Pioneer X-SMC5-K review

Do-it-all AirPlay micro system is a good second-room proposition Tested at £300

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

As complete a jack-of-all-trades as we’ve seen for some time only let down by fair-to-middling performance


  • +

    Exhaustive spec

  • +

    AirPlay, Bluetooth and DLNA wireless streaming

  • +

    intuitive to use


  • -

    Sound is so-so, likewise DVD pictures

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The Pioneer X-SMC5-K is hard to pin down. It's an all-in-one, alright: there's CD and DVD playback, an iPod/iPhone dock and a USB input, wireless AirPlay, Bluetooth
and DLNA streaming, and FM and internet radio.

For £300 we can't help thinking it only needs to be switched on to seem half-decent value already...

Its layout is a little different to what you might be used to, with the dock on one side and the display on the other.

The menu could be bigger, as it's hard to read from a distance, remote in hand.

The CD/DVD drive is a top slot-loader, with the HDMI output on the back. USB, audio in and headphone connections are on the front.

Intuitive to set up and use
Listening to music it's perfectly decent. The best docks or micros for this money deliver a little more detail, but the SMC5-K goes loud and offers decent weight.

And, of course, all those extra features. Connecting to our network is easy enough and streaming from a NAS (WAV and FLAC are fine but there's no high-res support), iOS device over AirPlay or just using Bluetooth, works fine - albeit with the familiar slight drop in quality.

DVD playback struggles with black levels and is a little noisy, but would hold its own against most budget players.

Where to put it in relation to your TV is another question. We might not be floored by its ability, but we are wowed by the Pioneer's versatility. It could be an ideal second-room micro.

See all our micro system reviews

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test