Pioneer Announces its First AVR with AirPlay 2

When CES 2019 opens tomorrow, Pioneer will be spotlighting a new moderately-priced 7.2-channel AV receiver that supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 multiroom streaming platform — a first for the brand.

Slated to ship February for $580, the new VSX-934 will enable Apple iOS devices to send and sync audio to different devices around the home as well as offer “enhanced buffering for AirPlay 2-compatible speakers.” The feature will be activated by a firmware update scheduled for release in the spring.

The receiver is compatible with Sonos systems and supports internet radio and a variety of streaming services, including Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and Deezer. Bluetooth streaming is also on tap along with wireless multiroom streaming via Chromecast built-in, DTS Play-Fi, and FlareConnect.

Rated power output is 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms and the receiver has onboard Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround processing for speaker configurations up to 5.2.2 as well as Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X for upmixing two-channel sources to surround sound. Pioneer said the forthcoming firmware update will also bring Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X processing into the fold for enjoying object-based soundtracks without dedicated additional speakers.

On the video side, the VSX-934 supports passthrough of the HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision high-dynamic range (HDR) formats as well as 4k/60p/4:4:4/24-bit video on all of its HDMI ports.

Pioneer’s Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System (MCACC) automatically compensates for differences in speaker size, level, and distance, and equalizes response, while its Reflex Optimizer improves sound by compensating for phase lags in systems using Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling. Powered and line-level Zone 2 speaker outputs enable audio from analog and USB inputs, Bluetooth, or a connected network to be distributed to another room.