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Highly Recommended
4.5 stars
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Overall Grade
4.5 stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Pioneer FS-EB70 ELITE Network Sound Bar System

Reviewed by:
Review Date:1
May 17th, 2017
Manufacturer:
Pioneer

PROS

- 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible

- 4K and HDR ready

- 300 watts of total power

- 4 HDMI inputs

- Powerful Subwoofer

- Wireless Audio Streaming

CONS

- FM Radio Signal was weak

INTRO


If you don't have the means to hook up countless speakers, wires, receivers, and subwoofers to catch your favorite film in its best-sounding glory, sound bars are a good alternative for many people. In the past, one speaker providing all your sound would completely hinder the sensation of immersion. Luckily for us, most of the companies have greatly improved their sound bars into amazing Dolby Atmos and DTS:X systems that provide a fully immersive sound experience, similar to the big bad full setup.

In addition to that, some of us love to watch our programming in rooms other than the living room or media room, but still want top quality sound. Now we can with great sounding sound bars with Atmos sound without all of the hookups or space that is required for a full array of speakers and wires. That brings us to the

That brings us to the Pioneer FS-EB70 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos enabled ELITE Network Sound Bar System, which is much more than just a sound bar. You also get small receiver and subwoofer too, which provide top notch sound with tons of hookups and options that would surprise and satisfy many an audiophile.

DESIGN


There are three items here with the Pioneer Elite FS-EB70. One is the sound bar itself, another is a sleek looking subwoofer, and the other is an excellent, yet simple audio/video receiver. I can hear you asking, "Why do I need the extras when all I want is the sound bar?" Nowadays, people have multiple devices to watching and listen to their programming. A simple sound bar couldn't handle all of the sound quality, plus an excellent low range, and multiple inputs for other devices all in one. That's where the subwoofer and receiver come in here, and it doesn't take up that much space and it all looks great.

The sound bar itself is not very big -- 37-3/8 x 2-3/16 x 3-1/8 inches. The backside of the unit has a sleek, glossy black finish, while the rest of unit is covered in cloth mesh. There are six channels and a dual driver system for center, right, and left channels, plus angled height channels for the desired surround sound, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X sound options. You won't see any of the speakers due to the cloth mesh that covers them. It's a simple yet sleek looking sound bar.

The subwoofer is 10-1/4 x 13-5/16 x 10-9/16 inches, which is a good size for any room, specifically a bedroom or small viewing room. The top of the sub is sleek, glossy, black, and has the word ELITE printed in gold lettering. The rest of the sub is a matte black finish. The only hookup on the back of the unit is the power cord that plugs into the outlet and has a wireless signal to the receiver so you will get the thrilling low-end bass. Simple and easy to hookup for sure.

The receiver is 17-1/2 x 2-11/16 x 11-15/16 inches and has a sleek lighter shade of matte black that covers the unit. The front display reads text in orange and is large enough to be seen from across the room. Power and Network lights are bright blue. The front of the unit has six hover buttons, where you don't have to use pressure to use them, but simply hover your finger over them. The buttons are for volume, inputs, dimmer and power. Text above the buttons is written in gold.

Around back, there is an impressive 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output, meaning you can hookup four devices to this sound bar. There is a digital optical output, an RCA audio input, a USB input, and the mic setup. In addition to that, there is an FM antenna hookup, Ethernet port, dedicated speaker port for connecting the sound bar itself, and a subwoofer Pre-Out. Lastly, there are two antennas that are movable in the back of the unit that only raises up an inch or two for better network connectivity.

The remote is about the size of a hand and simple to use. The power button is bright orange with the rest of the buttons being black with white lettering. Every input has its specific button to assign, along with volume, a curser, play, pause, chapter skips, and settings. Unfortunately, the remote is backlit for darker rooms.

SPECIFICATIONS


From Pioneerelectronics.com 

SETUP AND NAVIGATION


With three separate devices to integrate, you'd think this Pioneer Elite FS-EB70 would be difficult to set up. Not true at all. Simply plug it into a power source, hooking up your HDMI and other input sources like a Blu-ray player, video game console, AppleTV, or cable box. Then connect the sound bar to the receiver using the dedicated cable.

From here, you can view the settings on your television to test the speaker channels and subwoofer, and then calibrate the sound to the size of your room. It's self-explanatory and easy to follow.

