Beach, Calif. – Pioneer shipped the first two A/V receivers (AVRs) in its 2012
Elite series and brought networking, Internet radio, Apple AirPlay and other
features down to the series’ opening price point for the first time.
The opening-price model is the $450-everday 7.1-channel
VSX-42, which is being joined by the $650 7.2-channel VSX-60. The latter
replaces two models priced at $600 and $700.
last year’s Elite series, the opening price point for an AVR was also an
everyday $450, but the starting price for an AVR with DLNA 1.5-certified
networking, Windows 7 networking, vTuner Internet radio and AirPlay was $600.
Also new at the $450 price point this year is
remote control via an iPod/iPhone and Android app.
other Elite AVR changes, Pioneer is starting Stream Smoother technology at
$650, down from $900. The technology improves the picture quality of compressed
video streamed from the Internet through such sources as connected Blu-ray
players. The company is also starting the Pandora, Rhapsody and the SiriusXM
streaming services at $650, down from last year’s $900.
Pioneer Elite brought down the opening price of Virtual Modes to $650 from
$900. Virtual Modes adds virtual height channels, surround-back channels, depth
channels, and new front-wide channels without adding speakers. Depth channels are
designed for 2.1 systems, and the height, surround-back, and front-wide
channels can be applied simultaneously to a 5.1-channel system to create up to
an 11.1-channel soundfield, the company said.
new models also feature streaming of 192kHz/24-Bit FLAC and WAV files from a
networked device or USB-connected device. That feature wasn’t available at $450
in last year’s Elite line.
Both models also feature connection to an
optional $99 stereo-Bluetooth adapter, Sound Retriever Air technology to
improve the quality of Bluetooth-streamed music, and front-panel
iPod/iPhone/iPad-certified USB port.
$450 8×70-watt VSX-42 can be controlled remotely from a free ControlApp loaded
on Apple and Android mobile devices. The Controls App controls such functions
as AVR on/off, volume, sound modes, and ability to select Internet radio
stations, Pandora content, and networked-PC music. The $650 AVR’s
iControlAV2012 app adds control of 18 DSP sound settings, Virtual Modes, second-zone
analog-audio audio and second-zone volume.
VSX-42 also features IP control, 12-volt trigger and IR in/outs.
Compared to the VSX-42, the $650 VSX-60 adds
7×90-watt amp, RS-232 port, optional Wi-Fi Ethernet-port adapter, four virtual
speaker modes, a more advanced form of room calibration/correction compared to
the VSX-42, and Advanced Video Adjust. The latter optimizes video settings
individually for each connected video source and optimizes the video output for
plasma, LCD or front-projector display technologies.
Compared to the VSX-42, the VSX-60 also Auto
Sound Retriever compressed-music enhancer to a TV’s HDMI audio-return channel.
The VSX-60 also adds networked audio, including
AirPlay audio, to the second-zone output. Another VSX-60 step-up feature is Phase
Control Plus, which delays the output of the main channels from 0-16
milliseconds to match subwoofer-output timing.
VSX-45 features six HDMI 1.4a inputs and one 1.4a output with audio return
channel. The VSX-60 adds a front-panel HDMI 1.4a input.