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Pioneer VSX-920-K Receiver Preview

Pioneer VSX-920-K Receiver

Pioneer VSX-920-K Receiver


  • Product Name: VSX-920-K
  • Manufacturer: Pioneer
  • Review Date: March 15, 2010 02:40
  • MSRP: $399
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Channels: 7.1 surround sound
  • Power: 110x7 watts
  • HDMI Specification: v. 1.4, 3D, Deep Color and X.V. Color
  • HDMI Ports: 4 in, 1 out
  • Component Ports: 2 in, 1 out
  • Audio Codecs Supported: DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic IIz with pre-out
  • Video Modes Supported: 1080p and below
  • Digital Formats Supported: JPEG, MP3, WAV, WMA
  • "Works with iPhone"-certified

VSX-920-K_FRONTPioneer Electronics' new line of receivers continues to impress with their feature for price ratio. So far we've previewed the VSX-520-K and VSX-820-K. These retail for $229 and $299 respectively. The differences between the two are pretty significant and many might be able to justify the additional expenditure for the 820. The question is whether those same people might be convinced that spending an extra $100 for the VSX-920-K will be worth it. Maybe not if they are extremely tight of wallet but we're betting that a few looking to spend sub $500 will take a hard look at the $399 VSX-920-K.

Check out AV Rant for an interview with Dave Bales of Pioneer Electronics about their new line of receivers.

All of Pioneer's new Pioneer-branded receivers are rated at 110 watts per channel and the VSX-920-K is no different. One of the major steps up in performance for the 920-K is that they are bumping up from five internal amps to seven. While you needed a pre-out to employ surround back speakers, with the VSX-920-K you can use the internal amps. Like the rest of the new line, Dolby ProLogic IIz is on board but now you can assign the surround back amps to these height channels.

We shouldn't be excited about the fact that the VSX-920-K has HDMI 1.4 inputs making it one of the first 3-D ready receivers on the market since they have two lower priced receivers that do the same but the fact is that at the $399 price point they still are pretty much alone on the market currently. While you might not have the display or source to take advantage of 3-D yet, you probably will soon. If you are going to make a receiver purchase now, you might as well "future-proof" yourself as much as possible. 


The input and output configuration of the VSX-920-K is pretty much identical to the VSX-820-K so we won't go over it again. Other than the two additional channels of amplfication, the back panels look identical. You have four HDMI inputs and one out, two component inputs and one out, and a slew of composite video and analogue stereo inputs. One thing that is missing (actually replaced with different outputs) are the left/right analogue pre-outs used for the surround back/height channels on the VSX-520/820-K receivers. Those pre-outs have been replaced with a generic stereo output. This means that you can't run a full 7.1 system AND height channels (you have to use the internal amps). Not really a deal-breaker but something to consider.

Other than the extra amps, the VSX-920-K adds a few important features. For audio purists, Pioneer has included their PQLS (Precision Quartz Lock) system. This allows compatible Pioneer Blu-ray players to have their clock controlled by the receiver over HDMI eliminating jitter effects. At this price point, it only works on two channel sources. 

More importantly (to most buyers) is video upconversion. At the $399 price point, expect the VSX-920-K to upconvert all your sources to HDMI. In addition they have employed the Anchor Bay 1080p upconversion (ABT1015). This is an incredibly useful feature for those that have multiple sources being directed to a display with questionable upconversion capabilities. The fact is that many displays will perform well as long as you feed them a clean, upconverted signal. One of the ways to save money in a display purchase is to buy one that doesn't have good conversion. With the Pioneer VSX-920-K you can upconvert everything from your cable box to your VCR to the native resolution of your display.


The VSX-920-K shares a lot of the features with the two lower priced receivers. Why shouldn't it? They offer a great foundation. With four 3-D ready HDMI 1.4 inputs, 110 watts per channel, and iPhone Certification, there is lot to like. The VSX-920-K introduces two more channels of amplification (to 7.1) that you can use to power your Dolby ProLogic IIz height channels, PQLS for enhanced two-channel audio, and Anchor Bay powered 1080p upconversion. Is it worth $399? We definitely think so.

For more information, please visit www.pioneerelectronics.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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