Test Report: Pioneer Elite VSX-52 A/V Receiver Page 4

Test Bench


All data were obtained from various test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distortion and noise performance. Reference input level is –20 dBFS, and reference output is 1 watt into 8 ohms. Volume setting for reference level was –8. All level trims were set at zero. Except for subwoofer-related tests, all speakers were set to Large with subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.

Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms)

• 1 channel driven: 148/241 W (21.7/23.8 dBW)

• 5 channels driven (8 ohms): 103 W (20.1 dBW)

• 7 channels driven (8 ohms): 81 W (19.1 dBW)

Distortion at 1 watt (THD+N, 1 kHz)

• 8/4 ohms: 0.06/0.07%

Noise level (A-wtd): –74.7 dB

Excess noise (with sine tone)

• 16-bit (EN16): 0.3 dB

Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.4 dB


Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was –3.5.

Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz, 8 ohms): 0.06%

Noise level (A-wtd): –85.3

Frequency response: <10 Hz to 50 kHz +0, –3 dB


Reference level is –20 dBFS; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was –4.

Output at clipping (1 kHz, 8/4 ohms, both channels driven): 124/203 W (20.9/23.1 dBW)

Distortion at reference level: 0.05%

Linearity error (at –90 dBFS): –0.3 dB

Noise level (A-wtd): –75.6 dB

• with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: –86.9 dB

Excess noise (with/without sine tone)

• 16-bit (EN16): 0.2/0.3 dB

• quasi-20-bit (EN20): 9.8/9.0 dB

Noise modulation: 2.0 dB

Frequency response: <10 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.4 dB

• with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: +0, –2.1 dB at 44.1 kHz


Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals.

Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 24 dB/octave above –6-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz

High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave below –3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz

Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 8.3v

Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 7.0%

Crossover consistency: bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats

Speaker size selection: all channels can be set to “small”

Speaker distance compensation: available for all main channels

Pioneer’s VSX-52 aced most every test-bench requirement. Beginning with output power, it easily bettered its 110-watt specs, maintaining an impressive 80-plus watts even into 7 channels. (And the Pioneer did so without drawing down the AC line as heavily as most amps or receivers do.)

Nearly everything else measured excellently — PCM signal/noise was virtually perfect — with two exceptions. Our dithered “fade-to-noise” noise-modulation test revealed a noise increase of 2 dB at the transition from –72 to –73 dBFS, suggesting a bit error or component-value problem in the D/A conversion or current-to-voltage circuitry. (I tried my best to hear this on headphones via David Ranada’s noise-mod listening tracks but could not hear any repeatable effects to my satisfaction.) Second, subwoofer-output distortion under 6-channel, full-scale stress was high at 7% (though the audibility of even this level at 31 Hz is still debatable). However, this isn’t terribly real world, and since 2-channel excitation at the same levels and frequency showed no sign of incipient clipping, I would not give it much weight.