Pioneer VSX-LX53 review

Best receiver £1000-£1500, Awards 2010. Pioneer's excellent VSX-LX53 home cinema amplifier is classy and great to use Tested at £1300

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Our Verdict

Best receiver £1000-£1500, Awards 2010. Excellent amplifier, and a useful upgrade.

For

  • Outstanding sound in multichannel
  • good in stereo
  • comprehensive spec
  • elegant styling

Against

  • Very little

The latest crop of 2010 home cinema amplifiers are the most comprehensively equipped and flexible yet.

Even Pioneer's affordable VSX-920 (£500) has Bluetooth support, internet radio access, Dolby Pro-Logic IIz processing and an iPhone control app.

So, how does the same company's £1300 VSX-LX53 justify itself? First, through showroom appeal: there's an aluminium fascia (the ‘920's is plastic), plus more power, superior upscaling performance and features such as THX Select2 certification.

It's more flexible, too: for example, it can connect into two HDMI-capable displays (a projector and a TV, say) via twin outputs, one of which includes support for the Audio Return Channel (ARC).

Six HDMI 1.4 inputs accept 3D video, and the Dolby Pro-Logic IIz processing is complemented by 9.1-channel pre-out sockets, ensuring support for a complete nine-speaker system, given the addition of a suitable stereo power amp.

Sound appeal
But features tell only part of the story: the VSX-LX53's real appeal lies in its sound quality, which is suffused with energy and excitement.

Action movies bellow with intent, the Pioneer battering out the bullets in The Dark Knight's night-time chase: high frequencies are rendered crisply and yet without undue glare, while each impact strikes home with a definite, wince-inducing intensity.

Switch to a DTS-HD Master Audio mix of Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, and the Pioneer maintains its urgent, energetic feel yet musters enough balance to ensure each rhythm is properly cared for. It'll even manage a respectable sense of stereo with CD.

This is an excellent newcomer. It's classy to look at, pleasing to live with and great to use – and more than good enough to justify its price over the best of the budget pack.

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Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.eu.onkyo.com
Brand NamePioneer
Product TypeA/V Receiver
ManufacturerOnkyo & Pioneer Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberVSXLX53
Product NamePioneer VSX-LX53
Product ModelVSX-LX53

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • VSX-LX53 A/V Receiver
  • 1 x Remote Control
  • 1 x MCACC Setup Microphone
  • 2 x AAA Size Dry Cell Batteries
  • 1 x iPod Cable
  • 1 x AM Loop Antenna
  • 1 x FM Wire Antenna
  • 1 x Bluetooth Adapter
  • 1 x Power Cord
  • 1 x Warranty Card
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Operating Instructions
Environmentally FriendlyYes
Environmental CertificationWEEE

Interfaces-Ports

Number of Digital Optical Outputs1
HDMIYes
Number of HDMI Inputs6
Number of Digital Optical Inputs5
Number of HDMI Outputs2
Number of Analog Audio Inputs6
USBYes

Network and Communication

EthernetYes

Audio

RMS Output Power150 W
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS Neo:6, DTS-ES, DTS HD, Windows Media Audio 9 Professional, Neural Surround, THX Surround EX, THX Select 2, DTS-ES Discrete, DTS-ES Matrix, Virtual Surround, THX
Audio Channels7.1

Physical Characteristics

Width420 mm
Depth433 mm
Weight Approximate13.40 kg
Height173 mm
ColourAluminium
Dimensions173 mm (H): 420 mm (W): 433 mm (D)

Technical Information

Total Harmonic Distortion THD1%

Tuner

Frequency BandAM, FM