|Pioneer’s new VSX-1123 7.2 Channel Receiver|
The Pioneer brand is a venerable name in both audiophile and home theater circles. Over the past several years, Pioneer has made a commitment to the integration of digital audio; playing and streaming content from mobile devices; and flexible remote control solutions via smartphone apps.
The reviews of Pioneer’s efforts have been great; and their offerings have received industry praise. While I’m personally not an owner of Pioneer gear, I’ve admired what direction the company has taken–especially its aggressive support of Apple’s audio and video ecosystem with Airplay and app support. If these new receivers live up to the pedigree of their predecessors, then then offer audiophiles–especially poor audiophiles–tremendous value and great sound for the price. What I especially like about the new models is their expanded iOS support and support for forthcoming 4k (UltraHD) displays.
Here’s Pioneer’s release announcing the new product lineup.
As today’s advanced smartphones continue to become essential
components of the home entertainment experience, Pioneer Electronics
(USA) Inc. is making integration of these devices easy and convenient.
Pioneer’s latest 2013 audio video receiver lineup, the VSX-523 and VSX-823 5.1-channel, VSX-1023 7.1-channel, and VSX-1123
7.2-channel receivers, are designed to support today’s connected
lifestyle, compatible with the two most popular smartphone OS platforms
for expanded access to music streaming options and improved control of
features and functionality. The new models also enhance traditional home
theater features including expanded high resolution audio file
playback, multiple HDMI connections including a dedicated second zone
HDMI output, 4K Ultra HD compatibility, Pioneer’s proprietary ControlApp
and iControlAV2013 App, and more.
“The smartphone is not only a powerful device while on the go, but
it’s also widely used as a source for entertainment in the home, which
is why Pioneer is so committed to providing products with the broadest
smartphone connectivity,” said Chris Walker, director of AV product
planning and marketing for the Home Electronics Division of Pioneer
Electronics (USA) Inc. “Whether it’s the newest iPhone or the next
generation of Android smartphone, our new receivers are ready to connect
to those devices.”
- Expanded iPhone, iPad and iPod Support – All of the new
Pioneer receivers enable iPhone, iPad and iPod users to enjoy audio
playback stored on their devices as well as display album art and
metadata when connected to a television or monitor. The top three models
allow playback and charging of all versions of iPad. The receivers will
also charge connected iPhone, iPad and iPod devices via corresponding
cables, including the new Lightning or 30-pin cable.
Pioneer’s AVNavigator (now available for the Mac), an interactive
owner’s manual that provides a linked two-way interactive manual, giving
users a quick way to learn about all of the new features of the AV
receiver (i.e. that a push of the ALC button on the front of the
receiver will take the user directly to the portion of the manual that
explains the Automatic Level Control feature).
- Pioneer Control Apps – The latest versions of Pioneer’s ControlApp and iControlAV2013 apps, available for download from the App Store (www.AppStore.com) or Google® Play (www.GooglePlay.com),
expand control over the receivers and their home theater settings from
the convenience of a smart device. Ideal for music lovers, both apps
offer a new feature that enables users to access the music libraries
stored on their devices and create playlists that can be streamed
wirelessly to the receiver, all from within the app1.
ControlApp, available for use with the VSX-823 and VSX-1023, offers
features available in the previous version of the app, including
management of inputs, audio adjustments and modes, and streaming
content, as well as a dedicated “ECO Manager” page for energy efficient
settings. The new iControlAV2013 App, for use with the VSX-1123, has
been completely redesigned to feature a completely new user interface
and “finger flick” touch action for faster access to features2.
- MHL 2.0 Input – A feature first introduced in the flagship
Elite SC models is now available on VSX-823 and above models, offering
users the same Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) connectivity built in
on the front of each receiver for integrating smartphones as additional
sources of high quality audio and video. HDTV owners can play HD video
content with multi-channel sound (up to 7.1-channels) through the
receivers while simultaneously charging their Android™ devices. The new
MHL 2.0 adds support for 3D content, 1080p 60Hz, and faster smartphone
- HTC Connect – With HTC Connect™, owners of compatible HTC®
smartphones (including the new HTC One Phone) can conveniently stream
music content directly to the Pioneer networked-enabled receivers via a
wireless connection3. HTC Connect enables music playback and
control of the receiver’s volume on from the smartphone with the ability
to use the device simultaneously for other functions, from making and
receiving calls and taking pictures to downloading the latest apps and
surfing the Web. Pioneer is the first consumer electronics manufacturer
to receive HTC Connect certification and provide a unified connectivity
solution for Android smartphone users via HTC Connect technology
incorporated into its receivers (and wireless speakers).
