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Pioneer Brings Wireless Multiroom, Google Cast To VSX-1131, VSX-831 AVRs

Pioneer Home Entertainment is bringing wireless multiroom audio, Google Cast and Tidal streaming to its Pioneer-series audio/video receivers for the first time, joining the first Elite-series receivers announced last month with the features.

With the shipment of the Pioneer-series 7.2-channel VSX-1131 at $599 and 5.2-channel VSX-831 at $449, the company is maintaining the opening price for Dolby Atmos in the Pioneer series at $599. The new $599 receiver, however, adds the ability to accept a DTS:X firmware upgrade, due later in the fall.

Like their predecessors, both models are networked AVRs with built-in Wi-Fi, built-in Bluetooth, AirPlay and streaming services such as vTuner. This year’s crop of streaming services consists of vTuner, Pandora and Spotify, with TuneIn, Tidal and Deezer coming on board with a future firmware update.

As with the previously announced Elite-series AVRs, Google Cast, wireless multiroom audio and Tidal will be available as a future firmware update.

For multiroom audio, Pioneer is using FireConnect technology developed by Blackfire Research and used in new AVRs from sister brand Onkyo.

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 the tabletop speakers.

The Pioneer AVRs will be compatible with Onkyo’s FireConnect but might not be compatible with Harman Kardon products that also use Blackfire technology.

Google Cast: With Google Cast for Audio technology, the AVRs will stream music from Cast-enabled iOS and Android music apps via Wi-Fi from the Internet, with the user’s smartphone delivering control. Because Google Cast-equipped products pull content directly from the cloud, users will get the best audio quality and can multi-task on a phone, tablet, or laptop without draining the battery, Google said. Cast-ready products will work with a growing number of apps, including Deezer, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, TuneIn and others.

Other features: Both models also feature full-speed 18Gbps HDM1 2.0a with HDR support and HDCP 2.2 copy protection. Both also feature high-grade 384kHz/32bit DAC (AK4458) produced by AKM and high-resolution playback of 192kHz/24-bit FLAC, WAV, AIFF and Apple lossless file along with DSD (2.8/5.6MHz) .

The step-up model adds two HDMI outputs, Atmos/DTS:X and 7.2 channels.