updated 11:05 pm EDT, Sat March 17, 2012
Pioneer VSX-x22 series receivers arrive
A late-week release saw Pioneer introduce four new mainstream AV receivers that mostly bring Internet awareness to the core of its lineup. The top three, the VSX-822, VSX-1022, and VSX-1022, all have support for AirPlay, DLNA, and vTuner Internet radio to grab media from iOS devices, iTunes, and some other hardware on the same local network. Ethernet is common across all of them, although the 1122 has the choice of a Wi-Fi adapter to reduce clutter.
These same three have the option of a Bluetooth adapter to stream audio directly within the spec's 33-foot range. Pioneer's Air Jam app (App Store) lets four iOS devices join at once to create a shared playlist. VSX-1122 owners get extra treatment through an AVNavigator controllable manual for computers and iPads, and an iControlAV2012 app (App Store) that can tap into the finer-grained sound adjustment and sound field control the receiver allows.
Regardless of the receiver, the three plus the entry VSX-522 can support up to 192kHz, 24-bit audio from a front USB port or (on most) the network. They likewise support HDMI 1.4a and the more recent HDMI Standby Through mode, which can let sound and video pass through the receiver in idle mode if it doesn't need to be active.
Outside of networking, the model split is dictated by sound channels and processing. The 522 and 822 are both 5.1-channel receivers with up to 140W per channel and differences such as five versus six HDMI ports. Moving to the 1022 adds 7.1-channel sound and one more HDMI port while keeping the power output. An 1122 lifts the power per channel to 165W, adds a 7.2-channel option, and includes both phase control to better sync the subwoofer delay and an advanced video processor with more control and compensation for low-bitrate digital content.
Prices start at $249 for a VSX-522 and move to $379, $449, and $599 for the 822, 1022, and 1122 respectively. All of them should be in stores before the end of the month.