Sound bars should easily surpass and better other products, such as docks and smaller speakers, in terms of audio performance. The Pioneer HTZ-HW919BD boasts hardware, design and software that should help it deliver quality sound. However, specifications on paper do not always translate to practical prowess. Starting off with our usual selection of MP3s stored on a USB drive, we see whether the "HVT technology" and the "Omni-directional Diaphragms" live up to the marketing hype.
Seeing that Pioneer had tried to ensure "ideal dispersion of sound" with the sound-wing design of the speakers, we decided to kick off proceedings with the ambient, techno track Elements of Life by DJ Tiesto. The listen through could easily be broken down into two segments with diametrically opposite results. The distortion heavy first two minutes of the song lacked impact and were below par. However, as the distorted portion of the audio track cleared up, the Pioneer sound bar reproduced the track well for the rest of its duration. It seems that the subwoofer does not have enough capacity to really tackle bass-heavy tracks properly.
Confirming the bad low frequency performance was our Buckethead test track Sail On Soothsayer. The heavy distortion was not handled well once again. Lack of bite made this song a rough listen and was the lowest point for the Pioneer HTZ-HW919BD sound bar. If you happen to like hard rock or metal, this sound bar may not be up your alley.
After faltering with our heavier tracks, the Pioneer HTZ-HW919BD sound bar had a lot to make up for. Thankfully, performance picked up as we moved on to Adele’s mellow Melt My Heart To Stone. The reverb on the song was handled well by the Pioneer. The reproduction aspired to achieve the softness and emotion the track necessitates. However, a certain level of crispness was missing during our listen through.
Finishing our MP3 tests with Hotel California by The Eagles, we found that the shakers sounded slightly off and the guitar notes also lacked color and flavor. But an overall impressive soundstage meant that the live track was reproduced somewhat diligently. Based on the performance with this song we can state that the HVT technology and omni-directional diaphragm that Pioneer boasts about do actually make a slight difference for the better.
|Hotel California - The Eagles||8.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||7.0|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||8.0|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||7.5|