We often get asked what's the point of all these nine- and eleven-channel AV receivers for folks who just aren't into object-based surround sound with overhead speakers. Pioneer's new Elite VSX-LX503 9.2-Channel Network AV Receiver is a pretty compelling answer to that question.
In addition to providing all the power you need for 5.2.4-channel or 7.2.2-channel Atmos/DTS:X setups, the VSX-LX503 is also flexible enough to be configured as a 5.2 or 5.2.2 setup in one room with a powered second zone.
It's not entirely unique in that respect, of course, but the VSX-LX503 also features its share of distinctive goodies, including Chromecast built in, Play-Fi wireless streaming, FlareConnect wireless multiroom audio streaming, and a host of room correction and phase correction tools as part of its Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System.
The receiver will be available starting June 17, with an MSRP of $1,0999 and a street price hovering in the $999 range.
For a full breakdown of features and functionality, see the press release below, via Pioneer:
Providing unprecedented power and performance, Pioneer & Onkyo Corporation today unveiled the specs on its new Elite VSX-LX503 9.2-Channel Network AV Receiver (MSRP $1,099 USD/$1,449.99 CAD). Offering cinephiles and gamers the ultimate Dolby Atmos or DTS:X surround-sound experience through speaker layouts up to 7.2.4 channels the VSX-LX503 boasts a 120W (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, THD 0.08%, 2-ch driven, FTC), features Pioneer's Direct Energy and is the first announced Elite receiver to earn the "Works With Sonos" certification.
Pioneer Direct Energy is Ideal for Object-Based Soundtracks
The Elite VSX-LX503 features Direct Energy amplification, which aims to deliver flawless high-output power to all speakers simultaneously. Details such as shortened signal paths and clean grounds enable accurate performance, while powerful and dynamic bass response is another highlight. Signals for the surround, center, and height speakers are treated the same as the Front L+R channels, with high driving power creating an immersive and perfectly balanced sound-field to unlock the full 3D spatial effect of DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.
Works With Sonos
Pioneer's new Elite VSX-LX503 carries the "Works with Sonos" certification. Once the receiver is connected to a Sonos Connect, owners will be able to send any music or source on their Sonos app to the receiver. The receiver can be grouped to other Sonos devices on the network or it can be used independently. Firmware enabling this function is currently available.
9.2-Ch Amp Supports Various Speaker Layouts & Multizone Audio
With nine channels of onboard amplification and processing for 5.2.4-ch and 7.2.2-ch object-based audio via quad-core 32-bit chip and Aureus™ floating-point DSP chip, users can enjoy the ultimate in 3D surround-sound with seamless top-to-bottom, side-to-side, and front-to-back coverage. Furthermore, users can enjoy 7.2.4-ch surround-sound using an external stereo amplifier connected via 11.2-ch pre-outs.
Zone 2 and Zone 3 Powered Audio Playback
Four Surround Back/Zone speaker outputs can drive stereo speakers in Zone 2 and Zone 3 with a 5.2-ch setup in the main room, or a 5.2.2-ch layout with Powered Zone 2 distribution. As well as analog audio, multiple DACs support digital source playback in up to three zones simultaneously*5 with content selection and control via Pioneer Remote App*6.
4K/60p Video Supporting HDR and HDCP 2.2
HDMI® terminals pass 4K/60p/4:4:4/24-bit, BT.2020, and 4K HDR video (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision) through to compatible displays and projectors. All terminals are compatible with HDCP 2.2 content protection, while onboard Super Resolution 4K upscaling technology can upscale Full HD video to the quality of a 4K signal.
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Playback with Dolby Surround® and DTS Neural:X™
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks utilize object-based metadata to create a 3D soundscape in the room. The codecs contain height-channel audio information in addition to floor-channel audio, freeing sound to move all around the audience for an amazingly realistic entertainment experience. Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing solutions are included to remap legacy movie and game soundtracks, enhancing immersion with any speaker layout. Both technologies are cross-compatible with a variety of common movie and game audio formats.