You can also set up your wireless network by selecting your own network and entering your password. In addition, there is an option for lip sync delay in case the video and audio are off kilter. After that, you are ready to start watching and listening to your favorite content.

PERFORMANCE


The Pioneer Elite FS-EB70 is a fantastic three-piece sound bar that simulates 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound -- three main channels, one subwoofer, and two height channels -- with deep, crisp bass, and a mix of highs and lows that round out an excellent sound design to whatever program you choose to watch. The sound bounces off the walls with the angled upward facing speakers that create an immersive sound experience, as if you had a far more expensive setup.

I chose to watch Wrestlemania 33 on my AppleTV thru this sound bar, which is a 5.1 mix the EB70 up-mixed to 3.1.2 using Dolby Surround. Considering this live event has it all -- including dialogue at all sound levels, music, crowd noise and cheers, and pyrotechnic explosions -- this seemed like a challenging experiment. I was not disappointed, to say the least. Even though I wasn't in Orlando to witness this huge event, the EB70 definitely provided a fully immersive experience as if I was sitting ringside.

Crowd cheers, boos, chants, and applause engulfed the upwards-pointing speakers, providing a surround sound experience that was loud and smooth. Sometimes, you'd hear a loud scream from a lone fan, which would echo from the back left of the room, while at the same time, you'd hear a superstar hit the mat with great force in the center channel. It was all well balanced and loud. Everyone's entrance music sounded incredible as if you were at a live show with deep bass that never crossed into rocky territory.

Specifically, when the Hardy Boyz returned, their heavy metal bass music hit, and I could feel my bones and walls rattle with its energetic beat. At the same time, you could hear the crowd go wild in all angles. It was fascinating and stunning. Every chest slap, suplex, and powerbomb sounded excellent and robust, while the dialogue and promos had the natural reverb and echo of being in a stadium. It was simply fantastic.

Next, I popped in the 4K UHD Blu-ray of The Expendables 2 to get a glimpse of that Dolby Atmos sound design with its super-heavy bass mix. The EB70 sound bar and subwoofer fully handled all the low-end sounds of explosions, gun blasts, vehicles roaring past, and more. When the bigger explosions happen, debris can be heard flying overhead and falling down due to the amazing angled speakers  -- at times like these, you won't even be able to tell you are using a sound bar.

Tons of gunshots of all sizes sound extremely powerful with great directionality and pack a great punch with each blast. Meanwhile, the score is energetic and the dialogue is always crisp and clear and never drowned out or overpowered by any other sound aspect. The dynamic range is very wide and the LFE is excellent, which this unit perfectly captures every nuanced and detailed sound perfectly without a scratch or hiss.

This being a 3.1.2 sound bar, you'd expect the rear simulated sound to not be as heavy as with a full Dolby Atmos setup or a 7.1 atmosphere. With my current big Dolby Atmos setup, the heavier action scenes in The Expendables 2 certainly captured every background noise and rear gunshot when many shooters were on or off screen -- the sound was powerful and full of bass, even in the rear speakers. With this Pioneer Elite sound bar system, the angled speakers bounce the sound off the walls shaped to your room to provide that simulated surround sound. It's not as full nor packs as big a punch as a multi-speaker setup, but there is an immersive experience to be had here with debris flying overhead and guns blazing past you. It's just not as forceful.

However, in comparison with the 5.1 Yamaha YSP-1600 MusiCast Sound Bar, the YSP-1600 offers more nuanced sounds from "rear channels", but this Pioneer FS-EB70 boasts deeper low-end performance and far more overall immersion despite lacking dedicated rears.
 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS



Currently, the Pioneer FS-EB70 3.1.2 ELITE Network Sound Bar System retails for $1000, which might sound expensive for a sound bar. However, the quality and big sound you get -- along with an excellent subwoofer and great A/V receiver with 4 HDMI inputs and wireless options -- is basically a steal for that price. No matter if you're watching a wrestling program on AirPlay, an action film on Blu-ray, or playing Overwatch for hours on end, this sound bar system can handle the big guns, all while looking sleek and not taking up much room. It's easy to set up and program and is an all around great alternative to the big bad Atmos set up or if you just want to have great sound in a bedroom without having to wire everything together.

If you're looking for an easy-to-use audio sound bar that has great dynamic range and full bass, plus tons of hook ups and options, the FS-EB70 is the one to get. Highly Recommended!

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