Test Report: Pioneer VSX-60 A/V Receiver

For those who may harbor any doubt that Pioneer has thrown its lot wholly in with the Connected Generation, let me present Exhibit A: the VSX-60 A/V receiver. The new model’s design bears a close resemblance to those of its predecessors, and any updates in its functions and features are more incremental than otherwise. But when you add everything up, the verdict seems pretty clear.

To wit: Apple AirPlay compatibility (and ditto Bluetooth); Pioneer’s own “AirJam” collaborative playlist creation (via Bluetooth); direct audio streaming via DLNA servers, along with Internet radio; extensive Internet Protocol command functions; and the elaborate new iControl2012 system-control smartphone app for iPhone/iPad and “selected Android devices.”

All of which is nifty enough, but the VSX-60 also incorporates features that I consider even awesome-er: Marvell Qdeo video processing; TI’s powerful Aureus 64-bit DSP for the audio side; 24-bit/192-kHz oversampling digital-to-analog conversion on all channels; and Pioneer’s own Advanced MCACC auto-setup and room-correction EQ system, an audio-bot of some considerable power.

Setup

These days, once your speaker wires and HDMI cables are connected, setup of an A/V receiver mostly means running the auto-configuring software and examining the results. Pioneer’s Advanced MCACC is a deep system that can do a substantial amount of processing beyond basic speaker/room equalization. But use of its advanced components, such as Acoustic Calibration EQ Professional (which attempts to further mitigate room reflections) or standing-wave correction, is, fortunately, elective. (The VSX-60 does not have the option to control and display operations via an external PC, a feature that some higher-end Pioneers did.)

After observing that its room-correction EQ curves were, generally speaking, consistent with those derived for my room and speakers by other such systems, and noting the very slightly clearer (or perhaps merely very slightly emphasized) upper-mids, and the subtly “tighter”-feeling bass, I as usual continued on to the bulk of my auditions with the system defeated.

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