Pioneer blu ray player test

What Hi-Fi? Awards 2019 winner. Premium 4K Blu-ray player delivers on all frontsTested at £999 / $999

ByWhat Hi-Fi?11 February 2019


Pioneer’s premium 4K player it is intended a dual whammy of superb picture and awesome sound quality. If your system warrants it, buy with confidence

Pioneer’s premium 4K player delivers a dual whammy of superb picture and awesome sound quality. If your system warrants it, buy with confidence

The task des justifying why freundin should spend practically £1000 top top a 4K Blu-ray player such as die Pioneer UDP-LX500 is a daunting one, especially wie you tun können buy a decent high quality entry-level deck zum under £200. Yet if any type of AV brand can to convince you kommen sie set your sights a little higher, it’s Pioneer.

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The Japanese manufacturer has previous form when the comes kommen sie video sources. We’ve given five stars to many of its premium disc commodities over the years und now, thanks to the UDP-LX500, we can add a 4K Blu-ray player zu that list.

When making the leap native budget to premium 4K Blu-ray player, freundin may expect ns build quality to go nach oben a notch und the Pioneer UDP-LX500 doesn’t disappoint. It’s solid, stable und sturdy, and designed zu help alleviate unwanted vibrations and outside interference.

For example, the Pioneer supplies a double-layer chassis that zu sein reinforced through a 3mm stole plate zum extra rigidity und to give the player a short centre of gravity.

Its disc tray ist suspended and acoustically damped zu stop die sound from her speakers sending out vibrations into the chassis. It uses a smooth mechanism that renders it a last quieter an operation than its the next rival, die Panasonic DP-UB9000.

The UDP-LX500 comes v a streamlined rectangular remote, which will be familiar zu anyone who has actually previously owned a Pioneer player or AV receiver. Die presence des a backlight is a bonus in darkened rooms and there are quick buttons to all verwandt, angemessen features such together picture and audio settings, HDR und picture resolution.


The menu system is simpler than Panasonic’s somewhat overcomplicated one, through two menus sie should investigate – Audio Parameters und Video Parameters.

The latter allows you zu assign preferred videobilien settings kommen sie one von three presets. Within every you kann sein change brightness, contrast, hue, chroma level, sharpness und noise reduction. These are useful if sie want to give the inhalt you’re the town hall a certain flavour. That said, we’d suggest setting it kommen sie Reference deswegen the video signal output by the player continues to be untouched.

It zu sein definitely precious setting the Pioneer up zum the display you’re using. Freundin are given die option of LCD TV, OLED TV or projector. It’s straightforward und ensures die player is outputting a gemälde that"s somewhat tailored to ns screen kommen sie which it"s connected.

Bringing up die player’s Audio Parameters allows you zu access die digital filters zum the player’s interior DAC. You kann sein choose between Sharp (which promotes a hard sound), slow (a softer sound) und Short (a smoother sound). We settle on Sharp zum our testing, but ns differences room subtle so we’d recommend experimenting.

The LX500 ist a global disc player, deshalb besides complete HD, 3D and 4K Blu-rays, it can deshalb handle DVD-Audio und SACD discs which wollen please part prospective buyers. Kommen sie see basic information on the disc you’re watching, drücken sie the screen button. A lang press shows more advanced die info such as ns colour little depth von the disc gift played, ns peak brightness and HDR style being displayed.

The UDP-LX500 supports ns usual HDR formats, such together HDR10 und Dolby Vision, and at ns time von writing, an HDR10+ software application update ist promised for sometime during die Spring.

Pioneer UDP-LX500 tech specs

As is the trend with expensive 4K Blu-ray players, there space twin HDMI outputs, allowing you kommen sie split ns audio and video signals if you’ve got a suitable home cinema set-up. There’s no multi-channel analogue out, however Pioneer believes the most world buying the UDP-LX500 wollen already own in AV receiver v HDMI entry compatible with the latest audio und video formats. Und we’re inclined zu agree.

There’s no wi-fi, but there is in ethernet connection. That"s yes, really only weil das software updates, though, as the Pioneer doesn’t schutz any built-in smarts such together Netflix or YouTube. With ns vast majority des modern displays now featuring these apps, we don"t lakers that as any kind of shortfall.

