Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Daniel Osakwe
We are going to take a look at the Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player. This is the latest 4K player to hit the market, and it was released around the same time as the Yamaha RX-V6700. We will be testing this unit against the Panasonic DP-UB9000 to see if it has what it takes to be a good player.
Table of Contents
Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player: Design
- There are two HDMI ports.
- Ethernet port
Even though it weighs 10.3 kg (22 pounds), you can still take comfort in its armor-plated chassis and engineered stability.
There are two HDMIs (one for video and sound, the other for separate audio if needed), USB ports on all sides, digital audio optical and coaxial outputs, and decent stereo phonos.
There are also Ethernet and RS-232C connections for high-end integration of home control.
The UDP-LX500’s “universal” handle means that in addition to 4K Blu-ray discs and their regular 2K cousins (including 3D editions), as well as DVDs and CDs, it can also play SACD and DVD-A music collections, as well as decode Hi-Res audio files. In every sense, it is a media maestro.
Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player: Features
- The interface is simple to use.
- Simple design
Though it appears sophisticated, this deck is basically plug-and-play. Therefore, Pioneer won’t win any awards for its user interface design. The brand has operated on the basis of dour functionality for longer than I can remember, and that philosophy has not changed.
Consequently, the Home menu is a bare-bones affair, made even more barren by a lack of streaming services, audio or visual. Pioneer has been beaten by Panasonic in this area.
However, there is still much to be excited about. Its disc display function can read HDR10 metadata from compatible UHD discs. It gives an insight into the mastering and displays the potential of 4K discs by revealing Max FALL (Maximum Frame Average Light Level) and MaxCLL (Maximum Content Light Level). To make the most of your HDR discs, do you need a display that can produce 1200 nits? This is not always the case.
There is no clatter or noise from the loader; it’s smooth, slick, and whisper-quiet. For movies, the deck typically takes just over 40 seconds to go from the tray to the menu onscreen, which is an average time.
Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player: Performance
- HDR Compactible
- Updatable firmware
With a player of this level, performance is everything, and the UDP-LX500 does not disappoint. It uses the same video components as its reference-grade stablemate, the UDP-LX800, which costs twice as much, and the picture quality is exquisite. This player is particularly impressive at conveying fine details. While 4K Blu-rays are incredibly cinematic (the opening space battle in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is stunning), HD Blu-rays are more solid.
The HDR presentation is also very good. As of now, the deck supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and a firmware update is expected to include HDR10+ in the future. Different display technologies, such as LCDs, OLEDs, and projections, can be adapted to the deck’s video output. very useful.
The 4K Dolby Vision of Pacific Rim Uprising provides the deck with an excellent opportunity to show off its HDR capabilities. It offers a wide variety of colorful candies and dynamics in abundance, with a vibrant, rich color palette.
Are the UDP-LX800 and Panasonic DP-UB9000 comparable or better? It’s hard to say. These two decks appear to be indistinguishable from one another.
It’s only when you examine it under a magnifying glass that you’ll realize Panasonic’s image processing technology, with proprietary 4:4:4 color subsampling, is superior. In this way, curves and edges are free of stepping, and color detailing is smoother. When viewed from a distance, the two models look very similar.
- supports high-resolution audio files
- It can play regular CDs and DVDs.
In terms of performance, the UDP-LX500 stands out. In particular, the support for all audio disc formats is good news for anyone with a stockpile of DVD-Audio releases or who is still buying SACDs.
They combine delicious clarity with toe-tapping musicality in both of their venerable formats. You can also play regular CDs with the deck. Do you prefer downloading? Not a problem. This player also supports high-resolution audio files.
During listening, an AKM AK4490EQ DAC serves as the deck’s analog output. It’s not as accomplished as the ESS Sabre Reference ES9018 used in the older BDP-LX88, but it’s not shabby either.
With a trio of digital filtering modes, you can further fine-tune the performance: Sharp Roll-Off, Short Delay, and Slow Roll-Off. The tones are subtle, and although I couldn’t come up with a clear preference, it was fun to experiment.
The Pros and Cons
|Playback of Universal music discs||There are no streaming services on board.|
|HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ support|
Pioneer has produced a wonderful player with the UDP-LX500, despite its £999 ($999, AU$1999) price tag. Home cinema upgraders should shortlist this heavyweight player, which can comfortably claim to be the best universal Blu-ray player available for less than a grand.
However, there are some caveats. Video performance isn’t quite as impressive as Panasonic’s cheaper DMP-UB9000, nor is it as well finished. If you consider music as important as movies to you, then it clearly has a broader appeal. It’s time to say goodbye to Bradley and Gaga. A new AV star has emerged.