The Pioneer HTZ-HW919BD had performed well in our testing process and gave a solid performance. Of course, with the newer Pioneer HTZ-HW929BD we expect the audio reproduction to be taken a notch higher. We are especially interested to see how the new design of the sub-woofer will impact audio playback and if it will help shape an improved sound profile for the sound bar. The first part of our testing procedure included our usual MP3 tracks played back via USB.
As is the norm, we started off our testing with Adele’s Melt My Heart To Stone. The trebles for the song were bright but lacked the warmth, which decreased the enjoyment of the track. On the highest notes in the song, there was a hint of audible distortion as well. But the most evident flaw of the reproduction was the fact that the timbre and quality of Adele’s voice was not properly reproduced. Vocals sounded flat and lacked the singer’s distinct tonal characteristics. In our opinion, the HTZ-HW919BD actually sounded better when handling this song.
Moving on, we tried out Sail On Soothsayer. The bright trebles of the sound bar helped reproduce the chiming guitars well, though the attack of the notes heard did not fully meet our expectations. It was still suitably piquant to be enjoyable. However, the distortion heavy rhythm guitars were not done justice at all. The sound was loose and undefined, coming across as ambient audio instead of precise chords. This made the listening experience a mixed bag with half the song being reproduced adequately well while the other half failed to meet the mark.
We use Elements Of Life by Tiesto to test out the bass capabilities of products. If you remember, the HTZ-HW919BD did not impress with this track and handled the distortion heavy opening sequence badly. The HTZ-HW929BD rectifies this problem and the synths have a suitably controlled, defined nature. The bass is deep and extends to cover a good deal of the low frequency registers. The groove and pacing of the track is also rendered passably well. But while the nuances of the tracks can be heard on closer inspection, the details of the mix do not shine through like they should. In our opinion while the new sound bar does sound different on this track, it only improves slightly on the older showing.
The last stop on our listening tests was Hotel California by The Eagles. Like the previous model, the Sound Wing helped render a good soundstage which captured the live ambience and atmosphere of the track well. Good transient response on part of the sound bar also resulted in the alternate percussion instruments sounding life-like. Also, the bright tone of the HTZ-HW929BD also ensured the guitars were pleasant to listen to. All in all, this track was the highlight of the Pioneer sound bar’s performance.
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||7.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||6.5|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||7.5|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||8.0|