Expanded Audio and Video Playback
- Apple’s AirPlay – AirPlay is built into the top three models,
allowing users to stream their iTunes music whether from Mac or PC, as
well as music stored on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch4.
- High Resolution Music Playback – To meet the growing
popularity of high resolution music, Pioneer has expanded the number of
high resolution audio file formats playable on the VSX-823, VSX-1023 and
VSX-1123. The new receivers enable playback of high-resolution WAV,
MP3, WMA, AAC and FLAC Files via a USB or networked computer. Formerly
only available as a firmware update on Elite® SC receivers, the top
three Pioneer models now have built-in Apple Lossless and AIFF playback.
In addition, the new receivers include Gapless playback for AIFF, Apple
Lossless, WAV and FLAC files offering improved listening experience by
providing uninterrupted playback of consecutive audio tracks. Gapless
playback is especially enjoyable on music tracks meant for continuous
playback such as classical music, progressive rock, concept albums or
live recordings with audience sounds between tracks. The VSX-1123 also
offers playback of SACD audio files stored in the Direct Streaming
Digital (DSD) format through its front USB connection.
- Endless Music – Providing access to a variety of music content,
models VSX-823 and above feature today’s most popular Internet radio
music services including PANDORA® and vTuner®. Each network enabled
receiver is also DLNA® 1.5 Certified to allow music content playback
from a networked DLNA server or DLNA application running on a Windows
PC, Mac, or smartphone connected on a home network, either through an
Ethernet connection or optional wireless Wi-Fi® adapter (available on
- 4K Ultra HD Pass Through – As content and display resolution
quality continue to improve, Pioneer is ready for the next generation 4K
Ultra HD resolution standard, which has four times the resolution of
the current HD 1080p standard. The new lineup of Pioneer receivers can
pass through 4K video signals to compatible displays, offering the
highest quality video image available. Additionally, the VSX-1123 can
upscale analog and HDMI video signals for 4K Ultra HD resolution when
used with latest 4K displays.
- Zone 2 HDMI Out – Pioneer continues to expand connectivity
options on its receivers, offering eight HDMI inputs on the VSX-1123.
For an expanded high-definition entertainment experience throughout the
home, the VSX-1123 also offers HDZone, a Zone 2 HDMI out for routing
either the same signal as the main zone or a separate source to a second
zone via HDMI. A third audio only zone can also be powered by the
receiver and controlled through Pioneer’s iControlAV2013 App.
- ECO Mode – Pioneer designed the new 2013 models with the
added benefit of reducing power consumption in both on and stand-by
mode. With the new ECO Mode users can, in real time, analyze and control
peak volume corresponding to the content being played to reduce power
consumption while still maintaining content audio quality (ECO Working); reduce power consumption when the receiver is in stand-by (ECO Stand-by);
and easily set the “Ecology function ON/OFF” feature in three different
ways – from the remote control, ECO Manager on the iControlAV2013 App,
or the front panel of the receiver (ECO Access).
The new Pioneer receivers will be available at authorized Pioneer
retailers in March with suggested retail prices of $279 (VSX-523), $429
(VSX-823), $529 (VSX-1023) and $629 (VSX-1123).
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and its U.S. Web address is www.pioneerelectronics.com.
Its parent company, Pioneer Corporation, is a preeminent manufacturer
of high-performance audio, video and computer equipment for the home,
car and business markets and is celebrating 75 years of innovation in
the consumer electronics industry.
1This feature currently not available in ControlApp for Android.
2iControlAV2013 coming soon in Google Play.
3HTC Connect is defined as interoperability testing of music
streaming performed between compatible smartphones and Home AV products
using the HTC Connect Music Application. Third party music applications,
meaning apps other than the HTC Connect-compatible smartphone’s native
music player, may not work with HTC Connect.
4AirPlay requires iTunes 10.1 or later and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS4.2 or later. A home Wi-Fi network is required.