Review Price £1,195.00
Pioneer LX03BD 5.1-channel Blu-ray System - Pioneer LX03BD
Disc loading times aren't quite as slick though, with the LX08 taking over a minute to get Spider-Man 3 off the ground, and Iron Man taking around 45 seconds. But once it's locked and loaded, the resulting picture quality is absolutely sublime, with the system serving up images that look every bit as vivid and pristine as the LX71.
During Iron Man for instance, shots of the dusty desert look textured and life-like, while shadows inside the cave are profoundly black yet details remain clearly defined. Tony's array of technological toys and fast cars are reproduced with needle-sharp detail and rich, dazzling colours. Dark objects meet light backgrounds without jaggies or edge noise, and motion is consistently fluid. And like the LX71 it turns in a skilful performance with the Silicon Optix HQV disc, suppressing jaggies on rotating bars, taming noise and correcting 3:2 pulldown with consummate ease.
Sound-wise the LX03BD is equally proficient, tackling Iron Man's frenetic action scenes with vitality and cohesion. Crashes and gunshots are sharp and snappy, the sub boosts explosions with deep, muscular bass and dialogue is smooth and prominent - surprisingly, those tiny speakers project speech into the soundstage superbly, even when the fronts are stacked on top. What's more, surround effects are fired from the rears with accuracy and crispness, giving the soundstage a spacious, expansive feel.
We're also enamoured with the system's music handling capabilities. The sound is rich and rewarding, with a beautiful balance across the frequency range and a really impressive sense of timing. It's a lot more refined than your average all-in-one system, and if you love to kick back with a CD then the LX03BD will seem like money well spent.
For a Blu-ray based system costing over £1,500 on some websites, the LX03BD's feature list is nowhere near as cutting-edge as it should be. The LX08's Profile 1.1 spec and the lack of Dolby TrueHD/DTS HD Master Audio decoding are disappointing (despite the receiver's PCM handling capabilities) plus a couple more HDMI inputs wouldn't have gone amiss - all of which doesn't make the system feel like particularly good value.
But feed it a Blu-ray disc and you begin to see where your money's going, as its picture and sound quality are out of this world. It's also one of the best-looking Blu-ray systems you're likely to see, with a gorgeous and distinctive design that will enhance any room it's installed in - especially if you pair it with one of Pioneer's Kuro plasmas.
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