Pioneer Home Entertainment is bringing wireless multiroom audio, Google Cast, and Tidal streaming to its audio/video receivers for the first time.
The company also said it plans later this year to offer its first wireless multiroom speakers, which will be compatible with the AVRs.
In unveiling two Elite-series AVRs, the company said it plans firmware upgrades to add Google Cast, Tidal and FireConnect wireless-multiroom audio at an unspecified time.
Both 7.2-channel AVRs are equipped with Dolby Atmos, supporting 5.2.4 speaker configurations. They will get a DTS:X firmware upgrade in the fall.
Blackfire on fire: With the addition of FireConnect technology, developed by Blackfire Research, Pioneer will join Sony, Yamaha, and sister brand Onkyo in offering AVRs with wireless-multiroom capability. An app on a smartphone or tablet will direct music from networks computers and mobile devices to the AVRs and to Pioneer’s planned Wi-Fi-equipped multiroom-audio speakers.
The Blackfire technology will also let users stream any AVR-connected source, including streaming services and a turntable, to compatible tabletop speakers.
The Pioneer AVRs presumably will be compatible with the FireConnect products announced recently by sister brand Onkyo. Although Blackfire Research also provides the wireless-multiroom technology in Harman Kardon wireless speakers, Onkyo said its own Blackfire products won’t integrate with Harman Kardon products in a single wireless network.
For its part, Pioneer’s web site states, “We do not guarantee that the A/V receiver[s] will support all devices incorporating FireConnect.”
Feature sets: With the launches, Dolby Atmos will start at $500 in the Elite series, down from $700 in the Elite series. The brand’s Pioneer series starts Atmos at $599.
Both models are also the brand’s first to offer Reflex Optimizer technology to optimize the sound of upward-firing Dolby Atmos elevation speakers. Both receivers support 4K/60p/4:4:4 24-bit video signal transmission with HDCP 2.2 copy-protection technology.
Both also access vTuner, Pandora and Spotify in the U.S. and, with a firmware upgrade, Deezer outside the U.S. Both also decode 192kHz/24-bit FLAC, WAV, AIFF and Apple lossless along with multichannel 2.8MHz DSD and two-channel 5.6MHz DSD. Both also come with 32-bit DACs.
The $500 model features six rear HDMI inputs and one output, and the $700 model adds higher power, two HDMI outputs, and seven HDMI inputs (including one on the front panel). It also adds second-zone HD video and powered zone-2 audio.