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Pioneer Readies Mainstream AVR Series

3/15/2012 09:01:00 AM Eastern

Long Beach,
Calif. - Pioneer is bringing Apple AirPlay, Internet radio, and DLNA 1.5
networking to an everyday $379 from last year's $549 with the launch of four
new mainstream-series models.

Pioneer’s 2012 mainstream AVR series includes the networked $449 VSX-1022 with Apple AirPlay, DLNA 1.5 certification, and Internet radio.The AVRs, due in stores this month, are the 5.1-channel VSX-522 at an everyday $249, 5.1-channel
VSX-822 at $379, 7.1-channel VSX-1022 at $449, and the VSX-1122 at $599.

At least one more mainstream-series AVR is planned for
later this year along with new Elite series AVRs.

New features
in select models include streaming of 192kHz/24-Bit FLAC and 192kHz/24-Bit WAV
music files through front-panel USB ports and via a home network. "We wish to
dispel the myth that music files have to be compressed low-bit-rate, low-depth
MP3," a spokesman said.

Another new feature, available at $599, is automatic
real-time subwoofer phase adjustment.

In Internet radio, the $379 VSX-822 and $449 VSX-1022
feature the Pandora music service and vTuner, which enables streaming of
thousands on Internet radio stations. The $599 VSX-1122 adds the SiriusXM
streaming service. All of the networked AVRs, however, feature AirPlay to let
users push music streams from Internet-music apps residing on a hand-held Apple
device, the company said.

Like last
year, $249 is the opening price for AVRs with 3D-capable HDMI 1.4a inputs and
outputs, HDMI audio return channel, HDMI standby passthrough, and Dolby Pro
Logic IIz front-height post processing. In the 5.1-channel AVRs, a preout is
available to add on a stereo amp to power the front-height channels.

The $349 price
point remains the opening price point for an Apple-certified front-panel USB
port that streams music from a USB-connected iPod, iPhone, or iPad and charges
the mobile devices.

In one change,
Pioneer's proprietary front-wide technology starts at $599 rather than $549
because the $549 price point has been dropped from this year's selection.

In another
change, the models starting at $379 get the ability to stream 192kHz/24-Bit
FLAC and WAV music files through their front USB ports and via a home network.
Last year, 192kHz/24-bit FLAC streaming over a network started in the Elite series
at $900, and 96/24 FLAC streaming over a network started at $549. No AVRs last
year supported FLAC over USB. Over USB, WAV streaming was limited to 16-bit
files.

A new feature
for 2012 is automatic phase control, available in the $599 AVR to automatically
adjust the subwoofer's time delay to deliver more accurate sound and tighten up
the soundfield, the company said. The technology analyzes subwoofer phase every
30 seconds for 10 seconds in real time, then makes adjustments gradually in
three seconds. Last year, this feature was a manual adjustment in the $549 AVR,
the company said.

In another
change, the starting price point for AirJam app compatibility goes to $379 from
$549. AirJam-compatible models let up to four people at a time use a free
AirJam app on an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad to jointly create a master playlist
of songs to be streamed to the AVR via stereo Bluetooth. The AVR must be
connected to an optional $99 stereo-Bluetooth adapter.

In HDMI
connectivity, the $249 price point continues to offer four HDMI 1.4a inputs,
but the $379 price points gets six HDMI inputs versus four last year, and the
$449 price point gets six, up from five.

Like last
year, $249 is the starting price for Dolby TrueHD and DTS hd-Master decoding
and two-channel automatic level control. The latter ensures consistent volume
when changing TV channels, when switching audio sources, and when TV programs
transition to a commercial. The $599 model adds multichannel auto level
control.

All models
with USB ports connect to non-Apple brand MP3 players and USB drives. A port to
connect Pioneer's optional Bluetooth module was dropped from the opening-price
$249 model because of a low attachment rate.

 

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