S-LX70 Build Quality and Features
It seems just a few years ago, users didn't have the option to locate good sounding speakers that provided good sound and maintained a look that blended in well with the aesthetics of a wall-mounted flat panel TV. However, the last few years have issued in a new age of speaker systems specific to flat screens serving to both support the sound of movies and sporting events alike as well as being at least serviceable in music playback as well. This review takes a good look at Pioneer’s Elite Flat screen speaker system, the S-LX70 series to see if it holds up its end of the home theatre standard.
Build Quality & Features
The first impression this speaker system makes is how it is truly a work of art. The S-LX70 system has a very sleek, modern design that would look good in any setting, from someone’s man-cave, to a Beverly Hills movie producer’s office. The overall aesthetic theme of the system is sleek, modern and one could even call it a Scandinavian design. The entire front baffle is made of inset 1/8" glass and the speaker fronts (except for the subwoofer) have a soft black mesh speaker grill that covers the drivers, etc.
The speaker stands Pioneer sent us also have a similar black glass look at the base and a brushed, extruded aluminum supporting pole to hold the speaker. They’ve embedded a 12 gauge stranded speaker cable running from the weighted floor base to the back of the speaker so there are no visible cables hanging around to take away from the high quality, Scandinavian feel of the overall system. There are even high quality gold plated speaker wire connectors in the back of the base.
The subwoofer has the same beautiful piano black finish that the others had, but more of it, and the face is solid black, but with a power indicating light that is blue when active and red when inactive.
One nice extra that Pioneer thought to put in was a soft cloth to wipe off fingerprints – and with this kind of glassy finish, you will need it, especially if there are children within a two mile radius of these speakers. Those are some of the overall notes of the system, but let's look at each speaker individually:
Left and Right Front Speakers (S-LX70 LR)
As I mentioned, the baffle in the front of the left, right, and center speakers is covered with an 1/8” glass that site atop the baffle, giving it a very refined look. A section of soft, black mesh grill is inset in the middle, and every screw has been covered by a soft piece of black foam tape, ensuring that it maintains a sophisticated look even if light shines on the front of the speaker. The midrange driver cones have an unusual, but very cool looking integrated metallic design; giving the look of carbon fiber. Pioneer’s literature claims that the woofers are 5.1 inches (13cm) in diameter, but after getting out the old measuring tape, we discovered that they're actually 3.5" in diameter. The funny thing is that if you were to include the glass trim on the outside of the speaker, it still would be impossible for it to be 5.1". Having said that, the overall sound seems no worse for wear – in other words, we don’t know that you're missing out on by not having that extra inch and a half, but the disparity in measurement was worth noting.
Along with the cool woofer cones, they have included high end, one inch titanium tweeters. The tweeters are placed in a wave guide, so you really can't mix and match the left and right speakers. Those high frequencies are being sent in a specific direction (towards the center seated position) therefore the placement of the speakers is uber important. The grills covering all of these wonderful parts are fashioned out of ABS plastic with traditional speaker fabric stretched over its frame and placed snuggly into the baffle and flush with its beautiful glass trim. The frame has four horizontal crossbars for stiffness. The top and bottom crossbars have a strip of soft, black, foam tape in order to reduce vibration. It's an elegant and beautiful design overall.
Center Channel Speaker (S-LX70 C)
The center channel speaker is identical in every way to the LR front speakers with two notable differences. One difference is that the LR speakers have the word “Elite” inscribed near the bottom of the face on the glassy trim and the center speaker does not have the Elite symbol anywhere on its front. The wave guide for the tweeter directs the highs upward when the speaker is mounted below the TV. If you plan on mounting S-LX70 C above your television, be sure it is positioned with the rear label upside down to direct the high frequencies downward.
Pioneer's center channel has the same sleek design as the front L-R speakers because, well, it is the same except it doesn’t have the "Elite" name on the bottom of it like those other two. It comes with brackets to attach the speaker to the wall just underneath a wall mounted Flat screen, or you can use the short metallic stand that comes with it in order to place it on top of a cabinet. Like the front two, the tweeter has a directional wave guide and you will figure out which way to place the speaker and thus the wave guide, based on whether it is going above or below the TV. So, Pioneer wasn't leaving something undone by not placing the cool, minimalistic Elite logo on the bottom, they just didn’t want someone to be forced into having upside down words on the center channel for the next umpteen years – that would be annoying. Just shows how Pioneer’s design team really tried to anticipate all needs and scenarios that this system might encounter.
The Subwoofer (S-LX70 W)
The sub, as we mentioned earlier, is a beautiful-looking bottom-firing unit with a single light in the front indicating, power and whether or not it is being used. The sub is a self-powered "active" unit which has a peak power 500W rating. Pioneer's literature calls it a 12" diameter woofer, but this is another example of a discrepancy between what’s written and what our measuring tape revealed. After eyeballing it with the tape a couple of times, we agreed to call it 8" in diameter. This is a huge difference, though as we point out later, it still played relatively deep.
The sub box itself looks like a high-end piece and one that is properly made for a top shelf unit. It has a high-quality rubber surround that makes the woofer stiff and gives it a high-end feel. The feet on the woofer has the same brushed aluminum that the speaker stands have with little pads under the feet so as to not scratch wood flooring. The feet look very sharp, but the one drawback is that they are not adjustable in case it resides on an uneven surface. It also doesn’t come with spikes to anchor the unit on a carpeted floor, although that’s probably a relief to all of the wives and girlfriends of audiophiles.
The rear of these speakers features a dual mounting system, so that these 11 lb 7 oz speakers can be placed directly to the wall either vertically or horizontally (only significant if you are using the LR as a Center channel). They used to sell a nice set of speaker stands separately to go with it (CP-LX70) but they’ve decided to discontinue that model. Be sure to locate a stud if possible for at least one of the mounting points. If you can't do that, we recommend self-tapping drywall anchors.
Like all aspects of this speaker system, the subwoofer has a simple elegance and beauty to it. Maybe it’s because the system sports a very minimalist design and the sub simply has more flair with its glossy finish, but it is a beautiful piece with a single power button in the front and its duo tone light. The sub has a bypass mode that is enacted by a simple switch on the back, so when it is sending out signal, it turns blue and when it isn’t it remains red. It also has the sorts of bells and whistles you would expect from this level of woofer. The crossover frequencies can be set to 50Hz, 60Hz, 70Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 160Hz, 200 Hz.
The sub come with the requisite RCA input, but it also has an output so you can actually daisy chain this to another sub if you’re just not getting enough push from this one to fill your space (plus we recommend the use of dual subs whenever possible). An important note about this gorgeous self-powered sub is that it was manufactured under license from the Dolby laboratories.
What you see here is it - other than power, the rest is via software control
The Speaker Stands (CP-LX70)
The speaker stands continue with that beautiful black glass finish at its base and have a modern looking brushed aluminum pole to hold the speakers with the internal speaker wiring that you would expect from a high end product like this. One unique feature about the packaging is that the foam that the speaker stands come with is actually designed to help with the assembly. When Audioholics was looking for the pricing of the stands, it was nowhere to be found on the website, so after speaking with a customer rep, we found out that the stands are no longer being sold. Because of this, the L-R speakers must be mounted to a wall or perhaps to a third party speaker stand. Disappointing, but only because the stands are so beautiful and perfectly match the speakers' aesthetics.