Speakers Guide

Pioneer XW-NAS5 iPod Audio System review

Pioneer XW-NAS5 iPod Audio System - Brutish & Powerful

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Overall rating 7/10
Thumping bass
Soundscape feature is interesting
Mediocre audio performance
Unintuitive and complicated remote control

The Pioneer XW-NAS5 iPod Audio System

The Pioneer XW-NAS5 iPod Audio System

The Pioneer XW-NAS5 keeps it simple with a sleek and unfussy style. The docking connector is located at the top panel and is kept concealed by a cover which can easily to be flipped open. Just below the docking connector are two rows of buttons which lets you power up or put the system into standby mode, change the input, and also control volume.

And search as hard as you may, you won’t find any displays on the XW-NAS5, well not visible ones at least, because Pioneer has cleverly integrated a simple LED display behind the fabric speaker grilles and it’s a rather elegant implementation.

Overall, the design and looks of the XW-NAS5 is tasteful and befits its flagship status. However, it’s let down by a poorly designed remote control. Not only is the remote control rather unintuitive to use, it gives you only basic control of your iPod and iPhone. You can only skip tracks backwards and forwards, play and pause and that’s it. There’s no way to cycle through playlists, select individual tracks, much less access the different menus in your iPod and iPhone.

On the audio front, the XW-NAS5 features a single 10cm woofer and two 5.2cm mid-range drivers as well as two 2.6cm semi-done tweeters. To complement the hardware, Pioneer has included something called Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) that supposedly helps restore details that are lost in compressed music files. Furthermore, the XW-NAS5 also provides various sound modes to choose from. “Vivid” widens the soundstage and attempts to reproduce a live concert experience, whereas the “Lo-fi” modes gives music a retro and grainy feel.

But perhaps the most interesting sound feature of them is the Soundscape function, which adds ambient sounds to your music. There are six to choose from ranging from the sounds of waves to the rustling of trees and the chirping of birds. The volume of the sound effects is adjustable and although it might seem gimmicky, it’s actually a pretty nifty feature, seeing that you can easily simulate different environments in your home.