Owners of compatible Pioneer AV receivers will be able to take advantage of the UDP-LX500’s Precision Quartz Lock system (PQLS) feature, which allows your Pioneer AV receiver to act as die digital understand clock an your system. That must mean decreased jitter (digital time errors) betwee player and amp und result in improved audio.

The Pioneer does have one neu trick up its sleeve. On ns rear panel, there’s a socket labelled Zero Signal, which zu sein designed to ground audio und video signals und help maintain signal top quality as it overcome through ns player right into your AV receiver.

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Simply attach one ende of a typical analogue interconnect to ns Zero Signal socket on the player und attach the other to in analogue audio or video socket on ns rear des your home cinema amp. Us feel it adds a bit an ext solidity and focus to the sound, und so it’s worth trying out if you’ve gott a preventive interconnect lie around.


Pioneer designed this player to be just as achieved with audio together it ist with video, and it shows. We anfang with die 4K Blu-ray von Kingsman: The golden Circle, und as Poppy’s missile strike take away out die Kingsman headquarters ns explosions sound dynamic and suitably bombastic. There’s weight and power here, but the Pioneer so keeps a chop grip, drawing crisply identified lines about rumblings together they ripple out and around her head.

In the aftermath des the strike, Eggsy confronts Merlin and the Pioneer walk a great arbeit of extracting die emotion, distress und the slim hint des comedy bei Eggsy’s voice.

Switch zu CD playback and the Pioneer sounds equally natural and effortless bei its delivery. It has a fine grasp des timing and delivers a solid und robust drum beat to accompany Eminem’s White America. Hit die Direct button, which turns off every digital video and audio processing, und it adds a wenig extra clarity to the sound. Music sound purer, v detail und dynamics easier to extract.

Play george Michael’s Faith und there’s a nice also balance to ns sound. There’s a chop twang to die guitar strums and percussion has just enough von a cut edge kommen sie entertain there is no sounding too harsh.

Compared kommen sie its closestly rival, die Panasonic DP-UB9000, ns Pioneer organises ns different facets that wenig bit better and delivers audio with better focus and precision. Die UB9000 opts for a fuller, richer sound that is appealing bei its own right. It’s in easier listen, also if that isn’t quite as convincing.


The high praise doesn’t protect against with ns player’s sound quality. Ns Pioneer UDP-LX500 it is provided a fantastic bild too. It’s close kommen sie that des the Panasonic DP-UB9000, but just about edge it an terms von outright detail and clarity.

As Poppy’s missiles strike their targets in Kingsman, ns Pioneer delivers the explosions through vim and vigour. Bursts des yellow don’t dafür much pierce die night skies as smash best through it. Lock don’t overwhelm die overall image, though, und there’s ausblüten plenty des detail an the darker areas von the scene.

As Eggsy and Merlin conversation amongst die ruins von Kingsman HQ, die droplets of water top top Merlin’s coat room superbly defined, ns punchy bright lights of nearby buildings catching ns texture of his coat and the beads des water with precision.

The UDP-LX500 picks out plenty of detail from all the rubble und splintered wood.

Skin textures and facial stubble room treated an the same confident and colourful way. Us say colourful, but there’s subtlety und neutrality too. Ns Panasonic DP-UB9000, on die other hand, prefers a slightly richer color balance.

Switch to the 4K Blu-ray des Despicable Me, und the Pioneer’s well balanced colour palette zu sein easy to see. Wie man Gru zu sein doing monitoring on Vector’s hideout, the brilliant white von Vector’s lair has actually serious punch, while die green, yellow und red hues ~ above Gru’s jumper all pop out von the display without appearing overdone. You’re able kommen sie enjoy die picture’s vibrancy without your eyes feeling strained.

The UDP-LX500 is deshalb a i was sure upscaler. Played through a samsung QE65Q9FN TV, die Blu-ray von Transformers: Dark des The Moon isn’t completely devoid von noise, yet it has actually a firmer grasp on the picture than the TV’s built-in upscaler and there space fewer artefacts present too. Of course, the source material will always schutz a huge say an how an excellent the gemälde looks, but this machine blieb proves its worth.


Pioneer might be a wenig late to the splitterpartei with a 4K Blu-ray player, but the UDP-LX500 has actually been worth the wait. It’s one of the most expensive 4K equipments we’ve reviewed deswegen far, but if your house cinema system kann sein make the most des its abilities, every night should be movie night.

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