Pioneer has refreshed its line-up of home theater A/V receivers with four new models. Starting with the entry level VSX-522 ($249 MSRP), all four models feature 3D HDMI connectivity, audio return channel support (ARC), HDMI pass-through and Pioneer’s room calibration system: MCACC. With the exception of the entry level model which does not have network connectivity, the other three all support Apple’s AirPlay for audio streaming. That makes Airplay available on a receiver that retails under $379, the VSX-822. I also like the line’s new brushed black metal finish. Pioneer also added two new receivers to its Elite line as well.
At first, I was most interested in the VSX-1022 (MSRP $449) and VSX-1122 ($599). The VXS-1022 replaces the VSX-1021 that I reviewed here last year. Like Onkyo’s 2012 refresh, the new 1022 gains an additional HDMI input bringing its total to six. However, it would have been nice if Pioneer added a HDMI input to the front. Looking at the back panel of the VSX-1022, there appears to be a lot less going on.
On the VSX-1022, the two optical and two coaxial inputs are reduced to one each. There’s only one set of component video in jacks versus two from last year. The banana plugs for the front height speakers have been replaced with lower cost speaker terminals. Control and IR ports are also gone. The 1122 still retains most of these ports with the exception of losing one set of component video inputs.
Besides providing more power and support for a second subwoofer, the VSX-1122 also features video processing by QDEO while the 1022 uses a Anchor Bay chipset. My understanding is that some of the video switching issues I encountered while testing the last year’s VSX-1021 are addressed in this year’s line up.
The other welcome addition is the inclusion of Pandora to the network equipped receivers. Last year’s line-up only had support for Internet radio for streaming audio. There’s also support to stream from local DLNA servers (v 1.5 certified).
Finally, Pioneer also released two new Elite receivers, the VSX-42 and the VSX-60. Both appear to mirror the 1021 and 1022 feature for feature. Besides the Elite branding, the Elite line also offers a two year warranty over the one year for the regular line. Secondly, the Elite line can easily be integrated into a central A/V control system such as a Crestron. While the VSX-60 costs $50 more than the VSX-1122, the VSX-42 costs $450 just like the VSX-1022. So, for the same price, why wouldn’t you go Elite?
You can learn more about these A/V receivers on Pioneer’s site.
Pioneer 1021 back: