HTP-4600 Description & Build Quality
The Pioneer HTP -4600 is a 5.1 home theater system with digital wireless surround speakers operating at 2.4GHz (coincidentally this is the same frequency used for wireless 802.11g as well as many cordless telephones). The Front main speakers are a slim line 2-way design. They include detachable/pivoting surround speakers for optional 3-spot surround. 3-spot surround is an optional configuration that Pioneer includes for those situations where placement of wired or wireless surrounds is not practical. It consists of connecting the optional detachable/pivoting front surrounds to the rear surround speaker terminals and pointing them at the side walls. Pioneer also suggests using the front surrounds in conjunction with the wireless surrounds to enhance the overall surround effect. However, I could only find that information on their website and not in the user manual.
The center speaker is a very small two-way design with a footprint so tiny that it should fit easily on top of most displays. Add some Velcro and it could fit on top of most plasma displays as well. The sub-woofer contains a 6 1/2 inch driver that is a passive design. The sub receives its power from the receiver, unlike active subwoofers that contain a built-in amplifier.
The receiver has 6 channels and is rated at 125W x 6 RMS (10% THD@1kHz). Build quality is good considering the overall cost of the system and the consumer it is targeted for. Fit and finish is good all around and it has the appearance of a more costly surround sound package. The front main speakers are mounted to a heavy base plate, which makes them very stable. This, combined with the all-plastic speaker enclosure, makes them child- and pet-proof. The wireless rear surround unit can sit on a shelf or can be mounted to the wall; the optional surround speakers can be wall mounted as well. The silver colored speakers, the latest trend in home theater design it seems, matched my display perfectly.
The standout word for this system is simplicity . This entire package was designed with the novice user in mind that has little or no knowledge of home theater. I was able to setup the entire system in about 20 minutes without even referring to the manual once, including unpacking the parts and performing loudspeaker level calibration. I typically recommend users always thoroughly read through the manuals to ensure that proper setup and maximum performance are achieved. The instruction manual included in this system was clear and concise. While simplicity certainly has its drawbacks with respect to configurability options, most can be overlooked considering the cost and the intended consumer to which this system is targeted.
The front main speakers are in three sections and offer an optional cover plate if you are planning on using the removable small surrounds as wired loudspeakers in a 5.1 configuration. Setup consisted of attaching the base plate to the lower section, connecting the middle section, then fastening the small speakers on top. Everything is held securely with screws.
All of the speakers, wires and terminals on the receiver are color-coded to make for a no-brainer type setup that even the most technically challenged will find easy. The wireless surround transmitter attaches to the back of the receiver via RCA jacks and has an AC adapter. The wireless loudspeaker section plugs directly into an outlet and has a tuned indicator, power indicator and power button; once turned on, it auto connects. The manual states if you notice any interference you can switch channels on the sending unit. I had no such issues on the first try, but there are four channels in case of conflicts with other appliances (wireless phones, networks, etc) one might have around the house.
Looking at the back of the receiver, one will notice the lack of connections. There are three digital inputs, two analog inputs, one analog output, speaker outputs, wireless surround outputs, and AM/FM antenna inputs. There are no video inputs and no subwoofer out. This system is designed to work together and not be upgraded. If you are someone looking for a starter system to build upon, this is not the system for you.
Once everything was connected it was time to go through the audio portion of the setup. The remote is simple and well laid out. Pressing the room setup button on the remote starts the process. There are settings for room size, distance and speaker level. The use of a SPL meter is needed to get accurate channel levels and is a little tricky with this unit because it cycles through the tones rather fast. Once you have room size and levels set you are done with the setup. The digital connection you choose depends on the DVD player being used. I tried both toslink and the coax and in each case the auto detect worked perfect with DTS, Dolby Digital and PCM source signals.