Pioneer UDP-LX500 and UDP-LX800 – quick review of the first 4K Blu-ray players

Pioneer UDP-LX500 review

UDP-LX500 and UDP-LX800 are designed to minimize noise and provide the best in picture and sound.
Pioneer has arrived late at the table with its 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray players. But when they come first, it’s cool stuff. We welcome the UDP-LX500 and UDP-LX800.

UDP-LX500 is the least expensive of them, but many will still consider 10,000 kroner to be a lot of money for a player. Especially in view of the fact that you can get a cool game console for less than half, as does anything like such a Blu-ray player, in addition to playing both yellow and blue.

Solidly built

For the prize you get a player built as a tanks, with a double suspension, which includes a 3 mm thick stainless steel plate. This makes the player robust and with a low center of gravity. The drive is also designed to be as quiet and vibration-free as possible. Blu-ray discs spin at up to five thousand revolutions per minute, and then the smallest vibration will increase the risk of error readings.

In order to maintain both picture and sound quality, the player is equipped with a so-called Zero Signal Terminal. This can be connected to a compatible surround receiver with the same function (for future Pioneer receivers in the top class), so that the ground signal in the audio and video signals between the two components is set to the same level, which will provide even better signal / noise ratio.

Reduced jitter

For better sound, digital jitters are reduced to the HDMI output with the so-called Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS). This requires a compatible surround receiver, such as SC-LX701, SC-LX801 or SC-LX901 .

The HDMI outputs can also be set so that one only shows video while the other one is used for audio only. The idea is to achieve cleaner signals by separating the two. And if you only hear music, you can completely turn off the video circuit to make sure that the audio does not interfere with the video game.

For CD playback, Pioneer has also provided a high quality analogue output.

Pioneer UDP-LX500 - back

The UDP-LX500 analogue output is high quality. The two HDMI outputs can also be split to reproduce audio and video, respectively.

HDR

Both UDP-LX500 and UDP-LX800 support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10 +. As a competitor to Dolby Vision, with dynamic metadata that makes video with high dynamic range even more spectacular than with HDR10. However, HDR10 + is so far beyond any content other than its own content from Amazon Prime, so it’s no big deal. And should one day become a widespread format, then we hope a software update is enough for players to get support for this.

Streaming is prioritized

In addition to UHD Blu-ray discs, UDP-LX500 obviously plays HD Blu-ray, but also 3D Blu-ray, DVD, SACD, DVD-Audio and CD. On the other hand, you do not find streaming services like Amazon and Netflix, most likely because today’s smart TVs already have this built-in.

Appearance, there is not much that separates the UDP-LX800 from its 3.5kg lighter little brother. However, the Direct button in the front can also act as a digital transport button, where only digital circuits are enabled while the power is cut to the analogue audio circuit.

UDP-LX800: From expensive to very expensive

Ok, so it was the cheapest player, UDP-LX500. What do you get when you more than double the price and tilt over $ 24,000 for UDP-LX800?

First of all, the LX800 can of course be anything like the LX500. Furthermore, the weight has increased from already solid 10.3 to a total of 13.8 kilos. Pioneer has worked even harder with the mechanical part of the construction, making it even heavier and more robust to withstand vibration with even greater precision. A 4.6 mm thick double-stainless steel chassis is further stiffened with an interior painted with anti-vibrating paint. We would guess that this is the same type of coating that can be placed on the inside of the car door to dampen vibrations for the best possible sound from the car stereo speakers.

Furthermore, power supply, digital processing and analogue audio circuitry are separated and interleaved individually for minimal interference.

The drive is spring-mounted to isolate the disc from outside impacts, and Pioneer has been working to reduce digital noise on the system board.

Animal analogue circuit
The analog audio output of the UDP-LX800 is directly taken from the flagship player PD-70AE, which actually costs one more thousand more. It involves the same circuit build-up as well as two 32-bit, 8-channel ESS Saber DACs that are connected in parallel to provide better signal / noise ratio on the analogue output. And also balanced XLR output.

Pioneer UDP-LX800 - review

The Pioneer UDP-LX800 has got a better analog output than the little brother, including balanced XLR.

The player also has a “Transport Function” that disconnects the power to the analogue component when connecting the player with HDMI, so that only the digital part is powered. Conversely, there is a Direct feature that cuts the power to digital audio and video circuits to provide the best audio output from the analogue output when playing music.

Availability and price

Pioneer UDP-LX500 can be purchased from September 26 with price at $1230. UDP-LX800 will cost $2950 and will be released in late October.



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