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Pioneer Debuts 4 New Advanced Receivers

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Summary

  • Product Name: VSX-x18 Series AV receivers
  • Manufacturer: Pioneer Electronics
  • Review Date: January 09, 2008 02:40
  • MSRP: $199 - $599
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. today debuts four advanced A/V receivers that deliver dynamic high definition video and audio formats for next generation home theater performance. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Pioneer is showcasing the VSX-518-K, VSX-818V-K, VSX-918V-K and VSX-1018TXH-K A/V receivers, which incorporate new proprietary amplifier technologies that ensure maximum power from multi-channel sound formats while maintaining clean audio with impressive THD specifications. Improved sound tuning and customization options along with an abundance of HD digital connectivity ports make it easy for consumers to usher their home entertainment into the HD era.

The VSX-1018TXH-K takes full advantage of HDMI 1.3 high definition multimedia interface with the capability to transfer internally decoded Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus , DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio formats to bring the entertainment experience full circle when viewing HD optical disc feature films.

With the VSX-1018TXH-K A/V receiver, Pioneer features its Advanced Direct Energy power amplifier delivering ultra high power output that defines hearing like never before. Producing an impressive 130 watts x 7 channels, the Direct Energy Amplifier creates a wide range frequency response that makes it ideal for reproducing new high resolution audio formats. By utilizing a new temperature compensation circuitry of the temperature fluctuations are effectively minimized between channels to maintain high quality audio from all connected devices. The Direct Energy amplifier also features a low impedance, high current and compact circuit design to maximize performance in the critical output stages.

P.H.A.T – Pioneer Hybrid Amplifier technology
With this new line, Pioneer is incorporating its newly developed Pioneer Hybrid Amplifier Technology (P.H.A.T.) power module that improves fundamental audio to a more powerful and accurate performance designed to exceed the capabilities of current comparably priced A/V receivers in the market. Featured in the VSX-518-K, VSX-818V-K, VSX-918V-K A/V receivers, P.H.A.T amplifiers are painstakingly engineered with hand-selected parts and critical listening sound tuning to ensure the entire range of audio from music and soundtracks is delivered.

In addition, the new models will benefit from temperature compensation technology that prevents temperature fluctuations from affecting output that can distort surround sound performance. With P.H.A.T., the new receivers produce a whopping 120 watts x 5 channel power output with an impressive .05% THD specification (1kHz, 8ohm). The new P.H.A.T amplifiers are further improved by utilizing smaller power modules minimizing internal and external electromagnetic interferences.

Taking full advantage of its audio heritage, Pioneer pushes the limits of its audio expertise with the inclusion of its renowned digital sound processing (DSP) capabilities that maximize surround sound performance. All four models utilize cutting edge sound tuning capabilities that discerning entertainment junkies will appreciate.

Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) – Continuing to lead the industry with high resolution sound tuning, the VSX-818V-K, VSX-918V-K, and VSX-1018TXH-K receivers give users a customized audio performance from their movies and music. MCACC room calibration takes inventory of a room’s connected speakers then digitally fine tunes each one to balance out any room-induced acoustic inaccuracies. Listeners gain extremely accurate, robust sound that reaches the ear at precisely the right time, sound level and equalization. With the VSX-1018TXH-K, users can make additional subtle adjustments as well as save room tuning settings with the Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration feature.

Sound Retriever Technology the proliferation of portable players and satellite radio devices requires audio files be reduced in size often at the expense of sound quality. In response, Pioneer’s proprietary Sound Retriever DSP technology is incorporated in all four models. The function works by “filling in” and compensating for the audio data removed from the compressed files (WMA, MP3, MPEG-4 AAC) for music playback that is near CD quality.

Auto Level Control - Available in all four models, this brand new feature equalizes volume levels between portable audio tracks (i.e. MP3 player), connected sources as well as television channels and commercials. Analog sources connected to Pioneer’s receivers will maintain consistent sound performance eliminating the need for a user to constantly reach for their remote control and adjust the volume from various content and sources.

Multi-Zone Audio – With the VSX-1018TXH-K, individuals in two separate rooms can enjoy audio from connected devices through the receiver. For example, while one user is viewing a movie in surround sound the main listening area, a second zone environment can enjoy a music CD, XM and/or Sirius satellite radio, iPod as well as any other analog source connected to the receiver. Multi-zone capability is an easy way for “do-it-yourself” multi-zone music distribution and is a key feature for those who wish to have a full custom installation application.

Pioneer’s top three models offer robust high definition connectivity options for nearly every home theater component. HDMI video switching allows consumers to realize cutting edge entertainment with quick, smooth toggling between video sources (DVD, Blu-ray Disc, video game, etc.) without impacting picture or sound performance.

