Pioneer VSX-516 HT Receiver Long Term Review
Three years ago we were looking through the sale papers before the big Friday Thanksgiving sale. There was a Circuit City ad (remember them?) and there was the Pioneer VSX-516 advertised for $129.
I had small expectations and bought it just for “the deal.” I figured it would go to use someplace in the house but never dreamed I would be using it as my main HT device.
I had all kinds of amps running 15 speakers so when I set up the Pioneer I hooked up the front speaker array just as I did with the amps. Only difference was I wired the front mains all into the front speaker outputs and the same with the rears. Although I was trying to drive loads impossible with this receiver; or many other receivers could possibly drive, I did it anyway. Well, it stayed that way for two years.
The subs had built in amps but the other 13 speakers were hooked up to the 7.1 speaker outputs. Don’t do this at home kids but it was (I thought) temporary and I just wanted to see what would happen. Although it would not make your ears bleed, it never clipped, heated up or let me down. I didn’t use some HT in a box speakers either. I am talking four Altec rears and four Venturi Formula 6 for the left/right front array. Do the math, quite a load. I hate to say it but the Pioneer has been bulletproof.
It is used today for TV viewing and all my living room audio tasks. The TV is on here 8-10 hours a day and so is the Pioneer. I have had many compliments on the sound as over the years people come to expect good sound coming from my house. Some with very good ears and experience have complimented the sound as well ‘till they took a closer look and wondered if I had lost my income or went nuts.
The current setup (wife friendly) front is a pair of Magnepan MMG’s and an old Jenzen electrostatic center with a home-brew cone. A pair of Optimus LX5’s as rears and another set of the same to complete the 7.1 configuration. To bring up the bottom is a home-brew 15’ sub with a Sunfire 1000 watt plate.
The Maggie’s are 4 ohm so the fronts are once again driving a load that would be tough for separate amps. The receiver menu has enough speaker adjustments to make up for the difference in volume levels. Once again I have not seen the output level of this receiver on a scope/meter but it does deliver.
Sure, I did spend a bit on the speakers and sub but $129 for a receiver? Dolby digital EX, DTS, and enough DSP modes to keep even a kid playing for hours.
Plain old stereo is impressive for what it is and tv/movies have never made me wish I had more.
I doubt if this receiver is still being made but if I see another one used, I may consider buying it just for a back up. How many more hours of abuse can it handle? Three years and countless hours makes me wonder how much more for your penny is there?
Here is a review that goes way more into detail than I did but I thought it was an interesting read.
To simply sum up, it has been one of the best “bang for buck” items of my life. So far