CES 2019 News: Pioneer announces VSX-534, VSX-834 and VSX-934 AV receivers

New Year, New AV Receivers from Pioneer

by Andy Bassett Jan 10, 2019 at 6:11 PM

  • Pioneer has announced a new range of entry level AV receivers for 2019 and, in a first for the company, the VSX-934 Network AVR will feature Apple AirPlay 2.
    These AV receivers have plenty of exciting and useful features but given the entry level nature of the range - all models come in at under $600 US - the number of channels available to dedicate to surround speakers is lower than more expensive models.

    However, this seems a fair compromise and the 7.2 configuration of the VSX-834 and VSX-934 and the 5.2 configuration of the VXS-534 (or 5.2.2 and 3.2.2 if you want to switch to object-based audio mode) will be plenty for most non-enthusiasts.

    The models all have similar features and the VSX-534 and 834 come in a low-profile design with a height of just 5.8-inches to make installation into stands and cabinets easy.

    To distinguish the VSX-934, Pioneer have labelled it as a Network AV receiver and provided Chromecast and support for Works with SONOS. They've also added support for Apple Airplay 2 - a first for one of the companies' AVRs. There's also access to a range of content providers such as TuneIn internet radio, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, and Deezer - providing you have a subscription of course.

    These main differences aside, the three receivers all share the headline support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback in 5.2.2 and 3.2.2 configurations. Even without Atmos-enabled speakers, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X technologies simulate the output from ‘virtual’ height and surround speakers.

    In addition, legacy 2-channel audio can be treated with DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround technologies for a similar experience. Pioneer have also implemented what they call a Reflex Optimizer which resolves uncomfortable phase lag of sounds bouncing off the ceiling when using upfiring Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers.

    All three receivers use Pioneer’s ‘Direct Energy’ circuit design and the VSX-834 and 934 deliver 165W per channel while the VSX-534 drops a small amount of power for 150W per channel.

    There is HDMI support for 4K/60p, 4:4:4, 24-bit video pass-through of HDR (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG) and BT.2020 colour, plus the HDCP 2.2 digital copy-protection standard for playback of premium content. Super Resolution, a 4K upscaling technology suited to HD sources, is also implemented.

    Also included across the range is Pioneer’s MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System), a microphone based calibration system that automatically compensates for differences in speaker size, level, and distance, and equalizes response. Simultaneously, Phase Control technology eliminates low-pass filter phase-lag to create clearer mid- and high-range sounds. The VSX834 and 534 also feature Dialogue Enhancement which allows independent adjustment the volume of predominantly mid-range sounds - useful for dialogue.

    To help simplify operation and set up, Pioneer’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) can display Setup Guidance, System Setup, MCACC, and Network/Bluetooth information as well as Personal Presets and audio and video information during playback.

    Pioneer have packed in plenty of features to their new range of AV receivers and they’re sure to prove popular when they become available in February. Prices are only in US dollars currently but conversion to Sterling is pretty much 1:1 currently.

    The VSX-534 will cost $379.99, the VSX-834 $479.99 and the VSX-934 will be $579.99

    Please note both Apple AirPlay 2 in the VSX-934 and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X in all three models are not available out of the box and will be enabled in a future firmware update.

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