MCACC Creates a Cohesive Surround-Sound Field
MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System), developed with the expertise of professional recording studios, creates an ideal listening environment in media rooms and entertainment spaces. The system automatically compensates for differences in speaker size, level, and distance, and equalizes response for exceptional clarity. Further, MCACC incorporates subwoofer equalization for taut, deep bass that's perfectly.
An innovative solution to resolve phase-lag between the subwoofer and front L+R speakers, Phase Control compensates for bass delay at the viewing position to improve sound synchronization. Consequently, it makes low-frequency effects more dynamic and facilitates clearer reproduction of sound in the mid- and high-frequency bands.
When using Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, high directivity sound from the unit reflects off the ceiling, while low directivity sound directly reaches the ears. The different pathways cause a phase shift, making the sound feel uncomfortable. Reflex Optimizer, which uses the Phase Control technology, adjusts this shift and improves sound-image localization to create the ideal audio reproduction environment.
Make Multi-Room Audio Easy with DTS Play-Fi Technology
DTS Play-Fi technology facilitates wireless streaming of virtually any audio content from any compatible mobile devices to the Elite VSX-LX503 and other supported audio systems, creating a flexible multi-room system in the home. Different sources can be streamed to different speakers at the same time from the free Pioneer Music Control App.
Chromecast built-in Audio Streaming Platform
The Elite VSX-LX503 comes with Chromecast built-in. Stream and control your favorite music from Chromecast-enabled apps on your iPhone, iPad, Android™ phones and tablets, Chromebook™, and the Chrome™ web browser right to your speakers. Owners of devices with the Google Assistant built-in can control music on the Elite VSX-LX503 by voice.
FlareConnect Wireless Multi-room Audio
FlareConnect shares audio from network and external audio input sources between compatible components. Enjoy effortless multi-room playback of LP records, CDs, network music services, and more with supported components and speaker systems. Music selection, speaker grouping, and playback management across the home are built into the Pioneer Remote App.
High-Grade Audio DAC
The Elite VSX-LX503 incorporates a high-grade 384 kHz/32-bit DAC (AK4458) produced by AKM. The device offers clear and precise audio reproduction with a unique digital filter that achieves extremely low distortion and excellent S/N performance.
Get the Most from Hi-Res Audio
Careful attention has been invested in digital audio processing design to achieve best possible Hi-Res Audio fidelity. Expect detailed full-spectrum reproduction of audio formats including SACD via HDMI (5.6 MHz/2-ch, 2.8 MHz/5.1-ch) and digital files via network and USB input. Supported formats comprise 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC, WAV (RIFF), AIFF, and ALAC; Direct DSD 11.2 MHz (native playback) and 5.6 MHz/2.8 MHz; and Dolby® TrueHD to 192 kHz/24-bit.
Internet Radio and Online Music
A limitless flow of music, sports, talk, news, and audiobooks is ready to explore courtesy of Internet radio and online music services including Amazon Music, Pandora®, TIDAL, TuneIn, Spotify, and Deezer accessed via Pioneer Remote App or Pioneer Music Control App.
Dual-band 5 GHz/2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
High-fidelity audio sources can be played wirelessly over a built-in Wi-Fi connection offering 5 GHz (11a/n) and 2.4 GHz (11b/g/n) bands. In busy households with many devices contributing to congestion on the 2.4 GHz band, the 5 GHz channel provides stable transmission of audio files.
Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
Bluetooth wireless technology is a convenient audio streaming solution for almost any content playing on mobiles, tablets, and laptops, from audiobooks and podcasts to music played from smartphone applications.
Graphical User Interface with Easy Setup
Pioneer's class-leading GUI makes using the Elite VSX-LX503 enjoyable. A clean graphical layout details receiver functions and streamlines everyday operability, while Setup Guidance makes initial network setup fast and easy.
• Onkyo Announces New RZ Series AV Receivers with Sonos Compatibility at HomeTheaterReview.com.