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Zone 2: Pre-Amp Fixed Volume?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
This is my first zone 2 setup and I am having a hard go at it..

I purchased the Pioneer Elite VSX-53 about 8 months ago. I wanted airplay and multiple zones that I could play music through(analog connections). I also wanted to have control via my iPhone for the basic audio functions. My basement remodel just wrapped up, so I was able to set it up as originally planned; which is:

MAIN: 7.1
Zone 2: using the zone 2 pre-amp output, Patio 2 channel stereo speakers(using the Onkyo M-282 amplifier) - I am using the pre-amp to avoid using my rear surround speakers for zone 2.

After reading and re-reading the manual and spending many hour in the system setting menu, I am only able to get Zone 2 setup with FIXED volume through the pre-amp outputs. The only way to adjust the volume is a input level adjustment knob on the back of the amplifier (- which isn't intended to be the primary volume adjuster). How can this be? Well, I called Pioneer this AM and spoke with a tech and he stated that the Pioneer pre-amps are not volume variable. How can this be? He said that I would need a variable volume amp for my zone 2 setup. A Crutchfield rep said they don't carry a variable volume amp and was baffled that Pioneer would produce an "Elite" receiver with this gross oversight. He recommended to purchase another receiver for my originally planned zone 2.

So, based on what I have been told, I have three solutions:

1. Cripple my MAIN down to a 5.1 setup - using the speaker posts instead of the pre-amp; which enables Variable Volume for Zone 2.
2. Deal with the FIXED volume via pre-amp and set my Zone 2 speaker volume using the input level adjustment on the amp and never/rarely change it.
3. Sell my VSX-53 and get a Denon which supposedly has multi-zone variable volume.

Can anyone verify that this is accurate?

It blows my mind that zone 2 volume is fixed and not variable. How can this be on an "Elite" branded receiver that MSRPs for $1100. I really hope this is just a bad case of user misunderstanding/error.
post #2 of 4
I think I understand why they did this, as they have the assignable amp channels for Zone 2, so it may have made sense to provide a fixed output. Now, why they didn't give an option for that in setup, is an odd oversight...

Easy answer would hopefully be to just use Zone 3, which should be variable output?

If not, you could also hook your external amp up for the surround rears (using the pre-out jacks), then change the Pioneer's setup to use the internal channels for Zone 2.

Jeff
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I think I understand why they did this, as they have the assignable amp channels for Zone 2, so it may have made sense to provide a fixed output. Now, why they didn't give an option for that in setup, is an odd oversight...

Easy answer would hopefully be to just use Zone 3, which should be variable output?

If not, you could also hook your external amp up for the surround rears (using the pre-out jacks), then change the Pioneer's setup to use the internal channels for Zone 2.

Jeff

I just called Pioneer again and spoke with a tech that really knew what he was talking about. Unfortunately, using the pre-outs w/ my amp and using the speaker posts for Zone 2 will not work. Once I select the rears as pre-out, it kills the functionality of the speaker posts. Good thought though -- or did I totally miss your point/recommendation?

He did mention that I could adjust the input level on my amp to near max and use an outdoor volume controller to adjust the volume level for my zone 2. He also stated that this was my only option to have some control over Zone 2 volume using the zone 2 pre-out while maintaining my MAIN 7.1 setup. Disappointing.

I asked him if the new VSX-60 model for 2012 will have variable volume adjustment when using zone 2 pre-outs and of course... the new one will.

Anyone want a good deal on a VSX-53?
post #4 of 4
What about Zone 3?
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