The number of high performing entry level and mid-priced AV Receiver models on the market is quite astounding. As we’ve mentioned before, this plays big for a wide range of buyers taking advantage of low prices on new 4K televisions and Atmos-enabled speakers. Manufacturers easily could have entered the 2016 model cycle with plans to force buyers with 4K video and immersive sound aspirations into more expensive product categories; the fact that models in the $400-$500 range can deliver 5.1.2 sound and provide complete 4K video coverage is rather astounding.
Yesterday, Pioneer Electronics officially released two new low priced models, both offering serious punch for the dollar. Headlining the new duo is the VSX-1131, a 7.2 channel receiver capable of supplying 100 Watts per channel (8 ohms, 2 Channels) paired with a high-grade 384kHz/32bit DAC manufactured by AKM. With two channels of immersive sound coverage, the VSX-1131 ships with Dolby Atmos onboard and DTS:X-ready hardware that’s scheduled to be activated this coming fall with a Pioneer firmware update. The video side of the 1131 supports 4K/60p/4:4:4 color and 24-bit video transmission. This means it can pass-through High Dynamic Range and BT 2020 color space (the same color space experienced in commercial cinemas), in addition to properly decoding HDCP 2.2 4K content. Buyers will also be pleased to know that the VSX-1131 has built-in upscaling technologies to enhance standard HD-quality video material.
Hi-Res audio and wireless streaming are both featured on the VSX-1131, with support for FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD (2.8/5.6 MHz), and Apple lossless file formats. Users can also stream material from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Tidal, Deezer, and personal devices using AirPlay, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi. FireConnect (streaming to speakers) is available with FireConnect compatible speakers. To further enhance the audio experience, Pioneer’s MCACC room calibration suite with ‘Reflex Optimizer’ helps to tame acoustic environments with an emphasis on optimization of Atmos-enabled speakers.
The backside of the Pioneer VSX-831.
The VSX-831 is a step-down AV Receiver that offers the same 4K video coverage as the VSX-1131, without the addition of immersive sound. It’s a 5.2-channel performer with a modest 80 Watts (8 Ohms, 2 Channels) of power and the same AKM DAC found on its older sibling.
The VSX-831 is aimed squarely at buyers looking an AVR that can play nicely with a new 4K television and future 4K video content, with less of an emphasis on fully fleshed surround sound. It does, however, offer enough audio features to power a solid two-channel system or a smaller surround set-up with the added benefits of wireless/Bluetooth streaming . The addition of MCACC (sans Reflex Optimizer) is a nice add-on feature at this price point.
The VSX-1131 is priced at $599 and the VSX-831 comes in at a very affordable $449 MSRP. Both models are available for purchase now. For more information visit Pioneer at www.pioneerelectronics.com
Image Credits: Pioneer Electronics