you are using to review this receiver and it would be even better if TrustedReviews would review a couple speakers from different manufacturers. And maybe it's just me but 3 HDMI inputs is not a "definite highlight" its merely meh, even if they are deep colour compatible, 4 would be a highlight.

vijay reddy

January 25, 2009, 1:08 pm

Please give a comparision with similarly priced Onkyo a/v receiver please

Chris Beach

January 25, 2009, 1:51 pm

At this price and the current market, I would agree 4 hdmi's would be a must.



Orinj

January 25, 2009, 5:06 pm

Pioneer seems to be the only company excelling in every AV product at the moment. I'm impressed with their KURO TVs, the LX-61D DVD Recorder and even their lower spec DV410S DVD player that I've recently bought. This amplifier is tempting but I don't think I can justify the extra prive over the excellent Yamaha DSP-AX863SE.

Danny P

January 26, 2009, 4:35 pm

Gdub - thanks for your comments. I was actually using the Pioneer S-81 speaker package, which people are bundling together with this receiver and the 51FD player. I'll be reviewing the speakers soon. And I think three HDMI inputs is a decent amount, but I guess if you've got Sky HD, a PS3, a Blu-ray deck and an upscaling DVD deck it wouldn't be seen as a 'highlight'.

Gdub

January 27, 2009, 2:02 am

Danny P my good lad ~ I hate it when people say “there are two types of people in the world” but there are two types of people in the world. Those that see 3 HDMI ports on a 𧼱.04 receiver and think “Oh that’s plenty” and those that see 3 HDMI ports on a 𧼱.04 receiver and think “Oh the humanity!!!”. I am the latter and it appears you are the former. But please allow me to explain.





As far as I know, a PS3 is still a very capable Blu-ray and DVD player. Furthermore all Blu-ray players can upconvert DVDs, feel free to correct me on this is if I’m wrong, so having a PS3, a Blu-ray player, and an upscalling DVD player would be…uh what is the word….Bullocks. But having Sky HD, an Xbox360, and a Blu-ray player is a far more legitimate possibility for filing 3 HDMI ports.





Now, If John Archer finds it a disappointment for a 𧽂 Toshiba Regza TV to “only have only three HDMIs when most premium sets provide four these days” then why should a similarly priced AV receiver not be held to the same standard?





I think it is even more essential to have a minimum 4 HDMI ports on an AV receiver than it is on a TV because if you are willing to spend the extra money for an AV receiver, speakers, speakers stands or mounts, wiring, and the endure the headache of setting it all up then you are also likely to be the kind of chap that: (a) has a large collection of videos on his computer network that he’d like to view on his big plasma or LCD via a HTPC (Home Theatre PC) or similar device ; (b) might consider buying a camcorder like the Canon HG20 or the Panasonic HDC-SD100, both of which won the coveted TrustedReviews “Recommended” rating and both of which sport a HDMI output; or (c) would enjoy the everlasting comfort associated with knowing he has one free HDMI port on his AV receiver should some unexpectedly delicious technology arrive that would make use of said HDMI port.





The Pioneer VSX-LX51 is undeserving of a 9/10 for features when AV receivers from Onkyo or other companies feature 4 HDMI ports for similar prices and therefore undeserving of the TrustedReviews “Recommended” rating. The VSX-LX51 may give excellent performance, but it lacks in features and value.





5.1 and 7.1 surround setups are more popular than ever. I’d love to see TrustedReviews review more AV Receivers. Head to head comparisons of receivers of similar prices from different manufacturers would be most enjoyable.





Keep up the good work TR ;)



Danny P

January 27, 2009, 3:50 pm

Gdub - I was actually conceding that you had a point!

SteveB

March 30, 2009, 4:36 pm

Looks very nice....but out of my price range. I have opted for the 1018AH model.....it has no tuner but still has Kuro Link and most of the features this one does....which is good enough. Albeit only 2 x HDMI in though.


Can we have a review on this? What HiFi have given it a good review.....and ths sales guy in my local shop said it was good too.


Cheers guys

MSHughes

June 8, 2009, 11:45 pm

The number of HDMI ports is, to a certain extent, moot as you can always use a, um, don't know exactly what they're called properly but essentially an HDMI Hub/Switch. After all, how many inputs would you be using a t o n c e ?

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