The VSX-918V-K and VSX-1018TXH-K models take complete advantage of HDMI connectivity with a full feature set including, HDMI A/V repeaters to output compressed 5.1, stereo as well as Linear PCM (LPCM) high resolution audio for ultimate surround sound when viewing HD optical discs. With HDMI Lip Sync, both receivers are able to eliminate processing delays of standard and high definition content ensuring audio and video signals are synchronized and delivered at the simultaneously to improve the movie viewing experience. The VSX-1018TXH-K allows consumers to explore the ultimate HD picture with HDMI Deep Color that supports 10-bit, 12-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, increased from the 8-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification. The VSX-818V-K offers HDMI video switching for 1080p connectivity and performance. Each receiver offers full sound processing of Dolby Digital, DTS and Windows Media Audio 9 Professional formats for supreme audio playback of movies, home movies, portable music and more.

Recognizing the transition of mobile to in-home listening of satellite radio, Pioneer’s top three receivers offer dedicated connectivity ports for both XM Connect & Play and SiriusConnect antennas (both sold separately; monthly subscription needed). Once connected, complete access and control of both SIRIUS and XM devices are easy with the receiver’s remote control and full on-screen display (OSD) capability.

Listeners can relax and enjoy the crystal-clear programming from each provider. The top three Pioneer A/V receivers also provide immediate "plug and play" enjoyment of iPod music content via a front panel digital USB port. With iPod Digital, the receivers are compatible with the iPod’s connector cable eliminating the need for a separate dock while maintaining functionality. The iPod can be fully controlled with the unit’s remote control and OSD capability allowing users to navigate and share their playlists.

The Pioneer VSX-518, VSX-818 and VSX-918 A/V receivers will be available in April 2008 for suggested prices of $199, $249 and $349, respectively. The Pioneer VSX-1018TXH-K will begin shipping in June 2008 for a suggested price of $599.

About Pioneer
Pioneer’s Home Entertainment and Business Solutions Group develops high definition home theater equipment for discerning entertainment junkies. Its flat panel televisions, Blu-ray Disc players, A/V receivers and speakers bring a new level of emotion to the HD experience. The company brands include Pioneer and Elite®. When purchased from an authorized retailer, consumers receive a limited warranty for one year with Pioneer products and two years with Pioneer Elite products. More details can be located at http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/

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About the author:

Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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Recent Forum Posts:

AVRat posts on January 20, 2008 14:20
I guess announcements on upgraded pre/pros was skimpy/non-existent since nothing was reported, eh?
The Chukker posts on January 16, 2008 00:28
Tom Andry, post: 358149
Scratch that - when I wrote that article, I was converting from Yen to $ and came to $1800. Turns out it will cost more like $2500 according to Sony.
Yikes. It would be interesting if someone used the average price points for LCD or Plasma tv's (from say 27“ to 60+”) and then applied that sliding scale model to OLED tv's to give a “rough” idea of what the larger panels would cost in comparison. I know this logic is inherently flawed but geez, $2500 for an 11" tv? pfffff.
Do you get the feeling these guys are just showing off for it's own sake?
Tom Andry posts on January 15, 2008 11:10
Scratch that - when I wrote that article, I was converting from Yen to $ and came to $1800. Turns out it will cost more like $2500 according to Sony. I'd love to see this tech mature but I have a feeling that no one is going to want to invest in it enough to get the infrastructure to the point were they can be produced cheaply. With the majority of the public rolling their eyes at me when I tell them that there is a difference between SD and HD, I can't believe that we're going to convince them that a high contrast ratio is reason enough to spend 5x on an OLED display.
Tom Andry posts on January 15, 2008 09:43
The Chukker, post: 357718
So what kind of price differential are we talking about here? Did Samsung actually have an MSRP for the 31" model? If mass production were to indeed start in 2010 of mid to large sized models, what price point is Samsung shooting for and what was the maximum size they were touting?

Sony just released their first 11" OLED at $1800
Toshiba isn't going to release any at all based on manufacturing costs
[read more]

Samsung didn't talk price (heck, they didn't have a price tag on a single item in their booth) but many times these tech showcases are just stuff they are exploring.
The Chukker posts on January 14, 2008 18:44
“there is ample evidence that OLED will never come down in price enough to be a serious contender against LCDs.”
So what kind of price differential are we talking about here? Did Samsung actually have an MSRP for the 31" model? If mass production were to indeed start in 2010 of mid to large sized models, what price point is Samsung shooting for and what was the maximum size they were touting?
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