Pioneer has just introduced two new entry-level Elite series AV receivers – the VSX-44 and VSX-80 7.2-channel models – designed for custom installers in mind. Both promise great installation flexibility, support for the latest high quality audio and video formats, and ease-of-use for their clients. Both models provide optimal listening and viewing performance features including the recently announced HDMI 2.0 specification for the highest video signal transfer available, Roku Ready certification, ESS SABRE Premier Audio DAC, RS-232 and IP Control (VSX-80 only), expanded multi-zone and multi-source management and functionality, multi-channel high resolution playback, 4K 60P Ultra HD compatibility, and Pioneer’s proprietary iControlAV5 App.
Highlights of the new models are explained below.
- HDMI 2.0 –Finalized in September 2013, version 2.0 of the HDMI specification offers a significant increase in signal bandwidth, now up to 18Gbps. The increased bandwidth provides support for new features such as 4K60p 4:4:4 colour support. 4:4:4 colour support offers viewers the highest quality colour reproduction available in content today, with no colour loss when images are displayed on compatible 4K televisions screens. The ability to pass through a very high bandwidth signal without downgrading the image means that Pioneer receivers will serve as the perfect entertainment hub.
- Roku Ready Certified – Both models are Roku Ready certified, expanding the user’s world of entertainment with access to more than 1,000 entertainment channels of streaming movies, music, TV shows, news, sports and more. Utilizing the receiver’s built-in MHL Connection located at the rear of the Elite receivers, users can simply plug in a Roku Streaming Stick to start using the device. For additional convenience, both models offer full control of the service from a Roku stick via the receiver’s remote control as well as the new iControlAV5 app.
- Music Enthusiast – Offering a diversified listening experience, the receivers have access to today’s most popular Internet radio music services including Spotify, PANDORA and vTuner. In addition, Pioneer incorporates the seamless connectivity standards of HTC Connect that enables wireless high quality music files to be shared between compatible HTC One smartphonesand Pioneer receivers.
- ESS SABRE Premier Audio DAC (VSX-80) – The VSX-80 incorporates the highly rated ES9006S DAC (192kHz/24-bit) to bring true professional digital audio into the home for unparalleled audio performance. The new DAC produces outstanding sound quality with a warm, more natural audio reproduction, as well as a linear response resulting in audio with substantially less jitter.
- Advanced MCACC with Subwoofer EQ (VSX-80) – Pioneer developed its MCACC technology more than 10 years ago with the help of professional recording studios. Advanced MCACC built into the new models helps create the optimum acoustic environment for movies and music. The receivers use a microphone (included) and a subwoofer EQ (new for 2014 on the VSX-80) to compensate for differences in speaker sizes, output levels, and distances from the user’s listening positions automatically.
- 4K2K Ultra HD 60P Video Up-Scaling (VSX-80) – The VSX-80 supports the next generation 4K2K Ultra HD resolution standard to help provide the highest quality video image available, with the ability to pass through 4K video signals of up to 60 frames per second to any HDMI 2.0-equipped 4K display. It can also upscale lower resolution signals before delivery to make them viewable on compatible 4K Ultra HD displays.
- Multi-Channel High Resolution Music Playback (VSX-80)– Strengthening a commitment to high-resolution music playback beyond two channels, Pioneer added playback support for 96kHz 24-Bit 5.0- and 5.1-channel FLAC and WAV files on the VSX-80. The receiver also supports other high-resolution music files including AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DSD (2.8 MHz), Apple Lossless, MP3, WMA and AAC, offering broad support for the most common high-resolution music. Gapless playback for many of these file formats is supported as well. In addition, Pioneer’s MCACC room calibration works with high-resolution music playback.
Installation and Simplified Operability
- Custom Installation (VSX-80) – For advanced home theater control, the VSX-80 is compatible with the most popular custom control companies, Crestron and Control4, and offers custom installation features including full two-way RS-232C-over-IP control, with the ability to receive metadata from network and iOS connected devices.
- Multi-Zone Network Capabilities – Both receivers are built for maximum installation flexibility, offering a variety of multi-zone set-up configurations, providing simultaneous entertainment for up to three zones. The VSX-44 provides powered multi-zone with an analog signal to a secondary area while the VSX-80 offers powered multi-zone with a digital audio signal to another room utilizing a network source such as Spotify, vTuner or Pandora, in addition to supplying a third zone (HDZone) with a HDMI video signal.
All seven speaker outputs can be reconfigured six different ways, including a true 7.2-channel speaker setup or a full 5.2-channel with the extra outputs used to power a completely different zone altogether, all controllable from the receiver and/or a user’s portable device via the iControlAV5 App.
- iControlAV5 Application – Pioneer developed iControlAV5, a new app enabling wireless control over the features and functionalities of 2012, 2013 and 2014 line of the receivers from the convenience of various portable digital devices. The app incorporates multiple controls from basic volume adjustments and input selection to advanced features such as equalizer adjustments and management of audio settings and modes, including full control of the Roku Streaming Stick. With the VSX-80, iControlAV5 adds AV Scaling, enabling manual override of a television’s native setting for easy adjustment of video scaling. The app is available at no cost from www.AppStore.com or the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app is also available in Google Play (www.GooglePlay.com) for Android devices.
- AVNavigator Built-In (VSX-80) – Pioneer’s AVNavigator is a two-way interactive owner’s manual that removes the complications of setting up a receiver. New for 2014, the VSX-80 features AVNavigator built-in eliminating the need to upload the software to a computer or laptop. Simply connect the receiver to a home network and launch the web browser. The functionality is also included in the iControlAV5 app where users can tap the AVNavigator icon in the application. AVNavigator features Pioneer’s Wiring Navi application, providing an interactive guide walking the user through the entire receiver setup process including speaker arrangement, sound optimization, connecting sources, MCACC calibration, renaming inputs, and more. AVNavigator also includes an Interactive Operation Guide application providing a linked two-way operation guide that gives users a way to learn about the receiver’s features (i.e. a push of the standard surround button on the front of the receiver takes the user directly to the portion of the manual that explains the standard surround feature).
The new Pioneer Elite receivers will be available at the end of March with suggested retail prices of $500 US (VSX-44) and $700 US (VSX-80).
For more info, please visit www.pioneerelectronics.ca