- Excellent build quality and tasteful design
- Big, exciting sound with rich, punchy bass
- Easy to set up and use
- Light on features
- Lacks refinement and strains at loud volumes
- Review Price: £147.00
- 130W power output
- Dolby Digital & DTS decoding
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Two optical inputs and one coaxial
- Surround, Dialog and Night modes
What is the Pioneer SBX-300?
The Pioneer SBX-300 is an entry-level soundbar that dispenses with the network features found on the step-up SBX-N500 and top-end SBX-N700 (explaining the ‘N’ missing from the name). As a result it sells for around £100 less than the N500.
There’s no separate subwoofer, but it’s not completely devoid of frills – there’s built-in Bluetooth for easy music streaming.
Pioneer SBX-300 – Design
Pulling the SBX-300 out the box, first impressions are positive. The robust, weighty cabinet boasts some of the best build quality we’ve seen at this price. Some might be put off by its chunky dimensions, which aren’t ideal for wall mounting (although you can if you want, thanks to the holes on the back) but we like its sturdiness when placed on a TV stand.
The black/grey colour scheme is attractive but subdued, which means it won’t compete for attention with your TV screen. The front of the bar features a slightly angled grey speaker mesh, behind which is a row of lights that indicates the current status and volume levels. Running along the top is a row of buttons to control input selection and volume.
Pioneer SBX-300 – Connections
There are no HDMI ports on the back, which may disappoint those looking for the single-cable convenience of ARC. If that’s important to you, check out the step-up models.
However, it’s not a massive loss, given that there are two optical inputs, one coaxial input and a 3.5mm minijack for your portable audio sources. For most people, that should suffice – just rig up a digital audio cable and you’re set. Here’s what the connector plate looks like:
Pioneer SBX-300 – Features
The Pioneer SBX-N500 and N700 both feature Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port, which make it possible to stream music over a network, use Miracast and navigate with Pioneer’s control app. None of these are offered here, but you do get Bluetooth, which is a real boon if you want to play music from laptops, phones or tablets with minimal hassle.
There are built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, and in terms of power the SBX-300’s Class D amp outputs 130W. The speaker bar uses two 66mm full-range cones and two 77mm subwoofers.
You’ll also find a bunch of sound modes, including Surround, which adds extra width; Night for low-level listening; Dialog, which is designed to enhance speech frequencies; plus Lip Sync adjustment and Auto Level Control, which equalises volume differences between sources and content. Phase Control technology ensures optimum bass performance.
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