This week, Pioneer Electronics announced two new Elite home theater AV receivers, the VSX-43 and VSX-70. Both models are designed for expanded entertainment and control throughout the home, and they have been updated to accommodate future trends, particularly 4K material. Even better, they invite consumers to join the Elite group of AV enthusiasts at a cost-effective price. Here's what they have to offer.
The first model is the VSX-43, a 7.1 system with seven discrete amplifiers with a total of 560 watts of power (80Wx7, 20Hz–20kHz, THD 0.08% @ 8 ohms FTC). This AVR can also be set up as a 5.1 system in the main zone while powering a second zone using the two spare channels. In terms of connectivity, the VSX-43 offers six HDMI inputs, Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), one component video input, and one never-dying composite input. The unit provides 4K pass-through without the ability to upscale to 4K.
The VSX-43 can be controlled wirelessly using Pioneer's ControlApp on any smart device. The app provides users with control over the receiver's features and functions, such as mode and audio setting management, inputs, and streaming content. The ControlApp also has an interesting feature called Push Player, Pioneer's new music-sharing function that enables users to stream the music libraries stored on their devices wirelessly to the receiver, all from one app.
The VSX-70 is the bigger model of the two, a 7.2 AVR with seven discrete amplifiers producing 90 watts of power per channel (20Hz-20kHz, THD 0.08% @ 8 ohms FTC.) Additionally, this model comes with a second subwoofer output for a more balanced in-room bass response. With plenty of HDMI inputs to go around (eight to be exact) and one MHL, chances are you won't run out of room for any future sources. The VSX-70 allows 4K pass-through and upscales analog and HDMI video signals to 4K resolutions—which requires a 4K display, of course.
If you want to share your sources in other locations in your home, the VSX-70 can simultaneously send independently selected sources to three zones—5.1 in the main zone, audio to two speakers in a second zone, and HDMI to a third zone. Of course, if that third zone is far from the AVR, you'll need to use an HDMI booster or balun system to run a cable over a long distance.
In addition to Pioneer's iControlAV2013 app, the VSX-70 offers RS-232-over-IP control for integration into larger custom-control systems such as Crestron and Control4. The VSX-70 also comes with Pioneer's AVNavigator, a two-way interactive owner's manual that walks you through the entire set-up process of the new Elite AVR. This comes on the bundled CD-Rom now available for Windows and Mac and for the iPad on the App store.
Streaming content is extremely popular now, and both AVRs can handle quite a roster of formats, including WAV, MP3, WMA, ACC and FLAC. Files can be accessed from the network or via the front USB port. New for 2013, Pioneer has included the lossless AIFF high-resolution format as well as Apple Lossless. Streaming services like Pandora and vTuner are also available on both units.
Every manufacturer in the CE industry is trying to find new ways to become as energy efficient as possible. One of the biggest energy consumers in most AV systems is the AVR. Pioneer has a solution for that—the new 2013 Elite models feature power-saving Eco Management functions. Not only does this reduce power consumption in both on and stand-by modes, it also analyzes and controls peak volume corresponding to the content being played. Pioneer claims this feature maintains audio quality, but you can disable it if you prefer.
Both the Pioneer VSX-43 and VSX-70 can be found at your local Pioneer Elite retailer and are priced at $525 and $750, respectively.
Do the new features and value pricing entice you to purchase one of these Elite products?