Helping to fill the void left by the departure of Oppo, Pioneer & Onkyo U.S.A. Corp. used CEDIA Expo last week to unveil a new universal disc player supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray playback under the company’s Elite brand.

The high-end Elite UDP-LX500 ($1,099 suggested retail) universal disc player has been engineered for the custom installation market, using a very low-resonance chassis to accommodate the up-to-5,000 rpm rotational speeds required for Ultra HD Blu-ray playback.

Among the unit’s convenience features are: two HDMI outputs for direct video connection to the display input and a connection to a high-resolution sound system using the audio-only HDMI out.

It is also equipped with two-way RS-232 and IP control for integration into major control systems, including Control4 and Crestron technology.

The company said the player’s main board was specifically configured to achieve a high S/N ratio during the processing of video and audio by adopting a six-layer IVH (interstitial via hole) construction technique.

“As a result, Pioneer has been able to fully optimize the routing of digital signal wiring to minimize ground impedance,” the company said. “This also improves the precision of the high capacity transmission speed of 18Gbps which the latest HDMI standard now makes possible.”

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A proprietary Zero Signal Terminal was added to optimize audio and video quality through the connection to a compatible input on a receiver. This way, the player assures the reference ground level (GND) of audio/video signals between the two devices is matched and aligned, with any potential differences suppressed, allowing owners to enjoy audio and video with an even further improved S/N ratio and performance.

The player also has a rigid design construction and lower center of gravity to suppress vibration transmission occurring inside the player.

The player features a double-layered chassis with a 3mm steel plate for rigidity, as well as an acoustic damper tray and ultra-quiet UHD BD drive.

For HDR, the player will support both mandatory HDR10 and voluntary Dolby Vision (low latency compatible) profiles. There was no mention of the other voluntary profiles — HDR10+ or Technicolor, which were added to the UHD Blu-ray spec later. However, the player is firmware upgradeable, and will support Internet-streamed BD Live enhanced content.

Like some Oppo and Panasonic players, the Elite UDP-LX500 is not listed as offering any streaming apps or services, although it will support most disc formats.

Users can check disc information on screen by pressing and holding the remote control’s “display” button. This will indicate the details of the disc that’s playing to easily check mastering information such as MaxFALL (Maximum Frame Average Light Level) and MaxCLL (Maximum Content Light Level) available on some HDR content, as well as HDMI output information.

Other features include a Direct function for analog connection and Pioneer’s PQLS (Precision Quartz Lock System) for HDMI connection. The Direct function turns off the digital audio and video circuits, allowing listeners to enjoy high-resolution sound sources and CDs with enhanced purity.

For audio-only listening the player continues to support SACD and DVD-Audio discs in addition to analog 2-channel playback. The company said “spurious noise around the power supply and GND have been suppressed and the circuit expertly tuned to give a full, rich sound.”

The UDP-LX500 supports three HDMI output modes: “separate” which enables high-quality transmission by separating video and audio via the main/sub HDMI outputs; “Single” which routes both video and audio output via the main HDMI output, and “Pure Audio” which delivers an audio-only output from the sub HDMI terminal.


By Greg Tarr


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