Pioneer’s high-end Blu-ray player is even more expensive than Denon’s flagship. But can it out-perform it too?
Although it already produces some of the finest Blu-ray players around – see the BDP-51FD and BDP-LX71 – Pioneer thinks there’s yet more to be squeezed from the Blu-ray format.
So it’s gathered its finest boffins and built the BDP-LX91, currently the most expensive Blu-ray player in the world.
As you’d hope given its price, the BDP-LX91 is quite beautifully made – its all-aluminium casing and heavily braced solid steel chassis contributing to its hefty 14kg weight.
The internals are every bit as lavish: it’s been carefully laid out so as to minimise interference, with separate power supplies for the analogue and digital output stages, plus separate video and analogue audio boards.
The disc tray is bolstered by metal shafts to make it more rigid, and even the supporting feet are made of carbon composite, all the better to resist vibration.
This is Pioneer’s first Profile 2.0 player, and as such includes an Ethernet connection plus a whopping 4GB of internal memory.
As a result, the BDP-LX91 makes most rival decks (and Pioneer’s older models) appear dim-witted in the way it dashes through disc-loading and menu access.
In terms of spec and digital wizardry, there’s no finer player out there right now. It uses 16-bit video processing based on Pioneer’s own chipsets, plus a 14-bit/297MHz video DAC and no less than 15 separate video adjustment options.
Sound, meanwhile, is catered for by eight Wolfson 8740 24-bit/192kHz DACs running in dual mode, plus a dedicated analogue audio power supply with custom-made capacitors and a massive toroidal transformer for the primary power supply.
It even has two HDMI outputs to feed two separate displays, or to feed an amp with audio (theoretically with better sonic results) and a display with video.
In action, the Pioneer’s picture is simply fabulous, delivering a lustrous mix of dense, consistent colours and spectacularly bright, punchy colours.
All the sharpness and detail you could wish for are present and correct too, and never in a forced or unnatural way: the image glistens, looking as much like a cleaner, less-grainy version of film as it ought to. We ran the gamut of test classics and were blown away every time.
Sound is great, too, although rather different from some Pioneer products we’ve heard. Movie audio is muscle personified, although not necessarily as savage as some players: it’s more of a mature, richly layered and very natural presentation, with a particularly even hand on voices, making it an excellent CD player, too.
In short, this is the best Blu-ray player we’ve seen – if you can afford it, buy one and invite us round for tea.
Pioneer BDP-LX91 review
An extraordinary Blu-ray player. Massively expensive, but also a masterpiece
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